Oceania

The owners of the Mater Private hospital, who recently pulled a sale of the business for the second time in 14 months, have secured a €300 million refinancing deal led by Australian bank Macquarie. The Sydney-based bank’s Macquarie Lending unit in London said it acted as lead arranger and finance partner for the hospital group. The transaction will refinance the Mater Private’s existing debt and includes a “tailored” capital expenditure facility to support growth and development of the hospital, it said.
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When Woolworths reports its full-year results on Thursday, expect to see a loss of about $1 billion, analysts say, after restructuring costs and its exit from the disastrous Masters hardware business, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Credit Suisse analysts say that with a restructuring charge of $960 million and its exit from the Masters Home Improvement business being treated as a "discontinued operation", total impairments could hit $2.7 billion. That could leave Woolies with a statutory loss of around $1 billion.
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BHP Billiton reported a record $6.4 billion annual loss on Tuesday, hammered by a bad bet on shale, a dam disaster in Brazil and a commodities slump, but said it expects its free cash flow to more than double this year. “While commodity prices are expected to remain low and volatile in the short to medium term, we are confident in the long-term outlook for our commodities, particularly oil and copper,” chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement.
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The Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission have conducted raids on 13 businesses and residences across the country in a bid to crack down on “pre-insolvency” firms that advise clients on how to avoid tax, SmartCompany.com.au reported. Some 120 ATO officers teamed up with their ASIC counterparts on Thursday to collect documents and records from the Melbourne and Gold Coast properties, which are linked to two advice firms that authorities allege are encouraging and facilitating tax avoidance, GST evasion, and “phoenix” activity.
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McGrathNicol could go after Dick Smith auditor Deloitte for potential breach of accounting standards after it was appointed as the liquidator of the collapsed electronic retailer, the Financial Review reported. UTS accounting professor Peter Wells said on Monday a close reading of page 48 of the creditors' report suggests some of the rebates were classified as marketing rebates when they should have been classified as inventory rebates to inflate profit for the 2015 financial year.
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Woosh Wireless' creditors, thought to be owed almost $13 million, have voted to put the troubled internet provider into liquidation, The New Zealand Herald reported. The business was founded in 1999 and has burned through more than $100 million since that time. Grappling with the challenge of its ageing technology, the company had been winding down some of its operations. It sold about 10,000 of its customers to Slingshot last year and still had about 2000 on its books. After trading unprofitably, two Woosh companies were put into voluntary administration in May.
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Australia could lose its rare triple-A credit rating after a tight general election raised questions about the next government’s ability to curb spending and bring down debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. The election remains too close to call, but the prospect of a lengthy period of political instability—such as a hung parliament in the 150-seat House of Representatives, where governments are formed—complicates Australia’s challenge in revving up an economy hit by the end of a decadelong mining boom.
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Liquidators of Queensland Nickel have been forced to seek fresh court summonses to grill Clive Palmer and his associates after the outgoing federal MP hit them with a compensation claim blaming them for the demise of the business, The Guardian reported. Lawyers for FTI Consulting were due to question Palmer’s nephew and Queensland Nickel managing director Clive Mensink in the federal court on Tuesday but failed to serve him in person before he went on holiday to Hong Kong.
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The South Australian government said on Thursday it would provide A$50 million ($37 million) in funding to help keep Arrium Ltd's loss-making Whyalla steelworks open under a new owner, Reuters reported. State Labor premier Jay Weatherill has also pressed Australia's two major parties to commit to contribute A$100 million from the federal government to help keep Whyalla open. "The Arrium operations at Whyalla are critical to both South Australia and the nation as a whole - it is essential that we retain our sovereign steel-making capability," Weatherill said in a statement.
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In good news for insolvency firms but not much else, insolvencies are rising and the number of retailers appointing external administrators is also up, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Electronics chain Dick Smith, home furnishings company Laura Ashley Australia and clothing retailer Man To Man are among retailers to have gone under recently. John Winter, chief executive of the industry body Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association, said after a quiet collapse of years, insolvency firms are now hiring staff as the end of the resources boom starts to bite.
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