Vodafone to axe 500 jobs: Midday roundup

Vodafone Hutchison Australia announced job cuts across the country this morning as the telco tries to recover from massive losses due to network issues that have plagued Vodafone since 2010.

SmartCompany understands that 10% of the company’s workforce of approximately 5,000 people will be made redundant.

Chief executive Bill Morrow said the cuts would be made to ensure that Vodafone remained an “agile, optimised organisation.”

“Vodafone will be a leaner, more effective business that is completely focused on what our customers want now and for the long term. We’ll give them the network and services they need and deserve,” he said in a statement.

The company will reduce the number of office roles, review customer-facing roles, and look to cut “non-essential costs.”

“We continue to face challenges, but I’m excited about the future.”

Vodafone Hutchison Australia reported a $131.1 million loss in the half-year to June 2012, amid faltering revenues and difficulties in the upgrade of its network.

ASIC bans Apple Investment

ASIC has banned Apple Investment Company of Queensland, from providing financial services for five years, effective from October 24, 2012, after it was found the company failed to comply with financial services laws.

ASIC found Apple made false or misleading statements to clients, including claims that it had the potential to generate 6% returns a month based on historical performance.

ASIC Commissioner, Peter Kell said Apple Investment Company showed blatant disregard for financial services laws and, specifically, the requirement to provide accurate information to consumers.

“ASIC wants investors to participate in the financial system with confidence. The provision of misleading information to clients by Apple erodes this confidence, so it is important that Apple be removed from the financial services industry for the next five years.”

Elders to sell Rural Services group

Elders shares have fallen 3.9% after the company announced it would sell its Elders Rural Services subsidiary.

The business forms most of Elders’ operations for marketing and financial services in Australia and New Zealand.

Elders also said it was in a discussion about refinancing options.

Theme park owner’s earnings rise in September quarter

Ardent Leisure has announced higher visitor numbers due to better weather in Queensland, leading to a more positive earnings result.

The company said it generated $9.87 million in earnings in the three months to September, up 3.9% from the same time last year.

“The period evidenced more normalised weather patterns and improved local patronage to the Gold Coast destination,” chief executive Greg Shaw said.

The company also said the return of Qantas services to the Gold Coast would help increase the number of interstate visitors.

Shares higher despite flat Wall Street lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly here this morning after a flat result from the US stock market late last week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 20 points or 0.5% to 4493.1 at 12.10 AEST, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 3.5 points or 0% to 13,107.2 last week.

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