In this section we look at all the important announcements affecting companies this week.

  • Wesfarmers (WES) – Has admitted that its British Bunnings venture was a complete flop. The debacle is now being described as worse than Woolworth’s Masters flop. CEO Rob Scott is clearing the decks. He has announced a $1bn write down for Bunnings UK and Ireland. After the departure of the executives who did the deal, and with the once profitable Homebase, the business has deteriorated sharply and is loss making. Wesfarmers are due to announce their results on the 21 February.
  • Bubs Australia (BUB) – Has landed an agreement with Woolworths to stock all three stages of its Bubs Advanced Plus+ Goat Milk Infant Formula. The product is already available in Coles supermarkets. Goat dairy and infant formula is experiencing rapid growth domestically and overseas. Bubs goat milk infant formula is expected to be on the shelves of Woolworths supermarkets in April.
  • Nine Entertainment Co (NEC) – TV advertising revenue for the free-to-air metropolitan market increased significantly in December. NEC took out the number one spot for the first time in more than a decade. For the last decade Seven West Media (SWM) has been in the lead for advertising revenues. NEC’s share of the market for 2017 increased to 38.3%, SWM has 37.9% and TEN has 23.8%. NEC now has 40%.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) – Has issued a profit downgrade. The company will take a $77m pre-tax write-down hit after material contracts were not renewed. It’s disappointing news for the company and shareholders. But the company remains confident and positive on its mining prospects.
  • BHP – Activist shareholder Elliott Advisors are stepping up its call for the miner to scrap its dual listing. Elliott has asked BHP to review the matter by the time it posts results on February 20. So far BHP has refused to bow down to Elliott in its call to change its listing structure.
  • Macquarie Group (MQG) – Has issued a profit upgrade. The investment bank upped its FY guidance and will post higher performance fees in its funds management arm. This will boost earnings by around 10% to a record $2.2bn by the end of the financial year on March 31.Trading conditions had been “satisfactory” across the group in the December quarter and earnings were higher over the first nine months in its fund management arm, its asset financing business, and its banking and financial services business. MQG benefits from the global infrastructure boom and from the recent bull market in equities.
  • Woolworths (WOW) – Is miles ahead of Coles. USB released a survey which monitors prices and promotions. It found that across both fresh and dry grocery items over the second-quarter of 2017-18, Woolworths prices fell 0.9% versus Coles 0.2%. Citi analysts have upgraded Woolworths as the grocery retailer pushes ahead of its rivals. The broker says WOW should maintain the lead in crucial like-for-like sales growth over the next 24 months as WOW is growing faster than Coles. It shows that WOW is doing a great job of winning customers over after pouring more than $1bn into lowering prices.
  • WiseTech Global(WTC) – Has bought Belgian logistics solutions provider Intris for €11 million ($17 million) including earn-out potential. RBC Capital Markets says the deal is a good one. Intris had 2016 annual revenue of $7.1m and EBITDA of around $1.1m.
  • IOOF (IFL) – Is looking to offload its stockbroking arm Ord Minnett but is having difficulty doing so. IFL owns 70% of the company whilst JPMorgan owns the remaining 30%. The problem is price. It not known how advanced the discussions are but it’s not the first time Ord Minnett staff have attempted to get a management buyout off the ground.
  • Domino’s Pizza (DMP) – Shares have risen this week following a broker report by Morgan Stanley who are expecting the pizza maker to post a bumper profit result. Analysts are expecting DMP to report interim NPAT growth of 13.9% rising to 27.9% in the 2H. Morgan Stanley are Overweight.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) – Has posted its profit result which beat expectations on the back of the renewed commodity boom. The sale of coal assets in New South Wales bolstered Rio’s returns to shareholders last year after it passed on almost all of the US$2.69bn it received from the sale of its assets. This came on top of the biggest dividend in the company’s history. A US$1.80 dividend per share taking the total to US$2.90. Analysts were only expecting US$1.69. Debt is down 60% to US$3.8bn. Overall a strong result.