Banks stay cautious despite lending shift

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 15 : 28-Sep-20

Investors Mutual founder Anton Tagliaferro does not expect the federal government’s proposal to scrap responsible lending laws to make a "material difference" to Australia’s banks. He says banks tend to be very cautious during a recession, adding that this is likely to continue going into 2021. Tagliaferro adds that banks are likely to be focused on existing loans in the near-term, as repayment deferral periods come to an end. Meanwhile, he expects the federal Budget on 6 October to include tax cuts and measures aimed at boosting jobs.

CORPORATES
INVESTORS MUTUAL LIMITED

Retail can thrive in online shopping shift

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 23-Sep-20

More consumers have embraced online shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic, a trend that Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra expects to continue. He says the proportion of retail sales that are made online could rise to 20 per cent over the next 18-24 months, compared with about 10 per cent prior to COVID-19. Zahra warns that more physical stores are likely to close in coming years, but the shift to online will force retailers to adapt their business models. The pandemic has also prompted more consumers to support retailers within their local community.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION

CBA investors brace for lower payout

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 15 : 10-Aug-20

The consensus of analysts is that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s 2019-20 cash earnings will be 10 per cent lower than previously, at $7.6bn. UBS expects the coronavirus pandemic to prompt CBA to increase its impairment charges for the second half to $1.9bn, which includes a $1.5bn COVID-related provision that the bank announced earlier in the year. Meanwhile, UBS forecasts that CBA shareholders will receive a final dividend of $0.95 per share, which would be in line with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s revised guidance.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Pandemic pressure for super mergers

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 27-Jul-20

The balanced options of Equipsuper and Catholic Super achieved positive returns in 2019-20, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The two funds merged in 2019, and boast a combined $26bn worth of funds under management. Scott Cameron, the CEO of the Equipsuper -Catholic Super, says his target is still to have $50bn of funds under management within five years. He has flagged another merger deal within months, and expects COVID-19 to lead to further consolidation in the super sector.

CORPORATES
EQUIPSUPER PTY LTD, CATHOLIC SUPER

Shape of banks’ dividend recovery will be more U than V

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 & 18 : 24-Jul-20

Brendan Sproules of Citigroup expects Australia’s banks to resume paying dividends in the December quarter, at a reduced payout ratio of just 40 per cent. He does not expect banks’ payout ratios to return to pre-coronavirus levels until fiscal 2022. Westpac and the ANZ Bank recently put their interim dividends on hold, while Citigroup expects the Commonwealth Bank and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank to withhold their dividends for the second half of 2019-20.

CORPORATES
CITIGROUP PTY LTD, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN

Fortescue rides iron ore boom

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 14-Jul-20

Data from Port Hedland shows that its iron ore export volumes rose to a record 51.8 million in June, and 281 million tonnes in the year to date. This is six per cent higher than the same period in 2019, and Glynn Lawcock of UBS says Fortescue Metals Group may exceed its guidance of 175 to 177 million tonnes for 2019-20. He adds that the strength of the iron ore price and high shipping volumes could see Fortescue announce a final dividend of $0.98 per share, compared with the consensus forecast of $0.80.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Banks must go harder on costs: KPMG

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 9-Jul-20

KPMG partner Hessel Verbeek warns that Australia’s banks face the prospect of single-digit returns on equity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He argues that they will have to be much more aggressive in reducing costs. Verbeek has identified branch closures and product rationalisation as some of the areas that offer scope for cost savings. He notes that overseas banks have been much more active in pursuing such strategies; Australian banks have closed just 14 per cent of their branches since 2015, while British banks have closed 33 per cent.

CORPORATES
KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Aussie gas spurs Shell’s $12bn hit

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 1-Jul-20

Macquarie expects more companies in Australia’s energy sector to announce writedowns in the second half of 2020, in the wake of the sharp fall in the crude oil price. Global energy giant Shell has advised of impairment charges of up to $US22bn; this includes a writedown of between $US8bn and $US9bn on its gas business, primarily due to its gas projects in Australia. The price of Brent crude is trading at around $US40 a barrel, and Macquarie notes that Australian energy producers typically use a price of $US70 to $US75 a barrel for impairment testing purposes.

CORPORATES
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, SHELL COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

More may exit NW Shelf, Woodside warns

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 25-Jun-20

Woodside Petroleum director Ann Pickard says the North West Shelf joint venture worked very well at first, but the competing interests of the six partners have progressively gotten in the way. She says other partners could opt to join Chevron in selling out of the LNG venture, given that the NWS plant is set to begin processing third-party gas as the project’s reserves run down. Former Woodside CEO Don Voelte says Shell and BP could potentially sell their NWS stakes.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, NORTH WEST SHELF LNG PTY LTD, CHEVRON CORPORATION, BP PLC, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC

Bad loans hit small banks hard: Citi

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 16 : 16-Jun-20

Citigroup analysts note that Australia’s smaller mortgage lenders have actively pursued increased market share in recent years. However, Citi warns that they are set to be hardest hit by a coronavirus-induced rise in loan losses later in 2020, as such losses tend to be highest during the first 3-4 years of a loan. Citi contends that small lenders will need to focus on capital demands rather than further growing their market share, which in turn is likely to prompt a swing back to large lenders.

CORPORATES
CITIGROUP PTY LTD