Victorian government push to keep Toyota manufacturing in Melbourne; Reject Shop signals first half profit fall: Midday Roundup

The Victorian government has presented its plan to save Toyota’s local manufacturing business in a secret meeting between state and federal politicians this week, according to The Age.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Trade Minister Andrew Robb are said to have met with state leaders this week who pitched a plan to ensure Toyota continues to manufacture the Camry in Melbourne beyond 2017.

The full report is yet to be given to the Industry Minister, but The Age reports it called for the Commonwealth to commit to supporting Toyota’s operations and said a substantial contribution would be needed.

In an interview with The Age, Macfarlane said Toyota had a future in Australia, but employees and unions would have to help it cut costs.

“All I can do is plead with employees on the shop floor to think about their futures and the need for competitive work practices. I’m not comparing them to an assembly line in Thailand, I’m talking about the Toyota plant in Kentucky – that’s the one that threatens us [Australian exports] in the Middle East,” he said.

Reject Shop signals first half profit fall

Discount retailer the Reject Shop has flagged a fall in its first-half profits, despite sales increasing, after it opened 33 new stores in the past six months.

In a statement to the ASX, the retailer said sales had lifted 17.7% on the previous corresponding period to $385.5 million.

Despite this growth, net profit after tax for the first half is expected to be between $16.6 million and $16.9 million, down on the $20.1 million profit posted in the previous corresponding period.

Before tax, depreciation, amortisation and pre-store opening costs, profits are tipped to be between $36.5 million and $37 million.

Following the announcement Reject Shop shares plummeted, dropping 23.22% to $12.975 at 11:55am AEDT.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares are up on open, despite substantial losses on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 14.8 points to 5277.8 just before midday AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones lost 1.07%, falling 175.99 points to 16,197.35.

The Australian dollar hit a 3.5 year low overnight and was trading at 87.32 US cents this morning.

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