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Plenty left in the tank for Lowys

Plenty left in the tank for Lowys

Good times for the foreign policy wonks at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, which swung into profit in the 2013 financial year. While the $392,000-odd declared by the institute is minuscule compared with the gazillions reaped by the Lowy family's Westfield shopping centre empire, it compares favourably with the think tank pack. Free speech warrior clan the Institute of Public Affairs made about $313,000 in the 2012 financial year, while Gerard Henderson's dinner club the Sydney Institute managed just $7300 in the 2012 calendar year.

Even though Australia's richest QC, Allan Myers, is its chairman, the Grattan Institute fared worse, racking up a $3.1 million loss in the 2012 financial year.

The Grattan Institute, of course, benefited from a $30 million injection of taxpayers' funds when it was set up in 2008.

Taxpayer funding is something without which the IPA and Sydney Institute struggle along, but not so at Lowy. Just before the end of the financial year, the previous federal government gave the Lowy Institute a $10 million grant to fund a multi-year "Engaging Asia" project, which initially is to "conduct important new research on Indonesia and host dialogues between Indonesians and Australians".

Good work by the star-studded institute board, which includes a basketful of Lowys - Frank, David, Peter and Steven - as well as former US ambassador Martin Indyk, former RBA guvnor Ian Macfarlane and former Defence Force chief Allan Houston.

Melting momentThings are not yet awesome at the home of Awesome Water, Allied Consolidated.

The company is what's left of Allied Brands, which at one stage owned the Baskin Robbins, Cookie Man and Villa & Hut brands in Australia. Sadly, in October 2010 the company melted into administration, like a Baskin Robbins chocolate mousse royale ice-cream on a hot day, where it remained until January this year, when it was fished out under a deed of company administration and a new board under chairman Adir Shiffman was appointed.

The company immediately put its hand out to shareholders, raising $1.85 million to develop its remaining assets, "including Awesome Water and Awesome Entertainment, for working capital and to investigate new opportunities".

At the end of August, the company declared a profit of some $31 million. But this too was not as awesome as it seemed, booked only because the DOCA enabled the company to shed its obligations to its creditors. On an operating basis, the company lost $650,000.

Now, the company again has its hand out to shareholders, seeking up to $1.345 million to fund "the continued development and expansion" of its assets. Awesome!

Feeling lucky?

Don't believe your lying wallet: the price of Monday and Wednesday Tatts tickets hasn't risen, the product has been "enhanced".

The listed gambling group quietly hiked the price of lucky numbers by 5¢ a game on Monday, from 55¢ to 60¢.

A company spokeswoman insisted it was all for your own good. "There's no material impact on the bottom line," she said. "The benefit is really for the player - it gives them more chances of becoming a millionaire."

This is not because the odds of getting six numbers have changed - they remain the same infinitesimal 8.1 million to one.

However, Tatts has doubled the division one prize pool, from $2 million to $4 million.

Unlike Saturday TattsLotto, where one winner can claim the entire D1 prize pool, weekday payouts are capped at $1 million each. That means four people can now theoretically get $1 million each, as opposed to a maximum of two under the previous regime.

Of course, you have to win first. Which you won't.

Got a tip?

bbutler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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