NAOS CEO Insights

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 9 August 2019 By NAOS Asset Management

August 9, 2019
"We didn't really see much improvement after the election at all. While traffic is down a little bit conversion is a lot more difficult – customers are a lot more cautious at the moment before buying” Anthony Scali, CEO, Nick Scali 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.  
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Domestic Retail

"Honestly, we don't really see that [consumer spending downturn] ... we don't really see any negative impact based on those headlines at all" Rocco Braeuniger, Country Manager, Amazon Australia

“The retail sector in Australia is currently in recession and the Australian economy has slowed to its weakest level since the global financial crisis in 2009’’ Market Announcement, Woolworths Holdings Ltd [South African retail conglomerate - owner of David Jones & Country Road]

Domestic Housing

“We are happy to call the bottom of the market but not happy to call an immediate upswing" Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO, Mirvac Group

"But on a more positive note, we’re starting to see a stabilisation and recovery in the housing market.” Matt Comyn, CEO, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Domestic Economy

"We also believe that unemployment is likely to stay low. There is some stimulus that will continue to flow from both the tax cuts that were recently passed through Parliament, as well as a strong pipeline of both population growth and infrastructure projects which should underpin the performance of the Australian economy." Matt Comyn, CEO, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Financial Markets

"There is momentum around passive investing in Australia, but it is interesting in the market that there is still a significant portion of assets that continue to be actively managed – at around 80 per cent" Frank Kolimago, Managing Director, Vanguard Australia

"In both the United States and a place like Australia we are just not seeing that draw-down activity [retirees spending their savings] at the levels we anticipated." Frank Kolimago, Managing Director, Vanguard Australia

Food Industry

"We are seeing consumers envelop our brand, and a broader movement that they are leading. We believe this movement is infused with an enthusiasm for a future where meat is separated from animals, and one where the consumer can enjoy meat absent [of] emerging concerns they may have regarding its health, environmental, or animal welfare impact." Ethan Brown, CEO, Beyond Meat Inc [NASDAQ listed global leader in plant-based meat substitutes]

"Over the next five years it's estimated that nearly 98% of protein consumption growth will occur outside the United States and about 70% of that growth will be in Asia." Noel White, CEO, Tyson Foods Inc [global meat processor]

Wine Industry

"We are very vulnerable to any currency changes and arrangements. As soon as the currency drops it gives a real boost to our exports." Tony Battaglene, CEO, Australian Grape & Wine Inc [wine industry national body]

Automotive Industry

"The July sales figures continue to illustrate the tough market conditions facing the Australian automotive industry and the sensitive nature of the economy over the past 12 months" Tony Weber, CEO, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

"Tight financial lending, drought, increasing luxury car tax imposts and the federal election have all contributed to make the Australian car market one of the toughest in the world." Tony Weber, CEO, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Global Economy

"In the US, we are seeing continued growth, low unemployment, healthy consumer confidence” Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard Inc

"We continue to experience significant labour inflation across the country [USA]" Tara Comonte, CFO, Shake Shack Inc

"We have also seen global growth softening and the interest rate curves flatten in the second quarter, which is a less supportive environment for retail and commercial banks" Antonio Horta, CEO, Lloyds Banking Group

Trade Wars

"Tariffs remain the single largest contributor to our lower earnings" Scott Wine, CEO, Polaris Industries Inc

Resources & Energy

"We'll continue to see a positive outlook for iron ore on the back of strong demand and supply disruptions globally." Jean-Sébastien Jacques, CEO, Rio Tinto Group

"We expect prices to remain volatile as continued supply growth, notably in the U.S. [as the production segment] onshore, competes with slowing demand growth, along with ongoing concerns around the possible impact of geopolitical tensions, especially in Iran and Venezuela." Robert Dudley, CEO, BP

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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