News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: ICAC hears coal proceeds used to buy Australian Water shares; Newman cold on full power sale; and Chinese miners build muscle to compete on world stage.

Staff Reporter

Coal proceeds used to buy Australian Water shares, ICAC hears

The family of former New South Wales Labor minister Eddie Obeid used the proceeds of an allegedly corrupt coal deal to buy a $3 million stake in Australian Water Holdings, according to documents tendered at a corruption inquiry, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Forensic accounting reports prepared for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, released on Tuesday, show some of the proceeds of the $30 million deal were used to buy a 30% stake in the infrastructure company, then chaired by Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos.

Paul and Moses Obeid, two of Obeid’s sons, signed an agreement to buy Australian Water shares on November 4, 2010, two weeks after the family received the first $5 million instalment of the $30 million payment from Cascade Coal.

Newman cold on full power sale

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman admits he has not read the full Costello commission of audit report but says he has yet to be convinced on the benefits of selling energy distribution companies Energex and Ergon Energy, according to the Australian Financial Review.

As the Newman government came under renewed pressure in state Parliament on Tuesday over the failure to publicly release the $2.2 million report, the premier appeared to back away from the report’s main recommendation for the full sale of the state’s energy network.

Newman is one of only two people in the Liberal National Party government who have access to the 1000-page document.

Chinese miners build muscle to compete on world stage

A record wave of consolidation in China's mining industry is creating bigger companies that will have the muscle to compete with the likes of BHP Billiton for acquisitions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Even after Chinese domestic mining mergers reached $US19.6 billion last year, double the tally for 2011, the government wants to see more.

Easier access to capital and less Chinese competition for assets might make companies including China Minmetals and Aluminum of China more robust overseas buyers, Deloitte & Touche said.

It will help reverse a slump in acquisitions of mining assets outside China, which fell to a five-year low of $2.9 billion in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.