China pays more for iron ore

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 19-May-20

The iron ore price has risen by more than 13 per cent since the end of April, and futures pricing suggests that further gains are likely. The price of the steel input has been resilient during the coronavirus pandemic, due to factors such as continued strong demand for iron ore in China and the fact that major producer Brazil has been hit hard by the virus. Citigroup’s analysts expect the continued strong price of iron ore to result in the resources sector paying out $14.4bn in dividends for 2019-20. The banking sector in turn is tipped to pay out $14.7bn.

CORPORATES
CITIGROUP PTY LTD, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

Westpac dividend chance good as zero

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 6-May-20

Victor German of Macquarie and Matthew Wilson from Evans & Partners are among the analysts who do not expect Westpac to pay an interim dividend for 2019-20. However, German believes that Westpac could pay a final dividend of $0.40 per share, and Wilson forecasts a payout of $0.35. Brendan Sproules of Citigroup is more bullish, forecasting a final dividend of $0.65. Citi has a share price target of $26 for Westpac.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, EVANS AND PARTNERS ASIA FUND – ASX EAF, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

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

Bad debts hang over Westpac dividend plans

Original article by James Frost, Aleks Vickovich, James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 19 : 4-May-20

Westpac’s dividend payout is likely to be a key focus for investors when its half-year financial results are released on 4 May. Westpac has already advised of $1.6bn in impairment charges for coronavirus-related loan losses. Matt Williams of Airlie Funds Management says Westpac should not pay an interim dividend, arguing that investors expect companies to preserve capital in the current environment. David Walker of Clime Asset Management in turn expects Westpac to pay a much lower half-year dividend and opt for a dividend reinvestment plan.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AIRLIE FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, CLIME ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD

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

Crown pays out $205m as staff languish

Original article by John Stensholt
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 17-Apr-20

Crown Resorts CEO Ken Barton says a new $1bn debt financing deal will assist the group to ride out the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and complete work on its Barangaroo casino in Sydney. Crown has stood down some 11,500 employees since closing down its Melbourne and Perth casinos in late March, while it has confirmed that shareholders will receive the previously-declared interim dividend of $0.30 per share. Rival casino operator The Star Entertainment Group has stood down 8,500 employees and deferred its interim dividend. Both companies have registered for the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

CORPORATES
CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN, THE STAR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LIMITED – ASX SGR

Bank shareholders face $7bn hit

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 9-Apr-20

Shares in Australia’s major banks retreated on 8 April, after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority asked them to consider delaying or reducing their dividend payments due to the coronavirus crisis. The Bank of Queensland has already advised that it will defer its interim dividend, while investors in Westpac, National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank were slated to receive a combined $7bn worth of dividends in May. Commonwealth Bank shareholders recently received their interim dividends.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Rio Tinto to maintain payout

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 9-Apr-20

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson say its dividend policy will have to be reviewed before the release of its half-year results in July. However, shareholders will still receive the final dividend of $US2.31 per share for calendar 2019, as announced in February. Thompson has cited factors such as Rio Tinto’s strong balance sheet and the fact that its iron ore order book is full. Many listed companies have opted to review their dividend policies or defer interim dividends due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Iron ore dividends still on track

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 18 : 8-Apr-20

Macquarie Group is bullish about the outlook for iron ore producers BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group, arguing that continued strong cashflows should enable them to maintain dividend yields. Macquarie notes that BHP’s iron ore operations will have helped to offset the impact of the sharp fall in the crude oil price on its petroleum division. Glynn Lawcock of UBS also expects BHP and Rio Tinto to maintain their dividend payments, although he says gold and base metal miners may reduce their dividends.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD