Australia’s Leading retailer, Woolworths Group Limited (ASX: WOW
) has successfully completed the sale of its Petrol business to EG Group. The proceeds from the sale will be returned to shareholders via a $1.7 billion off-market buy-back (Buy-Back) which will be open only to Eligible Shareholders in Australia and New Zealand, expected to complete in May 2019.
It is expected that the sale of Petrol business will result in a gain on sale of around $1.1 bn after tax which be recorded as a significant item in the FY 2019 results.
As per the company’s announcement, 4 April 2019 is the last day that Shares can be acquired on-market to be eligible to participate in the Buy-Back and qualify for franking credit entitlements in respect of the Buy-Back Price. The offer will open on 16 April 2019 and will close on 24 May 2019. It is expected that after the Buy-Back, the company’s balance sheet will remain strong and help the company in future growth.
The Buy-Back will be conducted through a tender process. Eligible Shareholders who choose to participate will be allowed to sell some or all of their Shares to Woolworths Group at a discount between 10% to 14% (inclusive) at 1% intervals to the Market Price or at the Buy-Back Price will be determined as the lowest price at which Woolworths Group can buy.
Today (i.e. 1 April 2019), the company has also provided outcomes of BIG W network review which was conducted to help BIG W in maintaining a strong and profitable store network.
As part of BIG W network review, Woolworths has identified around thirty BIG W stores for closure over the next 3 years, 2 distribution centres which will close at the end of their leases and it has also identified around $100 million of noncash asset impairments reflecting a more conservative level of margin recovery expected from BIG W.
Despite of achieving 6 percent comparable sales growth in the third quarter of 2019, the profit improvement for BIG W is slower than planned. In FY 2019, BIG W is expecting its loss before interest and tax to be in the range of $80-$100 Mn.
The company is going to move closer to stores in order to achieve cost efficiencies and improve stock availability.
Now, let’s have a glance at the company’s stock performance and the return it has posted over the past few months. The stock traded at a price of $31.080, up by 2.237% during the day’s trade with a market capitalisation of ~$40.05 billion as on 1 April 2019. The counter opened the day at $31.000 and reached the day’s high of $31.250 and touched a day’s low of $30.860 with a daily volume of ~8,091,571. The stock has provided a year till date return of 4.29% & also posted returns of 8.96%, 3.33% & 5.45% over the past six months, three & one-month period respectively. It had a 52-week high price of $31.480 and touched 52 weeks low of $26.160, with an average volume of ~2,839,084.
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