A message from Atlassian. A genuine Australian tech success became real this morning on Wall Street, with nary a whisper of words and phrases like nimble, agile nation, government aid, seed capital, development funds, prime ministerial blessing or the support of the mad right or left of politics and business. There will be plenty of sceptics and doubters, but as the Financial Times pointed out this morning the company differs to many tech and net floats:
“Atlassian, by comparison, has never raised money from outside equity investors; its venture-capital backers bought shares from employees. The company also has an extended history of profits from its business of selling collaboration tools, with software developers as a core market.”
The FT also pointed that most floats this year, and especially since mid-year have “had to offer discounts to lure investors wary of declines in the after-market. On average, investors have lost 3.6 per cent buying US IPOs in 2015 and 1.4 per cent buying into tech companies.”
So it is not an Uber, an Airbnb, a Square or even a Facebook or a Twitter, which all raised their value by bringing in outside investors. So it’s no wonder Wall Street went mad for the shares — sending them up nearly a third to close at US$27.28 this morning in New York, compared to the float price range of US$19 to US$20, which had already been increased from US$16.50 to US$18.50. At its closing price, it was worth US$5.28 billion, or around $7.3 billion (and was worth more than the struggling Anglo American mining company, or more than the combined market values yesterday of Seven West Media, Nine, Ten, Fairfax Media, APN, Prime and Southern Cross). That’s something to keep in mind when next you hear a media boss, editorial or executive talk about value adding and creating value for shareholders. It’s almost heresy to point out this company was created and a success and on its way to Wall Street before the Turnbull Revolution and the discovery of all things tech, net, agile and nimble in September. — Glenn Dyer
Resource red ink flows continue. Anglo American started the week’s big trend — billions of dollars in deep cuts to spending, tens of thousands of jobs and dozens of assets. Freeport-McMoRan joined it with deep hacks of its own in its copper business while its oil and gas assets remain unwanted. Earlier in the week, Rio Tinto revealed around US$1 billion in cuts from its 2016 spending and investment plans. Shell revealed it was “reviewing” (looking to sell) its New Zealand oil and gas interests by putting an estimated US$1 billion in producing assets on the market. Chevron also revealed another big cut in planned spending for 2016, then Glencore revealed more cuts and deeper reductions in its worrisome debt pile. And, finally, another big US major, ConocoPhillips, took the axe to its 2016 spending plans, slashing them by 25% to US$7 billion. Glencore’s move was made in a presentation to investors (its shares are down more than 70% so far this year, like Anglo American’s). — Glenn Dyer
China rort? As we know, China is now the world’s second-biggest economy (and on one calculation, the largest). China has more than US$3 trillion of foreign reserves and trillions of dollars in savings. And as we have seen this week at both the Paris climate talks and in China itself, it has serious pollution problems entirely of its own making and is dealing with them ineptly. So you’d think China’s Communist Party would have ordered a clean-up — after all, it claims to be speaking for the people (protecting them from insidious foreign ideas, such as free speech, by extreme censorship). It is starting to, but with other people’s money.
The “poor” emerging market economy known as China has just chiselled a US$300 million loan out of the Asian Development Bank to help clean up Beijing’s smog (which promoted the first ever red alert on Monday as locals complained loud and long — and in spite of the censorship). The loan aims to reduce coal use in nearby Hebei province, whose industry and power stations generates much of the thick smog over Beijing and the nearly port city of Tianjin. The three areas account for an estimated 10% of China’s GDP, are home to more than 110 million people and are a smoggy mess. This loan is the first made by the ADB in China, which is extraordinary given China’s wealth. China has spent much of the past five years campaigning and finally getting started its version of the ADB called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Australia is a member). Western media reports say the loan is a breakthrough because China usually shies away from foreign help for touchy subject like its environment. But it has also directed valuable aid loan fund away from more needy countries (Nepal, for example, which is rebuilding after the quake earlier this year). There also seems to be a large dollop of pragmatic politics by the ADB — lending to China to make the point that the ADB is still relevant, despite China’s new competitor. — Glenn Dyer