Automotive Holdings Group Ltd.’s Trading ex-dividend

Trading ex-dividend: Automotive Holdings Group Ltd.’s stock plunged 1% on September 21, 2017 as the group traded ex-dividend. Last month, the group announced its annual results for the twelve months ending 30 June 2017 with revenue growth of 8% to $6,080 million. On the other hand, net profit after tax (NPAT) dropped 38% to $55 million at the back of one‐off costs associated with the Refrigerated Logistics transformation program, restructuring of the company’s operations, and cost down initiatives as highlighted in the May trading update. The group has still been consistent with its dividend policy of paying 65% to 75% of operating profit. Despite the shortcomings in automotive segment, the group expects a modest improvement in operating performance in 2018 and is putting efforts on cost reduction. The group expects to benefit from continued strong performance of dealerships in New Zealand, roll-out of easyauto123 fixed price used car warehouse model and ongoing improvement in Refrigerated Logistics.

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2 dividend-payers that slipped on ASX – Suncorp Group and Automotive Holdings Group

Update on new programs: Suncorp Group Ltd edged slightly lower on ASX on September 21, 2017 as the group provided an address from its CEO along with a market update. The group’s FY17 NPAT of $1,075 million represented a 3.6% increase over 2016; and the good top line growth, disciplined management of margin, and a sensible balance between reducing overheads and investing in the future led a healthy foundation for time ahead. SUN’s Insurance business also achieved an underlying result well ahead of the prior year 2016. The group has been able to mitigate the impact of major events like Cyclone Debbie, to a great extent in FY17 with the help of reinsurance programs; and has extended those arrangements into FY18. The generous dividend payments and ability to come-up with better products among peers can help Suncorp flourish further. Given this, the group has shed light on its two significant programs of work that include Business Improvement Program (aiming to digitise the customer experience, optimise sales and service, end-to-end process improvement, claims redesign and smarter procurement) to deliver net benefits of $10 million, $195 million and $329 million over the next three years, and acceleration of the Marketplace to deliver benefits faster. The group has also signalled to increase the dividend payout ratio for the period in view of the additional one-off investment associated with the programs. SUN will revert back to the 60-80% target range in FY19.

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Efforts on cost improvement: On 11 August 2017, the Board of Australian Agricultural Company Limited

Efforts on cost improvement: On 11 August 2017, the Board of Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX: AAC) announced about the resignation of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Jason Strong. The Board has engaged Egon Zehnder to lead an executive search for a new Managing Director, with a plan to fill the appointment before the end of calendar year 2017 and anticipates the search will include both external and internal candidates.    

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Graincorp Ltd.’s On track for strong FY17

On track for strong FY17: Graincorp Ltd.’s (ASX: GNC) stock moved up 5.6% on August 30, 2017 driven by market sentiments. The group had earlier reported an EBITDA of $236 million in the first half of 2017 as compared to $134 million in the prior corresponding period (pcp), and consequently the underlying NPAT rose to $100 million from $32 million of pcp. The group expects to reach their full year EBITDA estimate of $385 million-$425 million and underlying NPAT of $130 million-$160 million. Growing Australian grain harvest and better export volumes, coupled with the group’s network efficiency efforts and managing costs have contributed to the robust result during the period. The group’s average receivals per site increased to 70,000 tons from 40,000 tons of last harvest, driven by a modern and efficient network through Project Regeneration. GNC is also enhancing their sales mix with a better focus on higher margin products. Better canola supply drove their oil supply with lower procurement costs. However, the company has highlighted that continuous pressure on its margins and unfavourable foreign exchange movements have been posing challenges.

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3 Food stocks – Graincorp, Australian Agricultural Company and Costa Group Holdings

On track for strong FY17: Graincorp Ltd.’s (ASX: GNC) stock moved up 5.6% on August 30, 2017 driven by market sentiments. The group had earlier reported an EBITDA of $236 million in the first half of 2017 as compared to $134 million in the prior corresponding period (pcp), and consequently the underlying NPAT rose to $100 million from $32 million of pcp. The group expects to reach their full year EBITDA estimate of $385 million-$425 million and underlying NPAT of $130 million-$160 million. Growing Australian grain harvest and better export volumes, coupled with the group’s network efficiency efforts and managing costs have contributed to the robust result during the period. The group’s average receivals per site increased to 70,000 tons from 40,000 tons of last harvest, driven by a modern and efficient network through Project Regeneration. GNC is also enhancing their sales mix with a better focus on higher margin products. Better canola supply drove their oil supply with lower procurement costs. However, the company has highlighted that continuous pressure on its margins and unfavourable foreign exchange movements have been posing challenges.

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Syrah Resources Ltd Mining agreement approved by government of Mozambique

Mining agreement approved by government of Mozambique: Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX: SYR), up over 9% on August 30, 2017, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Twigg Exploration and Mining, Limitada (Twigg), holder of the Balama Project, has finalised the negotiation of a Mining Agreement with the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy of the Republic of Mozambique. Accordingly, it was approved by the Government of the Republic of Mozambique on 29 August 2017. The Mining Agreement consolidates all prior project documents and approvals. Further, it also provides the Company with clarity around the governing laws and contractualises the mining rights and other obligations for the Balama Project in Mozambique. In accordance with ordinary administrative procedures, the main legal terms of the Mining Agreement will now be gazetted and the Agreement signed by Twigg and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (on behalf of Government of the Republic of Mozambique) in the coming weeks. It will then be presented to the Administrative Court in Mozambique for sanctioning after which it will be binding and enforceable. The Company will announce the key commercial terms of the Mining Agreement once the agreement is signed and becomes binding and enforceable.

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