The Northern Territory news Sat 4 Sep 2021
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
38 BUSINESS SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 4 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Melissa Elf, Australian general manager of corporate travel company FCM, said they were expecting a 20 per cent reduction in business travel as a result of a major pandemic reset. Our customers are certainly telling us they need to Companies coy about year ahead Along with bumper earnings being used for share buybacks, a recurring theme was companies being extremely cautious providing any form of guidance. They wouldnt be super clear with their likely outcomes in coming months and the year because of the lack of visibility moving forward because of Covid which is not really surprising, Mr Daghlian said. With many companies, they may have done well over the year, but theyre not saying too much about the coming year overall. High on that list were retailers, who largely managed to overcome the massive impacts of lockdowns and other restrictions on their physical stores in some cases losing hundreds of trading days by upping their game with online, contactless delivery and click and collect. Companies that were well placed to service people during the pandemic did well, Mr Daghlian said. So the Harvey Normans, the JB Hi-Fis of the world, they both had very strong gains and profits. Travel stocks held up surprisingly well as investors bet on a big recovery in tourism when it finally resumes in earnest. Qantas shares rallied 14.4 per cent in August, while Webjet jumped 14.6 per cent and Flight Centre recovered 12.3 per cent. Even though they came out with big losses, there were some green shoots from some of them: Flight Centre said it had a strong recovery in the US and Canada, across Europe as well, Mr Daghlian said. It comes as Westpac again has lowered its Australian economic growth forecasts due to the impact of Covid-19. The bank now sees September quarter growth of -4 per cent, and December quarter growth 1.6 per cent, down from -2.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent previously forecast. Our new forecasts assume that Melbourne will remain in lockdown until the end of October, said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans. CORPORATE Australia is apprehensive about the countrys economic outlook, with only 37 per cent of companies game enough to provide performance forecasts in the latest reporting season. About 84 per cent of ASX 200 companies delivered a profit, compared to the average since 2010 of around 88 per cent. CommSec markets analyst Steven Daghlian described the overall result as solid. What was clear was those that were making profits were making bigger profits, Mr Daghlian said. About 70 per cent of companies saw improvements in their earnings. Dividends were bigger close to $40bn will be paid out to shareholders in the next couple of months and certainly mining stocks dominated as far as that goes. The fattest record payouts came from iron ore majors BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals on the back of booming iron ore prices. ECO N O M Y REBECCA LE MAY Outlook unclear despite profits MEET the little-known young Australian on Wall Street who is managing hundreds of millions of dollars for billionaires around the world. Rob Hilmer, 34, has packed plenty into his burgeoning career in the US, having managed to talk his way into trading floor jobs at prestigious New York financial firms such as Royal Bank of Scotland fresh out of the University of Queensland, then helping build a fastgrowing tech investment start-up from a living room floor in San Francisco. After a stint working at prominent US billionaire Philippe Laffonts hedge fund helping invest $US30bn ($40.4bn) around the world, Mr Hilmer now runs his own boutique investment firm that I N V E S TO R S JOHN STENSHOLT FROM BWS TO THE BIG TIME ON WALL STREET New York-based Australian investor Rob Hilmers Goanna Capital is about to top $500m in funds under management. Picture: Andrew Kelly I realised I was an entrepreneur at heart Rob Hilmer A TOP Commonwealth Bank executive has warned that failure to respond to climate change could destabilise the bank by locking it out of competitive funding. In testy exchanges with maverick LNP representative George Christensen (pictured) and his joint standing committee on trade and investment growth, CBA ins t i tu t iona l boss Andrew Hinchliff said there was absolutely a risk if the bank did not respond to shifts in global capital. So the risk for us is funding and capital dries up, not necessarily instantaneously but over time youd expect your cost of capital to be affected by that, Mr Hinchliff said. Mr Christensen, chairman of the committee, interrogated the institutional bosses of the four major banks on Friday about their policies to exit the lawful and profitable thermal coal sector by 2030, and whether they were taking instructions from the prudential regulator. While the banks denied that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority strongarmed them into avoiding or investing in particular sectors, they said the regulator required robust risk management frameworks and appropriate governance levels. Mr Hinchliff said an example was APRAs climate vulnerability assessment, for which an information paper was released on Friday. CBA shares rose 47c to $101.84. CBA in funding warning C L I M AT E C H A N G E RICHARD GLUYAS Covid resets corporate travel policies THE Covid crisis has not quite killed off the business trip as was predicted early on in the pandemic, but it has triggered a reset of corporate travel policies with more emphasis on the environment and employee wellbeing. Already a host of large companies have committed to less business travel in the years ahead, including Pfizer, Hersheys and Deutsche Bank, while confectionary giant Mars has adopted the mantra that travel should be for purpose not presence. Surprisingly perhaps, the Global Business Travel Associ ations Australia and New Zealand director Tony OConnor thinks those companies are on the right track. Despite representing agencies that book business travel for the private and public sector, Mr OConnor said the pandemic had forced a muchneeded rethink of the work trip. Prior to the pandemic the travel policy was something of a dormant document, a policy that was only revisited every few years or so, he said. Now its going to be much more active, constantly updated. This really is our opportunity to rebuild better and cut travel right down to make it more efficient and to reduce its (environmental) damage. get back on planes but theres more awareness now of the importance of looking after their people and the need for sustainable travel, she said. Corporate Travel Management managing director Jamie Pherous said demand for sustainable travel was strong, particularly among European clients. He said being seen to be a responsible citizen was fast becoming as important as a companys balance sheet. But he said the company was seeing no sign of a decline in demand for business travel in markets that had opened up: Our domestic travel in places like China, New Zealand, even Western Australia, is greater than it was pre-Covid. Jamie Pherous. T R AV E L ROBYN IRONSIDE Rebounding retail stocks buoy market THE Australian sharemarket snapped a two-day losing streak to end the week in positive territory, with non-essential retailing among the best performers. The benchmark ASX200 index closed 0.5 per cent higher at 7522.9 points, while the All Ordinaries Index gained 0.55 per cent to 7826.7. The ASX 200 rose 0.5 per cent for the week. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed retail trade fell 2.7 per cent in July compared to the previous month. But that was driven by sharp falls in locked down NSW, down 8.9 per cent month-on-month, and South Australia, down 3.3 per cent. Online sales, however, rocketed to $3.7bn (the highest level in the history of the data), up 19.3 per cent compared to June. Among consumer discretionary stocks on Friday, Dusk jumped 7.17 per cent to $3.29, Temple and Webster advanced 3.28 per cent to $13.86, Super Retail gained 1.8 per cent to $12.42, Nick Scali rose 1.22 per cent to $12.45 and Kogan lifted 1.29 per cent to $11.01. But Myer fell 0.96 per cent to 51.5c. S H A R E S REBECCA LE MAY