Call to end retrospective R&D audits for business

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 12-Dec-19

Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has recommended changes to the administration of R&D tax incentives following a review of the scheme. Amongst other things, she has proposed that the federal government cease requiring recipients to undergo retrospective audits, often some years after they received the tax incentive. Carnell notes that the Australian Taxation Office has frequently required small businesses to repay the full amount of the tax incentive after an audit, including harsh financial penalties.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE, AIRTASKER PTY LTD

Investor’s moral win in Rio row

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 20 : 12-Dec-19

Australia’s Takeovers Panel has ruled that Rio Tinto can proceed with its proposal to underwrite Energy Resources of Australia’s entitlement offer, despite the fact that it could result in Rio significantly increasing its stake in the uranium miner. However, the Takeovers Panel also found that Rio Tinto’s underwriting offer was made in "unacceptable circumstances". The Rio deal was opposed by ERA investor Richard Magides, who has a 15.9 per cent stake in the company via Zentree Investments.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX ERA, AUSTRALIA. TAKEOVERS PANEL, ZENTREE INVESTMENTS

Andrew Forrest’s $500m payday as iron ore rallies

Original article by Julie-anne Sprague
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 12-Dec-19

Shares in Fortescue Metals Group closed $0.14 higher at $10.38 on 11 December, after peaking at a record $10.45. The pure-play iron ore miner’s shares have gained nearly 150 per cent in the year to date; the rally has seen the stake of founder Andrew Forrest rise to around $11.3bn, with the iron ore price trading at around $US93 per tonne. BHP’s share price is currently trading at its highest level since August, while Rio Tinto is trading at a four-month high.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

No senior minister but mega department will work

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

The Department of Agriculture, Water & the Environment will be formally established on 1 February, as part of the federal government’s plans to streamline the bureaucracy. The existing ministers for each portfolio – Bridget McKenzie, Sussan Ley and David Littleproud – will remain in these roles, and McKenzie has confirmed that the new department will not have a senior minister. She is confident that the three ministers will work well together and that the new department will deliver "real outcomes" for regional communities.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

Carbon accounting trick a no-go for ALP

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the federal government will only use Kyoto carry-over credits to the extent necessary to meet its 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has reiterated that Labor will not use the carry-over credits if it wins the next federal election. Meanwhile, a report produced by Climate Analytics on behalf of the Australia Institute has questioned the legality of using carry-over credits.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CLIMATE ANALYTICS, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED

Federal budget could be set for $30b boost: CBA

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

The Commonwealth Bank has upgraded its federal Budget surplus forecasts. Chief economist Michael Blythe says the surplus for fiscal 2020 is now likely to be $17.1bn rather than $7.1bn, while the surplus for the following year is set to be $19.1bn rather than $11bn. Blythe adds that factors such as strong jobs growth and the low inflation rate will boost the Budget bottom line by about $30bn over the next four years. He notes that government revenue will also be bolstered by a much higher iron ore rice than was forecast in the April 2019 Budget.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

Time for Adani to deliver on jobs

Original article by Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has been approved, so the company should begin creating the jobs that it has promised. Adani in turn argues that it already employees hundreds of people. Albanese has also used his tour of regional Queensland to call for labour-hire workers in the mining sector to receive the same pay as direct employees, contending that some are paid up to 40 per cent less. He has also criticised the federal government for its lack of action regarding the low wages of labour-hire workers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADANI MINING PTY LTD, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, MITSUBISHI CORPORATION

Google hit for billions but EU chief regrets not going harder

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

The federal government will release details of its formal response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry on 12 December. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says the government is working through its response to issues raised by the ACCC. Meanwhile, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that in retrospective she would have taken a "bolder" approach to the anti-trust case against Google. The digital giant was fined more than EUR8bn.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, EUROPEAN COMPETITION COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, PRIME MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX PRT

ATO labels 102 companies as systemic non-payers of tax

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

Data from the Australian Taxation Offices shows that the combined tax take from the nation’s 2,200 largest corporate taxpayers was $52.3bn in 2017-18. The data shows that 710 companies did not pay any tax during the financial year, while deputy commissioner Rebecca Saint says 102 companies across all sectors of the economy are "systemic non-payers". She notes that tax receipts from oil and gas companies will increase in coming years, after many booked losses during the construction phase of their projects.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence up to 109.0 (corrected)

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 12-Dec-19

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence rose 0.8% to 109.0 in the week ended 8 December – a second straight increase during the early weeks of December. In the run-up to Christmas the good news for retailers is that the ‘time to buy a household item’ index gained 1.9%, building on the previous week’s gain of 5.3% following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In addition consumers became more confident about their current personal financial situation with a 1% increase from a week ago, although there was a 3.9% drop in regards to future financial conditions over the next 12 months. Consumers have also become more confident about the performance of the Australian economy going forward with an increase of 3.9% for current economic conditions and an increase of 2.7% for future economic conditions, although both indicators remain below long-term averages. The four-week moving average of inflation expectations was down 0.1ppt to 3.9%, as the weekly reading softened to 3.9%.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ