Whitehaven won’t alter dividend policy despite setbacks

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 26-Oct-20

Whitehaven Coal’s lenders recently agreed to relax its debt covenants after the company sought relief due to a severe downturn in coal prices. However, a condition of that relaxation will constrain the company’s ability to pay dividends until its debt levels fall below certain thresholds. Whitehaven had paid out a record final dividend of $298 million in August 2019, and chairman Mark Vaile says he has no regrets about the payment. He says the company may need to be a bit more conservative about capital management in the future, while he notes that the 2019 payout followed two successive years of record profits.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC

Bondholders move to stop sale of Virgin

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 22 : 7-Jul-20

Deloitte will oppose an application for the Takeovers Panel to halt the sale of Virgin Australia to private equity firm Bain Capital. Virgin’s bondholders want its creditors to be given an opportunity to vote on their proposal to recapitalise the failed airline; this includes a debt-for-equity swap and relisting Virgin on the sharemarket. A spokesman for Deloitte says the administrators believe that the application to the Takeovers Panel is without merit and the sale to Bain is the best outcome for all creditors.

CORPORATES
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, BAIN CAPITAL LLC

Shareholders likely to miss out altogether from Virgin sale

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 1-Jul-20

Virgin Australia’s joint administrator Richard Hughes has advised that the failed airline’s creditors are unlikely to be repaid in full. He has also warned that Virgin’s shareholders are highly unlikely to receive any payout from its US-based private equity firm Bain Capital. Sources close to several of Virgin’s five major foreign shareholders have indicated that this outcome had been expected. Bain Capital will formally take control of Virgin on 1 July.

CORPORATES
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, BAIN CAPITAL LLC

Bond holder bid shakes Virgin

Original article by Robyn Ironside, Damon Kitney
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 25-Jun-20

Virgin Australia’s administrator Vaughan Strawbridge has been presented with a debt-for-equity proposal from about 5,500 of the failed airline’s bond holders. They would receive shares in Virgin and provide an $800m capital injection for the airline, which would remain a listed company if their proposal is accepted. The bond holders would have the option of immediately selling their shares and receiving about $0.70 for every dollar that they are owed. Bond holders contend that it is best outcome for Virgin and its employees. Strawbridge is slated to select the preferred private equity bidder within days.

CORPORATES
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED

Forrest among Virgin suitors as June sale set

Original article by Robyn Ironside
The Australian – Page: 13 & 20 : 1-May-20

The first meeting of Virgin Australia’s creditors has been told that eight prospective buyers of the carrier have signed non-disclosure agreements with the administrators. A further 12 parties are still in negotiations with Deloitte, which is seeking indicative offers by mid-May with a view to finalising the sale of Virgin by 30 June. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo investment group has declined to comment on speculation that the iron ore magnate could buy Virgin. ACTU president Michele O’Neil has called for government support for Virgin.

CORPORATES
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, MINDEROO PTY LTD, ACTU

Explosive, gobsmacking statements by Tax Commissioner raise serious concerns about democracy, the rule of law and cover-up

Original article by Ken Phillips
Self-Employed Australia – Page: Online : 28-Oct-19

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan used an appearance before the Senate Economics Legislation Committee on 23 October to refute claims that the Australian Taxation Office can recover unpaid tax debts by taking money directly out of people’s bank accounts. The allegation was aired in advertisements funded by the ‘Right to Know’ campaign. Jordan says the ATO only takes action such as garnishee orders as a last resort, but there is documented evidence that the ATO emptied at least one person’s bank account and did not inform them of this until 10 days later. The ATO must be reigned in, but this is unlikely to happen until the federal government considers that the ATO is doing damage to it politically.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. SENATE ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITEE

Watchdog to probe surge in tax debts

Original article by Damon Kitney
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 28-Oct-19

The Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman, Karen Payne, says her office will investigate the causes of a sharp increase in unpaid tax debt, which has risen from $19.2bn to $26.2bn over the last four years. Meanwhile, there was a 13 per cent increase in the number of complaints lodged with the IGTO about the Australian Taxation Office in the last year. This followed a series of media reports which accused the ATO of excessive use of garnishee notices to recover unpaid tax debts, particularly against small businesses.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF TAXATION AND TAXATION OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Builder insolvencies soar, subbies call for safety net

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 6-Jun-19

Data from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission highlights the impact of the slowing residential market on the construction industry. Some 153 building firms across Australia were placed in administration during March, including 64 in New South Wales. Subcontractors have backed a 2017 proposal to establish deemed statutory trusts, which would ‘ringfence’ payments to subcontractors for projects worth more than $1m.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, SUBCONTRACTORS ALLIANCE, HOUSING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIMITED, SCHIAVELLO GROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN

APRA backs banks over Hayne probe

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 19-Jul-18

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has defended the banking sector in its submission to the royal commission’s fourth round of public hearings. APRA argued amongst other things that banks have a right to make a profit and to call in bad debts when a borrower is unable to repay a loan. APRA was responding to questions raised by royal commissioner Ken Hayne regarding the need to balance the interests of banks and customers who are experiencing financial problems.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, BANKWEST, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

Gordon plots as Ten creditors back CBS

Original article by Darren Davidson
The Australian – Page: 19 & 26 : 20-Sep-17

WIN Corporation owner Bruce Gordon is considering his options after Ten Network’s creditors endorsed a takeover offer from CBS Corporation. Gordon could pursue further legal action, including a potential appeal after the Supreme Court of New South Wales rejected his bid to block the CBS deal. Meanwhile, Mark Korda of Ten administrator KordaMentha says the CBS deal is likely to be completed within 4-5 weeks. CBS secured the support of creditors after agreeing to increase the total value of its offer to $A209.7m, including upping the amount it will pay unsecured creditors from $A32m to more than $A40m.

CORPORATES
TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, CBS CORPORATION, WIN CORPORATION PTY LTD, KORDA MENTHA AND COLLEAGUES PTY LTD, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES, 21ST CENTURY FOX INCORPORATED, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, PPB ADVISORY, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE