Sales focus can lead to takeover… West fumbles project start-up ball… HR and bean counters better paid than marketing… Healthier snacks for kids

Focus on sales may leave companies ripe for takeover

Buoyant market conditions and the pressure to focus on revenue growth has left many companies less disciplined in cost cutting, and ripe for private equity takeover, according to a report in The Australian Financial Review.

The report, by KPMG, said that fewer than 10% of companies that are doing cost reduction programs are meeting their own targets. Four out of five of the 427 companies surveyed saw the opportunity to reduce their cost structures, but only 8% achieved or exceeded their targets.

The survey found companies are resistant to substantial and fundamental change, like moving operations off-shore. The companies operating in industries where conditions are tougher – like media, insurance and telcos – find that their costs are under control, but resources companies are expanding so quickly that commodity prices are covering the increased costs.


Projects in decline in the west

A recent bulletin from economics forecaster Access Economics shows that despite the resources boom in Western Australia (WA), the number of new projects being developed in the state is declining.

In the first quarter of calendar 2007, WA still accounted for $138.8 billion of the national total of $478 billion, but the figure was a fall of 0.6% from the final quarter of 2006. The breakdown of the WA figure shows that $99 billion is linked to the mining industry, while an added $24.1 billion is for developments in infrastructure such as port and railway lines, reports the West Australian newspaper.


Finance and HR pay better than marketing

A new global report has found that Australian companies pay their finance, marketing and HR directors very well.

Australia ranks within the top 10 highest paying countries of base salaries and annual total cash for finance, marketing and HR directors, according to an analysis of 2300 organisations in 15 countries by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The US pays highest, while those in India pay the lowest.

Finance and human resource directors are paid higher than marketing directors, earning an average annual base salary of up to $US157,708. (US finance directors get an average base pay of $US248,700, followed by those in Britain and Canada, who receive around $US201,500 and $190,900, respectively. The average base pay for this position in Shanghai is $US75,239.)

Australian marketing directors came in seventh when compared with the rest of the world, but earned the least among the three job sectors nationally, with a base salary of $US138,462 as apposed to Human Resource directors at eighth place, who earned an average base salary of $US144,072.

Base pay for marketing directors ranges between $US205,000 in the US and $US42,800 in India. Marketing directors in the US are followed by those in Britain and Germany, who are paid around $US189,700 and $US162,400, respectively.

HR director is the lowest paid role of the three positions covered. The best-paid HR directors are found in the US, Britain and Germany, where employees can earn an average base pay of $US190,000, $US172,400 and $US168,000 respectively.


Healthy takeaway meals for kids

There are lots of healthy pick up and go food options for busy grown-ups, but what if you want to pick up something nourishing for your kids?

If you live in New York, Springwise says a new kids’ food store, Kidfresh, has popped up to fill the niche. Kidfresh provides healthy ‘Grab + Go’ and ‘Mix + Match’ meals concocted by a crack team including an award winning chef, dietician and pediatric nutritionist. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are all available in boxes color-coded for different age groups from baby to 10 years old.

Sounds like pretty tasty stuff, too: Organic yogurt parfait with pureed strawberries, honey BBQ chicken and cheese wrap and piggy-tail pasta with tomato sauce and turkey meatballs are a few of the healthy options available.

Of course, all that goodness doesn’t come cheap, but at $US4.95 to $US7.25 – that’s between $6 and $9.65 Aussie – these pint size healthy meals won’t break the bank.



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