Packer partners with Sri Lankan entrepreneur for new venture: Midday roundup

Rich Lister James Packer has partnered with a Sri Lankan entrepreneur for a $350 million hotel and entertainment complex to be built in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

The complex will include a 400 room hotel, shops, entertainment facilities, fine-dining restaurants and meeting and convention facilities.

Reuters reports discussions began between Packer and Sri Lankan officials in February and Sri Lankan promotion minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the complex was aimed at attracting investors from Australia and Singapore to promote the tourism industry.

“This is a $350 million project and there is an opportunity to create 2600 direct jobs. It will be a joint business venture with 45% owned by a local entrepreneur,” Abeywardena told Sri Lankan parliament yesterday.

The Sri Lankan entrepreneur partnering with Packer has not been named.

Australian GDP rises in March quarter

Australian GDP grew 0.6% in the March quarter and terms of trade increased by 2.7%, according to new seasonally adjusted data released this morning.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate growth was driven for the quarter by a 1% contribution from net exports and a 0.3% jump in contributions from household final consumption.

The main industries driving growth were finance, mining, transport and retail.

The increases were offset by a 0.9% decline in public investment and a 0.4% fall in changes from inventories.

Shares fall on open

Australian shares have dropped sharply this morning, following losses on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 had fallen 60.1 points to 4840.7 at midday.

All major sectors were down, with the energy sector falling 130.5 points to 13,002.3 and the materials sector dropping 110.7 points to 9,261.3.

The Australian dollar was trading lower this morning, worth US96.14 cents just after midday.

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