ANZ set for growth as it turns corner in Asia

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 20 : 5-Apr-19

The ANZ Bank has been progressively rebuilding its institutional banking business in Asia, which has been its key focus in the region since abandoning retail banking growth plans. ANZ now boasts about 6,500 institutional customers in Asia, compared with some 28,000 at its peak, while staff numbers in the region have been reduced from 8,000 to 6,000 and there was a 16 per cent reduction in costs during 2017-18.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, HSBC HOLDINGS PLC, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK PLC, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, GREENWICH ASSOCIATES PTY LTD

Woolworths bites the bullet on Big W

Original article by Sue Mitchell
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 2-Apr-19

Woolworths has advised that it will close 30 of its Big W department stores, which will reduce the number of outlets by about 16 per cent. Two of Big W’s distribution centres will also be closed as part of the restructuring program, which will result in a one-off impairment charge of $370m. Woolworths has forecast that Big W will post a loss of least $80m in fiscal 2019, but CEO Brad Banducci says the retail giant is committed to restoring the chain to profitability. The store closures could result in the loss of up to 1,000 jobs, but Woolworths hopes to redeploy many employees.

CORPORATES
WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, BIG W DISCOUNT STORES, EG GROUP, PLATO INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, KMART AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Chronican plans to put NAB back in business

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 18 : 25-Mar-19

Business banking will be a key focus of National Australia Bank’s growth strategy, says incoming chairman Philip Chronican. He notes that NAB has the biggest presence in Australia’s business banking market, particularly in the small business sector. Chronican has also identified automation as an area in which NAB is lagging behind its rivals, and stresses the need to reduce costs. Other priorities for NAB include appointing a successor to former CEO Andrew Thorburn and restoring its reputation in the wake of the Hayne royal commission.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, FINANCE SECTOR UNION

Westpac retreats from financial advice

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 20-Mar-19

Westpac will cease serving its existing personal financial advice customers at the end of June, after striking a deal with Viridian to exit the sector. Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer concedes that its personal finance advice business has not been profitable for some time, and increased regulation was a major factor in its decision to withdraw from the sector. Westpac faces restructuring costs of $250m to $300m, while about 900 full-time equivalent employees will be impacted by the decision to exit financial advice. Westpac expects the move to result in annual savings of $280m by 2020.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, VIRIDIAN ADVISORY PTY LTD

As decision looms, BHP’s potash passion play fades – for now

Original article by James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 18-Mar-19

It is estimated that commencing production at BHP’s Jansen potash project in Canada will require a capital investment of about $US5bn ($7bn). BHP has yet to make a firm commitment to the project, and observers say the resources group cannot continue to postpone a decision indefinitely. On one hand, potash is likely to be a boom commodity in coming years as demand for agricultural crops in regions such as Asia grows. However, the Jansen project will deliver relatively low returns for BHP investors, while global supply of potash is increasing.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN INCORPORATED

CBA shelves wealth sale on Hayne hit

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 21 & 25 : 15-Mar-19

The Commonwealth Bank has advised that the divestment of its wealth and mortgage broking assets has been put on hold to allow it to focus on implementing the Hayne royal commission’s recommendations and its customer remediation program. National Australia Bank also recently indicated that it will postpone its proposed demerger of wealth manager MLC due to the fallout from the royal commission.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GROUP LIMITED, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, FINANCIAL WISDOM LIMITED, COUNT FINANCIAL LIMITED, AUSSIE HOME LOANS LIMITED, MLC LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST AND BANKING INCORPORATION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Newcrest focus turns to Canada

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 22 : 13-Mar-19

Barrick Gold will not proceed with a takeover bid for Newmont Mining Corporation. The two groups will instead combine their gold mines in Nevada via a joint venture arrangement. Newcrest Mining had been touted as a likely bidder for Newmont’s Australian assets if the merger had proceeded. Meanwhile, Rahul Anand of Morgan Stanley says Newcrest’s expertise in block cave mining makes the Red Chris gold mine in Canada a ‘natural fit’ for the company. Newcrest CEO Sandeep Biswas has indicated that the Red Chris deal does not preclude further acquisitions.

CORPORATES
BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION, NEWMONT MINING CORPORATION, NEWCREST MINING LIMITED – ASX NCM, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, HARMONY GOLD MINING COMPANY LIMITED, LUNDIN MINING CORPORATION

Reprieve for Myer as profits rise

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 7-Mar-19

Department store group Myer Holdings has posted a 2018-19 interim profit of $38.4m, compared with a writedown-marred loss of $476m for the previous corresponding period. Myer’s underlying profit was up 3.1 per cent at $41.3m, but sales fell by 2.8 per cent to $1.67bn. CEO John King says Myer will continue to sale overseas fashion brands, but it will seek to increase its in-house brands’ share of group sales from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, DAVID JONES LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Women and science driving future BHP

Original article by Luke Housego
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 24 : 1-Mar-19

BHP has appointed Laura Tyler to the newly-created role of chief geoscientist, and Jonathan Price has become its inaugural chief transformation officer. CEO Andrew Mackenzie says the new roles are part of BHP’s push to increase its focus on science and technology. Geraldine Slattery and Vandita Pant have also been added to BHP’s executive team, bringing the resources giant closer to its target of 50 per cent female representation. Pant will succeed Arnoud Balhuizen as chief commercial officer.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, BANKWEST CURTIN ECONOMICS CENTRE, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

OZ sets sights on long-term payoff

Original article by Simon Evans
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 28-Feb-19

OZ Minerals has posted a 2018 net profit of $222.4m, which is 3.8 per cent lower than previously, although revenue was up 9.2 per cent at $1.12bn. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of $0.15 per share, but OZ has opted against paying a special dividend to finance growth projects such as the Carrapateena copper mine in South Australia. CEO Andrew Cole has also indicated that OZ will not proceed with a concentrate treatment plant in SA as it does not "stack up" at present.

CORPORATES
OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL, AVANCO RESOURCES LIMITED, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED