With more than 18,600 deaths recorded worldwide, the COVID 19 emergency continues to dominate headlines globally, as you are well aware.

International news

  • The Economist looks at the importance of people chief officers right now – “Never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss”, according to the magazine, which adds that the role of HR practitioners is to  “keep employees healthy, maintain their morale, oversee a vast remote-working experiment; and, as firms retrench, consider whether, when and how to lay off workers”. Read the article here.
  • The Financial Times is reporting that quant funds are misfiring. “So-called quantitative funds rely on high-powered computers, vast data sets and algorithms to systematically exploit patterns in securities prices. Credit Suisse estimates that quant funds as a whole have nearly halved the size of their positions since the beginning of the month, and that the average quant fund has lost 14 per cent this year.” Read more here. (Subscriber access)

Australian company news 

  • Warnings against unnecessarily dilutive equity raisings
    • While the temptation to raise equity at this time is high, investor advisory group Ownership Matters is urging boards to remember lessons from the GFC, reiterating a strong preference for accelerated entitlement offers with renounceable rights where possible. Read The AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • Privacy issues with work from home technology
    • As millions around the world work from home, experts are recommending keeping sensitive business conversations off popular video conferencing software providers, such as Zoom, due to the company’s data and privacy policies. Read The AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • Companies are requesting voluntary trading suspensions as deals and equity raising are delayed. Others need more time to assess the full impact coronavirus.
    • oOh!media requested a voluntary suspension as it reviews capital options. Read ASX statement.  
    • Southern Cross Media also requested a voluntary suspension while it assesses the impact of the virus on its business. Read the ASX statement.
    • Webjet requested a voluntary suspension on Monday pending an announcement of a proposed raising. Read the ASX statement.
    • Seven West Media is the latest company to pull guidance citing a fall in advertising market activity and the loss of key sporting events including the AFL. Read the ASX announcement.
    • Cochlear, on the other hand, has launched an $800 million capital raising to eliminate liquidity risk. Its ASX statement is here.

Australian markets 

  • Insolvency trading law changes
    • Lawyers are warnings company directors that the government’s moratorium on insolvent trading laws is not an open invitation to maintain the running of businesses which may otherwise be unviable. Read more in the AFR. (Subscriber access)
  • Australian Government’s latest advertising blitz kicks off

Our daily briefing is not meant to be a summary of media coverage but rather, insights that may be helpful in understanding how organisations are communicating with stakeholders in a time of crisis – and what comes next. Sign up via email