Companies

Sep 1, 2009

Fourteen more join the billion dollar loss club

The numbers are in and it’s now official: 2008-09 was the worst profit season in Australian history. Who would have ever thought 14 different companies could lose more than $1 billion in a single financial year?

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

The numbers are in and it’s now official: 2008-09 was the worst profit season in Australian history. More than 50 companies reported losses of more than $100 million and here is a list of the 21 companies which managed to drop more than $500 million:
  • News Corporation: $4.1 billion
  • Centro Properties Group: $3.54 billion
  • Centro Retail: $2.68 billion
  • Stockland: $1.8 billion
  • Macquarie Infrastructure Group: $1.71 billion
  • Valad Property Group: $1.49 billion
  • Eircom Holdings (formerly B&B Capital): $1.48 billion
  • Dexus Property Group: $1.46 billion
  • Macquarie Countrywide: $1.41 billion
  • Macquarie Office: $1.37 billion
  • Crown: $1.2 billion
  • ING Industrial Fund: $1.17 billion
  • Goodman Group: $1.12 billion
  • Mirvac: $1.08 billion
  • Babcock & Brown Infrastructure: $977 million
  • Paperlinx: $798 million
  • ING Office Fund: $764 million
  • Westfield: $708 million first half
  • Lend Lease: $654 million
  • OZ Minerals: $585 million
  • ConnectEast: $531 million
Who would have ever thought 14 different companies could lose more than $1 billion in a single financial year? Commercial property and infrastructure were at the heart of Australia’s credit bubble and the various vehicles created by over-zealous fund managers and financial engineers are now finally starting to look more realistic after taking their medicine. After more than 300 companies released their results yesterday (see the full list here: it was surprising to only see the following seven stocks suspended this morning for failing to deliver the goods: Comops, Corum Group, Elders, Heartware International, Hedley Leisure & Gaming, Macro Corp, Max Trust, Occupational & Medical Innovations. Elders is busily attempting to raise close to $500 million in what will probably be the last major capital raising for the year after an extraordinary $100 billion binge to fix corporate Australia’s over-geared balance sheets. The full amazing list of equity issues is documented here. No other market in the world has gone near raising anything like 10% of its total value like Australia and for that we can thank Paul Keating’s compulsory superannuation reforms and the $1 trillion savings pile that was available to save the day when credit availability suddenly dried up. However, the trustees of Australia’s super funds ought to be more careful in future in terms of allocating the nation’s savings to paper shuffling fund managers. Macquarie Group might have survived but it has now dropped well in excess of $10 billion for its institutional investors around the world that backed their listed and unlisted funds. Similarly, Babcock & Brown managed to destroy an even larger sum, although its infrastructure and power funds are still struggling along attempting to forge an independent future. Babcock requested it be formally delisted on June 18, unlike the 18 companies officially delisted last night for failing to pay listing fees to the ASX. This motley crew included the likes of ABC Learning, Commander Communications, Bill Express, Record Realty, Octaviar (formerly MFS) and Allco Finance Group. None of them will be missed.

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1 comments

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One thought on “Fourteen more join the billion dollar loss club

  1. Jos Cull

    The superannuation of Australia’s workers used to bail out the corporations who encouraged Howard to screw those same workers over with Workchoices. Oh the irony.

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