Rio wears cash drain to bet on copper

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 5-Dec-19

Rio Tinto will extend the life of its Kennecott copper mine in the US until at least 2032 after unveiling plans to spend $US1.5bn on a new pit wall cutback. Rio Tinto is also widely tipped to spend some $US1.5bn on the expansion of its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia in 2020. The capital investment programs have raised doubts as to whether Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds division will generate free cash flow in 2020. Copper and diamonds have accounted for the bulk of its expenditure on exploration in 2019.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Investment strike keeps growth low

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 5-Dec-19

Commonwealth Bank economist Michael Blythe says the latest GDP data shows that Australia has a two-speed economy, with private sector spending down 0.1 per cent in the September quarter and 0.3 per cent year-on-year, while public sector spending increased by 1.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively. Master Builders Australia has urged the federal government to fast-track smaller infrastructure projects, with chief economist Shane Garrett noting that businesses and consumers lack the confidence to spend at present.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, WAGNERS HOLDING COMPANY LIMITED – ASX WGN

Spending forecasts raise GDP fears

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 29-Nov-19

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that business investment fell by 0.2 per cent in the September quarter and by 1.3 per cent year-on-year. Mining investment increased by 1.2 per cent in the year to September, while investment in equipment, plant and machinery was down 3.5 per cent. Josh Williamson of Citigroup says the latter figure is likely to reduce GDP growth in the September quarter by 0.15 percentage points.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

Infrastructure spending set to take a dive

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 6 : 28-Nov-19

The Parliamentary Budget Office has forecast that Australia’s net infrastructure investment will peak at $38bn in 2019-20, before falling over the next three years. This is primarily due to expectations that the net debt of the state governments will blow out to around $156bn by 2022. This would constitute the states’ highest share of public debt in two decades.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE

RBA urges boards: cut hurdle rates

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 30-Oct-19

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has used a speech in Canberra to argue that businesses should reduce their return hurdle rates on new investments in response to historically low interest rates. He contends that many business investments that did not make sense commercially when interest rates were much higher should now proceed. Lowe also emphasised that negative interest rates are unlikely in Australia.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

BHP holds out against activist push

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 18-Oct-19

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie has defended its membership of mining industry groups such as the Minerals Council of Australia and associated entities like Coal 21, amid growing pressure from activist groups and shareholders. Meanwhile, BHP has advised that scheduled maintenance work at Port Hedland resulted in its Pilbara iron ore production falling three per cent to 69 million tonnes in the September quarter. BHP has also approved additional expenditure of $US344m on the Jansen potash project in Canada, ahead of a final investment decision in February 2021.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, COAL 21

Business cash flow tax would lift investment

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 3-Sep-19

Economist Ross Garnaut has called on the federal government to adopt a business cash flow tax that would incorporate a full deduction for corporate expenditure. He says a full tax write-off for business expenditure provides a significant incentive for investment, and is in line with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s recent call for companies to boost productivity by increasing capital investment in preference to share buybacks and special dividends. Garnaut and former federal Labor minister Craig Emerson have undertaken economic modelling on a possible switch from the traditional profit-based company tax to a tax based on cash flow.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Miners weigh lowering hurdle on projects

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 2-Sep-19

Alumina CEO Mike Ferraro says mining companies should not be rigid about the rate of return they expect from an investment. A rate of return of 15 per cent has become the minimum requirement for most large mining corporations when deciding whether to proceed with a project, but there are signs that some are prepared to go below this rate of return due to very low interest rates. Newcrest Mining CEO Sandeep Biswas says he would be more willing to accept lower rates of return on new projects than on expansions of existing ones.

CORPORATES
ALUMINA LIMITED – ASX AWC, NEWCREST MINING LIMITED – ASX NCM, OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Investment outlook clouded by global risks

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 25 : 30-Aug-19

Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics expects the upcoming national accounts data to show that the Australian economy grew by just 0.2 per cent in the June quarter. This follows the release of data showing an 0.5 per cent decline in private new capital expenditure during the quarter; financial markets had anticipated an increase of 0.4 per cent. However, there has been a 16.7 per rise in capital expenditure intentions for 2019-20, with capex estimates in the mining sector revised upwards by 17.7 per cent.

CORPORATES
CAPITAL ECONOMICS LIMITED, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP CAPITAL INVESTORS LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Grow business or be swamped: SEEK boss

Original article by Damon Kitney, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 2 : 29-Aug-19

SEEK CEO Andrew Bassat­ and Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayak have backed a recent call by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for Australian companies to lift productivity by reinvesting in their business rather than returning capital to shareholders. Bassat says Australian companies will be less competitive internationally if their level of capital investment continues to lag that of their global peers. However, Boral CEO Mike Kane is amongst the business leaders who have rejected Frydenberg’s comments.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, BORAL LIMITED – ASX BLD, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG