Qube edges ahead in Aussie infrastructure fight

November 26, 2015

Brookfield’s $6.5 bln agreed bid for Australia’s Asciano has hit serious opposition from competition regulators. The Canadian group could yet salvage its takeover. But interloper Qube, whose break-up consortium is already examining Asciano’s books, now looks like the favourite.

Aussie target Asciano could push for higher bid

November 10, 2015

The ports and rail group is now fielding competing, $6 bln-plus takeover proposals from Canada’s Brookfield and a break-up consortium led by local interloper Qube. The target’s board may want to see a clearer gulf in value before hitching itself to Qube’s wagon.

No knockout in Australia’s $6 bln waterfront brawl

November 6, 2015

Canada’s Brookfield moved to salvage its takeover of Asciano, buying a 19 pct stake to match last week’s lightning raid by rival Qube. The Aussie challenger could hit back by making a full bid for the ports and rail group. Or antitrust referees could haul Brookfield away.

Halliburton’s Baker Hughes bid looks less refined

November 2, 2015

The gap between the offer and market prices is a yawning 15.4 pct, implying there are serious doubts about the $27 bln oil services merger. Aussie trustbusters have raised fresh concerns. A blocked deal would cost Halliburton $3.5 bln, nearly triple this year’s expected profit.

Brookfield’s Aussie deal faces surprise blockade

October 30, 2015

The Canadian group’s $6.3 bln offer for Australian port and rail group Asciano has been upset by smaller local rival Qube and partners snatching a 20 pct stake. Brookfield cannot sweeten its way out of trouble. Still, some mix of asset sales and co-investments might just work.

Aussie banks may need fresh capital hikes

October 22, 2015

Australia’s big lenders have raised about A$20 bln in new capital this year. But the government has now backed an inquiry’s call for domestic banks to be “unquestionably strong”. Strictly interpreted, that could require ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac to raise as much capital again.

New ANZ boss stuck in strategic mid-ocean

October 1, 2015

Mike Smith is leaving as CEO of the $55 bln Australian lender after eight years. Beefing up in Asia has proved less lucrative than he hoped. Yet a slowing home economy and tightening regulation mean successor Shayne Elliott may have to stay centered somewhere in between.

Aussie vitamins get iron ore-style China boost

September 18, 2015

A Guangzhou baby-formula firm is gobbling up Swisse, one of Australia’s biggest vitamin makers. The $1 bln deal caps a stunning run for clean-living specialists Down Under. As miners can attest, shifts in Chinese demand can transform an industry’s fortunes for better – or worse.

Aussie leader gets a bust, a boom, and a problem

September 15, 2015

Mining has slumped while housing has surged. The biggest challenge for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a slowdown in GDP that is depressing everything from taxes to profits. He needs to embrace higher public deficits – even if that’s tough for a conservative.

Australian bank crisis-proofing takes toll on NAB

May 7, 2015

The lender is bracing for higher capital demands by raising $4.4 bln from investors. With valuations still high despite a slowing home market, rivals may follow. Reinforcing a healthy sector is prudent. For shareholders, though, the era of supercharged returns is ending.