NAOS CEO Insights

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 22 March 2019 By NAOS Asset Management

March 22, 2019
“Double digit passenger growth continues from a number of Asian markets with South Korea and India growing 18.7% and 11.9% respectively, in February.”
Geoff Culbert, CEO, Sydney Airport Ltd
As part of the NAOS investment process, we pay particular attention to the comments made by company CEOs and business leaders in order to gain a greater understanding of the current investment environment and key trends that may be emerging. Below are quotes from the week which in our view detail some of the most important and prominent industry trends and economic factors impacting their businesses.
“Across the board everything has increased in price. We used to pay $15 for a box of eggplants, now they’re $45. Peas used to be $60 per box, now they are double that.”
Brent Savage, Co-owner, Bentley Bar, Monopole, Yellow and Cirrus Restaurants Sydney
“We’re preparing the business to deal with tough conditions in the second half. Farmers on the east coast of Australia are facing continued dry conditions and we’ll be scaling back manufacturing and running down inventories in anticipation of another difficult season."
Greg Hunt, CEO, Nufarm
Domestic Economy
"We are quite cautious at the moment with asset prices remaining high while some early warning signs are emerging with respect to consumer sentiment and economic activity."
Todd Barlow, CEO, Washington H Soul Pattinson
"This is a self-imposed credit squeeze [by the lenders to SMEs]. This squeeze does not come from the regulators."
David Gandolfo, President, Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia [CAFBA]
Global Economy
“The labour market [in the US] is going to be tough this year. It will probably also be tough next year.”
Steve Joyce, CEIO, Dine Brands [Global Restaurant Conglomerate]
“If there's not some solution to Brexit and some resolution of the China-U.S. trade dispute, it's unlikely to see much global growth in our fiscal '20 or the remainder of calendar 2019."
Fred Smith, CEO, FedEx
"Now we see a situation where the European economy has slowed substantially and so has the Chinese economy, although the European economy more."
Jerome Powell, Chairman, US Federal Reserve
Mining & Resources
“Rio Tinto is committed to being part of the solution to address the challenge of climate change and is aiming for a substantial decarbonisation of its business by 2050 as part of the transition to a low carbon future. Our new targets from 2020 will reflect this ambition.”
Simon Thompson, Chairman, Rio Tinto
"We have totally quit the coal business and will no longer invest in thermal power plants in China."
Wang Huisheng, Chairman, China State Development & Investment Corp [the largest state-owned investment company in China]
"The demand for dairy remains strong with governments around the world encouraging dairy as a natural source of good nutrition. Increasing wealth in developing countries continues to drive increased demand."
Market Announcement, Synlait Milk Ltd
"Should NBN continue its approach without any regulatory intervention, we will be probably having to stop selling our $60 product, and this is due to the fact that the costs have simply increased to a point which makes it difficult to continue to sell."
Stephen Banfield, CFO, TPG Telecom Ltd
"In relation to competition [reselling NBN], it's still crazy out there. We see people doing some things that just don't make economic sense."
Craig Levy, COO, TPG Telecom Ltd
Transport Infrastructure
“Double digit passenger growth continues from a number of Asian markets with South Korea and India growing 18.7% and 11.9% respectively, in February.”
Geoff Culbert, CEO, Sydney Airport Ltd
"Australian new vehicle sales for the five months to 28 February 2019 declined 9% when compared to the first five months of FY18. This has resulted in lower than expected new car sales and trade-in activity."
Eclipx Market Statement
 “We are seeing a significant shift in valuation across the property sector, with industrial focused stocks trading at a premium. This reflects a structural change within the economy, as companies modernise their supply chains in response to consumer preferences, such as on-line shopping. Well-located industrial facilities are increasingly becoming critical components of the supply chain of the new economy.”
Lindsay Partridge, CEO, Brickworks Ltd
“With fewer foreign buyers, pre-sales are much harder to achieve. A developer who may have sold 10 apartments off the plan per month, may now only sell one per month,”
Luke Mackintosh, Partner, EY Real Estate Advisory
 “I think the world is changing all the time, so I think Costco has got to think about doing some e-commerce business too, at some point in the future, here in Australia. We’re very successful in the US, and we’re looking to launch our first foray in that later this year.’’
Patrick Noone, CEO, Costco Australia
"Particularly Asia-Pacific [was] impacted by the slowdown [in sales]. And within Asia-Pacific Hong Kong and Macau."
Alessandra Cozzani, CFO, Prada
"I think, a lot of things have changed in the industry and in retail overall. Obviously, the whole impact of e-commerce into sales and how the customer is shopping today has been pretty fundamental and very, very challenging for many companies to adopt."
Carlos Alberini, CEO, Guess Clothing Inc
"Nobody pays full price for anything these days."
Marcus Blackmore, Chairman, Blackmores Ltd
"We haven't seen a material shift in the competitive landscape from Amazon in the last 12 months."
Sarah Hunter, Managing Director, Officeworks



Important information: This material has been prepared by NAOS Asset Management Limited (ABN 23 107 624 126, AFSL 273529) (NAOS) for general information purposes only and must not be construed as investment advice. Certain economic, market or company information contained in this material may have been obtained from published sources prepared by third parties. Nothing contained herein should be construed as granting by implication or otherwise, any license or right to use such third party content without the written permission of the owner.

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