The most exciting company this reporting season

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Some would label it Australia’s biggest disappointment. After being slammed by the NBN rollout, Telstra now faces its next biggest challenge - 5G. So, is now the time for Telstra to return to its former glory? 

"We can see an opportunity for Telstra to return to growth and restore confidence in it as an investment for people who want that stable yield." 

In this short video, Michael Maughan of Nikko AM shares why he believes there are indicators in the market suggesting that Telstra has an opportunity to return to growth. With reporting season fast approaching, Michael reveals why Telstra is the company he is most excited to hear about.


Looking at reporting season, I think one of the companies that's going to be really interesting to hear from is Telstra. They're a bit like the banks in that they have been going through a period of trying to reinstill confidence in their brand and company. In creating an improved brand reputation, they've actually concerned some of the investment community that maybe they're not as focused on profits as they should be. I think it will be interesting for the market to see that this is a company where they can be a good corporate citizen and still be focused on profits.

Over a 20 year period, the Telstra performance doesn't look great, but Telstra has had some golden periods, and its last golden period was coming out of the GFC if you remember. We're talking about a period of roughly six years there under David Thodey, where the mobile business grew and they went through a transformation program. That was a really strong period for us, especially as income investors.

If we look at it more recently, they've come under pressure from mobile competition and the NBN smashing fixed line margins. If we look forward, we now get back to a three player market in the Australian mobile market, with 5G coming, so we think there can be growth there. The NBN headwind is waning, and they're going through another transformation program to take cost out of the business, which is common in a government monopoly to be going through this constantly.

We can see an opportunity for Telstra to return to growth, and restore confidence in it as an investment for people who want that stable yield and a very strong balance sheet. We think its status as a classic defensive will be restored.

I think that looking forward for Telstra, the signs are going to be just a general improvement in mobile pricing. Over the last three years, driven by Optus, mobile prices have been under a lot of pressure; people have been getting more for less, and we see a position now with everyone investing for 5G, that the ability to just sacrifice profitability for market share isn't going to be there going forward, as everyone needs to get a return on the investment they've made historically, but also the 5G investment they're going to be making over the next few years.

In the longer term, there is an opportunity for further value realisation in Telstra, if they are able to separate infrastructure assets from the retail assets. We see that as a longer term upside opportunity, rather than something we would want to pay for today.

Learn more

Michael and his team invest in 40-70 companies on the S&P/ASX200, with the primary aim of providing tax-effective income alongside the potential for capital growth. For more information, please fill in the contact form below or visit the Nikko AM website.

This material was prepared and is issued by Nikko AM Limited ABN 99 003 376 252 AFSL No: 237563 (Nikko AM Australia). Nikko AM Australia is part of the Nikko AM Group. The information contained in this material is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice, nor does it constitute an offer of any financial product. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any individual. For this reason, you should, before acting on this material, consider the appropriateness of the material, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. The information in this material has been prepared from what is considered to be reliable information, but the accuracy and integrity of the information is not guaranteed. Figures, charts, opinions and other data, including statistics, in this material are current as at the date of publication, unless stated otherwise. The graphs and figures contained in this material include either past or backdated data, and make no promise of future investment returns. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Any economic or market forecasts are not guaranteed. Any references to particular securities or sectors are for illustrative purposes only and are as at the date of publication of this material. This is not a recommendation in relation to any named securities or sectors and no warranty or guarantee is provided.

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