- With COVID-19 vaccine developments and staged reopening of economies, business activities are getting back on track.
- Cash position of News Corporation strengthened to $1.5 billion at end-June from $1.3 billion as of 31 December, despite the COVID-19 impact.
- Domain Holdings, a real estate technology and services business, expects to remain well positioned when markets return to normal, owing to its pre-COVID performance in March, which saw a recovery in new listings in key markets.
- The Star Sydney is complying to government orders, while Flight Centre Travel secured a debt facility to be drawn as and when required to help offset the impacts of COVID-19.
Amid the current unprecedented times, several businesses are undertaking measures to keep them well-positioned, weather the coronavirus storm and come out relatively stronger. As the government started providing ease in the restrictions, commercial activities are getting back on track.
The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.38% higher to settle at 6,133.5 on 11 August 2020. In the following article, we will discuss some of the popular ASX-listed companies along with their recent updates.
News Corporation (ASX: NWS)
News Corporation (ASX: NWS) is a global, diversified media and information services company. Recently, the company released its results for Q4 FY20, highlighting the following:
- Revenues for the period stood at $1.92 billion, indicating a decline of 22% against $2.47 billion in the prior year. This was mainly due to negative impacts related to COVID-19 as well as the sale of News America Marketing.
- Net loss for the quarter amounted to $(401) million, including non-cash impairment charges of $292 million and higher restructuring costs as a result of COVID-19.
- During June 2020 quarter, Dow Jones segment attained record average subscriptions of 3.8 million to its consumer products, which was underpinned by the growth of 28% in digital-only subscriptions.
- Cash position strengthened to $1.5 billion at end-June 2020 from $1.3 billion at 31 December 2019, despite the COVID-19 impacts.
- Increased profitability reported at Foxtel and stringent actions taken to reduce cost.
On 11 August 2020, the stock of NWS traded higher by 0.625% to settle at $20.940. The stock has generated a return of more than 20% within the time span of last three months. The company has a market cap of $12.05 billion.
Domain Holdings Australia Limited (ASX: DHG)
Domain Holdings Australia Limited (ASX: DHG) is a real estate technology and services business, which is focused on the Australian property market. The company is scheduled to release its 2020 full-year results to the Australian Securities Exchange on 20 August 2020.
DHG registered a rise of 3% in digital revenue during March 2020 quarter and 15% for the month of March. The company experienced a recovery in new listings in key markets during the reported month. Residential depth yield went up by 17% for March, on the back of positive impact of its new flexible pricing model, as well as increased depth penetration in all states. Owing to coronavirus impacts, April new residential listing volumes declined in the high 20% range.
Prior to the impact of COVID-19, its March performance provided confidence that Domain is well positioned when markets return to normal. The company expects to report a decline of around 7% in operating costs in 2H FY20 as compared to 2H FY19.
At the close of session on 11 August 2020, the stock of DHG stood at $3.550, down by 0.56%. The stock has generated a return of more than 21% within the time span of last three months and the company has a market cap of $2.49 billion.
The Star Entertainment Group Limited (ASX: SGR)
The Star Entertainment Group Limited (ASX: SGR) is engaged in the management of integrated resorts with gaming, entertainment, and hospitality services. Recently, the company noted orders made by the NSW Government Public Health, which apply to hospitality venues, including The Star Sydney.
These new restrictions require The Star Sydney to continue complying with the minimum of 4 square metres per patron, each separate area within the casino will also be subject to a maximum of 300 patrons.
During mid-July 2020, the company updated that the Government of Queensland has decided to end the second Gold Coast casino licence process. The company added that SGR and the Queensland Government have mutually agreed to settle the exclusive negotiation process with respect to a Global Tourism Hub on the Gold Coast, as agreement could not be finalised. The Star has a demonstrated record of collaborating with Government and investing in the Gold Coast and Queensland.
On 11 August 2020, the stock of SGR closed the day’s trade at $2.730, down by 1.444%. The stock has generated a return of 0.73% within the time span of last three months and the company has a market cap of $2.09 billion.
Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX: FLT)
Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX: FLT) is involved into travel retailing in the leisure and corporate travel sectors. Recently, the company announced that UBS Group AG and its related bodies corporate ceased to be a substantial holder in FLT on 8th July 2020.
The company also obtained access to a debt facility of up to GBP65 million. FLT would draw the facility as and when required to help offset the impacts of COVID-19 on its United Kingdom business. The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility made available the funding to FLT. Under the facility, initial notes issued have maturity due in March 2021.
In another update, the company announced the divestment of its Melbourne head office property to Shakespeare Property Group for $62.15 million.
At the close of session on 11 August 2020, the stock of FLT stood at $11.550, up by 4.62% from its previous close. The stock has generated a return of -1.60% within the time span of last three months and the company has a market cap of $2.2 billion.
Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Limited (ASX: NEC)
Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Limited (ASX: NEC) is primarily involved in the broadcasting and program production throughout Free to Air television and metropolitan radio networks in Australia. The company is scheduled to release its FY20 earnings on 27 August 2020.
Recently, the company announced that Franklin Resources, Inc. and its affiliates made a change to their holdings in NEC on 31st July 2020, with current voting power at 7.33% as compared to previous voting power of 7.36%.
As a response towards the current global crisis driven by COVID-19, the company remains focused on major short and long-term cost initiatives in all of its businesses, and expediting part of the $100m, 3-year linear cost out.
NEC also closed refinancing of its corporate debt facilities, which comprises 3- and 4-year revolving cash advance facilities of $545 million and a one-year $80 million working capital facility.
At the close of session on 11 August 2020, the stock of NEC stood at $1.470, up by 0.685%. The stock has generated a return of 0.69% within the time span of last three months and the company has a market cap of $2.49 billion.
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