The son of one of China’s richest men “Jeremy” Jianmin Song has ramped up his push to buy Australian assets with the $18.75 million purchase of the Hawkesbury River retreat of billionaire Brett Blundy, Sweven.
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Song’s purchase is the latest in almost $350 million worth of acquisitions by the privately held multinational conglomerate Nanshan Group in less than two years, including a 20 per cent stake in the airline Virgin Australia.

The bullish sale of the 57-hectare property was by Blundy, a retail billionaire and founder of Bras N Things, after a four-year sales campaign given his move to Singapore.

Details on the deal have been subject to strict confidentiality orders, but has already excited Cattai locals, many of whom are familiar with the Nanshan Group thanks to its ownership of the Riverside Oaks Golf Resort set next door to Blundy’s Sweven.

Nanshan’s chairman Song was appointed to the top job in 2011, replacing his father, billionaire Song Zuowen, who is ranked by Forbes as one of China’s richest men.

Jeremy Song has been an Australian resident since 2010, and lives in the $4.5 million penthouse he bought in Wharf 8 at Pyrmont in 2011.

The company ‘s interest in Australian assets has upped considerably in recent years. In late 2015 it paid $85 million for the Pullman Hotel near Sydney Airport.

In June last year, Air New Zealand sold its 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia for $233 million to Nanshan, and a few months later the family added the Macquarie Lighthouse’s keeper’s cottage in Vaucluse for $7.5 million.

Records show Jeremy Song also owns a 320-hectare property at Jindabyne, and two Vaucluse residences in his name, one on Wentworth Road bought in 2009 for $6,888,000, and another on Hopetoun Avenue known as St Malo he bought as a 28-year-old in 2002 for $5 million. Related: Chinese heavyweights buy Keepers Cottage Related: Brett Blundy’s Hawkesbury River weekender sellsRelated: Cattai offerings to tempt discerning palate

The Sweven property is expected to be redeveloped from a private retreat into a luxury resort with bungalows having access to the company’s Riverside Oaks Golfcourse.

The purchase comes at what could be an awkward time for Song Zuowen given exchange on the deal preceded by a just few days the Chinese government decision last week to crack down on capital outflows by restricting investment in overseas property development.

Despite no disclosure on the sale price and no comment from agents Neville Rava, of Cutcliffe Property, and Michael Rava, of The Agency, Domain’s PriceFinder put the sale result at $18.75 million.

At that level the sale sets a Hawkesbury River record for a residential sale by an extra $10 million, smashing the $7.3 million high for the Cattai area.

The previous record was set a year ago when a property called Ukamurra was sold to a company headed up by a syndicate of Chinese buyers.

That property was owned by Gendy and Hugh Parry-Okeden, nephew of reclusive heiress and Australia’s richest person on last year’s Forbes Rich List, Blair Parry-Okeden.

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Insurance Australia Group shares have dropped more than 7 per cent after the insurer said profit margins would narrow in the year ahead amid high claim costs.
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IAG on Wednesday said net profit after tax rose 48.6 per cent to $929 million, helped by stronger investment income and reserve releases thanks to the very low inflation environment.

The profit result was only slightly below market expectations, but analysts said the company’s outlook for reported insurance profit margins between 12.5 per cent and 14.5 per cent for the year ahead left some investors underwhelmed.

By lunchtime, IAG’s shares had fallen 7.5 per cent to $6.26.

Shaw Stockbroking analyst David Spotswood said the slump in the share price was an example of company shares being priced for high expectations, and then falling sharply on cautious outlook statements.

Until Wednesday’s fall, IAG’s shares had jumped 30 per cent from their lows of last November, trading at a record high of just below $7 in June.

“I think it’s all about expectations. They are too high,” Mr Spotswood said.

IAG, which sells insurance under brands including NRMA, CGA and Swan Insurance, said that in the year to June its reported insurance margins widened from 14.3 to 14.9 per cent, helped by reserve releases.

This margin is expected to narrow in the year ahead, partly because of high claim costs from motor vehicles, and from higher commercial claims.

IAG’s profit growth in the year to June was helped by investment income, higher insurance prices, and reserve releases from earlier periods. Gross written premium (GWP) rose 3.9 per cent to $11.8 billion.

Reserve releases are undertaken when an insurance company’s final cost of claims is lower than it anticipated, which allows the business to release funds, boosting profit.

IAG will pay a fully-franked final dividend of 20c a share, taking its full-year dividend payout to 33c a share.

“Overall GWP growth reflects positive momentum in our commercial business and rate responses to claims inflation, particularly in our short tail motor insurance business in Australia and New Zealand,” chief executive Peter Harmer said.

Insurers have benefited from the very low rate of inflation, and IAG in June had flagged to the market that it would be releasing reserves this year, bolstering profit growth.

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The rate of suicide in the construction industry is more than double that of the general population, due in part to a “stiff upper lip” culture.
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Canberra-based foundation OzHelp is tackling that sobering statistic through on-site health assessments and training programs.

The foundation, along with founding member Master Builders ACT, signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, cementing a commitment to provide free mental health services to all members of the industry.

Master Builders ACT executive director Kirk Coningham said OzHelp was founded 15 years ago following the suicide of a young construction worker.

“We realised there wasn’t adequate support so we established OzHelp to bring those essential support services through into our industry,” Mr Coningham said.

“We know that [suicide] particularly impacts young men and it particularly impacts our industry where there’s been a bit of a culture of ‘toughen up, stiff upper lip and get on with it’.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but we are breaking down those barriers.” Related: Master Builders ACT calls for safety hotlineRelated: Mental health funding focused on crisis, not preventionRelated: The suicide scourge among Australia’s tradies

One of OzHelp’s flagship programs is the Tradies Tune Up program, an on-site, 20-minute health assessment covering diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, in addition to mental health.

OzHelp chief executive Tony Holland said a holistic approach to physical and mental health is well received by workers and allows more people to reach out for help.

“Given the right circumstances they will open up,” Mr Holland said.

OzHelp will refer participants to counselling or other health services after the assessment.

Civil engineering company Guidelines ACT has used OzHelp for nine years and managing director Nick Zardos said it has been a huge help for his 60 employees.

“We get OzHelp to reach out to every one of our employees every year,” Mr Zardos said.

“It gives them an opportunity to talk to someone if they have problems.

“They know we don’t have anything to do with OzHelp, we just provide the connection.”

Mr Holland said the foundation, which is funded by the ACT government, is available to anyone within the building industry from plumbers and electricians, right through to hardware store employees.

“It’s growing, it’s developing and we want the building industry to know we’re here for them.”

All members of the industry and their families can call OzHelp on 1300 694 357 for support.

Support is also available through Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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A Spanish swimming champion who sacrificed his medal chance to pay tribute to the victims of the Barcelona terrorist attack has been hailed as a hero.
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Fernando Alvarez held a minute’s silence on the blocks at the FINA Masters World Championships as his competitors competed in the 200-metre breaststroke final.

“I started a minute later,” he told local media at the championships in Budapest, Hungary.

“But I do not mind, I have a feeling worth more than if I win all the gold medals in the world.”

Spanish swimmer Fernando Alvarez (circled) holds a minute’s silence on the blocks at the FINA Masters World Championships as his competitors dive in. Photo: Supplied

Alvarez, 71, told media he asked the organisers of the event whether a minute’s silence could be held on Friday to honour the victims of the Barcelona terrorist attack that killed 14 and injured 130 but his request was declined.

“They told me that it was not possible [to have a minute’s silence] because not a minute could be wasted,” he said.

“It’s something that has affected us all, but maybe because of the distance and because I have family there … I really think it would have been a good thing to do.”

Another swimmer told swimswam南京夜网 that a minute’s silence was observed at the start of Saturday’s competition.

Alvarez’s personal tribute has been applauded on social media while FINA has been shamed. Respect to Fernando Alvarez, requested a minute silence, officials refused, so stays on the starting block for 1 minute, then jumped in.. pic.twitter南京夜网/XN9xtzKGY8??? Sports Funnies (@SportsFunnies) August 21, 2017The Meet organizers should be ashamed of themselves! Kudos to Fernando Alvarez!??? Mike Richardson (@mgrich70) August 22, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.Read More →

SPECIAL 0000000 big w.business,030128,pic brendan esposito,pic shows the big w store at pagewood sydney.woolworths,clothes,money.Woolworths has reported a 3.6 per cent drop in underlying profit from continuing operations, driven by heavy losses in its troubled Big W chain and discounting in its supermarket division.
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Total sales at the supermarket giant and its retail offshoots grew by $3.7 billion to $55.4 billion in the year to June 30, it revealed on Wednesday, falling slightly short of the analyst consensus forecast of $57.7 billion.

Woolworths’ Australian food division saw sales grow by 4.5 per cent but earnings before interest and tax fell 2.4 per cent. On the bright side, earnings rebounded and rose 13.2 per cent in the second half of the year.

Same-store supermarket sales grew 3.6 per cent during the year, pulling ahead of rival Coles which last week revealed that its comparable sales growth had slipped to 1 per cent and its revenue fell 0.1 per cent.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said customer satisfaction rates had improved as the retailer invested in service and lower prices, with average grocery prices falling 2.1 per cent during the year.

He said the supermarket chain had been price competitive with Coles for almost two years but relied too heavily on discounting and specials. It had now moved towards lower everyday prices on core items, which would improve customer confidence and their perception of value.

“We want our shoppers to know that every time they shop Woolworths, on average they will get a very good deal,” Mr Banducci said.

Losses at Big W blew out from $14.9 million in 2016 to $150 million, with total sales falling 5.8 per cent. Woolworths said that loss was disappointing and warned it did “not expect a reduction in losses” as it invested in improving Big W’s customer service and price competitiveness. ‘Dated and tired’

“Clearly we’ll be doing work around our range, and our offer, making sure we give customers more choice and we’ll be looking to refresh our stores to make sure they don’t look so dated and tired,” Big W managing director David Walker said.

“But frankly, being focused on price and making sure customers start to trust our low price offer again is our priority.”

Alcohol retailers Dan Murphy’s and BWS saw 4.3 per cent sales growth and 3.9 per cent earnings growth. Online sales were a highlight of the division, Woolworths said, with Dan Murphy’s online business seeing 25 per cent growth.

Mr Banducci said Woolworths had made good progress turning the business around in 2017, but there was “a long way to go”, with 2018 shaping up as an “unbelievably important” year.

“It’s one thing to make some progress when you’ve had some some negative numbers that you’ve had the ability to jump over,” but another thing altogether to maintain growth in the following year compared to those positive numbers, he said.

The group’s earnings before one-off costs and writedowns fell to $1.42 billion, down from $1.46 billion in 2016 and short of analyst forecasts of $1.47 billion.

Woolworths’ net profit jumped to $1.53 billion after a loss of $1.23 billion in 2016, when it booked $3.2 billion in impairments and costs related to Big W and exiting its Masters home improvement business.

Woolworths announced a final dividend of 50?? per share, bringing the full year dividend to 84??, up 9.1 per cent on last year.

Its shares were up 0.7 per cent at $27.25 by 11.15am, the highest they have traded since early May.

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