ATO warns businesses not to use loopholes to exploit $30bn Covid tax concessions

Original article by Paul Karp
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 30-Oct-20

Australian Taxation Office second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn has urged companies to "think twice" about using artificial mechanisms to take advantage of stimulus measures contained in the recent federal budget. Worth over $30 billion, the measures relate to instant expensing and loss carryback provisions. He has also criticised companies that used JobKeeper wage subsidies to pay dividends, noting that there had been adverse community reaction to companies who had done so. Hirschhorn notes 92.5 per cent of companies comply with their tax obligations when lodging tax returns, with this increasing to 96.3 per cent after ATO compliance activity.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Forrest to drive gas import terminal

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 15 : 30-Oct-20

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest is set to proceed with a proposed LNG import terminal at Port Kembla in New South Wales. Sources have indicated that Forrest’s private company Squadron Energy is close to finalising a long-term lease at Port Kembla. Squadron recently bought out its Japanese partners in the project, and it has previously indicated that construction work could start by the end of 2020. A number of other LNG import projects have been proposed to address gas supply concerns in Australia’s eastern states.

CORPORATES
SQUADRON ENERGY PTY LTD

AFL modelling the ‘worst case scenario’, a second season played in interstate bubbles

Original article by Michael Warner, Glenn McFarlane
The Australian – Page: 24 : 30-Oct-20

The Australian Football League is expected to release details of the length of the 2021 season and the length of quarters in early December. Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has confirmed the AFL’s modelling for 2021 includes the possibility of using hubs again in the event of another outbreak of COVID-19, while Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett says he is hopeful that AFL crowds in Victoria will get back to 50 per cent capacity in 2021. Gordon says colder weather seems to make the virus harder to control, so a winter sport such as the AFL should not get complacent.

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AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, WESTERN BULLDOGS FOOTBALL CLUB, HAWTHORN FOOTBALL CLUB

Alcoa smelter’s future in the balance

Original article by Matt Johnston
Herald Sun – Page: 5 : 30-Oct-20

The Australia Institute has released a report which warns that the closure of Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter would reduce GDP by $800m and result in the loss of 3,600 jobs. The report was commissioned by Ben Davis of the Australian Workers’ Union, who says the economic impact of the smelter’s closure would be "unprecedented". He adds that the smelter helps to stabilise the electricity grid during periods of peak usage during summer. Both the Victorian and federal government are holding talks with Alcoa about the plant’s future.

CORPORATES
ALCOA INCORPORATED, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES

US fund Ares in AMP buyout talks

Original article by Bridget Carter, Lachlan Moffet Gray
The Australian – Page: 13 & 20 : 30-Oct-20

New York Stock Exchange-listed private equity firm Ares Management has been given access to AMP’s data room and is said to be considering a full takeover play. Ares boasts more than $US149bn ($211.3bn) in assets under management, and CEO Michael Arougheti has flagged the potential for acquisitions in the Asia-Pacific region. AMP recently announced a portfolio review, which could result in the sale of all or part of the business. AMP’s market capitalisation is about $4.4bn, based on the stock’s closing price of $1.28 on 29 October.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, ARES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION

Rinehart leads miners to No.1 as tech stars ride COVID-19 wave

Original article by Michael Bailey, Julie-anne Sprague
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 30-Oct-20

The combined wealth of Australia’s 200 wealthiest individuals and families has risen from $342bn in 2019 to $424bn in 2020. Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has regained the title of Australia’s richest person, with estimated wealth of $28.9; she last topped the ‘Financial Review Rich List’ in 2015. Rinehart is followed by Andrew Forrest ($23bn) and Anthony Pratt ($19.75bn) on the list. Pratt had topped the list in 2019. Atlassian’s co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are ranked 5th and 6th respectively.

CORPORATES
HANCOCK PROSPECTING PTY LTD, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, VISY INDUSTRIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ATLASSIAN CORPORATION PLC

Big investors challenge miners over traditional owner consent

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 30-Oct-20

AustralianSuper and CBus are among the Australian investor signatories to an open letter to the world’s major mining companies. The letter was written in response to Rio Tinto’s destruction of ancient indigenous rock shelters at Juukan Gorge and subsequent revelations regarding its deficiencies in managing the controversy. The letter asks mining companies to assess the "genuineness" of the consents they have secured from traditional owners, and asks how they are managing cultural heritage risks. Apart from Rio, recipients of the letter with Australian mines include BHP, Newcrest, Evolution Mining, Fortescue Metals Group and OZ Minerals.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING UNIONS’ SUPERANNUATION FUND, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, NEWCREST MINING LIMITED – ASX NCM, EVOLUTION MINING LIMITED – ASX EVN, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL, SOUTH32 LIMITED – ASX S32, NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX NST, SARACEN MINERAL HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX SAR

Valuer Acumentis predicts rise in distressed sales

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 32 : 30-Oct-20

Listed valuation firm Acumentis has reported revenue of $13.4 million for the September quarter, compared with just $8.4 million for the entire 2019-20 financial year. The firm has posted a pre-tax profit of $1.6 million for the quarter. Acumentis notes that it is benefiting from an improvement in residential activity, while it predicts an increase in forced home sales as JobKeeper payments and mortgage repayment deferral periods end.

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ACUMENTIS GROUP LIMITED – ASX ACU

No benefit in rate cut: ANZ chief

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 30-Oct-20

The ANZ Bank has posted a net profit of $3.58bn for the year to 30 September, which is 40 per cent lower than previously. The result was primarily marred by a blowout in impairment charges, which rose to $2.74bn. Shareholders will receive a full-year dividend of $0.60 per share, compared with $1.60 in 2019-20. Meanwhile, CEO Shayne Elliott says a further reduction in official interest rates is unlikely to do much to stimulate the economy, as financial markets already have sufficient liquidity. The Reserve Bank is widely tipped to reduce the cash rate on 3 November.

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AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Victoria’s contact tracing now ‘best’: Finkel

Original article by Tom Burton, Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 30-Oct-20

Victoria recorded three new coronavirus cases on 29 October, while people in hotel quarantine account for 10 of the 14 new cases that were reported nationwide. Meanwhile, Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has told a Senate estimates committee that he is impressed with the contact-tracing systems of all states and territories. Finkel has particularly praised Victoria’s contact-tracing system and the significant improvements that have been made to it. Some federal politicians have previously questioned whether Victoria’s contact-tracing system would cope with the easing of lockdown restrictions.

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AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SCIENTIST