Prepare for drawn-out downturn

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 1-May-20

The ANZ Bank has posted an interim cash profit of $1.41bn, which is 60 per cent lower than previously. The result was marred by impairment charges totalling $1.7bn, while a decision on its half-year dividend will be deferred until August due to uncertainty regarding the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. ANZ’s common equity tier one ratio has fallen to 10.8 per cent, compared with 11.5 per cent a year ago. Meanwhile, CEO Shayne Elliott says the Australian economy is unlikely to experience a V-shaped recovery.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Westpac braces for virus shock

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 29-Apr-20

Westpac has advised that its half-year accounts will include a pre-tax impairment charge of $2.24bn. This includes a $1.6bn provision for coronavirus-related loan losses. However, CEO Peter King says the bank is well-positioned to absorb an increase in loan losses, while Westpac does not expect the impairment charges to have much effect on its common equity tier-one capital ratio. Westpac is not expected to undertake a capital raising, having raised some $2.77bn from investors in November. Westpac will release its interim results on 4 May.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

NAB reveals $1.4bn writedowns

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 16 : 21-Apr-20

National Australia Bank has advised that its cash profit for the six months to 31 March will be marred by writedowns totalling $1.14bn. This includes a $188m provision for customer remediation and an impairment charge of $742m associated with its software capitalisation policy. Westpac recently warned that its half-year results will include some $1.43bn worth of write-downs. Meanwhile, analysts expect the major banks’ loan losses and dividend payouts to be a key focus for investors when their interim results are released.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Energy companies face huge asset writedowns

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 20-Apr-20

The price of Brent crude oil is trading at around $US28 a barrel. Energy industry sources have warned that Australian oil and gas producers may have to announce significant full or half-year impairment charges if the oil price remains subdued for the remainder of 2020. Allan Gray Australia Simon Mawhinney says $U30 a barrel is not sustainable for the industry. Futures market pricing suggests that the long-run oil price may average $US44 a barrel until 2023.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, BEACH ENERGY LIMITED – ASX BPT, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Free-to-air TV takes a $2bn tumble

Original article by Max Maddison
The Australian – Page: 25 : 24-Feb-20

Australia’s three commercial free-to-air networks have written down the value of their broadcasting licences by $2.276bn since 2015. Amongst other things, the networks are facing growing competition from subscription video-on-demand services, which are not subject to the same regulation as traditional broadcasters and do not pay tax in Australia. Research by Roy Morgan in 2019 showed that nearly 14 million Australians had a paid subscription to a streaming service.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, NINE NETWORK AUSTRALIA LIMITED, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, ROY MORGAN LIMITED

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