From Ampol to Charter Hall: Why these 10 ASX stocks are in news today

Highlights

  • Australian petroleum company Ampol fell over 6% on bid to acquire New Zealand’s Z Energy.
  • Shares of Charter Hall gained over 6% on strong earnings.
  • Chorus shares dropped over 5% after its earnings failed to impress investors.
  • Shares of IGO gained nearly 5% on producing its first lithium hydroxide chemical product.
  • Metal recycling company Sims jumped over 5% on the back of on-market share buyback program.

The Australian share market was trading higher on Monday, snapping a five-session losing streak, led by gains in tech, material and health care stocks. The benchmark index, ASX 200, gained as much as 0.4% to hit a high of 7,492.80 by mid-session. However, concerns over rising COVID-19 cases as well as sell-off across energy, industrials, and telecom space restricted market gains.

Here are top 10 stocks that grabbed headlines today:

Ampol to acquire New Zealand’s Z Energy

Australian petroleum company Ampol (ASX: ALD) declined as much as 6.4% to AU$25.76 on bid to acquire New Zealand’s Z Energy.

The energy firm has proposed a AU$2.5 billion takeover offer to create the biggest fuel retail company across the Tasman. The bid price represents a 35% premium to last close on 26 July 2021, a day prior to first press speculation in relation to corporate activity involving Z Energy.

The Z Energy Board has stated that the deal is in the best interest of the company and has urged shareholders to grant Ampol a four-week period of exclusivity for it to undertake confirmatory due diligence enquiries.

Chorus FY21 profit falls, revenue dips

Telecommunications service provider Chorus (ASX: CNU) fell as much as 5% to AU$6.78 as its earnings failed to impress investors.

The company’s net profit after tax dropped to NZ$47 million during the 2021 financial year, from NZ$52 million in the last fiscal, despite a rise in active fibre connections during the year. Operating revenue dipped to NZ$947 million, compared to NZ$959 million, while EBITDA rose slightly to NZ$649 million during the year, from NZ$648 million in the 2020 financial year. The fibre uptake grew from 60 to 65%, with 120,000 new fibre connections across 100 or so broadband retailers. It has also declared a final dividend of 14.5 cents per share, slightly ahead of the 14 cents paid a year ago.

Reliance Worldwide posts solid earnings, declares dividend

The share price of Reliance Worldwide (ASX: RWC) dropped 2.5% to AU$5.79, paring early gains over 3%, post announcing its earnings report.

The net profit after tax rose 63% to AU$211.9 million, while net sales were up 15% at AU$1.34 billion. The company’s strong earning were attributed to a strong performance across its markets, with robust residential construction and remodelling activity in Australia supporting the Asia Pacific sales boost. It has also declared a final dividend of 7 cents a share, highest ever by the company.

Lynas Rare Earths issues update on Malaysia plant

Shares of Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) declined as much as 7% to AU$4.49 after the company issued an update on its Malaysia plant operations.

The mining and exploration company said that its Malaysia plant is continuing to operate at reduced rates as a third wave of COVID-19 persists in the country.

The company stated that the Malaysian regulator has extended the deadline for satisfaction of the licence condition related to the commencement of construction of the Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) for Water leach purification (WLP) residue by six months to March 2, 2022, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is set to announce its full year results on the morning of 27 August 2021.

IGO produces first lithium hydroxide chemical product

Shares of IGO (ASX: IGO) gained nearly 5% to AU$9.24 after it produced its first lithium hydroxide chemical product at the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery joint venture.

The mining and exploration company said it would now focus on operating its first production train, Train 1, while also progressively improving product quality to a battery grade product for qualification by its offtake customers. It is expected that saleable product will be produced in the December 2021 quarter and that battery grade product for accreditation by customers will be produced in the March 2022 quarter.

Sims announces share buyback worth AU$150M

Metals and electronics recycling company Sims (ASX: SGM) saw its shares jump over 5% after it announced on-market share buyback. The company will commence buy-back of up to AU$150 million worth of shares, in addition to the dividend payment announced with the company’s FY21 financial results on 17 August 2021.

As per the company, the number and timing of shares purchased will depend on the company’s share price and market conditions.

Charter Hall FY21 profit jumps 38%, revenue up 20%

Shares of Charter Hall (ASX: CHC) gained 6.1% to AU$18.31 after its earnings grew in the 2021 financial year, driven by strong growth in its property portfolio.

The real estate firm’s revenue rose 20.6% to AU$668 million while net profit soared 37.8% to AU$476.8 million. The company’s property investment portfolio increased 18.7% to AU$1.4 billion during the year and generated total property investment return of 15%.

Worley secures a contract

Engineering company Worley’s (ASX: WOR) shares rose 0.8% to AU$11.05 after it secured a contract.

The company has bagged a contract for its Chevron’s Jansz-Io Compression (J-IC) project, which includes provision of engineering and construction management services.

Under the contract, Worley will provide detailed engineering, design and construction management services for the J-IC project’s power transmission and communication components.

McGrath posts robust earnings, declared dividend

Shares of real estate agent McGrath (ASX: MEA) rallied 13.2% to AU$0.60 after the company declared dividend. The company has rewarded shareholders with a final dividend of 1 cent after it posted strong earnings.

The company reported net profit of AU$19 million in FY 2021, compared to AU$0.7 million in the prior year. Revenue rose 34% to AU$122.4 million, while underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped over 4-fold to AU$17.7 million. The company reported strong balance sheet with cash reserve of AU$35.8 million and no borrowings as of June 30, 2021.

Virtus Health acquires Healius’ Adora Fertility

Fertility services provider, Virtus Health (ASX: VRT) shares traded flat post an acquisition news.

The company has entered into a binding agreement with Healius (ASX: HLS) to acquire Adora Fertility and three co-located Healius Day Hospitals (collectively Adora) for AU$45 million on a cash and debt-free basis.

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