AMP CEO De Ferrari won’t get a new life insurance deal

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 6-Dec-18

Merlon Capital is among the AMP shareholders that oppose the sale of its life insurance business. However, AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari says the $3.3bn deal will proceed, arguing that the wealth manager lacks the global scale to compete with much larger international rivals in the life insurance sector. De Ferrari has also expressed support for AMP’s vertically integrated business model, but says this will be unwound if the final report of the financial services commission recommends it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, CREDIT SUISSE AG, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD

AMP’s new CEO starts in the hot seat

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 20 : 3-Dec-18

Francesco De Ferrari starts his first day as CEO of AMP on 3 December, having previously been head of Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific private banking business. De Ferrari says he is determined to make the most of the impetus provided by the banking royal commission to bring about change in the way that AMP does business. Hamish Carlisle from Merlon Capital says De Ferrari should give AMP shareholders the opportunity to vote on the proposed sale of the AMP Life division, as well as renegotiating the deal if possible.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE AG, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, ATLAS FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION

Rio cuts Iran ties, flags sovereign risks

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 27-Nov-18

Rio Tinto has advised that its 68.8 per cent stake in the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia will be sold to China National Uranium Corporation for between $US6.5 million and $US106.5 million. The Iranian Foreign Investments Company owns 15.29 per cent of Rossing; its ownership has caused discomfort for Rio, given that the US and other western nations have imposed sanctions on Iran in recent years. Rio CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques says its investments in the developing world are still presenting challenges, including the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, CHINA NATIONAL URANIUM CORPORATION, IRANIAN FOREIGN INVESTMENTS COMPANY

Catalano reveals plans for $800m Fairfax asset sales

Original article by John Stensholt
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 22-Nov-18

Former Domain CEO Antony Catalano has outlined his strategy for Fairfax Media if his legal challenge to its merger with Nine Entertainment Company succeeds. Catalano has proposed to divest the bulk of Fairfax’s assets, allowing it to focus on core assets such as its metropolitan mastheads and its controlling stake in Domain. Amongst other things, Catalano estimates that streaming video service Stan could fetch around $300m and Fairfax’s stake in Macquarie Media could be sold for at least $180m.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX DHA, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, MACQUARIE MEDIA LIMITED – ASX MRN, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, THORNEY OPPORTUNITIES LIMITED – ASX TOP, THORNEY TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED – ASX TEK, UPDATER INCORPORATED

Woolies to return $1.7b to shareholders

Original article by Sue Mitchell
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 13-Nov-18

Shaun Cousins of JP Morgan estimates that the sale of Woolworths’ fuel retailing business will reduce earnings per share by 7.4 per cent in 2020 and 8.1 per cent in 2021. However, the impact on EPS would be lower if Woolworths opts to return the proceeds of the sale to shareholders via a buyback. Woolworths is widely tipped to return most of the sale proceeds to investors, having initially flagged its intention to use some of the funds to reduce to debt and finance store refurbishments.

CORPORATES
WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, EG GROUP, MASTERS HOME IMPROVEMENT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, BP PLC, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, BIG W DISCOUNT STORES, AUSTRALIAN LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY GROUP LIMITED, ENDEAVOUR DRINKS

Westpac not wedded to advice arm

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 6-Nov-18

Westpac has posted a cash profit of $8.07bn for the year o 30 September, which is in line with the previous financial year. Its consumer banking division’s earnings were flat, although its business banking arm performed well. Meanwhile, CEO Brian Hartzer says Westpac remains committed to its BT Financial division, although he says the bank may be willing to consider divesting its in-house financial planning business. Westpac boasted 803 salaried and aligned financial planners at the end of the financial year.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, MLC LIMITED, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, SWITZER DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND (MANAGED FUND) – ASX SWT, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED

AMP digs in as fresh queries arise over insurance arm sale

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 1-Nov-18

AMP’s acting CEO Mike Wilkins has defended the wealth manager’s $3.45bn deal to sell its life insurance arm, arguing that it is in the best interests of long-term shareholders. He adds that AMP’s board felt that it was appropriate to proceed with the transaction without putting it to a shareholder vote, although Dean Paatsch of proxy advisory firm Ownership Matters believes that the size of the deal means it should have been approved by shareholders. An ASX Limited spokesman has indicated that the deal is unlikely to breach listing rules.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD, ASX LIMITED – ASX ASX

Mitsubishi in $4.1bn swoop for CBA arm

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 1-Nov-18

Brett Le Mesurier of Shaw & Partners expects the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to return capital to shareholders following a deal to sell its global asset management business. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will pay $4.1bn for Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which CBA had previously intended to demerge with its financial planning and mortgage assets. CBA expects to generate a post-tax gain of around $1.5bn from the sale of CFSGAM, while the bank’s common-equity tier-one capital will be boosted by 60 basis points.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, MITSUBISHI UFJ FINANCIAL GROUP INCORPORATED, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, COUNT FINANCIAL LIMITED, FINANCIAL WISDOM LIMITED, AUSSIE HOME LOANS LIMITED, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GROUP LIMITED, MORTGAGE CHOICE LIMITED – ASX MOC, COUNTPLUS LIMITED – ASX CUP, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, MLC LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, SOCIETYONE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, TRIBECA INVESTMENT PARTNERS PTY LTD, MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST AND BANKING INCORPORATION

Fundies blast AMP over $3.4b fire sale

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 22 : 31-Oct-18

Allan Gray Australia and Merlon Capital Partners are among the institutional investors that have criticised AMP’s proposal to divest its life insurance business. They believe that the $3.4bn sale price undervalues the life business, and Merlon has flagged the possibility of seeking an extraordinary general meeting to challenge the deal. Merlon has written to AMP arguing that the deal demonstrates a "reckless disregard" for shareholders’ funds, while Simon Mawhinney of Allan Gray describes it as a "disastrous deal" for AMP’s shareholders.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, MACQUARIE COUNTRYWIDE MANAGEMENT LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, AXA ASIA PACIFIC HOLDINGS LIMITED

AMP implodes as investors flee amid fund outflows

Original article by Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 19 & 23 : 26-Oct-18

Wealth manager AMP has advised that its fund outflows totalled $1.5bn in the September quarter, compared with just $243m in the previous corresponding period. Acting CEO Mike Wilkins says lack of fund inflows is a bigger concern than the rise in outflows, adding that the problem is likely to persist until the financial services royal commission delivers its final report. AMP has also announced a $3.3bn deal to sell its life insurance business to Resolution Capital. AMP shares reached a record low on 25 October, reducing its market capitalisation by $2.3bn.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, RESOLUTION CAPITAL LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG