24 Apr WE’RE NOT OUT OF THE CRISIS YET; WARNINGS FROM COMPANY DIRECTORS
Welcome to today’s business and media intelligence. As we come to the end of another week, we’ve collected the top insights over the past 24 hours.
- This is just the start, writes Bill Gates in The Economist, the bulk of the story is what happens next. In an article that delves into life after COVID-19, Gates says as the pandemic slows in developed nations, it will accelerate in developing ones, and while humanity will eventually beat it, it won’t be until most of the population is vaccinated. Until then, life will not return to normal. (Subscriber access)
- What does the coronavirus consumer look like? The Wall Street Journal paints a pretty good picture as consumer-goods giants report major shifts in shopper behaviour. The question now: what behaviours will stick and what will fade when restrictions are eventually lifted? Read about the latest trends here.
- According to New York Times FOMO is over. But we have our doubts. Read the ways women are empowering themselves during lockdown here. (Subscriber access)
- As always, the New Yorker brightens up the bleak situation for many households with their daily cartoons (see below).
Australian company news
- We’re not out of the crisis, yet
- While the coronavirus pandemic will prove to be revolutionary for the Australian economy, NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue warns of the dire consequences of believing the nation is out of the crisis. “We still have daily crisis management meetings for a reason” Mr Rue said, with a reminder that things could get worse again very quickly. Read The Australian article here. (Subscriber access)
- Business is adapting but the office is still important
- Mirvac boss Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz rejects the notion that as people get used to working from home, they will want to stay there. She’s one of the many business leaders welcoming the new era of co-operation and transparency but says the importance of the office is as much a social connection as business. Read more in The Australian. (Subscriber access)
- Virus forces change in Qantas’ reporting calendar
- Qantas has postponed its third-quarter update after repeated statements on the impact COVID-19 has had on the business. A spokesman flagged the update would include details on how the carrier is approaching taxpayer-funded relief and Qantas’ strategies to deal with the virus. Read the AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
- Hope for jobless in Australia’s biggest hiring program
- Serco is hiring an extra 1500 workers to staff call centres and healthcare facilities as the economic turmoil triggers huge volumes of calls to the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, Medicare and government agencies running the JobKeeper program. Read in The AFR here. (Subscriber access)
- Warnings from company directors
- Leading company directors from the likes of Boral, Qantas and Sigma have taken aim at stockbrokers and analysts amid concerns from the business community that earnings guidance and forward-looking statements have become unknowable during the crisis. Karen Moses, a director of Boral said “you can’t know the unknowable, so to have an expectation about where companies might be headed is just not achievable”. Read The AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
- The same directors have also signalled that Australia’s economic recovery is likely to be slow and painful given rising debt levels and the risk of no vaccine. They argue that boards will need to revisit their business continuity plans and risk-planning scenarios, given that no-one has stress-tested for a shutdown of the global economy or health system. Read more in The AFR here. (Subscriber access)
- Proxy and M&A advisers express disappointment in exposing “dark art”
- The new disclosure requirements for capital raising have been slammed by advisers, with neither banks nor investors completely happy with the new ASX rules. M&A lawyer David Friedlander said doing these deals is a dark art, and giving away your secrets could mean companies fail to get the best price possible in a raising. According to James Thomson in The AFR, this could mean the new guidelines might only be a first step if they aren’t taken seriously. (Subscriber access)
- Cancelled business events come at a cost
- With 96 per cent of scheduled business events cancelled, Australia is set to lose $35.7 billion in direct expenditure over the next 12 months. Reports commissioned by Business Events Council of Australia and the International Convention Centre Sydney also found that 59 per cent of event planning businesses now believe it will take a year or more to recover post COVID-19. Read more in The AFR. (Subscriber access)
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.