Forrest boosts his stake in Fortescue

Original article by Melissa Yeo
The Weekend Australian – Page: 24 : 29-Feb-20

Fortescue Metals Group has advised that chairman and founder Andrew Forrest bought more than 22 million shares in the pure-play iron ore miner between 20 and 27 February. Forrest paid some $242m to lift his stake in Fortescue from 30 per cent to about 36 per cent. Forrest will receive $828m in dividends for the first half of 2019-20 after Fortescue recently announced an interim dividend of $0.76 per share.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

China will act quickly to spur economy: Rio

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 27-Feb-20

Rio Tinto has reported underlying earnings of $US10.37bn ($15.77bn) for 2019. The result was bolstered by a strong rise in the iron ore price; the group’s average received price was 37 per cent higher than in 2018. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has warned that both the Chinese and global economies will be adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak in the March quarter. However, CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques expects the Chinese government to pursue stimulus measures, which will in turn boost demand for commodities. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of $US2.31 per share.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Earnings shredded as virus fears bite

Original article by Eli Greenblat, David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 17 & 24 : 26-Feb-20

The coronavirus outbreak has become a major theme for the February reporting season, with a growing number of listed companies issuing earnings downgrades due to the impact of the virus. Treasury Wine Estates, Blackmores and Seek are among the latest companies to issue profit warnings; Treasury has downgraded its earnings expectations for the third time in 2020. Meanwhile, retail group Mosaic Brands had advised that its dividends have been put on hold until the impact of the coronavirus becomes clear.

CORPORATES
TREASURY WINE ESTATES LIMITED – ASX TWE, BLACKMORES LIMITED – ASX BKL, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, MOSAIC BRANDS LIMITED – ASX MOZ

Investors shrug off weak outlook, virus threat

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 20-Feb-20

Pieter Stoltz of UBS notes that 28 per cent of Australia’s large-capitalisation stocks have exceeded their dividend expectations so far in the February reporting season. He says this may be due to factors such as demand for stable income or limited investment opportunities. Stoltz adds that 31 per cent of large companies have upgraded their earnings guidance, while just 19 per cent have downgraded their earnings guidance.

CORPORATES
UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Forrest’s payout tops $2bn as Fortescue’s profit rises

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 19 : 20-Feb-20

Fortescue Metals Group has posted a 2019-20 interim net profit of $US2.5bn ($3.7bn), which is 281 per cent higher than previously. The pure-play iron ore miner has reported underlying EBITDA of $US4.2bn and revenue of $US6.5bn for the half-year. Fortescue’s shipments totalled 88.6 million tonnes for the period, and its average realised price for the steel input was 73 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of $0.76 per share, boosting the wealth of founder Andrew Forrest.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

BHP could pay out $3b extra cash for investors

Original article by Luke Housego
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 30 : 12-Feb-20

Macquarie has forecast that BHP will report underlying earnings of $US12.52bn for the first half of 2019-20, which would be 14 per cent higher than previously. Macquarie also expects BHP to announce an interim dividend of $US0.76 per share, while the firm adds that there is potential for a special dividend of up to $US0.40 per share. BHP will release its interim results on 18 February.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Coopers breached covenants, but it’s only small beer

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 23-Dec-19

Coopers Brewery’s 2019 financial report shows that shareholders received a total of $13.789m in dividend payments during the last year. Coopers has also disclosed that its banking covenants were breached in June, although the brewer obtained a waiver from its lender. Meanwhile, Coopers’ net profit fell by 31 per cent in 2019, to $16.4m. Coopers is the largest Australian-owned brewer, and the Coopers family comprises the bulk of its shareholders.

CORPORATES
COOPERS BREWERY LIMITED, CARLTON AND UNITED BREWERIES, ASAHI BREWERIES LIMITED, ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV SA/NV, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, LION PTY LTD

More Westpac pain ahead as dividends cut

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 5-Nov-19

Westpac has posted cash earnings of $6.85bn for 2018-19, which is 15 per cent lower than previously. Its net interest margin fell 10 basis points to 2.12 per cent in the year to 30 September, while the final dividend has been reduced from $0.94 per share to $0.80. Westpac has also advised that its customer remediation costs have totalled $1.9bn pre-tax since 2017, and CEO Brian Hartzer has warned of the potential for further compensation and litigation. Meanwhile, a $2.5bn capital raising will lift Westpac’s common equity tier one capital ratio to around 11.25 per cent.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, MARTIN CURRIE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

ANZ warns of tough going as profit falls

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 1-Nov-19

The ANZ Bank’s 2018-19 cash profit was steady at $6.47bn, although its net profit fell seven per cent to $5.95bn. ANZ has warned that trading conditions are likely to remain ‘challenging’ for some time, with CEO Shayne Elliott noting that consumers are opting to save rather than spend their money in the low interest rate environment. He has also rejected suggestions that banks are ‘profiteering’, arguing that ANZ’s return on equity of 10.9 per cent is not unreasonable. ANZ’s final dividend of $0.80 per share will be franked to 70 per cent.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Westpac dividend under pressure

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 23-Sep-19

There is growing speculation that Westpac could reduce its dividend payout in response to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s new capital requirements. Westpac has yet to determine the size of its final dividend for 2018-19, but Credit Suisse has forecast both a lower payout and a capital raising of at least $1.5bn when Westpac releases its full-year results in early November. The prospect of further official interest rate cuts in Australia is also weighing on the earnings of the nation’s banks.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, EVANS AND PARTNERS ASIA FUND – ASX EAF, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, PM CAPITAL LIMITED