AGL Energy Limited (AGL):
AGL Energy has signed a three-year gas deal with BHP to buy 78 petajoules of gas from Victoria’s Gippsland Basin, just a day after one of its rivals Energy Australia agreed a pact to source gas from a planned LNG import terminal. AGL’s 39-month deal starts in April 2020 and will supply its NSW and Victorian gas customers. “AGL remains committed to securing cost-competitive gas supply for its customers from the domestic market where it is available and new gas supply from international markets through its proposed AGL gas import jetty project,” the company said in a statement.
Alumina Limited (AWC):
Bauxite miner and alumina refiner Alumina Limited has warned that it is earnings will fall this year due to softer commodity prices. Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne today, Alumina managing director Mike Ferraro said that while its alumina cash margins remained healthy, the weaker alumina prices would hurt its bottom line. “In terms of the outlook for 2019, whilst I remain confident that we will have a successful year, we will not surpass 2018,” Mr Ferraro said. “We are, after all, exposed to commodity price fluctuations.” The price of aluminium has pulled back this year, touching its lowest level since January 2017 this week after a Brazilian court lifted production restrictions on Alunorte.
Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ALL):
Gaming machine maker Aristocrat Leisure has posted a 17 per cent jump in first-half profit on the back of a record profit from its American division and continued growth in its social and online casino games. Normalised net profit after tax and before amortisation of acquired intangibles (the company's key earnings metric) rose 16.8 per cent to $422.3 million, and 7.7 per cent in constant currency terms. According to Bloomberg, analysts had expected underlying earnings of $413 million, revenue during the period jumped 29.8 per cent to $2.1 billion, in line with analyst expectations. Strong growth in free cashflow saw Aristocrat lift its interim dividend by 16 per cent to 22¢.
Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd (DMP):
Domino’s Pizza is facing a number of headwinds going into fiscal 2020 namely some difficulty around improving and expanding its key European market in France and the purchase of underperforming stores in Australia from franchisees, while a new menu in Japan would still take time to hook customers. Following a presentation yesterday from Domino’s chief executive Don Meij and the key heads of its offshore operations in Japan, Europe as well as the manager of its flagship Australia/New Zealand arm, analysts still believe that the food retailer’s profits are under pressure, especially locally.
Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (FSF):
Fonterra has cut its full-year guidance and will close a century-old factory in western Victoria amid drought conditions it says represent a “new norm for the Australian dairy industry”. The New Zealand-based processor said its Dennington plant, which employs 98 people and opened in 1911, was “not viable” in current market conditions, and would be shut down later this year. “This is not a one-off for this season, it’s the new norm for the Australian dairy industry and we need to adapt,” chief executive Miles Hurrell said in a statement. Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy producer, slashed its full-year guidance and said it expects earnings per share in therange of 10-15 NZ cents instead of its earlier estimate of 15-25 NZ cents.
Infigen Energy Ltd (IFN):
Renewable power producer Infigen Energy has surprised the market with a deal worth at least $60 million to buy the Smithfield gas power station in western Sydney, in a breakout move beyond wind and solar generation and storage. The acquisition of the 109- megawatt fast-start power plant will provide the "firming" capacity needed to grow its sales to commercial and industrial customers, Infigen said on Thursday. Packaging giant Visy has been seeking a buyer for the station since last year. The deal was settled in cash, with up to $14 million more to be paid for additional megawatts added to the rated capacity by November, it added.
Kidman Resources Ltd (KDR) & Wesfarmers Ltd (WES):
Lithium miner Kidman Resources has accepted the takeover from Wesfarmers after an exclusive period of due diligence was completed. The two companies have entered into a scheme implementation deed which will see Wesfarmers acquire 100 per cent of Kidman's shares, when the scheme is implemented. Kidman's directors and major shareholder said they intend to support the $1.90 a share offer. "We are pleased to recommend this attractive all-cash transaction with Wesfarmers to our shareholders," said Kidman chairman John Pizzey. "Kidman's focus has been to create value for shareholders through the development of a leading Australian integrated lithium project and we have made significant progress towards achieving this goal."
Kogan.com Ltd (KGN):
Online retailer Kogan.com has been taken to court by the Australian competition regulator for allegedly offering fake discounts to consumers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges Kogan.com raised the prices of more than 600 products by at least 10 per cent immediately before offering a 10 per cent-off 'tax-time' promotion last June. The ACCC has instituted proceedings against Kogan Australia Pty Ltd (Kogan) in the Federal Court, alleging the company, run by co-founder Ruslan Kogan, made false or misleading representations about the promotion, breaching Australian Consumer Law.
Mincor Resources NL (MCR):
West Australia’s Mincor Resources has underlined nickel’s emerging status as resources industry hotspot after cutting a $9.5 million deal to buy Independence Group’s mothballed Long nickel mine in WA. While the deal is relatively small, it comes after BHP Group surprised many last week by saying it now regarded its Nickel West business as a core part of its growth outlook, raising the level of interest in WA’s long-suffering mid-tier nickel sector. MIncor, which mothballed its own mines as the nickel price plunged a few years ago, cut a deal with BHP’s Nickel West in March to process ore through the major’s Kambalda concentrator.
Reject Shop Ltd (TRS):
The Reject Store is looking for a new CEO to replace Ross Sudano, as it warned of a looming loss. The retailer had previously forecast a full year net profit for 2019 of between $3.1 million and $4.1m. It now expected a loss of between $1 and $2m. The Reject Shop also announced the “near term” departure of CEO Ross Sudano, after leading the business “through a period of significant consolidation”. Senior executive Dana Aquilina has been appointed acting CEO while it looks for a new boss.
Stockland Corporation Ltd (SGP):
Diversified property giant Stockland has offloaded three Victorian retirement villages to the Qualitas Seniors Housing Fund No.1 for a total of $59m. The sales, struck at prices “broadly in line with book value”, are part of moves by Stockland to lower its expose to the sector. Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert said the group was also “progressing a capital partnership for our retirement living business and are pleased with initial interest from investors”. The Victorian sale includes Burnside Retirement Village, Taylors Hill Retirement Village and Keilor Retirement Village, which are in Melbourne’s north- west. Stockland Communities chief executive Andrew Whitson said the asset sales aligned with the group’s active capital recycling strategy, which involved selling smaller villages so it could reinvest across its broader business.