The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) ended today higher by 0.4% today to 5,951 points.
Here are some of the highlights from the ASX:
Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)
The big four ASX bank announced its FY20 result today, reporting that its cash earnings were down 62% to $2.61 billion and cash earnings per share (EPS) fell 63% to 72.5 cents. Statutory net profit fell by 66% to $2.29 billion.
Westpac attributed the large drop of profit to a number of one-off items including provisions and costs for the AUSTRAC proceedings ($1.3 billion), provisions for estimated refunds, payments, costs and litigation relating to the royal commission, write-downs relating to intangible items and asset sales and revaluations.
Excluding notable items, cash earnings still declined 34% because of the difficult operating conditions.
Westpac noted that more than two thirds of Westpac’s home loan customers on deferral packages have started making repayments again.
The big bank said it had a CET1 capital ratio of 11.13% at the end of FY20.
The board decided to pay a final, fully franked dividend of 31 cents per share. The total dividend to be paid represents 49% of Westpac’s statutory profit which is in line with the current APRA guidance.
Westpac’s CEO, Peter King, said that while Westpac expects the economy to grow in the rest of 2021 and 2022, unemployment would remain elevated for some time.
Mr King said: “We remain in an uncertain economic environment, however the recent budget has provided significant stimulus to businesses and households. Our economists expect at least half the personal tax cuts will be spent and businesses will respond in the generous depreciation allowances.”
The Westpac share price fell by 0.6% today.
CSR Limited (ASX: CSR)
The CSR share price rose around 6% today in reaction to its half-year result.
CSR’s highlight was that the building products earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased to $96.3 million, up from $95.9 million with the EBIT margin increasing to 12.1% to 11.4%. The company said that strong cost control and operational efficiency offset the slowdown in residential construction activity which declined 7%.
There were no significant property earnings recorded during the period, however a further sale of industrial land at Horsley Park in NSW was secured with $226 million in development sale proceeds which are expected over the next four years.
Aluminium EBIT of $6.2 million was down from $25.4 million. This reflected a significant decline in aluminium prices due to COVID-19 impacts.
Net profit after tax dropped 15% to $68.8 million. Excluding significant items, net profit only fell 7% to $66.4 million.
The CSR board has declared an interim dividend of 8.5 cents per share as well as a special dividend of 4 cents per share.
In the first four weeks of the second half of FY21, building products revenue is down 6%. Management said that the longer term outlook remains uncertain as COVID-19 continues to impact the economy.
SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK)
The employment portal business responded to Blue Orca Capital’s allegations today, saying that it made many inaccurate statements and it said those allegations were unsubstantiated.
SEEK said that Zhaopin continues to be profitable, as it has been for over 10 years and it continues to generate strong operating cash flows and had a net cash position of $222 million at 30 June 2020.
The ASX 200 company said that Zhaopin has strict processes in place to verify customers. It stated that some negative examples can be found on any online employment marketplace but that the assertions made in the report are greatly exaggerated and misleading.
It also said that Zhaopin is a market leader on many key metrics, though not in every single one.
SEEK’s CEO and co-founder Andrew Bassat said: “We accept that market participants have different opinions, however this report is littered with inaccuracies. We are well positioned for future growth and remain confident in SEEK’s long-term outlook.”
The SEEK share price ended the day down another 1%.