The Ticker: Modern business life

Founder’s delight: Companies are on the prowl for start-ups, investors agree: The best smartphone is NoPhone and an end to the never-ending TPP negotiations?

On today's blog:

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3.30pm - An end to the never-ending TPP negotiations? 

Almost six years and several leaks later, trade minister Andrew Robb today announced that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is nearing a “finish line”.  

That’s either good or bad news depending on how you view the agreement. But somehow we doubt will be finished by the end of the year, and according to these headlines it seems history is on our side: 




After Wikileaks dropped part of the IP chapter of the agreement, more mainstream press started taking interest in the agreement. 


And now… 

That “finish line” may still be a fair way off yet. Japan only joined the agreement a couple of months ago. 

2.20pm - NAB to correct misleading mortgage rate claim

By Chris Kohler, BusinessNow

Some red faces are likely to be seen at NAB today as the bank organises to run advertisements correcting claims it’s had the lowest variable mortgage rate for the last five years, according to Bloomberg.

The news service reports that ASIC has come down on the lender because the claims it had made in newspaper ads this month did not qualify that it had the lowest rates only compared to the other big four banks.

2pm - Three quick facts that outline insider trading in Australia

Insider trading is back in the headlines after ASIC chief Greg Medcraft last week labelled Australia as a “paradise” for white-collar crime – a comment which he later backed down on.  Insider trading is the most notorious of these crimes.

Insider trading involves the disclosure of market-sensitive information to an individual before the rest of the market. That’s normal for most companies and executives, but it’s illegal for that individual to then trade based on this information.

Based off research from the University of Melbourne, The Conversation put together a handy infographic on the crime. Here are the key points from the research:

1. The majority of those alleged of engaging in insider trading in Australia are male (98 per cent) and are aged between 30 and 49. 

2. Just over a third (37 per cent) of the companies involved in insider trading are mining firms. 

3. The regulator, ASIC, struggles at prosecuting such cases. But it is improving. Between 1973 and 2000 cases had a 17 per cent success rate. Between 2001 to 2013, that figure jumped to 65 per cent. 

Here’s a slice of the graphic that puts that last point in context.

The full graphic is well worth a look. You can see it here.  

12.35pm - The companies that would have been keeping a close eye on the Brazil election

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff just won a second term in office, but that’s not really news to most Australians.
This isn’t because the information isn’t new. Truth be told, most Australian’s aren’t really interested in the outcome or the result of the close race between Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and challenger Aécio Neves. Most Australian companies won’t be either. Our trade relations with Brazil aren’t that much of a standout. 

But, as noted by the Australian-Brazilian chamber of commerce website, there are a number of companies who would have been keeping an eye on the poll. Here’s a quick list of the major firms:

BHP-Billiton owns 50 per cent of the Samarco iron ore mine. It also conducts bauxite, oil and gas exploration in Brazil.

Troy Resources has a 70 per cent stake of the Sertão gold mine.

Orica has an industrial explosives plant in Brazil.

QBE has a Brazil arm which provides life-insurance services.

Brambles merged with a document management company called Recall which operates in Brazil, however it announced a demerger late last year.

Macquarie Group has been in Brazil since 1999, operating its head office for the region out of São Paulo.

Nufarm owns Agrichem, a Brazilian crop protection firm.

Pacfic Hydro owns two wind farms in north-west Brazil, with plans to open two more. 

11.10am - Investors agree: The best smartphone is NoPhone

Meet NoPhone, the next smartphone revolution waiting to happen. It’s essentially a loosely crafted block of wood, but it’s taken the internet by storm. Here’s their elevator pitch; It’s shorter than most. 

NoPhone 2 Demo from No Phone on Vimeo.

The best part: Here’s how much they have raised after a month of campaigning.

It pays to be a prankster. 

10.35am - Eurozone stress test boosts $A

By AAP, BusinessNow

The Australian dollar has moved back above US88c after solid gains on Wall Street and positive news about the stability of some of Europe’s banks following stress testing.

At 7am (AEDT) on Monday, the local unit was trading at $US88.09c, up from $US87.65c on Friday.

Less than one in five eurozone banks failed a financial stress test aimed at preventing a repeat of the global financial crisis, the European Central Bank said.
National Australia Bank senior economist David de Garis said the relatively good news gave market sentiment a boost.

“The ECB bank stress tests have been greeted with some relief by the market at the open of foreign exchange trade this morning,” he said.

“The euro’s enjoying a modest bounce in the wake of yesterday’s announced European bank stress test results.

10.30am - Founder’s delight: Companies are on the prowl for start-ups 

Hardly anybody goes into Australia’s start-up scene with the aim of creating a company that will be bought out. However, if you are a founder looking for an exit and a lump sum of cash, then Ernst & Young’s latest report into the Australasian M&A market holds some good news.

Of the 158 executives interviewed for the report, close to 107 said they would ramp-up their search for takeover targets. What’s more interesting however, is that the majority appear to be looking for smaller targets that complement their business model (start-ups) rather than larger established companies. 

The only caveat is that over half of local companies surveyed are looking for global growth with their acquisitions. 

But there is some hope from abroad for Australian start-ups.

9.15am - Interesting reads from around the web

Image: Herald Sun

Welcome to another week of The Ticker. A quick note: if you have staff in Melbourne, expect them to be a little late to work today. An extreme thunderstorm overnight has sent the city into commuter meltdown.

Anyway, here is today’s reading list:

Japan has just lifted a law which bans dancing in nightclubs and public venues. The only condition: you can’t dance in the dark.

The disruptor is being disrupted: Apple’s iTunes just reported a 13 per cent drop in music sales due to the rise of streaming apps.

But what about Apple’s next innovation, Apple Pay? Retailers in the US are locking out the technology in bid to prevent Apple from gaining a foothold in the sector.

Meet Marius Kohl, the family-friendly bureaucrat who helped turn Luxembourg into a tax haven.

No, these apps are not making you smarter. A group of neuroscientists just denounced the raft of ‘brain-training’ apps and games hitting the market.

Ebola’s next frontier isn’t China. It’s India.

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