Diggers still doing deals as gold price dips

Original article by Matt Chambers
The Australian – Page: 20 : 6-Aug-18

Mergers and acquisitions activity and rising costs are among the issues that are likely to attract debate during the annual Diggers & Dealers mining conference in Kalgoorlie. Justin Osborne of Gold Road Resources expects larger gold producers to continue to pursue exploration deals in the near-term, although he says M&A activity may increase in coming years. Stuart Mathews, the local head of Gold Fields, says it would be open to appropriate acquisitions in the exploration space but its existing assets are its focus at present.

CORPORATES
DIGGERS AND DEALERS FORUM, GOLD ROAD RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX GOR, GOLD FIELDS LIMITED, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

Fairfax and News deal extends future of print

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 19-Jul-18

Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia have struck a landmark deal to share some newspaper printing and distribution facilities in New South Wales and Queensland. Fairfax will print some News Corp publications on its printing presses in North Richmond, while News Corp will in turn print some Fairfax publications. The deal is expected to generate annual cost savings of $A15m for Fairfax, and CEO Greg Hywood says it will help ensure the long-term viability of print newspapers.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, GOOGLE INCORPORATED

Village eyes rebound as salaries, discounts cut

Original article by Jemima Whyte
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 11-Jul-18

Village Roadshow will use the proceeds of a $51m right issue to reduce its debt. The new shares will be offered at $1.65 apiece, which represents a discount of 24 per cent to the stock’s most recent trading price. The theme parks and cinemas group has also advised that it will cease offering discounted tickets via resellers, with co-CEO Graham Burke noting that the majority of consumers now buy tickets directly from Village Roadshow. The company will reduce its joint CEOs’ salaries and its directors’ fees as part of a strategy to cut costs.

CORPORATES
VILLAGE ROADSHOW LIMITED – ASX VRL, WARNER BROS MOVIE WORLD ENTERPRISES, SEAWORLD, WET `N’ WILD WATER PARK, TOPGOLF, VILLAGE ROADSHOW CORPORATION LIMITED, ARDENT LEISURE GROUP – ASX AAD, DREAMWORLD, GROUPON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Optus to hang up on Virgin Mobile

Original article by Supratim Adhikari
The Australian – Page: 19 : 24-May-18

Optus has confirmed that it will discontinue the Virgin Mobile brand in Australia, as part of its strategy to reduce costs. The decision to scrap the brand will result in the closure of about 36 stores and the loss of 200 jobs. Meanwhile, the Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay a $A1.5m fine after it falsely advised broadband customers that they had just 30 days rather than up to 18 months to switch to the NBN when it became available in their area.

CORPORATES
SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, VIRGIN MOBILE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, VIRGIN MOBILE HOLDINGS (UK) PLC, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AMAYSIM AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX AYS, THE KANTAR GROUP, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS

Hywood seeks cuts as Fairfax print sales fall

Original article by Dana McCauley
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 22-Feb-18

Fairfax Media has posted a 2017-18 interim net profit of $A38.5m, which is 54 per cent lower than previously. Underlying net profit fell 10 per cent to $A76.3m and revenue was down four per cent at $A877m. The Australian Metro Media division’s print advertising revenue and circulation revenue were down 13.4 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively. Fairfax reduced costs by 11 per cent during the half-year, and CEO Greg Hywood says the group will seek further cost cuts. He also says Fairfax will be open to mergers and acquisitions, while it intends to sell or discontinue 28 print publications in New Zealand.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, METRO MEDIA PUBLISHING PTY LTD, STUFF LIMITED, MACQUARIE MEDIA LIMITED – ASX MRN, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX DHA, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS

Seven cuts dividend to focus on debt

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 21-Feb-18

Seven West Media has posted a 2017-18 interim underlying net profit of $A100.7m, which is 5.2 per cent higher than previously. EBITDA was up 3.5 per cent at $A176.8m, but revenue fell 10.4 per cent to $A809.4m. The media group reduced its costs by $A13.8m during the first half, and it aims to cut costs by $A40m over the full year. CEO Tim Worner says dividends have been put on hold to enable Seven to reduce its debt and capitalise on potential merger opportunities in the wake of the federal government’s cross-media ownership reforms.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, YAHOO!7 COMMUNICATIONS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Myer trims staff hours to cut costs

Original article by Sue Mitchell
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 28-Nov-17

Department store chain Myer is cutting staff hours at its poorer performing stores to help reduce costs, although the move appears at odds with CEO Richard Umbers’ New Myer strategy. A key feature of the strategy involves boosting "customer facing hours". Myer’s same-store sales fell by 2.1 per cent in the three months to October, and Umbers told its AGM on 24 November that there had been no improvement since then. Myer has been the subject of sustained attack recently from major shareholder Solomon Lew over its performance.

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, PREMIER INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX PMV, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, DEUTSCHE BANK AG

NAB wields axe despite $6.6bn profit

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 19 & 23 : 3-Nov-17

National Australia Bank has posted a 2016-17 cash profit of $A6.64bn, which is 2.5 per cent higher than previously. The earnings of its business banking division rose by 6.3 per cent to $A2.8bn in the year to September 2017, while its consumer banking and wealth division reported earnings growth of 4.3 per cent to $A1.6bn. NAB has revealed plans to slash costs by $A1bn by 2020. This will include the loss of 6,000 jobs, which equates to about 18 per cent of its workforce, although NAB also intends to recruit 2,000 people with digital and technology skills as part of its focus on automation.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, CLYDESDALE BANK PLC, NIPPON LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, CLSA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Stokes questions merger logic

Original article by Jemima Whyte
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 3-Nov-17

Seven West Media will reduce its costs by $A25m via staff cuts, as part of a broader strategy to slash its costs by $A105m over two years. Meanwhile, chairman Kerry Stokes has told shareholders that Seven has not held any merger talks with Fairfax Media or News Corp, and he suggested that merging a TV network with a print media company may offer few synergies. He also said Seven is trialling a combined TV and print newsroom in Perth, which could influence whether Seven pursues mergers or acquisitions in the media sector.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, CBS CORPORATION, NETFLIX INCORPORATED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION, ENERGY QUEENSLAND, HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS PTY LTD

Fox missed deadline to help save Ten

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 6-Sep-17

Ferrier Hodgson has indicated that Ten Network suitor CBS Corporation had agreed to a reduction in the price that Ten paid for its content in mid-June. However, the deal was dependent on 21st Century Fox also agreeing to cut the cost of its program supply deal. Fox was given a deadline of 13 June to accept the new terms for its supply deal, but the Murdoch-backed group failed to do so and Ten subsequently went into administration. The revised content supply deals were also conditional on Ten refinancing a $A200m loan facility with the Commonwealth Bank.

CORPORATES
TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, CBS CORPORATION, 21ST CENTURY FOX INCORPORATED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, FERRIER HODGSON AND COMPANY, KORDA MENTHA AND COLLEAGUES PTY LTD, FORT STREET ADVISERS PTY LTD, ILLYRIA PTY LTD, BIRKETU PTY LTD