This week’s winners and losers

It’s been another tough week for business, with more signs that the slowing economy is starting to crunch profits. There were plenty of losers to be found, but unearthing the winners wasn’t so easy.

It’s been another tough week for business, with more signs that the slowing economy is starting to crunch profits. There were plenty of losers to be found, but unearthing the winners wasn’t so easy.

WINNERS:

Ralph Sarich

Perth billionaire Ralph Sarich is most famous for inventing the orbital piston engine. Now he is also famous for making one of the biggest charitable donations in Australian history after giving $20 million to a new neurosciences research facility in Perth.

Business borrowers

We all know how hard it is to get funding from banks at the moment, but a new source of funding may be at hand. Finance companies, who have been almost entirely focused on the mortgage sector for the past five years, are now eyeing off the commercial loan game.

Green businesses

This week the Rudd Government launched its $75 million Climate Ready program to Australian businesses developing new products, processes and services to tackle climate change. Applicants can apply for grants ranging from $50,000 to $5 million, with dollar-for-dollar support provided for research and development, proof-of-concept and early-stage commercialisation activities.

Beechwood Homes customers

Customers and suppliers of collapsed NSW homebuilder Beechwood Homes were thrown a lifeline this week when fellow building company Resibuildco bought Beechwood. Resibuildco, which is backed by family-owned construction group Cavasinni Constructions, will now contact customers and suppliers about their future plans.

 

 

LOSERS:

Starbucks and Don Smallgoods workers

It’s been a bad week for high-profiled corporate problems, with Starbucks announcing it will close 61 of its unprofitable Australian stores, with about 685 jobs to go. A few days later, Don Smallgoods announced the closure of factories in Victoria and Western Australia, with 600 jobs to go.

Home owners

Things are starting to look pretty ugly for home owners in Australia, with research firm Australian Property Monitors tipping home prices will fall 10% in the next 12 months after big falls in median prices in the June quarter. A big jump in the number of homes on the market will only depress prices further.

eBay customers

The collapse of large eBay trader EBS International (trading on eBay as Ebusiness Supplies) has left hundreds of customers facing the prospect of not receiving goods they have paid for. EBS has been placed into liquidation and it has been reported that Queensland Police are investigating allegations of fraud.

Super fund members

We knew it was going to be a bad year, but we didn’t think it was going to be this bad. Data from SuperRatings shows that the return from the average balanced super fund crashed to -6.4% in 2007-08, the worst annual result since the introduction of compulsory super in 1992. If the sharemarket continues its tumble, next year’s returns might be pretty ugly as well.

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