Banks respond to RBA rate rise, Syrah’s operations halted and AGL confirms Latrobe Valley coal power outage extension

Banks RBA rate rise Syrah AGL Latrobe Valley coal power outage ASX ALX BLD SYR MFG CBA WBC NAB ANZ
Australia’s big four banks all passed on the Reserve Bank’s 0.5% interest rate rise to their customers in full this week.

Australia’s major banks have taken a major step in responding to Tuesday’s Reserve Bank interest rate rise through increasing mortgage rates.

The RBA announced the official cash rate will rise 50 basis points from 0.35% to 0.85%, making it the most significant hike in over two decades.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) were the first to respond to the move earlier in the week, with ANZ (ASX: ANZ) and NAB (ASX: NAB) following suit, announcing their intentions on Wednesday.

All four major banks decided to pass on the RBA’s interest rate rise to mortgage borrowers in full.

The banks will raise home loan variable interest rates by half a percentage point from 17 June.

Commonwealth Bank has announced it will also increase the bonus interest rates to 0.5% on its GoalSaver and Youthsaver savings accounts from 17 June.

Westpac was the first of the four major banks to pass on the rise in full, with Westpac Consumer and Business Banking chief executive officer Chris de Bruin stating the company understands the implications of the change in rates.

“We know a change in interest rates affects every budget differently,” he said.

“Our customers have managed their finances carefully during the pandemic, with many putting more funds aside in their savings and offset accounts.”

“This means the majority of our customers are ahead on mortgage repayments and have a buffer available to help them manage an interest rate increase,” he said.

Magellan Financial Group

Magellan Financial Group (ASX: MFG) has announced co-founder, former chairman and chief investment officer Hamish Douglass will continue working with the company in a newly proposed consultancy role.

This announcement comes after Mr Douglas announced his resignation from Magellan just over two months ago.

In the new consultancy role, he will provide insights into investments, including geopolitical and macroeconomic views to investors.

Magellan chairman Hamish McLennan said the role change is an important step ahead for the Australian investment management company.

“The Board and Hamish have carefully considered the right balance for Hamish, for Magellan and most importantly for our clients as they navigate global markets,” he said.

“Hamish’s appointment in this new role is another important step as Magellan moves forward as a focused global funds manager.”

In other Magellan news, the company’s next chief executive officer David George will now take up the position on 19 July, earlier than the original 8 August start date.

Syrah Resources

Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR) has confirmed its Balama operations in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique was at the centre of a security incident this week.

The reported “insurgent attack” was the second noted attack in the region within the last few days.

The attack was nearly 200km away from the actual Balama site, but it was closer to the primary transport route used by the company, the N1 road.

Syrah Resources, as a result of this, have halted and suspended all personnel and logistics movements along the N1 route “until further information is available”.

The company commented on the situation, stating “Syrah’s highest priority is the health and safety of employees and contractors”.

“Syrah will continue to update the market on the security situation and any impacts on Balama operations,” it said.

Boral

Boral (ASX: BLD) has announced the controversial appointment of a new chief executive officer, Vik Bansal, which comes after he stepped down from the same role at Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX: CWY).

It was reported he stepped down over allegations of creating a culture of workplace bullying at the waste management company, which took away from a highly successful six years at the company.

Boral chairman Ryan Stokes said the appointment of Vik Bansal is a step in the right direction for the company.

“He is the right leader to guide the company into a new era,” he said.

“Vik has the passion, commitment and strategic leadership skills required to drive a performance orientated culture with a focus on productivity, stakeholders and leveraging Boral’s competitive advantages.”

Mr Bansal has over 30 years of leadership experience within the industry.

Atlas Arteria

Atlas Arteria (ASX: ALX) shares surged on Wednesday after fund manager IFM Global Infrastructure Fund acquired a 15% stake in the issued securities of the toll road operator and hinted at a potential takeover attempt.

The 15% stake acquired is valued at an estimated $1.02 billion, according to the stock’s close on Tuesday this week.

Atlas shares surged 15% on Wednesday, indicating shareholder confidence amid the possibility of a takeover transaction.

IFM has indicated it intends to ask for access to information to assess whether it can make an indicative takeover proposal to buy all of Atlas’ shares that it does not already hold.

To date, Atlas says it “has not yet received any such request for information nor any proposal from IFM to acquire additional securities in Atlas Arteria”.

If the takeover deal does proceed, Atlas would join the long list of infrastructure businesses that have vanished from the ASX over the last year, including Spark Infrastructure and AusNet Services, as large investment and retirement funds seek long-term assets.

On Friday, Atlas confirmed it denied the request for access to non-public information as IFM prepared to deliver its official takeover offer.

AGL Energy

AGL Energy (ASX: AGL) has confirmed the Latrobe Valley coal power outage will continue as a key unit within the station remains out of service for over three months now, raising concerns for people all across the east coast.

The issue originated back in April, when an electrical fault set off the sudden breakdown of Unit 2 of the Loy Yang A plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

The return date has been put off now to the second half of September, as a technical review of the works required continues to beckon.

AGL has confirmed the outage being extended is due to “global supply chain issues and the availability of specialised materials.”

In other news this week, the company confirmed the resignation of chief customer officer Christine Corbett after a shareholder push halted the board’s proposed demerger.

Corbett was set to lead AGL’s retail and clean energy entity AGL Australia if the demerger was successful, but will now step down from her role as chief customer officer on 24 June.

AGL has appointed Jo Egan as its new chief customer officer from 25 June.

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