From Nuix to Qantas: Why these five ASX stocks were in news today

Highlights

  • Shares of Nuix rallied over 12% after an update on CEO and CFO appointments.
  • Qantas Airways soared high on announcing a ramp-up in its international travel plans.
  • Aurizon Holdings shares dropped up to 7% on announcing a bid to acquire One Rail Australia.
  • Lynas Rare Earths fell over 8% on reporting weak performance in the September quarter.
  • Orocobre shares rose over 3% on robust performance in September quarter.

The Australian share market witnessed subdued trade on Friday, with the benchmark ASX 200 index trading near the baseline. Eight of 11 sectors were trading in the green, led by consumer discretionary and property, while material and energy indices declined the most. The top gainer on the ASX was healthcare equipment manufacturer Healius (ASX: HLS), while miner Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) was the biggest loser.

Five shares that dominated trade on the ASX today are listed below. Here’s why these shares grabbed headlines today:

Nuix

Shares of intelligence software business Nuix (ASX: NXL) rallied 12.1% to touch an intraday high of AU$3.33 after it updated about CEO and CFO appointments.

The Australian technology company has appointed Jonathan Rubinsztein as its new chief executive officer. Rubinsztein, the current chief executive of ASX-listed software business Infomedia, will replace Rod Vawdrey, who had announced his retirement in June this year.

As per the company, Rubinsztein will join the office in late January 2022 and prior to this, he will be available to consult to Nuix as part of the transition.

Commenting on Rubinsztein’s appointment, Nuix Chair Hon Jeff Bleich, said, “This is an important moment in Nuix’s history, and Jonathan possesses an ideal set of qualities to lead the organisation into its next chapter. He brings a deep understanding of our requirements and opportunities, and a successful record of steering an ASX-listed entity through a period of transformation and growth.”

Meanwhile, the company has also promoted its interim chief financial officer Chad Burton for permanent role.

Qantas Airways

Shares of Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) hit record high on Friday after the carrier unveiled its plans to ramp up international travel plans. The share price of Australia’s largest airline by fleet size gained as much as 0.5% to hit a 52-week high of AU$5.97 apiece.

The ramp-up decision was taken after the Federal and New South Wales governments announced to reopen international borders from 1 November 2021. The NSW government has also removed quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travellers.

Qantas and Jetstar will restart international flight operations to popular destinations from Sydney and run regular flights to Delhi, the airline in an exchange filing said this morning. Besides, flights to Singapore, Johannesburg, Fiji, Bangkok, and Phuket will also start ahead of schedule.

The new route from Sydney to Delhi is the first commercial flights between Australia and India in almost a decade, which is likely to start by Christmas this year.

Aurizon Holdings

Shares of Aurizon Holdings (ASX:AZJ) dropped as much as 6.9% to AU$3.62 during the day’s trade on Friday. The share price fell after the rail operator proposed a AU$2.35 billion offer to acquire One Rail Australia from Macquarie Group.

Aurizon informed its shareholder this morning that it has inked a pact with Macquarie Asset Management, on behalf of its managed funds and client to acquire homegrown rail freight operator One Rail Australia. The transaction amount will be funded from existing debt facilities and underwritten by new committed debt facilities.

The deal is subject to several regulatory approval, including clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

One Rail Australia is one of the country’s leading rail freight service providers and owns rail haulage and general freight assets in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.  In 2021, One Rail Australia posted EBITDA of AU$220 million.

Following the acquisition, Aurizon will divest ORA’s business through a demerger or a trade sale to create greater value for its shareholders.

Lynas Rare Earths

Shares of Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) declined as much as 8.3% to AU$6.825 after it reported a disappointing performance in the September quarter. The stock topped the ASX losers’ chart today.

The Malaysia-based rare earths miner said that the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted its business during the quarter under review.

The firm’s sales revenue dropped to AU$121.6 million in Q1 FY22, from AU$185.9 million in Q4 FY21, due to COVID-19 related effects on production and sales volume. Sales receipts also fell sharply from AU$192 million to AU$92 million.

Orocobre

Shares of lithium miner Orocobre (ASX: ORE) climbed as much as 3.1% to AU$9.3 during the session after it released the September quarter business report.

During the quarter under review, the company produced a record 67,931 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of lithium spodumene concentrate from its Mt Cattlin project. The production was in line with customer requirements at an average cash unit cost of US$351 a tonne.

Meanwhile, it shipped 89,640 dmt of product at a realised average price of US$779 per tonne, which generated a revenue of US$69.8 million.

Boosted by higher production rates, the company has raised production forecast for calendar year 2021 to 210,000 - 220,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate, from the previous guidance of 195,0000 – 210,000 dmt. As a result, the cash costs have also been revised down to US$390-$420 a tonne, from the previous guidance of US$420-450 per tonne.

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