Australian companies are likely to deliver smaller dividends in what is forecast to be the country’s worst earnings season in a decade because of the coronavirus pandemic, with even firms that benefited from the upheaval expected to show caution, Reuters reported. Fund managers and analysts expect the corporate results season that begins this week to reveal an overall decline in profits of around one-fifth due to the abrupt shutdowns that followed the virus outbreak.
An independent survey commissioned by insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland has found that of the 1,000 business owners and directors surveyed, 51 per cent said they were expecting to explore restructuring or insolvency options in the next six months, Accountants Daily reported. The prospect of JobKeeper coming to an end was far from their primary concern, with just one in 10 worried about the phase-out of the wage subsidy scheme. Instead, cash-flow concerns continue to keep business owners up at night, with 36 per cent nominating it as their stressor.
Australia’s government is being sued for not adequately disclosing the impact of climate change on its sovereign debt, Bloomberg Green reported. The class action filed in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday alleges the Australian Office of Financial Management and the Treasury have misled or deceived investors by failing to disclose climate change alongside other financial risks in its exchange-traded bonds, according to court documents. The lawsuit seeks promotion of the debt to be halted until the disclosures are made.
Australia faces an avalanche of business failures in its transport and hospitality sectors after government subsidies end in September, insolvency lawyers and economists say, while some argue that so-called ‘zombie’ firms should be allowed to fail, Reuters reported. About 240,000 businesses in tourism and professional services are at high risk of failing during the September ‘fiscal cliff’, when widespread wage subsidies are set to end, economists at Deloitte said on Monday.
Bondholders in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd, in administration since April, on Monday submitted an updated proposal to take over the struggling company that rivals the approach from Bain Capital selected by administrator Deloitte, Reuters reported. The new proposal from bondholders Broad Peak Investment Advisers and Tor Investment Management is “substantially the same” as a recapitalisation pitch for Australia’s second-biggest airline they lodged last month, a spokesman said in a statement.
Next year is going to be a "watershed year" for business failures an insolvency expert is predicting, unless companies can come up with a plan now to get out of debt and survive, the New Zealand Herald reported. John Fisk, national leader of restructuring for PwC and chair of the Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association New Zealand, said that insolvency applications had come down significantly under lockdown but massive amounts of government subsidies meant many businesses weren't addressing the underlying issues related to debt.
Seafolly Pty Ltd, an Australian swimsuit maker part-owned by French fashion giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, appointed administrators on Monday citing a sales downturn from the coronavirus, the latest casualty of the health crisis in the country’s retail sector, Reuters reported. “Seafolly made the appointment because of the crippling financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott Langdon and Rahul Goyal, of KordaMentha Restructuring, in a statement.
Australian-listed oil and gas company FAR Ltd said on Wednesday its Senegalese unit had defaulted on its obligations to the Sangomar joint venture, as the company looked to sell its interest in the project, Reuters reported. The company owns 15% of the Sangomar oil and gas field being developed off Senegal, while Cairn Energy holds 40%, Australia’s Woodside 35%, and Senegal’s national oil company Petrosen 10%, which it has the right to increase to 18%.
Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd bondholders are working on a revival plan for the airline involving a debt-to-equity swap if they are not satisfied with a sale offer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported. Binding bids from finalists Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners were due on Monday for Australia’s second-biggest airline, which entered voluntary administration in April and owes nearly A$7 billion to creditors.