Winners and losers in business, 2017

(Australian Associated Press)

 

Who flew and who failed in 2017:

WINNERS

BELLAMY’S – BACK FROM THE DEAD

Infant formula supplier Bellamy’s started 2017 with legal action filed against it by shareholders claiming the company misled them about its rapid growth in China, and with the subsequent removal of most of the board.

But restructuring, some clarity over Bellamy’s regulatory licence in China, and a positive start to trading in the current financial year helped lift the share price from around $3.73 in January to above $12 during November. In early December the stock was around $11.20 – almost the same level it was a year ago.

THE A2 MILK COMPANY – BUILDING STRENGTH – New Zealand-based milk supplier A2 Milk went from strength to strength, with its share price zooming upwards from $2.04 at the start of the calendar year to $7.59 at the end of November. Strong demand in Australia and China for its infant formula – which contains a protein variant said to have health benefits – boosted revenue and net profit.

BEGA CHEESE – TRUE BLUE – Australia’s Bega Cheese made headlines when it brought the iconic Vegemite brand “back home” by buying the quintessential Aussie foodstuff and a basket of other well-known grocery brands, including Kraft peanut butter, from US-owned Mondelez International for $460 million.

Bega is currently in a legal fight with global food company Kraft-Heinz over which company has rights to the design of the yellow-lidded-and-labelled jar used for Kraft peanut butter.

MIKE BAIRD – LIFE’S BETTER AT THE BANK

Mike Baird started 2017 earning an extremely comfortable $377,780 salary as NSW premier, and ended it by pocketing almost $900,000 for five months work as an executive for National Australia Bank.

Mr Baird suddenly quit politics in January, citing family reasons, but six weeks later was unveiled as head of NAB’s corporate unit on a wage far in excess of any he could anticipate even at the top of the federal parliamentary pile.


LOSERS

IAN NAREV – END OF HIS INNINGS

Ian Narev should be departing CBA to widespread acclaim after leading Australia’s biggest listed company to a record profit every year since becoming chief executive in 2011.

Instead, he announced the countdown to his retirement at the age of 50 following a series of scandals that culminated in allegations his bank breached counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering rules.

TEN SHAREHOLDERS – EMPTY-HANDED

Some didn’t go down without a fight but in the end the owners of shares in Ten were left with nothing. An independent report valued Ten shares as worthless due to the debts the embattled broadcaster had saying it outweighed the value of the company. Three minor shareholders were unsuccessful in their attempt to block the deal that would leave them empty-handed.

The CBS deal also trumped a competing offer from major Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, who independently failed with a court bid to derail the deal, and did not appeal the Supreme Court decision by the given deadline.

RETAILERS – HARD TIMES

They’ve cut prices and cut them again but still retailers battle to lure shoppers as comatose wages growth leaves spending on life support. A string of big-name stores ran into trouble – most recently luxury handbag retailer Oroton which went into administration in November. And right before the critical Christmas trading period, global online shopping behemoth Amazon is opening its Australian outpost, adding a little more strain to the already stressed lives of shopkeepers around the nation.

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