Investors blast Webjet over CEO bonus package
- Investors have lashed travel booking outfit Webjet for offering its chief executive a bonus potentially worth millions of dollars, saying the hurdles to beat are too low.
- Almost 32.6 per cent of investor vote were against the offer of options to chief executive John Guscic, which the company heavily defended at the meeting.
- But Webjet, whose share price has been savaged in the coronavirus pandemic along with other travel businesses, stood firm on the package to Mr Guscic.
- The sole target is improving the company's share price, and the first two-years' worth of options are already in the money, being convertible or exercisable at $3.39 a share and $3.73 a share, respectively.
- Webjet chairman Roger Sharp also took aim at the ASA for pointing out before that the company was a top target of short-sellers, who make money from share prices falling.
QBE finds interim replacement for Pat Regan
- QBE has appointed head of international operations Richard Pryce as the group's interim chief executive following the sudden departure of Pat Regan last month.
- Mr Regan left QBE suddenly in September following a complaint by a female employee over inappropriate messages.
- He was promoted to head up the insurer's European operations in 2013, before being appointed CEO of the international division in 2019, but announced his decision to retire earlier this year.
- Mr Wilkins said: “I would like to thank Richard for accepting this interim role as we conduct an extensive search for a permanent replacement.
- Premier Daniel Andrews is due to speak at 10am as Victoria records just one new case.
- QBE has appointed head of international Richard Pryce as the group's interim CEO following the sudden departure of Pat Regan last month.
ASX set for flat open; Trump, Biden debate in focus
- The company also says PEXA demonstrated accelerated takeup during COVID-19 and is expected to deliver a material return of capital in coming months.
- In an address to its annual general meeting, chief executive Chris Ashton noted the relative improvement of the Australian dollar compared to this time last year is creating foreign exchange headwinds, given the majority of the company's earnings come from currencies other than Australian dollars.
- Revenue from Intel's data-center business fell 7 per cent to $US5.9 billion in the reported quarter, while analysts on average had expected revenue of $US6.21 billion, according to FactSet. Intel is the dominant provider of processor chips for PCs and data centers, but the company has struggled with manufacturing delays, saying in July that its next generation of chipmaking technology has slipped six months behind schedule.
CEO David Solomon faces pay cut as Goldman Sachs gets record 1MDB fine
- Goldman Sachs will pay a record foreign bribery penalty in the US and will enter a guilty plea for the first time ever for its role in the plundering of Malaysia's 1MDB investment fund.
- He told a judge he bribed foreign officials to get bond deals and conspired with "several other employees of Goldman Sachs" to hide the theft, bribe payments and money-laundering from others at the bank.
- The bank will pay more than $US2.3 billion in a plea deal, the largest penalty in US history for a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Even as British Chancellor Rishi Sunak trowels on more financial support, Antipodean hospitality stalwarts say they're doing it tough.
ASX to open flat, global equities pause
- Chinese shares closed lower on Thursday, with healthcare and industrials stocks leading the declines, as investors looked past policymakers' vow to balance the need for stable economic growth and preventing financial risks.
- A weaker US dollar, rising inflation risks and demand driven by additional fiscal and monetary stimulus from major central banks will spur a bull market for commodities in 2021, Goldman Sachs said..
- The bank forecast a return of 28% over a 12-month period on the S&P/Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), with a 17.9% return for precious metals, 42.6% for energy, 5.5% for industrial metals and a negative return of 0.8% for agriculture.
- Non-energy commodities could see an "immediate upside" as the market balances tighten ahead of expectations on strong demand from China and weather-driven risks, the Goldman Sachs analysts said.
'She is an absolute total liar': Maxwell denied Epstein sex claims
- New York | British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell said in a 2016 deposition about her friend the late financier Jeffrey Epstein that she never witnessed "inappropriate underage activities" by him, according to a transcript released on Thursday that Maxwell had fought hard to keep secret.
- Epstein killed himself at age 66 in August 2019 at a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges announced the previous month.
- Giuffre has said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the British prince when she was 17 years old.
- In an interview broadcast in December 2019, Giuffre told the BBC's Panorama TV program she had been brought to London in 2001 by Epstein and taken to meet the prince, one of three occasions when she claimed to have sex with Andrew.
- Newly unsealed court documents reveal the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell denied any inappropriate activity involving her close companion, the financier Jeffrey Epstein.
PayPal's big Bitcoin endorsement
- A cryptocurrency once condemned for its use in cyber fraud, money laundering, terrorism financing and ransom demands is suddenly being embraced by one of the world's largest payment platforms.
- Also, it brings closer the moment when the bulk of consumers wanting to move money around the world will be able to avoid paying the excessive fees charged by banks and the traditional payment platforms built by Visa and Mastercard.
- PayPal said this week that from early next year Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used as an instrument of exchange for those wanting to buy things from PayPal's 26 million merchants.
- Analysts at Morgan Stanley said PayPal would have seen the fact that Square generated about $US17 million in fees from Bitcoin pass-through on its Cash App platform.
US jobless figures drop to 787,000
- Initial jobless claims in regular state programs declined to 787,000 in the week ended October 17, according to Labour Department data Thursday.
- Continuing claims -- the total pool of Americans on ongoing state unemployment benefits -- fell to 8.37 million in the week ended Oct. 10.
- Economists expected 870,000 initial state claims and 9.63 million continuing claims, according to the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
- State and federal leaders are being told to come up with a plan to reopen Australia as a new report indicates coronavirus-induced border closures are costing the economy $319 million a day.
- Queensland's plan to reopen its border with NSW on November 1 could be in doubt as mystery coronavirus cases in Australia's most populous state continue to be found.
- Initial jobless claims in the US declined to 787,000 but the economy continues to suffer.
ABC sacks the workers to save the nest eggs
- With our sincere condolences to the 229 employees recently made redundant by ABC boss David Anderson, they can at least find some solace knowing the surviving hacks at Aunty will have a comfortable retirement.
- The FY20 annual report reveals that on top of the $378 million worth of salaries and wages paid to almost 4000 employees, the ABC handed out $73 million in superannuation payments.
- At the allegedly paltry statutory contribution of 9.5 per cent, the Grattan Institute says the majority of Australians will enjoy about 90 per cent of their pre-retirement income when they stop work – well above the OECD recommendation of 70 per cent.
- With Anderson at Parliament this week flagging another 70 employees are set to exit the broadcaster, it's a taste of the decisions employers will have to make when the super guarantee is lifted from 9.5 to 12 per cent over the next four years.
Bill Gates backs start-up to eliminate harmful 'forever' chemicals
- Allonnia, which launched Thursday with $US40 million in Series A funding, is working to engineer microbes to get rid of pollutants in wastewater and soil.
- It's starting with PFAS, an insidious class of chemicals that are widespread in US drinking water and have otherwise proved resistant to breaking down, earning them the "forever" moniker.
- Allonnia launched out of the Ferment Consortium, a $US350 million investment vehicle intended to fund Ginkgo Bioworks's spinout companies.
- The class of thousands of chemicals -- used to make products nonstick, waterproof or stain-resistant -- involve variations of carbon-fluorine bonds that didn't exist in nature before companies like 3M, DuPont and Solvay started making them.
- Gates' Cascade, along with Viking Global Investors and General Atlantic, will have a stake in the new company.
- Allonnia is trying to engineer microbes to get rid of harmful chemicals created by big manufacturers that never break down or disappear.