Put reform on fast track: Westpac

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 5-May-20

Westpac has reported cash earnings of $993m for the first half of 2019-20, which is 70 per cent lower than previously. As previously flagged, the half-year result was marred by impairment charges totalling $2.23bn, including some $1.6bn for coronavirus-related loan losses. Westpac has deferred a decision on the payment of an interim dividend, while CEO Peter King has urged the national cabinet to move quickly to restart the economy when the pandemic abates. He has forecast a V-shaped economic recovery in 2021.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Prepare for drawn-out downturn

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 1-May-20

The ANZ Bank has posted an interim cash profit of $1.41bn, which is 60 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by impairment charges totalling $1.7bn, while a decision on its half-year dividend will be deferred until August due to uncertainty regarding the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. ANZ’s common equity tier one ratio has fallen to 10.8 per cent, compared with 11.5 per cent a year ago. Meanwhile, CEO Shayne Elliott says the Australian economy is unlikely to experience a V-shaped recovery.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Virus-plagued NAB seeks $3.5bn

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 28-Apr-20

National Australia Bank has posted a 2019-20 interim net profit of $1.3bn, compared with $2.7bn previously. Loan impairments rose to $1.2bn due to a sharp increase in provisions due to the coronavirus, while NAB has reduced its interim dividend from $0.83 per share to just $0.30. NAB shares were suspended from trading on 27 April pending a $3.5bn capital raising, which comprises a $3bn institutional placement and a $500m share purchase plan. Meanwhile, NAB is bearish about the outlook for the economy and unemployment in the near-term.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Businesses buffeted in sea of uncertainty

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 17-Mar-20

A growing number of Australian-listed companies are abandoning their recently-issued earnings guidance in response to the coronavirus. They include Cochlear, which has warned that hearing implants will be a low priority for the healthcare sector in terms of elective surgery when the virus is eventually contained. Challenger Limited, Auckland International Airport and oOh!Media are among the other companies that have withdrawn their earnings guidance. In contrast, The Reject Shop has advised that its sales have risen strongly year-on-year amid panic buying by consumers.

CORPORATES
COCHLEAR LIMITED – ASX COH, CHALLENGER LIMITED – ASX CGF, AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LIMITED – ASX AIA, OOH!MEDIA LIMITED – ASX OML, THE REJECT SHOP LIMITED – ASX TRS

Nine to give sport, movies the chop

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 27-Feb-20

Nine Entertainment Company has reported a 2019-20 interim net profit of $101.9m, which is 41 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by write-downs totalling $75.2m. The Nine Network’s underlying earnings fell by 36 per cent to $103.5m and revenue was six per cent lower at $531.2m, while earnings from its digital and publishing assets rose by seven per cent to $46.7m. Nine CEO Hugh Marks has flagged cost cuts of $100m at the Nine Network over the next three years.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, NINE NETWORK AUSTRALIA LIMITED

China will act quickly to spur economy: Rio

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 27-Feb-20

Rio Tinto has reported underlying earnings of $US10.37bn ($15.77bn) for 2019. The result was bolstered by a strong rise in the iron ore price; the group’s average received price was 37 per cent higher than in 2018. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has warned that both the Chinese and global economies will be adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak in the March quarter. However, CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques expects the Chinese government to pursue stimulus measures, which will in turn boost demand for commodities. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of $US2.31 per share.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Slowing sales hit Woolies earnings

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 19 : 27-Feb-20

Woolworths has posted a 2019-20 interim net profit of $887m, which is 7.7 per cent lower than previously. The retail giant’s half-year accounts included an $80m hit from its wage underpayments scandal. Woolworths has advised that its wage remediation costs have blown out to $315m, plus $80 million in interest payments. Meanwhile, CEO Brad Banducci notes that the group’s sales have been impacted by the coronavirus, particularly in suburbs that have a high proportion of Asian consumers and students from China.

CORPORATES
WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW

Whitehaven Coal profit slumps 91pc

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 21-Feb-20

Whitehaven Coal has reported a 2019-20 half-year net profit of $27.4 million, which is 91 per cent lower than previously. Despite the decline, it still managed to declare a dividend, although shareholders will only receive a payment of $0.015 per share, compared to the $0.20 per share they received for the previous corresponding period. Falling thermal coal prices were the biggest contributor to Whitehaven’s profit decline, while its coal production was down by 31 per cent.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC

Investors shrug off weak outlook, virus threat

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 20-Feb-20

Pieter Stoltz of UBS notes that 28 per cent of Australia’s large-capitalisation stocks have exceeded their dividend expectations so far in the February reporting season. He says this may be due to factors such as demand for stable income or limited investment opportunities. Stoltz adds that 31 per cent of large companies have upgraded their earnings guidance, while just 19 per cent have downgraded their earnings guidance.

CORPORATES
UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Forrest’s payout tops $2bn as Fortescue’s profit rises

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 19 : 20-Feb-20

Fortescue Metals Group has posted a 2019-20 interim net profit of $US2.5bn ($3.7bn), which is 281 per cent higher than previously. The pure-play iron ore miner has reported underlying EBITDA of $US4.2bn and revenue of $US6.5bn for the half-year. Fortescue’s shipments totalled 88.6 million tonnes for the period, and its average realised price for the steel input was 73 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of $0.76 per share, boosting the wealth of founder Andrew Forrest.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG