Gas price cut needed to save Gibson Island

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 18 : 21-May-19

Incitec Pivot has posted a 2018-19 underlying net profit of $41.9m, compared with $147.1m previously. The company has warned that its fertiliser plant at Gibson Island in Queensland will close by the end of 2019 unless action is taken to address the issue of high gas prices. CEO Jeanne Johns says it will not be viable to keep the plant open until 2022 unless gas prices fall. She has declined to comment on whether the federal government should use the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism to restrict gas export volumes in 2019 and 2020.

CORPORATES
INCITEC PIVOT LIMITED – ASX IPL, ENERGYQUEST PTY LTD

Westpac profit plunges 22pc as costs mount

Original article by James Frost, James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 7-May-19

Westpac has posted a 2018-19 interim net profit of $3.296bn, which is 22 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by provisions of $617m associated with Westpac’s customer remediation program. Westpac’s costs increased by one per cent to $5.04bn, although costs fell by three per cent when compensation and restructuring costs are excluded. Meanwhile, net income was down 10 per cent at $9.979bn for the half-year. CEO Brian Hartzer expects house prices to bottom in late 2019 or early 2020.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WATERMARK FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, CLIME ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, WESTPAC NEW ZEALAND LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

ANZ to cut $1bn in search of growth

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 22 : 2-May-19

The ANZ Bank has posted a 2018-19 interim cash profit of $3.56bn, which is two per cent higher than previously. The result for the six months to 31 March included provision for $175m worth of remediation charges. CEO Shayne Elliott has flagged further cost-cutting measures in coming years, although he has downplayed talk of further staff cuts and branch closures. Meanwhile, Elliott says the banking sector’s mortgage loan repayment buffer of 7.25 per cent should be revised, given that the cash rate is just 1.5 per cent at present.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, TRIBECA INVESTMENT PARTNERS PTY LTD, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Investors wary in peak profit warning season

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 28 : 1-May-19

Matthew Ross of Goldman Sachs anticipates an increase in profit warnings ahead of the end of the 2018-19 financial year. He adds that factors such as the federal election will make it hard for listed companies to increase earnings momentum leading into the second half of the calendar year. However, Ross notes that despite a decline in profit margins in the last 18 months, the EBIT margins of 80 per cent of companies remained above long-term averages during the first half of 2018-19.

CORPORATES
GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK

Tax big banks for implied guarantee

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 25 : 22-Mar-19

Australia’s four major banks are able to access wholesale funding at cheaper rates because of an implied guarantee that the federal government will not let them fail because of their size. ME Bank CEO Jamie McPhee says governments should tax the bigger banks because they get cheaper funding as a result of the "too big to fail" guarantee, and that this would make it easier for smaller banks to compete. ME Bank has advised that its net profit for the second half of 2018 fell 11 per cent to $41 million.

CORPORATES
ME BANK, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION

TPG calls for reduction in damaging NBN price

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 20 : 20-Mar-19

TPG Telecom has posted a 2018-19 interim net profit of $47.4m, which is 76.3 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by a write-down associated with a decision to shelve plans for its own mobile network. TPG has advised that earnings from its core residential fixed-line broadband business fell 4.8 per cent to $243m during the half-year. CFO Craig Levy has warned that TPG will have to scrap its entry-level national broadband network plan unless NBN Co reduces its wholesale prices for budget plans.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, NBN CO LIMITED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, NEW STREET RESEARCH, GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, VODAFONE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Delays imperil 300 mining jobs

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 22 : 20-Mar-19

New Hope Corporation has posted a 2018-19 interim net profit of $159.8m, which is 33 per cent higher than previously. The result was boosted by its increased stake in the Bengalla coal mine in New South Wales. Meanwhile, MD Shane Stephan has warned that the company will have to retrench workers at its New Acland mine in Queensland if it does not gain approval for its third-stage expansion by the September quarter. New Acland boasts 300 direct employees and 500 contractors.

CORPORATES
NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC, MORGANS FINANCIAL LIMITED

ING gains as customers flee the big banks

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 14-Mar-19

The number of customers for whom ING Australia is their main bank has risen by 57 per cent in the last year, to 645,000. This compares with just 100,000 customers in 2013. ING Australia CEO Uday Sareen says positive advocacy from the digital-only bank’s existing customers has been a major of its recent growth, which has also coincided with the Hayne royal commission. ING Australia booked a statutory net profit of $401m in 2018, an increase of 15 per cent, while deposits grew by nine per cent to $43.4bn.

CORPORATES
ING AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, APPLE PAY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Reprieve for Myer as profits rise

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 7-Mar-19

Department store group Myer Holdings has posted a 2018-19 interim profit of $38.4m, compared with a writedown-marred loss of $476m for the previous corresponding period. Myer’s underlying profit was up 3.1 per cent at $41.3m, but sales fell by 2.8 per cent to $1.67bn. CEO John King says Myer will continue to sale overseas fashion brands, but it will seek to increase its in-house brands’ share of group sales from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, DAVID JONES LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Resources strength holds up reporting season

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 28 : 5-Mar-19

Paul Winter of UBS notes that Australia’s latest February reporting season featured more earnings downgrades than upgrades for the first time in the last four years. Hasan Tevfik of MST Marquee adds that while the reporting season was better than expected, this was largely due to a strong performance by the resources sector, which offset weakness in other sectors. Earnings-per-share growth for S&P/ASX 200 stocks is now forecast to be 6.3 per cent in 2018-19, compared with 7.6 per cent in 2017-18.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, MST MARQUEE, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED