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Queensland business briefs: Your daily Sunshine State update


The latest business news on Castillo Copper, BMD, Flight Centre, Technology One, Terracom, Eagers Automotive, GWA, Cromwell, Bowen Coking Coal, Elbit, Reef Casino, Boom Logistics, NEXTDC, Retail Food Group, AustChina Holdings, Cellnet, Intega, Cosol, Shine, Aeris Resources and Michael Hill

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Castillo pushes ahead with the Big One

Castillo Copper is moving to cash in on the demand for copper and will start preparing to recommence mining at the Big One project near Mt Isa. It said it would push ahead with plans to apply for a mining lease.

The project was last mined in 1997 and the company said the forward demand for the metal was strong because of supply bottlenecks.

Further work is planned to extend known mineralisation and Big One’s potential scale. Drilling will resume when the wet season concludes.

Managing director Simon Paull said the board was highly optimistic that the work would extend the mineralisation.

Drilling has also discovered cobalt.

BMD gets a gong

BMD was claiming a “Golden Globe of sorts” after winning the Queensland Major Contractors Association award for the project of the year over $100 million.

The award related to its parallel runway project at Brisbane Airport.

BMD said the judges were “impressed with every aspect of the project, from the collaborative nature of the charter to the innovative use of technology to ensure success”.

Flight Centre extends loan

Flight Centre’s £65 million ($A116 million) load from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility has been extended.

The funds were initially made available for a 12-month term to help liquidity and would have ended this month.

The bank has approved a 12-month extension and an additional £50 million debt facility.


Tech One appoints new deputy chair

Technology One has appointed Pat O’Sullivan as an independent director and deputy chairman. O’Sullivan previously worked for PriceWaterhouse, Goodman Fielder, Sing Tel Optus and Nine Entertainment. He is currently chairman of and has had extensive boardroom experience.


Politis tops up

Eagers Automotive chair Nick Politis picked up an extra 100,000 shares in the company in February and his stake in the company sits just below $1 billion.

The businessman bought the shares at $12.37 and they closed on Friday at $13.25, meaning he has already added an extra $88,000 to his wealth.

Salt to leave GWA

GWA has lost its managing director Tim Salt, who resigned today after five years for unspecified personal reasons.

Chairman Darryl McDonough said Salt had led the company through a restructure and made the company what it was today.

Salt has agreed to assist in the handover to acting chief executive Urs Meyerhans.

Terracom profit slumps

Blair Athol miner Terracom has reported a big drop in December half earnings to a net loss of $60.4 million compared with a $9.4 million for the first half.

Chief executive Danny McCarthy said the results were disappointing.

The company’s shares plunged 14 per cent.



People loses people

David Cuda has resigned as chief executive of People Infrastructure and former managing director Declan Sherman will step in as an interim CEO while a replacement is found.

The resignation came after the company reported an increase in normalised net profit for the December half-year to $9 million. The company received $13 million in JobKeeper subsidies during the year and it said the funds allowed it to rebound quickly and get staff back to work faster.

It declared a dividend of 4.5 cents a share. It forecast an EBITDA for the second half of between $14 million and $16 million.


Cromwell profit falls

Property group Cromwell had a 35 per cent fall in its net profit of $146 million for the December half year.

Chief executive Michael Wilde said despite the earnings slide the company had successfully navigated the complexities of the period.

“2020 was a challenging year and while no one has come away unscathed, I believe we have emerged from it strongly and are well positioned to face what lies ahead,” Wilde said.

It will pay a distribution per security of 3.75 cents.

Jorss takes over at Bowen

Nick Jorss has been appointed as executive chair of Bowen Coking Coal.

Jorss, who founded Stanmore Coal, had been a non-executive director of BCC since 2018. He will replace Neville Sneddon as chair and Sneddon will become a director. Blair Sergeant will also move to a non-executive role.

Jorss said he was pleased to be taking a more active role as the company entered a period of rapid growth.

Chair for Stanton

Dr Karen Stanton will take over as chair of Elbit Systems of Australia.

Managing director Major General (ret’d) Paul McLachlan Stanton had already been a valuable contributing board member since her original appointment in August 2018.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr Stanton will be stepping up from her existing role as a non-executive director of Elbit Systems of Australia, to the position of Chair at such a crucial time for the business,” Mr McLachlan said.

“Our Australian business is undergoing a vital transformation over the coming year that will enable it to meet, and far exceed, the needs of our existing and potential customers such as defence, emergency services and homeland security.

“Dr Stanton will oversee the transformation of Elbit Systems of Australia as it gains independence and takes control of its security, governance, IT and engineering, in order to address any foreign ownership concerns.

Verbrec profits falls

Mining and resources engineering company Verbrec has reported a net profit of $1.1 million, down from $2.1 million for the same period in 2019.

The results were in line with its expectations. It said the oil market had been particularly badly impacted by the pandemic and projects were deferred in the oil and gas sector.

It said there were strong signs of recovery and it expected deferred projects to be awarded.


Casino profit falls

The Cairns-based Reef Casino reported a net loss of $209,000 for the December full year, a drop of 106 per cent.

Its revenue fell almost 18 per cent to $15 million because of pandemic restrictions and a shutdown.

A unit distribution for the final six months of the year of 9.76 cents was declared.

Boom improves

Boom Logistics produced a $400,000 profit for the December half-yearBoom, a significant improvement on the $5.8 million loss for the previous corresponding period.

Revenue of $84 million was lower because of pandemic impacts bit Boom broadened its revenue stream by winning new infrastructure contracts and project work.

An interim dividend of .5 cents a share was declared.


NEXTDC upbeat despite loss

Data Centre developer and owner NEXTDC has produced a bottom-line loss of $17 million for the December half-year.

The company said its data centre revenue grew 27 per cent to $121.6 million and its underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 29 per cent to $65.7 million.

It forecast full-year data centre revenue in the range of $246 million to $251 million, an increase on its previous guidance. It expects underlying EBITDA to be between $130 million and $133 million.

Managing director Craig Scroggie said it was a record result for the company in the first half.


Closures impact RFG

Retail Food Group, which owns the Brumby’s Bakery, Gloria Jeans, Donut King and Michel’s Patisserie brands, has reported a net profit of $3.9 million, affected by discontinued operations.

It said its underlying net profit was $12 million, a 60 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period.

The company said it had made considerable progress in its turnaround.


AustChina suspends trade

AustChina Holdings, formerly known as Coal Bank, has suspended its shares from trading after a leap in price of 87 per cent this morning.

There was also a significant jump in trading volume before the suspension to more than 15 million shares.

The company shares consistently trade below 1 cent. It has a market capitalisation of $13 million.

Cellnet to rethink dividend

Technology distributor Cellnet has produced a half-year profit of $2.4 million, a dramatic 1092 per cent increase on the corresponding period of 2019.

The result did not help its share price which fell 25 per cent this morning.

The company said it was now considering reinstating a dividend, subject to its second half performance.

Chief executive Dave Clark said debt term loans had been repaid and operating costs were down by $1 million.

He said the company would be accelerating its growth strategies across gaming, mobile accessories and online distrubution.

Intega profit

Engineering services company Intega has reported a $2 million profit for the first half.

The company was created from a demerger with Cardno in 2019.

Its underlying EBITDA was $24.7 million, an increase of 11.7 per cent.

It declared a dividend of 1 cent a share.

COSOL  optimistic

COSOL has delivered a 35 per cent increase in first-half net profit of $1.85 million.

Revenue jumped 45 per cent and the company declared a fully franked dividend of .5 cents a share.

COSOL said it was optimistic that the business would perform strongly in the second half. It said there was a strong pipeline in place to win new and expanded client work.

Law firm boosts earnings

Shine Justice has increased its first-half profits by 14 per cent to $10.05 million.

Its underlying result was in line with its guidance and it declared an unfranked dividend of 2 cents a share.

The law firm said there was a pipeline of organic and acquisitive opportunities emerging in core markets.

Its guidance was that it expected a continuation of earnings growth in 2021 in the order of a high single-digit percentage increase, subject to unforeseen pandemic impacts.


Sliding door year for Aeris

Copper-gold producer Aeris Resources has reported an almost doubling of revenue for the first half while net profit jumped 260 per cent to $46 million.

The result includes the Cracow mine, which it bought last year.

Executive chairman Andre Labuschagne said 2020 was a “sliding door” year for Aeris because of weather conditions and the pandemic.

MHJ booming despite closures

Michael Hill International has reported an 82 per cent increase in half-year net profit of $39 million.

However, the company has kept its dividend at 1.5 cents a share, the same as last year, despite the big increase in earnings.

It said the performance of its Australian operation was a credit to the division because it lost 2567 trading days during the pandemic.

Digital sales doubled to $18.5 million and same-store sales were up 6.3 per cent.

Chief executive Daniel Bracken said the company entered the current half with clear strategic initiatives and he was encouraged by results so far with same store sales up 11 per cent for the first eight weeks.


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