31 May 2010

FUND MANAGERS COME OUT AGAINST MINERS "SCARE CAMPAIGN"

By Peter Ryan(ABC)
Superannuation fund managers are coming out in force against Australia's big miners and their campaign against the resource tax changes.
They say that the campaign being run by mining companies against the resource super profits tax (RSPT) is driving mining and energy shares lower than the tax itself would.
So far this month, the average balanced superannuation fund has lost more than 4 per cent of its value. That is because most retirement nest eggs have at least some exposure to international shares which continue to be rocked by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
But if you listen to Australia's big miners it is also about the proposed RSPT, and that is misleading spin according to David Whiteley, chief executive of the Industry Super Network.
"The continued uncertainty which we believe is being created by a very well resourced and very consistent public relations and media campaign. The Industry Super Network might be a not-for-profit player, but its view carries large shareholder weight in the resources sector.
David Whiteley is using that influence to tell the big miners including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals to reassess their fear campaign.
"I think in recent days it's become increasingly difficult to separate the truth from myth," he added.
"What we're having on almost every morning now and every day are increasingly hyperbolic statements being made by the Minerals Council and the mining sector itself about the potential effects of the tax."
He says the Industry Super Funds own analysis finds that the tax has not had much impact on the miners' share prices.
"At Industry Super Network we've done some analysis if the tax itself. We've done the analysis of the effects of the announcement of the tax and share price," he said.
"Our assessment is that the announcement has had to date a negligible effect on the share prices of the resources sector."
He says the mining lobby needs to step back, take a breath and tone down the campaign.

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