Foster's In Foreign Hands - Talking Business 2011 Ep 34c

A review of the week in business, with expert analysis and commentary.

Leon and Garry talk about Foster’s falling into foreign hands, getting taken over by SABMiller for over $12 billion. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Leading Index says Australia's economy is expected to slow in the second half of the year. The Reserve Bank signals it is well-placed to cut interest rates if global economic conditions continue to deteriorate. But it might not happen because the RBA says Australia is not immune to overseas events. Genworth Financial finds that a quarter of Australian homeowners experience mortgage stress. The International Monetary Fund has slashed economic forecasts for Australia. Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said demand for commodities has softened. Treasurer Wayne Swan is named Euromoney's Finance Minister of the Year. The beginning of a recovery in consumer spending may be in sight, with debit and credit card transactions recording its lowest fall in four months and the strongest consumer spending in half a year. David Jones profit falls 1.5 per cent. Kathmandu reports a 55 per cent rise in profit. Catch of the Day launches a new site dedicated to selling non-perishable groceries. The local arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp will be rebranded "News Australia". The Government releases new economic modelling of how a carbon price would affect the prices of items like milk, cheese and beer. An economist warns the political stand-off over the carbon tax is increasing the cost of funding new power stations. There’s pressure on the government to increase the GST from the OECD. Prime Minister Julia Gillard flags changes to the business tax system. Premier Investments’ reports a 50 per cent fall in profit. Premier Investments boss Mark McInnes says shopping centre landlords are gouging tenants. The former Colorado Group emerges from administration as a new retailing group. Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart becomes richer after her company, Hancock Prospecting, sells assets to Indian conglomerate GVK for $1.2 billion. The chief executive of bionic ear-maker Cochlear receives a pay rise of nearly 17 per cent in 2011. CBA announces an executive reshuffle. Business customers are feeling less satisfied with their banks, according to a new survey. Government documents show that raising petrol prices will do more to curb carbon pollution than mandatory emissions standards for cars. Former Fairfax Media chief executive Brian McCarthy walks away with $3.17 million. A former Citibank manager is banned from providing financial services for life. Macquarie Bank sacks staff. Gunns remains in talks with potential investors in the $2.5 billion Bell Bay pulp mill in Tasmania.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler