October Update – Week 1

October 7, 2020

The last 3 months of 2020 begin. Six cases in Victoria. Case numbers need to trend down for further restrictions to be relaxed.

Our portfolio took a decent dip this week on the back of a probable company milestone being delayed. We are a touch under $200,000 market value as of today.

Watchlist and company updates for members are at the end of this post.

The market has continued its sideways trend this month, just breakng over 6000 points after 4 weeks or so.

Trump’s tweets sent the markets into meltdowns and rallies. He also grabbed headlines with his quick entry and exit from the hospital due to contracting COVID. Twitter posted misinformation warnings on Trump tweets overnight as he compared the coronavirus to the flu. He is back in the White House. Democrats are expected to use the mishandling of the pandemic as leverage running into the election.

Locally, the most recent budget was revealed. A good rundown is available on the Guardian. For members, we highlight our take on the impacts to sectors and our portfolio companies below.

On to the latest CEO insights.

CEO Insights

Australian Economy

“Australian CEOs do seem a little more optimistic than their global counterparts” 

“In general, bigger businesses have weathered this OK, I think it’s smaller businesses who are struggling and have been hit harder than bigger business. The fact we’ve had less insolvencies than 12 months ago doesn’t seem right…there will be a time of reckoning, it’s a question of whether the government can somehow smooth that to assist as many as possible to the other side”

Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG Australia


“We expect digital education programs to be an essential part of classroom instruction long after the pandemic is behind us” 

Dick Robinson, CEO, Scholastic Corporation


“Smartphone, auto, and consumer end markets have started to recover, and we see further demand improvements ahead” 

Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO, Micron Technology [global manufacturer of computer memory/storage]

“We’ve always maintained that there’s room for multiple technologies here [Australia]. They’ll suit different customers at different stages in their life cycles, or based on their situation” 

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO, Optus


“We are confident measures like this [the $1.5bn manufacturing sector stimulus] will ensure Australian manufacturing will become an enticing investment for the private sector” 

Robert Giles, CEO, SPC Foods

“Australia should focus resources on sectors where we are strong or have a natural advantage. Australia is too small to be everything to everyone. Other similar sized countries have realised this and also focus investment on specific sectors” 

Dig Howitt, CEO, Cochlear Ltd


“COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of sustainability. Demand for good value, sustainable products is expected to grow in the wake of the pandemic” 

“Well, for the industry as a whole, speed and flexibility will just become more and more important”

Helena Helmersson, CEO, H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

“As people are spending less on travel, air and hotel and dining out, they seem to have redirected some of those dollars to categories like lawn and garden, furniture and mattresses, exercise equipment, bicycles, housewares, cookware, plastics and the like” 

Richard Galanti, CFO, CostCo Wholesale Corporation


For the rest of the year I would say our base case is still to be back roughly at where we were last year” 

Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo Cars Corporation AB

Energy & Resources

“At the moment, gas prices are low, but that’s because of COVID. They won’t stay low…eventually they will go up. This [the new Narrabri gas project] will stop them from going back up to ridiculous levels” 

Garbis Simonian, CEO, Weston Energy [energy retailer]


“I can only speak from AirAsia’s perspective, I think business travel, intercontinental travel, first-class travel is going to take longer to rebound. But short-haul travel has been proven already with our domestic routes like in Thailand and Malaysia, we are at about 70 per cent load capacity” 

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia

“I think [going into administration] has provided a huge opportunity for us to reset and to emerge with a much stronger balance sheet and a much lower cost base, which is what we’re going to need going into what will be a fairly competitive market in the early days” 

Paul Scurrah, CEO, Virgin Australia

Travel & Leisure

“You may potentially see some mergers and acquisitions take place, as we’ve seen after the financial crisis but I don’t think it’s immediate though, as there’s a lot of government support around the world” 

Keith Barr, CEO, InterContinental Hotels Group plc

“When the whole industry’s losing money month-to-month and nearly all of that industry must have international travel to survive, clearly there has to be some consolidation” 

Jamie Pherous, CEO, Corporate Travel Management Ltd

“Demand for international travel will not fully recover before FY23 or FY24 in the absence of an effective vaccine” 

Graham Turner, CEO, Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd


“There is an enormous backlog of work” 

Peter Freeleagus, CEO, Cura Day Hospitals [nationwide private day hospital company]

Food & Beverage

“Home cooking has really become a trend that’s becoming a habit” 

Lawrence Kurzius, CEO, McCormick & Company Foods [world’s largest manufacturer of spices, seasonings]

“I think it’s going to be a much more flexible environment and much more tech-enabled remote kind of work, where consumers will be at home a few days of the week. And that will drive, I think, a different behaviour in terms of breakfast consumption and potentially some of the other meals during the day, especially lunch. So that’s how we’re thinking about the long-term category growth” 

Ramon Laguarta, CEO, PepsiCo Inc


“We have no people coming [into Australia]…we don’t have people to buy. We have a big demand for leasing, I lease 200 apartments a week, because those people don’t have the money to buy” 

Harry Triguboff, CEO, Meriton

Members only updates follow below.

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