Origin powers on at steady pace

28/10/2018 // by admin

Origin energy has flagged flat earnings over the next year or so, as it holds all new investment to within its cash flow and ramps up spending on its Queensland export gas project.
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Earnings a share surged to 90.4 cents in the 12 months to June, up from 19.6 cents a year earlier, as it benefited from the acquisition of electricity retailing and generation assets in from the NSW government.

However, the final dividend has been held steady at 25 cents a share.

Stripping out one-off factors such as valuation gains and the like, the underlying profit rose 33 per cent to $893 million, from $673 million a year earlier.

Earnings will take ‘‘a small breather this year and into the next year,’’ Origin’s managing director Mr Grant King said earlier today.

‘‘This year is looking problematic,’’ he said of the outlook, largely since — outside of the export gas project in Queensland — there has been little new investment to drive earnings growth.

As well, a regulatory decision in Queensland which has made it uneconomic to write new business may cost the company $60 million over a full year. Origin has launched a legal review of the decision, by the Queensland competition Authority, which is likely to take some time to finalise.

Even so, Origin shareholders have enjoyed strong profit growth of around 30 per cent a year for the past two years, which is well ahead of the average 10-15 per cent growth flagged by the company, Mr King said.

In the year to June, 2013, Origin expects to see earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rise around 10 per cent, although underlying earnings are expected to be flat.

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Macquarie Telecom gets thrifty for modest gains

28/10/2018 // by admin

AT A GLANCENET PROFIT $19.5 million up from $17.7 millionREVENUE $221 million down from $231 millionEPS 93.4¢ up from 84.8¢ANNUAL DIVIDEND 24¢ fully franked up from 22¢
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Macquarie Telecom squeezed a higher profit out of lower revenues last financial year by reducing costs and improving bill payment times, reporting a 10 per cent increase on profit to $19.5 million.

It has increased dividends to 12¢ fully franked payable on October 11, giving shareholders an annual dividend of 24¢ fully franked. Earnings per share were 93.4¢.

“We invest a lot of money back into the business, so it is a modest dividend payout,” chief executive David Tudehope told BusinessDay.

Shares in the business telco and data-hosting provider were not moved by the results — trading at $9.50 today.

The outlook for next year is “positive” with a new data centre now open for business and Macquarie looking for more customers.

Total revenues in 2011-12 were $221 million, down from $231 million the previous year. Earnings were $40.6 million, 9 per cent higher than last year.

Revenues from fixed voice calls and mobile phone use declined from $115 million last year to $98 million. Data carriage revenue increased from $59 million to $62 million and revenue from hosting increased from $54 million to $59 million.

Chief executive David Tudehope said Vodafone’s network issues contributed to the decline in mobile revenue.

“Since then we have added Optus and Telstra [to our services] and we are now have three mobile carriers.”

Macquarie had also lowered fixed voice prices after negotiating lower supply charges, which reduced revenue he added.

“It is about making sure we negotiate well. We basically run a good business [where] we pass on a lot of the savings to our clients and that is why the revenue comes down.” Carrier costs dropped from $103 million to $92 million.

Last financial year bad and doubtful debts cost the company $1 million, this year it was only $41,000.

“We did that through diligent management of customer inquiries and a big focus on making sure we respond to inquiries in the first place and getting back quickly so people do not linger [on bills],” Mr Tudehope explained.

The company expects to spend $14 million expanding its hosting business and $20 million on ordinary business capital expenses next year. It has about $30 million cash on hand and access to $30 million debt.

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The delicate psyche of DJs shoppers

28/10/2018 // by admin

Former David Jones boss Mark McInnes always liked to set the ebbs and flows of the upmarket department store’s financial fortunes within the context of the sharemarket and his customers’ superannuation balances.
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His shoppers, busy executives, well heeled individuals, would spend when the market was in boom and their super fund balances were overflowing, but rein in their purchases of designer dresses, handbags and suits when greed turned to fear and share prices, along with super returns, began to sink.

If this bond is as tight and true as described by McInnes then current David Jones boss Paul Zahra has a lot to be worried about if BHP’s decision yesterday to scrap $60 billion in mining projects is the beginning of the end of the mining boom and Australia’s economy is about to take a turn for the worse.

The impact of such a slowdown would hit share prices and superannuation returns, and take down with it the delicate psyche of David Jones shoppers.

But Zahra remains upbeat for the time being, reporting this morning a 1.3 per cent drop in fourth quarter sales to $455.8 million and commenting that sales month to month in that period did show improvement. How much improvement he would not say.

Despite some sunshine, it is still however David Jones seventh consecutive quarter of negative total and like-for-like sales and this is despite the heat of the mining boom over at least the past two years.

Holding out some hope for investors, Zahra did say this morning he and his team were working towards a positive sales result for the first quarter of this financial year.

But just what affect talk of a slowdown in the mining sector will have on those projections may not become clear until David Jones earnings results are released next month and there is further commentary about sales tracking month to month.

It may only take one more bad news story out of Europe or America to cause David Jones shoppers to keep their wallets and purses firmly closed shut.

And so the forces now aimed against Zahra and his target of positive sales over the first quarter should not be underestimated.

He faces price deflation driven by price harmonisation for his online offerings, some refurbishment that will disrupt trading and the successful  implementation of his new strategic plan that was unveiled to investors earlier this year.

At least it looks like David Jones has got its inventory in order after a poor decision to overload on stock a few years ago heading into a new season forced the retailer to engage in massive price discounting which hurt sales – not to mention its reputation and appeal as an upmarket store.

Zahra announced this morning the traditional winter clearance had been shortened by two weeks to six weeks, thanks to better inventory controls. This will also mean less reliance on discounting which can only help the store’s prestige and bottom line.

The department store boss is doing everything he can to get David Jones business in the best possible position to benefit from even the slightest pick up in sales, so that every dollar put in the till is squeezed to flow through to the bottom line. Now all he needs is a reason for people to shop.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Forget the elite, league must use the TV rights money for future growth

28/10/2018 // by admin

FoxSports’ Patrick Delany, ARLC’s John Grant, NRL’s Shane Mattiske and Channel Nine’s David Gyngell at the announcement of the new TV deal.So, the NRL has earned a similar figure from its TV rights – after all – as Australian Football.
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But while league is financially matching its main rival, it remains to be seen whether the game can even approach the AFL denizens for scope and vision.

While everyone is fighting over their share of the case like Boxing Day Sales maniacs, it’s important not to forget what the AFL have spent their money on.

As broadcaster Clint Wheeldon pointed out on Twitter, the AFL used its television windfall to promote further national expansion while rugby league excapted having to expand nationally in order to get the money it was after.

That’s not a good sign in the battle of the codes.

You can dole out money to all the stakeholders you like but if the AFL keep putting up posts in western Sydney and more kids starting playing it, the emperor will find himself with no clothes a generation or two down the track.

Everyone in the game should agree to the need for a so-called “war chest” to fight back. And then we should get on with building one, with everyone tempering their own claims for the greater good.Soccer may get to see what the real Gallop can do

While soccer types debate the wisdom of having an “outsider” in David Gallop run their sport in Australia, we should debate the wisdom of letting him go to one of our competitors.

It was always said that Gallop’s worth as an administrator would be shown when he was free from the stifling confines of the ARL-News Limited partnership.

Well we never got the chance to see that but we’ll definitely get the opportunity when he takes on a sport that has too often resembled a basket case.

His efforts in standing up to Nathan Tinkler and addressing hooliganism while solving crippling debt at some clubs will give as a fascinating glimpse of what we’ve missed out on.London calling at the top of the dial; After all this, won’t you give me a smile?

This week’s column comes to you from London, where Warrington meet Leeds in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

This is an occasion which can reignite the passion of even the most jaded league fan. It’s the game’s big day out in a city that pays it little attention for the rest of the year . The game in this country clamours to get celebrity endorsements from the likes of cyclist Bradley Wiggins and various Premier League players to give it relevance to the wider community – which these days cannot identify a single rugby league player unfortunately.

On Thursday, a rugby league statue will be unveiled at Wembley. The next day, there’s a great promotion called Friday Night Lights, which involves lower division London Skolars combining their game against Whitehaven at New River Stadium with a Real Ale Festival.

It’s a week every league fans should experience once.Let’s go to the comments

Comment time and whatwouldiknow suggests asking players who look to have scored whether they got the ball down, with ‘liars’ forfeiting their captain’s with to a challenge of that or other decisions. This is hopelessly old-school. Are we going to ask players if they tackled someone high, dropped the ball or threw a forward pass as well?

Diehard is right to say that the ARU would control selections for Australian Olympic Sevens team and for that reason there is no hope of rugby league players being considered.

Oethesaint, this column gets done when it gets done. Today I am in the UK so I am writing it on a lovely warm Wednesday night, when time allows. It was not my debut on NRL On Fox – I average one gig on there every three or four years.

Jarrodmac, yes I have a one-eyed league head. I have absolutely no interest in any other sport. As for how the game is going to fund things, I think that question was answered on Tuesday.

Franky said the current game is boring and wanted to go back to inside and outside centres. I don’t think there is any real groundswell towards “going back” to anything. I agree with Wallygee, who had his own long list of suggestion, that the skill level today is unbelievable and more than compensates of any other regressions.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Q&A with Mel B

28/10/2018 // by admin

YOU seem to be very busy, even by your standards. The Olympic closing ceremony, the Spice Girls’ musical launch and, of course, The X Factor.
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Yeah, we’ve kind of had a bit of a whirlwind for the last five, six weeks. Me, my husband and our kids have been all over the place, from London, to Germany, to Oslo, to Paris, to Ibiza, to LA and now back in New York. It’s been very exciting. It’s been pretty crazy and fun.

Have you got your team of six X Factor contestants there with you?

I just did three days with them with my brilliant guest judge and I just chose my top-three contestants. When you have such a good line-up of six, it’s always hard to halve them to three. So I was up last night going, ”Oh, my god! Which one do I choose? Is that going to be OK?” I get really, really, really involved.

Does it get worse with the finals?

I eat, breathe and sleep X Factor once those live shows start because I want to make sure that I’m making the right song choices, that they’re wearing the right clothes. I’m in on every single rehearsal. They have my cellphone number; they can call me whenever.

How do you find the auditions?

Sometimes I find those funny, and sometimes I find them annoying. It’s a long day, about a 10-hour day. You’re literally seeing talent after talent after talent. Some good, some really not so good, some really not so good, and some comical. Then you find those gems that are amazing. It’s a real roller-coaster ride.

Are you surprised to still find new talent?

I’m not surprised at all. This year there’s more talent then ever, way more than last year. They dropped the age limit, so you’ve got a whole young kind of vibe going on. The kids have been watching it and can’t wait until they become the right age to join in. Then you’ve got the ones where they’ve been egged on by their mum or their friend. And then you’ve just got those people who go, ”I watched it last season and I can do that.”

Do you get challenged by the stage mums?

Yeah. Backstage sometimes you get the contestants’ mums going, ”You should have put her through,” or ”Why did you say that to my daughter?” and I just find that funny. You’re already up on stage. Not everything that every judge is going to say you’re going to necessarily like, unless you’re amazing. So you’ve just got to be prepared for that.

Do you pass on that advice?

The thing is with me, I know firsthand how hard it is. The Spice Girls, we put ourselves together. We were together for a whole year. We were all broke and we wanted it so bad that we just worked. We all lived together, we all worked every day on our stuff, there was nobody telling us to do anything. We wrote all our own music, we were so focused and so dedicated. I know what that feels like, when you’ve got that yearning, for music and your message.

So you look for hunger in the contestants?

Yeah. First of all, they have to be talented but they have to really want it, because there’s no point being talented and just thinking: ”Huh, I can do whatever.” You have to be dedicated and focused.

GILES HARDIE

The X Factor is on Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm on Channel Seven.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.