winners and losers for 2013 - 27th December 2013
Ian McLeod took home $19 million in 2013. Photo: Paul
The year in business has had takeover bids that succeeded
and failed, record profits and shock losses, dazzling
debuts and humbling exits.
No one set of factors determined the business winners
and losers of 2013: some made the list because extraordinary
things happened, others are there simply for continuing
to do what they have done before.
Terry Richardson: The chairman of Warrnambool Cheese
and Butter has held firm as the bidding war for his
company escalates to startling levels.
share price was at $4.51 in September when Bega Cheese
lobbed a takeover bid valuing the target at $319 million.
Saputo and the unlisted Australian cooperative Murray
Goulburn followed with alternative bids and the ensuing
war has more than doubled the price of Warrnambool
shares, with the maximum bid - from Saputo - now standing
McLeod: The Coles managing director took home $19
million in 2013, his $10 million salary boosted by
the final payment of a $34.5
million cash package paid over five years as his incentive
for turning around Coles.
McLeod has succeeded with the turnaround and also
wraps up the year having defused two potentially dangerous
regulatory issues: a code of conduct for dealing with
supermarket suppliers, and a curtailing of the fuel
dockets discounting program that had raised the ire
of the competition watchdog.
Smith: The ANZ boss remains Australia's highest-paid
banker and the best paid CEO of the nation's top listed
companies with a remuneration package totalling $10.45
a year when the big four banks all posted record annual
cash profits, coming to a combined $27.4 billion,
ANZ achieved an 11 per cent increase in net profit
to $6.3 billion as its Asia-oriented business strategy
started to pay dividends.
chairman John Morschel defended his CEO's generous
pay packet, saying Mr Smith was doing a huge task.
shareholders and members of the public don't have
any comprehension of what is involved in running an
organisation which, in the case of ANZ, has a market
capitalisation in excess of $70 billion," Mr
Watkins: The outgoing Graincorp managing director
and chief executive oversaw a tortuously long takeover
attempt by US firm Archer Daniels Midland, only to
have the $3.4 billion deal rejected by the federal
treasurer after 13 months.
days however Ms Watkins announced she would leave
the grains handler and emerged as the new CEO-in-waiting
of drinks business Coca-Cola Amatil, taking over from
retiring Coke boss Terry Davis in March 2014.
Barrie: The Freelancer founder enjoyed one of the
year's most successful IPOs when shares in his online
jobs group shot as high as $2.60 on their first day.
off a 50 cent issue price, the Freelancer frenzy briefly
made the company a billion-dollar concern.
Barrie holds 46 per cent of the company and, even
with Freelancer shares now trading around $1.30, his
stake is still worth a healthy $260 million or so.
Alan Joyce: The Qantas chief executive oversaw the
descent of the airline's share price to a record low
of 96.5¢ in December after he announced an expected
$300 million half-year loss and plans to sack 1,000
workers in a bid to cut costs.
shock announcement rounded out a string of job cuts
at Qantas and a total grounding of the fleet in 2011,
leading to a call for Mr Joyce's resignation from
federal MP Nick Xenophon, who likened the CEO to the
captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship,
which was wrecked off the coast of Italy in 2012.
Zahra: After three years of labouring to turn around
the fortunes of David Jones, Mr Zahra surprised everyone
by announcing he would quit the CEO role, just as
the department store's results were starting to look
positive, particularly in the challenged online space.
Jones chairman Peter Mason insisted there was no rift
between the CEO and the board and said Mr Zahra had
made a significant contribution to the company.
Zahra, who took up his job in extraordinary circumstances
with the forced resignation of his predecessor Mark
McInnes over a sexual harassment scandal, said he
needed a break after three-and-a-half years in the
Tinkler: The media shy one-time coal baron had a difficult
year, starting with the sale of his jet and helicopter
and a very public courtroom examination of his financial
affairs by liquidators of his company, Mulsanne Resources.
put his horse racing operations up for sale and then
sold his key asset - a 19 per cent stake in Whitehaven
Coal - to help meet debts reported to be as high as
Mr Tinkler did not feature in the BRW Young Rich List
for 2013 - the list of Australia's wealthiest young
businessfolk he had topped only two years earlier.
Irvin: The Bega Cheese executive chairman fired the
first shot in the takeover battle for Warrnambool
Cheese and Butter.
Canadian giant Saputo bought into the fight, followed
by big Australian co-op Murray Goulburn, both with
higher bids for Warrnambool.
months after launching its bid to create a giant,
Australian-owned dairy company poised to capitalise
on Asia's booming consumption, Bega announced it would
close its bid on December 20 with just one per cent
of Warrnambool shareholders accepting is offer, leaving
Saputo and Murray Goulburn to fight on.
Redmond: The Echo Entertainment Group managing director
lost a drawn out, bitter and very public battle to
cancel or at least curtail James Packer's incursion
into the monopolised Sydney casino market.
Packer's Crown won NSW government approval to build
a high-rollers' casino at Sydney's Barangaroo, putting
significant pressure on Echo which had held the sole
casino licence for NSW with its The Star casino in
has announced it will now focus on Queensland, where
Crown is also seeking to develop a casino.
shares have fallen from $3.44 to a record low of $2.28
Bad news about a slow Australian economy, the high
Australian dollar and endless will they-wont
they fretting about the US taper have obscured a surprising
truth this year - investors did pretty
well on the stock market.
Australian share market is finishing the year well
into positive territory, up almost 15 per cent after
riding the coat-tails of a US market that is up almost
26 per cent.
still look sunny for 2014 too, although analysts warn
it will be a year for the stock-pickers, requiring
a bit of agility.
head of investment strategy Shane Oliver says 2013
was notable for a lot of things that didnt happen:
Australia didnt slide into recession, the United
States didnt fall off a fiscal cliff and China
didnt suffer an economic hard landing.
all these disasters that had been feared didnt
happen it enabled markets to continue to rise,
Dr Oliver said.
gains this year have been quite spectacular.
of the surprise local performers of 2013 was the consumer
discretionary sector - stocks such as Harvey Norman,
REA Group, Crown and Super Retail Group - that do
best when people are splashing some cash around.
Suisse chief investment strategist for Australia,
David McDonald, said it was a great year for everything
except the Aussie dollar.
started the year telling people to be in equities
and not bonds and weve always had a preference
for offshore over domestic, Mr McDonald said.
certainly played out - I think the one thing that
surprised us was that bonds didnt have that
bad a year.
resource stocks had, in Mr McDonalds words,
a shocking year - losing 44 per cent of
their value between January and November.
and resources generally didnt have that great
a year, Mr McDonald said.
and banks had a good year as investors seeking yield
continued to favour the income stocks.
maybe surprised people was how strong consumer discretionary
was, given all the talk about retail sales, people
not spending money and retailers complaining about
the GST on imports, Mr McDonald said.
share price has had a big bounce.
into 2014, Mr McDonald urged caution in equities,
with a pullback likely due when the US winds back
its stimulus program.
still think equities will do okay, probably not as
strong as this year, he said.
remains the preferred investment choice, with the
outlook for Australia described as fairly flat
McDonald said Australian equities are expensive compared
to offshore choices and expressed concern about the
earnings outlook for local companies.
Suisse sees European equities as a good option, with
improvements in business activity, falling house prices
and reduced current account deficits pointing to better
conditions on the continent.
where reforms are lifting growth and services have
now eclipsed the industrial sector as the biggest
contributor to GDP, remains an investment favourite.
is one of our top ideas for next year, Mr McDonald
Dr Oliver expects equity returns to remain positive
in 2014 but thinks they will slow down, with Europe
also the favoured investment destination.
Oliver said Australian shares are no longer cheap.
easy gains are behind us so you have to be a lot more
careful when undertaking asset allocation.
markets are still quite cheap - Europe for example
stands out, he said.(Fairfax