Fairfax Media adopts new structure, Qantas puts A380s back in the air: Economy Roundup

Media giant Fairfax will create a new organisational structure that will see the company split into nine operating businesses, with a new chief executive to be appointed to oversee the company’s metro publishing and online sectors.

The new structure will include five multi-platform businesses called the Australian metro media, Australian regional media, New Zealand media, Agricultural media, and the Australian Financial Review Group.

Two transactional businesses will be created and two single platform businesses, radio and printing, will also be established.

“We will operate as a true multi-platform company,” Fairfax Media chief executive and managing director Brian McCarthy said at the company’s investor briefing this morning.

Qantas has announced it will resume flights of the A380 aircraft this Saturday following three weeks in which the planes were grounded for maintenance reviews.

“The decision to restore A380 services follows an intensive Trent 900 inspection program carried out in close consultation with Airbus and Roll-Royce,” the airline said in a statement.

“Together with the engine and aircraft manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Qantas is now satisfied that it can begin reintroducing A380s to its international network progressively.”

The fleet was grounded on 4 November after an engine disintegrated in mid-air due to an oil fire. Chief executive Alan Joyce has told reporters that he will not yet reveal any figure on the damage or likely compensation.

“We have said that our priority continues to be to get all of the aircraft back in the air,” he said this morning. “We are working with Rolls Royce to make sure we have a supply of spare engines to get the other aircraft back into service as quick as possible.

Shares lower due to Europe fears

The Australian share market has opened lower this morning due to global market pessimism regarding Ireland’s debt bailout.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 17 points or 0.38% to 4625.8 at 12.10 AEST, while the Australian dollar maintained its position at US98c.

NAB shares lost 0.7% to $23.83 as AMP shares gained 0.4% to $5.06. ANZ lost 0.1% to $22.45 as Westpac dropped 1.8% to $21.33.

QR National share shave continued to perform well this morning, trading 1.9% higher at $2.70 after the market opened. The company is set to perform its half year results in February.

In the mining industry, Woodside Petroleum’s $13 billion Pluto LNG plant will be delayed for a few months due to labour strikes and design problems, industry analysts have claimed.

While a starting date of February 2011 has previously been flagged, analysts now expect production will begin in mid-2011. “I don’t think it will be a substantial delay… it’s all but finished except for some minor details,” Peter Strachan from Stock Analysis told Reuters.

Irish bailout causing problems

Irish prime minister Brian Cowen has ignored calls for his resignation saying that he will pass the bailout to be provided by the EU and IMF. The Green Party has threated to leave the Government’s coalition if a new election is not called.

“There are occasions when the imperative of serving the national interest transcends other concerns including party political and personal concerns, and this is one such occasion,” Cowen told reporters.

“These (EU/IMF) negotiations in turn are taking place in the context of the budgetary arrangements coming into effect.

Negative sentiment over the bailout is causing problems in markets overseas, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 24.97 points or 0.22% to 11,178.58.


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