The Amcor collusion scandal deepened with the news that Dick Pratt’s Visy Industries has stood down Rod Carroll, the general manager of its corrugated box division, over price-fixing, reports The Age. Carroll’s departure follows the shock resignations of Amcor chief executive Russell Jones and the head of Amcor’s Australasian operations, Peter Sutton. Narelle Hopper in the Financial Reviewsays that in many ways, this investigation has “born all the hallmarks of past experiences.” Amcor and Visy, she writes, “have carved themselves a cosy duopoly over the past 20 years. They’ve had plenty of form when it comes to allegations of cartels. But in all those years, none of those allegations stuck”.
The Finalso looks at the question of whether Rodney Adler is sorry for his deeds, reporting that the former HIH director’s QC, Liz Fullerton was all but apologising for some of her client’s testimony on Wednesday saying: “In his own self-justifying mind he endeavours to explain his actions. With all respect to him, he does not I think play to an audience very well,” adding, “Mr Adler endeavoured to do what I suspect he has done in the past: to put a mask over the emotion to conceal the private man, to put on a public face,” and finially, “Mr Adler’s criminal conduct might fairly be described as revealing a person with a tendency to duplicity and opportunism as a means of advancing his self-interest. But he has not been revealed as a man of base selfishness and greed.”
Meanwhile, the SMH’s Elizabeth Knight comments on NAB man John Stewart’s decision to cut jobs in the UK, observing that such a strategy is “the most obvious, most used and sharpest cost-cutting tools in the kit”. But, she asks, what is the likely extent of redundancies when the Australian reorganisation begins?
On the entertainment scene, The Australianreports that former Village Roadshow executive Peter Ziegler has launched a massive legal action claiming $148 million compensation from Village Roadshow Pictures. Jane Schulze says the Ziegler’s testimony “will be of great interest to media analysts, who have long puzzled over the inner workings of Village’s film financing”.
The Guardianreports that losses at The Times and Sunday Times last year – after the decision to turn the Times tabloid – show the extent to which Rupert Murdoch is prepared to subsidise the paper in his aim of overtaking The Daily Telegraph as Britain’s biggest-selling quality daily. A spokeswoman said: “We are long-term investors in The Times in the same way that we invested for the long term in other papers such as The Sun and other groups such as [satellite group] Sky.”
And in Forbesmagazine, owner Steve Forbes writes that the US economy is doing far better than many people perceive. “We have the fastest-growing growth rate of the major developed economies. Personal incomes are rising. Productivity gains of historic proportions continue. Capital spending by businesses, especially small and medium-size entities, is expanding robustly. Corporate balance sheets as a whole have rarely been better; corporate and investment cash is abundant. Household net wealth in America is at a record high.” So why, he asks, is “the stock market in a funk” and why is there “still such negativity toward corporate chieftains?”