The days of wondering which company will be “Australia’s Nokia”
– a national champion that puts Australia on the global business
map – are over: we’ve got about a dozen of them, dominating a
variety of industries, says Alan Kohler in The Smage. CSL, Cochlear,
Computershare, BHP Billiton, Macquarie Bank, Brambles and now
Orica, after it pays $900 million for Dyno Nobel less its
Australian and North American parts. This has happened largely because Australia’s incredibly
powerful capital formation system has outgrown the opportunities to
invest here.

The Australian reports that speculation of a late rival bid emerging to
spoil the two-way breakup of Foodland Associated by Woolworths and
Metcash intensified yesterday as official documents for the scheme were
released. Market sources said a rival retailer had shown interest in Foodland,
but it was not clear if a proposal had been put to the Perth-based
retailer and wholesaler.

Also on Foodlands, Roger Corbett is taking a
hard-ball approach by threatening to torpedo the $3.3 billion
tripartite agreement if Woolworths doesn’t get all of the 22 Action retail stores that were
part of the deal, says Bryan Frith in The Australian. Corbett would be risking considerable reputational risk,
in what is his swansong year, if Woolworths scrapped the deal.

Foster’s Group will today unveil a radical plan to get more of
its drinks off the shelves – and faster – when it
releases the fine print of its strategy for the integration of its
$3.2 billion takeover of Southcorp, reports The Age.

The federal government will use its industrial relations reforms to
dismantle regulatory barriers to the employment of apprentices and
trainees, in a move that will intensify its battle with the unions and
state Labor governments, reports The Fin Review. Also in the AFR,
the federal government is considering intervening in the provision of
telecommunication services to regional areas to ensure there is price
parity for rural and city users.

On Wall Street, US stock prices plunged overnight, after the
Federal Reserve once more lifted the overnight rate by a quarter-point
and sent a bold signal that it intends to raise rates again. The Dow Jones

closed down 76.11 points at 10,481 – MarketWatch has a full report here.

Peter Fray

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