4 Feb 2015

Business briefs

1:38 pm on 4 February 2015

Gambling on the up

Spending on gambling rose nearly 1 percent in the year ended June, last year, but spending on pokies in pubs and clubs fell, as did spending in casinos.

The department of Internal Affairs said total spending on gambling of $2.091 billion is down almost 20 percent from a peak of $2.6 billion in real terms, in 2004.

Its figures show TAB betting rose 5.6 percent in the latest year, to $294 million, while spending on lotteries increased 7.2 percent to $432 million.

Spending on gaming machines, in pubs and clubs, fell 2.2 percent to $826 million while spending in casinos fell 2.1 percent to $509 million.

S&P settles over mortgage ratings

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has agreed to pay a $US1.38 billion settlement to US regulators over allegations it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage bonds.

S&P is the first credit agency fined over financial crisis-era violations.

The settlement covers mortgage bond ratings between 2004 and 2007.

In a statement McGraw Hill, the parent company of S&P, said the settlement contains no findings of violations of law.

Downer signs $1 billion deal

Downer EDI said it has signed a locomotive maintenance agreement with Pacific National, valued at $1 billion over a 10-year term.

Chief executive of Downer Grant Fenn said it was an important development in Downer Rail's transformation to providing total rail asset solutions to its customers.

Downer will provide a full suite of asset management services for over 300 Pacific National locomotives, including a range of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance services and a 24-hour fleet control centre.