THE NEWS WRAP: Abbott government to review competition policy

The Abbott government has announced the 12 members of the Business Advisory Council set to review Australian competition laws – but just two of the members are women.

 

The panel is the first major inquiry into Australian competition policy since the 1993 Hilmer review.

 

The panel will examine the role of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, whether consumer protection should be handled by a separate body to competition policy, and the division of responsibilities between the ACCC and ASIC.

 

“It will examine not only the current laws, but the broader competition framework to increase productivity and efficiency in markets, drive benefits to ease cost of living pressures, and raise living standards for all Australians,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

 

Dick Smith closes turbulent first day of trading

 

Dick Smith Electronics closed its first day of trading flat, after a bumpy first day as a listed company.

 

The electronics retail chain opened at $2.20 per share, rose to a peak of $2.32, then fell back down to $2.16 before closing at $2.21.

 

The company says it expects to reach $40 million in net profits this year, up from $6.7 million last year, having reported a $6.1 million first quarter profit.

 

Westfield to split Australian and international operations

 

Shopping centre operator Westfield has announced plans to separate its Australian and international operations.

 

Under the move, Westfield Holdings investors will receive 1246 shares in Scentre Group, which will hold the company’s Australian assets, and 1000 shares in the international Westfield Corporation for each 1000 shares they hold.

 

“Westfield’s international business and its Australian and NZ business have both grown in scale and quality to the stage where they can now stand on their own,” Lowy said in the Westfield statement.

 

“Our current structure has served us well, but we believe that this new structure will create more value for investors going forward.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up to 5267.5. The Aussie dollar fell to US90.36 cents.

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