Iluka's profit downgrade of historic significance

THE S&P/ASX 200's second best performing stock for last year has published arguably the second most comprehensive profit downgrade so far this millennium.

THE S&P/ASX 200's second best performing stock for last year has published arguably the second most comprehensive profit downgrade so far this millennium.

Mineral sands concern Iluka Resources yesterday blamed many factors for its weakened outlook. They ranged from ceramic production in Turkey and Egypt being "impacted by the aborted Arab Spring" to sanctions on the world's fourth-biggest tile maker, Iran, which had "flowed through to continued fragile business confidence levels".

The weakened Indian rupee had also been a factor, as had the "absence of direct policy adjustments to boost the property sector" in China. There was also the "continuing and more pronounced economic weakness and policy uncertainty into the second quarter in the eurozone".

To make matters worse, there was "some level of thrifting, substitution and application of technology to ceramics manufacturing".

"Global and regional zircon demand recovery remains problematic to predict given current global economic conditions," Iluka cautioned in its statement to the market as its shares plunged 24 per cent.

Iluka managing director David Robb even noted the "changed commentary by central bankers in the past couple of months".

For some reason, Iluka failed to mention the carbon tax, mining tax and policy towards gay marriage on the downgrade.

The most comprehensive profit downgrade for the millennium was made by the now defunct concert promoter Jacobsen Entertainment in 2003.

Just seven months after listing on the ASX, the Kevin Jacobsen-chaired company blamed its troubles on the drought, terrorism, the falling sharemarket, job uncertainty, "corporate profits in general", the "stay home" attitude, the Iraq War and the "erratic" economy for the fall in attendances at its events.

Defending Elias

BALMAIN Tigers league legend Ben Elias could soon be referred to as one of the heroes of the global financial crisis, going by the club's latest newsletter.

Tigers president Kevin Rooney has leapt to the defence of the former rugby league player and Kupang Resources (aka Chameleon) director over his proposed multi-storey redevelopment of the club, in response to a "misleading article" published last month.

Rooney said the club did not contravene the Registered Clubs Act by selling the site to Elias' company for $1.

"The site would have been sold either at or below the debt level," said Rooney about the deal where Elias' company cleared $23.5 million of the club's debts. The decision to sell was "made by members of the club, not by the board or any member of it".

Course on crooks

THE Stockbrokers Association of Australia is offering members the chance to attend a workshop that will help them better understand what it takes to be a corporate crook.

The course will cover "what constitutes market manipulation and other prohibited market conduct". "The workshop will involve a mix of presentation and scenario-based discussion," says the blurb for the workshop that will be held in Sydney and Melbourne.

The course will no doubt help stockbrokers avoid inadvertently doing anything naughty.

"Different types of market manipulation, including market rigging, false trading, wash sales, prearranged trading, pools/churning, 'spoofing' " are among the topics up for discussion.

Equal under law

QANTAS director and former head of Australia's defence force General Peter Cosgrove does not distinguish between how company directors and military personnel should be governed.

"I don't contrast behaviour in corporate life to military life because they are both sets of Australian people and all of them have a personal dignity and the law should protect them all equally," Cosgrove told a "leveraging leadership" luncheon organised by the office relocation and talent agency company Atlantis.

Cosgrove was responding to a question regarding allegations of sexual assaults at the Duntroon Military College in Canberra, which he said should be referred to the police.

Among the other attendees at the lunch were the former surfing world champion Layne Beachley, the former Australian rugby captain and Taurus Funds management operative Nick Farr-Jones, fast bowling legend Jeff Thompson, Ben Elias and Atlantis chief executive Tony Jaggs.

Men targeted

DAVID Jones chairman Bob Savage, 70, is not alone when it comes to getting offers from little-known overseas spruikers.

"The targets of this sort of crime are primarily Australian men aged over 50," federal Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said yesterday at the launch of the report Serious and Organised Investment Fraud in Australia.

"They're usually highly educated and have high levels of financial literacy," said Clare in describing the common victims who get sucked in to diverting and losing their superannuation savings to websites run by offshore criminal syndicates.

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