New Hope won’t rule out buying Wesfarmers stake in Bengalla

admin | 苏州桑拿

New Hope Corp, the coal mining arm of investor Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co, has refused to rule out buying Wesfarmers’ stake in the Bengalla coal mine, as it continues to review acquisition opportunities in the coal industry.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

New Hope, and Wesfarmers, the conglomerate with interests ranging from Coles and Bunnings in retailing, through to chemical and fertiliser manufacturing, each hold a 40 per cent stake in the Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley.

A year ago, New Hope paid Rio Tinto $865 million for its 40 per cent shareholding in Bengalla, just before the price of coal surged, which has helped to rewrite New Hope’s fortunes.

“The timing of the Bengalla acquisition has been pivotal to the result,” New Hope’s managing director Shane Stephan said when commenting on his group’s profit surge in the six months to January, which was released earlier on Tuesday.

“There is no shortage of assets on the market at the moment,” he said, while refusing to comment on any interest he has in acquiring the Wesfarmers stake in the Bengalla mine.

Wesfarmers is believed to have its coal interests in the market, which include its stake in Bengalla and full ownership of the Curragh mine, which produces coking coal and steaming coal.

Mr Stephan said his company is only interested in acquiring open-cut mines, and not underground mines.

New Hope is also seeking approvals to begin development of the New Acland mine in southern Queensland, a $900 million development that could be in production within 18 months of receiving all government approvals. Much of the capital cost of this project would be incurred in the latter stages of its proposed development.

The surge in the coal price since mid-2016, coupled with the purchase of the stake in the Bengalla mine, has pushed the earnings of New Hope sharply higher in the six months to the end of January. In February, it flagged a January half net profit of $50 million – $54 million, with an extraordinary profit of $14 million after tax to lift earnings to $64 million – $68 million.

The outcome was to exceed the top end of the forecast, with a net profit after extraordinary items of $68.4 million, up from $2.7 million a year earlier. Earnings were boosted by a $13.9 million refund on rail charges.

Earnings a share surged to 8.2?? for the half, up from just 0.3?? a year earlier, enabling the interim dividend to be doubled to 4?? a share, after it was forced to dig into reserves to finance the pay-out last year.

Soul Pattinson will pocket $19.8 million thanks to its controlling 60 per cent shareholding in the coal miner.

In March, 2016, the benchmark spot price for Newcastle steaming coal was around $US51 a tonne, rising to $US70 a tonne by the middle of last year. The price has continued to firm, to $US81.75-$US83.00 a tonne in recent dealings according to McCloskey/IHS data.

New Hope’s Mr Stephan said Chinese government policy appeared to be aimed at holding the price of steaming coal stable at around $US75-$US85 a tonne as it seeks to shut down uneconomic domestic mines and lift its reliance on renewable energy sources, along with nuclear energy.

In the latest half, saleable output hit 7.4 million tonnes, up 45 per cent with tonnes sold rising 47 per cent to 3.95 million tonnes.

And the outlook is for continued strong earnings, thanks to the elevated coal price, the company said.

Pointing to the shift towards higher efficiency, lower emissions coal-fired power stations in north Asia, New Hope said this will “attract ongoing premiums to alternative lower quality coals in the future”, it said, highlighting the outlook for its output from mines in southern Queensland and the Hunter Valley.

Bennelong sticking to quality path

admin | 苏州桑拿

The Trump-inspired reflation trade may be close to ending, providing plenty of upside for the growth stocks shunned by investors in the final months of last year, Bennelong n Equity Partners told investors in a briefing on Tuesday
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Cyclical stocks had the biggest gains from the Trump trade, while some of the market’s highest-quality growth stocks floundered. “The premium for quality is now the lowest its been in a very long time,” said Bennelong n Equity Partners senior analyst Neale Goldston-Morris.

He noted that the dispersion of price-earnings ratios across the ASX300 is at a decade low and that had made some of the ASX’s best companies relatively cheap.

ASX-focused fund manger Bennelong – which can usually boast of being one of the best-performing n managers – has a high reliance on ‘quality stocks’. It describes these stocks as belonging to firms with low balance sheet gearing that reduces their vulnerability to higher interest rates, and strong free cashflow to allow reinvestment of revenues into future growth.

Such stocks haven’t benefited from the reflation trade, leading Bennelong’s Concentrated Fund to its worst ever performance in the six months to December, when it underperformed the broader market by almost 6 per cent.

But the fund isn’t changing its strategy and is instead taking advantage of the historically low prices of many of its key stocks to increase its exposure to them.

For example Bennelong has upped its stake in Dominos, first acquired when the company was selling for under $10 a share, as the pizza franchise chain’s share price fell below last year’s highs.

The company has also increased its stake of CSL, which fell to $92 in early January before surging back up to $125 off the back of an earnings upgrade and robust February result, and to BWX, a rising star that produces the Sukin range of organic skincare and hygiene products.

Julian Beaumont, Bennelong n Equity Partners’ investment director, told Fairfax the fund has recently been focused on situations where “a quality stock has been sold down without any deterioration in the company’s fundamentals, or better yet, where they have improved “.

This style has provided plenty of opportunities in recent months. The price-earnings differential of the top-performing quartile and bottom-performing quartile of ASX300 companies is at its lowest point since 2007, with the variation in price-earnings ratios falling to 40 per cent, down from highs of 70 per cent in 2009 when the global financial crisis sent investors flocking to stocks that could deliver in tough times.

“The reflation trade has driven down price-earnings dispersion,” said Mr Goldston-Morris. “It’s part of why our portfolios have struggled – people wanted economically sensitive cyclicals.”

“Now growth stocks, relative to the market, are attractively priced. You’re getting excess growth without paying a premium for that extra growth.”

The outperformance of cyclical stocks now appears to be ending, according to Mr Beaumont. He said the reflation trade was more or less concluded.

“Over the past year, we’ve gone from really slow growth, low interest rates, low inflation to the present where, globally at least, there’s strong global growth, expected higher interest rates and inflation,” he said.

“What was rare previously – growth, and defensive growth in particular – is no longer unique. You can get growth through cylicals and value stocks, where their growth comes from the economy and the cycle.

“The rotation though has been so dramatic, it’s now run its course, and probably even gone too far. And you can see that in the momentum taken out of resources and other similar strong performing sectors, and the more recent outperformance of what really struggled in the back end of last year.

“Companies like CSL and BWX, which were sold down to very attractive levels through the rotation, despite their fundamentals holding up, have now started to perform as they report strong financial results. In these case, the market is re-engaging with company fundamentals, and less taken in by the macro narrative that has driven market particularly since Trump’s election win.”

Bennelong’s portfolio strategy has yielded better returns of late, with the Concentrated Fund posting above-index gains of over 2 per cent in the first two months of the year.

Smiggle, Peter Alexander shine among retail gloom

admin | 苏州桑拿

ADVERTISING GPT Pic of the new Smiggle store in Crown Street Mall Photo by Adam McLean 3rd of June 2010 SPECIAL 00097242 Photo: Adam McLeanSales from four of Premier Investment’s mid-market apparel brands reversed in the first half, including a 5.8 per cent slump in Portmans’ total sales for the half and a 4.1 per cent slide in Jacqui E’s total sales over the same period.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Dotti’s total sales fell by 0.4 per cent in the half while Jay Jays were 1.2 per cent weaker, however Just Jeans sales grew by 4.7 per cent to $114.3 million.

But it was Premier’s stationery superstar Smiggle and Peter Alexander that powered its first-half performance and ensured its net profit inched 0.46 per cent higher to $71.9 million.

In stark comparison to some of its apparel brands, Smiggle’s total sales are up more than 80 per cent over the past two years to $134.7 million in the half, with total sales up 26.4 per cent on the previous period and it reports strong, global like-for-like growth.

Smiggle’s expansion into the UK is expected to drive sales of $200 million by 2019 and there will be 50 Smiggle stores in Hong Kong and Malaysia within five years.

Peter Alexander’s sales jumped by almost 14 per cent to $99.4 million in the half and the maturing leisurewear label is planning to launch between three five and seven new stores a year between calendar 2017 and calendar 2019.

Chairman Solomon Lew, who is also Premier’s biggest shareholder reassured investors in February that the group’s apparel labels had not been hit by the weak trading conditions that triggered the collapse of a number of high profile brands, including Marcs and David Lawrence since December.

Premier announced its underlying earnings would come in at between $92 and $93 million and it announced today a 10.6 per cent increase in underlying earnings to $93 million.

First half like-for like sales were 2.1 per cent higher and Premier said its record first half sales and earnings before interest and tax were delivered despite ” significant external headwinds,” including unseasonably cold October weather conditions and the earthquake in New Zealand.

As a consequence of the unseasonable conditions, n like-for-like sales for Premier’s apparel brands fell as low as negative 7.2 per cent for the month of October.

This supports analyst concerns over how Premier’s stable of mid-market apparel brands are weathering the tough trading conditions in and the theory that Smiggle and Peter Alexander are driving the business.

Premier said Portman’s first half sales were hit by “one-off temporary store closures,” including the relocation of Chadstone and earthquake in New Zealand.

The retailer revealed it had completely “renewed” the Portmans’ leadership team, including the appointment of Linda Levy as the new group general manager.

Total first half sales hit a record $588.6 million up 7.1 per cent on the previous corresponding half and online sales grew by 48 per cent, which Premier said was well ahead of market growth.

Premier announced an interim, full-franked dividend of 26?? per share, an increase of 13 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

More to come

Mining recovery reaches the coalface

admin | 苏州桑拿

The mini-boom in commodity prices that has sparked a rally in mining shares is finally starting to show up in more than top-level data, NAB says.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

“The early macroeconomic effects are becoming more apparent not only in the statistics but also on the ground,” the bank’s economics director David de Garis wrote in a note to clients.

Thanks to a resurgence in Chinese steel production as well as industry reforms in the country, the prices of key n commodities including iron ore, thermal coal and coking coal have surged over the past year. Iron ore prices alone have doubled over the past 12 months to about $US92 a tonne.

The rises contributed to the strong rebound in fourth quarter GDP, which rose at an annual pace of 2.4 per cent, while national income jumped 6.4 per cent courtesy of soaring terms of trade. Meanwhile, gains in mining stocks easily outpaced the broader market over the past 12 months as profits in the sector rebounded.

Last year’s commodities rally came as a surprise to many.

All that was starting to feed some improvement at ground level, Mr de Garis said, pointing to a mix of indicators such as job ads as well as anecdotal evidence.

While miners were still keeping costs under tight control – unlike at the peak of the last boom – “there is a measure of ‘catch up’ in spending by resource companies”, he said.

“Cutting corners, reducing maintenance and not spending according to what might be deemed best engineering practice now seems to have eased somewhat.”

On top of that, mining services companies were reporting a pick up in enquiry rates for prospective new orders, while there was also anecdotal evidence that miners were again buying new equipment and increasing spending on repairs and maintenance.

Job ads seem to have bottomed.

Mr de Garis also cited a rise in job ads in mining regions as well as arrivals at mining airports picking up again.

“This has come with anecdotal reports that labour hire firms are again becoming more active again, indicative that the upturn in commodity price is producing some spinoff for some regions,” he said.

Passenger traffic is tentatively picking up.

But NAB added it did not see signs miners were opening the chequebook to spend up in a major way on capacity-expansion projects.

“Even so, there are emerging measurable signs that the tailwind is more than apparent in just the highest level of indicators and is beginning to become more apparent at the coalface,” Mr de Garis said.

Westpac takes aim at ASIC over ‘ambitious’ home loan lawsuit

admin | 苏州桑拿

The corporate regulator’s landmark case against Westpac over allegedly irresponsible home loan practices does not show customers suffered “any hardship”, the bank has told the Federal Court.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

In the first action of its kind, the n Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has launched civil penalty proceedings against Westpac for allegedly breaching responsible lending laws.

It alleges the bank failed to properly assess whether customers could meet their repayments before entering into home loan contracts between December 2011 and March 2015.

The regulator is asking the Federal Court to declare that Westpac breached national consumer protection laws and impose a pecuniary penalty.

At a preliminary hearing in Sydney on Tuesday, Westpac’s barrister, Jeremy Kirk, SC, said ASIC had “not alleged that any consumer … had suffered any hardship, let alone substantial hardship”.

“ASIC’s case is a very theoretical one,” Mr Kirk said.

He said the bank had “difficulty” understanding ASIC’s case and pointed to “ambiguities” in court documents filed by the regulator.

Justice Nye Perram said it was clear “this is going to be a fairly complicated piece of litigation”.

ASIC alleges Westpac relied solely upon a benchmark instead of actual expenses declared by borrowers to assess their ability to repay loans, a claim disputed by the bank.

Mr Kirk said ASIC had not identified a “particular rule” that needed to be applied in assessing a borrower’s capacity to repay a loan.

ASIC’s barrister, Stephanie Patterson, said the regulator did not “necessarily accept” that its claim contained the ambiguities alleged by Westpac but was willing to make amendments to narrow the issues in dispute.

The regulator’s claim points to seven examples – believed to be part of a larger sample of loans – where it says Westpac failed to consider customers’ declared living expenses when assessing applications.

ASIC alleges the bank relied instead on ABS Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) benchmark figures.

It says one customer who applied for a $750,000 loan told the bank their monthly expenses were $5490 but Westpac instead relied on the HEM figure of $2170, leaving a $3320 deficit when assessing the loan.

The parties will return to court on May 19 for a further preliminary hearing.

China is ‘our great opportunity’, says Kathmandu

admin | 苏州桑拿

New Zealand activewear chain Kathmandu says it has improved sales in through better products, promotions and engagement with its customers and sees it as “our great opportunity”.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

About 1 million ns are members of Kathmandu’s loyalty card program. These “Summit Card” members spend more money, more frequently than other shoppers.

” is our great opportunity,” chief executive Xavier Simonet said. Consumer confidence in both and New Zealand were “reasonably OK”.

The comments come after Kathmandu met guidance for its half-year results, with net profit up 6.4 per cent to $NZ10 million ($9 million), thanks to strong growth at its 161 n stores and cost cutting.

Overall, n sales grew 6 per cent for the six months to January 31, compared with a 0.9 per cent decline for its native New Zealand. Same-store n sales, excluding new stores, grew 5 per cent in local currency.

Kathamandu did not provided guidance for the full year, and said maintaining gross margin and operating efficiency would continue to be its focus. It is in negotiations to improve its international wholesaling agreements.

New Zealand broker ForBarr said the result was lower than it had expected and the quality was “not that great”. Sales inched up 0.2 per cent while earnings before interest and tax fell 2 per cent.

“Bear in mind that this is a very small half for Kathmandu, the key issue is how the June/July period goes, nevertheless this won’t help the price,” it said.

Mr Simonet said he did not plan a change to Kathmandu’s practice of discounting heavily from original prices, saying the so-called “high-low” strategy had made the retailer successful.

“We have made the outdoor category accessible to everyone,” he said.

An interim dividend of 4?? was declared, up from 3?? last year.

Premier Investments says retail rents too high in apparel sector

admin | 苏州桑拿

Premier Investments has foreshadowed more store closures as it warns landlords that the high rents in the apparel sector must come down to reflect the challenges weighing on this retail segment.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Solomon Lew-controlled retailer owns the highly successful children’s stationery chain Smiggle and Peter Alexander as well as a clutch of mid-market apparel brands, including Jacqui E and Portmans.

Four of Premier’s apparel brands reported negative growth in total sales during the first half, and chief executive Mark McInnes said the collapse of Marcs and David Lawrence had a material impact on the value of some of that rental real estate.

He said the space those fashion brands were vacating was worth “far less than it once was”.

“You can assume that we are talking to landlords about making sure they right size their rent in line with market values,” Mr McInnes said. “And we are doing that for all our brands.”

Premier’s online sales grew 48 per cent in the first half and it said the expansion of this channel had to be balanced with its bricks and mortar network.

Portmans and Jacqui E attract “exceptional” online sales, according to Premier, and remain “very profitable brands” for the group.

However, Mr McInnes said customers were choosing to buy those brands online, rendering investment in online operations very important.

“Equally we’re negotiating hard with landlords to lower their rent to ensure that the profitability at the shop level remains as there’s leakage to the online business,” Mr McInnes said.

“That’s a challenge for the landlords to get used to at lease expiry, significant pressure from our property team to get their rents in line with what’s happening in the market.

“We’ve seen retailers like Marcs and David Lawrence go out of business, so it’s hard for landlords to say in that category the space they’re renting is worth what they were renting it for.”

Mr McInnes foreshadowed that this would probably lead to some store closures by landlords who could not accept this “structural” shift.

However, he said the main focus for executive director Colette Garnsey and her team at Portmans and Jacqui E was improving products over the short term.

Building Peter Alexander’s network of concession stores was identified as a key plank of the growth plan for the mature, leisurewear label.

Peter Alexander is already in Myer and Mr McInnes revealed that it may broaden its exposure, which could include new stores in David Jones.

He said airport stores were also being targeted for the brand in , which now trades out of just one airport shop in Brisbane.

Virgin China to fly Melbourne to Hong Kong from July

admin | 苏州桑拿

Virgin has confirmed Melbourne will be its n destination for a new service to Hong Kong starting mid-year.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The airline flagged its first venture into the Chinese market in mid-2016 and confirmed in February it would launch a Hong Kong service but until now has not said if it would fly from Sydney or Melbourne.

Virgin said on Tuesday it would fly Airbus A330-200s five times return every week starting on July 5. The announcement follows the n Competition and Consumer Commission granting interim approval for Virgin’s tie-up with Chinese carriers HNA, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express.

The alliance means passengers will be able to connect from Hong Kong to 13 destinations in mainland China. Those flying from Hong Kong on Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will connect to Virgin’s domestic and trans-Tasman network under the alliance.

Qantas and its alliance partner Cathay Pacific are currently the only airlines that fly direct between and Hong Kong.

“Virgin ‘s entry into Hong Kong and Greater China is a key pillar of our international strategy, allowing us to tap into ‘s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market,” Virgin chief executive John Borghetti said.

“Melbourne is an international city in its own right and hosts some of ‘s biggest and most spectacular events. We look forward to showcasing this great city to inbound visitors from Hong Kong and beyond.” /**/

China is shaping up as a key market for n carriers, with about 1.2 million Chinese tourists visiting last year. Virgin has previously said it hopes to soon fly to a mainland Chinese city, while Qantas last month resumed flights between Sydney and Beijing, more than seven years after it axed the route.

Tickets for Virgin’s new service will go on sale on Tuesday. Schedule:

Melbourne to Hong Kong: Flight VA89 will depart Melbourne at 12.35am on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrive in Hong Kong at 8.15am the same day, local time.

Flight VA87 will depart Melbourne at 10.25am every Monday and arrive in Hong Kong at 6.05pm and depart at 9.40am on Wednesdays, arriving at 5.20pm.

Hong Kong to Melbourne: Flight VA86 will depart Hong Kong at 7.50pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Melbourne at 7.20am the next day.

The ‘Amber effect’ opens floodgates on dubious conduct by bosses

admin | 苏州桑拿

AFR 24TH FEBRUARY 2015 John Neal CEO QBE results photo by Louise Kennerley afr Photo: Louise KennerleyTwo observations following news this week of yet another allegation of inappropriate male executive behaviour, this time by an executive at Westpac-owned wealth management business BT: first, the number of publicly disclosed instances of this type of misconduct is on the rise; and second, opinions about it are polarised.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

In the three months since former Seven West Media staffer Amber Harrison blew the lid off the consensual affair she had with its now chief executive, Tim Worner, the floodgates have opened with, most-often anonymous, letters sent to the media alleging all manner of dubious conduct, from affairs to unwanted contact.

Call it the Amber effect.

In the past few weeks alone, I have been alerted to allegations that a very senior judge and a captain of industry have had affairs with staff members. Until recently, the latter was the head of a multibillion-dollar company. In the judge’s case, the woman left her employment, and in the company’s case, both left.

I have even overheard a pillar of the business community refer to Harrison as a “bunny boiler”. This man sits on the board of a company whose annual report is littered with politically correct statements about corporate social responsibility and gender equality.

Of course, just because the ill-treatment of women in the workplace has become the issue du jour, doesn’t mean it’s new or getting worse. More, there is a growing understanding that it is not acceptable and it’s less tolerated.

And it’s noteworthy that most of the tip-offs about affairs or sexual misconduct aren’t coming from the women involved (to the extent we are able to track down the source of the information).

The clear exception is Harrison, who took her own story public because she believed she had been mistreated by Seven.

The former executive assistant, who instigated legal action again Seven last week, is alleging the company began its investigation into her alleged misuse of a corporate credit card after she told Worner she had been suffering anxiety and panic attacks, threatening her employment.

Most often, the outing of misconduct is coming from colleagues who witnessed it. For the most part, whistleblowing by the party involved leaves a stigma that could affect their ability to either stay at the company or get another job.

Those whose opinion falls into the camp that says an office affair is a private matter between two consenting parties (and their spouses) – all very common in today’s workplace – miss the point that good corporate practice recognises there is a power imbalance between a senior executive and a more junior staff member, or that a relationship creates a situation that can give rise to financial favouritism.

In the case of QBE chief executive John Neal, who was recently docked $550,000 in pay for not alerting the board about a consensual relationship with his executive assistant (both were separated from their respective spouses), the company’s response probably set the high-water mark in corporate governance on the issue. Incidentally, Neal alerted the board to his own situation.

At the other end of the spectrum would be Seven’s attempts to pay Harrison to keep quiet about the affair in the face of its belief that she had misused company funds. The saga is both messy and embarrassing and refuses to fade.

The behaviour of BT’s chief investment officer, Martyn Wild, in allegedly stroking a female staffer’s hair and, it was claimed, telling another she wouldn’t be promoted because of her weight, seems uncomfortably anti-social with some sexual overtones.

It’s likely that the BT matter has not yet been brought to an end – even though Wild has been given a “first and final warning” and will take a hit to his bonus.

Westpac and BT need to tread very carefully in handling this matter. It sits very uncomfortably with the bank’s public relations around gender equality – an issue that has been championed by chief executive Brian Hartzer.

Do you know more? [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

‘People are just making things up’, says Gerry Harvey

admin | 苏州桑拿

Billionaire retailer Gerry Harvey said his wife’s decision to sell a parcel of her Harvey Norman shares last week was about covering a tax bill and had nothing to do with Monday’s share price rout.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Katie Page, who is also Harvey Norman’s chief executive, sold about 210,000 shares on March 14, just days before Mr Harvey jumped into the market to secure 2 million Harvey Norman shares in a bid to support the sagging share price.

Mr Harvey initially dismissed questions over Ms Page’s share sell-down as too “stupid”, given she still holds about 14 million shares.

However, he then explained Ms Page sold the shares to pay a tax bill on an options allocation.

“There’s not a director in who has not been in exactly the same position,” Mr Harvey said on Tuesday.

“As soon as they get options, they have to sell some shares to pay tax.”

Harvey Norman’s share price plunged from $5.06 on March 13 to $4.36 a week later, a slide Mr Harvey said had nothing to do with directors selling down shares or the retailer’s broader investor base.

“This has got to the stage where there’s manipulation going on and we’ve got to be very careful,” Mr Harvey said.

“I’ve been doing this for 56 years now and … our reputation is impeccable over a long period of time and now there’s this insinuation by someone saying that we have fake accounts and property with fake valuations and zombie trusts.”

Mr Harvey also denied the n Securities and Investments Commission was investigating its accounts.

Harvey Norman’s share price rout earned it a “please explain” from the n Securities Exchange. The retailer responded by claiming recent media reports had included “false statements and assumptions”.

In the ASX statement, Harvey Norman said an article in Saturday’s n Financial Review made “false statements and assumptions and then proceeds to make assertions and draw conclusions, which are also false, based upon those false statements and assumptions”.

Mr Harvey said he was innocent of any charges and no longer prepared to discuss it.

“You get to a point where you say ‘you can all go and get f—-d’.

“I’m not having anything to do with this, when people are just making things up.”

This is the latest chapter in the increasingly acrimonious debate over how Harvey Norman accounts for its franchised retail operations, including failed traders, a conversation Mr Harvey has previously blamed on short sellers.

Proxy adviser Ownership Matters called on fund managers to vote against accepting Harvey Norman’s financial report at its annual meeting last November in relation to the “financial accommodation” provided to franchisees for unpaid fees, rent, interest and working capital.

Ownership Matters called on Harvey Norman to consolidate its accounts and provide greater insight into issues such as loans to franchisees, which have totalled $566 million since 2011.