The Border Watch : February 25th 2014
Business half-year profit for nib BrISBANe: Health insurer nib has grown its half-year profit by 9 per cent, as it attracts more policy holders and increases premium revenue. The company made a net profit of $39.7 million in the six months to December 31, up from $36.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue from premiums grew 20 per cent to $735.4 million, and its total number of policyholders at December 31 was more than 484,500, up almost 5 per cent from a year earlier. Managing director Mark Fitzgibbon said the company’s Australian business continued to defy escalating competition and “unhelpful regulatory changes”. But the company’s underwriting margins were under pressure as claims got more expensive, he said. “Our recently approved premium increase obviously helps, but the industry as a whole really needs to take stock of how we might better improve system efficiency and bend the curve of claims inflation and premium growth.” The company expects to post an operating profit guidance in the range of $73 million to $80 million for the full 2013-14 financial year, after its half-year operating profit came in at $41.4 million. Its shares dropped 2c to $2.56 yesterday. AAP transfield wins $1.2b contract MeLBOUrNe: Asset management firm Transfield Services has won a $1.2 billion contract to provide garrison and welfare services over a 20-month period at Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres on Nauru, and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Transfield Services said yesterday it had received a formal Letter of Intent from the Commonwealth of Australia for the award of a contract. On Manus, Transfield will sub-contract security services to Wilson Security, as it has on Nauru. SYDNeY: Caltex Australia is counting on the impending closure of its Sydney refinery to reduce volatility in its earnings, after annual profit fell by 28 per cent. AAP The company plans to shut the Kurnell plant in Sydney’s south by the end of 2014 and convert it to an import terminal to receive refined fuels from Singapore. Chief executive Julian Segal said the closure of the terminal would help make the company’s earnings more predictable. Caltex’s net profit for 2013 dropped to $332 million as a result of a lower Australian dollar and a reduced refiner margin – the difference between the price of crude oil and Caltex’s refined fuel products. “Our exposure to refining-related externalities such as refiner margin and unplanned incidents will reduce,” Mr Seagal said. “We expect this to result in lower volatility in our earnings and cash flows.” Caltex Australia shares gained 45c yesterday to close at $20.94. Boart takes hit after loss, cuts Perth: Investors have punished Boart Longyear shares after the company made a heavy loss and said it would review its operations after having slashed almost 3500 jobs in the past year. The world’s largest drilling company made a net loss of $US620 million ($A692.39 million) in 2013, down from a $US68 million profit in 2012. It was hit by $US461 million of restructuring costs and impairments after cutting 3481 jobs during the year. Falling commodities prices and increased political and economic risk for mining activity made Drilling company reports big full-year loss after slashing 3500 jobs Chief executive Richard Boart Longyear shares Long year: Boart chief executive richard O’Brien. 2013 a challenging year, the company said, and it predicted key commodity prices would remain weak in 2014. O’Brien left the door open for more job losses, saying the company would leave all options on the table as it focused on debt reduction and improving its capital structure. “To that end, we have initiated a strategic review to ensure all options are considered carefully and completely, not only to meet today’s needs but to position the business to capitalise on future opportunities,” Mr O’Brien said, adding profitability would be influenced by price, productivity and management’s ability to further control costs. dropped 6.5c, or 15.3 per cent, to 36c yesterday. The company has not issued guidance for 2014 revenue, but said it expected primary factors driving its revenue, such as rig utilisation rates and product sales volumes, to remain consistent with levels in the fourth quarter of 2013. The average rig utilisation rate for operating and assigned rigs fell to around 40 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from 60 per cent in the first quarter. Revenue was $US1.22 billion ($1.36 billion), down 39 per cent, from $US2.01 billion. AAP Caltex hopes closure will fuel profits Profit slump: A lower Australian dollar negatively impacted Caltex’s 2013 profits. Picture: AAP in Brief Strong profit growth for Beach Energy MeLBOUrNe: Shares in Beach energy have jumped after the producer more than tripled its half-year profit. the company grew its net profit to a record $160.5 million in the six months to December 31, up from $46.7 million in the same period a year earlier. Its underlying profit also increased, to a record $158.1 million, up from $60.9 million in the previous corresponding period. Beach energy shares gained 13.5c, or 8.85 per cent, to $1.66. the company’s operations are viewed as well located to supply increasing volumes of gas to Australia’s east coast. BlueScope finally back in the black MeLBOUrNe: BlueScope Steel has achieved a half-year profit for the first time in five years, but its Australian operations continue to lose money. BlueScope turned last year’s first-half loss of $24 million into a modest $3.7 million net profit in the six months to December 31. the company was brought to its knees two years ago when it posted two $1 billion-plus annual, cut more than 1000 Australian jobs and stopped exporting steel. Monadelphous gets new work BrISBANe: engineering group Monadelphous’s shares have jumped after it clinched a $680 million construction contract for work on the Ichthys gas project in Darwin. the company will install piping, mechanical and structural steel for the utility and offsite area of the facilities. Work will start immediately and is expected to be completed by mid-2016. the project involves the piping of liquefied natural gas from the Browse Basin off the Kimberley coast to Darwin for processing and export. Dollar down slightly on quiet day of trade AAP Patties set to focus on improving productivity MeLBOUrNe: Frozen food supplier Patties Foods expects its underlying profit in the second half of the 2013-14 financial year to at least match that of the prior year. Patties’ brands include Four’N Twenty, Herbert Adams, Nanna’s, Patties, Creative Gourmet and Chef’s Pride. “We currently anticipate in [the second half of fiscal 2014] to at least match last year’s second-half underlying NPAT (net profit after tax),” Patties said yesterday. Patties said second-half profit would be boosted by the launch of new products, price increases, cost controls, and the benefits from a recently completed robotic packing equipment project. “While conditions have been challenging we continue to see 10 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, February 25, 2014 opportunities for improvement in many areas and remain focused to deliver improved earnings,” Patties acting joint chief executive Michael Knaap said. “Productivity optimisation remains a core focus, with particular emphasis on manufacturing efficiencies driven by capital investment and our continuous improvement programs.” Patties yesterday booked a net profit of $8.75 million for the six months to December 31, down 3.3 per cent on the prior corresponding period. Revenue lifted 0.9 per cent to $126.5 million. Patties said the company generated higher sales revenue despite the loss of a major private label frozen fruit contract. AAP Perth: the Australian dollar remains just under US90c after a quiet day of trade. At yesterday’s close, the local unit was trading at US89.66c, down from US89.98c on Friday. Commonwealth Bank chief currency strategist richard Grace said a lack of local data and offshore influences had kept the local currency within a tight range. “that means there’s been little effect on the Australian dollar for us today,” he said. there had been no major offshore leads to influence traders.
February 21st 2014
February 26th 2014