Monthly archive for ‘ August, 2019 ’

UGL to split engineering and property arms

12th August 2019 | Closed

UGL will split its shrinking engineering business from its growing property arm to reflect the property division’s greater global focus.

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UGL wants to complete the demerger into two independent Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies in fiscal 2015.

Chief executive Richard Leupen said separating the domestic engineering business and the DTZ global property services business was the best thing for the company’s future.

“There’s very little in common between the needs of both companies,” Mr Leupen said on Monday.

DTZ’s business was largely US-based and, outside of that, its biggest targeted markets were China, Singapore, Europe and Canada.

“This business (DTZ) needs to be an American business, it needs to be run in America, it needs to have a focus on the major global corporates,” Mr Leupen said.

He said that not many investors wanted to own both a property company and an engineering firm at the same time, given that they frequently had different economic cycles.

Property was now in an up-cycle and engineering was in a down-cycle.

Also, both businesses would be better able to pursue consolidation opportunities as stand-alone entities.

The split was announced as UGL booked a 72.8 per cent drop in net profit for the 2012/13 financial year.

Net profit was $36.5 million, down from $134.3 million for the prior year.

The result was skewed by the cost of an internal restructure, rebranding and underperforming power projects.

Underlying profit was $92.1 million, down from $168.3 million in the prior year but in line with company guidance.

UGL has forecast an annual underlying profit of $120 million to $130 million for the 2013/14 financial year, subject to a continued reasonable economic outlook.

Shares in UGL were 11 cents, or 1.49 per cent, higher at $7.51 at 1256 AEST on Monday.

Engineering’s revenue fell 30 per cent to $1.8 billion in the last financial year as capital investment in the resources and infrastructure sectors in Australia slowed down.

The underperformance of several power projects also impacted engineering’s earnings, but these projects were expected to be closed out over the coming months.

Operations and maintenance revenue fell 18 per cent to $489.4 million as big miners cut costs.

But, Mr Leupen said, engineering would not remain in the doldrums forever.

UGL was considering the expansion of engineering into Asia and had recently established an office in Mumbai, India.

DTZ’s annual revenue rose 21 per cent to a record $1.9 billion, helped by an improvement in the US property market and a strong performance from the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets.


‘Islam is a country’ candidate quits race

12th August 2019 | Closed

The One Nation candidate ridiculed after referring to Islam as a country in a television interview has withdrawn from the election campaign.

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Stephanie Banister, 27, was running for the seat of Rankin in Queensland but One Nation leader Jim Savage told reporters on Saturday Ms Banister has decided to withdraw following the fallout from her interview with the Seven Network.

During the interview, which Mr Savage says was misrepresentative, Ms Banister referred to Islam as country as well as referring to the Koran as “haram” and saying the national disability insurance scheme was “working at the moment”, when it does not begin until 2016.

“She continues to have the full support of the One Nation executive, and contrary to reports on the media last night and in the newspapers today, Stephanie has not been disendorsed and will not be disendorsed,” Mr Savage said.

“However, due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin. We have accepted it with regret.”

Ms Banister had only been in politics for 48 hours at the time of the interview and made a short statement alongside Mr Savage but wasn’t allowed to answer any questions on Saturday.

“With the way Channel Seven edited my interview, I was left quite the fool,” Ms Banister said.

“I’d like to apologise to One Nation, to my friends and family, for any embarrassment this has brought to them.”

Mr Savage said it was his responsibility such a novice candidate had been allowed to conduct an interview without appropriate preparation but also claimed Channel Seven had unfairly targeted Ms Banister.

He said it was unclear at this stage if One Nation would nominate a replacement candidate for Rankin with the deadline for nominations on Thursday.


Margaret Thatcher laid to rest

12th August 2019 | Closed

Britain has laid to rest one of its most influential and divisive Prime Ministers in modern history.

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Margaret Thatcher was the country’s longest serving leader of the 20th Century.

 

Over two-thousand representatives from 170 countries attended her funeral service in London, with thousands more watching on from outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

Darren Mara has the details.

 

The bells of St Paul’s Cathedral rang out across central London to mark the arrival of the coffin of Margaret Thatcher.

 

Thousands had been waiting outside the cathedral under grey skies in the hours leading to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral service.

 

It was a time for Britons and others around the world to remember a woman who loomed large over the latter part of the 20th Century.

 

Baroness Thatcher’s coffin, draped with a Union Flag, was borne on a gun carriage to St Paul’s, nine days after she died from a stroke at the age of 87.

 

It was a ceremonial funeral with full military honours.

 

At her request, it was not a state funeral, but has been compared in its grandeur and scale to the state funeral given to Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill in 1965.

 

Indeed, Baroness Thatcher’s was the first funeral for a former Prime Minister since Mr Churchill’s to be attended by the ruling British monarch, Queen Elizabeth.

 

The Dean of St Paul’s, the Reverend David Ison, opened the service: “We recall with great gratitude her leadership of this nation, her courage, her steadfastness and her resolve to accomplish what she believed to be right for the common good. We remember the values by which she lived. The ideals she embraced – her dignity, her diligence, her courtesy and her personal concern for the wellbeing of individuals.”

 

The Bishop of London Richard Chartres, who was a close friend of Lady Thatcher, said she became a “mythological” figure in British society during and after her time in office.

 

“The storm of conflicting opinions centres on the Mrs Thatcher, who became a symbolic figure, even an ‘ism’ (Thatcherism). But today the remains of the real Margaret Hilde Thatcher are, here at her funeral service, lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings.”

 

Bishop Chartres went on praise Lady Thatcher’s resilience as a politician, especially in the face of discrimination because she was a woman.

 

“By the time she entered parliament in 1959, she was part of a cohort of only four per cent of women in the House of Commons. She had experienced many rebuffs along the way, often on the shortlist for candidates, only to be disqualified by prejudice against a woman and, worse, a woman with children.”

 

Thousands of well-wishers applauded as the coffin of the so-called “Iron Lady” left St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

Amongst her admirers, Baroness Thatcher will be remembered for her rapprochement with the Soviet Union, which helped bring about the fall of Soviet Communism.

 

During her 11 years as leader she also oversaw the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, considered the defining moment of her Prime Ministership.

 

Supporter John Loughrey explains why he came to pay his respects.

 

“She will be talked about in 500 years’ time. She is one of our greatest Prime Ministers of all time and also our first woman Prime Minister and I couldn’t miss that because I will never get the opportunity to see this again in my lifetime.”

 

But just as mourners gathered to remember Margaret Thatcher, so did groups of protesters as the debate over her legacy continues.

 

Under Margaret Thatcher, free market economics prospered and Britain’s heavy industry struggled.

 

Her policies prompted lengthy and bitter industrial disputes that gave her many long-lasting working-class enemies..

 

The demonstrators at the funderal were shouting against what they termed attempts to idolise her.

 

Hundreds of protesters turned their backs as her funeral cortege went by, booing and chanting “Maggie, Maggie Maggie! Dead, dead, dead!”

 

This protester was opposed to the huge cost of the funeral: “There are people that are unable to pay their fuel bills, They are in energy poverty, There are people who are selling their homes to pay their care bills. There are people who are having benefit cuts. I really feel that even Margaret Thatcher would have said 10 million pounds on a funeral in this economic climate is inappropriate.”

 

Lady Thatcher’s coffin was taken to the Royal Hospital Chelsea ahead of a private cremation at the Mortlake Crematorium in London.


Abbott in surplus budget pledge

12th August 2019 | Closed

Budgie smugglers are out, for now, but a budget surplus will be in, Tony Abbott promises.

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Mr Abbott joined 85,000 others on the road between Sydney’s CBD and Bondi Beach on Sunday, running with blind athlete Nathan Johnstone in the 14-kilometre City2Surf fun run.

But the Opposition Leader said joining in the run on the morning of his debate with prime minister Kevin Rudd wasn’t a big shift from his usual morning routine.

“I could either run around the back blocks of Forestville or I could be out with 80,000 of my fellow Australians,” he told Macquarie Radio.

Running to raise money for motor neurone disease research, Mr Abbott finished in a respectable time of one hour, 21 minutes and 16 seconds.

Earlier on day seven of the campaign, Mr Abbott and Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull announced a $15 million boost for surf clubs and a new policy to deal with drowning black spots.

Asked if he had considered making the announcement in his budgie smugglers, Mr Abbott, a surf lifesaver himself, laughed and said: “Election campaigns should be budgie-smuggler-free zones.

“You won’t see me in budgies this side of polling day.”

Mr Abbott also said a coalition government would return the budget to surplus in its first term, provided the Labor government’s budget figures – which will get another going over in Tuesday’s Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook – were correct.

“If the budget figures that the government has so far put out are correct, yes (there will be a surplus in the first term),” he said.

“But we can’t guarantee what the starting point is.”

He said the coalition’s costings would be announced well before election day on September 7.

Labor was yet to release its full list of costings and had failed to deliver any of its promised surpluses to date, Mr Abbott added.

Mr Abbott left Sydney for Canberra to take part in the first debate of the election campaign against the prime minister.

“I’m looking forward to it because it’s both of our chances to present directly to the Australian people what are our positive plans for the future,” Mr Abbott said.


Hawks’ AFL stars back to play Magpies

12th August 2019 | Closed

Top-placed Hawthorn have regained three of their biggest stars – Lance Franklin, Luke Hodge and Grant Birchall – for Friday night’s bumper AFL clash with in-form Collingwood.

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Franklin missed last round’s win over St Kilda with hamstring soreness, captain Hodge was out with a thumb injury, while running defender Birchall hasn’t played since round 13 because of a knee injury.

The Magpies, coming off an impressive win over Sydney, have named an unchanged side.

Carlton have lost captain Chris Judd, defender Matthew Watson and speedster Jeff Garlett to injury for Saturday’s crucial MCG clash with Richmond.

But after losing to the Western Bulldogs last round, they still dropped forward Sam Rowe and tagger Jaryd Cachia.

Debutant Nick Graham was among their inclusions, while Mitch Robinson earned a recall.

The Tigers have lost former skipper Chris Newman (ankle) but Dylan Grimes returns for his first AFL game since round six, after overcoming a foot injury.

Essendon, coming off three big losses, have made five changes for Saturday’s meeting with North Melbourne.

Dustin Fletcher and Paddy Ryder are out suspended, Jason Winderlich (hamstring) is also a forced omission along with Scott Gumbleton (soreness), while David Myers has been rested.

The Bombers have handed Lauchlan Dalgleish a debut.

Gold Coast have lost Campbell Brown to suspension and Nathan Bock, Sam Day and Alex Sexton to injury for Saturday’s clash with Port Adelaide.

The Power have lost Domenic Cassisi and John Butcher.

West Coast forward Mark LeCras will miss Saturday night’s encounter with Geelong, but Luke Shuey returns.

The Cats have left out star forward Tom Hawkins (back), with ruckman Mark Blicavs added to their side.

Sydney have added Gary Rohan to their extended squad for Sunday’s SCG meeting with St Kilda, for what would be his first AFL game since a severe leg break in round four last year, if he makes the final 22.