News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: carbon, IR driving away global firms; Rinehart in financing talks; and Leighton ex-CEO to head rival.
News Wrap News Wrap News Wrap News Wrap News Wrap

Former Leighton CEO David Stewart to run the local arm of UK-based contractor Laing O’Rourke

Lou Caruana

Carbon, IR driving away global firms

Global companies are turning their backs on Australia out of frustration over federal Labor policies, with chief executives blaming the government's approach to carbon tax, industrial relations and tax reform for fostering uncertainty, according to The Australian.

A confidential survey of global companies' investment plans for a summit of more than 150 chief executives in Parliament House this week reveals that 60% of executives are dismayed at Canberra's increasing policy uncertainty.

They also take aim at the bitter political partisanship in Canberra as a reason to scale back their foreign investment, in a reflection on both major parties.

The verdict comes as Julia Gillard and her ministers hear from the executives at a Foreign Investor Dialogue hosted by the International CEO Forum, which began yesterday and continues today with speeches from Tony Abbott and opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey.

Rinehart in financing talks

Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill Holdings is in talks with the US Export-Import Bank to help fund the company's planned $9 billion iron ore mine in Western Australia as the clock ticks towards the project's financing deadline, according to The Australian.

Ex-Im Bank president Fred Hochberg, one of President Barack Obama's highest-ranking economic officials, said the talks were part of the agency's plans to lend a further $US2 billion ($A1.9 billion) towards projects in Australia by the end of the year.

Leighton ex-CEO to head rival

The man who was dumped as Leighton Holdings’ chief executive a year ago is returning to Australia to head up one of its competitors, Laing O’Rourke, according to the Australian Financial Review.

David Stewart, who was replaced by Hamish Tyrwhitt in a coup orchestrated by Leighton’s controlling shareholder, Spain’s Grupo ACS, has been appointed chief of UK-based Laing O’Rourke’s Australia hub, which includes New Zealand and South-East Asia.

Stewart has been based in the UK since joining Laing O’Rourke in May and will return to Australia in November to work with the company’s current Australian head, Steve Hollingshead.