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ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme

  • March 18 2021
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ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme

By Cameron Micallef
March 18 2021

Most of Australia’s ASX 300 companies that received JobKeeper payments did not need the subsidy as they recorded increases in profits throughout the calendar year, according to a study. 

ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme

ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme

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  • March 18 2021
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Most of Australia’s ASX 300 companies that received JobKeeper payments did not need the subsidy as they recorded increases in profits throughout the calendar year, according to a study. 

ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme

The study released by Ownership Matters showed that 95 companies listed on the ASX 300 reported to have received JobKeeper payments.

To qualify for a JobKeeper payment of $750 a week per staff member, businesses had to show a 30 per cent drop in sales in any single month between March 2020 and September 2020 compared with sales in 2019. 

Larger companies with more than $1 billion in sales had to show a reduction of more than 50 per cent to be eligible for the government scheme.

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The scheme was in two tranches from March to September 2020, and September until March 2021, with the payment tapering off during the second payment period. 

The Ownership Matters report showed lockdowns at the beginning of March allowed many businesses to get access to the scheme as profits fell compared with March 2019. 

The report showed that ASX 300 listed companies received $2.4 billion in JobKeeper subsidies in calendar 2020, with $1 billion going to 75 of the ASX 300 companies in the first half and $1.4 billion going to 66 companies in the second half of the year to 31 December. 

Of the 66 companies that received a total of $1.377 billion in payments in the second half of the calendar year, 58 of these companies reported positive earnings. 

In the half year ending 31 December, the report showed 34 of the 66 entities reported an increase in their underlying earning metrics from pre-pandemic levels, despite receiving a total of $284 million in support. 

The six largest JobKeeper recipients – QAN ($726 million), CWN ($254 million), FLT ($195 million), SGR ($152 million),  APE ($129 million) and GEM ($102 million) – accounted for approximately 63 per cent of all JobKeeper payments. 

Qantas received additional government subsidies of $511 million, with GEM receiving a further $160 million in childcare-related subsidies from the Australian government. 

Despite receiving large government support, Qantas told 2,000 staff across 10 airports in Australia that they would no longer be part of the company due to a restructure.

Ownership Matters report also showed only 15 of the 66 companies that received JobKeeper payments but increased their profits due to increasing sales after lockdown gave the government their money back. 

The report said paybacks will total $100.25 million, 4 per cent of the money received by the ASX-listed companies.

However, according to the ABC, 20 companies have since declared they will return $144 million in wage subsidies, although the ATO has received just $20 million so far.

The ATO noted that businesses choosing to return the payments will need to first contact the Tax Office, as voluntary repayments cannot be made through usual ATO payment channels and require a special payment reference number.

ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme
ASX 300 companies cash in on JobKeeper scheme
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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