Home' InDaily : December 11th 2009 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
December 11 - 17, 2009 news
Santos chairman, Stephen
Gerlach, will step down early from
his role, with his deputy Peter
Coates taking over.
The changeover was in line
with the transition announced
on March 31, Adelaide-based oil
and gas producer Santos said in a
statement this week.
Mr Gerlach's retirement
as chairman took effect on
"Under Stephen's leadership,
the board has overseen the
transformation of Santos from a
Cooper Basin-focused domestic
business to one on the cusp of
becoming a major energy supplier
to Australia and Asia," Mr Coates
Mr Gerlach was chairman for
eight years and a director for 20
years at Santos. His retirement
comes ahead of schedule: Mr
Gerlach originally was scheduled
to stand down on December 31.
China's iron and steel industry looks
set for mergers and integrations next
year, as the sector gets ready to build its
bargaining power to take on BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto.
A planned $128.29 billion joint venture
of the Pilbara iron ore assets owned by
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto has upset
many customers, including those in
The mining giants signed a binding
contract for the merger of their iron
ore operations on Saturday, expected to
create $11.06 billion in synergies for the
But China's official China Daily News
said this week that the move was convey-
ing "severe price pressure to domestic
iron and steel companies" and plans were
made to respond.
"Chinese companies have to concen-
trate and strengthen the bargaining
power in price negotiations by integrat-
ing numerous smaller companies into
several big strong players," the news
organisation said on its website.
"Chinese industry has been consider-
ing the integrations, but must speed up.
"The two giant iron ore suppliers have
an over 30 per cent market share in total
on the global iron ore market, and the
merger makes a stronger monopoly," it
In benchmark price negotiations
for iron ore this year, Chinese steel
companies were represented largely by
the China Iron and Steel Industry (CISA),
which demanded a better deal than
But CISA came under criticism after
its demands were rebuffed by iron ore
sellers, and many Chinese companies
were left paying spot prices, which were
higher than benchmark prices.
The joint venture between BHP
Billiton and Rio Tinto still must clear
regulatory hurdles, including European
and Chinese regulators.
Adelaide-based junior biotechnol-
ogy company Bionomics will
conduct a Phase II clinical trial of
its BNC105 anti-cancer drug on 60
mesothelioma patients at up to 12
centres across Australia.
Company CEO and managing
director Deborah Rathjen
announced this week Bionomics
had contracted the Australasian
Lung Cancer Trials Group (ALTG)
and the NHMRC Clinical Trials
Centre (CTC) to conduct the clinical
The drug trial will be the second
planned Phase II clinical trial
of the anti-cancer properties
of BNC105 after Bionomics
announced a US-based Phase II
renal cancer trial earlier this year.
BNC105 is a novel anti-cancer
agent which is a vascular disrupt-
ing agent (VDA) and an inhibitor of
cancer cell proliferation.
The new trial follows a successful
BNC105 Phase I clinical trial in
patients with advanced cancers
at the Peter MacCallum Cancer
Centre, the Western Hospital,
Austin Health and the Royal
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer
mostly associated with asbestos.
The disease allows malignant cells
to develop in the protective lining
that covers most of the body's
internal organs. Its most common
site is the outer lining of the lungs
and internal chest wall.
If you have spent the past year in
a bunker you can be forgiven for
losing sight of the big picture.
But sit up and taken notice: next
year promises to be interesting on
a number of fronts:
No year is complete without
some regulatory flashpoint and
2010 will not disappoint. The issue
of marketing to children -- and
that's not just junk food -- will
become critical as more kids
turn to the internet and mobile
phones for entertainment and the
Budgets will continue to shift
to online, putting more pressure
on media owners who fail to offer
solutions to advertisers who want
their ads to go across different
That fight for dollars has the
potential to turn the relationship
between sales forces in media
companies with a foot in both the
TV and internet camps -- namely
PBL Media and Ninemsn, and
Yahoo! and Seven -- from friendly
rivals to bitter enemies.
The battle between the personal
computer and a new generation
of internet-enabled TVs will
intensify. Given the plethora of
new services offering online TV
that are set to launch next year I
wager the TV will win.
Online publishers can no longer
talk up their sites as a credible
environment for branding and
charge a premium, only to then
sell loads of unwanted inventory
at bargain basement prices
through ad networks. You can't be
premium and discount.
Advertising on mobile phones?
If it does take off, let's hope it
proves to be a more interesting and
creative medium than its larger
digital cousin, the internet, which
has become increasingly cluttered
The continued popularity of
the iPhone means audiences are
reaching critical mass for advertis-
ers. Location-based technology
targeting people when they are
out and about and the use of social
networking tools to spread word of
mouth will become increasingly
Will Facebook's popularity
increase or will it suffer the fate
that befell MySpace? And how
will Twitter monetise its audience
without alienating it? If you
know the answer give them a call
because they don't.
No need to call Mountain
View, however, as the people at
Google are on a mission: to be so
indispensable that few of us could
envisage a world without it. Watch
how Google morphs from being
a directory into an aggregator of
content and plays at the media
But not if Rupert Murdoch
has his way. Google's indexing
of content from his websites is
getting in the way of his plans
to charge for news online. If he
succeeds in beating both Google
and persuading consumers to pay
then he will have defied the odds.
Advertisers that offer something
more than a pitch stand to win.
Downloads, apps, fun promotional
stuff that engages their audience.
Utility will be a buzzword.
It's been said before that data
about customers is going to be key
but next year will see the conflu-
ence of a number of factors that
will finally make this come to pass,
namely the proliferation of loyalty
cards, social networking sites that
offer deep and rich behavioural
profiles and even viewing data
pulled from internet protocol TV
services or Foxtel iQ.
Our appetite for all things Google is set to grow.
Next anti-cancer trial for
Early changeover at Santos
Watch this cyberspace
to take on
BHP and Rio
Stephen Gerlach and Peter Coates
AWB LIMITED (AWB)
AWB has announced the sale of its $2.4 billion
Landmark loan book to ANZ, releasing $155 million in
capital with the potential for a further $13 million to be
released subject to performance of the book. Similar
to Landmark's existing insurance business, AWB has
entered into an exclusive referral relationship with ANZ.
In an environment where issuing commercial
paper was no longer a feasible option and capital
requirements are increasing, AWB's risk adjusted
returns from the loan book were not sufficient. This
made the sale of the portfolio to a more natural owner
(i.e. a bank) the appropriate decision.
This transaction simplifies AWB's structure by more
clearly focusing on its less capital intensive Landmark
distribution business. With debt being reduced and the
potential for additional upside from further asset sales,
we maintain our Outperform recommendation.
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Telephone (08) 8217 3900
Warning (General advice only): Past performance is not a reliable
indicator of future performance. The recommendation in this
advertisement is made without reference to its appropriateness to
your investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs.
Before acting on this general advice, you should discuss with your
investment adviser the appropriateness of this recommendation to
your own specific circumstances.
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