The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) fell by around 0.5% today to 6,795 points.
One of the main highlights of the ASX was one of the big banks announcing that it was going to get involved directly in a buy now, pay later offering.
Here are some of the biggest news pieces from the ASX today:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) to launch buy now, pay later product
Australia’s biggest bank has announced that it’s launching a buy now, pay later offering which can be used anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. Eligible customers will start being able to use it from mid-2021. There will be no ongoing fees for customers and it won’t cost anything more than the standard merchant fees for merchants.
The big ASX 200 bank said that buy now, pay later average industry costs to businesses are around 4% per transaction and BNPL fees cost Australian businesses hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
CBA said that robust criteria will be used to approve customers based on specific eligibility and credit assessments.
It will be available alongside the existing Klarna BNPL offering which gives customers an integrated shopping experience, as well as offers and notifications.
Angus Sullivan, an executive from the retail banking services division said:
As the leading digital bank in Australia, we believe we are best placed to offer our customers a prudent and responsible BNPL option based on the trends and insights sourced from real time transaction data over many years.
Customer needs are evolving and this new BNPL offering is about giving customers more choice around how they choose to pay and when, depending on the option which suits them best.
When making a payment, customers will have additional flexibility to use it for their everyday spending for smaller purchases as well as split over four instalments to help smooth payments for bigger purchases.
Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (ASX: FSF)
Fonterra announced its FY21 half-year result today. It said that normalised gross profit was up 3% to $1.7 billion, expenses dropped 3%. This led to normalised earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) going up 17% to $684 million and normalised net profit after tax (NPAT) rose 43% to $418 million.
Whilst reported net profit was down 22% to $391 million, it was because last year’s result included the gain from the divestments of DFE Pharma and Foodspring.
In regards to its outlook, the business said that its earnings performance is expected to come under significant pressure in the second half. Whilst the strong milk price is good for farmers, it is hurting Fonterra’s margins. Normalised earnings per share (EPS) for the full year is expected to be 25 to 35 cents per share.
The Fonterra share price rose 1% today.
Cimic Group Ltd (ASX: CIM)
ASX 200 engineering business CIMIC announced that the alliance that UGL is part of has reached a contract award with Rail Projects Victoria for the Gippsland Line upgrade.
This will deliver revenue to Cimic of approximately $124 million.
The upgrade includes second platforms, station improvements, tracks, signalling and level crossing upgrades.
UGL managing director Doug Moss said:
UGL is Australia’s leading rail and infrastructure service provider with operations across the country. We look forward to improving services and safety for the people of the Gippsland region and Victoria.
The project is expected to begin in early 2021 and be completed by the end of FY22.
The Cimic share price fell 1.3% today.