Media groups slash costs as advertising slump bites

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 7-Apr-20

Southern Cross Media Group CEO Grant Blackley says the fundamentals of its business remain sound, despite the impact of the pandemic on the advertising market. Southern Cross will seek to reduce costs by $40m-$45m in 2020, while the proceeds of a $169m equity raising will be used to reduce its $330.5m debt. The group has also advised that advertising revenue fell 10 per cent year-on-year in the nine months to 31 March. Rival radio stations group HT&E has also flagged cost cuts, including temporary salary reductions and reduced working hours for its staff.

CORPORATES
SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL, HT&E LIMITED – ASX HT1

Packaged beer the new normal for big brewers

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 : 31-Mar-20

Australian brewers have responded to the coronavirus-induced closure of the nation’s pubs by shifting their focus to producing beer in cans and bottles rather than kegs. Coopers Brewery’s MD Tim Cooper says kegs usually account for about 15 per cent of the family-owned firm’s volumes, but it is currently not producing any keg beer. He adds that Coopers’ sales in March have been 30 per cent higher than expected as consumers flock to liquor stores. Carlton & United Breweries and Lion are also focusing on the packaged beer market.

CORPORATES
COOPERS BREWERY LIMITED, CARLTON AND UNITED BREWERIES, LION PTY LTD

Nine targets $266m in cost cuts as virus hits

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 31-Mar-20

Nine Entertainment Company aims to reduce its costs by $266m in calendar 2020, including $102m in the first half. Amongst other things, the media giant expects its broadcasting division to achieve cost savings $130m if the entire NRL season is cancelled; this would be split across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. Nine has also advised that the coronavirus lockdown has prompted strong growth in subscriptions and usage of its Stan and 9Now streaming services.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, 9NOW

Rio zeroes in on lithium but copper may be next

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 2-Mar-20

Rio Tinto has not made any major acquisitions under current CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques. However, it has looked at more than 200 opportunities over the last three years, while its low level of debt means it is well-placed to pursue deals. Bold Baatar, the head of Rio Tinto’s energy and minerals division, says lithium has been its focus in terms of potential acquisitions. He adds that Rio Tinto is interested in other metals that are used in vehicle batteries, such as copper and high purity nickel.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Rio to spend $US1b on climate

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

Rio Tinto has updated its climate change policies, which now include a net zero carbon emissions target of 2050. In addition, the resources group aims to reduce its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions to 15 per cent of 2018 levels by 2030, while it has set a goal of reducing its emissions intensity to 30 per cent of 2018 levels by the same date. However, it has not set any targets for scope 3 emissions. Rio Tinto has also committed to investing $US1bn ($1.5bn) in climate initiatives over the next five years.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

BHP digs deep to make most of data analytics

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 26-Feb-20

BHP will seek further productivity gains by increasing its focus on technologies such as data analytics and machine learning. The resources giant is also expected to make greater use of cloud technology rather than continuing to operate its own data centres. BHP will restructure its technology division as part of this process, which is expected to result in the loss of about 700 jobs in a division that employs 2,000 people. BHP will redeploy some of the displaced workers.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

NAB may delay MLC split after sound result

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 23 : 14-Feb-20

A trading update from National Australia Bank shows that it booked a cash profit of $1.65bn for the first quarter of its financial year. This is one per cent higher than the quarterly average for the second half of fiscal 2019. Revenue increased by less than one per cent for the quarter, while expenses were three per cent higher. Meanwhile, NAB has signalled that the proposed demerger of its MLC wealth management could be postponed due to the challenging business conditions at present.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, MLC LIMITED

CBA to grab bigger share of business

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 20 : 13-Feb-20

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has posted a 2019-20 interim cash profit of $4.47bn; this is 4.3 per cent lower than previously, although analysts had expected a larger decline. CEO Matt Comyn notes that CBA recorded growth in home lending, business lending and deposits during the half-year, and he has flagged plans to seek an even greater share of the business lending market. Comyn adds that CBA’s investment in digital banking has enabled it to build market share among younger customers; this is also a segment that it will target for further growth.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Foxtel leads ad streaming wars

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich, Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 25 : 9-Dec-19

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany says streaming and data are a focus for the pay-TV group, noting that it has invested a lot of money on data in the last year. About 53 per cent of Foxtel customers with an IQ4 set-top box used video-on-demand in October, compared with 45 per cent in July. Meanwhile, the launch of Kayo Sports has attracted new advertisers to Foxtel, which has also introduced a new six-second advertising format.

CORPORATES
FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, KAYO SPORTS, FOXTEL MEDIA, FOXTEL NOW, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL, OOH!MEDIA LIMITED – ASX OML

Henry signals faster use of new tech at BHP

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 27 : 28-Nov-19

BHP’s incoming CEO Mike Henry has told a resources technology conference that the mining giant’s priorities will remain unchanged under his leadership. However, Henry has indicated that the deployment of new technologies will be a focus for BHP, which has been slower to roll out technology such as driverless trucks than iron ore rivals Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group.

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