Westpac refund costs approach $1 billion

Original article by Lucas Baird, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 24-Oct-19

Westpac has advised that its financial accounts for the second half of 2018-19 will include an after-tax provision of $341m for its customer remediation program. This will lift the bank’s remediation costs for the full year to $958m, and $1.9bn on a pre-tax basis since 2017. Westpac has also flagged the potential for significant financial penalties as a result of Austrac’s investigation into its compliance with anti-money laundering laws. Westpac’s financial results for the year to 30 September will be released in early November.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, EVANS AND PARTNERS ASIA FUND – ASX EAF, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Westpac to take $753m earnings hit

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 19 : 1-May-19

Westpac has advised that its 2018-19 interim cash profit will be marred by writedowns totalling $753m. The bank has increased its half-year provisions for customer remediation by $357m, to $617m in total. Westpac’s financial accounts will also include provisions totalling $136m in relation to the restructuring of its wealth division. Westpac will report its half-year results on 6 May. The ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank will also release their interim results in coming days.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, VIRIDIAN ADVISORY PTY LTD

Rio lashed over probe records

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 20 : 5-Apr-19

Rio Tinto has admitted that it had failed to provide the US Securities & Exchange Commission with a large number of documents relating to its ill-fated investment in Mozambique-focused coal producer Riversdale Mining. The SEC is investigating the conduct of Rio Tinto executives – including former CEO Tom Albanese – regarding the timing of a write-down of the Riversdale assets. Rio Tinto has blamed "technical problems" for its failure to provide some 25,000 documents to the SEC.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, UNITED STATES. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, RIVERSDALE MINING LIMITED, DISTRICT COURT OF UNITED STATES, GIBSON DUNN AND CRUTCHER LLP, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

CBA adds to banks’ $1bn bill

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 24 : 12-Dec-18

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has advised that its 2018-19 interim financial results will include an extra $300m in provisions associated with compliance and remediation programs. CBA also announced a provision of $55m for transaction and separation costs regarding the sale of its life insurance business. The bank had previously disclosed a provision of $270m in relation to the ‘fee-for-no-service’ scandal. Australia’s four major banks have now incurred some $1.4bn worth of compensation and compliance costs in the wake of the financial services royal commission.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COMMINSURE LIFE, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED

Rio execs say good faith in assets call

Original article by Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 22 : 14-Nov-18

Rio Tinto and former executives Tom Albanese and Guy Elliott have denied any wrongdoing over the 2013 write-down of its coking coal assets in Mozambique. Albanese and Elliott have argued that they had acted in good faith and therefore should be excused from any liability. Both the Australian Securities & Investments Commission and the US Securities & Exchange Commission have launched legal action over the write-down.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, RIVERSDALE MINING LIMITED, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, UNITED STATES. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Banks tumble over advice compo fears

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 9-Oct-18

The ANZ Bank has advised that its full-year accounts for 2017-18 will include charges totalling $739m in the second half. Amongst other things, ANZ has advised of $374m in charges to compensate customers who paid fees for services they had not received, while its costs associated with the financial services royal commission are expected to total $55m. The major banks will shortly come under scrutiny by the House of Representatives economics committee for the first time since the inquiry began.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, STANDARD AND POOR’S FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC, MLC LIMITED, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, SLATER AND GORDON LIMITED – ASX SGH

Labor leaps on S&P write-off call for NBN

Original article by Supratim Adhikari
The Australian – Page: 25 : 27-Jul-18

Labor has called for the Auditor-General to audit the National Broadband Network’s books, although Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has labelled the suggestion an "ignorant stunt". Labor’s proposal follows a report from S&P Global Ratings which states that the NBN should be written off, with Labor stating that any proposed audit should concentrate on the NBN’s market share and revenue forecasts up until 2040. Labor has not indicated whether it would write off the NBN if it wins the next federal election.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, STANDARD AND POOR’S (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

Rio faces new ASIC claims over Riversdale

Original article by Matt Chambers
The Australian – Page: 22 : 2-May-18

A Rio Tinto spokesman says the mining giant will "vigorously" contest the latest allegations regarding a writedown of its coking coal assets in Mozambique. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has alleged that a delay in writing down the value of the assets constituted misleading and deceptive conduct. Rio Tinto, former CEO Tom Albanese and ex-CFO Guy Elliott were already facing allegations that they had not informed shareholders of a significant downgrade in the resource estimate for the Mozambique assets.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, RIVERSDALE MINING LIMITED, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, UNITED STATES. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALASIAN CENTRE FOR CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED

Coal price forecasts slowed Rio Mozambique impairment

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 26 : 7-Mar-18

Rio Tinto announced a $US2.86bn write-down in the value of its Mozambique coal assets in February 2013, less than 18 months after they were acquired for $US3.7bn in August 2011. The US Securities & Exchange Commission contends that a write-down should have been made much sooner. It also alleges that former Rio Tinto executives Tom Albanese and Guy Elliott had been aware that the value of the Mozambique assets had declined only months after their acquisition.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, UNITED STATES. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, RIVERSDALE MINING LIMITED, ALCAN INCORPORATED

Wesfarmers hit as Bunnings UK bleeds

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 6-Feb-18

Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers has announced some $A1.3bn worth of writedowns associated with the Target discount department store chain and the fledgling Bunnings operations in the UK. Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott is optimistic that Bunnings UK can become profitable, but a sweeping review of the business will be undertaken which could potentially result in its sale or closure. Scott has vowed that Wesfarmers will act quickly and decisively on the outcome of the review of its Bunnings UK business.

CORPORATES
WESFARMERS LIMITED – ASX WES, BUNNINGS GROUP LIMITED, TARGET AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, WOOLWORTHS LIQUOR, MASTERS HOME IMPROVEMENT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ARGO INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX ARG