AGL under pressure to explain Vocus takeover

Original article by Lucas Baird, Simon Evans
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 12-Jun-19

Vocus Group has agreed to allow AGL Energy to commence due diligence after offering $4.85 per share for the telco. AGL investors have responded bearishly to the $3bn bid, with its share price falling 7.2 per cent to $19.40 on 11 June. Sentiment toward AGL was also affected by an earnings downgrade on 7 June, before the stock market closed for a long weekend. Justin Braitling of Watermark Funds Management and James Nevin of RBC Capital Markets have questioned whether Vocus is an appropriate target for AGL.

CORPORATES
AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, VOCUS GROUP LIMITED – ASX VOC, WATERMARK FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, EQT INFRASTRUCTURE, M2 GROUP LIMITED

Vocus has no regrets as turnaround proves too risky for EQT

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 20 : 6-Jun-19

Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell says he is not aware of any other potential takeover approaches for the telco, after EQT Infrastructure chose not to make a binding offer for the company. EQT undertook due diligence on Vocus after approaching it with a non-binding offer of $5.25 per share. The Sweden-based private equity firm’s decision to walk away from a deal prompted a sell-down of Vocus shares on 5 June, with the stock closing almost 18 per cent lower at $3.77. Russell says Vocus is making progress in its turnaround strategy.

CORPORATES
VOCUS GROUP LIMITED – ASX VOC, EQT INFRASTRUCTURE, M2 GROUP LIMITED, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, GREENCAPE CAPITAL PTY LTD

Telstra set to axe 10,000 contractors

Original article by James Fernyhough, Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 5-Jun-19

Telstra CEO Andy Penn has advised that the focus of the telco’s ‘T22’ strategy cost-cutting will shift to its indirect workforce from 2019-20. Telstra boasts about 40,000 indirect workers, who include contractors, call-centre workers and customer service staff. Penn has signalled that the telco will shed about 25 per cent of these workers over the next two years. Telstra unveiled plans in mid-2018 to retrench some 8,000 direct employees over the next several years. The ACTU has accused Telstra of putting profits ahead of people, jobs and service.

CORPORATES
TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, ACTU, NEW STREET RESEARCH

New minister ready for big to-do list

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 27-May-19

Paul Fletcher has replaced Mitch Fifield as Minister for Communications and the Arts in a cabinet reshuffle following the federal election. The former Optus executive will face a number of challenges in the portfolio, including lobbying by telcos for a reduction in the national broadband network’s wholesale pricing and a push by TV networks for drama and children’s content quotas to be relaxed. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s final report on its inquiry into digital platforms will also be released shortly.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, NBN CO LIMITED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

Huawei ban rules out tilt at mobile: TPG

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 10-May-19

In the wake of the ACCC’s decision to block a proposed merger with Vodafone, TPG Telecom has indicated that it has no plans to build a mobile network. TPG terminated work on its own network in early 2019, after the federal government banned Huawei from supplying equipment for Australia’s 5G network. TPG argues that the Chinese company is the only supplier of 5G equipment that is compatible with the 4G technology that TPG has already installed.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, VODAFONE HUTCHISON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, VODAFONE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, NOKIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ERICSSON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK LIMITED, IBISWORLD PTY LTD, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED

Lew mulls next content move, says video paying off

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 26-Apr-19

Optus recently created the new role of vice-president of television, content and product development, recruiting Seven West Media executive Clive Dickens for the role. The role reflects the increased importance of video content to the telco, with drama and entertainment likely to be the next elements of its content strategy. CEO Allen Lew says content is one way by which Optus can differentiate itself from rival telcos.

CORPORATES
SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

5G ‘overhyped’: Credit Suisse telco chief

Original article by Eric Johnston
The Australian – Page: 27 : 28-Mar-19

Optus launched 5G broadband services in February, while Telstra intends to begin selling 5G handsets within six months. However, Colin McCallum of Credit Suisse has downplayed the merits of 5G technology for consumers, arguing that existing 4G networks can cope with the demands of streaming video. He notes that deploying 5G technology will require significant capital expenditure, while the opportunities for increased revenue from consumers are quite limited at present.

CORPORATES
SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, CREDIT SUISSE AG, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS COMPANY LIMITED, APPLE INCORPORATED

Telcos slam NBN’s marketing push

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 26-Mar-19

Telcos such as TPG Telecom have accused NBN Co of targeting their business customers. Their view is that NBN Co is meant to be a wholesaler and it should not be having direct contact with end users. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has observed that NBN Co is permitted to directly promote its services to end users, but that it is not permitted to recommend retail service providers to end users. The ACCC’s view has been backed up by the federal government.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, MACQUARIE TELECOM GROUP LIMITED – ASX MAQ

TPG calls for reduction in damaging NBN price

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 20 : 20-Mar-19

TPG Telecom has posted a 2018-19 interim net profit of $47.4m, which is 76.3 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by a write-down associated with a decision to shelve plans for its own mobile network. TPG has advised that earnings from its core residential fixed-line broadband business fell 4.8 per cent to $243m during the half-year. CFO Craig Levy has warned that TPG will have to scrap its entry-level national broadband network plan unless NBN Co reduces its wholesale prices for budget plans.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, NBN CO LIMITED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, NEW STREET RESEARCH, GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, VODAFONE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

The 2018, 8th Annual Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards: Telecommunications and Utilities Winners

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 8-Mar-19

Australia’s most satisfying home phone, mobile phone, internet, and utilities service providers were recently announced at the 2018 Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards. Optus is the Home Phone Service Provider of the year, with six monthly awards, while Virgin Mobile was named Mobile Phone Service Provider of the year, also with six monthly wins. Meanwhile, iiNet has been named Internet Service Provider for a fourth consecutive year and the Apple iPhone took out the award for Handset Provider for an eighth consecutive year. Red Energy took out the award for Electricity Provider for a fourth successive year, while Kleenheat is the Gas Provider of the year.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, VIRGIN MOBILE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, IINET LIMITED, APPLE PTY LTD, RED ENERGY PTY LTD, KLEENHEAT GAS PTY LTD