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Warming up to Kylie's exposure

Warming up to Kylie's exposure

Mike Tyson, George Clooney and Christina Aguilera are hard acts to follow, but no doubt the economist and former governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer will give it his best shot as one of the keynote speakers at this year's 20th CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong.

This year attendees from a range of Aussie companies have made the trek, including ANZ Bank, Mirvac, Federation Centres, Westfield Retail Trust, Macquarie, Suncorp, Orica, Goodman, IAG, Fortescue, ASX, Leighton and Wesfarmers.

The HK talkfest marks the final journey in a month of roadshows that has taken many CEOs and their entourage to conferences in the UK and US, the biggest being the annual Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. But if the keynote speakers fail to get the party started, surely then "Aussie bombshell" Kylie Minogue will provide some relief in her 'XXPOSED' (sic) evening on Thursday night.

Gone in 60 seconds

Former Catholic and the co-creator of the popular ABC television series Rake, Charles Waterstreet, was in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday morning. The long-haired barrister was appearing on someone else's behalf.

The room was packed with the usual crowd of suits and unlucky types, including the alleged publisher of the hoax ANZ Bank press release, Jonathan Moylan, who was unable to find a seat and so was forced to stand against the back wall.

The usual jostling by lawyers to have their cases heard first was going on. Waterstreet picked his way to the front of the line, where he stood bolt upright, offending no one. A friendly lawyer alerted him to the fact that he could sit if he liked, pointing to an empty chair. "No no," Waterstreet said. "I'd like to show off." He addressed the magistrate and was gone in 60 seconds.

Cheque out queue

It's OK. The hitch to the humble cheque has been resolved - for now at least.

Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev (above) was feeling the ire of the lovers of the folding cash when a technical issue put a halt to the production of bank cheques in some branches on Tuesday morning. A CBA spokesman said a top-ranked technology team was pulled from the next-generation iPhone5s banking project to develop a work-around solution aimed at stamping out the cheque bug. However, there remains a backlog in the processing of oversized and novelty cheques, the spokesman confirmed.

Drinking games

More tills are ringing in the pub sector as it crawls out of its mire into being one of the hottest asset classes for investors. In coming months, at least two floats are to hit the market, being the John Singleton/Geoff Dixon/Mark Carnegie-backed $180 million Australian Pub Fund and the rumoured $250 million Redcape Hotel Group. Not to be outdone, the private Laundy family has added to its empire with the purchase of the Plumpton Hotel in Blacktown, west of Sydney, for about $19 million, or a lucrative 11.5 per cent yield. The group's portfolio includes a half share in Sydney's Watson's Bay pub, the Steyne and the nearby Manly Pacific.

Red whine?

There are many theories to how billionaires make their money. Stewart Washer, chairman of asthma app outfit iSonea, has his own ideas. When pokies baron Bruce Mathieson invested heavily in the company mid last year, Dr Washer was quick to find common ground after discovering Mathieson owned about 25 per cent of grog chain Dan Murphy's with Woolies pokies and pub business ALH.

"I drink a lot of red wine," the doc told Mathieson, hopeful of maybe a bottle or two arriving at his doorstep. But the conversation ended abruptly. "Good," the billionaire replied.

"Now I know why he's a billionaire," Dr Washer said on Tuesday. "There were no family discounts, no family coupons."

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