As per the media reports, Woolworths Group Limited (ASX: WOW), to fund solar panels installations and LED lighting at retail-marts, will raise $400 million through green bonds. A green bond is issued with an objective to fund green energy and project initiatives, such as solar plants, wind plants, fossil-fuel plants, bio-degradable gases, etc.
As per company officials, the green bonds will replace the existing corporate bonds, which matured last month. A considerable inflow is expected from investors in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Melbourne.
In a previous update, the company announced change in its director’s interest, where Siobhan McKenna holding an indirect interest, acquired 45 ordinary shares at $30.0990, taking the final holdings to 3,094 shares held for Ms. McKenna’s superannuation fund and 5,600 shares held for Ms. McKenna’s family trust, effective from April 5, 2019. The company’s Chairman, Gordon Cairns holding an indirect interest, acquired 413 ordinary shares at $30.0990, taking the final holdings to 28,058 shares held for Mr. Cairns’ superannuation fund and 3,563 shares held under the NED Plan, effective from April 5, 2019.
Mr. Gordon Cairns stated that the recent sale of Woolworths Petrol to EG Group along with a strong balance sheet has enabled them to return $1.7 billion to shareholders by way of an off-market buy-back, which will complement $1.4 billion of dividends already paid to shareholders this financial year through final and special dividends in FY18 and interim dividends in FY19. The off-market buy-back is expected to be completed by May 2019 and will be for the eligible shareholders in New Zealand and Australia. Shareholders must have their names registered by the Buy-Back Record Date (Monday, 8 April 2019) as an eligibility criterion to participate in buy-back.
In H1 FY19 result, Mr. Cairns highlighted that the company proposed 45 cps as interim dividend for H1 FY19, which was up by 4.7% as compared to H1 FY18. The basic earnings per share increased by 0.9% pcp to 70.3 cps in H1 FY19. The group’s sales from continuing operations increased by 2.3% pcp to $30.6 billion. EBIT from continuing operations increased by 1% pcp to $1,445 million. The return on average funds employed was reported at 24.1% in H1 FY19, up by 6 bps as compared to the previous corresponding period. Under the operations, the group has in total store network of 3,266 with 1,018 as Australian Food, 180 New Zealand Food, 1,561 Endeavour Drinks, 183 BIG W, and 324 Hotels.
On stock information, at market close on 10 April 2019, the stock of Woolworths Group was trading at A$30.41, up 0.696% with a market capitalisation of A$39.75 billion. Its current PE multiple is at 22.78x, and its last EPS was noted at A$1.324. Its annual dividend yield has been noted at 3.15%. Today, it made day’s high at $30.44 and day’s low at $30.09, with a daily volume of 804,214. Its 52 weeks high stands at A$31.48 and 52 weeks low at A$26.45, with an average volume of 3,217,706. Its absolute returns for five year, one year, six months, and three months are -16.03%, 12.03%, 6.83%, and 1.24%, respectively.
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