Manufacturing sector back in contraction; GrainCorp chief executive jumps ship for Coca-Cola: Midday Roundup

The Australian manufacturing sector is once again in contraction, falling 5.4 points in November on the Australian Industry Performance of Manufacturing Index.

The industry is now at 47.7 points on the index, with a score below 50 indicating contraction.

Contraction was also seen in some of the sub-indexes including production, new orders and supplier deliveries, which slipped below 50 in the past month.

Despite the overall declines, the manufacturing employment sub-index recorded its highest reading of 50.1 since October 2011.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement the slight lift in new orders which followed the September election is “drying up”.

“While the current downward pressures on the dollar are positive for the industry, the currency remains stubbornly high,” he says.

“The dollar and fierce import competition continue to take their toll, as many businesses struggle to maintain market share in an environment of generally weak demand for local goods and equipment.”

GrainCorp chief executive jumps ship for Coca-Cola

GrainCorp chief executive Alison Watkins has resigned from the company and is set to take up the top job at Coca-Cola Amatil, following Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s rejection of a foreign takeover bid for the company last week.

Watkins will join CCA as group managing director in early March next year, in a move which also sees her leave her board position at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in April 2014.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, GrainCorp said it accepted Watkins resignation with regret.

“We respect her decision to move on, particularly when a change of control in GrainCorp was broadly expected to occur over the coming weeks,” GrainCorp chairman Don Taylor says.

“The expectation in the investment community was that ADM’s offer for GrainCorp would be approved and affected in the near term. In that context, it is not surprising that an executive of Alison’s calibre has attracted interest and had new opportunities presented to her.”

Last week, Hockey blocked a $3.4 billion takeover bid by American company Archer Daniels Midland’s.

Shares fall on open

Australian shares have dropped on open, as Wall Street closed lower overnight on Friday.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 34.7 points to 5285.3 at 11.44am AEDT.

The Dow Jones closed down 10.92 points overnight on Friday, losing 0.07% to 16,086.41.

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