Toll shareholders set for windfall

Shareholders in Toll Holdings are set for a windfall after Japan Post made a $6.


5 billion takeover for the Australian transport and logistics firm.

Japan Post has offered $9.04 for each Toll share, a massive 49 per cent premium to Toll’s closing price on Tuesday of $6.08.

If the deal succeeds, the combined company will be one of the top five players in global logistics.

Toll’s board of directors has unanimously recommended shareholders accept the offer, which chairman Ray Horsburgh says represents full value for Toll shares.

Shares in Toll soared $2.87, or 47 per cent, to $8.95.

Former boss Paul Little, who drove Toll’s rapid expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, will reap nearly $340 million should he accept the offer and sell his five per cent stake.

“It is a great transaction for our shareholders, for our customers and for all of our staff and employees,” Mr Horsburgh said on Wednesday.

Kimber Capital head of research Greg Fraser said it was a good offer, especially considering Toll’s “fairly ordinary” financial performance.

“I don’t think anyone will say no to it. It’s a huge premium,” he said.

The announcement coincided with Toll reporting a 22 per cent slide in first half profit to $134.3 million because of challenging economic conditions, especially the slowdown in the resources sector.

In addition to the Japan Post offer, should it succeed, Toll shareholders will be entitled to a fully franked interim dividend of 13 cents per share in March.

Japan Post wants to use Toll as a platform for expansion in Asia, Europe and North America, to offset a decline in demand for postal services in Japan.

Mr Horsburgh said Australia’s recent free trade agreement with Japan would create tremendous new opportunities for the combined business.

Japan Post’s skills in parcel delivery would also make Toll more competitive against Australia Post.

Toll would retain its name and continue to be run out of Melbourne as a division spearheading Japan Post’s global operations.

Mr Horsburgh said Japan Post had made an incomplete and non-binding proposal to Toll in January.

After Japan Post examined Toll’s books, a formal binding offer was made on Tuesday.

Japan Post president Toru Takahashi described the deal as a transformational transaction, with Toll’s businesses complementing those of Japan Post.

Toll had a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region, relationships with multi-national companies, and a well-balanced product portfolio.

“In combining our companies and utilising our collective strength, we will create a truly global company,” Mr Takahashi told reporters through an interpreter.

“And we have plans for a significant additional future investment and further growth.”

Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the Japan Post offer represented a massive endorsement of Australian skills, services and expertise.

“This deal, involving one of Australia’s major services companies, will see a substantial injection of capital, opportunities and jobs, in Toll in Australia,” Mr Robb said.

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Suns’ Gorringe set for utility role

Gold Coast Suns ruckman Daniel Gorringe was supposed to be a Port Adelaide player this year.


Instead, he could be about to emulate one.

Four months after his proposed trade to the Power fell through, Gorringe looks set to be played through the midfield for the Suns in a utility role similar to that of Port’s roving tall Justin Westhoff.

With Zac Smith, Tom Nicholls and Charlie Dixon well ahead of him in Gold Coast’s ruck pecking order, the 199cm Gorringe was played on the wing during a match simulation session on Wednesday.

Suns coach Rodney Eade said the 22-year-old can expect to play “multiple positions” this season, just like Westhoff does to damaging effect for Port Adelaide.

“Having a utility who’s got some talent like that is very rare in the competition,” Eade said.

“Westhoff can do it, but there’s not many who can play multiple positions at that height.

“If we can train him up, it just gives us a big advantage.

“We’re going to try him (in midfield) at stages.

“He can play tall forward – not the tallest forward, not as in the Dixon/Lynch mould, but certainly our third tall.

“He can give us coverage in the ruck, he’s a very good athlete so he can play on the wing … (and) maybe as a third tall defender.”

Gorringe sought a move back to Adelaide, his hometown, during last year’s trade period but Port were unable to complete a deal as they focused on securing Paddy Ryder from Essendon.

After declaring he was “lied to” and “let down” by the Power, Gorringe has resolved to prove himself under new coach Eade.

Gold Coast’s NAB Challenge campaign begins on March 1 against Geelong at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Stadium.

The Suns have a lengthy injury list with the likes of Gary Ablett (shoulder), Steven May (knee) and Sam Day (calf) not to feature until their second pre-season clash against GWS a week later.

“We’ll probably have about 34 to pick from for NAB one,” Eade said.

“We’ll be inexperienced and undersized there but that’s the way it is and that’s what we’ll cope with.

“We might be able to find a player or two out of it.”

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What’s ‘wrong’ with this picture?

The state of Queensland has just accomplished something that had not previously been done in Australian history.


It’s 2015, so what could that thing possibly be? Invented flying cars? Found a cure for all disease? Blended the Big Pineapple into a Huge Juice?

Sadly no, it is none of these.

Instead, history was made on Sunday when newly elected Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the 14 members of her cabinet.

Why was it historical? It’s 2015. Was one of the members a Labrador that had been trained to talk and think critically about policy issues?

No, it was historical for the simple fact that for the first time in Australian history, a majority of the ministers named (eight out of the 14) are (gasp), women.

Along with this, Palaszczuk is the first female state opposition leader who has led her party to victory. Add this to the fact that her deputy is Jackie Trad (making them the first elected female leadership team in Australia), with Attorney-General Yvette D’ath, and you can see why this has made news. Women in power? What next? 

Lifelong Queensland residents (of which I am one) don’t often get to feel like they are on the frontline of progress (as perfectly displayed with the déjà vu dread of seeing Pauline Hanson came so close to being elected).

But on Monday, while witnessing news coverage of a group of ministers standing on the steps of Government House, an unusual thing happened.

It was looking at this group of politicians and seeing more women than men. I was seeing Leeanne Enoch, Queensland’s first Indigenous female minister. I was thinking about the fact that Queensland’s list of ALP MPs also includes the Indigenous member for Cook Billy Gordon, and the member for Cairns, Rob Pyne; a wheelchair user. I was suddenly overcome with a warm, pleasant, and yet unfamiliar feeling. It was something that can only be described as … pride. I assume.

Of course, there is no way of knowing how the ministers will do, especially the ones new to parliament. Only time will tell, as it did with the politically inexperienced ministers in the previous government (Campbell Newman included).

However, no matter what happens, it is appalling that a cabinet containing a couple more women than men is making history in 2015. It is dreadful that the next best state after Queensland is Victoria’s, where women have nine out of 22 cabinet positions.

And it is shameful that equality gets worse from there across the country, with the worst being the federal government, where only two out of 19 cabinet members are women.  And where federally, women account for less than one-third of parliamentarians.

It gets worse more broadly when you consider the amount of women before now who have become Premiers outside of elections by being handed a poison chalice of leadership after their male predecessor leaves an unwinnable mess behind.

When you consider that women are possibly held to different standards, garner more gendered criticism, and are pre-selected in more unwinnable seats, it is simply not good enough.

We should not be in the situation where we feel prideful and amazed that in a country like Australia, where the female population represents a majority, that it is reflected in one aspect of political representation like the Queensland cabinet. It should not be an event that has created history in 2015, like the invention of flying cars or a talking dog would. 

The political system should provide opportunity for men and women equally, and it just doesn’t.

If your only argument against this involves the word ‘merit’, it is shaky at best. It is no coincidence that most of the people who have set what exactly defines merit, and those who have then gone on to benefit from the myth of a merit-based system, have been straight white men.

It is no coincidence that the idea of this system was implemented and sustained by straight white men. And therefore it is no coincidence that the people with the power have so far kept the power.

Men have always been given the chance to succeed or fail. Now in the Queensland Government, of all places, women are being given that chance as well.

Rebecca Shaw is a Brisbane-based writer and host of the fortnightly comedy podcast Bring a Plate.

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Shield loss all-time low: Tassie coach

Four months ago Alex Doolan was batting at No.


3 for Australia.

Since then the right-hander has managed a first-class top score of just 42 for Tasmania, and has more often than not struggled to reach double figures across 12 innings.

It’s a slump indicative of the Tigers’ recent woes which included a forgettable innings and 50 run loss to Queensland in their Sheffield Shield match.

Coach Dan Marsh, a former Tigers captain, described the thrashing as an embarrassment.

“Yesterday was as bad as it gets,” he told reporters on Wednesday after the Bellerive Oval clash finished two days prematurely when the hosts were all out for 121 in their second innings.

“The way we fell away was just so disappointing and so un-Tasmanian.”

But he’s not rushing toward changing the Tigers’ line-up and has confirmed that Doolan will remain skipper for the next round against South Australia in Adelaide, starting on Tuesday.

“He’s got to spend some time in the middle, that’s what he hasn’t done. He’s walked in and he’s got out nearly every innings,” Marsh said of Doolan.

Ahead of the clash with Queensland, selectors made a couple of changes to the Tasmanian XI, ejecting an under-performing Jon Wells and introducing young allrounder Beau Webster.

In a frustrating twist, as Tasmania’s batsmen collapsed on Tuesday, Wells was notching up a century playing Futures League against Victoria in Melbourne.

But that performance won’t necessarily see him slotted back into the Tasmanian squad.

“When teams chop and change it means you’re not going very well so we’re pretty keen to keep the same group together. We think they’re the best batting group we’ve got,” Marsh said.

But by his own admission, Tasmania is already in a bad place with low confidence among players.

The usually reliable Ed Cowan recorded ducks in both innings on Monday and Tuesday.

Fellow opener Jordan Silk managed 39 in the first innings, but added just 12 on Tuesday.

Marsh said his batsmen needed to build mental strength.

“We’re going for a big, long walk up the mountain tomorrow for quite a few hours and we’re going to make sure that if there are any issues in our group, we’re going to get them talked about,” he said.

Selectors will meet on Thursday night to finalise the squad to travel to Adelaide.

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Hockey faces gloomy backdrop for budget

Joe Hockey will be putting his second May budget together against the backdrop of a still sluggish economy.


The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index continues to signal an economy growing at 2.75 per cent over much of 2015 rather than a trend pace of 3.25 per cent.

It suggests the jobless rate could be still rising at a time when the federal treasurer is trying to get the budget back in order.

“The economy needs more stimulus and the Reserve Bank, with ample scope to cut, should be acting accordingly,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans says.

Mr Hockey will get the chance to reboot the budget debate when he releases his intergenerational report at the end of the month.

He says it will be complemented by a “very deep engagement program” with the community.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is concerned that’s code for a taxpayer funded advertising campaign.

Having a national conversation is fine, but getting taxpayers to fund it is not, he said.

“It would be highly inappropriate and insulting for the Australian people to do so,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Sydney.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the GST won’t be discussed in any budget debate nor will any changes likely occur after this year’s promised tax review.

A new report commissioned by accountants CPA Australia found that lifting the GST rate to 15 per cent from 10 per cent and expanding that to health, education and fresh food would raise $42.9 billion in the first year.

CPA Australia chief executive officer Alex Malley says the additional revenue could abolish inefficient state taxes, provide personal income tax cuts and compensation for low income households, while giving a much-needed boost to growth.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Kate Carnell agreed that it would make the tax system much simpler and fairer.

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott won’t have a bar of it.

The government wants to get spending down rather than taking the “lazy option” of whacking up taxes.

“It would come out of the pockets of Australian families, who are in many cases already doing it tough,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax radio.

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