Stocks of the Hour: A2 Milk, Qantas & Woolworths

Company News

by Melissa Darmawan

The A2 Milk company’s (ASX:A2M) outlook is in a “strategic review” following a year which saw the embattled infant milk company’s profit dive by over 79 per cent. The dual-listed milk company faced a series of headwinds which dragged on their performance. From a tumble in sellers in their daigou channel to China’s shrinking birth rate, the company’s revenue channels rapidly dried up forcing the company to rethink their game plan. Revenue sunk 30.3 per cent to $1.16 billion though within their guidance provided in May, while their EBITDA tanked 77.6 per cent to $117.9 million. By no surprise, the milk formula company did not declare a dividend. Shares in The A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) are trading 11.8 per cent lower at $6.05.

Qantas (ASX:QAN) appears optimistic to resume international flights to countries with high vaccine rates. The docket includes Singapore, Japan, the US, the UK and hopefully New Zealand. The airliner has crossed their fingers hoping that flights could resume from mid-December this year. The likes of Bali, Jakarta, Manila, and Johannesburg are pencilled in from April 2022 at the earliest. The announcement came as the flying kangaroo posted a $2.35 billion loss for the 2021 financial year, after a $2.7 billion loss from the year before. The expected result was attributed to a $16 billion loss in revenue as the airline grappled with disruptions to domestic travel, let alone international travel which came close to a standstill for the period. Their underlying EBITDA came in at $410 million. On a positive note, the airline’s net debt reduction came in better-than-expected. It went from $6.4 billion in February to $5.9 billion in June. Shares in Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) are trading 3.3 per cent higher at $5.03.

Woolworths (ASX:WOW) unveiled a $2 billion share buy-back and boosted their dividend thanks to a bumper year. The spin-off of their drinks business Endeavour (ASX:EDV) plus the surge in spending contributed to their stellar performance. Woolies' sales rose 5.7 per cent to $67.2 billion, and the company’s profit after tax for continuing operations jumped 20.1 per cent to $1.5 billion. However, the Covid-19 pandemic did hit other areas of their balance sheet. The company posted a $50 million impairment in their Metro stores, forked out $44 million worth of redundancies and spent $68 million in transaction costs for the demerger of Endeavour. To offset these figures, Woolies recorded a $221 million gain on their equity interest in artificial intelligence company, Quantium. Totalling all these figures up, the supermarket giant came out in the black, posting a $59 million gain in significant items. Investors will be rewarded with a nice dividend and a share buyback. Shares in Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW) are trading 0.2 per cent higher at $40.89.

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