Dear Frank Ashe,

I agree about the cultural cringe, what about the corporate cringe? Your reply in yesterday’s Crikey sealed section to the comment on Sunday about the lack of risk taking at Woolies deserves another reply.

News Corp is now a US company with an investment in Australia, as a finance professor you now know that it is classified as FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) when Rupert spends more money here. The AMP has retreated. Its international exposure is in NZ, likewise Westpac and the Commonwealth bank, and the NAB. The NAB has quit Ireland by the way, pulled back. They are no Bank of America or Citigroup, are they?

Rio and BHP Billiton have always been international, they are resources company and to be successful in Australia you have to be international in that industry.

Harvey Norman (not on that Fortune List, so what!) is Australia’s most international retailer, generating more sales from its stores in New Zealand, Ireland, Singapore and Slovenia, than Woolies or Coles do together. Coles sold its Kmart business in NZ, after being unable to make a go of it!

Telstra, well the less said about its international business the better, especially Reach. By the way, Telstra picked up much of its foreign involvement before Reach when the Federal Labor Government (Paul Keating and Kim Beazley presiding) forced the Overseas Telecommunications Corporation into the arms of the old Telecom/Telstra.

CRIKEY: Read the rest of Bill Eclairs letter on the site here: http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2005/03/09-1312-4274.html

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