South32 warns of strike risk if ALP wins poll

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 18-Feb-19

South32 CEO Graham Kerr is concerned that Labor’s workplace reform agenda could lead to increased industrial action, particularly in the resources sector. He says the outcome of the upcoming federal election could affect business confidence for at least 12 months. Kerr notes that stability of supply is a major priority for buyers of Australia’s metallurgical coal buyers. He adds that if supply is disrupted they will source coal elsewhere, and it is very hard to regain a customer’s trust once it has been lost. Employers’ groups are also concerned about any move to reinstate industry-wide bargaining.

CORPORATES
SOUTH32 LIMITED – ASX S32, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, TAHMOOR COAL PTY LTD, CENTENNIAL COAL COMPANY LIMITED, WOLLONGONG COAL LIMITED – ASX WLC, PEABODY ENERGY AUSTRALIA COAL PTY LTD, PORT KEMBLA COAL TERMINAL LIMITED

Business bashing poll on the cards

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 15-Feb-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused Labor of siding with large energy companies over its role in having the federal government withdraw legislation to force them to sell assets if they fail to reduce electricity prices. With the Greens having secured the consent of Labor and six crossbenchers to have the legislation amended so that the government could not subsidise new coal-fired power stations, the government withdrew it, knowing that it would have been defeated in the House of Representatives. The government will now take the legislation, which has been attacked by energy companies and big business, to the upcoming election.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL

Taylor blasts AGL’s high prices

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 8-Feb-19

Energy Minister Angus Taylor contends that Australians should be irate by AGL’s announcement that it has made a $537 million interim net profit. He claims that AGL and other energy companies are making big profits at a time when consumers and businesses are struggling with high power prices. Taylor has also stated that comments by energy companies that the federal government’s "big stick" legislation is deterring investment is false, noting that investment in the sector will exceed $25 billion over the three years to 2020.

CORPORATES
AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, ALINTA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Energy chief lashes dangerous bill

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 7-Feb-19

A Senate committee has been told that a bill to force the divestment of energy assets would create greater uncertainty in the electricity sector. EnergyAustralia MD Catherine Tanna has told the committee that the bill was poorly drafted and there had been insufficient consultation. Frontier Economics has warned of the proposed divestment powers’ impact on investment in the electricity sector. However, others have argued that the reforms are necessary to curb the market power of large vertically integrated electricity suppliers.

CORPORATES
ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FRONTIER ECONOMICS PTY LTD, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR, SIMEC ENERGY

Small biz bosses in fear of Labor

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 15 & 18 : 25-Jan-19

The Executive Connection’s CEO Confidence Index fell 10 points to 112 in December, the first consecutive decline in two years. The Index is based on responses from around 110 small business owners, with nearly 60 per cent stating that a Labor government would be bad for their business. Labor has foreshadowed a series of tax increases that are tipped to raise $200 billion over a decade, although it has proposed a more generous investment allowance. Over 70 per cent of small business leaders surveyed expect that property prices will continue to fall.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY, MYOB GROUP LIMITED – ASX MYO, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Hacking risks higher under open banking

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 24-Jan-19

The Australian Banking Association has expressed concern that theft of personal data and email scams will become rife under the federal government’s open banking regime. Open banking is slated to begin on 1 February 2020, with a pilot program to commence in July 2019. The ABA’s submission to the Treasury’s draft report on open banking has called for the terms of reference for the pilot program to include an assessment of the potential privacy risks.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

ALP locks in shipping fleet

Original article by Primrose Riordan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 24-Jan-19

The Maritime Union of Australia’s national secretary Paddy Crumlin says Labor is likely to pursue coastal shipping reforms if it wins the 2019 federal election. He expects Labor to mandate that cargo ships operating between the nation’s ports must be Australian-flagged, with local crews who are subject to Australian conditions of employment. Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable says that such restrictions would lead to higher costs for businesses and consumers.

CORPORATES
MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY

Argus warns Shorten on silly class war

Original article by Patrick Durkin
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-19

Former BHP chairman Don Argus says Labor leader Bill Shorten could divide the nation if he contests the 2019 election on the basis of class warfare. Argus adds that despite Shorten’s rhetoric, the majority of employers and workers recognise the need to work together. Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney and AustralianSuper chair Heather Ridout are among the other business leaders who have cautioned Shorten against engaging in populist politics.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, WESFARMERS LIMITED – ASX WES, AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, ASX LIMITED – ASX ASX, SIMS METAL MANAGEMENT LIMITED – ASX SGM, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Shorten attacks BHP, business

Original article by John Kehoe, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 18-Jan-19

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has attacked BHP for replacing Australian seafarers with foreign crews on ships that transport iron ore from Western Australia to Wollongong. His criticism of BHP came during the launch of his "Queensland Jobs Not Cuts" bus tour on 17 January, with Shorten attacking big business and the wealth-off. Business leaders expressed concern about Shorten’s anti-big business rhetoric, with Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson saying it is important that businesses of all sizes are successful.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Dividends paid early to beat ALP

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 16-Jan-19

Jason Steed of Morgan Stanley expects some listed companies to announce share buybacks and special dividends prior to the federal election, in order to avoid Labor’s proposed changes to the franking credits system. Mirrabooka Investments has already advised that its special dividend will be paid immediately rather than on 1 July, with CEO Mark Freeman attributing the move to uncertainty regarding Labor’s policy. Liberal MP Tim Wilson notes that many companies have told a parliamentary committee that they have changed their investment strategy in anticipation of Labor’s policy.

CORPORATES
MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, MIRRABOOKA INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX MIR, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, HARVEY NORMAN HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX HVN, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, METCASH LIMITED – ASX MTS, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW