Big employers pile on the pressure over company tax

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 21-Feb-18

The retail industry has urged the Senate crossbenchers to support the Federal Government’s legislation to reduce the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. The Australian Retailers Association’s executive director Russell Zimmerman says the nation’s high corporate tax rate hinders the ability of retailers to hire additional staff and increase wages, while Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci says a lower tax rate would enable the company to increase its investment in its Australian business. The National Retail Association argues that a lower tax rate would result in the creation of more entry-level jobs in the sector.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, NATIONAL RETAIL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, NICK XENOPHON TEAM, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Super Retail punished for $134m Macpac buy

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 19 : 21-Feb-18

Super Retail Group has reported a 2017-18 interim net profit of $A72.2m, which is three per cent lower than previously and below analysts’ forecasts. Group sales rose by 2.2 per cent to $A1.323bn, although its BCF and Rays businesses underperformed. Meanwhile, Super Retail’s shares closed 14.5 per cent lower on 20 February after the group revealed plans to acquire outdoor adventurewear retailer Macpac for $A134m. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of $A0.215 per share.

CORPORATES
SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, BCF BOATING CAMPING FISHING, RAYS, MACPAC WILDERNESS EQUIPMENT, SUPER CHEAP AUTO, REBEL SPORT LIMITED

Abboud on list as Myer chases chief

Original article by Bridget Carter
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 21-Feb-18

Department store group Myer Holdings has engaged the services of executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a successor to dumped CEO Richard Umbers. Spencer Stuart is said to be in the early stages of identifying potential candidates, but former David Jones CEO Paul Zahra is believed to be the leading contender for the role. Other potential candidates are said to include ex-Dick Smith Holdings CEO Nick Abboud and PAS Group CEO Eric Morris. Abboud and Morris have both previously held executive roles at Myer.

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, SPENCER STUART AND ASSOCIATES, DAVID JONES LIMITED, DICK SMITH HOLDINGS LIMITED, THE PAS GROUP LIMITED – ASX PGR, ANCHORAGE CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, PREMIER INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX PMV, BRISCOES, CENTRAL DEPARTMENT STORE GROUP, HOLT RENFREW AND COMPANY LIMITED, FOSCHINI GROUP

ANZ ramps up home loan growth in mortgage race

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 21-Feb-18

The ANZ Bank has advised that its mortgage lending grew at a faster than the broader sector in the December 2017 quarter. However, the number of residential home loans that are in arrears increased from 0.59 per cent to 0.60 per cent quarter-on-quarter. ANZ’s quarterly statement on bank capital also shows that its customers continued to switch from interest-only loans principal-and-interest loans during the quarter, while its common equity tier one capital ratio rose from 10.57 per cent to 10.82 per cent.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Seven cuts dividend to focus on debt

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 21-Feb-18

Seven West Media has posted a 2017-18 interim underlying net profit of $A100.7m, which is 5.2 per cent higher than previously. EBITDA was up 3.5 per cent at $A176.8m, but revenue fell 10.4 per cent to $A809.4m. The media group reduced its costs by $A13.8m during the first half, and it aims to cut costs by $A40m over the full year. CEO Tim Worner says dividends have been put on hold to enable Seven to reduce its debt and capitalise on potential merger opportunities in the wake of the federal government’s cross-media ownership reforms.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, YAHOO!7 COMMUNICATIONS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Joyce crisis has tarnished Nats brand, WA says

Original article by Joe Kelly, Victoria Laurie, Andrew Burrell, Andrew Clennell
The Australian – Page: 5 : 21-Feb-18

National Party leader Barnaby Joyce has lost the support of the party’s Western Australian division, which has stated that his position is no longer tenable in the wake of his affair with an ex-staffer. Some Nationals MPs believe that it would be in the best interests of the party for Joyce to resign voluntarily rather than being forced to step down, warning that he could damage the Coalition politically from the backbench. Meanwhile, the Liberal-National Party of Queensland’s president Gary Spence has urged a swift resolution to the crisis.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL-NATIONAL PARTY OF QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

New LNG export trains to lift Oil Search output

Original article by Matt Chambers
The Australian – Page: 20 : 21-Feb-18

Oil Search has posted a 2017 net profit of $US302.1m, which is 236 per cent higher than previously. MD Peter Botten says the company’s output could potentially double in the next 5-7 years, after Oil Search reached agreement with ExxonMobil and Total to increase their LNG output in Papua New Guinea by building three additional production trains. The new trains would feed gas from the Elk/Antelope gas field and the PNG LNG project into the existing PNG LNG plant. The expansion is subject to formal approval by the projects’ partners and the PNG government.

CORPORATES
OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION, TOTAL SA, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL

BHP surges on oil, copper

Original article by Matt Chambers
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 21-Feb-18

BHP Billiton has posted a 2017-18 interim underlying net profit of $US4.05bn ($A5.11bn). Although the result was 25 per cent higher than previously, it was below the consensus forecast of analysts. BHP’s statutory profit of $US2.02bn was down 37 per cent, due primarily to exceptional item associated with the Trump administration’s company tax cuts. Revenue exceeded market expectations at $US21.78bn, an increase of 21 per cent, and the interim dividend has risen from $US0.40 per share to $US0.55.

CORPORATES
BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, ELLIOTT ASSOCIATES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence down again by 3.5% to 115.3

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 21-Feb-18

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence fell 3.5% to 115.3 in the week ended 18 February, following a 2.6% decline in the previous week. For the second straight week all sub-indices posted declines, with sentiment around economic conditions dropping sharply. Views towards current economic conditions fell 5.5%, on the back of a 6% decline previously, bringing the sub-index to an eight-week low of 107.0. Similarly, perceptions of future economic conditions took an 8.8% dive to a 13-week low of 106.3. Views towards current and future conditions fell 1.6% and 1.3% respectively, following a 2.6% and 1.8% fall previously. That said, both indices remain above their long-term averages.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Roy Morgan announces winners of the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Awards

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 21-Feb-18

Roy Morgan has announced the winners of its seventh annual Customer Satisfaction Awards for Australia. The awards recognise outstanding levels of customer satisfaction, as judged by more than 50,000 consumers via the Roy Morgan Single Source survey. The award categories cover sectors such as banking, insurance, superannuation, automotive, travel and hospitality, retail, telecommunications and utilities. Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards continue to be the benchmark by which customer satisfaction is measured, and the 31 businesses honoured in the 2017 awards share one crucial characteristic: their unrivalled dedication to ensuring their customers are satisfied, and their success as rated by their customers.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, GREATER BANK LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, PEOPLE’S CHOICE CREDIT UNION, RACT INSURANCE PTY LTD, ST LUKE’S HEALTH INSURANCE, REAL INSURANCE, MACQUARIE SUPERANNUATION, TASPLAN LIMITED, SUPER CHEAP AUTO, MUFFIN BREAK, JEANSWEST CORPORATION PTY LTD, MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, COSTCO WHOLESALE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, THE REJECT SHOP LIMITED – ASX TRS, JB HI-FI LIMITED – ASX JBH, BUNNINGS GROUP LIMITED, MY CHEMIST PTY LTD, GRILL’D PTY LTD, ALDI LIQUOR, THE ATHLETE’S FOOT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, REBEL SPORT LIMITED, FOODLAND AUSTRALIA LIMITED, SOUTHERN PHONE COMPANY LIMITED, INTERNODE SYSTEMS PTY LTD, APPLE INCORPORATED, AMAYSIM AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX AYS, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AIR NEW ZEALAND LIMITED – ASX AIZ, RED ENERGY PTY LTD, LUMO ENERGY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, LEXUS AUSTRALIA