Qantas has extended its reach into south-east
Asia with a long-awaited merger with Singapore’s Valuair that will
double the size of its discount carrier,
Jetstar Asia, reports The Australian. Under the $47 million deal, the two discount airlines will be merged into a single
corporate structure of which Qantas will own 44.5%.

The Smage reports that Rinker Group will be presented with a $1.6 billion acquisition
opportunity this Friday when one of its US rivals, Texas
Industries, splits its construction materials and steelmaking
operations. Rinker has made no secret of its desire to make a big US
acquisition and there’s now speculation the Dallas cement,
aggregate and concrete group could be in Rinker’s sights when it
completes the spin-off of its steel business.

The Fin Review reports that China has moved to stem the inflow
of hot money in the wake of the yuan revaluation, with top central
bankers hosing down speculation of a rapid appreciation of the
currency. And currency markets expect China to include the
Australian dollar in the basket of currencies against which it will set
the value of the yuan, reports The Australian. ANZ senior economist Amy Auster says China decided in May to
include the Australian dollar as a currency that could be traded in its
local inter-bank market.

Also in the AFR, some of Australia’s biggest resource companies
are embroiled in multimillion-dollar legal action against ATO, over
the billion dollar petroleum resource rent tax. BHP-Billiton, Exxon
Mobil, Shell Development and Woodside are all engaged in separate
Federal Court disputes over the exact extent of their exposure to the
tax – one of Australia’s highest-earning imposts.

Retailers are staring into the financial abyss because of a
failure to keep pace with the arrival of the iPod generation and
its changing spending patterns, reports The Age. As a result, discount sales have dominated the retailing
landscape in recent months. These have boosted sales in the short
term, but the end result is actually a decline in margins and a
devaluing of brands.

Peter Fray

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