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Queensland business briefs: Your daily Sunshine State update


The latest business news on  EML, NextDC, Stadiums Queensland, Eagers, ASIC, Aust Mines, Audeara, Fiji Kava, Callide, Alligator, Youfoodz, Sunland, Orocobre,  Megaport, Autopact, Austral Resources, PPK, ASIC, Skytrans, and LPE

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EML wins Nth Ireland tender

EML Payments has won a tender to disburse a $273 million economic stimulus boost to the citizens of Northern Ireland through Mastercard prepaid cards.

The new High Street Scheme will provide every adult in Northern Ireland with the equivalent of $A189 to spend in local businesses.

It is similar to a stimulus program EML delivered in Jersey in 2020.

New data centre site

July 29: NextDC has paid $124 million for a site to accommodate a new data centre at Horsley Park, Sydney.

To be known as S4 the site is expected to be able to house a facility capable of about 300 megawatts of capacity and create 500 new jobs in development.

Managing director Craig Scroggie said the demand for quality data centre assets in place like Sydney reflected the growth trajectory of technology infrastructure over the next decade.

Aquaculture gets two sites

July 29: Two news sites in the Hinchinbrook Shire have been recognised as principal areas for the development of land-based marine aquaculture.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said identifying the new Aquaculture Development Areas (ADAs) clears the way for the industry to grow.

“The identification of ADAs aims to promote and advance the expansion of aquaculture in Queensland which will create more employment opportunities especially in regional areas,” Furner said.

More than 1900 hectares has been earmarked for aquaculture development in the Hinchinbrook Shire.

Three new SQ directors

July 28: Stadiums Queensland, which manages Queensland’s $1.2 billion stadia portfolio, has announced three new board members.

Stadiums Queensland chair Cathy McGuane said the three new appointees were John Warn,  Peter Hyland and Sharon Finnan-White.

Warn is the chief operating officer at hotel group Accor Pacific and former head of Sport, Media and Entertainment at global search and recruitment agency Odgers Berndtson and former chairman of Cricket NSW.

Hyland recently was regional director of urban development specialist Cistri in Singapore.

Sharon Finnan-White is an Aniwan and Biripi woman based in Townsville who competed for Australia in netball.

ASIC freezes developer assets

ASIC has obtained orders in the Supreme Court of Queensland against Ian Omar Chester and Sophie Sylvia Chester, of the Gold Coast, in connection with the use of funds raised from investors for a number of property development projects in Queensland.

ASIC said the orders restrained the two from removing their assets from Australia, disposing of property or dealing with any monies available in any bank account in which either of them has an interest. 

ASIC had concerns that Ian Chester had used funds invested in some of the projects for his own benefit or not for the purpose for which the funds were invested.  It said  Chester did not contest the making of freezing orders against him. In making the orders in respect of Sophie Chester, the court was satisfied she had also dealt with investor funds.

The orders have effect until a further hearing before the court which is to take place no later than 21 January 2022.


Battery hopeful finds support

July 28: Australian Mines has raised $6.5 million from institutions in an overnight placement.

The company, which calls itself an advanced battery materials development company, said it had received strong support for the capital raising.

Managing director Benjamin Bell said the company would now be producing P-CAM (precursor cathode active materials) samples in addition to continuing to produce nickel and cobalt sulphate materials which would help secure offtake agreements.

The placement consisted of 342 million shares at 0.019 cents a share.

New Hope revival

July 27: Coal producer New Hope Group has hit $2 a share for the first time in 18 months.

The company, which has battled for more than a decade to get approval for the expansion of its Acland coal mine, is benefitting from a strong surge in the price of thermal coal, used for electricity generation.

The price is at $US129 a tonne and futures are nearing $US150 a tonne. The higher price is based on huge demand out of China where a heat wave and a failure at a hydro electricity plans has impacted electricity demand.

Audeara earnings jump

July 27: Audeara’s earnings for the June quarter were a record for the Brisbane based company. Revenue was up 56 per cent which included a 74 per cent jump in its wholesale channel.

Its clinic numbers increased in the quarter by 13 to 725. It said it was still working with a number of clinic groups relating to supply agreements.

The stronger performance, from the company which makes specialised headphones for the hearing impaired, has yet to be reflected in its share price which sits around 10.5 cents, almost half the 20 cent float price.

Fiji Kava finds a partner

July 27: Brisbane-based Fiji Kava has struck an equity deal with Chemist Warehouse that will allow the company to become a platinum supplier to the chain of stores, including those in Ireland and its Alibaba Tmall Global mall.

The deal will mean Chemist Warehouse will take up 12.9 million shares in the company at 11 cents a share.

Fiji will earn promotional support from the deal.

Fiji Kava’s share price rose 8 per cent on the news.

PTB profit

July 26: Aviation company PTB has tightened its profit guidance for the full year, leading to a surge in share price today.

Although subject to audit, PTB said EBITDA was likely to be between $22.5 million and $23 million, an increase from the $21 million to $23 million.

The profit will include a $5.8 million profit from the sale of its Warriewood properties.

Alligator soars

July 26: Shares in uranium company Alligator Energy soared 14 per cent this morning after the Brisbane based junior was included in a global ETF index.

Chief executive Greg Hall said the inclusion of Alligator n the Soulurant Index _ which underlies the Global X Uranium ETF, was a significant and valuable recognition of the recent growth strategy and value of Alligator.

“The positive market sentiment in the uranium market and nuclear businesses is being underpinned by increasingly positive policy and clean energy drivers globally, as well as changing supply/demand dynamics,” he said.

Callide unit back

Jul 26: Callide Power Station Unit C3 was brought back online in the early hours of this morning. Unit 4 remains offline.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the milestone brought capacity up to almost 75 per cent following the return of units B1 and B2 in June.

“As C3 is safely and gradually ramped up to full capacity, we can expect Callide to start generating up to 1,120 megawatts of reliable energy into the National Electricity Market,” he said.

An external independent investigation is underway into the C4 event which caused a major blackout on 25 May.

Youfoodz revenue up

July 23: Brisbane-based Youfoodz said it recorded a rise in gross revenue of almost 20 per cent for the June quarter.

The company, which has entered into a scheme of arrangement for an agreed takeover from HelloFresh, said the revenue of $203 million was ahead of guidance, but EBITDA would be at the lower end of guidance of between $1 million and $2 million.

Chief executive and founder Lance Giles said its business-to-consumer division performed strongly and delivered significant uplift in order volumes and revenue.

Sunland sells Ingleside

July 23: Developer Sunland has sold properties in Ingleside, NSW, for $35 million.

The company, which is liquidating its assets and returning capital to investors, said it would record a profit of $11.9 million from the sale.

The funds will be used to repay debt and as working capital.

Orocobre soars

July 22: Share in lithium producer Orocobre jumped more than 7 per cent this morning after the company posted its quarterly results which showed improving cash flows and sales prices.

Prices were up 170 per cent over the past nine months, the company said.

The proportion of battery-grade production reached a record level and market conditions continued to improve.

It said discussions continued with Toyota Tsusho Corporation regarding an expansion of its lithium hydroxide production to meet forecast growth in demand.

Megaport gets bigger

Brisbane internet company Megaport has reported an 8 per cent increase in customers for the fourth quarter.

The company said it there were record net increases in the quarter across all major operating metrics.

Monthly recurring revenue increased by $735,000, or 11 per cent, for the fourth quarter.

BoQ adds a ME director to board

Former ME Bank director Deborah Kiers will join the Bank of Queensland board following the finalisation of the takeover.

Kiers will be considered an independent director and BoQ said her appointment would support the integration of ME into BoQ.

The board seat became available following the resignation of Kathleen Bailey-Lord.

Two more for ASX

July 22: The rush to raise capital in a booming market has led to two more Queensland companies readying for a float and listing.

Reports suggest copper producer Austral Resources and Autopact are getting ready for the transition to a listed company.

Austral is reportedly after $100 million. It currently operates the Lady Annie mine, near Mt Isa.

Li-S prospectus lodged

July 21: PPK and Deakin University spinoff Li-S Energy has lodged a prospectus to raise $34 million which would give it a market valuation of about $550 million.

The offer is for 40 million shares at 85 cents a share and a priority offer of up to $8 million in shares to existing shareholders in the company will be included. The offer is not underwritten and will not proceed unless it is fully subscribed.

Li-S will produce lithium sulphur batteries that have been touted as a game-changer for the sector through the use of boron nitrate nanotubes that act as an insulator.

The funds will allow Li-S to scale up its development and production team, install a pilot production plant and retrofit Li-S Energy batteries into a range of products to demonstrate the performance advantages.

Li-S has no immediate prospect of generating significant revenue.

Gold Coast adviser banned

July 21: ASIC has banned former financial adviser Adam John Bevan for five years from providing financial services, controlling a financial services business, or performing any function in relation to carrying on a financial services business.

Bevan was an authorised representative of Gold Coast based Australian financial services licensee, Trade Wind Financial Services Pty Ltd (Trade Wind FS) between 25 July 2017 and 18 May 2020. During that period, Mr Bevan was also the sole director of Trade Wind FS.

ASIC found that Mr Bevan failed to act in the best interests of three Trade Wind FS clients when he failed to make reasonable enquiries about their existing superannuation funds and when he did not put in place measures to ensure their funds were transferred in accordance with his advice.

ASIC also found that Mr Bevan is not a fit and proper person, having regard to his connection to a refusal or failure to give effect to a determination by AFCA.

ASIC has also cancelled the AFSL of Trade Wind FS, effective 26 May 2021. ASIC took this action due to a failure by Trade Wind FS to co-operate with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) and pay two AFCA determinations on time.

Trade Wind FS also failed to lodge its 2019 and 2020 audited financial accounts and comply with several licence conditions including failing to notify ASIC of the change in the key person for the AFSL.

Skytrans bids for 5 routes

July 20: Skytrans will bid for five regulated routes throughout regional and remote Queensland in the upcoming tenders for regulated air routes across the state.

The tender closes on August 9 and chief executive Alan Milne said the Queensland-owned company would be demonstrating how Skytrans services would better connect communities and support economic and jobs growth in the regions.

The five routes it was bidding for were:  Western 1: Brisbane-Toowoomba-St George-Cunnamulla-Thargomindah; Western 2: Bris-Toowoomba-Charleville-Quilpie-Windorah-Birdsville-Bedourie-Boulia-Mt Isa; Northern 1: Townsville-Winton-Longreach; Northern 2: Townsville-Hughenden-Richmond-Julia Creek-Mount Isa and Gulf: Cairns-Normanton-Karumba-Mornington Island-Burketown-Doomadgee-Mount Isa.

LPE maiden profit

July 20: Sunshine Coast-based energy company LPE said it had produced a maiden profit for 2021 on revenue growth of 27 per cent.

Its EBITDA for the year was $3.7 million and its net profit was $900,000.

The company has a shared-solar product it markets to strata communities in Queensland and NSW.

Michael Hill still booming

July 19: Jeweler Michael Hill said its same store sales for the June quarter were up 7.5 per cent on last year and up 116 per cent on an all-store-basis.

For the year, sales were up 8.6 per cent and 10 per cent on 2019.

Margin improvements have been maintained and it expects its earnings to be in line with expectations or above.

Digital sales were up 51 per cent for the year.

Tamawood hit by delays

July 19: Home builder Tamawood said its final dividend would be 13 cents a share giving it a 24 cent payout for the year.

The company said the last quarter had been impacted by wet weather as well as labour and materials shortages. Delayed bank approvals for customers had also had an impact.

It expected the delays to continue for the next six months.

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