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Lateline Business -

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(generated from captions) us tonight. Thanks, Tony.

The full extent of damage

caused by a cyclone that lashed

Bangladesh late last week is

coming to liexgt as many as

10,000 people are feared dead.

Hundreds of thousands left

homeless after Tropical Cyclone

Sidr hit the south Asian nation

last Thursday night. Helen

Brown reports. Hundreds of

thousands of people were left

with nothing, as the cyclone

lashed through southern

Bangladesh. Locals reported 6

metre high tidal waves crashing

over the coastline. Homes and

crops were destroyed. People

were left out in the open

without food or clean

water. TRANSLATION: We have not

received any aid from the

government. One official came

to see our situation yesterday

and simply said a few words and

left. Long lines of villagers

developed as food and clothing

began trickling in. In other

areas people waited on

riverbanks hoping that boats

would with soon bring

desperately needed

aid. TRANSLATION: We have no

food. We are trying to survive

with eating whatever is edible

that we can lay our hands

on. Tropical Cyclone Sidr hit

the impoverished nation late

last week. Winds of up to

240km/h flattened homes and

infrastructure. TRANSLATION: crops and destroyed vital

The water levels rose as high

as 20 feet. Everything we had

has been destroyed by the

floods. TRANSLATION: We've

recovered three dead bodies today. We know there are

several more under the debris

to be recovered. Villagers have

faced the grim ask of digging

mass graves and they're having

trouble keeping up. As the

floodwaters recede more bodies

are found and many are

searching for loved

ones. TRANSLATION: I can't find

my family members. I don't

know how to look for them. The

floodwaters have not receded.

We've lost our house, cattle

crops, everything because of

floods. The death toll stands

at around 2,300, but relief

workers say it's more likely to

be between 5,000 and 10,000 as

rescuers move into outlying

areas and areas cut off by

falling trees and damaged

roads. While some wait and

wonder, the United Nations says

aid agencies are moving quickly

and more than a million people

have already been fed. Foreign

governments and international

groups have pledged millions of

dollars to ensure vital

supplies and rescue workers

reach those in need. The Irish

rock star and political

activist Bob Geldof has blasted Australia for being mean with

its foreign aid. The singer

was in Queensland to address

business leaders and accept a

new role as honorary ambassador

for Brisbane. But he also took

a swipe at Australia's aid

spending in the middle of the

nation's economic boom. It's

embarrassingly pathetic. In

fact it's one of the mooens on

the planet. Australia currently

spends a third of 1% of its

gross national income on

foreign aid. The ALP has

promised to increase that to

0.5% by 2010. Bob Geldof says

that's not enough. It's

breaking a promise. People

think that's a lot of money.

What 99.3 is not enough for you all? He says European countries

have already pledged to meet

the 2015 target. Well, the AFL

commission has suspended the

former West Coast Eagles'

player Ben Cousins for 12

months finding him guilty of

bringing the game into

disrepute but it's left the

door open for him to resume his

football career after that if

his drug rehabilitation is

successful. In a brief

statement Cousins said he was bitterly disappointed but

determined to play again. From

Melbourne, Matt Brown reports.

The AFL community will be

hoping this is as low as Ben

Cousins will fall. The

Brownlow Medallist and

premiership player today

conceded his drug addiction had

got the better of him after the

AFL commission banned Cousins

from playing for 12 months. I

am bitterly disappointed that I

can't continue to play

football, but that's not to say

I have given up hope of doing

so in the future. We've said

to Ben, "You go away and get

yourself right, we want you to

get healthy, we want you to be

rehabilitated and if you can do

that, you can come back in 12

months". Cousins will once

again enter rehab, this time

under the control of the

league. That will be conducted

by the AFL. So we're going to

support him through that. But

as I said earlier, the rest is

up to him. Cousins has accepted

the AFL's demands, but says

publicity surrounding recent

misdemeanors is off the

mark. And a lot further down

the track in my rehabilitation

than which has been

reported. The commission met

for almost eight hours with

Cousins addressing the meeting

for almost 50 minutes and the

AFL was impressed, saying his

evidence was frank, believable

and honest. I would like to

apologise to the AFL, its

players, and supporters for the

embarrassment that my conduct

has brought to the game. The

commissioner took into account

his frankness and honesty, yes.

Certainly he apologised for

certain actions. The AFL

insists its 3-strike drug

policy is the right way to go

but admits the illicit drug

issue is a difficult one to

control. If anyone thinks those

rules will eradicate all

incidents of player

misbehaviour or that the AFL

alone can solve any of these

significant social issues then

they are mistaken. Cousins must

apply in writing to rejoin the

AFL for the 2009 season. The

Australian Workers' Union is

calling for a thorough

investigation into the partial

collapse of a goldmine in

Ballarat. 27 miners were

underground when the rock fall

blocked their exit at around

3.30 this morning. The men

were moved into two refuge

chambers and later lifted to

the surface through a

ventilation shaft. The mining company Lihir Gold says the

site has a good track record

but the AWU says there should

be no underground work until

the sight is declared safe.

That's all from us.

'Lateline Business' coming up

in just a moment. If you'd

like to look back at tonight's

interview with Bob Brown or

Anthony Green or review

Lateline's stories or

transcripts, you can visit our

website. Now here's 'Lateline

Business' with Emma Alberici.

Thanks very much, Tony.

Tonight - Asian steelmakers

hunker down against a merged

BHP Billiton and Rio

Tinto. They're going to have to

come to some sort of agreement

eventually on prices because

spot prices are higher than the

previous year's contract

prices. James Hardie hit hard

by the housing slowdown in the

US. The housing market will get

quite a lot worse. We're

looking for starts to fall

below the one million start

number in the next 12

months. And OneSteel the former

BHP stablemate flags further

cost cutting after bedding down

the Smorgon Steel merger. There

will be further reductions in

employee numbers made. As we

make decisions we will inform

employees and involve them as

early as possible. Before all

that, though, let's take a look

at the markets. And

speculation the worst may be

over in the US mortgage market helped Australian shares begin

the week on the front foot.

Gains in the banking and

resource sectors also

contributed to the 1% rise in

the All Ords. The ASX200 put

on 73 points - its first rise

in three sessions. In Japan,

the Nikkei reversed earlier

gains to close 112 points

weaker. Hong Kong fell 0.5%

and in London the FTSE 100 is

52 points lower. BHP embarks

on a global road show on its

plans for a merger between the

two mining giants. Japan's

Steel Federation and JFE

holdings the world's second

largest steelmaker oppose the

union. China's Iron and Steel

organisation says it would

create an unwelcome monopoly.

There's support among local

fund managers saying the

savings make the deal

compelling. Neal Woolrich

reports. BHP Billiton talks of

the irresistible logic of its

plans to merge with Rio Tinto

but its major customers beg to

differ. BHP's new boss Marius

Kloppers started his Asian road

show in Japan today.

Steelmakers there worry the

proposed merger would give the

group control over 60% of the

nation's iron ore imports and

send prices soaring. They're

going to have to come to an

agreement eventually on prices

because spot prices for the

moment on iron ore and coke and

coal are higher than the

contract prices. It's a concern

likely to be shared in the

other steel powerhouses - China

and South Korea. Opinion among

Australian fund managers

remains divided, but those in

favour of a BHP and Rio

marriage point to an cost

saving over seven years. If you

put a conservative saving on

those synergies it would be top 20 in the Australian market.

That gives you a sense of the

size of what this company could

be if those synergies could be

realised. Shaun Manuell says

equities trust invests heavily

in Rio Tinto and Rio. A lot of

the assets are sort of so similar anyway that the

difficulty wouldn't be as

pronounced where, say, in

service-based companies where

there are different types of

styles and cultures and sort of

different systems that would

create all sorts of problems. I

think people perceive that

bringing together these two

mining companies relative to a

lot of other sectors in the

market the difficulties

wouldn't be as great. As with

all takeovers, price is likely

to be the major sticking point.

BHP is offering three of its

shares for every Rio share

which values Rio at an 8%

discount based on current

prices. One of the problems

could be in the deal drags over

12-18 months and we saw a

short-term blip in resource

prices that there's pressure on

both stocks. That shouldn't have an impact in relative

terms. This is an all-scrib

bid. If cash was thrown on the

table that may change the dynamics of the deal. At the

moment that isn't considered. But it appears

Marius Kloppers is digging in

for the long haul, as he

crosses continents to convince

investors and customers of the

benefits of the deal. While

BHP Billiton is busy selling

its message offshore investors

today received encouraging news

from Australia. Production has

begun at the $850 million oil

project it half-owns with

Woodside Petroleum and it's

ahead of schedule. While

current output is described as

minor, within months it's

expected to increase to around

60,000 barrels a day. Woodside

has also signed another big

contract to supply Liquefied

Natural Gas to an Asian energy

company. The long-term

agreement with Taiwan's CPC

Corporation could earn Woodside

up to $45 billion over the next

15-20 years. Woodside shares

rose 3.5% on the news to close

at $48.50. The building

products maker has posted a

fall in seksd-quarter profit as

the weakness in the American

construction industry

continues. Regardless the

company's shares jumped 5.5% on

the relief the result wasn't as

bad as it could have been as

Simon Palan reports. As the

housing market in the United

States continues to soften, so,

too, does James Hardie's bottom

line. There are a few markets

that are performing better than

others in the US. Generally if

you think of it nationally the

whole housing market has been

pulled down. James Hardie makes

around 80% of its income in the

US where housing demand is

falling amid high interest

rates and tighter credit

following the subprime mortgage

crisis. The second-quarter


But the fact was expecting

the result to be much worse so

James Hardie shares finished

and day 5.5% higher. I think

today's result was a solid

result given the weakness in

the US housing market. James

Hardie posted volume declines

of 8% for the first half which

compares to the US housing

market declines of around 27%.

Clearly they're gaining share. Analysts say the share

price was lifted by the

announcement of an increased

dividend to be paid next

month. We've announced an

increase from 5 cents to this

year dividend of 12 cents. So

a very material increase. With

the outlook for the housing

market is grim, James Hardie

doesn't expect it to recover in

the US for at least another

several months. Almost everyone

knows it will be further

weakness further coming off in

construction in the US. The

housing market will get quite a

lot worse. We're looking for

housing starts to fall below

the one million start number in

the next 12 months. John

Howard's north American fibre

cement business has been on the

decline forcing the company to

suspend production at one of

its US plants at a cost of more

than $33 million. Some

analysts say James Hardie could

close two more plants as

construction activity worsens.

And the outlook for James

Hardie's Asia-Pacific business

is also looking bleak, while

construction in the Philippines

is strong further weaknesses

are expected in housing and

renovation activity in

Australia and New Zealand. The

market's soft. It's not a

great market but not severely

declining like the US. Here the

main issues continue to be lack

of affordability and rising

interest rates. For more on

the day's action on the stock

market I spoke earlier with

George Kanaan from investment

bank, UBS. George Kanaan,

welcome to the program. James

Hardie announces a 32% drop in

operating profit and a pretty

grim outlook and yet the market

didn't seem to mind a

bit? Yeah, the market was

expecting a worse outlook out

of the company but the numbers

for the first quarter were a

tad ahead of expectations and

the market got comfortable with

the new guidelines. Goodman

Fielder made headlines for the

wrong reasons and it was, in

fact, the worst performer over

the ASX200? It fell 6% after

the company said that the

profits for the next year would

be the same numbers they got

last year. That was below what

the market was looking for. And as a result sold the

company down. There was a few

disappointments in

institutional shareholders.

Graeme Hart told a 20% stake

three or four weeks ago at

$2.12. The market was

disappointed. Being the last

week of the election campaign

it looks like investors are

sitting on the sideline s, are

you expecting a quiet week,

also given there's not too much

in the way of economic data

expected? Yeah, I think it'll

be quiet with the BHP and Rio

situation, there's a bit of a

focus on the market. But the

market will be quiet. Thanks

giving holidays coming up in

the US over this week. The

market will be quiet. The

election is going to be

important for the market.

Whoever wins Labor or Liberal

because both parties have been

sending a lot of promises out

to the marketplace which is

going to end up in the

consumer's pockets. A lot of

stocks and sectors that are

going to win out of this. What

are you looking forward to in

terms of winners and losers

post this election? I think the

consumer, or the mum and dad

out there is going to get a lot

more money in his pocket as a

result of the tax cuts and the

benefits announced by both

parties. That's going to end

up basically back in the

shopping centres so all the

retails, particularly consumer

discretion stocks JB Hi Fi,

Woolworths and Wesfarmers will

benefit from consumers spending

more money. Other stocks that

should do well is

infrastructure stocks and

companies like Lleyton exposed

to that sector of the market

will do well. Both political

parties have both focussed on

child care as part of its

policies. ABC Learning will be

a big beneficiary of that. UBS

have worked out that even if we

had another 50 basis points of

rate rises in Australia that

would be offset by all the

spending going on by both

parties at the moment. In the

long-term you may see higher

rates as both parties throw

money around trying to win the votes when, in fact, we

probably don't need that to

happen. George Kanaan, thank

you. You're welcome. To the

other major movers on the

Australian market today:

The BHP Billiton play on Rio

Tinto is part of a wave of

consolidation in the sector.

Iron ore explorer Midwest

Corporation has told

shareholders to reject a $1

billion takeover bid from rival

Murchison Metals. Midwest says

the offer is opportunistic and

fails to recognise the

company's potential as a

stand-alone iron ore producer.

Managing director Bryan Oliver

says Midwest has not held

discussions with potential

suitors. Shares are up more

than 50% since Murchison made

its offer last month. Midwest

says investors have indicated

they will reject Murchison's

offer. Shares fell slightly to

finish at $4.87 while Murchison

was steady at $4.31. Another

player in the iron ore space,

OneSteel held its annual

general meeting today in

Melbourne. The former BHP

Billiton stablemate is the

largest manufacturer of steel

long products, as well as the

leading metals distribution

company in Australia. OneSteel

disappointed the market with

news that the business is

facing growing margin pressure

and that full-year underlying

earnings will be at the bottom

of analyst expectations. I

caught up with chief executive,

Geoff Plummer earlier this evening. Geoff Plummer, welcome to Lateline Business. Thank you, Emma. There was a whole new

crop of shareholders at today's

meeting given the merger with

Smorgon Steel, was the dynamic

different? It was a good

meeting, pleasing to have the

Smorgon shareholders join with

the OneSteel shareholders, a significantly larger company and I think the changes we've

made in terms of customers and

employees flowed through into

today's meeting at the AGM. So

it was a pretty positive

feeling. It's been three months

now since you completed that

merger, are the benefits and

synergies you were expecting

actually taking place? Yeah,

they are. We were quite

pleased today we were able to

announce that we were tracking

ahead of our original

timetable. We'd previously a

advised the market we expected

synergies for the first 12

months to be $25 million. We

advise today we expect $39

million this financial year and

we're still looking for further

opportunities to improve on

that across the course of the

year. So we're actually

tracking well ahead of our plan

and that's pretty encouraging

for our shareholders. So, will

there be more redundancies do

you think? Over the coming

period we'll look at that and

there will be further

reductions in employee numbers

made. We make sure as we make

decisions we inform our

employees and involve them as

early as possible once it's

clear which way we're going.

So we've got a lot of people

involved in the process at the

moment. As we make those

decisions that affect our

employees or particularly any

employees who are going to be

adversely affected we make sure

we work with them and advise

them as early as we can to help

them work through those

consequences. What's behind the

margin pressure you spoke of

today? There are a range of

factors. You can't have things

like a run-up in the Australian

dollar of something like 20%

over the last 6-12 months

without it having an impact on

the competitive position

against imports. That's

occurring across a lot of

industries. But there were

also some specifics that go to

the steel industry. In July,

we had some changes to Chinese

exports where they previously

got favourable tax treatment of

10-15% and in 1 July the

Chinese Government announced

tax penalties of 5%. That was

actually pretty well signalled

in China. What that meant was

there was some significant

increase in exports out of

China for people trying to beat

those tax changes. So there

are a number of factors like

that which really created a

short-term blip in the level of

imports that came in. That was

significant and had an impact

on the first half. But we're

pretty confident we're working

that through and whilst our earnings will be skewed heavily

to the second half we saw that

as something short-term in

nature. Notwithstanding today's

falls, there are still

predictions that the Australian

dollar is heading for parity

with the greenback, is that

what you're factoring into your

projections? I think what we've

got to do is factor in that we

have to be competitive

regardless of what happened.

Last Monday, the dollar was $94

last Thursday it was $87. It

can vary very differently from

day-to-day and week to week.

We have to deal with the

consequences of that. If it

continues to a-appreciate

strongly that manages harder to

manage in the short-term. But

in the medium term those things

wash through. Other things are

having a favourable impact like

at the significant run-up in

freight cost is having impact

on reducing the attractiveness

of imports. We've seen freight

on imports more than doubled

over the last three or four

months. That will offset the

impact of the rising dollar.

There's pluses and minuses in

these things. It's our job to

manage the company through

those things. On the iron ore

side of things, what do you

make of the BHP play on Rio

Tinto? Well, I think there's

still plenty in that game and

how that'll play out is

something only time will tell.

For OneSteel we're pretty

pleased with where we're at

with Project Magnet we're

confident we'll sell externally

four million tonnes of iron

ore. It's really a pretty good

position. I think the

supply-demand situation is such

that the outlook for iron ore

prices is still pretty

encouraging for us in the

medium term. So we'd be

expecting iron ore prices to

continue to go up through the

next set of negotiations and

with Magnet coming on stream

we're pretty pleased about the

outlook in that area. Generally

speaking, would the tie-up be

good for the industry? People

are going to have to form their

own opinions on those things.

There's moving parts in that

and in some areas it's good for

people, other areas it will be

bad. In our case I think it'll

help us in iron ore. It might

be negative in terms of coal.

On balance, I think I'd be

quite happy with where we're at

having Magnet come on stream

having the ability to sell four

million tonnes of iron ore in

the environment we've got, I

feel pretty comfortable with

where OneSteel's at. How it

plays out over time I think

people can speculate on. We'll

have to manage those

things. Away from that, you won

an award acknowledging OneSteel

as the first green steel

company. Now as I understand

it, you're using plastic bags

to recycle steel, is that

right? What we're doing is

actually looking at the ability

to use plastic injection in our

steel-making processes started

off at our electric arc furnace

in Sydney. It reduces energy

used to remelt the steel but

also potentially reduces

greenhouse emissions and helps

recycle some product that would

previously potentially have

gone to landfill. It's very

early days in the technology.

It was actually invented by

people from the University of

NSW. What we're doing is

working with them to help

commercialise it. We're pretty

excited. We think it's got lots

of reasons for it to be a

success. Not just in our

company, but we're hoping to

commercialise it more broadly

around the world. Given you

have got a green conscience,

does it follow you would support a move to have

Australia ratify the Kyoto Protocol? I don't think I want

to go into what is probably a

political question this week.

What we have to do is recognise

that in Australia and

internationally those sorts of

pressures are mounting all the

time.? as a company we have to

work on making sure what we can

do to improve our use of

resources, waste streams, that

we're continuing to improve

those both in terms of the

economics of the company, the

sustainability of the company

but also in Australia it's

important in terms of our

licence to operate that we're

seen as a responsible corporate

citizen, particularly given as

a company we're a significant

user of some of those

streams. Geoff Plummer, thank

you very much for your

time. Enthusiasm, Emma. Looking

overseas now and OPEC leaders

have promised to supply the

world with reliable suppliers

of oil. At a summit in Saudi

Arabia leaders of the oil cartel reaffirmed their desire

for price stability. OPEC has

been under pressure to increase

production as crude prices shot

towards $100 a barrel.

Venezuela's President Hugo

Chavez warned prices could hit

$200 if the US invades Iran.

And now a look at the

business diary, which is again

dominated by annual general


A look at what's making news

in the business sections of

'Age' says National Australia tomorrow's newspapers. The

Bank is considering axing the

jobs of 400 IT workers. The

'Australian Financial Review'

carries another NAB story but

says it's caught up in a

massive immigration scam. The

'Australian' leads on

Woodside's $45 billion

Liquefied Natural Gas contract

with Taiwan's corporation and the 'Sydney Morning Herald'

says the Commonwealth Bank has

entered the highly competitive

world of motor insurance.

That's all for tonight. The

London market is travelling

down 1% already and the Dow

Futures are off a third of 1%.

If you want to take a look at

tonight's program, you can

visit our website. You can

watch Lateline Business online

or download it as a vodcast.

We'd like to hear your

feedback. Ali Moore will be

back in the chair tomorrow

night. I'm Emma Alberici, have

a good night.

Closed Captions by CSI

THEME MUSIC Why are you like you are? Could you be happier? the personality of your children? And can you mould your personality It's your mind that shapes of how it happens. and this is the story GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC In this program, develops over an entire lifetime. we'll see how our personality And we can start. that show our true selves. We'll be doing experiments Three, two, one, go. can tell us about our personality. We'll be finding out what a lemon Come on, move your BLEEP! BLEEP! And we'll be following this man's struggle to change his. I've got too much to lose. I could lose Ange, I could lose Samuel. I could lose all of those if I don't change.

(All scream with delight) What makes us who we are is our personality pretty good idea of what we've got. and most of us think we've got a I'm an extrovert. I'm quite, quite thoughtful. I'm probably neurotic, yeah.

Sporty, generous. Quiet and shy.

I'm a mad character. I'm playful and bubbly. He's crackers. (Laughs) centred around one characteristic. But our personality isn't just In fact, scientists now believe to the human personality there are as many aspects as there are people supporting their team. in this crowd of football fans

5,000 characteristics in each of us There are around makes every one of us unique. which mixed in endless ways are embedded within our brain. And all these characteristics that our story begins here You might think after we're born in the first few weeks but you'd be wrong.

Little Charlotta is just a few weeks old but her personality began to form over nine months ago almost at the moment of conception. It's at this moment, she inherited a unique combination of her parents' personalities from their genes. will form the foundation This inheritance future characteristics of many of Charlotta's to find out which ones. and we're beginning as important, for instance, Even characteristics will be introvert or extrovert. as whether Charlotta is inherited. A major part of these characteristics

how they are embedded in our brain. Scientists have even discovered we're extrovert or not, To find out whether to look inside our brain. most of us don't need We just need one of these