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

Newspaper publisher ACM may close presses in Victoria, SA and Canberra, shedding 200 jobs

Original article by Emilia Terzon
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 9-Jul-20

Regional newspaper publisher Australian Community Media may shut down four of its nine printing plants. ACM has declined to comment on the likely job losses if the printing presses in Albury-Wodonga, Ballarat, Canberra and Murray Bridge are shut down; the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union estimates that about 200 people would be retrenched, primarily in Ballarat. ACM says reduction in printing volumes due to the coronavirus pandemic means it has excess print capacity.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA

Hard landing for Qantas workers

Original article by Robyn Ironside, Damon Kitney
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 26-Jun-20

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce will remain at the helm for another three years to oversee the national carrier’s coronavirus recovery plan. This will include reducing costs by $15bn over three years and shedding 6,000 employees across its operations. The job cuts will include more than 1,000 cabin crew, some 1,500 ground crew and 630 engineers. The redundancies will cost about $600m in total, while the 15,000 employees who were stood down earlier in 2020 will not return to work in the near-term. ACTU president Michele O’Neil has criticised the job cuts, accusing Qantas of abandoning its workers at "their time of greatest need". Meanwhile, Qantas will increase its liquidity via a $1.9bn capital raising.

CORPORATES
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, ACTU

ABC axes flagship roles for digital

Original article by Steve Jackson
The Australian – Page: 7 : 25-Jun-20

About 70 jobs in the ABC’s news division will be cut under the five-year plan, as the public broadcaster shifts its focus to digital on on-demand content. This will result in a significant reduction in original reporting produced by its current affairs programs. The ABC’s news analysis and investigations teams will also be scaled back, while the position of chief economics correspondent is expected to be axed. ABC News director Gaven Morris has confirmed that fewer new episodes of ‘Australian Story’ and ‘Foreign Correspondent’ will be produced due to the budget cuts.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Directors take pay cut as ABC jobs axed

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 7 : 24-Jun-20

The ABC will release its five-year plan on 24 June, which will include up to 250 redundancies across its operations. Meanwhile, an ABC spokesman has advised that the Remuneration Tribunal has approved the public broadcaster’s proposal to temporarily reduce the salaries of its nine-member board by 10 per cent during the second half of 2020. The ABC’s five-year plan was originally slated to be released in March, but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIA. REMUNERATION TRIBUNAL

ABC pushes ahead with job cuts in arduous year

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 10-Jun-20

ABC MD David Anderson has informed staff that budget cuts will force the public broadcaster to retrench more than 200 employees. Anderson also indicated that the ABC will initially seek voluntary redundancies in divisions that are likely to lose at least 10 employees, although forced redundancies will also be necessary. The ABC will releases its five-year plan later in June; it was delayed earlier in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government imposed a three-year funding freeze on the ABC in 2019.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Media groups slash costs as advertising slump bites

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 7-Apr-20

Southern Cross Media Group CEO Grant Blackley says the fundamentals of its business remain sound, despite the impact of the pandemic on the advertising market. Southern Cross will seek to reduce costs by $40m-$45m in 2020, while the proceeds of a $169m equity raising will be used to reduce its $330.5m debt. The group has also advised that advertising revenue fell 10 per cent year-on-year in the nine months to 31 March. Rival radio stations group HT&E has also flagged cost cuts, including temporary salary reductions and reduced working hours for its staff.

CORPORATES
SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL, HT&E LIMITED – ASX HT1

Nine targets $266m in cost cuts as virus hits

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 31-Mar-20

Nine Entertainment Company aims to reduce its costs by $266m in calendar 2020, including $102m in the first half. Amongst other things, the media giant expects its broadcasting division to achieve cost savings $130m if the entire NRL season is cancelled; this would be split across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. Nine has also advised that the coronavirus lockdown has prompted strong growth in subscriptions and usage of its Stan and 9Now streaming services.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, 9NOW

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

Big banks chop 200 branches in cost-cutting drive

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 21 : 24-Oct-19

Data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority shows that the nation’s four major banks closed 207 branches during 2018-19, and 750 since 2014. Westpac has closed 333 branches in the last five years, including those of its subsidiaries, ahead of ANZ Bank with 190. A Westpac spokesman has defended the closures, noting that less than two per cent of banking transactions are now undertaken in its branches. More than 1,000 ATMs nationwide have also been scrapped in the last year.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, ST GEORGE BANK LIMITED, BANK OF MELBOURNE LIMITED, BANK OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA LIMITED, FINANCE SECTOR UNION