Peter Lowy happy to sing but puts off swan song

Who says the Lowy family aren’t a colourful bunch. Peter Lowy, who plans to step back from executive duties sometime after the latest Westfield restructure, was asked by Maxim Asset Management’s Winston Sammut if Wednesday’s annual result was possibly his ”Australian result presentation swansong”.
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Lowy admitted that he hadn’t given it much thought.

”Do I get to sing, Winston?” he asked. ”I think all of the guys around the table might be a bit happy.”

He could always call in elder brother David Lowy and his hard rock outfit, The Dead Daisies, as back-up.

But Lowy insisted he won’t be hanging up his boots just yet.

He listed the mountain of work the company had to get through before he relinquished any executive duties and, ”after that, I just want to remind everyone I will be a non-executive director, so I’m not exactly going away”.

He should at least get another crack at topping the pay tables at Westfield. Peter has been pipped by brother Steven Lowy two years in a row, despite them sharing CEO duties.

In a typically straightforward manner, Westfield reported that, Peter’s ”total remuneration based on the amortised fair value of all awards at grant date” was $8.15 million, down from $8.92 million the previous year.

Steven topped the pay list with $8.66 million, down from $9.4 million the year before.Rex misses targets

A 60 per cent fall in first half earnings at Regional Express played second fiddle to the regional airline’s attempt to jump on the entitlement bandwagon with undeserving rival, Qantas.

Rex’s deputy chairman – and former Howard government transport minister – John Sharp said he planned to visit Canberra after the results announcement with the clear message that any deal on offer to Qantas has to be extended to its rivals. Otherwise it risks creating a competitor that will ”try and knock us off”, he said.

”Qantas can be a very strong competitor, whether that’s bullying or not, I don’t know, but we certainly feel the very substantial size difference,” Sharp told reporters.

The Singapore-backed Rex knows how to open doors in Canberra. Last year the airline’s board held its nose and handed $250,000 to Labor and only $70,000 to the out-of-power Libs. We are sure Sharp will ensure the balance is corrected this year.Gift for taxman

Has Sydney Airport lost the Macquarie magic?

The airport operator’s full-year results on Wednesday revealed that the company paid tax for the first time since the 2005 financial year.

The Max ”The Axe” Moore-Wilton-chaired company coughed up $51.9 million for the taxman after banking a $67.2 million tax benefit the year before.

Investors need not fret that Macquarie’s exit from the share register last year – via a distribution to its investors – has seen Sydney Airport turn over a new leaf.

A $69 million ”settlement payment” with the Tax Office was to blame for this aberrant behaviour and normal service is expected to resume next year.

The key ingredient is a private equity level of debt, which means its interest payments of $432 million last year, came close to matching the rest of its operating expenses combined at $497 million.Costly Dubai

Property developer Sunland Group is still counting the cost of the Dubai debacle, which led to Australian executives, Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee, spending years in detention. The company’s interim results updated the legal cost of claims the group was duped into paying a $14 million ”introductory fee” to secure land on the Dubai waterfront in 2007.

Sunland reported that its operational costs included $8 million of legal expenses ”primarily relating to Sunland’s costs of the Victorian Supreme Court trial and appeal, and payment of $6.5 million cost order awarded against Sunland in relation to the trial”.

Those are hefty sums for a group that has forecast a net profit of $12 million this year.

Joyce and Lee have only just returned home from Dubai after being exonerated following years of detention over the allegations.

Sunland’s costs relate to a civil case against Joyce and Lee, which collapsed last year.

The company is still up for costs over the appeal, which were also awarded against it.

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