Former premier Bob Carr engaged in what is nothing short of a
scandalous deal to attempt to ensure a syndicate comprising Asia’s
richest man, Li Ka-shing, Deutsche Bank asset management and
Bilfinger Burger, could make money operating a road that is
overpriced and, so far, under-utilised, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH. Right now it seems that the Government will need to close half
the roads in the eastern suburbs to get this ridiculous venture
cash-flow positive.

The latest exchange of hostilities between Toll Holdings and its
target over Patrick Corporation’s continued interest in acquiring
FCL Interstate Transport Services provides another insight into the
defence strategy that Patrick’s Chris Corrigan is developing, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Smage. The longer Corrigan can stretch the bid timetable, and the more
obstacles, diversions and threats to the bid he can create, the
more leverage he has to extract, as a minimum, a better offer from
Toll in circumstances where he started with little leverage.

Myer has moved to strengthen its position in shoppers’ hearts as
the country’s leading department store with a new advertising
campaign ahead of Christmas, fronted by Dame Edna Everage
— the epitome of the suburban housewife, reports The Age.

The Australian reports that thousands of Colonial Mutual Life
policy-holders have received millions of dollars in compensation – with
much more to come – after the Commonwealth Bank life insurance division
became the latest financial institution embroiled in unit mis-pricing
errors.

And The Fin Review reports that far-reaching new insolvency laws
will give corporate regulators greater powers to pursue directors of
failed companies for misconduct and boost protection for vulnerable
employees and creditors when businesses collapse. Also in the AFR,
Telecom NZ is considering selling or pursuing an alliance for its $1
billion Australian operations ahead of moves by Telstra to cut back the
number of services provided to key competitors.

On Wall Street, US stocks closed mixed overnight, after strength in energy futures stoked
underlying nervousness about inflation and dented early investor
enthusiasm for positive earnings news. The Dow Jones closed up 14.41 points at 10,253 – MarketWatch has a full report here.

Peter Fray

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