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A casino, a big slab of our timber assets and the rest of Comalco look like falling into foreign hands and our list of foreign companies generating more than $200 million in Australia each year has increased by another 20 to 140.
It seems Australia’s foreign ownership failures are even worse than we first thought. After starting with 110 foreign companies generating more than $200 million a year in Australia in the first issue of Crikey, we came up with 10 more companies for the second edition, and a further 20 for this fourth edition. The latest additions include McDonalds, the three Japanese shareholders in Robe River, Mitsui, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo, Goodyear Tyres, fruit group Chiquita Brands, Lucent Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Kelloggs, US power company AES, Japanese electricial goods company Panasonic, Japanese car and bike giant Mazda, Kodak, Yamaha, US engineering giant Fluor Daniel, the US-controlled Primus Telecommunications, US timber products group Weyerhaeuser, Tony O’Reilly’s Irish media group Independent Newspapers and South African gold company DRD. We can also add Simsmetal, Pacifica and Aristocrat to the Australian companies which will generate more than $200 million offshore in 2000-01, bringing the total to a still miserable 41 (SEE LIST BELOW).

It has been a busy couple of weeks for foreign ownership with London-based Rio Tinto announcing a $1.5 billion mop-up bid for the 28 per cent of aluminium giant Comalco that it does not already own. England has stuff all mining resources but has produced the world’s biggest mining company whereas Australia has enormous mineral deposits but has not been able to produce a company anything like Rio Tinto. At least Rio is run by an Australian in Leon Davis – a Port Pirie boy made good.

The Adelaide Casino has also gone completely foreign after Auckland-based Star City lodged a successful $180 million bid. And even more of the Australian timber industry now rests in foreign hands after CSR sold its timber panels business to Carter Holt Harvey, the New Zealand based company controlled by US giant International Paper.

But it wasn’t all bad news on the foreign investment front. Frank Lowy’s Westfield Holdings was selected to develop a $1 billion shopping centre in Nottingham, marking its first foray into Europe. And a consortium involving Multiplex and Lend Lease got the nod to spend $900 million building a new hallowed Wembley football stadium in London. Given that we lead the world in sport and our government invests more in sport than any other, it is heartening to know there are some spin off benefits for our business community. Multiplex has very close links with Kerry Packer so it would be interesting to know if the Packers helped swing the Wembley tender Australia’s way.

Australian Companies Generating More Than $200M A Year Offshore

Amcor US, European, NZ, Asian paper
AGL NZ gas assets
AMP UK, NZ and Chile.
ANZ NZ and the Grindlays network
Amcor European, NZ and US paper and packaging
Aristocrat poker machines all over the world
BHP Escondida, Canadian diamonds, US copper etc
Boral US bricks, tiles, flyash. Asia plasterboard
Brambles Chep, records business etc
BRL Hardy wine
Burns Philp US and European herbs, spices, yeast
Commonwealth Bank NZ and limited Asian operations
Computershare UK, HK and South African registry businesses
Colonial UK, NZ and Asian insurance operations.
CSR US building products
Faulding US pharmaceuticals
Foster’s Brewing China, Molson and European wine clubs
Goodman Fielder Nth and Sth American food operations.
HIH New Zealand and US insurance
Lend Lease UK property, US property management, Asian development
Liberman family property, banking
Macquarie Bank Asian property development, global trading
Mayne Nickless Indonesian hospitals, UK express freight, US security
MIM Alumbrera mine in Argentina, UK smelting
News Corp global media
NAB UK banking and Homeside in US
Normandy Mining Gold mines and base metal assets
North Canadian iron ore, Alumbrera mine, Swedish base metals.
Orica Worldwide explosives business.
Pacific Dunlop Ansell, batteries
Pacifica car parts in the US
Pasminco US zinc
PBL/Packer chemical, publishing, gambling, film production, cinemas.
Qantas airline business
QBE various insurance operations
Simsmetal UK and Asian scrap metal operations
Telstra international operations
Visy US paper
Village Roadshow cinemas
Westfield US, NZ and Malaysian property development and management
Westpac NZ operations
WMC aluminium/bauxite operations

Foreign Companies Generating More Than $200m In Australia Each Year

ABB Swiss, engineering, Redbank power station
ABN Amro Dutch, investment banking and funds management
Accor French, Manages dozens of Australian hotels
AES US, Victorian and Queensland power stations
AIG US, Insurance
Air New Zealand NZ, 50% of Ansett
Alcoa US, aluminium and bauxite joint venture with WMC
Anglo America South African, bought Acacia
AOL-Time Warner internet, magazines, film production, theme parks
Axa French, 51% of National Mutual
Babcock & Brown bought AIDC
Bass Group UK, various hotels
BAT UK, tobacco
Baulderstone Hornibrook German, construction
Billiton South African, QNI nickel business
Brierley Investments NZ, retail, James Hardie and Wills
British Airways UK, stake in Qantas
British Telecom UK, various telco investments
Cable & Wireless UK, 51% of CW Optus
Cadbury Schweppes UK, confectionary and drinks
Campbell Soup US, control of Arnotts
Canwest Canadian, controls Ten network
Cargill US, various agribusiness investments
Carter Holt Harvey US/NZ, forestry
CED US, bought cable company Metal Manufactures
CGEA French, transport, water
Chase Manhattan US, investment banking
Chevron US, oil and gas
Chemcor US, chemicals
CITIC Portland aluminium smelter, beef
Citigroup US, banking and financial services
CMS US, 50% of Loy Yang A power station
Coca Cola Company US, control of Coca Cola Amatil
CS First Boston Swiss-US, investment banking
Dairy Farm HK, Franklins
DBS Land Singapore, control Australand and Walker Corp
Deutsche Bank German, investment banking
DRD South African, gold mining
Dresdner German, banking
Du Pont US, chemicals and textiles
Duke Energy US, gas pipelines
Edison Mission US, owns Loy Yang B power station
EDS US, Commonwealth Bank IT contract
Erricson Swedish, telecommunication products
Exxon-Mobil US, oil and gas
Fletcher Challenge NZ, construction, forestry
Fluor Daniel US, engineering, plant management
Ford US, car manufacturing
General Electric US, card processing
General Motors US, car manufacturing
Glaxo-Wellcome/Smithkline Beecham UK, pharmaceuticals
Glencore Swiss, various mining projects
Goodyear US, tyres
GPU US, Vic energy distribition
Granda UK, Seven Network stake, production
Grand Hotel Group Malaysian, various hotels
Hanson UK, coal and bought Pioneer
Heinz US, food, Weight Watchers
Hilton Corp US, Jupiters casinos and various hotels
Hochtief control Leighton Holdings
Hoechst German, chemicals, food
Homestake US, Kalgoorlie super pit
HSBC Hong Kong, banking and broking
Huntsman US mormons, chemicals
Hutchison HK, telecommunications
Hyundai Korean, cars
IBM US, computers, IT
Illinois Tool Works US, bidding for Siddons Ramset
Independent Newspapers Irish, newspapers, radio, outdoor advertising
Itochu Japanese, mining, energy and engineering
ING Dutch, investment banking, insurance
Johnson & Johnson US, personal products
Kelloggs US, cereals.
Kodak US, film and cameras
KPN Dutch, bought TNT
Kumugai Gumi Japanese, hotels and property
Kwok family Singapore/HK, property
Li Ka Shing Hong Kong, bought SA power industry
Lion Nathan NZ, brewing
Lucent US, backbone for web and mobile, bought JNA.
LVMH French, leather goods and drinks
Malaysia Mining Corp Malaysia, Ashton Mining, Plutonic
Marriott US, hotels
Mars US, chocolates pet food
Marubeni Japanese, aluminium and mining
Mazda Australia Japanese, cars and bikes
McDonalds US, fast food
MCI-Worldcom US, telecommunications, Ozemail
Merrill Lynch US, stockbroking
Metro Cash & Carry Sth African, controls Davids Holdings
Mitsubishi Japanese, car manufacturing
Mitsui Japanese, iron ore through Robe River
Motorola US, stake in ERG, telecommunications
National Express UK, Vic public transport
National Power UK, Vic power station
Nestle Swiss, former PacDun assets and various other food
Nippon Steel Japanese, iron ore through Robe River
Norwich Union UK, financial services
Nufarm NZ, chemicals
Obayishi Japanese, tollroads
Ong Beng Seng Singapore, hotels, retail
Orlando French, wine
Mr CK Ow Singapore, Stamford hotel chain
Panasonic Japanese, electrical goods
Parmalat Italian, dairy industry
Pearson UK, Grundy TV production, financial information.
Philip Morris US, food and tobacco
Placer Dome US, gold mining operations
P&O UK, stevedoring, ports, cold storage, resorts.
Primus Telecommunications US, telecommunications
Principal Group US, BT funds management
PowerGen UK, Vic power assets
Rio Tinto UK, Comalco control and various mining assets
Rothmans South African, tobacco
Royal-Sun Alliance UK, insurance
Salomon Smith Barney US, investment banking
San Miguel Phillipines, beverages (20% of Coca Cola Amatil)
SBC Swiss, investment banking
Service Corp International US, death industry
Shell Dutch-UK, oil, coal and gas
Singapore Govt Singapore, telecommunications, energy
Spudman US, bought PacDun pastry businesses
Sony Japanese, music, electricals
Starwood US, hotels
Sumitomo Japanese, iron ore through Robe River
Telecom NZ NZ, AAPT
Texas Utilities US, Vic gas and electricity assets
Thakral family Singapore/HK, hotel chain
Thames Water UK, water
Toronto Dominion Canadian, discount broking and banking
Toyota Japanese, car manufacturing
Unilever Dutch-UK, detergents and ice cream
UnitedGlobalCom US, control of pay-TV group Austar
Vivendi French, Victorian public transport, publishing, water
Vodafone UK, mobile phone business
Weyerhaeuser US, bought $300m of CSR’s timber businesses
Yamaha Japanese, pianos, motorbikes

Peter Fray

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