THE NEWS WRAP: Bowen to share financial information with foreign tax agencies

Federal Treasurer Chris Bowen has unveiled plans to share sensitive financial information with Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in a bid to reduce cross-border tax avoidance.


Bowen’s plan comes as finance ministers from the G20, meeting in Moscow, supported an OECD plan to close tax loopholes used by large multinational corporations to minimise their taxes.


“This continues Australia’s strong commitment and leadership in promoting better exchange of information to help ensure the integrity of the international tax system,” Bowen says.


Australian Shareholders’ Association steps into Billabong dispute


The Australian Shareholders’ Association is urging Billabong’s directors to consider a rival bid from US hedge funds Oaktree Capital and Centerbridge Partners, over concerns about a $65 million break fee in the troubled surfwear retailer’s recapitalisation deal with Altamont Partners.


“[Billabong’s board should] take whatever steps are necessary to facilitate an orderly and competitive process to determine any change of control or recapitalisation of the company,” the ASA says.


“ASA is not currently a party to the proceedings. But we are concerned by media reports about the break fee and urge the Takeovers Panel to declare it to be unacceptable.”


Wesfarmers’ big plans for big data


Wesfarmers, the parent company of retail giants Coles, Target and Bunnings, has announced plans to increase the use of big data to gather information on consumer preferences and supply chain management.


“There is no doubt that the data and analytical capability we have in the group through Flybuys has been significantly enhanced from what it was several years ago,” Wesfarmers chief financial officer Terry Bowen says.


“Our data and analytics team is very good and the systems we put in place several years ago have allowed us to do some pretty innovative marketing in that area. Inevitably it is an iterative process, whether you are dealing with customers or suppliers. Data is the new frontier in that space.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.03% to 15543.74. The Aussie dollar is up to US91.9 cents.


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