More Companies Shutdown Guidance In Wake Of New Restrictions

More and more companies are battening down the hatches as the coronavirus banks and crackdowns escalate.

The toll of companies either announcing job losses, withdrawing guidance or even reporting ‘good’ news in respect of sales continued yesterday.

The market wasn’t listening and shares were sold off holus-bolus in yesterday’s 5.6%, 270 point loss that at one stage was 8% early in the session.

Property developer Stockland, gambling and gaming giant Tabcorp, and health insurance firm NIB are among the latest to mothball earnings guidance while Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow have shut their Gold Coast theme parks.

Retailer JB Hi-Fi has also withdrawn guidance after reporting a huge surge in sales in 2020 (through the bushfires and now COID-19) thanks to people rushing to buy technology and products that will allow them to work from home or stream videos and movies.

Superannuation provider Link Group on Monday withdrew its outlook early in the day, Tabcorp said its wagering and media, Keno and poker machine businesses will be impacted after Canberra ordered operators of venues where people gather, such as pubs, cinemas, gyms and restaurants to close on Monday.

Tabcorp said convenience stores and other such outlets, which distribute the company’s lottery (lotto) products, are not covered by the measures and will remain open.

It is expected that newsagencies, which also distribute TabCorp’s Lottery products, will remain open but is still to be confirmed.

Village Roadshow and Event Hospitality and Entertainment, which run cinemas across Australia, complied with the government order, closing cinemas and standing down staff.

Village closed its Gold Coast theme parks, which include Movie World and Sea World, until further notice. Ardent has closed its Dreamworld and Whitewater World theme parks but some staff will continue working to feed animals and maintain equipment.

Village Roadshow CEO Clark Kirby said the company’s primary focus was helping to support the thousands of employees who rely on the business “for their livelihood”.

Kiwi casino group, Sky City has withdrawn its earnings guidance and closed its Adelaide Casino yesterday.

Southern Cross Media requested a trading halt before it gives a coronavirus-related trading update. Its shares were down 32% before the halt in trade. Shares in outdoor group, oOh!media remain suspended.

Health fund nib withdrew its full-year earnings guidance because of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our only certainty is that COVID-19 will, at least for the near term, have a significant impact upon the private health insurance industry (PHI) and our business,” nib chairman Steven Crane said in a letter sent to shareholders on Monday.

“Easily the most significant near term impact is the likely consequence of COVID-19 on discouraging discretionary treatment within private hospitals

“As such, we have not attempted to form any assumptions beyond the near term other than that nib will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis in good shape and as full in ambition as we’ve ever been.”

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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