After a year of shock exits and hasty makeovers, business braces for more tough times ahead

Star Entertainment, BoQ and Suncorp will have a pivotal year in 2025 and they may not end up looking the way they do now, writes John Mccarthy

Dec 22, 2023, updated Dec 22, 2023
Pedestrians cross the Goodwill Bridge in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Regi Varghese)

Pedestrians cross the Goodwill Bridge in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Regi Varghese)

You would hope Suncorp has a plan B in mind for 2024.

If its bid to merge the banking division with ANZ falls over, which is possible following the ACCC rejection of the plan, then what next for the company?

The reason the bank has lagged the market is because of scale. It just can’t compete with the big four banks on marginal costs.

If the ANZ deal is killed off Suncorp has to find another way.

The Brisbane based Gold Hydrogen must be looking at 2024 with relish. What a bonanza it has had since its first drill results at Ramsay in South Australia a few weeks ago. Chair Alexander Downer must be beside himself.

The company’s drilling has shown a strong chance of a good hydrogen resource and that’s coupled with a second hole that revealed big potential for helium. A subsequent capital raising was well supported and provided $14m for extra exploration.

It’s almost as if the stars align next year to make it one of the most notable periods in Queensland’s history for business.

For a start, politics will play a big part as it always does in Queensland. The two are deeply intertwined and because of that business will be watching the upcoming state election very closely.

The new leader of the Queensland Resources Council, Janette Hewson, will be one who will be watching more closely than most. Hewson is from Santos and from the ESG side of the business and will have her hands full.

Mining was given a nasty shafting by the Labor Government with its royalty hike, and it was not even apologetic about it. Since then, the relationship has gone from awful to disastrous and Hewson will have one of the toughest jobs in Queensland if Labor retains power.

There is only a hint that the opposition will do anything differently about royalties. Let’s face it, never get in between a politician and a pot of money. Also, the LNP will be keen to keep some Brisbane seats away from the Greens and that may mean sounding tough on the mining sector.

The Property Council will need to find a new leader after Jen Williams shocked all with a resignation after 12 years with the organisation.

That new leader will be coming into a tough job. The CBD is still recovering from Covid, commercial valuations are weak and the construction sector is struggling to bolster balance sheets.

However, property developers are no longer Labor’s number one enemy, thanks to mining.

The underperforming BoQ will have to hit it straps in 2024 after the board was delivered a first strike by shareholders at its recent AGM. A second strike this year, when shareholders vote against a remuneration report, could lead to a vote to spill the board, which would be devastating.

The company revealed some serious governance issues this year and its shares are languishing after chopping its CEO.

The Queens Wharf casino will start opening, but what future does its joint venture partner Star Entertainment have?

Few companies have gone through the turmoil Star endured this year and still survived.

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Star still has a fine from Austrac and a report from the Office of Liquor and Gaming to be revealed. It also has to go through its suspension period and has about 600 milestones to reach in its reform process. So, a big ugly year ahead for the gambling company.

And what of Tritium? Can it survive? Not in Australia, it won’t. Jane Hunter and the team are already packing their bags for the US, which was always going to happen at some point. The crashing Nasdaq share price just hurried things along.

Tritium may not be listed on the Nasdaq by this time next year because its share price is below the $1 compliance level, and it’s well below, sitting around 20 cents.

A Taiwanese buyer is apparently in the wings, but nothing concrete has emerged.

Poor old Clive Palmer had a shocker of a year. If it wasn’t for the massive influx of money from the Chinese you could almost feel sorry for him.

Coal projects have been vetoed but he can’t seriously have considered they would get approval, could he?

Hopefully someone in 2025 will reveal what has happened to Queensland Nickel, which he apparently sold.

With an election coming up later in 2024, Clive may be keeping his powder dry for another big political spend after he threw $100 million at the last federal poll.




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