Challenge for AMP over pay, fund deal

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 : 26-Apr-21

AMP’s proposal to spin off its private markets division is set to be a key focus of its virtual AGM on 30 April. Brett Le Mesurier of Velocity Trade has downgraded his share price target for AMP in response to the demerger proposal, which followed AMP’s decision to terminate negotiations with Ares Management over a full or partial sale of the business. Meanwhile, two proxy advisers have recommended that shareholders vote in favour of AMP’s remuneration report, while ISS has called for investors to reject it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, ARES CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED

Westpac could halve its network: analysts

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 17 : 22-Apr-21

Brendan Sproules of Citigroup says Westpac could significantly reduce costs by rationalising its network of bank branches and divesting non-core assets. Westpac currently has 958 branches nationwide, but Citigroup’s modelling suggests that there is scope to reduce this to just 518. Westpac’s chief financial officer Michael Rowland will outline a cost-cutting strategy when the bank releases its interim results on 3 May.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

Iluka adds rare earths to mineral sands for a bigger bang

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 20 : 8-Feb-21

Australian mineral sands producer Iluka Resources is seeking to expand into the rare earths sector. The company is hinting that it wants to become an integrated producer of heavy and light rare earth oxides, with the next step in its rare earths goals involving spending $35 million to boost the product from its mineral sands mine at Enebba in Western Australia to a 90 per cent concentrate. It could consider sending this concentrate to Lynas Rare Earths’ cracking and leaching plant in Kalgoorlie. Goldman Sachs has suggested that Iluka is capable of developing the first fully integrated rare earths operation on Australian soil by 2025 at a cost of around $1.2 billion.

CORPORATES
ILUKA RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX ILU, LYNAS RARE EARTHS LIMITED – ASX LYC, GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Santos sticks to gas, earmarking $1bn for Narrabri development

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 16 : 2-Dec-20

Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher says the oil and gas producer will not diversify into renewable energy or electricity generation. He contends that global demand for fuels will remain strong for a long time, while gas will play a major role in reducing carbon emissions over coming decades. Meanwhile, Santos expects to make a final investment decision on its Narrabri gas project in the first half of 2023, with the first phase of its development slated to cost $US650m. Santos has also advised that its Barossa LNG project will cost significantly less to develop than initially forecast.

CORPORATES
SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO

Forrest unveils ambitious Fortescue renewables plan

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 18 : 12-Nov-20

Fortescue Metals Group has outlined plans to become a major player in the energy sector via a massive investment in renewables. Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest had told the pure-play iron ore miner’s AGM that it will initially aim to produce 235 gigawatts of energy via renewables, as it transition to an "renewables and resources" company. Meanwhile, CEO Elizabeth Gaines has stressed the importance of Australia’s trading relationship with China.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

South32 aims for next mine to be carbon-neutral

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 28-Oct-20

Diversified miner South32 may aim for its new Hermosa mine in Arizona to be carbon neutral from the outset. Initial production at the zinc, lead and silver project is some years away, and South32 MD Graham Kerr notes that it is much easier to build a new mine that is carbon neutral than to retrofit an existing one to solely use renewable energy. South32 has commenced discussions with energy utilities about supplying electricity to the mine, and Kerr says it could potentially be powered completely or almost only via renewables.

CORPORATES
SOUTH32 LIMITED – ASX S32

Pressure builds for AMP break-up

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 12-Oct-20

Simon Mawhinney of Allan Gray Australia says breaking up AMP would be the best option for unlocking the wealth manager’s value. He adds that if a suitor opts to acquire the entire company they are likely to sell off parts of the business. AMP recently revealed plans to undertake a portfolio review, and its board is believed to be planning to update investors on a possible sale of all or part of the company before the end of 2020. Alan Kwan of Australian Eagle Asset Management says AMP may choose to press ahead with a turnaround plan, given the challenges involved in ‘disentangling’ and divesting parts of the business.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN EAGLE ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD

Seven West’s five-year fightback

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 24-Aug-20

Former Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood has completed a review of West Australian Newspapers, amid ongoing speculation about the future of the Seven West Media division. WAN’s editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie says Hywood’s recommendations will be taken into account in developing a five-year plan for the newspaper publisher. He adds that WAN will continue to publish print editions for some time, while there has been strong growth in digital subscriptions since WAN paywalled its news websites in mid-2019. Seven West will report its 2019-20 financial results on 25 August.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, WEST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS HOLDINGS LIMITED, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED

News Corp rolls out 50 digital mastheads

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 13-Jul-20

News Corp Australia has chosen Ballarat, Port Lincoln and the Clare Valley as the launch sites for its new digital mastheads. The first 15 digital-only newspapers will be launched by September, with plans to launch more than 50 over the next three years. The mastheads will feature ‘hyperlocal’ news content, while subscribers will have access to content from metropolitan newspapers and the media group’s NCA NewsWire service. News Corp already has 92 digital-only mastheads, including 76 whose print editions were recently discontinued.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

News in shared digital strategy

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 19 : 8-Jun-20

News Corp Australia veteran Peter Blunden will head the media group’s new specialist network teams of journalists, which will produce content across its metropolitan, community and regional mastheads. He says the traditional ‘silo model’ of journalism is no longer relevant, and quality content must be shared across its portfolio of mastheads. Blunden has also defended the decision to adopt a digital-only model for some regional and community newspapers, arguing that the print editions were not sustainable.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS