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Briefs

COAL

COAL

Gloucester upbeat

Gloucester Coal has flagged a net profit as high as $59 million for the year to June, as much as 18 per cent above its earlier forecast. Originally Gloucester estimated earnings of $41 million to $50 million for the year, but yesterday it said earnings may exceed this by 14 to 18 per cent owing to a "reassessment of the value" of coal royalties.

LNG

Sinopec deal agreed

Origin Energy and ConocoPhillips have finalised an agreement so China's Sinopec can take a 15 per cent interest in the Australia Pacific LNG project in Queensland. The investment will reduce the funding requirement of the two companies by $US750 million ($738 million) each.

AVIATION

Tasman flights cut

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have been granted permission to fly fewer seats across the Tasman in response to the Chilean volcanic ash cloud. The competition regulator has approved the airlines' request to adjust flying schedules for the 2011 northern summer timetable.

ROADS

M5 contract won

The NSW roads authority, the RTA, has awarded a $70 million contract to maintain and operate the M5 East freeway in Sydney to Leighton Contractors. The M5 East links south-western Sydney to Port Botany, Sydney Airport, and the CBD.

IMPORTS

Port traffic at a high

Demand for cheaper imported goods has lifted the movement of trade containers through Sydney's main port to an annual record high. Traffic at Port Botany hit 2.02 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2010-11, surpassing the 2 million mark for the first time.

HARVEST

WA wheat surplus

Western Australia might have 6.5 million metric tons of wheat available for export from the 2011-12 harvest, Tom Puddy, head of grain marketing at CBH Group, said. The state might have an "average" wheat crop of between 7.5 million and 8 million tonnes in 2011-12.


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