Monthly Archives:February 2019

Shares in market darling Sirius Resources have been tipped to continue climbing as the nickel explorer’s market capitalisation touched $1 billion for the first time on Monday.

Another round of encouraging drill results extended Sirius’ amazing eight-month rally, and appeared to support theories that a series of discoveries were part of one large geological system in Western Australia’s Fraser Range.

News that Sirius had confirmed mineralisation more than 100 metres south of last month’s Bollinger discovery sent shares racing by almost 20 per cent in early trading as investors considered a much bigger deposit than first thought.

An afternoon bout of profit-taking saw the stock finish the day only 5 per cent higher at $4.40; a fairly modest result for a company that has more than doubled in value over the past fortnight.

But the day was most notable for being the first time Sirius’s market capitalisation has passed – albeit temporarily – $1 billion; an amazing feat for a stock that was worth barely $12 million in July 2012.

Both RBC Capital Markets and Patersons Securities insisted that the best was yet to come for Sirius, with RBC saying the stock could climb to $5 in the immediate future, while Patersons said there was a longer-term ”potential value” of more than $10 per share.

The market’s enthusiasm for Sirius comes despite nickel being regarded as a laggard commodity over recent years, with low nickel prices ensuring that even big companies like BHP Billiton are struggling to make money out of nickel.

The optimism surrounding Sirius lies in the fact the nickel has been found in geological formations that look set to deliver multiple clusters of high-grade nickel.

RBC analyst Geoff Breen said between Sirius’s two main discoveries – the ”Nova” and ”Bollinger” deposits, there was undoubtedly enough to warrant a mine.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

A single rail solution is emerging to get coal from Queensland’s undeveloped Galilee Basin to port at Abbot Point, but there is scepticism that the $6 billion spend can be justified, given soft coal markets.

On Monday, Aurizon, the former QR National, and the GVK Hancock partnership between India’s GVK and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, announced a preliminary agreement to jointly develop the 500 kilometre rail and port – potentially, the most expensive infrastructure project in the state’s history. Aurizon would pay an unspecified amount to take a 51 per cent stake in the vehicle that owned the rail and port, Hancock Coal Infrastructure, which would be jointly run.

Aurizon, GVK Hancock – developing the Alpha, Kevin’s Corner and Alpha West mines – and Indian rival Adani had each proposed rail corridors to unlock planned coal mines in the Galilee Basin. So had billionaire Clive Palmer, who threatened to sue last year when the Queensland government gave significant project status to the rail proposals by GVK Hancock (”North-South” to Abbot Point) and Aurizon (”East-West” to Mackay).

Under this agreement, announced by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney with the vice-chairman of GVK, G.V. Sanjay Reddy and Aurizon chief executive officer Lance Hockridge in a press conference on Monday, the two companies would work together on the north-south corridor to develop a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point and the proposed T3 coal terminal, with the capacity to export a potential 60 million tonnes per year of coal. The rail proposal has state and federal approvals and would be open to third-party users.

Aurizon is in separate negotiations with Adani, which bought the existing port at Abbot Point for $1.8 billion in 2011, but was proposing to take coal from the Galilee Basin to a new terminal at Dudgeon Point.

The basin holds vast quantities of thermal coal but analysts estimate the economics do not stack up with thermal coal prices needing to rise above $US120 ($A117) a tonne. At present they are below $US100 a tonne.

But GVK corporate development executive Mudit Parashar said thermal coal market fundamentals were ”very strong”.

Aurizon shares closed unchanged at $4.06 on Monday, with one analyst saying the deal was still not complete and it was still ”very early days”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Axed: Shane Watson (left), Usman Khawaja (top right), James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson.Sacked vice-captain Shane Watson says he will contemplate quitting Test cricket after leaving India only hours after he was one of four Australian players stood down for Thursday’s third Test.

Watson was made unavailable for the third match of the series, along with fast bowlers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson, and back-up batsman Usman Khawaja, for a breach of team discipline.

Head coach Mickey Arthur said the quartet had failed to comply with requests to deliver a presentation, by email or in person, on what they bring to the team in the wake of last week’s heavy defeat in Hyderabad.

The stunning development leaves Australia with only 13 players in contention for the match, and 12 if wicketkeeper Matthew Wade does not recover from a bruised ankle.

While veteran gloveman Brad Haddin was already in the air as cover for Wade, Watson flew in the opposite direction from Chandigarh airport.

The 31-year-old quit the tour on Monday afternoon to be with his heavily pregnant wife, Lee, who is due to give birth at the end of the month. He said he was ”absolutely shattered” to be stood down and would weigh up his future in Test cricket.

”Any time you’re suspended for a Test match unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are – I think it is very harsh,” Watson said.

”I’m at a stage where I’m sort of weighing up my future and what I want to do with my cricket in general to be honest.

”I do love playing, there is no doubt about that but … I’m going to spend the next few weeks with my family and just weigh up my options of just exactly what direction I want to go.

”There are a lot more important things in life – I certainly do love playing cricket and that passion is still there and I feel like I’m in the prime years of my cricket career.

”From that perspective I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give. But from a holistic perspective I’ve got to sit down with my family and decide which directions they are.”

Watson said he had been about to tell Arthur and captain Michael Clarke on Monday that he would have to miss the fourth Test in Delhi next week to be home for the birth of his first child.

”I was about to communicate

that to Mickey and the leadership group today but they obviously beat me to it by telling me I wasn’t selected for this Test match,” he said.

”Also overnight, things have changed and Lee wasn’t going to tell me things had changed because she knew how much it meant to me to be able to play this Test match. [The baby] was due in a couple of weeks but it’s looking like things have sped up a little bit.”

His departure and the standing down of the three other players, leaves Australia in disarray two days away from a Test.

Arthur said the shock axings were a move to maintain standards in team culture. ”This is a line in the sand,” he said.

”We pride ourselves on attitude. We have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right.

”We believe that those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world.

”I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four players are not available for selection for this Test match.”

Arthur said players were given five days to reply to his email request. He said Johnson and Khawaja forgot and that Watson and Pattinson had told him they planned to talk to him on Monday.

”It’s extremely tough to sit here and make that decision. I wish it wasn’t the vice captain, I wish it wasn’t Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, they are leaders within the team and are very professional with the way they go about their business. But this was a moment where we had to make a statement irrespective of who the players were,” Arthur said.

”I asked the players at the end of the game to give me an individual presentation, I wanted three points from each of them technically, mentally and team as to how we were going to get back over the next couple of games, how we were going to get ourselves back into the series.

”A lot of guys came to my room and did a presentation, a few guys have written fantastic emails, some guys put notes under my door. Myself, Michael Clarke and [team manager] Gavin Dovey made these decisions together, we as leaders feel we need to project a united front and we need to be ruthless if we want to achieve our objectives. This has been the toughest decision that myself, Gavin Dovey and Michael Clarke have ever had to make.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

It was five-time motorcycle champion Mick Doohan who summed up best his friend James Strong, one of Australia’s leading business figures.

”He lived life at full throttle – and he’s the only bow-tie bikie I know,” he told a memorial service for the former Qantas boss in Sydney on Monday. ”If he was a motorcyclist, he would be the world champion. And he was obviously a world champion in the business arena.”

More than 1000 mourners from across Australia’s business, arts and sporting fraternities gathered to pay tribute at Sydney’s City Recital Hall to the man known for his signature bow ties.

Earlier in the afternoon, as a salute to the former chief executive of both Qantas and Australian Airlines, a Qantas A380 superjumbo flew low over Sydney’s CBD from north to south. It was a fitting farewell for a man who played a key role in shaping the country’s aviation industry.

Attendees at the memorial service included federal government ministers Simon Crean and Peter Garrett, former Liberal senator Helen Coonan, former Reserve Bank governor Ian Macfarlane and NSW Governor Marie Bashir.

Other senior figures were Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and his predecessor Geoff Dixon, Woolworths boss Grant O’Brien, Telstra director Geoffrey Cousins, former NSW premier Nick Greiner and Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett.

Mr Joyce told the service that Mr Strong made the flag carrier ”ready for the future, uniting the tribes into one cohesive whole … and leading Qantas through its successful rebirth as a public company”.

”He was a true gentleman but also a fighter; an opera buff and a revhead, a mountain climber and a bookworm; a businessman and a dreamer,” Mr Joyce said.

”James will be remembered forever as a giant of Australian aviation and of Qantas history.”

Future Fund chairman David Gonski remembered meeting Mr Strong than 20 years ago at a function where he was easy to spot because he was the only person wearing a bow tie, and the ”only person with a scrum of people around him”.

”He was famous – I was not,” Mr Gonski said.

Yet he recalled Mr Strong welcoming him warmly and giving of his time despite the demands as a high-profile businessman.

Mr Gonski met him for the last time for lunch in November, when Mr Strong talked about finishing up many of his commitments and focusing on new pursuits.

”Our community and our country have been robbed of a third chapter, and perhaps even more chapters, of the efforts of an enormously talented man,” he said. ”Whenever I spy a bow tie across a crowded room, or even in a street, my mind will remember a gentleman … who contributed enormously to Australia generally.”

Mr Strong, 68, died in Sydney just over a week ago of lung complications from surgery. He leaves behind his wife, Jeanne-Claude, and his sons Nick and Sam.

Sam Strong told the service one of his father’s enduring qualities was his generosity in giving advice, and he had lost count of the number of people he had mentored. ”No one gave advice like dad,” he said.

Likewise, his father had a willingness to listen. ”When you spoke to Dad, you felt like you were the only person in the world.”

Other attendees included former world motorcycle champion Casey Stoner, Sydney celebrity chief Neil Perry, former director of the Art Gallery of NSW Edmund Capon, Leightons chief financial officer Peter Gregg, UGL chairman Trevor Rowe and Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd.

Known as ”Mr Bow Tie”, Mr Strong had a near five-decade career that spanned multiple industries including aviation, law, retail and insurance. Apart from his role as Qantas CEO, his senior positions included chairman of Woolworths, IAG, Rip Curl and more recently Kathmandu.

He shot to prominence running Australian Airlines in the 1980s.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

The high Australian dollar is forcing corporate Australia to become ”leaner and meaner”, economists say, prompting manufacturers such as CSR to cut hundreds of jobs.

CSR said it planned to shed 150 staff from its Viridian glass business, west of Sydney, blaming the ”persistently high Australian dollar” and weak construction market for multimillion-dollar losses in the glass business.

However, HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham, formerly with the Reserve Bank, said the dollar could not be blamed for every economic problem.

He said the high dollar might be helping to fix Australia’s weak productivity problem.

Figures released last week by the Bureau of Statistics showed labour productivity had improved 3.5 per cent in the 12 months to December. That compares with just 0.9 per cent labour productivity growth in 2011.

”Business models are being reassessed and those that do not work well are being adjusted. These sectors are becoming leaner and meaner,” Mr Bloxham said.

Even so, CSR said, the stronger dollar had made it cheaper to import glass products on a ”permanent” basis while construction activity was likely to grow at a slower-than-expected pace in coming months.

”A persistently high Australian dollar … has put downward pressure on pricing and has enabled alternative import supply chains to be established which are now expected to become a permanent feature of the glass market in the future,” the company said.

”[And] increasing energy and manufacturing costs … have exacerbated Viridian’s competitive position relative to imports.”

Net profit would now be lower than expected for fiscal year 2013, between $30 million and $34 million, the company said.

This was down from guidance issued four months ago in which net profit was forecast to come in at between $35 million and $54 million.

CSR’s shares dropped 9¢, or 4.3 per cent, immediately after the announcement of its job losses, but recovered through the day to close 2.9 per cent higher, at $2.16.

The 150 jobs will be lost after CSR closes its glass plant in Sydney’s Ingleburn and consolidates two other western Sydney plants by next January.

In January key rival Boral said it would axe as many as 700 jobs – or one in three back-office positions – as it sought to ”right-size” the company at the bottom of the building cycle.

NSW, where Boral’s head office was based, would bear the brunt of the cuts.

HSBC’s Mr Bloxham said there were signs the stronger dollar was helping to fix the country’s productivity problem by forcing businesses, particularly manufacturers and retailers, to restructure in the face of more competition.

”The Australian dollar has now been high for quite some time … it has been above parity for almost 2½ years,” Mr Bloxham said.

”While further government reform of the labour market and regulatory environment as well as improved infrastructure would help boost productivity, it seems market prices – in this case the floating exchange rate – are already helping, as the high Australian dollar has exposed many industries to more fierce international competition,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.