Business Advice

Officeworks sale talks continue with $1.52 billion value figure … ACCC takes Murray Goulburn to court … Caltex pledges $20 million to underpaid workers

SmartCompany /

By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn

Retail heavyweight Wesfarmers has revealed the valuation of its stationery and office goods company Officeworks in a series of pre-IPO marketing reports sent to fund managers this morning.

Discussions of an Officeworks sale have been floating around since February, with chief executive Richard Goyder telling media “We think it [Officeworks] is in a really good market position … we think it would be an attractive investment as a stand-alone”.

This morning Fairfax reports the business has released a series of pre-IPO materials to fund managers, an JP Morgan researchers have suggested an equity valuation of between $1.14 billion and $1.52 billion. It’s still unconfirmed if Wesfarmers will continue with an IPO or pursue a trade sale.

ACCC takes action against Murray Goulburn for milk price hike

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will take action against milk producer Murray Goulburn over claims it acted unconscionably and misled farmers about the price they would receive for milk during 2015-2016.

“The ACCC alleges that Murray Goulburn’s conduct had an adverse impact on many farmers who, as a result of Murray Goulburn’s representations regarding the farmgate milk price, had made business decisions,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

The ACCC alleges Murray Goulburn told farmers the farmgate milk price for the end of the 2015-16 financial year would be $6.05 per kilogram of milk solids, which was not the case. This left many farmers facing debts to Murray Goulburn of $100,000 to $200,000.

“The farmers relied on Murray Goulburn’s representations and were not expecting a substantial reduction in the farmgate milk price, particularly so close to the end of the season when it was not possible for them to practically readjust their expenditure.”

The ACCC is seeking declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices and costs from Murray Goulburn.

Caltex pledges $20 million to help unpaid workers

Caltex Australia has pledged $20 million to assist workers at its franchised petrol stations who were not paid their full entitlements. 

In November 2016 allegations emerged that franchise operators had asked staff at Caltex-branded petrol stations to lie about their wage rates if approached by officials, ahead of audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman. At the time, Caltex told SmartCompany it disputed the claims and its franchise network had significant support to understand their obligations to worker entitlements. 

However, the oil giant says this morning after internal audits it had uncovered underpayments of entitlements by “some franchisees”, and has set up the fund to allow franchisees to reclaim unpaid wages from 2015 to date.

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