News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: keep taxes stable or lose boom, says Ferguson; Palmer bats for Costello; Mineral Resources cashes in; and Incitec fertiliser business provides drag.
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Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson

Lou Caruana

Keep taxes stable or lose boom: Ferguson

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has warned against tax changes that could jeopardise the next wave of resources and gas projects as companies sharpen their attacks on Treasury proposals to remove their concessions, The Australian reports.

As company executives demand a stable tax regime, Ferguson said yesterday he understood the importance of stability, a signal cabinet should be wary of further change after the acrimonious mining tax debate of the past two years.

Palmer bats for Costello

Queensland mining billionaire Clive Palmer has suggested a seat should be found in Queensland for former federal treasurer Peter Costello to make a political comeback, The Australian reports.

Buying into the internal Liberal Party spat in Victoria, Mr Palmer said former party power broker Michael Kroger should show more respect to Mr Costello.

“It’s a fact that we need people of his calibre in federal Parliament to support [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott and the federal party,” Palmer said.

Mineral Resources cashes in

The directors of Gina Rinehart-backed Mineral Resources have made well-timed moves to cash in a large portion of their shares in the company, reducing holdings before a stock price slump that has hurt iron ore miners across the board.

The directors sold the shares in March, just before brokers began to cut net profit forecasts due to near-term price and currency risks.

Managing director Peter Wade sold 2 million shares, or more than half his stake, on March 13 for $25 million. Non-executive director Mark Dutton sold 485,000 shares for $6.2 million on March 15 and 16, leaving his stake at just 15,000 shares.

Incitec fertiliser business provides drag

Incitec Pivot has flagged a strong rebound in its fertilisers business in the second half of the year, dismissing the case for spinning off the division after earnings in the unit more than halved, the Australian Financial Review reports .

The fertilisers business was hit by falling prices, plant issues and the high Australian dollar in the six months to March as group net profit fell 13% compared with a year ago. At $143.5 million, net profit was below analysts’ expectations.

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