News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: mining services firms are Queensland’s hardest hit; call for independent body to run energy; and Paladin poised to sell stake in Namibian uranium mine.

Staff Reporter

Mining services firms are Queensland’s hardest hit

Mining services companies have taken the biggest hit in value in the past year, according to the Deloitte Queensland Index released yesterday, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Suncorp Group reaffirmed its position as the biggest company based in the state, Ausenco, which lost 44% of its market value over the past 12 months, and Cardno, which fell 28.7%, were among the key mining services companies hit by the slowdown in the resources sector.

The Deloitte Queensland Index tracks the state’s top 188 companies based on market capitalisation.

The flow-through effect of the end of the mining investment boom helped slow Queensland ASX-listed company growth to 6.8% in the 2013 financial year, while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries increased 15.5%.

Call for independent body to run energy

A former president of the Shell Oil Company says Australia risks chronic power shortages and massive price hikes unless government cedes control of policy to an independent energy reserve authority run along the lines of the Reserve Bank, according to The Australian.

John Hofmeister said it was imperative that energy policy be independent of government as politicians could not be trusted to put partisan concerns ahead of long-term community and economic interests.

Paladin poised to sell stake in Namibian uranium mine

Intrigue surrounded uranium miner Paladin Energy yesterday after the company called a trading halt ahead of updating the market on strategic initiatives to reduce its debt, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The trading halt potentially means the company has struck a deal to sell a minority stake in its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia to one of two nuclear utilities it has been negotiating with.

But in announcing a delay to the JPMorgan-led process because of a “positive” revised bid in June, Paladin said it did not expect to be in a position to finalise anything until mid to late August.

An early resolution would be welcomed by investors. Many see the sale of a minority stake in Langer Heinrich to reduce debt as the next major catalyst for the stock.

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