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

Fortescue confident of even more cost cutting

Original article by Tess Ingram
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 29-Jun-17

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group aims to achieve a "C1" unit cost of production of between $US12 and $US13 per tonne in 2016-17, compared with $U50/tonne several years ago. Greg Lilleyman, Fortescue’s director of operations, is confident that the company can further reduce its costs. While he acknowledges that it will be hard to match its recent cost performance in coming years, he says there are still opportunities for more cost savings. Lilleyman also expects the price discount of lower-grade iron compared with the benchmark price to narrow.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Fortescue conveyor belts to lower costs

Original article by Tess Ingram
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 27 : 28-Jun-17

The introduction of self-driving haulage trucks has increased productivity at Fortescue Metals Group’s Solomon mining hub by about 20 per cent since 2012. The pure-pure iron ore miner has 56 autonomous trucks at Solomon, with plans to convert another 12. Fortescue will also begin converting 100 trucks at its Chichester hub in fiscal 2018. It also intends to undertake a trial of relocatable overland conveyor belt technology at the Cloudbreak mine, which could allow its fleet of haulage trucks to be reduced.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, VALE SA, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED

Journalist cuts ‘will help drive Fairfax profits’

Original article by Scott Murdoch
The Australian – Page: 4 : 5-May-17

Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood says back-office functions rather the editorial department have borne the brunt of its cost-cutting over the last five years. Hywood also says the latest round of redundancies will be the last, and he argues that Fairfax’s newspapers must be both profitable and sustainable in the long-term. Fairfax journalists hope that shareholders and advertisers will support their seven-day strike in response to the latest downsizing, which will result in the loss of 125 newsroom jobs.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Ten review to cut costs in ‘every dark corner’

Original article by Mitchell Bingemann
The Australian – Page: 21 : 28-Apr-17

Ten Network has posted a 2016-17 interim loss of $A232.2m and advised that it expects to book a full-year underlying EBITDA loss of between $A25m and $A30m. CEO Paul Anderson has revealed plans for an 18-month "transformation program" that will seek to increase revenue and aggressively reduce costs. Ten’s directors have conceded that there is significant doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern, with a $A200m debt facility due to expire at the end of 2017.

CORPORATES
TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, WIN CORPORATION PTY LTD, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Jobs to go at NAB as banks face cost squeeze

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 19 : 20-Apr-17

Australian banks are continuing to downsize their workforces amid rising costs, falling net interest margins and new capital requirements. The ANZ Bank has advised that it shed 35 IT jobs in early 2017, while National Australia Bank recently told staff that it intends to cut about 500 jobs. However, NAB will create 400 new jobs, with some displaced staff likely to be redeployed. There was a 2.4 per cent reduction in full-time staff in Australia’s banking industry in 2015-16.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

News to cut jobs in $40m cost saving

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 : 12-Apr-17

News Corp Australia has revealed plans for its third round of redundancies in less than two years. The staff cuts are expected to result in a significant reduction in the number of photographers at some metropolitan mastheads, while some journalists are also likely to be retrenched. News Corp is expected to rely more on the use of freelance photographers and wire agencies as it seeks to reduce costs by $A40m. Fairfax Media recently announced plans to reduce costs by $A30m.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS PTY LTD, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN

Forrest cautious on iron outlook

Original article by Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 15 & 16 : 13-Jan-17

Iron ore is trading at around $US80 a tonne, although it is tipped to fall to $US51.60 by mid-2017 and $US46.70 in 2018. The price of the steel input bottomed at $US36 per tonne in 2015, prompting Fortescue Metals Group to slash its debt and reduce its workforce. Fortescue also reduced its costs to just $US14.31 per tonne, but chairman Andrew Forrest says the group aims to achieve further cost reductions given the outlook for the iron ore price. Forrest also continues to advocate action to end slavery, and he has urged all Australian companies to take a similar stance.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, WALK FREE FOUNDATION, MINDEROO FOUNDATION, ROY HILL IRON ORE PTY LTD, VALE SA, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO