According to The Australian Financial Review, Lendlease chief executive Tony Lombardo has held talks with top executives at some of Japan’s biggest developers and banks over the past week as part of the Australian company’s strategy to direct more Japanese capital back into Australia’s property market.
Speaking in Tokyo during his first visit to Japan since the start of the pandemic, Mr Lombardo said Lendlease was looking at new joint ventures with longstanding partner Mitsubishi Estate and was also talking to other major players in Japan’s property sector.
While Lendlease has had a presence in Japan for 30 years, it is one of a growing number of ASX-listed companies looking to tap into the resurgence of Japanese investment into Australia as the country reopens after the pandemic.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Japanese giant Idemitsu is back for a second helping at Queensland vanadium explorer Vecco Group, which wants to supply to battery players and renewables projects.
Idemitsu has cornerstoned a $20 million odd raising from Vecco, kicking in $8.26 million followed by a $4.9 million initial investment in October. The investment makes Idemitsu a 14.7 per cent shareholder and gives it a board position.
It’s early days still for Vecco’s project Debella near Julia Creek in Queensland; the raising would fund feasibility studies, environmental approvals, metallurgical test work and mining lease application costs. The resource is for 45.1 tonnes at 0.47 per cent vandium oxide.
But it is targeting 2024 production for vanadium, rare earth elements, and alumina. It also wants to build a vanadium electrolyte production facility to supply domestic market for vanadium batteries.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Goodman Group’s focus on developing key pieces of infrastructure in big cities around the world has helped the industrial property powerhouse secure the rights to develop a 70-hectare air cargo logistics hub at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, with an end value of more than $4 billion.
An agreement struck with the state-owned Narita International Airport Corporation and Chiba Prefecture, the local government authority, paves the way for Goodman to partner with the nearby town of Tako to develop a vast business estate to handle cargo operations into and out of the airport.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries is understood to have submitted a bid to develop a major green hydrogen project in South Australia as the state government takes decisive action to be a first mover in the rapidly emerging space.
The green fuels arm of Fortescue Metals Group is expected to be among several attracted by South Australia’s plan to earmark $593 million of public funding for a green hydrogen plant.
According to The Australian Financial Review, agribusiness Australia president Mark Allison says the two pillars of agriculture in Australia – livestock and grain production – are well down the track in reducing emissions as the industry comes under increased scrutiny from bankers and investors.
Mr Allison, who will bow out as chief executive of Elders Limited later this year, doesn’t see a risk to food security or exports from so-called carbon farming as big fossil fuel producers and users try to offset their emissions.
An Elders-commissioned report shows the biggest players in the industry are largely meeting their environmental, social and governance reporting obligations.
The report, prepared by KPMG, examined how 34 of the top balance sheets across ASX-listed, private and multinational agribusinesses were tracking and reporting on key ESG indicators.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the technology behind Japan’s $2.35 billion investment to make hydrogen from coal in the Latrobe Valley is yet to be proven, as he played down tensions between his treasurer and resources minister over the project.
The Australian Financial Review reported that the Victorian Resources Minister Lily D’Ambrosio’s repeated refusal to endorse the green energy project in parliament potentially threatened the investment secured by Treasurer Tim Pallas during his recent visit to Japan.
Mr Andrews also claimed the technology behind the project, including the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS), was yet to be proven, despite the Victorian and federal governments pumping a combined $100 million into a successful pilot phase over the past five years.
“This is about technology that’s not yet proven up ... there’s many questions that are still unanswered,” he said.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the price of airfares on some of the country’s most popular routes remain more than 50 per cent higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with official data showing record levels in the past three months.
The travel industry is warning the higher domestic fares are part of a “structural reset” as airlines pursue higher margins, which could push down demand for travel after heavy post-pandemic patronage.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Dean Long said “we’ve hit the peak for airfares,”. “We are not expecting any significant pricing shocks over the next year or a full retraction to the levels seen back before the pandemic. It has stabilised for the moment, but there will not be a massive change.”
According to The Australian Financial Review, Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure has ditched ideas to potentially build a hydrogen plant and will investigate making ammonia instead, boss Anthony Timbrell said, as the Queensland export port’s annual net profit halved to $69 million.
The company, which operates the Dalrymple Bay export terminal, has been examining the possibility of building a hydrogen plant to diversify away from coal.
But the difficulty of keeping liquid hydrogen at the required temperature of about minus 253 degrees Celsius in tropical north Queensland was “a bit of a challenge”, Mr Timbrell told The Australian Financial Review.
“So we’ve taken the decision that given our berths sit about four kilometres offshore, liquid ammonia at about minus 30 degrees Celsius would be a much easier proposition,” he said. “That’s where we will be directing most of our feasibility work.”
Feasibility studies are expected to start in the next few months.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Australian flying electric vehicle company AMSL Aero has successfully completed its maiden test flight, saying its Vertiia Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) Vehicle is the first by an Australian company to get off the ground, and that it is a major milestone in the future of travel.
AMSL Aero is run by husband and wife team Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon, and has previously banked significant funding from investors including IP Group Australia, TelstraSuper, Hostplus, St Baker Energy
Innovation Fund and muru-D.
According to The Australian Financial Review, wage growth is tipped to have accelerated to its fastest rate in a decade at the end of last year, cementing the prospect of at least two more interest rate rises from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Markets expect the December quarter wage price index, to be released on Wednesday, will show pay packets grew by a solid 1 per cent in the final three months of last year, taking annual growth from 3.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
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