– Woodside is under pressure to launch a share buyback that benefits all shareholders following a revolt against its $US2.7bn plan to purchase shares in itself owned by Royal Dutch Shell. It could in theory still be voted through at a shareholder meeting in Perth.
– Up to 400,000 employees who own shares in the companies they work for will be better off under a relaxation of the tax rules on staff share schemes to be announced within weeks. The Abbott government will revoke Labor's controversial 2009 employee share changes and is considering adopting elements of the UK government's Sharesave scheme, which tax workers' shares once they are sold. The 2009 changes meant employees received an immediate tax bill on shares that were yet to be realised.
– Restaurant owners claim they are likely to hurt from the scrapping of signatures for credit cards, with costly mobile terminals required to do table service and the potential loss of tips. Banks wear the cost of fraud for transactions made in person, whereas credit card companies cover the more widespread online fraud. Payment competitors Tyro and PayPal are likely to take the opportunity to push their services.
– iiNet's newly confirmed chief executive David Buckingham wants to make the broadband provider a bigger player in the business technology and mobile service markets while boosting its field teams to help improve the NBN's rollout. iiNet has around 1m broadband subscribers and a market cap of $1.2bn.
– One week after lifting his stake in Collins Foods to 17%, property developer and fellow KFC franchisee Stephen Copulos is threatening to vote against the remuneration report and the re-election of chairman Russell Tate. Copulos may want the company to sell its underperforming Sizzler chain and slash corporate overhead costs.
– Rare earths miner Lynas was punished by investors yesterday after it revealed a lower price for its product, a continuation of cash outflows, and a debt payment of $US35m that is required by September 30.
– Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia has posted a half-year loss of $US127m, more than double the loss recorded during the previous corresponding quarter. The spot price for uranium oxide has now fallen below $US30 a pound, long term price about $US45.
– Chinese steel giant Baosteel is confident of reducing the cost of developing Australia's next major iron ore mine from the $8bn estimated price tag. The $1.4bn takeover of Aquila Resources, which owns the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project in a joint venture, is now complete.
– Taiwan's economy gathered pace in the second quarter as electronics exports rose, companies stepped up investments and consumers continued to spend. GDP rose 3.8% in the June quarter, above the forecast 2.8%. Taiwan's manufacturers supply key components such as microprocessors and camera lenses to brands including Apple.
– Argentina teetered on the brink of its second default in 13 years after talks with bondholders collapsed yesterday, sending stocks plunging. A small group of hedge funds refused a restructure years ago for defaults in 2001 and may force the country into default again unless repaid in full.
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