Automobile supplier AP Eagers to present shareholders $64m in dividends after receiving $130m in jobkeeper subsidies | Enterprise


Automobile supplier group AP Eagers can pay shareholders, who embody the billionaire Nick Politis, dividends totalling virtually $64m after receiving jobkeeper wage subsidies of $130m.

The group, which owns dealerships that promote automobiles starting from Kias to Porsches, declared an after-tax revenue of $156m on Wednesday, regardless of lockdowns through the pandemic that saved individuals away from its yards.

AP Eagers didn’t pay a half-year dividend through the pandemic and likewise halved its remaining dividend in 2019 as a result of disaster. It additionally didn’t pay govt bonuses or charges to its administrators through the pandemic.

Nonetheless, on Wednesday, the group stated it will pay a full-year dividend for 2020 of 25c a share to shareholders together with Politis, who owns about 27% by his firm WFM Motors.

This entitles Politis, who’s valued at $1.31bn by the Australian Monetary Evaluation and likewise chairs NRL membership the Sydney Roosters, to a cost of about $17m.

The dividend announcement comes amid strain on corporations which have obtained jobkeeper after which turned a revenue to repay the subsidy.

On Wednesday, media firm 9 Leisure declared a half-year revenue after tax of $172m – a 127% improve on the identical interval within the earlier 12 months – and stated it will return $2m in jobkeeper funds.

Different corporations which have introduced they are going to return the cash include furnishings chain Nick Scali, retailer Tremendous Retail Group, Toyota Australia and pizza firm Domino’s.

As Guardian Australia reported last week, at the least 11 billionaires, together with Politis, have obtained dividend funds from corporations that acquired jobkeeper.

The AP Eagers chief govt, Martin Ward, who’s leaving the corporate after 16 years within the function, stated that 6,500 staff “had been grateful recipients of jobkeeper wage subsidy funds”.

Along with jobkeeper, AP Eagers additionally obtained about $4m in wage subsidies from the New Zealand authorities.

The overall authorities assist of about $134m represented “round 14% or the equal of six weeks of our annual payroll, which mirrored the length of the government-mandated restrictions on buying and selling”, he stated.

“Importantly, the stimulus enabled us to save lots of over 1 / 4 of our workforce and maintain staff related to the enterprise facilitating a sooner restoration, as was meant by the scheme. As current government-imposed lockdowns in Western Australia, larger Brisbane and Victoria exhibit, we’re not out of the woods but.

“Though our entry to jobkeeper resulted in September, we’ve continued to assist and pay our staff who haven’t been in a position to work throughout lockdowns.”

The corporate’s revenue of $156m for 2020 compares to a lack of $136m final 12 months, when it took over rival group AHG in what it stated was a “transformative merger”.

It stated it had changed Ward with its chief working officer, Keith Thornton, in what it described as an “orderly management transition”.

Ward will proceed to advise the corporate’s board, it stated.