Business stories of interest this week

Business stories from the past week, compiled by Jason Maywald:

1) Captain sunshines says Australia is not living up to its solar potential

Australia can be the first 100 per cent renewables-powered continent, but it needs the political will to do so, a global solar expert says.

“Australia is not living up to its potential for power generation. It should be aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, but Australia is up against the older, entrenched fossil fuel industry,” renewable energy entrepreneur and the chief executive of energy investor Energiya Global Capital, Yosef Abramowitz, said.

Dubbed “Captain Sunshine”, Mr Abramowitz is considered a global authority on the application and commercialisation of solar energy technology and has raised millions of dollars to build solar energy projects in Israel and East Africa.

Currently, solar energy accounts for just over 5 per cent of Australia’s total power generation despite it having the world’s highest average solar radiation – the potential for solar energy – of about 58 million petajoules of energy, or about 10,000 times the nation’s annual energy consumption. The size of a solar farm needed to power all of Australia would cover about 6270 square kilometres or approximately 0.1 per cent of the country.


2) Futurist Michael McQueen predicts these common things will soon become extinct

IN just a few short years, we’ll be living in a world without car parks, credit cards and even foreign languages, a top futurist has predicted.

Michael McQueen, a Sydney-based, award-winning speaker, business strategist and trend forecaster, told the world was changing rapidly and the next decade would see unprecedented change both in Australia and around the globe.

In his latest book, How to Prepare Now for What’s Next, Mr McQueen reveals a roundup of products, services and industries that are on the brink of extinction — and how Aussies can “futureproof” their lives.


3) PPB advisory partners vote on PWC merger 

The partnership of insolvency firm PPB Advisory has voted in favour of merging with PwC after months of talks between the outfits.

The vote, which took place at midday, showed “overwhelming support” from the 33-strong partnership, said PPB chairman Ian Carson.

“The vote was unopposed and overwhelmingly supportive, and people are excited at the joint opportunity,” he said.

It’s understood no partners voted against the merger but a number of partners abstained.


4) Optus sports extends premier league rights

Optus has secured the exclusive Australian rights to the English Premier League for another three seasons and is opening up its sports platform to non-Optus customers in a bid to become a telco and a media company.

Subscribers to Optus Sport will also have access to all 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in June, with 39 of the matches exclusive to Optus.

The mobile and broadband provider’s sports broadcasting arm will screen the next three seasons of EPL, from August 2019 to 2022, with exclusive coverage of every match played, including live, on-demand, replay and short-form for all 380 games.


5) Sainsbury to buy ASDA from Walmart in UK supermarket mega-merger

US RETAIL giant Walmart and UK supermarket Sainsbury’s have struck a $13.27 billion (£7.3 billion) deal to create the UK’s biggest supermarket group seen as a “game changer” in the industry.

On Monday Walmart announced it would sell Asda Group Limited to Sainsbury’s to create a mega-player in the competitive retail space that will account for 31.4 per cent of UK market share.

The tie-up will leapfrog current market leader Tesco to become the biggest player with annual revenue of $92 billion (£51 billion), nearly 3000 stores and a combined staff of 330,000. Tesco’s market share is 25.6 per cent.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said there will be no store closures and it would “enable us to bring prices down,” however it leaves open the question of whether logistics and supply chain operations will be merged.