MENU

Newcrest ‘not at fault’ says report

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) has cleared itself of any wrong doing after analysts downgraded the company two weeks before the company announced it was reducing output.

The corporate securities regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has yet to release the results of its own investigation into the company’s disclosure. Claims have been raised that several analysts were ‘selectively’ briefed by the company ahead of an announcement of massive writedowns and a production downgrade.

In an effort to clear its name and regain the trust of the market, Newcrest hired former Australian Securities Exchange chairman Maurice Newman to conduct an independent review. The results were released today, with analysts being blamed for being too slow to pick up on previous announcements, and Newcrest cleared of doing anything wrong.

News of job cuts and office closures had apparently already leaked to the market in the lead up to the announcement, and five analysts downgraded their forecasts and price targets in the week leading up to Newcrest’s announced downgrade, with all citing similar reasons.

Astoundingly, Mr Newman writes in his report that he was unable to interview any of the analysts involved as well as the majority of broker firms whose analysts attended Analyst Meetings. Without their views, it seems that Mr Newman may not have had the full picture, and perhaps it’s no wonder that Newcrest was cleared in his ‘independent’ report.

Pleasingly, the report recommends several steps that Newcrest should take and most, if not all, corporates should consider. Newcrest has announced that the board supports all the recommendations in the report, including adopting a more reactive approach to analyst forecasts, releasing all external presentation materials to ASX as well as broadcasting investor relations events for the benefit of all shareholders.

Shareholders in the company could be forgiven for being unhappy, with Newcrest shares dropping more than 50%, compared to a gain in the S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) of more than 16% since September 2012. While much of the fall was due to the sliding gold price; billion-dollar writedowns, production downgrades and this scandal also pushed the shares lower.

Foolish takeaway

In this Fool’s opinion, selective briefings should be banned unless they are recorded and made available to all investors. Until that happens, retail shareholders may feel that they are being excluded from potentially market sensitive information, whilst analysts and fund managers are given an unfair advantage.

Interested in our #1 dividend-paying stock? Discover The Motley Fool’s favourite income idea for 2013-2014 in our brand-new, FREE research report, including a full investment analysis! Simply click here for your FREE copy of “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2013-2014.”

More reading


Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.