The Northern Territory news Fri 30 Aug 2013
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38 NT NEWS. Friday, August 30, 2013. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 3 0 -A U G -2 0 1 3 P A G E : 3 8 C O L O R : C M Y K BUSINESS l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l ntnews.com.au Production push lifts shares PERTH: Drillsearch shares have jumped as the oil and gas producer doubled its production target for the year ahead. The company alsomade a record profit of $45 million in the 2012-13 financial year, on the back of its new operating oil pipeline in South Australias Cooper Basin. The company says it will boost production to between 2.3 million and 2.5million barrels of oil equivalent in the 2013-14 financial year. Drillsearch shares gained 4, or 3 per cent, to $1.375. Earning a crust frompizza SYDNEY: Theyre two favourite vices, and an Australian retailer hopes pizza and coffeewill continue to boost its profit. Retail Food Group, the owner of brands such as Donut King, Brumbys Bakery andMichels Patisserie, increased its annual profit by 12 per cent in 2012-13 to $32 million. Earnings from its takeaway businesses Pizza Capers and Crust Gourmet Pizza came in at $10 million, exceeding expectations by $1.8 million. More turbulence ahead By GREG ROBERTS THE LOWDOWN n Net profit of $5m, up from a $245m loss in 2011-12 n Operating revenue of $15.9b, up 1% from $15.7b n No dividend, unchanged MELBOURNE: Qantas has limped back into profit as the companys airfare price war with Virgin Australia dragged on earnings. Chief executive Alan Joyce also warned the operating environment for the airline would be challenging and volatile this financial year, with jet fuel costs to leap by $160 million in the first half. Australias major airline swung to a $5 million full year profit, from a historic $245 million loss in the previous year. Investors were pleased, with Qantas shares climbing 17, or 14 per cent, to finish the day at $1.40. However, shareholders will not receive a dividend for a fourth consecutive year. Qantas return to profitability came on the back of a near halving of losses in its international business, to $246 million. The airline has cut 5 per cent of costs in the overseas division, as part of $171 million in benefits from cost cutting across the company. Qantas expects a restructure and partnership with airline Emirates will help bring its international business back into the black by 2015. But profit from domestic travel fell by 21 per cent from the previous year to $365 million. Low cost airline Jetstars earnings also fell, down 32 per cent to $138 million. Qantas and Virgin have been engaged in a fierce price war for domestic passengers and Qantas increased domestic capacity by 8 per cent last year. That was effectively two years worth of growth, ac cording to Mr Joyce, and the cost contributed to the fall in domestic earnings. We can now digest that growth and maintain our 65 per cent (market share) profit maximising position, he said, insisting Qantas had also kept its 84 per cent share of the lucrative corporate market. Mr Joyce said a lower Australian dollar would cause fuel costs to rise and jet fuel was already a major headwind. But the lower dollar would ultimately be good for busi ness, encouraging tourists to visit Australia and reducing the cost deficit between Qantas international arm and its competitors. Morningstar analyst Nathan Zaia said the result highlighted how important the frequent flyer loyalty program was for Qantas, contributing $260 million in earnings. Virgin lacks an equivalent program and has forecast a full-year loss of between $95 million and $110 million when it reports today. UShelpsWestfield through BRISBANE: Shoppingmall giantWestfield is more upbeat about its growth prospects in the US than Australia. Co-chief executive Steven Lowy said occupancy rates had improved in the US, with net operating income growing by 4.3 per cent in the six months to June comparedwith 1.8 per cent in Australia and NewZealand. Westfield Group is expecting full-year net operating income to grow by up to 5 per cent in the US and the UK. Massive mining hole looks hard to fill The figures showed mining investment was chugging along but the non-mining investment figures were disappointing SYDNEY: The mining investment boom isnt over yet but it will be soon, and when it is, there may not be much there to fill the breach. Australian business investment rose 4 per cent in the June quarter, beating expectations of a 0.8 per cent rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, which cover investment in capital goods such as buildings and equipment. But while yesterdays figures showed mining investment was chugging along, the more important non-mining investment figures were disappointing, said ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun. We know there is going to be sharply weaker mining investment over the 2014 calendar year and in 2015, so we think thats not the number to focus on, Mr Colhoun said. The key number is to look at whats happening with non-mining investment plans and they are not showing much life at this point in time. Its still signalling that there isnt much in the way of this transition from mining investment to non-mining investment going on. Non-mining investment rose by 0.7 per cent in the June quarter, but was down by 5.3 per cent from a year earlier, in real seasonally adjusted terms. Mr Colhoun said interest rate cuts could help to rebalance the economy but a lower Australian dollar would be of more assistance. Sales keep falling but DJs not about to turn into bargain bin SYDNEY: David Jones wont be cutting prices to lure more customers, despite yet another another drop in sales. The department store owner, whose sales have steadily declined since 2011, saw revenue drop by 1.2 per cent in the year to July, to $1.85 billion. Chief executive Paul Zahra said weak consumer sentiment continued to affect the business and an unseasonably warm winter didnt help. We had such a warm winter so things like quilts, heating, throws, blankets, those kind of things werent really required this year, he said. The warm winter has not helped matters, thats for sure. Mr Zahra said the biggest drag on sales remained David Jones electronics division, which accounted for around half of the total decline during the year. But he said a recently announced deal to hand over control of the division to Dick Smith Electronics would provide a boost to David Jones in the year ahead. What has been an underperforming category for us will now be a profit contributor, he said. Mr Zahra expects consumer sentiment to remain weak for the next 12 months, but the department store wont be trying to compete with other retailers by discounting prices. He said the company had been winding back the amount of time it dedicated to clearance sales since 2011, when it held several sales over the winter months. Instead, DJs will improve service and lift the performance of its fledging online store to ensure customers needs are better catered for. Tax fuels Rex profit plunge SYDNEY: Regional airline Rex says the carbon tax caused a 45 per cent nosedive in its annual profit. We saw sales plunge almost immediately from 1 July, 2012 after the Federal Governments carbon tax was implemented, executive chairman Lim Kim Hai said. Regional Express made a profit of $14 million in the 2013-14 financial year, down from $25.5 million in the previous year. Rex paid $2.4 million in carbon tax in 2012-13. But its fuel bill was $36.2 million, down 6 per cent from $38.6 million in the previous year. Ramsay eyes Asia growth MELBOURNE: Private hospitals operator Ramsay Health Care is looking for opportunities to expand its presence in Asia. Ramsay concluded a jointventure agreement with Sime Darby Berhad of Malaysia in July, with the aim of developing a portfolio of hospitals throughout Asia. The joint venture combines Sime Darbys Malaysian assets three hospitals and a nursing and health sciences college with Ramsays three Indonesian hospitals. Ramsay Health Care yesterday booked a net profit of $266.4 million for 2012-13.