From Telstra to Suncorp: Why these five ASX stocks made a splash today

Summary

  • Suncorp Group shares rose over 8% on declaring record dividend for FY21.
  • Telstra Corporation hits 52-week high on acquisition news.
  • IAG shares were rallying over 5% on board restructuring.
  • Shares of Aurizon climbed 1.5% post FY21 earnings result.
  • Latitude Group shares gained over 5% on deal to acquire fintech firm Symple.

The Australian share market extended its gaining streak for the fourth straight session on Monday, supported by buying across financial, telecom, and realty space. The benchmark index, ASX 200, rose 0.5% to hit a fresh record high of 7,560.90 by lunch. The top gainers among the ASX pack were financial services company Suncorp, insurance major IAG, mining contractor NRW Holdings, internet service provider Uniti Group and real estate firm Charter Hall Long Wale REIT.

Here are five stocks that grabbed headlines today.

Suncorp Group declares record dividend

Shares of Suncorp Group (ASX: SUN) rose 8.2% to hit an intraday high of AU$12.83 after the financial services company declared record dividend for FY21. The stock witnessed surge in buying as over 4 million shares worth AU$52.3 million changed hands over the counter by the time of reporting. The market capitalisation of the Brisbane-based company surged to AU$15.21 billion.

The company reported strong FY21 results with net profit after tax of AU$1,033, up 13.1%, despite the challenging external backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue fell 4% to AU$14.2 billion, while cash earnings surged 42.1% to AU$1,064 million. Its board has declared a fully franked final ordinary dividend of 40 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for FY21 to 66 cents per share. Besides, the board has also declared a fully franked 8 cent special dividend and has announced an on-market share buyback of up to AU$250 million.

IAG announces board restructuring

Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) saw its shares rallying over 5% to AU$5.24 after the insurance major announced changes to its board.

The company’s Chairman, Elizabeth Bryan, will retire at the AGM on 22 October 2021 after six years of leading the organisation. She will be succeeded by Tom Pockett, who has been a Director of IAG since 2015 and is Chairman of the Audit Committee. Besides, Duncan Boyle will also step down from IAG’s board.

Meanwhile, three new Directors - David Armstrong, George Sartorel, and Scott Pickering – will join the board as part of an ongoing renewal process. The board restructuring aims to ensure it has the optimum mix of skills and experience to support the company.

Telstra Health acquires MedicalDirector for AU$350M

Shares of telecom firm Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS) climbed nearly 1% to hit 52-week high of AU$3.83 on an acquisition news.

Telstra Health, the digital health arm of Telstra, has entered into an agreement to acquire clinical and practice management software company MedicalDirector for AU$350 million. Commenting on the development, Telstra Health Board Chair Brendon Riley said the acquisition was a key step in its vision to create a connected and improved digital health experience for all. The deal will be financed from funds advised by Affinity Equity Partners, with the transaction expected to complete in the first quarter of FY22.

Aurizon declares earnings, dividend for FY21

Shares of rail freight business Aurizon (ASX: AZJ) rose 1.5% to AU$4.12, paring opening losses, after the company released earnings results for the full financial year. The company has also declared its final dividend at 14 cents per share, up 5% compared to previous corresponding period.

For FY21, the company has reported 1% growth in underlying net profit at AU$$533 million, as against the last fiscal. Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) also rose by 1% to AU$1,482 million, driven by new contracts and higher volumes from existing customers. Revenue was down 2% at AU$3,019, while free cashflow increased 1% to AU$734 million. Going forward, the company expects Group’s FY22 EBITDA to be in the range of AU$1,425 million to AU$1,500 million.

Latitude Group acquires fintech firm Symple

Shares of Latitude Group Holdings (ASX: LFS) gained as much as 5.2% to AU$2.41 on deal to acquire fintech firm Symple.

The company has signed a deal to acquire Symple Loans for AU$200 million in cash and shares to become Latitude's auto and personal lending platform. The deal will help boost the company’s consumer lending growth and reduce costs.

As per the company, the deal will be financed by the issue of 38.46 million Latitude shares at AU$2.60 per share and AU$100 million in cash. Symple’s founders will receive 23.5 million of the shares, escrowed for two years.

Melbourne-based Symple is engaged in delivering simple digital experiences to customers and brokers, fast approvals and same-day settlements.

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