‘Twiggy’ Forrest returns to take Fortescue reins, Woolworths buys majority stake in MyDeal and rain hits Boral profits

Twiggy Andrew Forrest Fortescue FMG Woolworths WOW MyDeal MYD Boral BLD Brambles BXB Calix CXL Jervois JRV IGO ASX
Fortescue founder Andrew Forrest will return as executive chairman to lead the company's iron ore business.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) has announced its founder Dr Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest will step in as interim boss when outgoing chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines concludes her tenure in August.

The change comes as the mining giant attempts a mass shake-up of its leadership team.

As executive chairman, the mining billionaire will once again lead the company’s iron ore business for the first time in over 10 years.

Dr Forrest will also help drive the company’s transition until a permanent replacement is found for Ms Gaines, who announced her resignation from the top leadership role in December. Ms Gaines will remain on the board as a non-executive director and become the global brand ambassador for Fortescue’s green energy business Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

In addition, the company has announced Dr Mark Hutchinson, former president and chief executive officer of General Electric in Europe, will join FFI in July. Dr Hutchinson will replace current FFI chief executive officer Julie Shuttleworth, who will move to a senior executive role within the business.

Woolworths

Woolworths (ASX: WOW) is taking another leap forward into the online marketplace industry after announcing its 80% acquisition of ASX-listed company MyDeal (ASX: MYD), in a deal worth an estimated $243 million.

The grocery giant aims to buy the 80% interest for an all-cash consideration of $1.05 per share, representing a premium of 62.8% to the last closing price of $0.65 per share.

MyDeal founder and chief executive officer Sean Senvirtne along with key management shareholders will retain a 20% interest in MyDeal while continuing to lead the business in partnership with Woolworths.

The retail company made a strong debut on the ASX in the midst of early lockdowns; however, since then it has been on a mostly downhill trend.

Woolworths chief executive officer Brad Banducci said the group’s acquisition will enhance its marketplace capabilities targeting furniture, homewares and other bulky goods.

“The addition of MyDeal to Woolworths Group represents a further step towards delivering a more holistic customer experience in food and everyday needs and materially expands our marketplace capabilities, especially in general merchandise,” he said.

MyDeal will be delisted from the ASX once the transaction is approved.

IGO

IGO (ASX: IGO) has unveiled positive news for shareholders this week, revealing the mineral exploration company claimed it has successfully produced battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

The project, shared between IGO (49%) and Tianqi Lithium Corporation (51%), aims to produce lithium hydroxide in commercial quantities in Australia.

IGO chief executive officer Peter Bradford says the project is enabling the company to be put on the map.

“The joint venture’s interest in both the upstream mining asset at Greenbushes and the downstream refinery at Kwinana is emerging as a globally significant, integrated lithium business,” he said.

Once the product samples have been verified, the next step is to commence the product qualification process.

Brambles

At the beginning of this week, Brambles (ASX: BXB) was in talks for a buyout proposal with private equity suitor CVC, but talks have since broken down as CVC decided against the pursuit.

Private equity firm CVC said “it will not be putting forward a proposal nor seeking to conduct detailed due diligence at this time due to the current external market volatility”.

Brambles has promised shareholders that the company will continue looking internally at ways to maximise value in the future.

Brambles operates a pool of 345 million wooden pallets, crates and containers in 60 countries and has over 12,000 workers.

Calix

Calix (ASX: CXL) has been awarded an $11 million grant and a $5.19 million research and development tax incentive from the Australian Government as a result of the company’s carbon capture technology.

The technology will be used in emissions intensive industries such as cement and lime.

The $11 million funding will aid the company and its project partner Adbri (ABC) in developing the world’s very first commercial-scale process for the production of low emissions lime.

The proposed plant will be based in Kwinana, Western Australia, servicing alumina, gold and other industries in the state.

Calix managing director and chief executive officer Phil Hodgson said the support in funding has allowed the company to apply its technology in Australia.

“I am proud our first commercial-scale lime kiln is being developed here in Australia, creating local jobs, utilising and developing local talent, and helping to future-proof our vital local manufacturing sector,” he said.

Jervois Global

Jervois Global (ASX: JRV) announced this week it has commenced a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a refinery expansion at Kokkola, Finland.

The study will identify the potential to construct a new refinery, capable of expanding capacity by at least 6,000 tonnes per annum of cobalt refining.

The expansion aims to increase the Jervois’ efforts in cobalt regeneration, with 10% to 15% of cobalt inputs to be received as recycled units.

The company hopes the study will enable it to become a globally significant supplier of cobalt products.

Boral

Boral (ASX: BLD) has announced it is expecting to suffer further hits to profit margins after declaring the heavy rain across Australia’s east coast, where most of the population lives, will hurt sales volumes.

The building materials manufacturer warned that annual profit may well fall over a third below expectations.

Originally, Boral forecasted a pre-tax profit of $145 million to $155 million for the year to June 2022, which is up from $140 million the previous fiscal year.

Boral indicated it has been “impacted by continuing exceptional rainfall and inflationary cost pressures” and it now expects “additional adverse impacts” to annual profit of about $45 million.

Boral chief executive officer Zlatko Todorcevski said product price rises put in place in January and February did not take away from the effect of the floods and inflationary forces.

“Ongoing rainfall in many parts of the east coast, particularly in NSW and Queensland, has continued to significantly impact our sales volumes, while also resulting in additional costs,” he said.

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