Investment Matters

What matters this week: Pay packets, tax grabs and vacuum cleaners

It was a little light on the news front this week.  In the press, many stories were written about Altair's decision to 'sell everything' and return the cash to investors.  More on this below.

Wesfarmers' (a conglomerate and owner of Coles, Kmart, Target, Officeworks, etc) incoming CEO will receive a meaningfully lower pay packet than his predecessor.  The company's Chairman cited general 'downwards pressure' on fixed pay and lower bonuses.  By contrast CPA Australia's attempts to hide its executive pay were defeated, with widespread concern being raised about the CEO's $1.79m pay packet, as well as the marketing spend by the representative organisation. 

With continuing budget pressures, a tax grab in WA is purportedly on the cards again.  The WA government may ask BHP and Rio Tinto to pre-pay lease fees the companies pay on the iron ore they mine.

Moving to company specific news: Qube (ports, bulk and container handling and logistics) raised equity to fund its Morebank warehousing expansion and other initiatives.

New Hope's $900m expansion of the New Acland mine in the Darling Downs has been sidelined, with the release of a scathing finding from the Queensland Land Court (it is therefore highly unlikely to get approval from the Queensland government).

The big-4 banks and Macquarie got a temporary reprieve from the new bank levy, with a delay in commencement for three months.  Macquarie advised it may consider a more permanent solution - moving overseas.

Godfrey's (vacuum cleaners) has advised FY-17 earnings will be around the lower end of their previously advised guidance.  They have also refinanced a $30m debt facility with a shareholder (press indicating a 98 year old) instead of a more expensive CBA loan.