Australia Channel
2019-07-08 14:21

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Commonwealth Bank (CBA): 
Commonwealth Bank has created a new senior executive role to oversee marketing and corporate affairs, as it looks to regain customer trust and restore its reputation. Rocked by a year-long Royal Commission inquiry that looked into wrongdoing in the financial sector, CBA and other top firms are trying to improve their public image with a focus on putting customers ahead of profits. 

Independence Group NL (IGO): 
Diversified miner Independence Group has reported bumper June quarter production from its Nova project, and forecast strong results into the new financial year. Preliminary production estimates for nickel, copper and cobalt from its Nova mine have each exceeded its guidance range, with copper most notable at 13,700 tonnes above upper guidance target of 12,500. Gold from its Tropicana mine, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti, has been consistent with guidance with production hitting 518,000 ounces for the year, within expectations of between 500,000 and 550,000.

News Corp Australia is merging the print and digital operations of its travel business, Escape, and has promoted Gemma Battenbough to drive its expansion. News said the move will help Escape, which has a monthly audience of more than 3.5 million, focus on “the growth and expansion of audience and commercial opportunities”. The new travel division will sit under the division of News DNA, led by Julian Delany, and “leverage the momentum of Escape’s newly-refreshed website that features end-to-end advertising solutions and content focused on making travel experiences even more enriching and inspiring”. Mr Delany said travel is “a key pillar of our business and we are seeing exponential growth.” 

Orica Ltd (ORI): 
Explosives maker Orica and packaging manufacturer Orora have sealed gas deals with Queensland’s Australia Pacific LNG, amid broader tensions over looming government changes to boost domestic gas supplies. Orica will buy 10.2 petajoules of gas over four years starting 2021 and Orora up to six petajoules over three years from 2023. The supply pact follows a three-year deal struck last month between Incitec Pivot and APLNG which ensured Brisbane’s struggling Gibson Island fertilise plant stays open until the end of 2022. APLNG - a joint venture between Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and China’s Sinopec - said it provided 30 per cent of the east coast’s gas supply in 2018. The gas industry is bracing for further changes as the Coalition weighs its support for the Centre Alliance’s raft of gas reforms including changes to the gas pricing trigger and a long-term plan to boost domestic gas supply.

Pushpay Holdings Ltd (PPH): 
Charity donation platform Pushpay has completed a $NZ45.3 million ($43m) bookbuild, allowing outgoing chief Chris Heaslip to sell down almost half of his holdings in the company. The bookbuild, announced to the market yesterday, sold 12.24 million shares at $NZ3.70 apiece. “We are pleased to see the continued strong support for our Company in the market. The transaction attracted interest from highquality institutional investors and demonstrates that Pushpay’s business proposition and exciting future prospects continue to resonate with investors,” chief Bruce Gordon said. Settlement for the transfer of shares is expected on July 9. 

Speedcast International Ltd (SDA): 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded SpeedCast a contract with total ceiling value of $3 billion over its five year term. "Speedcast Government is honoured to have been selected as an awardee under the TacCom II vehicle," said Speedcast Government chief executive Moe Abutaleb. "We are committed to bringing leading-edge technologies, equipment, network and technical services to support DHS and its end users on this important program."

Spicers Ltd (SRS): 
It’s a long good-bye for Spicers Ltd from the ASX. Remember this is the former Paperlinx paper merchant and manufacturer which in turn was spun out from Amcor in April 2000. The Federal Court has just approved the scheme of arrangement for the $147 million takeover of Spicers by Japan’s Kokusai Pulp & Paper Co. The Scheme is now legally effective and Spicers has applied for its shares to cease trading on the ASX after the close of trading today. 

Suncorp Group Ltd (SUN): 
Suncorp Group is officially considering its options for smash repairs chain Capital SMART, as revealed by Street Talk. The insurance and banking giant has formally hired boutique firm Luminis Partners to oversee a strategic review for Capital SMART, sources said, which will consider a number of options including selling a majority stake to an offshore acquirer. Sources said Suncorp was seeking a sale multiple of at least 10 times earnings, which would equate to more than $300 million.

WPP Aunz Ltd (WPP): 
WPP is in exclusive talks to sell a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar to private equity firm Bain Capital, in a $4 billion deal aimed at steering the world's biggest advertising company back to growth. The news puts an end to months of speculation around the heavilycontested auction which drew interest from a broad spectrum of buyout firms that are flush with cash to invest. WPP had shortlisted a series of U.S. buyout funds to submit binding bids for a majority stake in Kantar including Apollo and Platinum.
(Source: AIMS)
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