HT&E tunes in to potential deals after strengthening balance sheet

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 14-Feb-19

Radio broadcaster HT&E has posted a net profit of $36.7m for calendar 2018, which is 23 per cent higher than previously. Revenue was five per cent higher at $271.8m and EBITDA rose seven per cent to $71.8m. The company’s Australian Radio Network division has posted revenue of $235.5m and EBITDA of $84.6m for the year. CEO Ciaran Davis says HT&E is open to acquisitions, but he says there are no "definitive opportunities" at present.

CORPORATES
HT&E LIMITED – ASX HT1, AUSTRALIAN RADIO NETWORK PTY LTD, ADSHEL PTY LTD, NZME LIMITED – ASX NZM, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

BHP’s $1.3bn to lift US oil projects

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 20 : 14-Feb-19

Production at the Atlantis oil field in the Gulf of Mexico will increase by about 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day following BHP’s decision to invest $US696m ($976.3m) in the third stage of the project. BHP will also spend $US256m on drilling an additional appraisal well at its Trion project off the coast of Mexico. The capital investment is part of BHP’s strategy to increase its conventional oil and gas output.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, BP PLC

Big agenda: Chronican has his work cut out for NAB revival

Original article by Eric Johnston
The Australian – Page: 17 : 11-Feb-19

Anthony Healy and Mike Baird are said to be the leading internal candidates to succeed National Australia Bank CEO Andrew Thorburn, while external contenders could include Craig Drummond, Ross McEwan and Lyn Cobley. Acting CEO Philip Chronican stresses that NAB has a "very clear strategy" that is being well executed. He notes that the last week has been challenging for the bank, with the resignation of Thorburn and chairman Ken Henry and the release of the banking royal commission’s final report.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, ST GEORGE BANK LIMITED

Polly Waffle to make a comeback after success of Violet Crumble

Original article by Simon Evans
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 25-Jan-19

Adelaide-based Robern Menz has bought the iconic Australian brand Polly Waffle from Nestle and will relaunch the popular chocolate bar, which was discontinued in 2009. Robern Menz previously bought the Violet Crumble brand from Nestle in 2018, in a deal that has boosted sales turnover by 35 per cent. Phil Sims, the CEO of Robern Menz, says the company is focusing on niche strategies in order to compete with global confectionery groups.

CORPORATES
ROBERN MENZ GROUP, NESTLE SA

Woodside pushes ahead with Scarborough project

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 : 17-Jan-19

Woodside Petroleum has awarded contracts for front-end engineering design work on the Scarborough gas project to McDermott Australia, Subsea Integration Alliance, Saipem and Intecsea. Woodside and its partners are slated to make a final investment decision on the project in 2020. Woodside has a majority stake in Scarborough, while BHP holds a 25 per cent stake and has an option to increase this by 10 per cent.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, McDERMOTT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, SUBSEA INTEGRATION ALLIANCE, SAIPEM AUSTRALIA, INTECSEA PTY LTD, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION

Banks plan exit from uninvestible Britain

Original article by Sarah Turner, Hans van Leeuwen, Lisa Murray
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 10 : 16-Jan-19

The Commonwealth Bank has confirmed that it will establish a subsidiary in Amsterdam in response to continuing uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union. Other Australian banks with a presence in the UK are also looking to set up subsidiaries in other European countries to ensure that they can keep operating in the region. Mark Tinkler of AXA Investment Managers says the UK is largely "uninvestible" until the Brexit uncertainty is resolved. The British parliament will shortly vote on the Brexit deal of Prime Minister Theresa May.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS PTY LTD, GREAT BRITAIN. OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ALPHINITY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, GRANT SAMUEL FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, GERMANY. FEDERAL FINANCIAL SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY (BAFIN), BANK OF ENGLAND. PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

Resolute weighs up Ravenswood spin-off

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 8-Jan-19

Resolute Mining has advised that its gold production rose by 33 per cent to 73,691 ounces in the December 2018 quarter. Meanwhile, CEO John Welborn says a decision on the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland will be made in the first half of 2019. Resolute is considering options such as a sale or spin-off for the Queensland mine as the company shifts its geographical focus to Africa. Resolute may also be open to acquiring assets that could be divested following the merger between Barrick Gold and Randgold Resources.

CORPORATES
RESOLUTE MINING LIMITED – ASX RSG, BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION, RANDGOLD RESOURCES LIMITED

Pacific making all the write moves

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 7-Jan-19

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines division posted EBIT of $9.6m in 2017-18, and it reduced costs by $32.2m. Pacific Magazines CEO Gereurd Roberts is upbeat about the outlook for its portfolio of titles, noting that it is the market leader in every category in which it has a presence. He adds that content is the priority for Pacific Magazines, while it aims to expand its digital business. Gereurd has also flagged the launch of a new monthly magazine in late January.

CORPORATES
PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

REA boss Wilson pins growth hopes on Asia

Original article by John Durie
The Australian – Page: 15 : 19-Dec-18

REA Group’s incoming CEO Owen Wilson says that continuing to provide value to customers and consumers will be his priority. Wilson also wants to expand the property listings group’s Asian operations, which currently account for about eight per cent of group revenue. Wilson will succeed Tracey Fellows, who will remain on REA’s board after becoming president of News Corporation’s Global Digital Real Estate business. News Corp has a controlling stake in REA.

CORPORATES
REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, REALESTATE.COM.AU, DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX DHA, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

BHP retreats from contract mining

Original article by Matthew Stevens
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: 30 : 6-Dec-18

The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance abandoned the direct employment model for workers at its Queensland coal mines in 2015. Contract labour now accounts for about 60 per cent of the work undertaken at BMA’s coal mines. However, the BHP Group-led joint venture has advised that it will directly employ 350 workers at the Daunia and Cavel Ridge mines in the Bowen Basin. BMA’s move may indicate that union influence at its Queensland coal mines is declining, and the new model is likely to be rolled out at BMA’s other mines in the state.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, BM ALLIANCE COAL OPERATIONS PTY LTD, MITSUBISHI CORPORATION, DOWNER EDI LIMITED – ASX DOW, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, WORKPAC PTY LTD, CHANDLER MACLEOD GROUP LIMITED, HAYS PERSONNEL SERVICES (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, CORE STAFF, LINKED GROUP, MONADELPHOUS GROUP LIMITED – ASX MND, ONE KEY RESOURCES PTY LTD