Market News

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OPEC agrees to extend production cuts - David Sheppard

OPEC has agreed to extend its production curbs for nine months, two delegates said yesterday. The move will see the 1.8m bpd supply cut last until Mar. 2018. Brent crude was down 58c at $53.37/barrel, partly on disappointment the cuts were extended for nine months rather than a fully ear. The cartel has discusses a potential "9+3" plan, which would give them the option of extending the deal for another quarter after the new nine-month cap expires, according to ministers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Quantum sees profits hit as egg unit books loss - Robert Laing

QUANTUM FOOD's decision to sell its abattoir to SOVEREIGN for R120m in order to focus on eggs, feed and broiler farming helped it growth interim revenue, but its profit halved. The company reported 13% interim revenue growth to R2bn, but its after-tax profit fell 47% to R32m in the HY to end-Mar. Animal feeds contributed 37% of group revenue, and its R40m profit contribution helped compensate for a R22m loss from its egg division and R9.3m loss from its rest of Africa division. The feeds division grew revenue 21%, which was not simply due to the drought pushing up crop prices as its profit grew 29%. The unit was boosted by the acquisition of a feed mill at Olifantskop in Feb. The broiler farming division contributed a third of the group's revenue at R37m, while revenue grew 8.6% and profit 19%. The egg division grew revenue 3% to R498m, or 24% of the group's total, but its loss widened to R22m from R21m y/y. The rest of Africa unit grew revenue 47% to R105m, which only accounted for 5% of the total. I

Updated market indicators for 26/05/2017

At 10h22 on 26 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.94 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 16.67 Gold 1262.29 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.81 All Share 54024.91

IMF urges Ukraine to stick with reform effort - Mehreen Khan

The IMF has urged Ukraine's government to stick to its reform efforts as part of its financial aid programme to the country. Marking the conclusion of its latest mission to the country, the fund praised the economy's uptick in growth, falling inflation, and the central bank's progress on boosting reforms. But it warned that despite the brightening short-term outlook, "decisive implementation of structural reforms remains critical to achieve stronger and sustainable growth that Ukraine needs over the medium term". Ukraine received the latest disbursement of IMF aid under its €17.5bn bailout last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's upgrades outlook on Abu Dhabi credit rating - Nicholas Megaw

Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy in response to the slump in oil prices have worked, according to MOODY's, which has removed its negative outlook on the local government's credit rating. MOODY's changed its outlook to stable from negative, crediting the government's "effective and broad policy response to the lower oil price environment" and the economy's healthy growth prospects. Abu Dhabi has cut government spending by 23% over the last two years, and MOODY's said its moves to reduce subsidies and raise prices of fuel, electricity and water had been enacted "more rapidly and effectively than in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries". With oil prices having picked up from last year's lows, MOODY's said it expects the emirate's fiscal deficit to come down to 2% of GDP in 2017 and 0.3% of GDP in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch downgrades Noble - Neil Hume

FITCH has followed MOODY's and S&P and cut its rating on NOBLE GROUP. Cutting the commodity trader by two notches to B-, FITCH said negative newsflow were making refinancing negotiations more difficult. It said the downgrade and negative outlook "reflect the need for NOBLE to address debt maturities of $2.0-$2.1bn over the next 12 months. The continuous negative news about the company and resultant weak sentiment is likely to make refinancing negotiations more difficult than we expected when we last downgraded the company on 16 May 2017, despite the strength of NOBLE's balance sheet, with a high working capital/total debt ratio, low portion of secured debt and significant amount of assets available to pledge". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit unexpectedly swells - Mamta Badkar

The US received a fresh batch of soft data yesterday as the trade deficit widened and inventories declined signalling a potential drag on growth in Q2. An advanced reading of the US trade deficit swelled by 3.8% to $67.6bn in Apr., from $65.1bn m/m, the Census Bureau said. That compared with economists' expectations that the deficit would shrink to $64.5bn. The rise comes despite a spike in manufacturing export orders in recent ISM manufacturing reports, and could weigh on growth in Q2. Meanwhile, wholesale inventories fell 0.3% last month from Mar., when it climbed 0.1%. That missed economists' forecasts for a 0.2% increase. However, fresh filings for jobless benefits rose by less than expected. Initial jobless claims rose to 234 000 in the week ended May 20 but was less than the 238 000 claim economists were looking for. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK GDP growth falls to 0.2% in Q1 - Mehreen Khan

Britain's economy suffered a worse than expected slowdown at the start of 2017, with growth decelerating to a quarterly pace of just 0.2% - its weakest in 12 months. A second official reading from the Office for National Statistics revised down growth from a first estimate of 0.3% in the quarter to end-Mar., from 0.7% at end-2016. On an annual basis, GDP expansion was also lower at 2%, down from a flash first estimate of 2.1%. Britain's economic momentum is widely forecast to slow this year as the country's traditionally resilient consumers begin to feel the pinch from higher inflation after the Brexit vote. With prices rising at a four-year high of 2.7% last month, real wage growth has fallen negative for the first time in two and a half years. Earlier this month, the Bank of England edged down its 2017 growth forecast from 2% to 1.9%. The ONS said the growth downgrade was driven by weakness in the services sector which expanded just 0.2% - its poorest performance since 2015. Annual investment was up 0

Court ruling boosts Eskom power cut plan - Matthew le Cordeur

ESKOM feels vindicated after North Gauteng High Court Judge JOHN MURPHY dismissed applications by AfriForum and other businesses over the utility's scheduled electricity interruptions. AfriForum, together with ASTRAL OPERATIONS, BRIDGESTONE SA and MEDICLINIC Brits wanted to prevent ESKOM from cutting power in Madibeng, Lekwa and Kamiesberg as a way to collect arrear debts. However, the judgment confirmed ESKOM's constitutional right and commended it for being able to enter into 23 payment arrangements, ESKOM legal head SUZANNE DANIELS said. "This victory is a critical step in the sustainability of ESKOM given the levels of indebtedness within the municipal sphere. As a key enabler of the economy, ESKOM's sustainability is vital for the development of our nation", DANIELS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Schroder's NAV return picks up - Roy Cokayne

SCHRODER EUROPEAN REIT achieved a total net asset value return, including dividends, of 2.5% in the HY to end-Mar. following the negative return of 4.6% in the HY to end-Sep. The company grew NAV excluding non-controlling interests by 11.4% to €175.9m, or 131.5 euro cents per share in the period, including a gross equity raise of €16.7m. Total dividends a share declared for the HY of 2.2c is to be paid by way of a second interim dividend in July, representing a 29% increase y/y. SCHRODER reported a profit of €4.2m in the HY under review compared to a loss of €2.7m for the 10 months to Sep. The portfolio now consists of nine assets valued at €208.9m, with a 4.8-year average lease term. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon stands firm on club card fee - Dineo Faku

EDCON has stood by its club fees programme charged to credit customers and will go to the Constitutional Court to defend it. This follows the Competition Tribunal's ruling which found the monthly fees charged to credit customers were unlawful and contravened the National Credit Act, which EDCON has appealed in the High Court. CEO BERNIE BROOKES yesterday said the company maintained it had not violated the NCA, and was confident it would be vindicated in due course. He said the Tribunal did not find that selling of the club product was unlawful but rather that the inclusion of the club fee in the credit agreement was contrary to the NCA. He added that the Tribunal's ruling had not affected the appetite for the club card. BROOKES said no customer had been disadvantaged by the club membership and that customers received up to R17 000 worth of benefits after paying monthly fees of up to R60. These benefits included discount airfares and funeral benefits. EDCON's retail sales were 6.7% lower at R25.3m in th

Old Mutual may have to touch UK cash reserve - Kabelo Khumalo

OLD MUTUAL yesterday said it might draw on its £586m cash reserve as it continues to strike deals to break up its business in a move that woudl see an IPO of the demerged business being on the cards next year. CEO BRUCE HEMPHILL yesterday said the managed separation process was going according to plan. "We have said we would create four independent businesses, and with the recently announced transactions in respect of OM ASSET MANAGEMENT, that business is now independent. We are aiming to complete the two listings that will materially deliver the managed separation at the earliest opportunity in 2018 after our full year results", HEMPHILL said. OLD MUTUAL plans to spin its Wealth and Emerging Markets units into individual listed companies, the latter of which will also take a strategic minority stake in NEDBANK's operations. The company said upon the conclusion of the separation process that there would be a new South African holding company, to be named OLD MUTUAL LIMITED, which will initially consist

Pattison chosen to lead Edcon - Dineo Faku

EDCON GROUP yesterday said it would appoint former MASSMART CEO GRANT PATTISON as its new CEO next Feb. PATTISON has been tasked with implementing the company's strategy, revitalising CNA, growing EDCON's cellular business and growing the company in SA and the rest of Africa. "The challenge of restoring EDCON to its former glory is both a privilege and a massive challenge", PATTISON said, adding that he was not fazed by challenges in the retail sector. He will replace BERNIE BROOKES, who sill step down following a two-year tenure at the retailer. To ensure a smooth transition, PATTISON will be appointed as EDCON's COO and CEO designate on Jun. 5, joining the executive management of the group and reporting to BROOKES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zwane wants 30% minimum black mine ownership - sources - Sam Mkokeli

Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE has proposed raising the mandatory black ownership of mines to 30% from 26%, drawing opposition from some ANC officials who fear it will deter investment, sources said. The proposal is part of the draft Mining Charter outlined by ZWANE to the ANC's economic policy committee on May 13. Cabinet this week approved the draft Mining Charter, which will be released for public comment once it has been gazetted. ANC spokesperson ZIZI KODWA didn't answer calls seeking comment, and it is unclear whether the Cabinet demanded changes to the draft. The 30% black ownership can be made up of shares held by black investors, employees and community groups, the sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats plunges on R5.1bn bond refinance - Kevin Crowley

IMPALA PLATINUM plunged in Johannesburg trading after saying it will refinance around R5.1bn of convertible bonds, which could dilute existing shareholders. The existing bonds had an equity conversion price more than four times higher than yesterday's closing price of R41.46/share. The new bonds will convert to equity at a much lower level of 30%-35% above the average price of the stock during the current offer, IMPLATS said. Shares in the company fell as much as 18% before rebounding to trade 9.7% lower by mid-morning yesterday. The bond offer, which will raise money in both dollars and rand, will extend the debt's maturity from 2018 to 2022, IMPLATS said. The dollar debt will pay an interest rate of about 3.3% while the rand debt will pay about 6.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jasco acquires majority stake in Reflex - Natasha Odendaal

JASCO ELECTRONICS has acquired a majority 51% stake in IT managed services group REFLEX SOLUTIONS for R39.8m. The acquisition would lift JASCO up the value chain towards a higher-margin professional service and annuity-based offering. REFLEX's operations cover Johannseburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, with a double-digit revenue growth record since 2014 and consistent operating margins above 10%. The current management team and founders will stay with the company for at least two years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Onerous Northern Aqueduct project impacts Esor's FY results - Anine Kilian

Losses of R102m in curred on the Northern Aqueduct water pipeline project in KZN hit ESOR's profitability for the FY to end-Feb. The nonrealisation of the R50m FRANKI deferment in terms of the three-year earn-out clause under the sale agreement, and the impairment of R51m goodwill resulted in a loss of R139.8m, compared with a profit of R3.7m y/y. CEO WESSEL VAN ZYL said the Northern Aqueduct remained an onerous contract to complete, given the nature of the repair work in addressing legacy issues and working in a constrained area. "Many factors prevented completion by year-end, including rain and community unrest, resulting in cot overruns", he said. ESOR now expects to complete the project in Dec. and is finalising an agreement with the client on the replacement of bedding materials. ESOR ended the year with an order book of R1.5bn, on par with 2016. It maintained revenue at R1.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom approves AMSA's buyout of Thabazimbi mine - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission has recommended the Competition Tribunal approve ARCELORMITTAL SA's proposed acquisition of the Thabazimbi mine, in Limpopo. KUMBA IRON ORE in Feb. agreed to transfer the mine to AMSA. Until 2014, the mine was owned and run by KUMBA's SISHEN IRON ORE COMPANY, but was funded and supplied ore exclusively to AMSA. AMSA is therefore responsible for 96% of the mine's rehabilitation liability while SIOC is responsible for the site's management and the remainder of the liability. The transfer of the mine to AMSA will simplify this arrangement, with the steelmaker to be solely responsible for the closure and rehabilitation of the mine. Mining at Thabazimbi cased in Sep. 2016 and the identified assets and liabilities of the mine are being sold to AMSA for R1, plus the assumed liabilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Letter reveals Brown knew about Molefe's early retirement deal - Lameez Omarjee

ESKOM chair BEN NGUBANE informed Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN of an early retirement deal related to BRIAN MOLEFE's appointment as CEO, according to an affidavit filed by Solidarity on Wednesday. The union is seeking the court's intervention to overturn ESKOM's decision to reappoint MOLEFE as CEO. It also wants the court to review decisions taken by the board to approve MOLEFE's pension payout as well as his application to take early retirement last year, said DEON REYNEKE, deputy general secretary of energy, defence and aerospace. Solidarity's affidavit revealed that, contrary to BROWN's statements that she was unaware of MOLEFE's early retirement agreement, a letter had been written to her by NGUBANE detailing the terms of the package. BROWN on Monday insisted she only became aware or the pension package at a meeting held with the ESKOM board on Apr. 19. But on Nov. 25, 2015, two weeks after MOLEFE had signed his appointment letter and two months after his employment at ESKOM commenced, NGUB

Brown to set up Eskom corruption probe - Terence Creamer

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has announced she will launch a "broad scope" investigation into allegations of corruption currently hanging over ESKOM. The terms of reference and form of the probe were still to be finalised, but BROWN indicated it would be overseen by a retired judge so as to ensure that the credibility of the remedial actions arising were not questioned. The terms of reference would likely include a review of seven forensic reports already conducted into allegations of corruption and mismanagement at ESKOM since 2007. Special focus would be given to ESKOM's coal procurement processes, which featured heavily in the State of Capture report released by then Public Protector THULI MADONSELA in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI to reveal list of incentive beneficiaries by end-Jul. - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Department of Trade & Industry yesterday said it would, following a request for information from various stakeholders, release the list of beneficiaries across its incentives programmes at end-Jul. The list will be made available along with an incentive report that details the impact of the programmes, following the annual audit by the Office of the Auditor-General. Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES on Tuesday refused to release the names of 46 recipients of the government's nonrefundable grants and concessional loans that form part of its flagship Black Industrialist programme, arguing that a comprehensive list of beneficiaries could be abused by those with ulterior motives and could result in the beneficiaries being "harassed". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cabinet approves revised National Radio Frequency Plan - Natasha Odendaal

Cabinet this week endorsed the revised National Radio Frequency Plan 2017, submitted by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, which aims to ensure the most efficient use of radio frequency spectrum. ICASA in Feb. conducted public hearings on the revised draft update to the NRFP. The hearings had formed part of the regulator's work to align the draft NRFP 2017 with the final acts of the World Radio Conference 2015 and the latest version of the International Telecommunications Radio Regulations, as well as to ensure that spectrum allocations reflect the use of the radio frequency spectrum until the next WRC in 2019. "The allocation of spectrum by the WRC has a significant impact on the economic growth of South Africa", Cabinet sqaid. The revised draft NRFP update and amendment was released in Dec. last year for public comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strike impacts Freeport's Grasberg mine - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN yesterday said mining and milling rates at its Grasberg copper mine, in Indonesia, have been affected as around 9 000 workers stage an extended strike and approximately 4 000 absentee workers were deemed to have resigned. Escalating tensions with workers is a further disruption for FREEPORT, entangled in an ongoing dispute with the government over rights to the Grasberg mine, which has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars. An estimated 9 000 workers have extended their strike for a second month at the operation in an ongoing dispute over employment terms and layoffs, the union said on May 20. FREEPORT said around 4 000 workers have not reported to work, despite multiple summons to return. "As a result, a large number of these workers were deemed to have resigned, consistent with agreed Industrial Relations guidelines and prevailing law", spokesperson ERIC KINNEBERG said. Officials for the union were not immediately available to comment. This news brief represents a summary

Miranda Minerals to sell non-core Sesikhona Klipbrand colliery - Megan van Wyngaardt

MIRANDA MINERAL HOLDINGS, together with wholly-owned subsidiary MIRANDA COAL, will sell its 73% stake in Sesikhona Klipbrand colliery in KZN to OSHO SA COAL for R5m, payable in two tranches. The parties are currently involved in litigation arising form the provisions of a term sheet entered into in Dec. 2011 and have signed a consent letter in which they agree to stay the litigation proceedings until such time as the agreement fails to take effect or litigation is withdrawn and terminates if and when the agreement takes effect. MIRANDA said the disposal of the non-core asset would generate cash and free up management to focus on completing the company's restructuring and rebuilding process. The proceeds from the transaction would also be used for general working capital and to finalise its financial results, to apply for the lifting of the suspension of the company's shares on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Forevermark celebrates diamond inscription milestone - Megan van Wyngaardt

DE BEERS' Forevermark brand has inscribed its two-millionth diamond - a 3.47ct round brilliand, bearing '2 000 000'. The stone was mined, cut and polished in Namibia and inscribed at the Forevermark Diamond Institute in Surat, India. It will be set in a piece of jewellery at the Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre in Milan. The diamond will ultimately become part of Forevermark's exclusive red carpet collection, to be worn by celebrities at major events and award ceremonies around the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Brands supports more emerging farmers - Siphelele Dludla

TIGER BRANDS yesterday said it would increase the number of smallholder farmers that it supports to help them supply crops. The company recently identified 33 smallholder farmers in Limpopo and the Western Cape to receive mentoring, financial support and technical training. This is done in partnership with the Department of Agriculture. CEO LAWRENCE MAC DOUGALL said the company was "committed to making a positive, sustainable difference through socioeconomic transformation programmes using the many levers at our disposal, including our supply chain, our staff and also through partnership with government in areas where we have expertise". He said the TIGER BRANDS Emerging Farmer Programme should, in the short to medium term, create 400 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM tables one-year wage demands to KIO - ANA

The NUM yesterday tabled its list of one-year wage demands to KUMBA IRON ORE for the 2017 wage negotiations. The three-year agreement between the union and the company comes to an end on Jun. 30. The NUM wants sick-leave days to be increased from 120 to 180 per annum, allocated on the first day of each leave cycle, instead of accumulative, as well as five days paternity leave and 10 days family responsibility leave. The union demands that hours of work at Sishen and Kolomela mines be reduced to 40 hours per week from 45 and 44 hours respectively. The union also wants the introduction of a "dust allowance", a payment of 10% of the basic salary of workers exposed to dust. A R5 000 housing allowance for all workers is also among the demands tabled, as well as the "harmonisation of grades". The NUM wants a new scheme to be in place effective from the current FY, saying that it should be a 15% loan free ownership scheme. The union also wants KUMBA to contribute 15% to pension funds effective Jul. 1 2018. T

Applications for new steel incentive open on Jun. 1 - Terence Creamer

Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL yesterday released a new R1.5bn incentive for downstream steel manufacturers, which would be implemented from Jun. 1. The incentive, officially dubbed the 'Downstream Steel Industry Competitiveness Fund', is to be administered by the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, which will also provide the bulk of the funding. The Economic Development Department will inject only R95m of direct on-budget funding, spread over a three-year period, with R30m available for the current FY. PATEL said the funding would enable the IDC to offer discounts to its already favourable interest rates to qualifying beneficiaries. The IDC might also consider, on a case-by-case basis, including a grant element, should such funding be required to facilitate an investment. The fund would target steel-intensive downstream manufacturers and not be open to integrated steel mills, component manufacturers that qualify for other incentives, or large multinational original-equipment manufacturers

Nigeria oil minister says not opposed to eventually joining output cuts - Reuters

Nigerian Oil Minister EMMANUEL IBE KACHIKWU yesterday said that conceptually, Nigeria was not opposed to joining OPEC production caps but would have to wait to see if output came back to acceptable levels. "We are targeting that by the end of the extension period (9 months) we are trying to prep and finalise repairs of our infrastructure and at that time we would be able to join", KACHIKWU said. "We have to wait and see that the militancy effects are out and the infrastructure is rebuilt and we're back to production", he added. OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers are gearing up to extend output cuts on Thursday, possibly by as long as 12 months, to help clear a global inventory overhang and to support crude prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 26/05/2017

At 06h57 on 26 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.95 ZAR/EUR 14.51 ZAR/GBP 16.70 Gold 1258.05 Platinum 949.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.16 All Share 54028.39

SARB holds rates, no cut in prospect - Mfuneko Toyana

The SARB kept interest rates steady yesterday, playing down prospects of cheaper borrowing costs as it weighed price pressures against expectations that the struggling economy will recover more slowly than hoped. Annual CPI fell to 5.3% in April, but there were risks that could rise again, SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said, notably linked to pressure on the rand in light of domestic political uncertainty and credit ratings downgrades. The central bank expects inflation to average 5.7% this year and 5.3% next - within its 3%-6% target band. KGANYAGO said interest rates could fall "should inflation continue to surprise on the downside and the forecast over the policy horizon be sustainably within the target range... However, in the current environment of high levels of uncertainty, the risks to the outlook could easily deteriorate". He added that the longer-term inflation trajectory was "uncomfortably close to the upper end" of the target range. The SARB cut its forecast for economic growth to 1.0% from

Equatorial Guinea approved as latest OPEC member - Wendell Roelf

Equatorial Guinea, Africa's third-biggest oil producer, has been accepted as a new member of the OPEC cartel, a source close to the country's oil minister said yesterday. The country said in Jan. it was seeking to become OPEC's 14th member and the sixth from Africa, an addition that would help raise the continent's influence and profile in the corridors of global oil production and pricing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Senate passes oil governance bill - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's Senate passed a long-awaited oil governance bill following its third and final reading, it said on its official Twitter feed yesterday. The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill aimed at overhauling the country's energy industry. The PIB, which has been discussed for over a decade following several redrafts, was broken up into separate parts including governance and fiscal issues to help speed up debate. "This Bill is not only for Nigerians but for our investors. We are proud of what has been done", Senate President BUKOLA SARAKI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DStv agrees to pay R13m fine - CompCom - Nqobile Dludla

NASPERS' DSTV subsidiary has agreed to pay an accumulative fine of R180m for price fixing, the Competition Commission announced yesterday. "DSTV MEDIA SALES (PTY) LTD has admitted to price fixing and the fixing of trading conditions in contravention of South Africa's Competition Act", the Commission said in a statement. The matter relates to a Nov. 2011 probe, which found that through the Media Credit Co-Ordinators, various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to advertising agencies that place advertisements with MCC members. The Commission found these practices restricted competition among the competing companies as they did not independently determine an element of a price in the form of discount or trading terms. As part of the consent agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal, DSTV MEDIA SALES will pay an administrative penalty of over R22m and pay R8m to the Economic Development Fund over three years. The DSTV unit will also provide 25% in bonus airtime for every

Cabinet approves review of mining charter changes - Nqobile Dludla

Cabinet yesterday said it has approved for publication a review of revision to the Mining Charter, a process that was supposed to have been done months ago. "Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE will provide a briefing once the charter has been gazetted", Cabinet said in a statement, without providing further details such as when it will be published. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massmart reports drop in comparable sales - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

MASSMART yesterday reported a near 2% fall in overall same-store sales in the first five months of 2017, as outlets outside SA underperformed. The company said comparable store sales for the first 21 weeks of 2017 fell 1.9%, with sales in SA down 0.4% and outside SA down nearly 16%. Sales in SA account for 91% of total turnover. CEO GUY HAYWARD said the company's performance was impacted by consumers becoming more cautious about spending and after SA lost two investment grade credit ratings last month. "The unfavourable impact on sales in discretionary product categories, such as general merchandise, has been notable and appears to be as strongly linked to weak consumer confidence as it is to underlying economic issues", HAYWARD said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA govt wants Sinopec to retain refinery capacity - Wendell Roelf

SA is in talks with China's SINOPEC over its takeover of CHEVRON's Cape Town refinery and will look to ensure that production capacity was retained and enhanced, Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL said yesterday. SINOPEC will pay almost $1bn for a 75% stake in CHEVRON's South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana to secure its first major refinery in Africa, the parties announced in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TFG buys Aussie menswear retailer - TJ Strydom

THE FOSCHINI GROUP has agreed to buy Australia's RETAIL APPAREL GROUP for a maximum of A$302.5m, it said yesterday. TFG said it would pay cash for RAG and would retain the company's current management. RAG, established in 1987, has 400 stores which sell mostly mid-range to low-price menswear. The price will be the lower of A$302.5m or seven times the company's earnings for the year to end-Jun., TFG said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiffany falls as Lady Gaga fails to prevent sales decline - Pan Kwan Yuk

Valentine's Day and the draw of pop star Lady Gaga did little to shake TIFFANY out of its prolonged sales funk during Q1. The company said excluding currency movements, comparable sales fell 2% in the quarter to end-Apr., missing forecasts for a 1.7% increase. Shares dropped 5.5% in pre-market trading yesterday. TIFFANY said net sales during the quarter came in at $899.6m, a slight rise from the $891.3m reported y/y but well below the $914.4m the market was expecting. Net income, at $92.9m or 74cps, was better than the $86.1m or 70cps analysts had forecast. Much of the gains was driven by TIFFANY's wholesale diamond business. On the retail side, same-store sales fell across all regions aside from Europe. In the Americas, comparable store sales fell 4%, dragging revenue from the region 3% lower to $392m. "Management attributed the overall sales decline to lower spending by both foreign tourists and local customers", the company said. TIFFANY maintained its earnings guidance for the year, but slightly

US crude inventories drop for 7th straight week - Mamta Badkar

Data yesterday showed tat supplies of US crude fell more than expected and were down for a seventh consecutive week. Inventories of US crude fell by 4.4m barrels in the week ended May 19, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. That compared with Wall Street expectations for a smaller draw of 2.08m barrels and marked the longest streak of back-to-back declines since Jul. 2016. The drop came as oil imports averaged 8.3m bpd last week, down by 296 000bpd from the prior week. At 516.3m barrels US crude stocks remain at historically high levels. At the Cushing delivery hub, oil stocks fell by 741 000 barrels, compared with estimates for a draw of 95 000 barrels. Gasoline stocks fell by 787 000 barrels, falling for the third week in a row, compared with projections for a draw of 695 380 barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Linde, Praxair agree $70m merger terms - Patrick McGee

LINDE has signed a formal merger agreement with US rival PRAXAIR, signalling that German workers' opposition to the €70bn deal has only delayed, but not cancelled, the plan. After merger talks between the companies failed last year, the idea was revived in Nov. and preliminary terms were announced in Dec. A formal combination agreement was supposed to be ready by LINDE's shareholders meeting two weeks ago, but worker representatives turned against the transaction earlier this year, complicating the plan and causing LINDE to miss a deadline. A regulatory filing submitted to the Stuttgart exchange yesterday indicates the deal is back on track, though both companies' board still need to vote and approve the terms. The submission calls the deal "a merger of equals" and says there is no assurance the tie-up will be completed. It still requires shareholder approval and clearance by regulatory authorities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil mobilises troops to quell violent anti-Temer protests - Joe Leahy

The Brazilian government has sent troops to quell a protest by thousands of demonstrators from unions and leftist movements that turned violent in the capital Brasilia on Wednesday. The protesters began attacking government ministries and set fire to the agriculture ministry. It was the worst violence since the supreme court authorised a probe into centre-right President MICHEL TEMER for corruption last week. TEMER is facing allegations after he appeared to be caught on tape discussing bribes with an executive from Brazilian meatpacking company JBS. Defence Minister RAUL JUNGMANN said it was necessary to send troops because the protest was "expected to be peaceful but had degenerated into violence, disrespect and threats to people". TEMER spent yesterday trying to convince the ruling coalition to continue supporting him amid talks that are underway to try to find a possible exit for him short of outright impeachment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HP shares up after it posts 'breakthrough' Q2 - Richard Waters

HP INC yesterday reported revenue both from its personal systems and printer units, the first time both had registered growth in the same period since 2010. CEO DION WEISLER called it a "breakthrough quarter" and proof that the company's reinvention is paying off. Shares jumped nearly 9% in aftermarket trading as it increased its earnings forecast for the current FY, though they later gave up some of those gains to trade up 4%. Revenue from personal systems rose by 10% during Q2, while printing revenue was up 2%. Overall, HP INC posted revenue of $12.4bn for the quarter, up 7% y/y. Pro-forma EPS dropped by 2% to 40cps, also in line with forecasts. For the year as a whole, HP lifted its pro-forma earnings projection to $1.59-$1.66/share, from the previous range of $1.55-$1.65/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF approves financial package for Mongolia - Lucy Hornby

The IMF has approved a financial package for Mongolia that will help the country reduce its crippling debt load, opening the door to financing packages from other lenders. Approval for $425m in funds from the IMF, tied to around $3bn in funding from other international lenders, had been expected following the Fund's annual meeting in Washington last month. However, it was delayed by a Mongolian clause that directed sales proceeds from major foreign-invested products pass through a Mongolian bank account. IMF deputy MD and acting chair MITSUHIRO FURUSAWA hailed Mongolia's fiscal tightening measures, proposed efforts to strengthen the independence of the central bank and "commitment to a market-determined exchange rate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lenovo revenue falls as PC shipments slip - Alice Woodhouse

LENOVO posted a fall in revenue for the FY to end-Mar. as PC shipments dipped and it lost its top market position during the first quarter. The Chinese group reported revenue for the FY fell 4% to $43bn, coming in below analysts' estimates of $43.97bn. Net profit rose to $535m from a $145m loss y/y, but missed forecasts of $786.89m. LENOVO was overtaken in Q1 2017 in terms of global PC sales by HEWLETT-PACKARD for the first time in four years. The company this month announced a plan to restructure and focus on its domestic market following two years of disappointing performance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia tumbles further amid Tanzania worries - Nicholas Megaw

Shares in ACACIA MINING fell sharply for the second consecutive day after a report by the Tanzanian government raised fears it will have to temporarily shut down some of its gold mines. The gold miner has been unable to export any of its output since the government issued a ban on exports of unprocessed gold and copper concentrate in Mar.. Yesterday, a presidential committee accused ACACIA of under-reporting the amount of metal in its shipments. All of ACACIA's operations are in north-west Tanzania, and analysts at CITI said there is a "higher probability" that operations will have to be suspended after the export ban was extended. Shares in ACACIA fell 30% yesterday and had dropped a further 12% to 268p in London this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sygnia plans acquisitive growth drive - Kabelo Khumalo

SYGNIA yesterday said it would be on both organic and strategic acquisitive growth drives this year as it seeks to expand its brand and grab market share from rivals. For the HY to end-Mar., the fintech firm grew assets under management and administration by 0.29% to R158.9bn. Revenue for the period increased by 12.2% to R147.5m, while expenses rose by 20.7% to R113.2m. SYGNIA's profit before tax fell by 0.95% to R48.2m, while its HEPS tanked 1.77% to R34.3m. The company said it had brought in additional expertise in the period to deliver on its multifaceted growth strategy. "The executive management team has been strengthened to facilitate delivery to all stakeholders and ot leverage operations", SYGNIA said, adding that technology and innovation would remain core to its strategy in the period ahead. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hospitality in R1.8bn rights offer - Roy Cokayne

HOSPITALITY PROPERTY FUND is planning to undertake a fully underwritten rights offer to raise R1.8bn to partially settle the cash portion of its planed acquisition of a portfolio of 29 established hotel properties from TSOGO SUN. The purchase consideration for the deal would be settled by the payment of R1bn in cash and R2.6bn in shares. The deal is still subject to shareholder approvals and other requirements. CEO KEITH RANDALL said the transaction presented an attractive acquisition for HOSPITALITY and was in line with the fund's growth strategy to increase its critical mass by acquiring value enhancing property acquisitions from both within TSOGO SUN's existing portfolio and from external opportunities. HOSPITALITY yesterday reported a distribution per share of 101.01cps for the nine months to end-Mar. Distributable earnings rose by 56.8% to R344.8m from R271.9m in June 2016, largely due to the inclusion of 10 properties from its transaction with TSOGO SUN. Rental income rose by 5% to R498.8m from R4

Vukile to invest in Spain - Roy Cokayne

VUKILE is poised to acquire a €200m retail portfolio spread across Spain. CEO LAURENCE RAPP yesterday said the company was actively exploring this opportunity and hoped to close the transaction in the next three months. He added that VUKILE had a war chest of R1.5bn, comprising cash and existing debt facilities, that it would be deploying abroad. RAPP said the company would be deploying its capital internationally in the UK and Spain. The UK exposure will be driven via its strategic 29.56% stake in ATLANTIC LEAF. VUKILE in Dec. purchased 86.89% of the shares in CASTELLANA, an unlisted Spanish REIT for R193m. The balance of the stake in CASTELLANA of 13.11% is owned by the MORZE family, led by LEE MORZE, a successful South African property entrepreneur now resident in Spain. RAPP said VUKILE had the platform and intention to expand its presence in Spain but the strategy was about building a business in that country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 25/05/2017

At 10h29 on 25 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.88 ZAR/EUR 14.47 ZAR/GBP 16.72 Gold 1258.20 Platinum 949.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.49 All Share 54258.03

Tiger Brands overcomes drought with modest growth and increase in dividends - Fin24

TIGER BRANDS has weathered the drought and saw HEPS rise by 7%, while it increased its dividend by 4% for the HY to end-Mar. 2017. Turnover from continuing operations rose by 7% to R16.4bn, and contributions from domestic operations increased by 8% to R14.3bn. The group's operating performance was negatively hit by the underperformance of its exports and international businesses. While turnover remained at R2.1bn, operating income fell by 25% to R194m. TIGER BRANDS said the outlook for 2017 is challenging, with volumes in the domestic market having significantly slowed in Q2, while a recovery in the rest of Africa is not imminent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vukile delivers 7.1% distribution growth - Fin24

VUKILE PROPERTY FUND yesterday reported 7.1% growth in dividends per share for the FY to end-Mar. It said the results reflect the continued good metrics in the company's retail property portfolio, its sharp strategic delivery, strong balance sheet, deal-making dexterity and a solid platform for further international expansion. CEO LAURENCE RAPP said the company has successfully transformed into a high-quality, low-risk retail REIT. It has also established a platform for more international investment. VUKILE has a R1.5bn war chest, creating a springboard for its increased international growth. It invested a further £10.7m in UK-focused ATLANTIC LEAF, growing its stake to 29.6%. It is also actively evaluating an opportunity in another developed European market. VUKILE's gearing ratio was 23.% at year-end, with R1.5bn of available facilities and cash. Some 95% of the interest bearing debt is hedged with a 3.4-year maturity profile. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA secures funding facility - Megan van Wyngaardt

ARCELORMITTAL SA has secured a R4.5bn revolving structured commodity trade finance facility, which will allow the company to finance its working capital as part of its balance sheet restructuring. CEO WIM DE KLERK said the company had previously explored options to strengthen its balance sheet, noting that the 36-month tenor deal with DEUTSCHE BANK, ABSA and other lenders would allow its Saldanha Steel subsidiary to continue operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Arrowhead delivers higher H1 payout - Natasha Odendaal

ARROWHEAD yesterday declared a dividend of 43.24cps for the HY to end-Mar., representing a 6.01% y/y increase. The REIT also reported net asset value growth of 23%, to R11.32/share, for the HY under review, which CEO MARK KAPLAN described as a highlight of the first half of the year under review. The company increased its revenue from R743m in 2016 to R959m during the period under review, owing to the conclusion of the GEMGROW transaction and annual escalations to existing leases. ARROWHEAD acquired a 55.2% stake in GEMGROW in Oct. Further acquisition opportunities have been limited due to the volatile current macroeconomic environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcorp posts significant loss - Megan van Wyngaardt

ADCORP's shares fell as much as 8% yesterday morning to R10.80 on the JSE after it posted an HLPS of 27.9cps for the FY to end-Feb. Normalised EPS decreased by 76% y/y to 88.6cps, while normalised EBITDA dropped 51% to R303.8m. CEO RICHARD PIKE attributed the downward trend to consequences of recent changes to local labour laws, as well as a material trading loss incurred in the company's African operations. Earnings were also impacted by a material swing from a R59m forex profit in 2016 to a R30.2m loss, as a result of the African operations. To return to profit, ADCORP restructured its operations, cutting 1 000 jobs and saving R200m. To further stem losses, it is now looking at scaling back its African operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Master Plastics lists on AltX - Creamer Media Reporter

MASTER PLASTICS, which was unbundled from ASTRAPAK, has listed on the AltX board in the Containers and Packaging sector. The company represents a group of manufacturing operations that produce flexible packaging and knitted synthetic fabrics for the agricultural, retail and good sectors. CEO MANLEY DIEDLOFF said the company will look to establish and enhance its reputation as an organisation that operates in niche markets and generates above average returns to the benefit of stakeholders. MASTER PLASTICS, which plans to migrate to the JSE main board as soon as possible, is the sixth company to list on the bourse's Containers and Packaging sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IDC approves loan for FS natural gas project development - Terence Creamer

The INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION has approved R218m in loan finance to support the further development of a natural gas resource in the Free State via the creation of a 107-km pipeline network and associated gas processing facilities. The funding will be used by TETRA4, the natural gas subsidiary of RENERGEN, which is also planning to raise a further R145m in equity finance to implement the project. TETRA4 owns SA's sole onshore petroleum production right which, in 2015, was acquired from MOLOPO SA EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION in a deal valued at R650m. It has since started producing limited volumes of gas, which is being processed at a recently completed natural gas compression station in Virginia and sold to Megabus. IDC basic and speciality chemical business unit head HILTON LAZARUS said the funding of TETRA4 was in line with the development financier's strategy of promoting gas usage in SA, particularly via exploitation of indigenous gas resources. This news brief represents a summary of the or

SARB likely to keep rates on hold - analysts - Lameez Omarjee

With inflation easing below the SARB's target band to 5.3% last month, analysts expect the central bank to keep rates unchanged at 7%. The monetary policy committee is set to make its interest rate announcement later today. Analysts do not expect a cut and are confident that rates will be kept on hold. But they are concerned about persistent currency risks which have a bearing on the inflation outlook. These include the Federal Reserve's hiking cycle as well as the ANC elective conference to be held in Dec. MOMENTUM INVESTMENTS economist SANISHA PACKIRISAMY said financial stability risks may continue to hamper the local financial system. Further downgrades of the sovereign rating could also threaten rand strength. MMI does not anticipate rate cuts soon, given the political noise impacting the inflation outlook as well as low economic growth. CITI RESEARCH is of the view that the inflation drop could lead to calls for a rate cut, but the SARB won't make this move too soon given global volatility and lo

Net1's Belamant to retire after SASSA fiasco - Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg

NET1 UEPS founder SERGE BELAMANT will retire early after a storm of controversy over a contract it holds with SASSA to distribute welfare payments to 17m people. BELAMANT, who founded the company 27 years ago, will quit at the end of the month rather than retiring next year to allow changes at the company and partly due "to the views expressed by certain of the company's shareholders", NET1 said. BELAMANT attracted criticism for his conduct and public comments. In Aug. 2016 he said in a conference call about a court case over deductions NET1 made from grant payments that "between you and me and a bar of soap, I don't really care what it means. It's not going to make any difference to how much money we're going to make". BELAMANT will provide consultant services to NET1 for two years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to investigate if Molefe docs were destroyed - Matthew le Cordeur

ESKOM will investigate whether documents and correspondence relating to the reinstatement of BRIAN MOLEFE as CEO were destroyed shortly after they were requested by Parliament. This follows a statement by DA MP NATASHA MAZZONE yesterday that the opposition "has it on good authority that ESKOM is currently in the process of destroying key documents and correspondence relating to the MOLEFE fiasco". ESKOM was on Tuesday given 14 days by Parliament ot hand over all communication and documents relating ot MOLEFE's reinstatement for its own inquiry into the matter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM to begin wage talks with KIO - ANA

The NUM on Tuesday said it will this week start wage negotiations with KUMBA IRON ORE as the three-year agreement comes to an end on Jun. 30. The union said it will table the demands of its members in KIO operations in the Northerm Cape later today. LUCAS PHIRI, chief negotiator at KIO, said the union's demands are to improve salaries of workers, better conditions of employment, housing and improved Employee Share Ownership Scheme. "We will be approaching these wage negotiations with an open mind looking at the performance of the company, share price, and inflation... But what we know is that the price of bread for the rich is the same price of bread for the poor and the working class", PHIRI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP hopes for more nickel mines in WA - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP has confirmed it is pursuing environmental approvals to develop two satellite pits to support production from its Mt Keith operation in Western Australi. Mt Keith is owned by BHP's NICKEL WEST division. "At the current rate of production, the resource supporting Mt Keith will need to be sustained from other ore sources at some stage over the next five years", a BHP spokesperson said. "Securing environmental approval for the proposed Mt Keith satellite project will help to ensure NICKEL WEST has a strong future and will continue to make a significant economic contribution. Mt Keith consists of two satellite pits, namely Six Mile Well and Goliath. BHP is hoping to start pit development in Jul. 2019, pending approvals, with nickel output expected in early 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samarco says resuming ops this year challenging - Reuters

SAMARCO believes resuming operations this year will be challenging, though there remains a small possibility, CEO ROBERTO DE CARVALHO said this week. The company halted operations in Nov. 2015 after a tailings dam burst. CARVALHO said talks were continuing with the Brazilian government to obtain the required environmental licences. With $3.8bn in outstanding debt obligations, the production halt has been detrimental to negotiations aimed at a restructuring agreement with creditors, CARVALHO said. "We have been in talks with banks and bondholders, but the basic condition is that the company resumes operations", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa secures stake in Angola's largest diamond deposit - Reuters

ALROSA has bought a stake in Angola's Luaxe diamond deposit, it said yesterday, providing the company with access to a production base outside Russia. ALROSA and ENDIAMA, the NATIONAL DIAMOND COMPANY OF ANGOLA, have inked a contract to secure 50.5% of what is Angola's largest diamond deposit for Catoca, which is 32.8% owned by the Russian group. ALROSA will also receive 8% in Luaxe directly. No details were given of how much the transaction was worth, but Luaxe includes a kimberlite deposit worth more than $35bn, according to ALROSA estimates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia pursues listing on NYSE - Megan van Wyngaardt

CALEDONIA MINING yesterday said it was seeking a fourth listing on the NYSE MKT. It is already listed on the Aim, the OTCQX and TSX. The company believes the listing will increase trading liquidity while enabling access to a larger pool of potential US investors. "This is a further step towards the transformation on which the business embarked with the adoption of the investment plan at Blanket in October 2014", chairperson LEIGH WILSON said. He added that increased gold production at the company's Blanket mine, in Zimbabwe, would result in attractive cash returns for both the company's shareholders and Blanket's local partners and stakeholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Galane Gold looks to buy Vantage's South African assets - Megan van Wyngaardt

GALANE GOLD has entered into a letter of intent with VANTAGE GOLDFIELDS to acquire all of its outstanding shares. VANTAGE is an Australian company with mining assets in the Barberton Greenstone Belt. "This represents another significant step toward GALANE's stated goal to reshape into a long-life and low-cost operation that can produce positive returns for investors across commodity cycles", CEO NICK BRODIE said. The VANTAGE operations are located within 30 km of GALANE's existing operations at Galaxy Gold. "We hope to leverage synergies [between the mines] to create an operating asset in the Barberton area which, together with our Galaxy property, is expected to result in a combined resource exceeding 5.8m oz", BRODIE added. This would stem from production of over 160 000oz/y and an AISC of less than $900/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin restarts two shafts after protests halted - Reuters

LONMIN reopened two of its shafts in SA on May 20 after community protests stopped, a spokesperson said yesterday. The E2 and E3 shafts were fully opened on Saturday but had been paused after the death of a local chief, spokesperson WENDY TLOU said. The shafts contribute 3%-4% of total production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia shares fall as Tanzania committee says it under-declared concentrate exports - Creamer Media Reporter

ACACIA MINING's share price on the LSE fell by more than 20% yesterday after it said a Tanzanian Presidential Committee that was set up to investigate if mining companies are paying their fair share of taxes had found that the company had not fully declared all minerals contained in concentrate. President JOHN MAGAFULI yesterday released a report compiled by the committee, which was set up late in Mar. and comprised academics and industry professionals. ACACIA said it had not yet seen the full report, but noted that it stated that the value of minerals contained within the concentrates in the containers currently at the Dar es Salaam port was more than ten times the declared amount. "We are seeking a fully copy of the report and further clarification. ACACIA reiterates that it fully declares everything of commercial value that we produce and pay all appropriate royalties and taxes on all of the payable minerals that we produce", the company stated. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that MAGAFULI had also fired

Wescoal's Khanyisa Complex produces first coal - Megan van Wyngaardt

WESCOAL has received regulatory approval from the Department of Mineral Resources to start producing at its expanded Khanyisa colliery in Mpumalanga. The company yesterday said mining activities have started in the Khanyisa Catwalk, as well as the adjacent Khanyisa Triangle, with output from the enlarged complex to ramp up to 100 000t/m over the next six months. WESCOAL CEO WAHEED SULAIMAN said significant operational synergies between the two operations will be unlocked, allowing the complex to be mined more efficiently, while extending the mine life to more than five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore looking to expand agri business - CEO - Reuters

GLENCORE is looking to expand its agriculture business via its partnership with two Canadian funds, CEO IVAN GLASENBERG said yesterday, but has no plans to move into any commodities it doesn't already trade. GLASENBERG was speaking a day after BUNGE said it was not in talks with GLENCORE, while GLENCORE said it had made an informal approach to discuss "a possible consensual business combination". GLENCORE sold 50% of its agriculture business in 2016 to two Canadian investment funds, the CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD and BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CORP. GLASENBERG said he hoped to grow the agriculture business via GLENCORE AGRICULTURE, a vehicle set up by the two Canadian funds. GLASENBERG said he preferred to increase the business via acquisitions rather than greenfield investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye appoints Maziya as director - Henry Lazenby

SIBANYE GOLD has appointed SAVANNAH MAZIYA as a non-executive director following the resignation of CHRISTOPHER CHADWICK with effect from Tuesday. The company selected MAZIYA for hear wealth of experience from the finance, mining, infrastructure and media sectors. She is the founder, chair and CEO of BUNENGI GROUP, which operates globally in infrastructure and resource project development, management of trauma hospitals, mass retail transport throughout Africa, project management and diversified investments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers investors see billions trapped by China success - TJ Strydom

NASPERS's 33% stake in TENCENT is worth around $100bn, or 20% more than NASPERS itself, dwarfing other parts of the business. The company has ploughed in around $3.6bn since 2012 to drive growth in e-commerce platforms and reduce its dependence on TENCENT and pay-TV, which thrives in SA but faces headwinds elsewhere. So far it has little to show for its investments and some shareholders say chair KOOS BEKKER and CEO BOB VAN DIJK must find new ways to close the discount between NASPERS' stock and TENCENT shares. "What is clear to the external observer is that developmental assets, largely e-commerce, are deteriorating in their group contribution relative to TENCENT and are cash absorbing. Furthermore, it is difficult to see these assets reaching sizeable international scale", said MARK INGHAM of INGHAM ANALYTICS. NASPERS has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher into a R1.2tn multinational with private equity-style investments. But it owes much of that valuation to the $33m bet in

Nigeria seeks lawmakers' approval for $1.3bn loan for development bank - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's government is seeking approval from lawmakers to borrow $1.3bn from international lenders to fund the newly licensed DEVELOPMENT BANK OF NIGERIA, a spokesperson for the lower chamber of parliament said yesterday. The bank aims to support small businesses with loans of varying lengths at lower interest rates than are currently available. The loan money is made up of $500m from the World Bank, $450m from the African Development Bank, $200m from Germany's KfW and $130m from France's state development agency. Cabinet last month approved the loans for the bank, but the loan facility is still subject to approval by the National Assembly. A letter seen by Reuters stated that the loan facility was "inadvertently omitted" from an external borrowing plan that requires approval by lawmakers. "It has been referred to the relevant committee on foreign loans. This is an addendum to the earlier requests by the president for loan approval", said ABDULRAZAQ NAMDAS, a spokesperson for the House of Representativ

Nigerian budget minister says latest GDP data encouraging - Felix Onuah

Nigeria is moving out of recession, Budget Minister UDOMA UDO UDOMA said yesterday. "We discussed at length the GDP results just released and found the GDP performance very encouraging", UDOMA said after a cabinet meeting. He was referring to data published earlier this week which showed that Nigeria's economy shrank by 0.52% y/y in Q1, having contracted 0.67% y/y in the same period a year ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's OK chain posts 800% rise in FY profit - MacDonald Dzirutwe

OK ZIMBABWE posted an 800% surge in FY after-tax profit to $6.1m from $700 000 y/y after reducing costs and improving margins, the grocery chain said yesterday. Revenue rose 8% to $472m during the FY to end-Mar. while EPS jumped to 0.52cps, from 0.06cps y/y. OK ZIMBABWE's 63 stores makes it the biggest in the country ahead of rival TM SUPERMARKETS, which has 56 stores. PICK N PAY owns 49% of TM SUPERMARKETS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Discovery launches health insurance brand in Australia - Tanisha Heiberg

DISCOVERY LTD yesterday said it will create a health insurance brand in a JV with two Australian companies to expand the footprint of its behaviour tracking programme. The company's Vitality programme will be combined in a JV with Australia's largest life insurer, AIA AUSTRALIA, and non-profit health and care company GMHBA to form MYOWN. The joint health insurance brand will initially offer insurance and AIA VITALITY and will later roll out life insurance. "DISCOVERY is pleased to join with AIA AUSTRALIA and GMHBA to bring this innovative health and life insurance offer to Australians to foster happier, healthier lives", VITALITY GROUP CEO BARRY SWARTZBERG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria could hit 2.2m bpd oil output by end-Jun. - Oando - Libby George

The worst disruptions in Nigeria's oil-producing Delta region are over and output could reach 2.2m bpd by end-Jun., OANDO CEO PADE DUROTOYE said yesterday. "Before the end of June, we will have Forcados back, which would take us comfortably back to 2.2m bpd", he said. Attacks in the Niger Delta had pushed production to just over 1m bpd at certain points last year, the lowest in decades, but attacks have abated since the start of the year. The first Forcadoscargo from the main Trans Forcados export line loaded last week, though operator ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has said force majeure remains in place. DUROTOYE said bold action by the government to address security in the area had helped, and that if it continued, OANDO could boost output from 50 000 bpd to 150 000 bpd within 12-18 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsogo Sun FY profit rises on acquisitions - Nqobile Dludla

TSOGO SUN yesterday reported an increase in FY earnings, citing acquisitions including a controlling stake in HOSPITALITY PROPERTY FUND, and said it expects trading to remain under pressure. TSOGO said adjusted HEPS for the FY to end-Mar. rose 6% to 207.6cps. EBITDA rose 11% to R5bn, while revenue for the gaming division increased 3% to R9.1bn, with gaming win growth disappointing at 2%. TSOGO acquired a 50.6% stake in HPF last year in exchange for selling 10 hotels worth R1.78bn to the fund. It recently sold 29 additional hotel assets worth R3.6bn to the fund in May. It also acquired two hotel businesses from the LIBERTY GROUP in KZN and a 20% share in the Grandwest and Worcester casinos in the Western Cape. Revenue for the South African hotel division rose 28% to R3.5bn due to various expansionary projects, while the offshore hotels division achieved total revenue of R635m, down 8% y/y. A final dividend of 70cps was declared, taking the payout for the year to 104cps, up 6% y/y. This news brief rep

Market indicators for 25/05/2017

At 07:14 on 25 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.90 ZAR/EUR 14.50 ZAR/GBP 16.75 Gold 1258.76 Platinum 949.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.39 All Share 54308.67

Coronation reports drop in profit - Kabelo Khumalo

CORONATION FUND MANAGERS on Tuesday posted a 4% drop in profits and assets under management for the HY to end-Mar. However, the company said it had reopened its SA equity and multi-asset portfolio to institutional clients to counter outflows over the last two years. It said the cumulative inflows over a number of years were higher than expected. CORONATION reported revenue fell 6% to R1.9bn during the period, while diluted HEPS declined by 4% to 220.7cps. This was due to its variable cost structure and focused cost control. Total net outflows of institutional assets in SA was R30bn as a result of the closure of new institutional investors in its biggest local product categories, and rebalancing of its portfolios. The company's global institutional assets saw inflows of R3bn for the period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB rolls out non-cash dispensing ATMs for rural masses - ANA Reporter

FNB is partnering with spaza shop owners to become the first bank in SA to introduce a non-cash dispensing ATM with deposit capability in a bid t deliver banking services to rural communities. The lender said the non-cash dispensing ATMs are currently in pilot phase and the extend and areas of roll-out would depend largely on the outcomes of the pilot. FNB said the roll-out of the next generation ATMs seeks to improve access to banking in rural parts of SA and to broaden financial inclusion. The cash deposit functionality is an added layer of convenience for the communities as they will be able to send and receive cash via a channel that is cheaper than going into a branch. The ATMs can perform a variety of transactions such as airtime and electricity purchases, viewing of statements, paying of traffic fines and performing card cancellations. Cash withdrawals are conducted by way of issuing the customer with a withdrawal voucher that is presented to a retailer to release the cash and the retailer's accou

Exxaro CEO appointed CoM president - ANA Reporter

The Chamber of Mines yesterday elected EXXARO CEO MXOLISI MGOJO as its president, replacing MIKE TEKE after three years at the helm of the chamber MGOJO has been EXXARO CEO since Apr. 2016. Both ANDILE SANGQU, executive head of ANGLO AMERICAN SA, and SIBANYE GOLD CEO NEAL FRONEMAN were re-elected as vice-presidents. CoM CEO ROGER BAXTER said the office bearers play a crucial role in leading and representing the industry, and in providing strategic leadership guidance to the Chamber team. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Infrastructure, oil to push Uganda growth higher - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda's economy will reach growth rates of 6%-6.5% within three to four years if energy and transportation infrastructure projects are completed and oil starts flowing, the IMF said yesterday. The crude pipeline currently under construction is due for completion in 2020. Uganda enjoyed vigorous growth rates of about 7% in the early to mid-2000s, but a slowdown in foreign direct investment due to economic weakness in Europe and elsewhere and deepening instability in the region have blunted growth. The IMF has lowered its growth rate forecast for the country for 2016/17 to 3.5%-4%, citing the impact of drought and slow private sector credit growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CPI falls in April - Lameez Omarjee

CPI in April fell to 5.3% from 6.1% in Mar., Statistics SA said today. Food and non-alcoholic beverages fell from 1.5 percentage points in Mar. to 1.1 pps in April. On a y/y basis, it increased by 6.7%. Transport costs decreased from 1.1 pps in Mar. to 0.7 in Apr., but increased by 4.6% y/y. The CPI for services increased by 5.5% for the year, up from 5.4% reported in March. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nokia, Apple settle patent dispute - Nic Fildes

NOKIA and APPLE have settled a patent dispute after the latter agreed to make an upfront cash payment to the Finnish company as well as a new licensing pact. The parties sued each other in Dec. after a long-running agreement for the use of NOKIA's patents signed in 2011 lapsed. That deal had proved critical for NOKIA as its mobile phone business would down as it took a cut of every iPhone sold. NOKIA has since acquired ALCATEL-LUCENT, which strengthened its hand heading into talks over a new deal. APPLE accused NOKIA of "using the tactics of a patent troll" during talks over a new licensing deal. The parties declined to detail the new agreement but said it would include an up-front cash payment and royalties which will boost its NOKIA TECHNOLOGIES research division as well as generating new sales. NOKIA said it would begin to recognise the new revenue in Q2 and that it would provide a "comprehensive update of its capital structure optimisation programme" in the third quarter. This news brief represent

Mediclinic breats profit forecasts but warns on Middle East ops - Nicholas Megaw

MEDICLINIC posted better than expected profits for the FY to end-Mar. but warned that stabilising its new business in Abu Dhabi is likely to take a number of years. Revenue rose by 30% to £2.7bn thanks to the £1.4bn purchase of the Abu Dhabi business, in line with forecasts. Profit before tax rose 25% to £307m, roughly in line with forecasts, while underlying EBITDA rose 17% y/y to £501m, compared to forecasts of £484m. Although the acquisition in the UAE helped to boost revenues, MEDICLINIC's efforts to integrate the new business have been challenging. In Feb., the company warned that FY revenues would be lower than previously expected, before adding that profit margins wouldn't be quite as badly affected as it had thought. The company expects to see a "gradual improvement" in the Abu Dhabi business, but said Middle East revenues will only increase "marginally" in the coming year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand continues to strengthen on prospect of Zuma removal - Nicholas Megaw

The rand has strengthened past 13/$ for only the second time since President JACOB ZUMA sacked former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN in Mar. after reports suggested ZUMA himself could be on the way out amid growing pressure from within the ANC. Bloomberg yesterday reported that the ANC's NEC will discuss recalling ZUMA at a meeting this weekend, prompting a rally in the currenty that continued into this morning. The rand was trading 0.6% stronger against the greenback by midmorning at 12.9922. RABOBANK emerging markets forex strategist PIOTR MATYS warned against getting "carried away" by the reports, whcih were quickly denied by the ANC. However, he added that "every day more cracks seem to be appearing on ZUMA's previously strong position", which is likely to encourage further strengthening in the rand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Beijing reacts to Moody's downgrade - Alice Woodhouse

China's finance ministry has rebuffed today's credit downgrade by MOODY's. The ministry responded to MOODY's by saying the government's debt level had changed little in 2016 compared to the previous year and said there would be little change in terms of government debt risk in 2018-2020. "MOODY's has overestimated the difficulties faced by China's economy and underestimated the government's ability to deepen reforms", the ministry said. Chinese stocks pulled back from initial falls following the ratings cut, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.6% from a 1.3% drop earlier in the day. The Shenzhen Composite was 0.2% lower, easing from 1.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta Resources returns to profit - Neil Hume

VEDANTA RESOURCES today said its search for a new CEO was well underway as it posted a return to profitability. In the FY to Mar., the company said profits before tax were $1.4bn, against a loss of $5bn y/y. Buoyed by higher commodity prices, underlying earnings rose 37% to $3.2bn y/y. Revenues rose 7% to $11.5bn. VEDANTA declared a final dividend of 35cps, taking its total payout for the year to 55cps. Today's results showed an increase in net debt of $1.2bn in the FY to $8.5bn due to dividends paid to minorities. CEO TOM ALBANESE in Mar. announced his intention to step down when his contract expires in Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&S pre-tax profit thumped by restructuring costs, impairments - Mark Vandevelde

MARKS & SPENCER's pre-tax profit fell by 64% in the FY to Apr. 1, dragged down by restructuring costs, property impairments and lower clothing sales. Profits before tax and exceptional items were down 11%, slightly ahead of analyst expectations according to an average compiled by Bloomberg. M&S said its market share had "stabilised" and that it now accounted for a higher proportion of full-price sales than a year ago. The food business continued to exceed management expectations. CEO STEVE ROWE said the planned restructuring "has come with a cost and has impacted profits, but the business is still strongly cash generative and we reduced our net debt". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shares jump on reports of WD bid for chip unit - Peter Wells

Shares in TOSHIBA rose more than 7% this morning on reports WESTERN DIGITAL was prepared to offer Y2tn for the Japanese conglomerate's memory chip unit. The parties are already in the midst of a legal dispute, with WD threatening to block the sale of TOSHIBA's chip unit on the basis that a sale without its consent would represent a breach of the pair's chip JV. TOSHIBA has rejected that argument. WD may buy Y1.5tn worth of preferred shares, while INNOVATION NETWORK OF JAPAN and DEVELOPMENT BANK OF JAPAN would buy a combined Y500bn of common shares, Kyodo reported citing anonymous sources. BAIN CAPITAL in collaboration with South Korea's SK HYNIX last week bid for the NAND memory chip unit. FOXCONN and BROADCOM are also leading contenders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China credit rating cut by Moody's - Peter Wells

China's credit rating has been downgraded by MOODY's on expectations the country's financial strength will "erode somewhat" over coming years as debt rises, but the outlook was lifted to stable from negative. The cut to China's long-term local currency rating to A1 from Aa3 puts it on par with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia. In justifying the move, MOODY's said China's potential growth is likely to fall in coming years, making the economy increasingly reliant on policy stimulus. "At least over the near term, with monetary policy limited by the risk of fuelling renewed capital outflows, the burden of supporting growth will fall largely on fiscal policy, with spending by government and government-related entities... rising", MOODY's said. It warned that such stimulus will only add to rising debt across the whole economy. MOODY's forecasts Beijing's direct debt burden to rise gradually to 40% of GDP by 2018 and closer to 45% by the end of 2020. Indirect and contingent liabiliti

Noble falls 20% as it says talks with strategic parties ongoing - Alice Woodhouse

NOBLE GROUP fell as much as 27% in early trading today as it resumed trading in Singapore and said its talks with potential strategic parties were ongoing. The FT reported on Sunday that SINOCHEM was no longer seen as a potential white knight for the commodity trader due to its planned merger with CHEMCHINA, which already owns a stake in commodity trader MERCURIA. NOBLE said it was "not aware of any reasons" that woudl confirm a later report by Reuters that indicated SINOCHEM had lost interest due to "commercial concerns about NOBLE". NOBLE's stock is down 81.5% since the start of the year and its bonds have also been hit as investors fear it will not be able to meet its debt burden. The group posted a $129m net loss in Q1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P puts 38 Brazilian financial institutions' ratings on negative watch - Jessica Dye

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS has placed the ratings of 38 Brazilian financial institutions on negative watch amid a political scandal that rocked the country's markets. The ratings agency said it was placing the watch on the firms because "the greater likelihood of an economic recovery delay, stemming from recent policital developments, increases the risk for the credit fundamentals of the financial institutions operating in Brazil". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK threat level raised to critical - Jessica Dye

The British government has raised the threat level to critical as PM THERESA MAY yesterday warned that further attacks could be "imminent". The escalation comes a day after an attack in Manchester killed 22 people and injured dozens more. MAY said that military personnel would be deployed to support police at key sites and public events, adding that "the work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore confirms informal approach to Bunge - Jessica Dye

GLENCORE has confirmed reports that it has made an "informal approach" to BUNGE regarding a "possible consensual business combination". The news, first reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, sent BUNGE shares up more than 16%. GLENCORE confirmed the approach, adding: "Following this informal approach from GAL (GLENCORE AGRICULTURE LIMITED), discussions may or may not materialise and there is no certainty that any transaction will occur." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merck accused of breaking UK competition law - Nicholas Megaw

MERCK may have broken rules by offering unfair discounts on one of the world's best-sellign drugs to discourage new competitors, according to provisional findings by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority. The drugs cost watchdog backed the use of cheaper copycat version of infliximab - a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease - in Jan. 2016, but the CMA said a discount scheme by MERCK "was likely to restrict competition" for the "biosimilar" copies. The CMA said MERCK was "abusing its dominant position" in the market. Infliximab generates annual revenues of over $10bn and is a key drug for MERCK, which markets the drug in Europe, and JOHNSON & JOHNSON, which markets it in the US. A company spokesperson said it is cooperating fully with the CMA's investigation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff publishes additional information - Fin24

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL recently announced that it changed its financial year-end from 30 June to 30 September. To assist investors with analysing the upcoming HY results announcement for the HY to end-Mar. 2017 - to be announced on Jun. 7 - STEINHOFF has published unaudited consolidated financial information for the comparative six-month period ended Mar. 31 2016 on the company's website. The information can be accessed on http://www.steinhoffinternational.com/. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Big leadership changes at Lewis as profits slump - Matthew le Cordeur

The chairperson, a board member and the CFO of LEWIS GROUP have announced they are leaving as the company announced a 35.6% drop in HEPS for the FY to end-Mar. The retailer said it would pay a final cash dividend of 100cps for the FY under review. Chair DAVID NUREK "advised the board that he plans to retire after serving as a director and chairman since the group's listing on the JSE in 2004", the company said. Additionally, CFO LES DAVIES has advised the board that he will be stepping down as CFO and as an executive director of the company with effect from Mar. 31. LEWIS today reported that headline earnings declined from R552m to R355m in the FY, with HEPS at 400,1cps. Revenue at R5.6bnn was down 3.3% y/y due to a 4.3% decline in other revenue. The gross profit margin expanded by 360 bps to 41.6% "due to mroe competitive procurement of locally sourced products, tight stock control and an increased sales contribution from the higher margin furniture category". LEWIS said operating costs were contained

Woolies appoints CEO for Australasia - Fin24

WOOLWORTHS yesterday advised that JOHN DIXON, current CEO of DAVID JONES, will assume the role of CEO of WHL AUSTRALASIA with effect from Sep. 1. WHL AUSTRALASIA encompasses the restructured business of DAVID JONES and COUNTRY ROAD GROUP in Australia and New Zealand. DIXON has also been appointed as an executive director of the company with effect from May 18. He joined the company in Jan. 2016 as CEO of DAVID JONES and was previously employed by MARKS & SPENCER. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verimark taps into European markets - Sandile Mchunu

VERIMARK yesterday said that introducing new products and increasing prices were the key factors that determined the success of the business in 2016 as the country's subdued economy curtailed consumer spending. CEO MICHAEL VAN STRAATEN said the company expected the economy to continue its downward spiral throughout the year and was looking elsewhere for growth. The company had reactivated its international trading strategy by exhibiting at four trade fairs abroad. VAN STRAATEN said the company would exhibit in Venice, Italy, in three weeks' time as it had been well received in places like Munich, Barcelona and Frankfurt. VERIMARK reported an increase of 1.9% in sales revenue to R439.1m for the FY to end-Feb., mainly due to price increases implemented last year. The group said price increases were necessary at the beginning of Feb. 2016 given the continued depreciation of the rand against the dollar. Profit before tax rose 184.7% from R13.1m to R37.3m, while HEPS rose by 200% to 24cps, up from 8cps y/y/.

DTI refuses to publish list of black industrialist scheme beneficiaries for fear they will be 'harassed' - Terence Creamer

Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES yesterday showcased four recipients of government's flagship Black Industrialist prograamme during his Budget Vote, but astonishingly refused to release the names of all 46 recipients of the non-refundable government grants and concessional loans. The DTI recently announced that the multibillion-rand programme would be accelerated and that 100 black industrialists would be supported by end-Mar. 2018, instead of the initial deadline of Mar. 2019. DAVIES yesterday said that more than R2bn in financial support had been approved for the first 46 recipients. The funding would support investments worth R3.7bn, which is projected to create more than 8 000 direct jobs and close to 12 000 indirect jobs. The four beneficiary firms introduced include YEKANI MANUFACTURING, UNITED INDUSTRIAL CABLE, MICRO FINISH and K9 PET FOODS. DAVIES said the applications had been adjudicated by a "professional" funding forum, which he stressed included no politicians. However, he said the iden

Group Five appoints new CEO - Megan van Wyngaardt

GROUP FIVE has appointed THEMBA MOSAI as CEO with immediate effect. MOSAI, who has been acting CEO since the resignation of ERIC VEMER in Mar., has been with the company for over 13 years. GROUP FIVE noted that MOSAI was instrumental in the growth of the development business, which focused on the identification of significant contract opportunities in the target sectors of transport, energy and real estate. MOSAI said the company would continue focusing on improving performance across its portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC dismisses Zuma removal report as 'fabrication' - Reuters

The ANC dismissed a Bloomberg report yesterday that President JACOB ZUMA's removal would be discussed at a key party meeting this weekend as fictional. Bloomberg quoted two anonymous sources as saying the party would discuss ZUMA's removal at a National Executive Committee meeting this weekend, sending the rand up 1.5% against the dollar. ANC spokesperson denied the report, saying it was "a complete fabrication and not true". A senior NEC member told Reuters he was unaware of any changes to the draft agenda of the meeting to include a debate on ZUMA's future as party leader. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba punts financial sector reform - ANA

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday said the Treasury would support parliamentary processes aimed at regulating the local financial sector to make the industry more inclusive. GIGABA said the joint standing committees on finance and trade and industry have had various hearings on the transformation of the financial sector. He said the committees foudn that the sector needed reinvigorating. "We need to reinvigorate the financial sector charter to ensure all South Africans participate fully in the ownership, management, supply and take-up of financial services. Transforming the financial sector to reflect South Africa better is key, includiign supporting SMEs and ensuring that financial institutions procure from SMEs and emerging businesses", GIGABA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel production rises 5% y/y in Apr. - Creamer Media Reporter

Global steel production, as reported to worldsteel, rose by 5% y/y to 142.1mt in April. China's steel production rose by 4.9% to 72.8mt, while Japan's output rose 3% y/y to 8.8mt. The US produced 6.7mt of steel, up 1.8% y/y. SA's production fell by 8.8% y/y to 493 000t, while Egypt increased output by 45.2% y/y to 512 000t. Worldsteel said the crude steel capacity utilisation ratio increased by 2.5 percentage points y/y to 73.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Influx of job seekers to Gauteng threatens economic momentum - Megan van Wyngaardt

Although it has made progress in creating jobs over the medium-term, the Gauteng provincial government still faced a rapid rise in the economically active population owing to migration, Premier DAVID MAKHURA said yesterday. MAKHURA cautioned that the number of jobs being created was not enough to match this influx, adding that the economy's structural problems also posed challenges. This, paired with sluggish growth and recent ratings downgrades, posed a risk to the "momentum government has been building with the private sector". MAKHURA said infrastructure investment was one of his government's most positive trends since 2014, with the provincial government having invested R30bn between 2013 and 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan lays into Eskom board over Molefe - ANA

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN yesterday called for the ESKOM board to be sacked and a full investigation into not only BRIAN MOLEFE's return to the utility, but his actions in his previous job at TRANSNET. GORDHAN told the portfolio committee on public enterprises that the public would not be fooled by unfeasible explanations on the circumstances surrounding MOLEFE's return as ESKOM CEO this month. "I don't know whether the board lives in its own bubble of oblivion but the public is connecting the dots... if we think we are bluffing the public, we have another thing coming", GORDHAN said. "ESKOM is far too important an entity to become the personal toy of a few individuals. Either the board in its entirety should be dismissed or should voluntarily resign". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rhodes Food attributes strong interim results to organic growth - Megan van Wyngaardt

RHODES FOOD yesterday posted a 14.6% y/y rise in net profit to R125m for the HY ended Apr. 2, while headline earnings rose 15.9% to R126m. It attributed the growth to sustained strong organic growth in the regional segment, with fresh food sales up 27.8%, long life foods increasing its turnover by 12.3% and sales in sub-Saharan Africa excluding SA up 55%. RHODES noted that international revenue was negatively impacted by the strengthening rand. Group operating margin rose by 30 bps to 9.7% while the regional operating margin expanded to 9.2%. Rand strength contributed to the international margin declining to 12.6%, although the full impact of the currency was limited by the group's forex hedging strategy. "We continue to hedge around 60% of projected foreign sales on a 12-month rolling basis through an internal hedge and forward exchange contracts", CFO TIAAN SCHOOMBIE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

African Bank returns to profit - Dineo Faku

AFRICAN BANK swung to a profit in the HY to end-Mar. The lender yesteday said it swept back to R315m in profits from a R1.6bn loss y/y. The lender in 2016 impaired R1.9bn in goodwill to make way for the commencement of its operations in line with accounting standards. AFRICAN BANK yesterday said earnings from insurance operations shot up R280m from R33m y/y. CEO BRIAN RILEY said the results reflected a core loans business that continued to improve in the context of a tough environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo appoints Ian Ashby to board - Megan van Wyngaardt

ANGLO AMERICAN has appointed IAN ASHBY as a nonexecutive director with effect from Jul. 15. With 37 years of experience in the mining industry, ANGLO chair JOHN PARKER noted that ASHBY's leadership in major new mining projects and his depth of operational and commercial experience across various commodities and mining jurisdictions would further enrich board discussions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massive load-shedding looms in Zim - Reuters

Massive load-shedding could begin as early as next week in Zimbabwe as cash-strapped authorities still haven't settled an $80m debt to ESKOM, the Herald reports. State-run ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AUTHORITY has been unable to keep up with a payment plan agreed upon with ESKOM earlier this year. Now "frantic" efforts are being made to meet a May 31 payment deadline, ZESA head JOSH CHIFAMBA was quoted as saying. It is understood that ZESA doesn't have to pay the full $890m back immediately but must meet the shortfaqll on the debt repayment plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown drops opposition to legal challenge to Molefe's reappointment - ANA

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has withdrawn her opposition to the court application for the reappointment of BRIAN MOLEFE as CEO of ESKOM to be set aside. BROWN told Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises that she will "abide by the decision of the court". BROWN told the committee she did not "expect that society would universally welcome Mr MOLEFE's return", but had thought that the presumption of innocence and fact that he would be under intense scrutiny would mitigate concerns. The DA last week filed a two-fold application in the North Gauteng High Court, asking that MOLEFE be prevented from performing any functions at ESKOM and that his reappointment be rescinded. BROWN said that she had for months believed that MOLEFE had resigned last year but learns in April that he had in fact asked for early retirement. She said MOLEFE's initial contract with ESKOM had been signed in terms of an earlier memorandum of incorporation which did not, unlike the later 2016 one, oblige the boa

Glencore predicts OPEC insulated from electric vehicle impact - Reuters

OPEC nations will be relatively insulated frm any early peak in oil demand caused by the faster-than-expected roll-out of electric vehicles, GLENCORE chair TONY HAYWARD said this week. GLENCORE is among the mining groups that anticipate electric cars could have a much earlier impact than previously thought, which is beneficial to them as suppliers of copper, cobalt and other mienrals, but negative for oil firms. "Historically the view was oil demand would increase beyond 2040", HAYWARD said. "With the progress companies have made with electric vehicles, it's quite likely that (peak in oil demand) will come forward", he said. "It's probably not very good news for the oil industry and quite good news for the mining industry". HAYWARD noted that expensive deepwater oil and Canadian tar sands, rather than OPEC crude, would be forced out of the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petmin to delist by June as Bidco buyout becomes unconditional - Natasha Odendaal

PETMIN yesterday announced it was on track for a June delisting from the JSE as newly incorporated public company BIDCO's acquisition of all or a portion of its issued shares becomes unconditional. PETMIN expected to terminate its listing on Jun. 7, with the suspension of trading scheduled for May 31. The firm intention tabled by BIDCO in Dec. comprised two separate but concurrent offers - a scheme and a standby offer - to acquire PETMIN's shares, excluding those held by PETMIN's subsidiaries. An implementation agreement was entered into with midmarket private equity business CAPITALWORKS PRIVATE EQUITY, acting in its capacity as BIDCO's general partner of the special purpose acquisition partnership. The offer will be settled at a price of R1.55 for each PETMIN share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe receives final instalment from Zijin for Kamoa stake - Creamer Media Reporter

IVANHOE MINES has received the final instalment of $41.2n owing from a subsidiary of ZIJIN MINING GROUP as part of a strategic co-development agreement under which ZIJIN acquired 49.5% of IVANHOE's majority stake in KAMOA HOLDING for $412m. KAMOA HOLDINGS has an indirect 80% stake in the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the DRC, that is now being jointly developed by IVANHOE and ZIJIN. ZIJIN, via subsidiary GOLD MOUNTAINS INTERNATIONAL MINING COMPANY, paid an initial $206m in Dec. 2015 followed by the payment of four scheduled tranches of $41.2m each in Mar., July and Oct. 2016 and Feb. this year. IVANHOE and ZIJIN now each hold an indirect 39.6% stake in the Kamoa-Kakula project, while CRYSTAL RIVER GLOBAL holds an indirect 0.8% stake and the DRC government a direct 20% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

C-Rock welcomes Rockwell's business rescue process - Megan van Wyngaardt

C-ROCK MINING LIMITED, which brought a provisional liquidation application against three subsidiaries of ROCKWELL DIAMONDS, has welcomed the court's decision to place the subsidiaries under business rescue. CML had previously applied to have the three subsidiaries placed in interim liquidation, stating that ROCKWELL owed it some R146m. Speaking in a telephone interview on Tuesday, a CML representative said the business rescue process afforded the contractor a chance to recover some of the money owed to it. "Our dispute with ROCKWELL is based on contracts that were signed with them, including work done on earthmoving machines and the construction of the R77m Wouterspan plant", the person said. This, he noted, has resulted in CML retrenching 300 employees as it could not pay them. These workers are still awaiting payment. He added that CML would not have been able to obtain the provisional liquidation order, had its claim not been valid and had there not been any monies outstanding. ROCKWELL in Mar. said

Gem Diamonds recovers 98ct stone at Letseng - Megan van Wyngaardt

GEM DIAMONDS yesterday reported recovering a 98.42ct high-quality D-colour Type II diamond at its 70%-owned Letseng mine. CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said the company had recovered 479ct of diamonds at Letzeng at a grade of 1.53ct/hundred tonnes, against an expected reserve grade of 1.61cpht. He also noted that, during Apr. and May, there had been an even more notable improvement in the size and quality of diamonds recovered at the operation, with an 80.58ct D-colour Type II stone also recovered. Both these diamonds will be sold in June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's 2017 maize crop seen almost doubling - Tanisha Heiberg

Farmers are expected to reap a record 14.73mt of maize this season with current harvests indicating robust yields due to good rains, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. The Crop Estimates Committee is seen pegging the harvest at 14.73mt, up 89% from the 7.78mt harvested in 2016. The 2017 summer harvest is expected to consist of 8.747mt of white maize, and 5.980mt of the yellow variety. Improved weather conditiosn since last season's drought have pushed down maize and overall food prices and helped improve the inflation outlook. The white maize contract ending in July ticked up 0.21% to R1 813.80/t by yesterday morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria hopes for oil upturn after economy shrinks again - Reuters

Nigeria's economy stayed in recession in Q1 and shrank more sharply than thought at the end of 2016, data showed yesterday. GDP shrank by 1.5% in 2016 for its first annual drop in 25 years, hit by a shortage of hard currency and lower revenues from its dominant oil sector as world crude prices stayed under pressure. GDP shrank a further 0.52% y/y in Q1, the National Bureau of Statistics said, also revising the Q4 contraction to 1.73% from 1.30%. Average oil production rose by 0.07m bpd to 1.83m bpd in Q1. The NBS said the economy's non-oil sector grew by 0.72% in the first quarter. Supported by higher oil revenues, the central bank has in recent weeks succeeded in narrowing the spread in the naira's official and black market rates. It has sold more than $4bn since it started intervening on the official forex market in Feb. to ty to ease pressure on the currency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol says maintains output after refinery blast - Wendell Roelf

SASOL yesterday said it had enough oil reserves to meet market needs following an explosion at its 108 000 bpd NATREF refinery on Monday. The blast injured 11 people and forced the shutdown of operations close to the site of the explosion. SASOL spokesperson ALEX ANDERSON said operations at the refinery continued and that reserves would be used to meet market demands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rezidor Group targets 60% jump in Africa hotels by 2020 - Duncan Miriri

Sweden's REZIDOR GROUP AB plans to increase by 60% the number of hotels it operates in sub-Saharan Africa to 120 in the four years to 2020 to take advantage of growing business travel, regional head ANDREW MCLACHLAN said yesterday. The company has been focused on Africa due to growing demand for well-known accommodation brands, such as its RADISSON BLU hotels. "For the last two years, every 60 days we have opened a new hotel in Africa", MCLACHLAN said. "We have 16 500 rooms in Africa today. By the end of 2020 we would like to get to 23 000 rooms in Africa", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's current acc deficit widens to 7.7% in Feb. - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's current account deficit widened to 7.7% of GDP in Feb. from 5.9% y/y, the finance ministry said yesterday. The Treasury blamed a 5.6% drop in the value of exported goods and services. Combined with other unspecified income drops,, the fall more than offset a 4.5% decline in imports. The overall balance of payments swung to a deficit of $6.7m during the year to end-Feb., from a surplus of $112.4m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria c.bank keeps benchmark interest rate at 14% - Ulf Laessing

Nigeria's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 14% yesterday, governor GODWIN EMEFIELE said. This was in line with analysts' forecasts. "In consideration of the challenges weighing down the domestic economy and the uncertainties in the global environment, the committee decided by a unanimous vote of eight members in attendance to retain the [monetary policy rate] at 14%", EMEFIELE said. The central bank also kept its cash reserve ratio for commercial banks at 22.5%. EMEFIELE said the bank wanted to end the spread between the black market and official exchange rates, adding that the recent rise in the naira versus the dollar showed that its policies were working. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba says budget deficit narrowed in 2016/17 - Wendell Roelf

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday said the main budget deficit in 2016/17 narrowed to 3.8% of GDP from a previous estimate of 3.9% and would decrease further in coming years. "Over the next three years the deficit will be reduced to 3.3%, stabilising debt as a percentage of GDP and confirming the resilience of our public finances", GIGABA said in a televised speech in Parliament. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Euronext reaches into currency trading with FastMatch deal - Philip Stafford

EURONEXT will join the stock exchange encroachment on bank-dominated currency markets by purchasing FASTMATCH for an initial $153m. The Paris exchange will take control of the fast-growing electronic network from a group of shareholders, which includes FXCM. The venue operates mainly in the cash, or spot, currency markets, and trades an average daily volume of around $20.8bn. EURONEXT will also pay earns-out of up to $10m. The deal is expected to close in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble Group tumbles 28% following S&P downgrade - Alice Woodhouse

NOBLE GROUP fell 28.2% this morning after S&P reduced its long-term corporate credit rating for the commodities trader. S&P lowered its long-term corporate credit rating for the company to CCC+ from B+. "We believe NOBLE's liquidity is weak and that the company's refinancing risk has increased following the company's unexpected loss in the first quarter of 2017... The negative rating outlook reflects the potential that NOBLE's cash flow and profitability will remain weak for the next 12 months, with the risk of nonpayment of its debt obligations due to weakened access to funding", S&P said. MOODY's last Monday downgraded NOBLE further into junk territory and FITCH cut its long-term rating on the company to BB- from BB+ on Wednesday. NOBLE shares were down 28.2% at S$0.42 before the company requested a trading halt, but sank as much as 32.6% in early trade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Terror attack kills 22 in Manchester - Andy Bounds

An attack by a suicide bomber has killed 22 people and injured 59 at a concert in Manchester last night. Police said the explosion took place at around 10:30 last night. People reported a huge bang as they left the arena following a performance by US singer ARIANA GRANDE, whose fan base is mainly teenage girls. Chief Constable at Greater Manchester police IAN HOPINS confirmed that the attack was a suicide bombing. UK PM THERESA MAY is expected to chair a meeting of the cabinet emergency Cobra committee later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek debt relief talks break down - Jim Brunsden

Greece's creditors failed to reach a deal on debt relief during seven hours of talks last night, leaving the eurozone locked in a race to finish negotiations before Athens faces crippling debt repayments in July. Talks in the Eurogroup broke down as Germany, Greece and the IMF sparred over the next stages of Greece's €86bn bailout, and notably over how to ease the country's debts once its rescue programme expires in 2018. Talks stalled over the IMF's calls for the eurozone to add further detail to debt relief options for Greece that ministers sketched out last year. Although ministers held in-depth talks on maturity extensions for bailout loans and other options for debt easing, it was impossible to come up with a formula that all sides could accept. Eurogroup head JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM said informal talks would continue in the coming days with the aim of reaching a deal at the next scheduled Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg on Jun. 15. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil's JBS tumbles to 4-yr low on Temer accusations, ratings downgrade - Andres Schipani

Meat processor JBS, which is at the centre of Brazil's latest political scandal, is being butchered by investors, regulators and ratings agencies alike. Shares in the company fell more than 21% yesterday to R$6.97 after a markets regulator said late on Friday that it has opened a probe into signs of "possible insider trading" by its controlling shareholders. Brazilian assets suffered one of their sharpest sell-offs in recent memory last Thursday following news that President MICHEL TEMER was secretly taped in a conversation with JBS chair JOESLEY BATISTA, which the former allegedly endorsed bribe paying. TEMER has denied wrongdoing and defied calls to step down. In a televised speech at the weekend, TEMER instead accused BATISTA of committing the "perfect crime" by front-running last week's sell-off and making "millions and millions of dollars in less than 24 hours" in currency trades. JBS on Friday said it has "a policy and a practice of using financial protection instruments aimed exclusively at minimis

Iraq to back OPEC-led output cut extension - David Sheppard

Iraq will back a joint proposal from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend oil output cuts for another nine months, clearing the path for a deal when OPEC meets in Vienna later this week. Iraq's oil minister, JABAR ALI AL-LUAIBI, said he supported the nine-month plan at a press conference with Saudi counterpart KHALID AL-FALIH, after the two men met in Baghdad. FALIH has pushed to make the extension to the cuts nine months rater than six months following a sharp sell-off in crude last month. While FALIH said a final decision would not be taken until Thursday's meeting at the OPEC secretariat in Vienna, Iraq's decision to back the nine month plan removes some doubt sown by an earlier statement suggesting Baghdad would prefer the extension to the curbs to last just six months. FALIH said OPEC would consider "any" proposals for output cuts but stopped short of saying the cartel and its allies should go beyond the 1.8m bpd they have already agreed to remove from the market. This news brief represents a summary

Mexico revises Q1 GDP figure slightly higher - Mamta Badkar

Mexico's economy grew more than initially thought in the first quarter of 2017, data showed yesterday. GDP rose 0.7% in the quarter q/q and was higher than an earlier reading of 0.6%. Meanwhile, growth increased 2.8% y/y, a touch ahead of initial estimates for growth of 2.7%. That compared to an expansion of 2.3% in Q4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford confirms top management shake-up, names new CEO - Peter Campbell

FORD has confirmed it is replacing CEO MARK FIELDS and shaking up its senior management team as the carmaker aims to arrest its falling share price and improve its performance. FIELDS will be replaced by JIM HACKETT, the current head of FORD's mobility division. Chairperson BILL FORD said: "JIM HACKETT is the right CEO to lead FORD during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space". The company wants to speed up decision making processes, allowing it greater "nimbleness" when moving into new technology areas. It also pledged to address underperformign parts of the business and to establish the right company culture. The company also announced a number of other management shifts. EMEA head JIM FARLEY is taking an expanded role, overseeing global markets including Americas and Asia Pacific. FARLEY will also oversee FORD's premium Lincoln brand and be in charge of strategy and business model development for electrified vehicles and autonomous vehicles. JOE HINRICHS, cu

Brussels urges UK to control public finances ahead of Brexit - Mehreen Khan

Delivering its latest set of "country specific assessments" for member states, the European Commission yesterday said the British government should carry out "substantial" belt-tightening so it can fall below the bloc's deficit ceiling in 2018 - its last full year of membership. The UK's deficit is forecast to fall below the EU's 3% limit this year at 2.7|% of GDP but faces a deterioration in its public finances to 2.8% in 2018. The Commission's economists note Britain's private investment levels are "well below the EU average" and productivity growth has been "stagnant" since 2008. High levels of part-time work and poor wage growth mean the labour market still has "room for improvement", the Commission said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Portugal exits EU budget procedure six years after bailout - Jim Brundsen

Portugal yesteday passed a major milestone as Brussels said the former bailout country is no longer in breach of the EU's budget rules. The announcement marks a reputational turnaround for a country rescued by eurozone governments and the IMF in 2011, and that last year came close to being fined by Brussels for failing to act decisively enough to bring down its deficit. The European Commission said Portugal's budget deficit fell to 2% of GDP in 2016, well below the limit of 3% set out in its budget rules and the lowest since the country joined the eurozone in 1999. Brussels said it expects the deficit to stay at roughly this level until the end of its forecast horizon in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China slaps heavy penalties on sugar imports - Tom Hancock

China yesterday said it will impose hefty penalties on sugar imports to protect its domestic producers. The Ministry of Commerce said it will raise the duty on out-of-quota sugar imports for this fiscal year from 50% to 95% after its domestic industry was "seriously damaged" by imports since 2011. The raised tariffs were widely expected after Beijing launched its probe into sugar imports last year. China bought around 3mt of the sweetener from abroad in 2016, more than half of which came from Brazil. Under a WTO agreement 1.94mt of those imports face a low tariff of 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LafargeHolcim appoints new CEO - Ralph Atkins

LAFARGEHOLCIM has poached the boss of chemicals company SIKA to become its new CEO as the cement group recovers from the controversy over its past activities in Syria. JAN JENISCH will take over as LAFARGEHOLCIM CEO following the departure of ERIC OLSEN, who last month became the highest-profile casualty of an internal probe into a LAFARGE cement plant that the company kept running as Syria descended into civil war. JENISCH, aged 50, has been SIKA's CEO since 2012. He has run the Swiss company during a period of uncertainty over its future ownership as a result of a legal battle over an attempt by the controlling family's shareholders to sell its controlling stake to France's SAINT-GOBAIN. SAINT-GOBAIN's plans are opposed by SIKA's board as well as its top manager, but the company has still managed to grow strongly. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AstraZeneca sells European rights to Seloken - Nicholas Megaw

ASTRAZENECA has sold the European commercial rights to its Seloken heart medicines in a deal worth more than $300m. Italy's RECORDATI will pay AZ $300m up front for the rights to Seloken and associated treatments, which are used to treat hypertension, angina and heart failure. AZ will also continue to receive sales-related royalties, and will manufacture and supply the medicines for RECORDATI under a new supply agreement. European sales of the drugs were worth $110m in 2016. AZ will continue to commercialise the drugs outside of Europe, where it still holds the rights. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford to invest $350m in Michigan plant - Patti Waldmeir

FORD will invest $350m in a Michigan transmission plant, protecting or creating 800 production jobs as it struggles to bolster profitability by cutting costs and shedding white-collar jos. The news comes on the heels of an announcement last week that the company was cutting 1 400 salaried positions in North America and Asia. Most of the 800 positions at the Livonia transmission plant will be filled by current FORD staff. The Livonia plant jobs were part of a 2015 deal reached with the United Auto Workers union. So ar, there has been no negative feedback from President DONALD TRUMP about last week's job cuts. FORD has been under increasing pressure from shareholders to defend its strategy for earning profits as US auto sales decline from a 7-year peak, while FORD is simultaneously investing heavily in new technologies such as electrified and autonomous vehicles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deere sharply raises FY guidance as tractor demand recovers - Pan Kwan Yuk

DEERE last week significantly lifted its FY sales and profits guidance. The farm equipment maker said net sales and revenues are expected to increase by 9% for the FY to end-Oct., a sharp jump from the 4% increase it was forecasting just three months ago and a decline of 1% it had originally predicted back in Nov. Net income is now seen at around $2bn for the FY, up from the $1.5bn it was previously expecting. The company's newfound optimism was underscored by its fiscal A2 results. Total equipment sales rose 2% to $7.26bn in the quarter to end-Apr. while net income rose 62% to $802m as aggressive cost cutting and gains from an asset sale also helped the bottom line. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

3i eyes Luxembourg licences as it braces for hard Brexit - Javier Espinoza

3i, the UK's largest listed private equity group, is making plans to apply for passporting rights in Luxembourg as senior management already assume a 'hard' Brexit, sources said. This means the firm believes the UK is unlikely to remain in the single market and it is taking steps to be able to market and distribute funds in the EU. Senior management are likely to make up their minds by the end of the year, the people said. It comes as 3i said it is increasingly looking for European deals due to high valuations for assets in the UK market. Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam are also in the running but a senior person has said Luxembourg is a 'nose ahead' of the two because 3i already has third-party funds administered out of the principality. 3i declined to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels to back euro clearing relocation after Brexit, warns Euronext - Philip Stafford

EURONEXT expects Brussels will recommend the City's euro clearing business move into the EU after Brexit, leading the exchanges operator to enter talks with London-based banks preparing for that outcome. The European Commission will next month rule on how to police euro-denominated business outside the EU and is studying how to regulate overseas clearing houses that affect financial stability in the EU. "If the decision is taken to relocate, we will make sure this has the best impact on EURONEXT markets. This option is likely to prevail. The euro is their currency and 40-7 percent is done in London. [Outside the EU] it will become an anomaly and we should expect some movement", EURONEXT CEO STEPHANE BOUJNAH said last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual raises $322m in OMAM share sale - Robert Laing

OLD MUTUAL raised $322m by reducing its remaining stake in OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT to 22.4%, it said yesterday. OLD MUTUAL said its offer of 17.3m OMA shares was subscribed for at $14.55 apiece - a premium to OMAM's $14.34 closing price on Friday. This leaves just 3.65% of the company's former US subsidiary unsold since it announced in Mar. that HNA CAPITAL had agreed to buy 24.95% of OMAM for $446m in a two-step deal. The first tranche of this deal was completed on May 15 when HNA acquired 9.95% of OMAM for $15.30/share. HNA has agreed to pay $15.75/share for the 15% of OMAM it is buying in the second tranche. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal fines Giuricich Coastal Projects for cover pricing - Anine Kilian

The Competition Tribunal yesterday issued an order imposing an administrative penalty of R900 000 on GIURICICH COASTAL PROJECGTS for cover pricing in 2008. The Competition Commission said MONDI had invited three firms - GIURICICH, GRINAKER and STEFANUTTI STOCKS - to submit a design and construct proposal for the construction of the MONDI REEL HANDLINGS project, at the Merebank mill in KZN. While STEFANUTTI chose not to tender for the project, the other two companies did. According to the complaint brought by the Commission, the executives of the two rival building companies discussed a proposed contract for a customer in which GIURICICH agreed to submit a tender higher than that of GRINAKER, ensuring that the latter be awarded the contract. The project was awarded to GRINAKER, which has been given conditional immunity for the contravention by the regulator. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ministers meet S&P as SA seeks to avert further downgrades - Arabile Gumede, Bloomberg

Four ministers met with S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday after talks with MOODY's last week as the nation seeks to avoid another downgrade. Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA and his deputy, SFISO BUTHELEZI, were present to meet with S&P on Monday. They were joined by ministers ROB DAVIES, LYNNE BROWN and MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI. S&P is due to make another ratings announcement on the nation on Jun. 2, while MOODY's has placed the country under review for a downgrade. Both S&P and FITCH currently rate SA at BB+, while the nation is two levels above junk at MOODY's. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma no longer sees need to step into Moyane Treasury spat - Liesl Peyper

President JACOB ZUMA no longer sees the need to mediate between the Treasury and SARS as new Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA and SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE have a "good working relationship". ZUMA was responding to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP DAVID MAYNIER and COPE MP DEIDRE CARTER, who asked ZUMA which action he has taken to resolve the perceived impasse between former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and MOYANE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Molefe was just on unpaid leave - affidavits - Fin24

While he was an MP in Parliament, BRIAN MOLEFE was only considered to be on "unpaid leave" from his position as CEO of ESKOM, the Mail & Guardian reported last night. This is according to affidavits by MOLEFE and Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN. The affidavits were filed in a High Court application by the DA, which wants MOLEFE removed from the utility. BROWN and the ESKOM board will face the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises later today regarding MOLEFE's reinstatement as CEO. MOLEFE shed tears during a media briefing last year when ESKOM first addressed the Public Protector's State of Capture report, which implicated him in the sale of Optimum Coal from GLENCORE to TEGETA. Soon afterwards, he announced he was stepping down as CEO to clear his name. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt sits on 4 000 farms, yet hints at expropriation - Leanne George

While the ANC increasingly hints at land expropriation without compensation, the state is struggling to transfer more than 4 000 farms which have already been bought to their new owners, Netwerk24 reported yesterday. The Land Claims Commissioner blames the delay on disputes among land claimants. Research conducted by NPO In Transformation Initiative shows government owns 4 323 farming units, which include smallholdings and bigger farms. This land was bought following successful land claims against these properties. However, the farms have never been transferred to their new owners. Chief land claims commissioner NOMFUNDO GOBODO said the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform cannot be blamed for the delay in the transfer of title deeds. According to GOBODO, claimants of the tribes who become beneficiaries start disputing ownership among one another as soon as the land claim has been concluded. Legislation states that the beneficiaries need to establish a community property association to manag

Builders Warehouse launches first store featuring renewable energy - Anine Kilian

The Builders Warehouse in North Riding has installed a 126 kW solar photovoltaic plant, which comprises 400 roof-mounted polycrystalline PV panels. The plant will provide 70% of the store's daytime energy requirements and 16% of the store's total annual energy consumption. The store has also introduced other green technologies to reduce its overall water and energy consumption including daylight harvesting, lighting controllers, energy-efficient lighting, evaporative cooling systems and rainwater harvesting tanks. MASSMART's Makro Carnival and Makro Woodmead stores also use renewable energy technology. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

W Cape declared disaster area - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Western Cape was yesterday declared a disaster area, with local government implementing drastic interventions to relieve the water shortage in the province. This includes the drilling of boreholes at hospitals, starting in the metro, and followed by schools in high-risk water scarce areas; expediting environmental impact assessments for testing a mobile desalination plant using existing water inlet flows used for the reactors at the Koeberg plant, and drilling into the Table Mountain aquifer. The province will also appoint groundwater specialists in each district to identify main ground water sources and coordinate the exploration and management of these resources going forward, while local government would assess water restriction severity in respective municipalities. As it stands, the disaster will be classified for a three-month period, which can be extended if the need arises. In the event of such a classification, the Disaster Management Act empowers the provincial government to protect key fron

Aveng Grinaker-LTA nets Heineken brewery expansion contract - Creamer Media Reporter

HEIKEKEN SA has awarded AVENG GRINAKER-LTA's building division a two-phase contract for Project Harvest at the Sedibeng Brewery in Gauteng. The project includes the expansion of the cider production facilities via the addition of new cider base tanks and the construction of a flavouring plant with cold storage facilities, dissolved sugar tanks with dry storage facilities, a yeast propagation plant and bright beer tanks. AVENG is responsible for two phases, the first of which comprises the civil and concrete rafts for the yeast plant, cider base tanks and bright beer tanks, which is expected to take two months to complete. Phase 2 will see the completion of the the yeast propagation plant, cider base tanks, bright beer tanks and flavour room, as well as the cold and dry storage facilities within a four-and-a-half-month period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer Foods posts lower earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

PIONEER FOODS yesterday posted a 56% rise in headline earnings to R454m for the HY to end-Mar. due to a "confluence of various inhibitors" which contributed to a material decline in profitability. The company noted that maize had been the most significant detractor during the period, as a result of an unfavourable procurement position taken in 2016 "to protect supply for South Africa's leading maize brand". Meanwhile, PIONEER's international unit was severely hit by a raisin crop shortfall, African exports and a stronger rand. Cash generated by operations rose 27% to R875m, while group turnover was up 2% to R10.18bn. The cost of goods sold rose by 10% due to a significant raw material cost push, resulting in gross profit declining by 16% to R2.6bn and the gross profit margin being compressed from 31% to 26%. Adjusted operating profit fell by 43% to R700m and the adjusted operating profit margin declined from 12% to 7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Manufacturing Circle, Gauteng Premier to cooperate on reviving Vaal Triangle - Anine Kilian

The Manufacturing Circle will work with Gauteng Premier DAVID MAKHURA on an action plan to revive the Vaal Triangle and halt the decline of manufacturing in the region. The project is being driven by the CEO Initiative, which Manufacturing Circle chair ANDRE DE RUYTER is coordinating. "While we have a buy0in from industry in the area, we also need government backing. The Premier has agreed to set up a task team to work on this", Manufacturing Circle executive director PHILIPPA RODSETH said. She warned that the area was turning into SA's "rust belt", with significant plant closures, a slow rate of investment and the viability of major production plants under threat. RODSETH said the Circle wants to work with government to access support measures. These would include a favourable tax rate of 15% for existing and new business in the Vaal Triangle, if it were to be declared a special economic zone; accelerated depreciation allowances; tax holidays for new investments; recapitalisation allowances; and suppor

Natref refinery blast injures 11, some ops halted - Reuters

A blast yesterday at the NATREF oil refinery injured 11 people and forced the shutdown of operations close to the 108 000 bpd facility, but production at the main refinery continued, SASOL said. SASOL said the explosion happened at around 07:45 at SA's only inland refinery, a venture between SASOL and the local unit of TOTAL. "Operating units in the vicinity of the hydrogen compressors have been shut down", SASOL spokesperson ALEX ANDERSON said, adding that the refining facility continued. An investigation into the cause and impact were ongoing, but the fire had to be extinguished before a full assessment of the damage could be made. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Datatec confident of improvements after poor FY17 - Natasha Odendaal

DATATEC is confident of improving its performance as it enters the final stages of the modernisation programme of subsidiary WESTCON-COMSTOR that had significantly dragged down the group's results for the FY to end-Feb. Over the past few years, DATATEC has been focused on modernising the subsidiary's operations via the implementation of a global SAP ERP system process outsourcing, which continued into the FY under review. "These two transformation processes are now nearing completion, with the final implementation expected in the first half of the 2018 financial year", DATATEC CEO JENS MONTANANA said. The move had an adverse impact on profitability, working capital and cash generation in FY2017, with the final stages of the SAP/BPO implementation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa materially impacting the last months of 2017. The roll-out led to a group revenue decline of $338m, or 5.8% during the FY under review, falling y/y to $6.08bn from $6.45bn previously. Group EBITDA also declined from $162.1m

Hudaco acquires Dished End's trading assets - Anine Kilian

HUDACO has acquired the trading assets and liabilities of DISHED END, which manufactures the end caps for pressure vessels. The JSE-listed company will pay an initial R36m, with the total consideration, up to a maximum of R79m, dependent on the average profits over a three year earn-out period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell succeeds in having subsidiaries placed in business rescue - Megan van Wyngaardt

An application to have ROCKWELL DIAMONDS' three subsidiaries placed under business rescue, as opposed to liquidation, has been granted by a court in Kimberley. C-ROCK MINING had previously applied to have the three subsidiaries - ROCKWELL RESOURCES, HC VAN WYK DIAMONDS and SAXENDRIFT MINE - placed in interim liquidation. The immediate effect of last week's court judgment is that all legal proceedings against the subsidiaries are stayed and that the liquidation process is suspended. ROCKWELL will also now pursue criminal and civil claims against C-ROCK MINING and certain individuals involved in the business of that entity. Joint business rescue practitioners PETER VAN DEN STEEN and TREVOR MURGATROYD have been appointed by the court on an interim basis, subject to ratification by creditors within the next ten business days. The BRPs will work with management to review and refine the current business plan and assess whether there are further opportunities for optimisation and implementation of the plan, and

Anglo said to have bids in for New Largo - Bloomberg

ANGLO AMERICAN has received bids for its New Largo project in SA as the company continues efforts to exit operations that supply coal to local power plants, SERITI RESOURCES, which agreed last month to buy thermal coal mines from ANGLO for about R2.3bn, is among the bidders for New Largo, sources said. MTN GROPU chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO's PHEMBANI GROUP also bid, as did SIPHO MSEKO and JABU MABUZA, the CEO and chairperson of TELKOM. The bids are in the range of around R1bn. The new owners will need to make significant investment to develop the mine. ANGLO said it continues to progress the potential sale of its interests in New Largo, but declined to comment on specific bidders. The sale process is expected to take another 3-4 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto seeks to reduce debt via bond buyback - Megan van Wyngaardt

RIO TINTO yesterday launched a $2.5bn bond buyback plan to reduce its gross debt. Under the plan, RIO has issued a redemption notice for $1.72bn of its 2019 and 2020 dollar-denominated notes and started cash tender offers, via RIO TINTO FINANCE, to buy up to $781m of its 2021, 2022 and 2025 dollar-denominated notes. This follows part of RIO's ongoing capital management plan and follows the successful completion of a series of $7.5bn note redemptions and repurchases in 2016. The offers will expire on Jun. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hummingbird reaches new Yanfolila milestone - Natasha Odendaal

HUMMIINGBIRD RESOURCES yesterday announced the delivery of its longest lead time item - the ball mill - to the Yanfolila gold project in Mali. "As the longest lead time item, the delivery of the ball mill to site is a significant milestone for HUMMINGBIRD and further derisks the delivery of the project's critical path", CEO DAN BETTS said. Further, the contract mining fleet was arriving on site, with pre-production mining on track for Q3, the company said. "All aspects of construction continue to progress on time and on budget with the first gold pour due before the end of 2017", BETTS added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iron stockpiles hit record in China - Bloomberg

Iron ore stockpiles at Chinese ports rose 1.3% to 136m metric tonnes, expanding for a fourth week, according to Shanghai Steelhome E-Commerce Co. So far in 2017, they've risen 22.05mt, surpassing the 20.85m added in 2016. "Stockpiles are high, but what matters more than the absolute volume" is quality, said DANE DAVIS, an analyst at BARCLAYS. "When steel demand is running hot, high volumes of stockpiles don't matter, as they are lower-quality ores and not needed at the moment. However, when steel demand slows from high production volumes, then stockpiles matter, and matter fast". Ore with 62% content in Qingdao was at $62.69/dry tonne on Friday, extending its run in the $60s since mid-Apr. Prices, which hit a 30-month high of $94.86 in Feb., posted double-digit losses in Mar. and Apr. and are 21% lower this year. "We expect a greater preference for lower-quality ores in the coming months, and that should begin the reduction in iron ore inventories", DAVIS said. While it remains possible that port hold

Adani defers Carmichael investment decision - Reuters

ADANI ENTERPRISES yesterday deferred a final investment decision on its long-delayed Carmichael coal project as the Queensland state government has yet to sign off on a royalty deal for the mine. The company had been planning to make a final investment decision on the 25mt/y coal mine and rail project by end-May. "ADANI is advised that the Queensland cabinet did not consider any submission or make a decision on royalties for the ADANI project today", company spokesperson RON WATSON said, adding that the decision has been deferred "until the government makes a decision." The state government is considering ways to extend royalty payments to promote jobs and investment in the state, but the Labor government is running into opposition within its own ranks after having promised that no taxpayer money would be used to subsidise the controversial project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to assume control over country's diamond sector - Memory Mataranyika

Zimbabwe has taken over income from all diamond mining activities in the country after injecting $80m into the ZIMBABWE CONSOLIDATED DIAMOND COMPANY. Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA previously said diamonds "belong to the fiscus". The country's earnings from diamonds between Jan. and May 12 fell to $27m from $51m y/y, according to figures published by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe. In contrast, platinum exports earned the country around $333.5m, up from the $282m reported for the y/y period. Gold export earnings for the period amounted to $275.7m, compared to $266.5m y/y. Zimbabwe merged all diamond mining companies into the ZCDC in which the state controls half of the shares. Some of the diamond miners in the Marange area had resisted this and had dragged the government to court. Some of the diamond miners in Zimbabwe's Marange area included ANJIN and JINAN among four others. Mines Minister WALTER CHIDAKWA has said the government is making arrangements with the two miners regarding the consolid

Malawi to lift ban on maize exports after bumper harvest - Mabvuto Banda

Malawi will allow local farmers to resume exporting maize after a two-year ban following a larger-than-expected 2017 maize harvest, Minister of Trade JOSEPH MWANAVEKHA said yesterday. "Government is ready to lift the ban and issue export licenses only to traders with proof that they bought maize for export and for farmers if they grow maize specifically for export", the minister told Reuters without giving an exact date for the lifting of the ban. Malawi in Feb. said maize output would rise a third in 2017 to 3.2mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana c.bank cuts interest rate by 100 bps to 22.5% - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate on Monday by 100 bps to 22.5%, citing a downward trend in inflation towards medium term targets of 8% or minus two percentage points, governor ERNEST ADDISON said. The cut, which economists had forecast, reflected lower risks to inflation despite a rise in the figure to 13.0% in Apr. due to higher petroleum prices, ADDISON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers in talks with MTN over pay-TV deal - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

NASPERS is in talks with MTN GROUP to supply pay-TV content to the latter's subscribers. "We are in discussions with MTN regarding a content supply agreement", NASPERS spokesperson MELOY HORN said. If agreed, the deal could boost returns for NASPERS' pay-TV unit, which is grappling with rising costs and currency swings. HORN declined to comment on speculation that the company was considering the sale of its pay-TV operations outside SA. MTN was not immediately available to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to request extension of IMF programme to Dec. 2018 - Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Ghana's government will ask the IMF to extend its support programme to Dec. 2018 from Apr. 2018 to boost efforts to stabilise the economy, senior government sources said yesterday. The extension would reassure markets and likely bring in additional IMF funds to a programme under which Ghana was initially set to receive $918m over three years. The deal was agreed by the previous government to restore stability to the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 23/05/2017

At 05h18 on 23 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.24 ZAR/EUR 14.88 ZAR/GBP 17.21 Gold 1260.19 Platinum 949.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.77 All Share 54517.06

Hedderwick joins Joffe at Long4Life - Matthew le Cordeur

Former FAMOUS BRANDS CEO KEVIN HEDDERWICK has joined BIDVEST founder BRIAN JOFFE at LONG4LIFE after the latter listed on the JSE in April. HEDDERWICK has joined the firm as CO, starting today. JOFFE is CEO while former NEDBANK COO GRAHAM DEMPSTER is its chairperson. LONG4LIFE is an investment holding company, focused on superior returns on investments with a lifestyle focus. Following its listing on the JSE to raise R2bn, LONF4LIFE has seen its shares rise quickly and is now valued at R2.23bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA must not be mafia state - Ramaphosa - Amogelang Mbatha

Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said the ANC must keep SA from becoming a "mafia state" and called for a judicial inquiry into allegations that the government has been unduly influenced by private interests. He said a judicial commission is the only way to put the issues of state capture to rest. "It is only through this commission that we can ascertain to what extent our state-owned companies have been used improperly to enrich and benefit a few people and their families", RAMAPHOSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont bets on duty-free - Thomas Mulier, Bloomberg

RICHEMONT chair JOHANN RUPERT envisions a future in which humans are displaced by robots in the workplace and have all the time in the world to travel. RICHEMONT on Friday disclosed a 5% stake in DUFRY, the world's largest duty-free retailer. Shares in DUFRY rose as much as 7.5% in Zurich. The purchase comes a week after RUPERT predicted that artificial intelligence and robots will cause economic and social upheaval in the next two decades, drawing on the "Second Machine Age" theories of MIT pforessors ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON and ANDREW MCAFEE. While a swath of the population may become unemployable, the uptake of work by machines and computers will fuel demand for leisure among those who can afford it, according to RUPERT. "Man will have more free time... I suspect travel will increase", he said in a conference call with reporters. RUPERT predicted a wave of Chinese tourists will buoy the economic prospects of France, Italy and the rest of Europe. RICHEMONT's purchase of DUFRY makes sense as the former need

Pallinghurst launches bold restructure - David McKay

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES is to buy out minority shareholders in GEMFIELDS by offering $150m in its shares in a deal that marks the beginning of the company's transition to an operating company. The buyout of minority investors in the Tshipi manganese mine is also on the cards. In addition, PALLINGHURST will cancel its management contract with its underlying investments making its four key executives salaried employees with a mandate to provide hands-on management control over GEMFIELDS. At present, PALLINGHURST is an investment company with a 47% stake in GEMFIELDS, an 18.45% stake in JUPITER MINES, a steel fed company, and a 42% stake in SEDIBELO PLATINUM MINES. PALLINGHURST plans to buy the outstanding shares in GEMFIELDS at a ratio of 1.91 new PALLINGHURST shares for each GEMFIELDS share. GEMFIELDS investors owning 28% of the company had agreed to the offer, which means that PALLINGHURST can de-list the company from the Aim in London. PALLINGHURST has access to Tshipi via its 18.45% investment in JUPIT

Lion of Africa improves credit rating - Fin24

Over the past few months LION OF AFRICA INSURANCE embarked on a journey to improve its credit rating. GLOBAL CREDIT RATINGS on May 3 assigned an initial national scale claims paying ability rating to LION of BBB(ZA) with a stable outlook. "This was the first time in recent years that GCR has conducted a rating for LION", the insurer said. On May 17, STANDARD & POOR's also revised its outlook to stable from negative, and maintained the previous rating. "The rating and outlook issued by GCR is as a result of the strategic turnaround implemented during the previous 18 months, which includes the existing of the corporate and personal lines businesses, effective implementation of the RAG (Risk Appetite Grid), as well as enhancing the underwriting skills and pricing capabilities", LION said. S&P is subsequently withdrawing the rating services at LION's request as it is not financially prudent to spend money on two rating agencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GPI acquired Spur founder's shares - Carin Smith

GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS last week announced that it has, via a wholly-owned subsidiary, acquired 3 099 176 ordinary shares in SPUR CORPORATION at R32.50/share with effect from May 8. In addition to this, GPI has acquired an additional 5m ordinary shares in the restaurant chain during the period starting in Sep. 2016 to date. The additional purchases were a combination of direct purchases and acquisitions on market through the order book. GPI now holds around 17.48% of the issued ordinary share capital of SPUR via its subsidiary. SPUR on May 9 announced that founder ALLEN AMBOR had sold his 3 099 176 ordinary shares in the company for a total of R100.723m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GM's exit won't spark more divestment - Dewald van Rensburg

The withdrawal of GENERAL MOTORS from SA is unlikely to be the harbinger of a larger withdrawal from the heavily incentivised automotive sector. But it will cause a second year of falling employment as it represents the most advanced part of the manufacturing sector. PHILIPPA RODSETH, CEO of the Manufacturing Circle, said there was no reason to think the other motor manufacturers were planning to leave, adding that multinationals change their strategies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VR Laser Asia eyes R2bn from Denel - Erika Gibson

A company with links to the GUPTAS hopes to rake in more than R2bn profit over the next 10 years in a deal with DENEL. Court documents submitted in a legal battle, as part of DENEL's efforts to force the Treasury's approval of the DENEL ASIA JV deal, make it clear why arms firm VR LASER ASIA is so keen for the deal to proceed. According to its own business plan, VR LASER ASIA is of the opinion that there are opportunities worth around $9.2bn to be exploited in the market, but it says $5.9bn is a "realistic" expectation. In the JV, VR LASER ASIA will contribute R100m in the form of a loan to get the ball rolling. DENEL will contribute the product and product knowledge to the partnership. According to the business plan, it has already spent R500m to develop products. The projected profit for the JV over a decade is R4.5bn, of which VR LASER ASIA will take R2.2bn and DENEL the balance. LUNGISA FUZILE, who recently resigned as DG of Treasury, said in an affidavit that Treasury was of the opinion that the J

African Bank looks to sack 652 staff - Justin Brown

AFRICAN BANK last week issued notices to its staff related to a restructuring plan that will see as many as 652 workers retrenched, a source told City Press, The retrenchment would see about a sixth of the bank's staff complement of 4 075 shed amid a high unemployment rate and stagnant economy. The source said the matter is now with the CCMA, adding: "I found the news very disturbing because AFRICAN BANK was rescued so that the employees' jobs could be saved". CEO BRIAN RILEY said: "The bank is set to begin consultations with SASBO, facilitated by the CCMA. An application has consequently been lodged with the CCMA for a facilitation process". SASBO is affiliated to COSATU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GM's departure from SA will hurt suppliers - Irma Venter

GENERAL MOTORS' decision to exit South Africa will "have negative consequences on component suppliers to the company's existing Chevrolet assembly lines", says RENAI MOOTHILAL, executive director of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers. MOOTHILAL on Friday said NAACAM did not yet know how many component suppliers would be affected by GM's decision, announced on Thursday. The decision would see GMSA case Chevrolet production and sales in SA by the end of this year. ISUZU KB one-tonne and ISUZU truck production would continue, under the ISUZU MOTORS SA banner. ISUZU assembly at GMSA made up around 50% of production at the Port Elizabeth plant. GMSA total output was well in excess of 2 000 units a month, on average. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Huge expects double-digit FY earnings growth - Creamer Media Reporter

HUGE GROUP on Friday said it expects to post a double-digit rise in earnings for the FY to end-Feb. The company expects EPS before acquisitions costs to be 51%-62% higher than the 18.55cps reported y/y. The acquisition costs relate to the acquisition of CONNECTNET BROADBAND WIRELESS. Basic EPS and HEPS for the FY will be between 35% and 46% higher at 25c to 27c per share, compared with the basic EPS and HEPS of 18.55c and 18.51 respectively in 2016. Results will be published on May 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom wants to keep lights on this winter - News24Wire

ESKOM is promising to keep the lights on this winter, it said on Friday. The utility undertook to do this despite severe weather conditions that have already started to grip the country. "The Eskom Distribution Customer Centric Winter Plan has already been activated so that its networks are able to cope with the extreme weather conditions, increased electricity demand as well as respond to and restore network faults timeously", ESKOM said. The plan includes implementing measures that will assist in avoiding possible equipment failures and incidents, as well as the management of network delivery failures for the national and provincial networks, among others. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport Indonesia workers to strike for second month - Reuters

Around 9 000 workers at the Grasberg copper mine operated by the Indonesian unit of FREEPORT MCMORAN will extend a strike for a second month, a union official said at the weekend. FREEPORT is at loggerheads with the government over rights to the mine in a dispute that has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars, and tensions with workers threaten to disrupt the company's operations further. FREEPORT resumed copper concentrate export shipments from Grasberg late last month after a 15-week outage stemming from the dispute with government and had planned to ramp up production after it was cut by around two-thirds during the outage. As of mid-Apr., FREEPORT had "demobilised" around 10% of its Indonesian workforce of 32 000 among efforts to cut costs resulting from the dispute. The company has repeatedly warned workers that striking will result in disciplinary action. The union has demanded an end to FREEPORT's furlough policy and began a 30-day strike on May 1 in a bid to get workers' jobs back. The

IPP Office to be incorporated into overhauled CEF - Terence Creamer

SA's Independent Power Producer Office is to be incorporated into the CENTRAL ENERGY FUND, which itself is to be overhauled. Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI announced plans for the restructuring during her inaugural Budget Vote address on Friday, during which she also confirmed that the AFRICAN EXPLORATION MINING AND FINANCE CORPORATION, currently a CEF subsidiary, would be transferred to the Department of Mineral Resources, along with the PETROLEUM AGENCY OF SA. Without elaborating, KUBAYI indicated that the IPP OFFICE faced financial constraints, which could be resolved via its incorporation under CEF. However, two CEF companies - PETROSA and the STRATEGIC FUEL FUND - are facing serious financial constraints, which have the potential to undermine CEF's own sustainability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners ask DRC to adjust tax repayments for franc slump - Bloomberg

Mining companies in the DRC asked the government to adjust pending VAT repayments for a slump in the franc that could cost them as much as $210m collectively. The country's largest business lobby sent the request in a letter to Finance Minister HENRI YAV MULANG on May 5. Chamber of Mines secretary-general JOHN NKONO said the group is still waiting for a response. The Finance Ministry last month said mining companies could offset unpaid VAT reimbursements against other tax liabilities. Miners say they stand to lose as much as 30% of the $700m owed by the government if the current exchange rate is used. VAT on imports is calculated in dollars but paid and reimbursed in Congolese francs. The currency has weakened 34% over the past 12 months to 1 411/$. While VAT should be repaid in 90 days, some mining companies have been waiting almost two years to be reimbursed. As the payments are overdue, the government should reimburse VAT at the exchange rate on the day the credit was calculated and not at the curr

Northam Platinum hunting for quality local mines to buy - Reuters

NORTHAM PLATINUM is looking for mines to buy but is struggling to find high-quality mechanised operations for sale in SA, CEO PAUL DUNNE said last week. The company is on the lookout for rich, shallow ore bodies that would be cheap to mine. "We would be very interested to acquire mechanisable large, shallow contiguous ore bodies that there are very few that are out there that would meet those requirements", DUNNE told Reuters on the sidelines of Platinum Week in London. NORTHAM purchased GLENCORE's Eland mine in Feb. and mining land from ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUm to extend the life of its Zondereinde mine last year. DUNNE said following its recent acquisitions, NORTHAM would focus on raising production at its mines. None of the assets currently on the block meet NORTHAM's requirements partly because many are labour-intensive and would require a higher platinum price to be profitable, DUNNE said. NORTHAM has a R2.2bn war chest after a R4.6bn cash injection from a black ownership deal inked in 2014 where th

Paladin fights to maintain TSX listing - Esmarie Swanepoel

The TSX has given PALADIN ENERGY 90 days to comply with all the requirements for continued listing, including its financial solvency. If the company could not demonstrate that it met the bourse's requirements before Aug. 14, the company's securities will be delisted 30 days later. PALADIN on Friday told investors it would work with the bourse operator to demonstrate that it satisfied the requirements for continued listing, but warned that there was no assurance that it would be able to achieve compliance with the continued listing requirements, within the required time frame. PALADIN ENERGY also held a meeting with the holders of its $274m convertible bonds, due in Apr. 2017, with the bond holders agreeing to defer the final maturity date and interest payment due until end-Sep. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

National water master plan to see light in Sep. - Natasha Odendaal

The first draft of a master plan aimed at "re-engineering the manner in which the water and sanitation business in South Africa is coordinated and guided" is expected to be tabled in Sep., more than a year after its intended completion of Aug. 2016. The Department of Water and Sanitation on Friday convened a national dialogue in Pretoria to obtain stakeholder input in a bid to complete the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan "as a matter of urgency". DWS embarked on the development of the plan to assist government with its investment planning for the development of water resources and sanitation services until 2030, Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister PAMELA TSHWETE said. The core purpose of the plan is to provide an overall perspective of the scope of water and sanitation in the country, provide an estimate on the investment needed to ensure effective water resources and water and sanitation service delivery, and facilitate effective integrated investment planning, the coordinated implementation of

Zim plans 'use it or lose it' mine permit programme for gold - Bloomberg

Zimbabwe may confiscate unused mining licenses for companies and liberalise gold trading as ways to boost output. Large mines are "sitting on lots of unused claims", the country's Chamber of Mines said in a document outlining initiatives of the proposed Command Mining programme. Revisiting the Gold Trade Act "to allow for the ease of handling and transportation of gold to buying centres" and speeding up mine registration are among other recommendations. A $40m central bank fund will buy machinery for small-scale miners, while banks will be encouraged to accept gold-sale records and geological survey reports as collateral under Command Mining. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo plans to reintroduce mining code revision this week - Reuters

The DRC government plans to reintroduce legislation in Parliament this week to revise the mining code a year after withdrawing it amid fierce opposition from mining companies, Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU said. The government suspended consideration of the revised code in Mar. 2016 due to low commodity prices. Companies said higher royalties and shortened stability clauses would make their projects unprofitable. KABWELULU did not say whether the legislation would be identical to the earlier proposal. Congo's copper output jumped more than 20% in Q1 2017 as prices recovered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields takes stake in Aussie JV partner - Esmarie Swanepoel

GOLD FIELDS has taken a 10% stake in ASX-listed JV partner GOLD ROAD RESOURCES. GOLD ROAD on Friday announced that GOLD FIELDS had acquired around 74.8m shares in the company at 86c apiece, representing a premium of 27% on GOLD ROAD's closing price on May 18. The parties in Nov. struck a A$350m deal to jointly develop the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia. Under the JV agreement, GOLD FIELDS acquired a 50% stake in the project for A$350m in cash, along with a 1.5% net smelter return royalty to be placed on GOLD FIELDS' share of production from the JV tenements, once total gold production exceeds 2moz. The project recently received its final approvals and is on track for completion in the Dec. quarter of 2018. The plant will have capacity to handle 7.5mt/year of fresh ore, and up to 8.8mt/year of oxide ore over a mine life of 13 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adani vows to pay 'every cent' owed to Qld as talks of royalty holiday emerge - Esmarie Swanepoel

ADANI is reportedly in discussions with the Queensland government over a "royalty holiday" for its $16.5bn Carmichael coal project. Australian media reports state that the proposed agreement will see ADANI pay just A$2m/year in royalties once the project starts operating, with the royalty rate increasing after several years. The ABC speculated that the state government could lose up to A$320m in royalties. But ADANI told Mining Weekly that it would pay "every cent' of its full state royalties bill for the mine. "Queensland governments of all political persuasions have used royalty agreements to enable such projects in Queensland, and ADANI welcomes this approach... The Carmichael project will pay billions of dollars in royalties and corporate taxes but, importantly, will also generate 10 000 direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland", a company spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia, First Quantum seen resolving $1.4bn dispute in June - Chris Mfula

A row that saw state-owned ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENT HOLDINGS sue FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS for $1.4bn is likely to be resolved by next month, the presidency said at the weekend. FIRST QUANTUM asked a Zambian court in Feb. to dismiss the suit brought by ZCCM-IH. Presidential spokesperson AMOS CHANDA said the finance minister had written to the Canadian miner and the company agreed to commence talks with the government on May 30. "Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI has prescribed that the talks should finish within seven days and a government negotiating team headed by the secretary to the Treasury will be announced soon", CHANDA said. "FIRST QUANTUM has informed me that their technical team will attend the negotiations and they are confident that an amicable settlement will be reached", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank approves $600m in loan for Zambia - Chris Mfula

The World Bank will lend $600m under its International Development Assistance programme over the next three years, the presidency said last week. Presidential spokesperson AMOS CHANDA said $150m would come in direct support for the budget. "The World Bank is very confident with the steps that Zambia is taking to stabilise the economy", CHANDA said. The country is likely to receive $1.6bn from the IMF laster this year, the presidency said in April, with a review meeting set for June to finalise the agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA open to Iranian investment if new refinery goes ahead - Wendell Roelf

SA is looking to West Africa and the Middle East, including Iran, for potential partners on a new refinery project, Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI said on Friday. She told parliament that the Cabinet expects to decide by Dec. whether to construct the refinery. PETROSA has promoted the idea of building a refinery with a capacity of up to 400 000 bpd on the east coast, but the government was put off by the $10bn price tag in 2010 and a lack of equity partners. KUBAYI said the refinery was now urgent as SA's oil imports were increasing. "By the time any new refinery is completed, the country will be importing in excess of a third of its fuel requirements", she noted. KUBAYI also said the government wants to increase the participation of black fuel wholesalers in importing crude oil, with an immediate focus on West African crude oil, which presently accounts for around half of SA's crude imports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria overnight rate fall as liquidity crunch eases - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's overnight lending rate fell to 26% on Friday from 65% the prior day after the central bank refunded excess naira offered in an earlier dollar sale to commercial lenders. Traders said a cash squeeze on the money markets on Thursday had pushed the overnight rate sharply higher. The banking system's cash balance with the central bank stood at 24.61% on Friday before the central bank refund. The naira closed at 305.45/$ on the spot market on Friday, an was quoted at 381 on the black market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF suggests Ghana request extension of aid deal - Kwasi Kpodo

The IMF has suggested to Ghana's government that it request an extension to a three-year, $918m aid programme due to end in Apr. 2018, the Fund's Ghana representative, NATALIA KOLIADINA said last week. "We have suggested to the authorities the possibility of extending the programme following a significant setback in implementation last year". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 22/05/2017

At 07h36 on 22 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.23 ZAR/EUR 14.80 ZAR/GBP 17.19 Gold 1252.64 Platinum 937.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.01 All Share 54427.30

Tongaat Hulett expects rise in operating profit - ANA

TONGAAT HULETT today said it expected a 40% rise in operating profit, from R1,669bn to R2.333bn for the FY to end-Mar. The company said the improvement was reflective of better local market prices, more effective import protection dynamics in the countries where it operates and higher prices for exports, especially into African markets and the EU. Results will be published on May 29. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil's Temer rejects calls to quit - Joe Leahy

Brazil's President MICHEL TEMER has refused to resign after allegations in a leading publication that he assented to bribe-paying to buy the silence of a former coalition ally. TEMER instead demanded a rapid probe after the Supreme Court authorised the opening of a criminal probe into the allegations on Thursday. The allegations, published by the O Globo newspaper late on Wednesday, claim that TEMER was told of the bribes when he met an executive of meatpacker group JBS recently. TEMER was allegedly told the grup was paying former lower house of congress head, EDUARDO CUNHA, who has been jailed for corruption, to remain silent. No further details were given on what information CUNHA was being paid not to disclose. Members from the administration's main coalition ally, the PSDB, said they would abandon the government if the recording confirmed the allegations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Walmart shares lifted by upbeat earnings despite revenue miss - Anna Nicolaou

WALMART beat earnings forecasts for its most recent quarter as price cuts continue to boost sales. Q1 adjusted earnings came in at $1.00/share, higher than analysts' forecasts for 96cps and up from 98c y/y. Like-for-like sales rose 1.4%, meeting forecasts. Revenue rose 1.4% to $117.5bn, falling shy of forecasts for $117.8bn. Shares rose 3% in pre-market trading yesterday. Analysts anticipate profits to remain under pressure as the company sacrifices margins to boost sales via price cuts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba shares down despite revenue surge - Louise Lucas

ALIBABA lifted revenues 60% to Rmb38.6bn in the quarter to end-Mar. - contributing to an FY tally of Rmb158.3bn for the company - even as earnings fell short of expectations. The company posted net income of Rmb9.85bn for the quarter, compared with estimates of Rmb6.2bn. Adjusted EBITDA came in at Rmb16.6bn, up 44% y/y. Consensus analyst forecasts were for Q4 revenues of Rmb36bn and adjusted EBITDA of Rmb15.4bn. Adjusting for one-time items, EPS were Rmb4.35, missing analysts' forecasts of Rmb4.51/share. ALIBABA said its net income tax expenses were up 149% y/y to Rmb4.55bn in the quarter. Shares fell 2.5% to $117.74 in New York morning trading on the news. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metals prices tumble on doubts over US infrastructure plans - Henry Sanderson

Zinc prices have hit their lowest levels since Nov. as a sell-off in metals gains momentum. The price of zinc fell 2.42% to $2 501/t on the LME yesterday. Copper prices fell 1.89% to $5 495/t. Prices are being hit by a wave of selling in global markets amid political volatility in the US. That has increased doubt that President DONALD TRUMP will be able to carry out an infrastructure stimulus that could boost demand for metals. There is also concern about China's property market after local governments tightened measures to target speculators. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sharp commits $1bn to SoftBank tech fund - Kana Inagaki

SOFTBANK has clinced another investor for its $90bn-plus technology fund. SHARP of Japan said it will commit $1bn to the Saudi-backed SOFTBANK VISION FUND over a five-year period. MASAYOSHI SON, the mogul behind SOFTBANK, is set to be in Riyadh during President DONALD TRUMP's visit this weekend. SON has courted both TRUMP and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN and will be on hand to sign the first closing of the largest private equity investment vehicle createrd, a $90bn-plus fund for technology that will include up to $45bn in fudning from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Taiwan's FOXCONN is also backing the fund. SHARP's investment comes after the company posted its first operating profit in three years following steep cost cuts made since FOXCONN took over the company in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sharp commits $1bn to SoftBank tech fund - Kana Inagaki

SOFTBANK has clinced another investor for its $90bn-plus technology fund. SHARP of Japan said it will commit $1bn to the Saudi-backed SOFTBANK VISION FUND over a five-year period. MASAYOSHI SON, the mogul behind SOFTBANK, is set to be in Riyadh during President DONALD TRUMP's visit this weekend. SON has courted both TRUMP and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN and will be on hand to sign the first closing of the largest private equity investment vehicle createrd, a $90bn-plus fund for technology that will include up to $45bn in fudning from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Taiwan's FOXCONN is also backing the fund. SHARP's investment comes after the company posted its first operating profit in three years following steep cost cuts made since FOXCONN took over the company in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sharp commits $1bn to SoftBank tech fund - Kana Inagaki

SOFTBANK has clinced another investor for its $90bn-plus technology fund. SHARP of Japan said it will commit $1bn to the Saudi-backed SOFTBANK VISION FUND over a five-year period. MASAYOSHI SON, the mogul behind SOFTBANK, is set to be in Riyadh during President DONALD TRUMP's visit this weekend. SON has courted both TRUMP and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN and will be on hand to sign the first closing of the largest private equity investment vehicle createrd, a $90bn-plus fund for technology that will include up to $45bn in fudning from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Taiwan's FOXCONN is also backing the fund. SHARP's investment comes after the company posted its first operating profit in three years following steep cost cuts made since FOXCONN took over the company in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek parliament backs reform package - Kerin Hope

Greece's parliament has narrowly approved an omnibus reform package needed to unlock more than €6bn of bailout aid and open the way for the country's international creditors to reach a deal on debt relief. Lawmakers from the governing Syriza party and its coalition, the Independent Greeks, backed the bill in a late-night vote on Thursday. The opposition New Democracy voted against the package, even though it is committed to implementing reforms if it wins the next election. The legislative package calls for fresh austerity measures over the next three years to ensure Greece hits tight fiscal targets, including spending cuts and reductions in pensions and tax allowances in 2019 and 2020. The Eurogroup will hold debt relief talks with the IMF on Monday. A Greek official said it was unclear whether a deal would be reached at that meeting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico lifts rates by 25 bps in surprise move - Jude Webber

Mexico's central bank defied market forecasts and hiked its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 6.75% after inflation surged past its target range in April. The increase is the sixth in a row and the eighth since Feb. 2016. Banxico highlighted continued external uncertainty and 10 consecutive months of rising inflation as motivation for the decision. It said it would keep an eye on the evolution of Mexico's monetary position relative to the US and the evolution of the output gap "in order to be able to continue taking the necessary measures to achieve efficient covergence of inflation to the 3% objective". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agri commodity markets fall along with Brazilian real - Emiko Terazono

Concerns about political uncertainty in Brazil extended to agricultural commodity markets with the real's fall triggering declines in maize, soyabeans, coffee and sugar. ICE July arabica was down 3.4% to $1.277/lb, despite Brazilian crop supply agency CONAB announcing that the 2017 coffee crop would be 11% lower at 45.5m 60kg bags. ICE July sugar fell 1.4% to 16.08/lb, and maize was down 1% to $3.68/bushel, while soyabeans fell 2.3% to $9.53/bushel. Brazil is a leading producer of coffee and sugar and a large exporter of maize and soyabeans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ralph Lauren adjusted earnings top estimates - Mamta Badkar

RALPH LAUREN yesterday said comparable sales fell 11% in its fiscal Q4 to end-Mar., steeper than analysts' forecasts of a 5.6% drop. The group said its efforts to improve the quality of its sales by moderating discounts and tightening inventories hurt traffic and the average amount spent per purchase, weighing on sales. Stripping out the impact of the calendar shifts of the Christmas and Easter holidays, sales fell 8%. Revenues fell 16% to $1.6bn and were just ahead of estimates. RALPH LAUREN also said it swung to a loss of $204m or $2.48/share, compared with a profit of $41.3m or 49cps y/y. Adjusting for charges associated with its Way Forward Plan, the company reported earnings of 89cps, beating analysts' forecasts of 78cps. The company noted that its inventory in the fiscal eyar fell 30% to $792m. Looking ahead, the company expects net revenue for the current FY to decline between 8% and 9%, compared with a 10% drop y/y. Shares were up 4% in pre-market trading yesterday. This news brief represent

Govt bribery scandal rocks Brazil - Mehreen Khan

Brazilian markets suffered a sharp sell-off yesterday, wiping out its gains for the year as stocks tanked 10% after the country was hit by yet another corruption scandal. The real fell over 8% to 3.3500/$ at the start of trading as investors dump the currency following allegations President MICHEL TEMER approved bribery payments for the country's disgraced former speaker of the lower hosue. Yields on Brazil's 10-year dollar-denominated debt have soared by half a percentage point to almost 5%. The Bovespa index fell 10% before automatic circuit breakers halted trading. Analysts fear the political turmoil will threaten the already unpopular presidency of TEMER, who took office nine months ago. Meanwhile, the central bank announced it would offer swaps in a bid to help shore up the currency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's Paytm wins $1.4bn SoftBank investment - Simon Mundy

Indian digital payments and ecommerce group PAYTM has raised $1.4bn in capital from Japan's SOFTBANK. The investment is SOFTBANK's single largest in India to date and comes as it tries to reboot its India strategy after its biggest previous bet, on SNAPDEAL, ran into trouble. PAYTM is best known in India for its payments business. It is the country's most popular provider of virtual wallets, with over 200m subscriptions to its mobile money platform. PAYTM has spun out its ecommerce unit into a standalonen business, in which ALIBABA and ANT FINANCIAL agreed to invest $177m in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Give black farmers title deeds - DAFF - Fin24

Title deeds should be given to black commercial farmers, according to MIKE MLENGANA, DG of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. He was speaking at the launch of the Nation in Conversation at NAMPO Harvest Day. "It makes sense to hand over the title deeds to the guys who are successful so that they can look at the enterprise with responsible eyes. The absence of the title deeds has put a lot of pressure on the recapitalisation of these farms", MLENGANA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott says Barcelona meeting with BHP CEO was 'constructive' - Reuters

ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT yesterday said a meeting with BHP CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE in Barcelona had been constructive. The meeting took place a day after ELLIOTT raised the pressure for strategic changes at the mining group, including a call for an independent review of its petroleum division. ELLIOTT spokesperson MICHAEL O'LOONEY said the fund had a private meeting with MACKENZIE which it found to be "constructive". He declined to provide further details. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers to hold auctions for polished diamonds - Megan van Wyngaardt

DE BEERS' Auction SAles business will pilot the sale of its own polished diamonds using auctions for the first time, it said yesterday. The sale will comprise a range of polished diamonds manufactured directly from DE BEERS' rough diamonds. The polished diamonds are available following contract manufacturing of DE BEERS Auction Sales' rough diamond products to assess what range of polished diamonds they would produce. The polished stones will be accompanied by both International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research and Gemological Institute of America grading reports. The pilot auction will give the Auction Sales business the opportunity to assess customer demand for buying polished diamonds via this channel. All registered buyers of DBAS will be eligible to bid in the auction that will take place on Jun. 29. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye finalises terms of $1bn rights offering - Anine Kilian

SIBANYE GOLD has finalised the terms of its $1bn rights offering. The company will offer shareholders 1.2bn new shares at R11.28/share - a 60% discount on the closing price of shares on May 17. The rights offer will open on May 29 and close on Jun. 9. The proceeds will be used to repay a portion of a $2.65bn loan facility that was used to acquire STILLWATER MINING. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diamcor's latest diamond tender generates $702 635 - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIAMCOR MINING's second rough diamonds tender and sale from its Krone-Endora at Venetia mine has generated $702 635 in gross proceeds from the sale of 3 265ct ranging in the 1 mm to -45 mm size fractions. The tender included the sale of three rough diamonds in the special category - bigger than 10.8ct. The sale also brought the total rough diamonds tendered and sold from processing via the newly expanded facilities to 6 165ct, with seven individual rough diamonds being in the specials category. DIAMCOR plans to complete a third tender and sale prior to the end of the current quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mali gold exports slip in 2016 - Reuters

Mali exported 67t of gold in 2016, down from 70.2t in 2015 due to a slight drop in production from small-scale artisanal miners, the National Statistics Institute said yesterday. Artisanal production fell slightly in 2016 due to an increase in taxes and the government's move to ban gold panning during the rainy season for safety reasons, Chamber of Mines official BAKARY GUINDO said. Output in 2016 was valued at $2.2bn, and of the total exported 46.9t was mined by industrial producers, compared to 46.5t the prior year. The other 20.1t was mined by artisanal producers, down from 23.75 in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trevali shareholders vote in favour of African asset acquisition - Henry Lazenby

TREVALI MINING yesterday reported that a majority of shareholders present and represented at the company's special meeting have voted in favour of all resolutions presented, including the acquisition of a suite of African zinc assets from GLENCORE. TREVALI will acquire an 80.08% stake in the Rosh Pinah mine in Namibia; a 90% stake in the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso; an effective 39.24% stake in the Gergarub project in Namibia; an option to acquire a 100% stake in the Heath Steele property, in Canada, and certain related exploration properties and assets. There were 157.58m common shares represented in person or by proxy at the special meeting, representing 39.04% of the company's total issued and outstanding common shares. Under the terms of the $400m transaction, GLENCORE will increase its direct ownership of TREVALI from 4% to 25% and its board membership to two seats. Following the deal, TREVALI will have output of about 230 000t/y of contained zinc, with GLENCORE maintaining the offtake from all four

DRA awarded PanAf's Elikhulu project - Martin Creamer

International engineering group DRA has been appointed by PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES to deliver a detailed design and construction supervision service for its Elikhulu gold tailings retreatment plant facility planned for its Evander project in Mpumalanga. "This is DRA's first gold tailings retreatment plant development and it includes all aspects of the construction, includign hydraulic mining, processing and tailings deposition", says DRA's PAUL HOWARD. The R1.6bn Elikhulu project entails the construction of facilities and infrastructure at Evander, to retreat gold plant tailings at the rate of 1mt/month. A carbon in leach process plant will be commissioned in Q4 2018, and the final phase of the tailing storage facility will be complete in Q1 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NNPC finalising $6bn worth of oil-for-product swaps - Reuters

NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION is in the final strage of signing $6bn worth of deals to exchange more than 300 000 bpd of crude oil for imported gasoline and diesel, sources said. The contracts, which come three months later than expected, include three more pairs of companies than last year, reflecting the country's increased reliance on NNPC for fuel imports. At least four of the ten groups have signed contracts, set to begin from Jul. 1, with the rest expected to do so by today, sources said. The NNPC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The fuel quality in the final agreements was not immediately clear, but Jul. 1 is the same deadline the country set for switching over to higher quality, lower-sulphur fuels that reduce toxic fumes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank loans Botswana $145.5m for emergency water projects - Reuters

The World Bank has given Botswana a $145.5m loan to build water projects after it suffered a severe drought in the past two years, Finance Minister KENNETH MATAMBO said yesterday. In 2015, overall dam levels in the country fell below 20% of their design capacity, and ground water sources dried up or became saline. MATAMBO said the loan would partly fund the Botswana emergency water security and efficienty project estimated at $160m. The remaining $14.5m will be contributed by Botswana from domestic resources. The project will include wastewater treatment and prevent pollution of vital downstream water resources, MATAMBO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stefanutti FY earnings drop - Megan van Wyngaardt

STEFANUTTI STOCKS has swung to an operating loss of R106m for the FY to end-Feb., compared with a profit of R392m y/y. Contract revenue from operations fell by R611m to R9.1bn. The company cited the one-off present value charge of R139m relating to the voluntary settlement agreement concluded by STEFANUTTI, and six other JSE-listed construction firms, with the government to transform the industry, as a reason for the loss. In addition, goodwill of R155m relating to the acquisition of CYCAD PIPELINES had been impaired during the year. The results were also negatively impacted on by a forex loss of R81m due to the strengthening of the rand during the year and the weakening of currencies in the African regions in which STEFANUTTI operates. The company reported HEPS of 10.94cps for the period. Had the one-off charge not been taken into account, HEPS woudl have been 89.86cps. The group order book currently stands at R14bn, of which R4.4bn arises from work beyond SA's borders. Capex for the year amounted t

Afrimat posts strong FY results - Megan van Wyngaardt

AFRIMAT yesterday posted a 25.4% rise in HEPS to 196.4cps for the FY to end-Feb., resulting from a strong performance by its mineral producing operations. It also achieved a rise in its operating margin, from 16.3% to 18.2%, while cash generated from operations improved to R406m, from R320m y/y. CEO ANDRIES VAN HEERDEN said the addition of Cape Lime to its portfolio in the past year added 8% to the company's operating profit. He noted that the company was also engaged in new marketing initiatives to find more markets for its products. The aggregates and concrete business saw a 12% improvement in operating profit, up from 32% y/y to 44% this year. Looking ahead, VAN HEERDEN highlighted that the company was well-positioned to capitalise on its strategic initiatives and forecast continued growth from an "excellent" asset base. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Erin Energy appoints new chair, CEO - Anine Kilian

ERIN ENERGY yesterday announced it has elected FRANK INGRISELLI to succeed JOHN HOFFMEISTER as chairperson. INGRISELLI, who is CEO of BLACKHAWK ENERGY, has more than 36 years of experience in the energy industry, with wideranging oil and natural gas exploration and production company experience. "I plan to take an active role in working with the ERIN management team and the board to efficiently and economically deliver on its development plans", he said. Meanwhile, FEMI AYOADE was appoitned ENIN CEO, taking over from interim CEO JEAN-MICHEL MALEK. AYOADE has served as production operations VP for the company since 2016 and as ERIN PETROLEUM NIGERIA MD since 2013. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidcorp rebranding to be completed by June - Anine Kilian

BIDCORP expects its rebranding as BIDFOOD to be completed by June. "We have seen positive momentum achieved in the six months ended December 2016; however, currency volatility continues to impact BIDCORP's rand results, with the rand having appreciated against both the euro and sterling", BIDCORP executive BERNARD BERSON said this week. BIDCORP is active in 31 countries over five continents. It invested R496m in the HY to end-Dec. on bolt-on acquisitions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EGM called at Group Five - Fin24

GROUP FIVE yesterday advised shareholders that the company has been notified by a shareholder that it seeks to call an EGM to reconstitute the board of directors of the construction group. This is following a disagreement with the board on the future direction of the company. Accordingly, shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the company's shares until a further announcement is made. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMI increases stake in OUTsurance - Fin24

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENT HOLDINGS yesterday told shareholders that it has increased its stake in OUTSURANCE. RMI's holding in OUTSURANCE will increase from 84.1% to 87.5%. RMI and OUTSURANCE have entered into an agreement in terms of which the former will dispose of a 49% stake in RMI's wholly-owned subsidiary, MAIN STREET 1353, to OUTSURANCE. The proposed deal will result in the 29.9% shareholding MAIN STREET acquired in HASTINGS GROUP on Mar. 1 being held in a 51%:49% partnership between RMI and OUTSURANCE. OUTSURANCE will fund the proposed transaction via surplus cash and with the issue of new shares at an effective OUTSURANCE equity value of R29.2bn. The proposed transaction remains subject to the requisite regulatory approvals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harare tightens grip on telecoms in run-up to 2018 vote - Fin24

The government of President ROBERT MUGABE will have a tight grip on the telecoms industry until after elections next year, ICT Minister SUPA MANDIWANZIRA said yesterday. The government already owns NETONE and TELONE. This year, it completed payment for a 60% stake in TELECEL ZIMBABWE, previously controlled by VIMPELCOM. MANDIWANZIRA said it is important for Harare to have wider interests in the telecoms sector. "If you have such a sector which determines how you vote (through biometric voter registration) and yuour banking sector you don't want that industry in the hands of someone who wakes up one day and makes a decision to leave", the minister said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Job loss fears as GM exits SA - Lameez Omarjee

GENERAL MOTORS' decision to disinvest from SA has sparked fears of job losses in the automotive industry. The carmaker yesterday announced it would be selling its plant in Struandale to ISUZU. GM has been operating vehicle production in SA since 1926, according to Bloomberg. The move forms part of a global, strategic drive by the company to withdraw from certain markets. GM spokesperson DENISE VAN HUYSSTEEN said the company plans to focus on developing autonomous vehicles, electrification and connectivity. She added that it was too early to speculate about job losses. NUMSA secretary general IRVIN JIM raised concerns about the job security of the 1 500 workers at the Struandale plant. "There was no consultation with the union, and furthermore, the company has not divulged any details about the fate of its employees affected by this restructuring. Shutting down operations in South Africa will have a major impact not just on GM plants, but also for companies along the value chain", JIM said. This news

Online cuts into sales jobs - Lameez Omarjee

Digital sales are slowly eroding away jobs for sales staff, according to research conducted by ADZUNA. According to ADZUNA, there were lower advertising vacancies for sales jobs in Mar. y/y. Among the reason for this is growing digital sales. "[It] requires less manpower or relationship building, taking a good deal of the work that sales staff do", ADZUNA said. There is also less demand to drive sales through personal, face-to-face interactions with clients. The data further showed that advertised salaries for sales staff is down at least 10% for the month. Salaries for IT and finance jobs grew between 20% and 30% between Sep. and Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers said to consider sale of Africa Pay-TV business - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

NASPERS is considering the sale of its pay-TV business in Africa as sluggish economic expansion in key markets stifles growth and viewers switch to cheaper online alternatives, according to sources. The disposal of MULTICHOICE won't include the South African division, which is still highly profitable. MyBroadband earlier this month reported that MTN GROUP was in talks to buy MUTLCHOICE AFRICA, citing unidentified sources. A sale of MULTICHOICE AFRICA would represent a further shift by NASPERS away from its traditional media business, which includes newspapers, magazines and the DSTV satellite-TV service. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Volvo to start truck assembly in Kenya - Duncan Miriri

VOLVO is to start assembling trucks in Kenya as part of a series of investments aimed at boosting the company's footprint in the region. VOLVO is only the latest vehicle manufacturer to announce plans in recent months to start assembling locally, following moves by VOLKSWAGEN, PSA PEUGEOT and CNH INDUSTRIAL's IVECO. The Swedish group will also open an office in Kenya to serve East Africa, open 20 workshops around the region and a parts warehouse. The company was partnering with local firm NECST in the plan, which will create around 300 direct jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria aims to unlock credit for small firms with new development bank - Chijioke

DEVELOPMENT BANK OF NIGERIA, a new state-backed lender, aims to make up to 20 000 new loans to small firms within its first year of operation as part of efforts to help unlock credit to the economy, CEO TONY OKPANACHI said yesterday. The new bank - modelled on Germany's KFW - will lend to local commercial banks and microfinance institutions that will then make loans to small companies, helping boost economic growth and jobs. OKPANACHI said the bank will grant loans of up to 12 years' maturity to enable the financing of new projects that woudl not be viable with short-term funds and in dollars. The newly licences bank has the Nigerian government, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, World Bank and KFW as initial investors, with start-up capital of $1.3bn. It aims to start lending in Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Malawi's economic growth seen at 7% this year - Mabvuto Banda

Malawi's economic growth is forecast at 7% this year, from 5.1% in 2016, helped by a recovery in the agriculture sector, Finance Minister GOODALL GONDWE said yesterday. GONDWE said good rains have led to an improvement in maize production, after a drought last year weighed on output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF raises SA's growth forecast for 2017 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

The IMF has raised SA's growth outlook for this year after recoveries in the agriculture and mining sectors, but perceptions of policy uncertainty pose a downside risk, a senior official said yesterday. The IMF expects SA to grow by 1% this year, more than earlier projection of 0.8%, the fund's senior resident representative in SA, MONTFORT MLACHILA, said. The Treasury now expects growth of 1.3% this year, up from 0.3% in 2016. The Fund was concerned with high levels of contingent liabilities among state-owned comapnies and the overall efficiency of the firms, which increased costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sonangol cancels auction of eight oil blocks - Libby George

Angola's SONANGOL has cancelled an auction of oil exploration licences for eight blocks, blaming the drop in oil prices since the bidding opened. "The remarkable drop in the price of the oil barrel and the economic and financial situation in the country and the world, have negatively influenced the viability of the oil concessions", SONANGOL said. The round includes five blocks in the Kwanza basin and three in the Lower Congo. The company initially announced the auctions in 2015, when it said CHEVRON, GLENCORE and GALP of Portugal were prequalified to bid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell seeking $500m in sale of Tunisian gas assets - Ron Bousso

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL is seeking to sell its gas fields in Tunisia for around $500m, sources said, as the oil major pushes forward with its vast disposal programme. The Tunisian assets, accounting for around 65% of the country's gas production, were acquired as part of the company's $54bn takeover of BG GROUP last year. The assets include two offshore gas fields as well as onen onshore production facility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cisco shares fall as quarterly forecast misses expectations - Jessica Dye

CISCO's shares fell quickly in after-hours trading after it projected a steeper-than-expected drop in sales and lower-than-expected profits for the current quarter. The company said it expects a 4%-6% y/y drop in revenue for Q4, greater than the 1% analysts had expected. It also said it is looking for EPS in the range of 46c-51c/share for the quarter, less than the 52.8cps analysts were looking for. CISCO's shares fell more than 6% in after-hours trading after the figures were released, before pulling back on some of the losses to trade down 5.1% following the closing bell. The forecast comes alongside CISCO's release of earnings from Q3 to Apr. 29. Revenue came in at $11.9bn, down 1% y/y. Net income rose 7% y/y to $2.5bn, slightly ahead of the $2.43bn that was expected. Earnings per diluted share were 50c, a 9% y/y improvement, and better than the 47c analysts were looking for. CISCO said it was expanding the number of employees that would be affected by a restructuring plan initially announced in Au

Ford to cut 1 400 jobs in US, Asia - Patti Waldmeir

FORD will cut 1 400 jobs as shareholders clamour for the company to do more to support its lagging share price. The carmaker yesterday said it would cut around 10% of its salaried workforce in North America and Asia by voluntary means, including early retirement. The move could provoke the ire of President DONALD TRUMP, who has made creating and retaining jobs in the US the keystone of his presidency. "We remain focused on the three strategic priorities that will create value and drive profitable growth, which include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities", FORD said. It expects 1 400 salaried positions to be affected and for staff to depart by the end of Sep. Areas that support production and developing new technologies would not be affected, nor would FORD's operation in Europe or SA, which have undergone previous job cuts. This news brief represen

US oil inventories register shallower-than-expected drop - Jessica Dye

US crude inventories fell last week, although less than analysts had forecast, while crude oil imports registered a nearly 1m bpd increase on average last week. Commercial crude inventories fell 1.8m barrels from a week ago, less than the 2.4m drop expected by the market. The figure remained in the upper half of the average range for this time of year at 520.8m barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration showed. Total gasoline inventories also notched a 400 000 barrel drop over the past week. Crude oil imports rose 970 000 bpd from the previous week to an average of 8.6m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan Q1 GDP beats expectations as domestic consumption rises - Hudson Lockett

Japan's economy started 2017 on solid footing as exports continued to rise and domestic demand returned to growth in Q1. GDP grew by an annualised 2.2% in the quarter to end-Mar., according to a preliminary estimate from the Cabinet Office. That was up a full percentage point from growth of 1.2% in the December quarter and came in above a median forecast from economists surveyed by Reuters predicting growth would tick up to 1.7%. On a q/q basis, GDP rose 0.5% in the quarter, accelerating from a 0.3% rise in the quarter to end-Dec. Domestic demand rose 0.4% q/q, while residential investment growth ticked up to 0.7%, from 0.4% in the prior quarter. Net exports rose 2.1% q/q, slowing from a pace of 3.4% in Q4 as the yen firmed 4.8% over the course of the March quarter to Y111.39., but adding 0.4 percentage points to headline growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent hits record high after strong Q1 profit - Peter Wells

TENCENT hit a record high and is the best-performing stock in the Hang Seng this morning as investors cheered a strong Q1 profit from the Chinese group. Profit in the quarter to end-Mar. rose 58% y/y to Rmb14.48bn, on a 55% rise in revenues to Rmb49.55bn. TENCENT was up as much as 3.1% in mid-morning trade at a record HK$267.80, giving it a market cap of $316.3bn. The fastest-growing contributor to revenues was social and other advertising revenues, which grew 67% y/y to Rmb4.38bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stronger in-store sales drive Burberry profit rise - Mark Vandevelde

BURBERRY reported a 10% rise in profits for the FY to end-Mar., in line with forecasts, with the luxury group wringing higher sales from its stores even as it draws back form its wholesale and licensing business. Revenue was down 2% to £2.8bn. Store sales, which account for 77% of the total, increased 3%, partly offsetting the expiry of brand licenses in Japan. BURBERRY said it had delivered £20m of cost savings in the FY, in part by cutting the number of distinct products carried in its stores by nearly a fifth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec revenues beat £2bn - Cat Rutter Pooley

Rising markets have boosted the asset management and wealth and investment businesses at INVESTEC, helping it to increase statutory operating profits by 18.5% to £599m in its FY results and prompting the company to hike its dividend by almost 10%. Revenues also broke through the £2bn mark for the first time. INVESTEC got a significant boost from currency effects, with statutory operating profit up a more modest 8% on a constant currency basis, or 4.2% looking just at ongoing operations at £664m, up from £584m y/y. INVESTEC noted "continued macro uncertainty and volatility in the group's key operating geographies", but said it had successfully increased third-party assets under management by 15%, customer deposits by 6% and core loans and advances by 9%, all on a currency neutral basis. It announced a final dividend of 13pps, taking the FY payment to 23pps, up from 21p y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU fines Facebook over WhatsApp merger - Rochelle Toplensky

FACEBOOK has been fined €110m for misleading Brussels during the latter's review of its 2014 takeover of WHATSAPP. EU Competition Commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER said the fine "sends a clear signal to compaies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information". The Commission has not reversed its decision to approve the 2014 acquisition and has fined less than the maximum allowed of 1% of FACEBOOK's 2016 turnover. The investigation found FACEBOOK twice provided misleading information during the approval process of its $21.8bn takeover of WHATSAPP in 2014. During the merger process, FACEBOOK claimed it was technically impossible to combine user information from FACEBOOK and WHATSAPP automatically. But WHATSAPP last summer announced it would begin sharing user information with its parent company, admitting that personal details such as phone numbers and device information would now be used to target advertisements and improve products on FA

Spanjaard expects massive drop in FY earnings - Sens

SPANJAARD LIMITED today said it expects HEPS to be between 4.34cps and 8.06cps for the FY to end-Feb., that being 87%-93% lower than the 62.10cps reported y/y. EPS are expected to be between 3.26cps and 6.95cps, being between 89% and 95% lower than the 61.5cps reported y/y. Results will be published on May 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lewis shares up despite profit warning - Robert Laing

LEWIS yesterday warned shareholders that its earnings were expected to fall by as much as 66%, which appears to be less severe than the market expected as its share price rose 3% this morning. The retailer said it expected to report that its basic EPS for the FY to end-Mar. would be 58%-66% lower than the 1 083cps reported y/y. HEPS were expected to drop by 30%-40% from the 622cps reported y/y. LEWIS said the earnings drop was in part due to its 2016 results benefiting from a one-off windfall of R496m from selling an investment portfolio held in subsidiary MONARCH INSURANCE COMPANY. Merchandise sales in FY2017 fell 2.2%, while like-for-like sales were down 9.3%. The company's overall revenue was down 3.3%. "The group's gross profit margin continued to expand in line with management's expectations and improved to 41.6% compared to 38% in the previous year", LEWIS said. Results will be published on May 24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OM asset sale gains momentum - Sandile Mchunu

OLD MUTUAL's plan to sell non-core assets is gaining momentum with the news it might offload its Latin American operations. Reports emerged yesterday that the insurer could sell its LatAm operations to narrow the focus of its emerging markets business to sub-Saharan Africa. RON KLIPIN, portfolio manager at CRATOS CAPITAL, said the move made sense as it complemented the company's strategy. "OLD MUTUAL will consist of SA-Africa operations, emerging markets, and the UK business, OLD MUTUAL WEALTH, after the group has completed the strategic review which is expected to be completed by the end of 2018", KLIPIN said. The Latin American units that could be spun off are the Colombian, Mexican and Uruguayan divisions. These businesses could be worth up to $457m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aveng slumps on earnings warning - Roy Cokayne

AVENG's shares slumped 6.2% yesterday after it said it expected a further deterioration in its earnings in the FY to end-Jun. EPS and HEPS for the period were expected to be "substantially more than 20% lower" than the LPS of 25.4cps and HLPS of 75.2cps reported y/y. The company attributed this to weak market conditions in the local business, operational under-performance and accelerated claims settlements at MCCONNELL DOWELL, an increased net interest expense, and the impact of previously reported settlements and agreements concluded with the government. AVENG said the arbitration hearings about claims related to the Queensland Curtis LNG pipeline project in Australia had been completed, and the findings and award of the tribunal were expected in the current FY. In regard to other claims, AVENG said the group had noted "increasingly difficult, litigious and costly processes" in bringing long-outstanding claims to commercial conclusion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 18/05/2017

At 11h20 on 18 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.44 ZAR/EUR 14.98 ZAR/GBP 17.52 Gold 1257.52 Platinum 939.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.06 All Share 54316.94

PIC in the mix of options to fund SAA - Liesl Peyper

Treasury is considering "a number of avenues" to finance SAA, which may include the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION as a public equity partner. During a parliamentary briefing on the national carrier's financial performance, DA MPs ALF LEES and DAVID MAYNIER pressed acting Treasury DG DONDO MOGAJANE to say whether SAA will be partly financed with funds from the Government Employee Pension Fund. Their questions followed after Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA recently admitted that SAA's consideration of a minority equity partner may not necessarily be a private one, but could also be a public entity. MOGAJANE said Treasury is taking a "long-term view" with regard to the recapitalisation of SAA, which may also include a cash injection. He did not reject the possibility of the PIC as an equity partner outright, but said there are "options available". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt still on track for Karoo fracking - Zwane - Liesl Peyper

The Department of Mineral Resources intends to pursue the exploration of shale gas, but will consult widely with communities and stakeholders when doing so, Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE said this week. Delivering the DMR's budget vote, ZWANE said three vertical boreholes of up to 1km will be drilled in Beaufort West to "assess the groundwater levels and movement". The Council of Geosciences and the Petroleum Agency SA will conduct a scientific programme that will include a plan for sustainable development, ZWANE said. "This will attract new investment in shale gas and the broader upstream petroleum sector". The DMR received a budget of R1.779bn in the 2017/18 FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom turns to Huawei to power smart grid project - Kyle Venktess

ESKOM's joint initiative with HUAWEI to develop smart grid innovations is expected to deliver energy more efficiently to customers. The collaboration aims to accelerate digital transformation in the local power industry via the development of Internet of Things solutions, cloud-based technologies and cyber security solutions. The partnership was only expected to be officially announced later today at African Utility Week, but ESKOM chair BEN NGUBANE made the announcement a day earlier. ESKOM said it would join HUAWEI's OpenLab located in Johannesburg to jointly develop the smart grid innovations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capital Appreciation in R132m fintech buy - Lameez Omarjee

CAPITAL APPRECIATION has bought fintech firm SYNTHESIS SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES for R132.1m. The specialised technology company provides services to financial institutions, such as INVESTEC, ABSA, STANDARD BANK, CAPITEC and NEDBANK. Despite being wholly-owned by CAPITAL APPRECIATION, SYNTEHSIS will continue to operate as a fintech firm, with access to resources and capital from CAPITAL APPRECIATION. "The acquisition is in line with CAPITAL APPRECIATION's value creation objectives and its strategy of providing established and emerging financial services companies with fintech services", MD MICHAEL SHAPIRO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New nuclear not a viable option for SA - Siemens CEO - Matthew le Cordeur

Renewable energy, coal-fired power and the addition of gas-to-power is all SA needs to ensure an affordable and sufficient generation mix, according to SABINE DALL'OMO, CEO of SIEMENS Southern and Eastern Africa. "Nuclear has a very long build and approval time. The longer it takes to build, the higher your costs and the less control you have", DALL'OMO said. "Gas has the opportunity to reduce CO2, with a stronger reliance on renewable energy... In our context, we do not see that nuclear is viable for South Africa". SIEMENS is aiming to take on a "stronger role" in the country's gas programme. To ensure gas-to-power generation can occur, SA needs to address its port infrastructure and possibly form a partnership with Mozambique, which has huge gas reserves. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's AGOA eligibility likely to come under pressure before 2025 - Terence Creamer

Leading trade expert PETER DRAPER is urging those South African businesses currently benefiting from preferential market access to the US under AGOA to begin to "wean" themselves off such benefits, due to the increased risk of those preferences being revoked ahead of AGOA's official expiry in 2025. DRAPER cautions that scrutiny of SA's eligibility is likely to be intensified under President DONALD TRUMP, who has adopted a far more protectionist stance under his 'America First' policy. All beneficiary countries are subjected to annual eligibility reviews, which assess the democratic climate and whether sub-Saharan African recipients are making progress in becoming market-based economies with "open, rules-based trading and minimal government interference". In 2015, SA become the subject of a further "out-of-cycle review" after several US lawmakers raised questions about whether it was still meeting the Act's eligibility criteria. SA's eligibility was eventually affirmed only after an eleventh-hour deal stru

Gemgrow declares maiden dividend - Megan van Wyngaardt

GEMGROW PROPERTIES yesterday declared a dividend of 24.85cps per A share and 18.15cps per B share in its maiden results for the HY to end-Mar. Investment property rose from R2.4bn to R4.3bn for the period, attributable to an asset exchange with VUKILE PROPERTY FUND of 14 retail assets of R2.4bn in exchange for 29 retail, office and industrial properties. GEMGROW also acquired 100 properties valued at R1.9bn from ARROWHEAD. "We are excited about the future of GEMGROW and offer shareholders exposure to a unique dual-class share structure with a focus on acquiring assets at attractive yields that will boost growth prospects for the company over time", CFO JUNAID LIMALIA said. The company also concluded agreements to acquire R477m worth of properties at a yield of 11.85%. These acquisitions are still subject to conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dipula H1 distributable earnings up 9.5% - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIPULA INCOME FUND achieved 8.5% organic growth in its distributable earnings for the HY to end-Feb. to R194.2m, which further resulted in an increase in combined dividends of 6.3%. The dividend attributable to A-shares rose by 5% y/y to 50.6cps, while the dividend attributable to B-shares rose by 7.9% to 41.8cps. Vacancies remained at 9.2% compared with the prior period. This was mainly due to a rise in vacancies in the office sector to 15.1% from 11.7% y/y. Industrial vacancies fell to 8.8% from 11.5%, while retail vacancies rose marginally from 7.6% to 7.9% y/y. "We expect the current economic conditions to continue in the short- to medium-term and we will continue to focus on extracting the maximum value from the portfolio and reducing the vacancy factor", DIPULA said. Reflecting the challenging environment, the board expects growth in distributions of 5%-6.5% for the FY to end-Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA online retail underwhelming - Megan van Wyngaardt

Domestic online retail sales represent only 1% of SA's overall sales and, although this is projected to grow as consumers look for increased convenience, it is unlikely to reach the levels of the most penetrated countries. Speaking at the South African Council of Shopping Centres' Research Conference yesterday, INVESTEC retail analyst KIRSTY LASCHINGER noted the sector remained constrained by personal access to infrastructure, cost and literacy, with INVESTEC only seeking it take up to 3% of market share in the next few years. She highlighted that online shopping was mainly dominated by higher-income earning consumers. However, she noted that there were signs of change and that retailers had more time to prepare their online strategies. LASCHINGER noted that MR PRICE GROUP, through its well-articulated strategy, was at the forefront of online retail. "They are speaking to their customers all the time, not necessarily looking to make an online sale, [but to establish a relationship]". She also cited THE

Brown to talks to Zuma, Ramaphosa to 'resolve Molefe matter' - News24Wire

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN yesterday said she will talk to President JACOB ZUMA and Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA to resolve the controversial return of ESKOM boss BRIAN MOLEFE. BROWN was summoned to Luthuli House on Monday and ordered to rescind MOLEFE's return to the utility. She met with the party's top six that include ZUMA and RAMAPHOSA. "The meeting agreed that the government must resolve the matter. Minister BROWN is in discussion with the President and Deputy President on the matter", BROWN's spokesperson COLIN CRUYWAGEN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telekom Networks Malawi to invest in 4G network - Reuters

TELEKOM NETWORKS MALAWI this week said it is to spend an additional $30m on improving its 4G broadband service. TNM, whose main rival is the local unit of BHARTI AIRTEL, said it aimed to give better 4G coverage in Malawi's four main cities. The additional spending follows an initial 9.17bn kwacha ($12.78m) investment which TNM made in 2016 in 4G LTE technology, coverage expansion, fixed and mobile broadband technology and various other technical improvements. TNM has more than 3.3m subscribers, of a national population of around 17m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe's DRC project now holds 1bn tonne resource - Megan van Wyngaardt

IVANHOE MINES' Kakula discovery, at its Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the DRC, now contains indicated resources of 116mt at 6.09% copper, plus refined resources of 12mt at 4.45% copper, at a 3% cutoff. The new estimate further boosted the combined Kamoa-Kakula indicated mineral resources to around 1bn tonnes, at 3.02% copper, plus another 191mt of inferred resources at 2.37% copper at a 1.4% cutoff. "With 12 rigs currently drilling at Kakula and Kakula West and another two rigs about to begin testing important new targets on the licence area, Kakula is an international story of discovery that has earned the mining world's attention", IVANHOE chair ROBERT FRIEDLAND said. "To keep the mine planning process driving forward, we need to provide the mining engineers with updated resource numbers for the expanded-case preliminary economic assessment due to be issued in the third quarter", he added. The new Kakula resource estimate covers two-thirds of the known strike extent of the high-grade, chalcocite-rich K

Trans Hex places Bloeddrif on care and maintenance - Megan van Wyngaardt

TRANS HEX GROUP yesterday confirmed it had placed its Bloeddrif mine in the Northern Cape on care and maintenance. Earlier this week, the NUM condemned the "sudden closure" of the mine and claimed the miner had informed its 110 members there of the mine's closure at "the eleventh hour". TRANS HEX said the mine has been a marginal operation for a number of years, as it has approached the end of its viable life-of-mine and that NUM were kept regularly informed of the circumstances at Bloeddrif. "The ever-declining diamond grade and stone size, together with increasing production costs, have resulted in significant financial losses being incurred", TRANS HEX said. The company said all employees were formally briefed about the mine's closure by members of management on May 16. Employees were also notified that they will continue to receive full pay while the company undertakes the necessary statutory processes of engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the NUM and representatives of

CRG considering asset sale - Megan van Wyngaardt

CENTRAL RAND GOLD is considering potentially selling its operating assets, among other possible options, as it tries to secure financing solutions amid an "extremely challenging cash position". The announcement yesterday was ahead of a court hearing, set for Friday, to decide whether or not a settlement agreement with IPROP would be ratified and whether any pecuniary debts are owed. CRGSA in Jan. 2005 acquired the shareholding of FERREIRA ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY, which was the holder of CRG's current mining right, from IPROP and subsidiary INDUSTRIAL ZONE. At the time, FEIC also required the use of certain surface areas owned by INZO, resulting in CRGSA entering into lease agreements with INZO. IPROP contends a dispute arose between the parties about the lease agreements in 2009, which it says culminated in a settlement agreement entered into by the parties in Nov. 2009. "As part of the settlement terms... IPROP was entitled to have the [settlement] agreement made an order of court. IPROP does not imm

More mining jobs at stake on policy uncertainty - Amplats CEO - Reuters

Policy uncertainty in SA and low commodity prices are hurting investment in the mining sector and will lead to further job cuts, ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH said this week. "Uncertainty is dreadful for investment", GRIFFITH told Reuters on the sidelines of Platinum Week in London. "It puts pressure on jobs and some mines that are already loss-making... there will be further rationalisation of the mines and its going to lead to further job losses in South Africa", he warned. The new Mining Charter could mean significantly higher taxes and levies on companies operating in SA. In addition to policy uncertainty, local platinum miners are battling low commodity prices, high costs and social unrest. GRIFFITH said 60% of the industry was loss-making and that more jobs were at risk. AMPLATS has cut 15 000 jobs over the past four years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Emira expands funding sources - Business Report

EMIRA PROPERTY FUND has increased its spread of funding over the past two hears and now has facilities with six different banks. The company's assets comprise 142 properties valued at R13.3bn. EMIRA is also diversifying internationally via its direct interest in ASX-listed GOZ, valued at R940.4m. EMIRA FD GREG BOOYSENS said its new multibank funding platform is built on its intelligent funding solutions and conservative balance sheet management. "We see debt management as a key aspect of our business, and take a long-term, low-risk position. Our multibank debt and funding spread is in line with EMIRA's astute approach to funding, which aims to decrease our cost of capital and use our debt effectively and efficiently", BOOYSENS said. With its debt funding spread between six banks and debt capital markets, EMIRA has established the flexibility to take advantage of whichever avenue offers the cheapest funding in the prevailing market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CRG ends strike after agreeing to pay workers 13th cheque - Siphelele Dludla

CENTRAL RAND GOLD yesterday said it has reached agreement with union representatives to end the 11-day strike following "robust negotiations". This comes after workers embarked on strike action on May 6 after wage talks collapsed and prompted the CCMA to step in. The company yesterday said it had agreed that workers would be paid a bonus in the form of a 13th cheque in Dec. This bonus would be equivalent to 50% of each employee's basic pay. CRG said union leaders had notified their members of the deal, and that all workers have since returned to duty. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 18/05/2017

At 08h11 on 18 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.32 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 17.27 Gold 1259.76 Platinum 943.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.01 All Share 54001.94

Zim adopts Pallinghurst blueprint for $500m in platinum beneficiation - David McKay

Zimbabwe has agreed to a proposal by PALLINGHURST RESOURCES and the IDC that will lead to $500m in beneficiation investment which, at a single stroke, resolves more than a decade of regulatory uncertainty for foreign platinum miners operating in that country. PALLINGHURST CEO ARNE FRANDSEN said Zimbabwe would in the next five years promulgate new legislation that would oblige platinum miners to provide up to 1.2moz of platinum concentrate to a company jointly owned by Zimbabwe, PALLINGHURST and the IDC. Harare would own 51% of the JV via its ZIMBABWE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, while PALLINGHURST and the IDC would own 49% via subsidiary KELLTECH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM asks Amplats for indicative offer for Maseve - David McKay

One of the strategic options considered by PLATINUM GROUP METALS regarding its Maseve platinum mine is to sell the asset. Sources said PTM had asked ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM to submit an indicative offer for the mine, which was commissioned last year but has delivered less ounces than in its ramp-up plan. PTM has had to raise additional finance to continue to fund the mine in lieu of sufficient cash flow. The company then said in Apr. that it was in talks with BMO CAPITAL MARKETS and MACQUARIE CAPITAL "to review and assess corporate and asset level strategic alternatives". PTM now appears to have shifted its attention to its next development asset, the proposed $1bn Waterberg project. The Block 11 section of Maseve was not at the 70%-80% mine ore flow targets, having achieved 59.8% in Mar. PTM did note that the ore flow at Block 11 was trending positively. March production of 2 477oz 4E in concentrate was its best ever production month at that time. Maseve was designed for output of 250 000oz 4E. Outp

March retail sales boost recovery hopes - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

South African retail sales rose by 0.8% y/y in Mar., beating market expectations of a 0.7% contraction, after falling by 1.6% in Feb. "Surprisingly strong retail sales figures support our view that the South African economy held up better in Q1 than many feared', CAPITAL ECONOMICS AFRICA economist JOHN ASHBOURNE said. On a m/m basis, sales rose by 0.3% but were down 1% in the three months to Mar. compared with the same period last year, Statistics SA said. ASHBOURNE noted that the effect of recent political turmoil would not be felt until Q2. "But we expect that the economy will probably hold up better than many seem to fear." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda regulator fines MTN over external IT hub - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwanda's telecom industry regulator has fined MTN RWANDA 7bn francs ($8.5m) for running its IT services outside the country in breach of its licence. The regulator said the company was hosting its IT services hub in Uganda, which it had prohibited. "They are punished for relocating their IT services outside Rwanda, and this was deliberate", Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority spokesperson ANTHONY KULAMBA said. MTN says it is Rwanda's leading mobile operator, with 4m subscribers. "MTN has been engaging with the regulator on this matter over the past four months. MTN RWANDA is currently studying tie official notification and will continue to engage with the regulator on this matter", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Q1 refinery output up - Tife Owolabi

Nigeria's refineries processed 10m barrels in Q1, more than they did for the whole of 2015, after talks with militants reduced attacks on facilities, NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION Group MD MAIKANTI BARU said yesterday. That compared with just 8m barrels for all of 2015 and 24m for the whole of 2016, BARU said. Last year's militancy in the southern Niger Delta region cut crude output by as much as a third, but there has been a lull in attacks this year. BARU said that was due to government peace talks with community groups in the region. The 10m barrels processed in Q1 equates to around 111 000 bpd, or around 25% of capacity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tullow to boost TEN output once maritime dispute resolved - Kwasi Kpodo

TULLOW OIL plans to drill new wells and boost output at its TEN fields off Ghana to 80 000 bpd once a maritime dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast is resolved, TULLOW Ghana MD CHARLES DARKU said yesterday. The company will also invest in exploring possible new Ghana reserves in addition to its Jubilee and TEN fields. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is set to rule on the border dispute in the coming months. "We are looking to the Ghana government to reach a resolution on that to enable us immediately to resume drilling new wells as planned in order to boost production to the plateau of 80 000 bpd", DARKU said. The offshore TEN field, comprising the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme blocks, poured its first oil in Aug 2016 and the partners say they need to drill at least six more wells to reach its potential. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to raise $3.5bn in foreign loans, eurobonds in 2017 - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria plans to raise $3.5bn in foreign loans include from the World Bank and from international debt markets to help fund its 2017 budget deficit, Budget Office DG BEN AKABUEZE said yesterday. AKABUEZE said $2bn of the foreign borrowings would come from concessionary loans with the balance of $1.5bn from commercial markets including the eurobond market. He said Nigeria has a shortfall of $7.5bn for its 2017 budget expenditure. The government will raise $4bn from the local debt market, AKABUEZE said. The Debt Management Office sold fewer bonds than expected at its last auction in May as the yields on offer failed to attract foreign investors worried about currency risk. Nigeria's parliament signed off on a record 7.44tn naira budget for 2017 last week. It must now be signed by the president to become law. AKABUEZE said the budget provided a debt service amount of 1.8tn naira to pay off maturing bonds and interest on domestic and foreign loans but lower oil prices had weakened its debt service ratios.

Zambian govt close to agreement with mines on power price hikes - Chris Mfula

Zambia is close to reaching an agreement with mining companies over its plans to increase electricity prices, Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said yesterday. The government last month proposed introducing a flat tariff of 9.30 US cents per kWh backdated to Jan. for mining companies, instead of individually negotiated rates that have averaged 6c/kWh, but mining companies opposed the plan. A team headed by the energy minister was due to hold talks with the companies this week. "We have concluded with all the mining houses except for one. They have accepted our proposal to actually pay 9.33c/kWh", MUTATI said. However, an agreement has not been reached on backdating the higher tariffs to Jan. as proposed by ZESCO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff to spin off African retail business - John Bowker, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL plans to list its African assets separately as the group seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year's failed merger talks with SHOPRITE HOLDINGS. The company yesterday said it will seek to list businesses including PEPKOR and JD GROUP on the JSE, around 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from Johannesburg. The move reflects the parent company's transformation into a global retail giant with about two-thirds of its revenue generated outside Africa. The listing is aimed at creating value for investors after a roughly 10% fall in the shares since talks with SHOPRITE ended in Feb. The planned separation is "a natural progression" for STEINHOFF following its expansion, the company said. In addition to PEPKOR and JD GROUP, STEINHOFF's African assets include TEKKIE TOWN and POCO furniture stores. Combined sales for the company's businesses on the continent were €4.3bn in the FY through Sep. STEINHOFF appointed CITIGROUP, INVESTEC, MORGAN STANLEY and R

AbbVie shares dip as it loses round in Humira patent fight - Jessica Dye

ABBVIE saw its sales fall in after-hours trading after a US patent agency dealt it a setback in a legal challenge to one of the patents underpinning its blockbuster arthritis drug Humira. The US Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeals Board yesterday ruled in favour of a challenge from COHERUS BIOSCIENCE to one of the patents covering Humira, which accounted for 63% of ABBVIE's total net revenues in 2016. ABBVIE said it is disappointed by the ruling, adding: "We intend to appeal this decision". ABBVIE shares initially dropped more than 4% in after-hours trading on the news before trimming those losses to trade down 1.7%. CITI analyst ANDREW BAUM noted that if ABBVIE prevailed in the patent challenge it "would likely translate into a material re-rating of the stock to reflect a timing of biosimilar entry in mid-2020 rather than our 2020 base case". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tullow makes oil discovery in Kenyan well - Sanjeeban Sarkar

TULLOW OIL said it encountered 75 metres of net oil play in two zones at an exploration well in Northern Kenya. The Emekuya-1 well would eventually be developed to full field development, TULLOW said today. The well has proven oil charge across a significant part of the Greater Etom structure. "The discovery not only adds more recoverable resources to the current portfolio, but, along with Etom-2 and Erut-1, establishes the 'northern triangle' part of the South Lokichar Basin as an independent production hub", MORGAN STANLEY analyst SASIKANTH CHILUKURU said. According to Davy Research, TULLOW's latest guidance for discovered resources in the South Lokichar Basin was 750m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump asked FBI director to halt Flynn probe - David J Lynch

US President DONALD TRUMP asked FBI director JAMES COMEY to halt the probe into MICHAEL FLYNN, the former national security adviser, at a private Oval Office meeting in Feb., according to a memo COMEY wrote at the time. The veteran law enforcement official shared the memo with other top FBI officials, according to an associate who confirmed the existence of the memo and several quotes it contained. "I hope you can let this go", TRUMP told COMEY, in a reference to the probe into FLYNN, the memo said. TRUMP reluctantly sacked FLYNN in Feb. after only 24 days on the job following disclosures that he had misled VP MICHAEL PENCE about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US. The White House emphatically disputed the account, saying: "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr COMEY". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore: China jitters unlikely to trigger another commodity price rout - Neil Hume

Aggressive monetary tightening in China is unlikely to trigger another commodity price rout, according to GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG. Speaking at an industry conference in Barcelona yesterday, GLASENBERG said Beijing's new emphasis on financial stability would not lead to a repeat of the extreme weakness seen in 2015, when many mining companies were fighting for survival. He cited stronger external demand and higher private sector investment as reasons to be positive. "Infrastructure contractor order data indicate positive Chinese demand momentum through 2017", GLASENBERG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US industrial production jumps by most since 2014 - Pan Kwan Yuk

US factories roared back to life in April, with industrial output rising by the most since Feb. 2014. Industrial production rose 1% last month from Mar., when it climbed by a revised 0.4%, Federal Reserve data showed yesterday. The gain came in handily above analyst expectations of a 0.4% advance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French long-dated bond attracts over €30bn in orders - Thomas Hale

France has attracted in excess of €30bn of orders for a new 31-year bond, in a positive investor reception for the country's debt after the presidential election concluded last week. Pricing for the debt is set at 12 basis points over an outstanding bond maturing in May 2045, which is currently yielding 1.88%, implying a very low new insurance premium. Strong appetite for the bond comes just over a week after EMMANUEL MACRON's victory in the country's presidential elections. The country's debt agency was initially aiming to sell €4bn of bonds, which it had announced would come at some time in 2017. The size of the bond is expected to be decided later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ukraine to block Russia's top social media sites, internet portals - Roman Olearchyk

Ukraine has moved to block access to top Russian social media sites and search-and-email portals, adding them to a list of companies and individuals sanctioned over Moscow's annexation of Crimea. President PETRO POROSHENKO's measures targeting VKONTAKTE, OBNOKLASSNIKI, MAIL.RU and YANDEX come one day after warning on television of a cyber war. It is not immediately clear how Kiev's move would be accepted domestically. Millions or Ukrainians reportedly use the popular Russian social media and portal sites. Ukraine had previously banned Russian television channels from broadcasting domestically but yesterday's presidential decree appears to expand this initiative to other media and means of broadcasting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lloyds back in private ownership - Emma Dunkley

The British government has sold its remaining stake in LLOYDS BANKING GROUP, drawing to a close one of the largest bailouts of the financial crisis. The reprivatisation of LLOYDS, announded today, comes nearly a decade after its £20.3bn taxpayer-backed rescue. The government, which initially took a 43% stake in the bank, has made a nominal profit of £900m after selling its final shares. Investors lauded the reprivatisation, noting that the removal of a forced seller eases some of the pressure on the share price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal signs streaming deal with Tencent - Nic Fildes

UNIVERSAL MUSIC has signed a licensing agreement with TENCENT to stream its music in China. The company, owned by French conglomerate VIVENDI, also announced it would set up a music studio in China that bears the Abbey Road name. The famous London studio was acquired as part of UNIVERSAL's takeover of EMI and is one of its most valuable brands. Local artists signed by UNIVERSAL and TENCENT will be offered the chance to record in the new Abbey Road studio. TENCENT, which owns China's top-three streaming platforms QQ Music, KuGou and KuWo, says it has 15m subscribers, meaning it trails only SPOTIFY and APPLE MUSIC in paying customers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 17/05/2017

At 11h18 on 17 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.18 ZAR/EUR 14.62 ZAR/GBP 17.05 Gold 1243.71 Platinum 940.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.46 All Share 54214.23

Tullow makes oil discovery in Kenyan well - Sanjeeban Sarkar

TULLOW OIL said it encountered 75 metres of net oil play in two zones at an exploration well in Northern Kenya. The Emekuya-1 well would eventually be developed to full field development, TULLOW said today. The well has proven oil charge across a significant part of the Greater Etom structure. "The discovery not only adds more recoverable resources to the current portfolio, but, along with Etom-2 and Erut-1, establishes the 'northern triangle' part of the South Lokichar Basin as an independent production hub", MORGAN STANLEY analyst SASIKANTH CHILUKURU said. According to Davy Research, TULLOW's latest guidance for discovered resources in the South Lokichar Basin was 750m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AbbVie shares dip as it loses round in Humira patent fight - Jessica Dye

ABBVIE saw its sales fall in after-hours trading after a US patent agency dealt it a setback in a legal challenge to one of the patents underpinning its blockbuster arthritis drug Humira. The US Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeals Board yesterday ruled in favour of a challenge from COHERUS BIOSCIENCE to one of the patents covering HUMIRA, which accounted for 63% of ABBVIE's total net revenues in 2016. ABBVIE said it is disappointed by the ruling, adding: "We intend to appeal this decision". ABBVIE shares initially dropped more than 4% in after-hours trading on the news before trimming those losses to trade down 1.7%. CITI analyst ANDREW BAUM noted that if ABBVIE prevailed in the patent challenge it "would likely translate into a material re-rating of the stock to reflect a timing of biosimilar entry in mid-2020 rather than our 2020 base case". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump asked FBI director to half Flynn probe - David J Lynch

US President DONALD TRUMP asked FBI director JAMES COMEY to halt the probe into MICHAEL FLYNN, the former national security adviser, at a private Oval Office meeting in Feb., according to a memo COMEY wrote at the time. The veteran law enforcement official shared the memo with other top FBI officials, according to an associate who confirmed the existence of the memo and several quotes it contained. "I hope you can let this go", TRUMP told COMEY, in a reference to the probe into FLYNN, the memo said. TRUMP reluctantly sacked FLYNN in Feb. after only 24 days on the job following disclosures that he had misled VP MICHAEL PENCE about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US. The White House emphatically disputed the account, saying: "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr COMEY". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Water levels in SA still dropping - Anine Kilian

Water levels are continuing to decline gradually despite recent good rainfalls experienced in some parts of the country. The Department of Water and Sanitation yesterday said the national water storage decreased from 72.9% last week to 72.7% this week. This was still above the 54% recorded at the same time last year. "Water users are urged to adhere to water restriction measures imposed by their respective municipalities", the DWS said, noting that low dam levels in the Western Cape were of great concern. The Cape Town Dams System decreased to 20.8% this week from 21.7% last week and was below the 30.8% at the same time last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Joosub says data prices could fall even further - Kyle Venktess

VODACOM CEO SHAMEEL JOOSUB yesterday said data prices could fall even further for customers after recent results showed revenue growth spurred by data consumption. "With the price of data decreasing, we want to continue to offer customers more value through content partnerships with services like SHOWMAX", JOOSUB said. The company grew its data revenue by almost 20% y/y to R20.696bn, while its local customer base rose to 3m, results for the FY to end-Mar. showed this week. Group service revenue was up 2.3% and group revenue up 1.5%, with the South African service revenue rising by 5.6%. "We need to make content more available to customers, offering more capacity and more speed", JOOSUB said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers rakes in R6.8bn in diamond sales - Lameez Omarjee

DE BEERS generated $520m in diamond sales for the fourth sales cycle of 2017. The sales are down 11% from the previous cycle, where sales came to $586m. Compared to the fourth cycle in 2016, where wales were $636m, sales were down 18%. But CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said there was a growing demand for rough diamonds. Sales for the four cycles of 2017 so far came to $2.38bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zwane vows new Mining Charter will be revolutionary - Liesl Peyper

The new and final Mining Charter will be one of the most revolutionary tools SA has ever seen, Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE said yesterday. He said the revised document will be published within the next few weeks. ZWANE said the reason for publishing a draft version of the new Charter without consultation last year is because there had been "nothing to talk about". "[At the time] we provided a framework and said, let's engage. It took us more than a year to engage - with more than 60 staheholders outside government, but also in government". ZWANE said the Department of Mineral REsources has now concluded its consultation processes. "We think we've done sufficiently. We're sure we're empowering the people of South AFrica. The sector will be proud". The Chamber of Mines earlier this week said it would seek a declaratory order on the issue of once-empowered-always-empowered if the matter is not resolved in the Charter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cartrack FY revenue up 13% - Reuters

CARTRACK this morning reported a 13% rise in FY revenue to R1 141m, while HEPS for the 12 months under review came in at 85cps, up 6% y/y. A final dividend of 35cps was declared for the period. EBITDA for the period came in at R523m, up 13% y/y, while subscriber revenue increased by 16%. Subscriber numbers grew by 19% to 600 610 customers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dis-chem to pay maiden dividend - Robert Laing

Investors who took part in DIS-CHEM's IPO in Nov. will receive a maiden dividend of 7.35cps for the FY to end-Feb. The company grew its revenue 15.4% to R18bn and aftertax profit by 13.8% to R655m, financial results showed this morning. The chain grew by 11 stores during the period to 108 stores at end-Feb., helping its retail turnover increase by 15.3%. Excluding new stores, turnover grew 9.1% and product inflation was 6.5% for the FY. Wholesaler CJ DISTRIBUTION grew turnover 22.2%. For FY2018, DIS-CHEM said it had a strong start, with turnover growing 15.2% during the eight weeks to Apr. 30 y/y, but "it is expected that the weak consumer spending environment will continue in 2017 with the ongoing political uncertainty, low economic growth and increase in taxes constraining consumers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AME makes move on Moneyweb - Robert Laing

AFRICA MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT is offering to buy financial news service MONEYWEB for around R28m. AME last night issued a statement offering MONEYWEB shareholders the choice of a cash offer of 26cps - a 53% premium to the 17c it last traded for - or to swap 250 MONEYWEB shares for one of its shares. AME, which owns Algoa FM and OFM, said advantaged to MONEYWEB included "the opportunity to have a single shareholder who will have a vested interest in its growth and development". MONEYWEB's largest current shareholder is CAXTON. AME's statement - issued jointly with MONEYWEB - said other advantages included economies of scale and efficiencies. The deal would give MONEYWEB shareholders who opted for AME's share swap offer better liquidity and the benefit of AME's relatively higher market rating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sovereign Foods swings into loss - Andries Mahlangu

SOVEREIGN FOODS swung into a loss in the FY to end-Feb., hit by one-off items that included costs to fend off the unsuccessful takeover bid by COUNTRY BIRD HOLDINGS. SOVEREIGN incurred a loss of R35.53m in the FY, down from R81.15m y/y, even as revenue rose 25% to R2.2bn. The company said it was able to mitigate the effect of higher grain pries via its procurement strategy, which included importing maize. Feed cost on a rand per tonne basis rose 16% y/y. The company expects an improved operational performance in the year ahead due to improved poultry pricing and the material decline in maize and soya bean prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mazor says profit margins 'will remain tight' - Roy Cokayne

MAZOR expects profit margins in the construction materials sector to remain under pressure "for some time" because of oversupply and intense competition. CEO RONNIE MAZOR yesterday said rationalisation was not occurring at the pace needed to ensure sustained price increases, and demand-side inflation would remain low. MAZOR said all the company's divisions increased their revenue in the FY to Feb. Group revenue grew 18.5% in the FY, from R491.7m to R582.8m. Operating profit rose 35.8% from R40.9m to R55.6m. HEPS rose by 62% to 43.6cps, and a dividend of 14.4cps was declared, up 69% y/y. The glass division returned strongly to profitability following a successful product-focused strategy and optimised efficiencies. The division reported an operating profit of R16.4m after a loss of R4.6m y/y. Revenue grew 11.5% to R155.7m. The aluminium division's operating profit fell by 28.5% to R26.8m, despite revenue increasing 4.5% to R293.4m. MAZOR said the steel division increased its revenue significantly dur

Imperial expects to earn R1.5bn from property sales - Roy Cokayne

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS expects to receive R1.5bn this calendar year and R600m next year from the sale of non-strategic properties owned by the company. A total of 34 non-strategic properties have been sold since Jul. 2016 and the disposal of a further 17 was being negotiated. The sale of the properties is in line with the major restructuring of the group launched in late 2014. IMPERIAL expects a single-digit rise in revenue and no change in its operating profit for the FY to end-Jun. It said the trading environment in SA remained challenging. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Higher education dept to invest R6.9bn in infrastructure in 2017/18 - Anine Kilian

The Department of Higher Education and Training will invest R6.9bn on major new infrastructure developments at local universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges in the 2017/18 FY. R2.1bn will go towards student accommodation; R1.47bn towards the refurbishment of current infrastructure and backlog maintenance; R2.9bn towards refurbishing buildings at the Sol Plaatje University; and R248m will be allocated to historically disadvantaged universities. Higher Education Minister BLADE NZIMANDE added that a further R300m had been budgeted for priority projects identified by universities. NZIMANDE noted that the biggest challenge currently facing the DHET was the inadequate funding of the TVET college sector. He reiterated that the department was committed to finding a permanent solution to the university funding challenge this year. "The National Student Financial Aid Scheme has made a huge contribution in terms of [helping to provide poor students] access to post-school education,

Denel says it continues talks with Treasury over Denel Asia JV - Megan van Wyngaardt

DENEL yesterday said it was in ongoing talks with Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA and Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN regarding its JV deal with VR LASER ASIA, which led to the creation of DENEL ASIA. Reports earlier this month stated that GIGABA had approached DENEL chair DANIEL MANTSHA to not continue with the deal. The reports stated that GIGABA had concerns about the financial implications of the deal for the Treasury, noting that the deal did not make "business sense". "We will continue to engage with the National Treasury directly to ensure that any misunderstanding... is resolved amicably", DENEL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol, Linde conclude engineering services agreement - Creamer Media Reporter

SASOL SA has signed a professional services term agreement with LINDE GROUP's engineering division for an initial term of two years, with an option to extend. The agreement supports a close working relationship to create and ensure long-term engineering, procurement and construction management and project management services to enable SASOL to meet its local growth, sustainability and environmental requirements via the execution of capital projects. "The successful conclusion of the agreement represents another milestone in the long-lasting business relationship between SASOL and LINDE", LINDE board member TILMAN WEIDE said. Through the agreement, LINDE will be involved during the feasibility phase of projects. "It provides for the leveraging of LINDE's planning expertise to improve continuity and enhance efficiency across the value chain, ensuring effective resource planning and management from the earliest project stages". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats probe nearing completion - Henry Lazenby

A probe into the dealings of the ousted management of EASTERN PLATINUM is drawing to a close, which will allow it to file its 2016 audited financial statement within the next two weeks, the company said yesterday. The miner has missed the Mar. 31 deadline to file its financial statements for the FY to end-Dec., as investigations into transactions entered into by former management drags on. The company has been investigating the proposed sale of EASTPLATS' Barplats Mines to China's HEBEI ZHONGHENG TIANDA PLATINUM for $50m ahead of a proxy contest last July that removed the incumbent board. In Dec., HZT hit EASTPLATS and some of its subsidiaries with a notice of civil claim in the British Columbia Supreme Court over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement entered into between EASTPLATS' former management and HZT in Jun. 2016. EASTPLATS said it was continuing its review and investigation of its rights and obligations and attending to the satisfaction of its covenants under the agreeme

Vale to shutter nickel mine in Canada - Reuters

VALE yesterday said it would suspend operations at it Birchtree nickel mine in Canada's Manitoba province on Oct. 1 due to weak prices and declining ore grades as the mine nears the end of its life. The suspension will result in up to 200 job losses and a 6 000t/y reduction in nickel for VALE's Manitoba operations, VALE CANADA said in a statement. VALE is looking at offsetting the lost production with increased output at the company's Thompson mine, also in Manitoba. "We remain committed to a long-term mining and milling future in Thompson", MARK SCOTT, VP of VALE's Manitoba operations said, detailing around $100m of planned investments in upgrades at the complex. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale to shutter nickel mine in Canada - Reuters

VALE yesterday said it would suspend operations at it Birchtree nickel mine in Canada's Manitoba province on Oct. 1 due to weak prices and declining ore grades as the mine nears the end of its life. The suspension will result in up to 200 job losses and a 6 000t/y reduction in nickel for VALE's Manitoba operations, VALE CANADA said in a statement. VALE is looking at offsetting the lost production with increased output at the company's Thompson mine, also in Manitoba. "We remain committed to a long-term mining and milling future in THOMPSON", MARK SCOTT, VP of VALE's Manitoba operations said, detailing around $100m of planned investments in upgrades at the complex. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Colombia coal output up 3% in Q1 - Reuters

Colombia's coal output rose 3% to 22.2mt in Q1 2017 y/y, the national mining agency said yesterday. The country produced 21.5mt in the same period a year ago, the agency said. The sector is seeking to produce 95mt this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solid operational performance drives Tharisa's H1 earnings higher - Megan van Wyngaardt

THARISA's PGM concentrate production for the HY to end-Mar. rose by 15.2% y/y to 69 100oz, as ore mined rose by 3.8% to 2.45mt. CEO PHOEVOS POUROULIS said the record solid operational performance underpinned the company's competitive cost advantage and demonstrated its ability to deliver "constant, quality results", with THARISA achieving a 5.4% y/y rise in chrome concentrate production to 636 800t. The higher production boosted THARISA's EBITDA by 451% to $81m, while HEPS rose by 1 500% to $0.16. The company said it was on track to achieve production of 147 400oz of PGMs and 1.3mt of chrome concentrates, of which 300 000t are speciality grade chrome concentrates, for the FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese steel industry policies to boost iron-ore demand - Rio Tinto CEO - Megan van Wyngaardt

RIO TINTO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES is confident China will continue to drive demand for mining products and iron ore in particular, despite the introduction of new policies that will make environmental permits for steel mills more difficult to obtain. China plans to scrap 100m-150m tonnes of steel capacity to reduce the number of polluting steel furnaces and become more consumption-focused. JACQUES believes the new policies will have a positive impact on China and the global mining industry in the medium to long term. He noted that the restructuring did not necessarily mean a reduction in steel output, adding that it could, in fact, increase demand for higher-grade iron ore as older, more polluting blast furnaces are taken offline. JACQUES also highlighted that, although China's growth rate had slowed, its economy remained robust. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Thakadu progresses nickel beneficiation plant plans - Mia Breytenbach

THAKADU BATTERY MATERIALS has taken significant steps forward in hits high-purity battery-grade nickel sulphate plant project, which is expected to produce up to 25 000t/y of high-purity nickel sulphate from LONMIN's crude nickel sulphate stream. The plant will be built at LONMIN's base metals refinery, in the North West, at a cost of R251m. A definitive feasibility study for the plant has been completed, and debt financing talks are under way to help fund the plant's construction. This funding will complement the equity funding that has already been secured. The next step in the project will be the detailed engineering design in preparation for project execution. Initial indications are that the plant will generate an annual pre-tax internal rate of return of 47.3% over its operating life. The plant will provide 60 permanent jobs when it becomes fully operational. Production of the pure nickel sulphate is expected to start at the end of 2018. THAKADU has negotiated strategic partnership agreements fo

Glencore says electric car boom approaching faster than expected - Bloomberg

GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG said the rise of electric cars will boost demand for minerals including copper and lithium in the decades ahead. "The electric vehicle revolution is happening and its impact is likely to be felt faster than expected", GLASENBERG told investors at a conference in Barcelona. Electric vehicles require more copper wiring than standard internal combustion engines. For example, the battery in an electric car contains around 38kg of copper, 11kg of cobalt and 11kg of nickel. Those materials, along with manganese, stand to benefit from more demand for electric vehicles, GLASENBERG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mackenzie makes case for current BHP project portfolio - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP has made a case for its current project portfolio amidst renewed pressure form ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT to abandon the US petroleum assets. BHP CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE yesterday told a conference in Barcelona that for a total investment of $5bn across the company's project portfolio, BHP could add over 20% of its current production at an average return of 75%. Referring to the group's petroleum assets, MACKENZIE said that substantial advances in the operating capability and capital productivity of BHP's shale assets continued to lower drilling and completion costs, supporting returns on invested capital of more than 30% on incremental investments. "All options to fully realise value for our shale acreage will be pursued", MACKENZIE said, adding that the company will be flexible in its plans and commercial in its approach. "We have achieved a great deal over the past year, but we are not standing still. Our roadmap today contains an enhanced set of opportunities that will see us prosper and grow value per shar

Coal market oversupply risks grow - Reuters

The risk of oversupply in the global coal market is growing as suppliers respond to higher prices, though power demand in countries such as Indonesia may absorb some extra output, producers and analysts said. The global coal market is forecast to see oversupply of 16mt this year, NOBLE RESOURCES chief coal analyst RODRIGO ECHEVERRI said this week. "Those (producers) who are going to expand into the second half of this year are going to have to face price pressure", ECHEVERRI said. "The producers are now making money, so it's in the hands of the producers what they do with that money. To go and invest in their own production and expand it - that's actually not a very good idea for the market". Australian coal prices soared 130% to over $110/t last year, but have slumped by 20% since early April to just over $70. Indonesia, the world's top thermal coal exporter, could increase output by 5% in 2017 and 2018, Indonesian Coal Mining Association chair PANDU SJAHRIR said on Sunday. This news brief represent

Barclays Africa's Ramos takes home R29.5m - Dineo Faku

BARCLAYS AFRICA CEO MARIA RAMOS took home R29.5m in total remuneration for FY2016. The lender's annual report, out yesterday, showed her package was higher than the R28.2m she earned in 2015, and comprised a R14.5m total fixed remuneration including a R7.6m salary and R15m of total variable remuneration of which R9m was deferred cash and share awards. BARCLAYS AFRICA deputy CEO DAVID HODNETT received a total package of R25m last year, from R23m in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch 'very concerned' situation in SA not improving - Mfuneko Toyana

FITCH RATINGS is very concerned that SA's economic and political situation is not improving, the Federation of Unions of SA said yesterday after it held talks with the ratings agency. FITCH in April cut SA's debt to junk, citing the recent Cabinet reshuffle. FEDUSA General Secretary DENNIS GEORGE said FITCH was also worried about the lack of progress in reforming state firms. "They wanted to know how we see the future and what we see happening at the ANC elective conference in December", said GEORGE. He said FITCH was very concerned about the situation in SA "and the fact that things are not getting better, they're getting worse". "They also agreed with us that we can't keep bailing out the state-owned companies", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB governor says raising rates won't lure investment - Mfuneko Toyana

SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO yesterday said raising lending rates would do little to attract new investments to SA after its credit rating was cut to junk. KGANYAGO told online publication The Conversation that the central bank would stick to targeting inflation of 3%-6%. "Raising the repo rate by itself would do little to attract new investments", he was quoted as saying. "But failure to deal with the inflationary consequences of currency depreciation, which pushes up import prices and potentially all prices, would also push up both short and long-term borrowing costs". The SARB kept repo rates unchanged in Mar., saying it had reached the end of its tightening cycle. But following the Cabinet reshuffle and downgrades, KGANYAGO said pressure on the rand, and accelerated inflation could force the regulator to put off cutting rates. The Monetary Policy Committee meets for three days starting next Monday and is due to announce its rates decision on Thursday. Forward markets rates yesterday were pricing

Nigerian inflation falls to 17.24% in Apr. - Alexis Akwagyiram

Annual inflation in Nigeria eased for the third straight month in April, inching down to 17.24% from 17.26% in Mar, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. A separate food price index showed inflation there rose to 19.30%, from 18.44% m/m. "This is the third consecutive month of a decline in the headline CPI rate, exhibiting effects of some easing in already high food and non-food prices, as well as favourable base effects over 2016 prices", the statistics agency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, Carlyle team up to rescue Moroccan refinery - Aziz El Yaakoubi

GLENCORE and CARLYLE GROUP have teamed up in a bid to buy Morocco's only oil refinery, hoping to recoup about $600m in loans they issued to the plant before it went bankrupt. Two courses close to the process said the government wanted at least $2bn for the plant at Mohammedia. However, no decision on any sale is imminent, due partly to its complex debts. The 200 000 bpd refinery fell foul of the global oil price crash. It halted operations in Aug. 2015 after the government froze the bank accounts of loss-making operator SAMIR, seeking 13bn dirham in unpaid taxes. If the deal goes through, it would become GLENCORE's first oil refinery and allow the plan to restart production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's c.bank seen holding rates as power price hike may fuel inflation - Chris Mfula

Zambia's central bank is unlikely to loosen monetary policy further when it meets today as a steep hike in electricity prices for retail consumers starting this month risks stoking inflation, analysts said. The cost of electricity for retail customers is set to rise by 75% in 2017 under a plan approved by the Energy Regulation Board last week and intended to match prices to production costs after Zambia scrapped electricity subsidies. Although higher electricity tariffs could in the long term help attract investment into the energy sector, they might also feed through into other price increases. Zambia's annual consumer inflation has drastically eased from highs of over 20% last year, and was 6.7% in Apr. Lower inflation has allowed the central bank to cut its benchmark lending rate from a record high of 15.5% to 14%. "We will see more easing ahead, given current economic conditions and ongoing kwacha stability", said STANDARD CHARTERED Chief Africa Economist RAZIA KHAN. "It's a necessary reform for put

Grain SA sees 3.5mt maize surplus this year - Ed Stoddard

GRAIN SA yesterday said it expects a surplus of 3.5mt of maize when this season's harvest is complete and aims to export all of it with orders in from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, CEO JANNIE DE VILLIERS said. SA will likely harvest 14.54mt of maize this year, up 87% y/y, the Crop Estimates Committee said last month. Domestic consumption is usually around 10.5mt or more. DE VILLIERS said the first export permits for this season for Taiwan were expected to be issued by the government this week. He added that local farmers and traders were looking at demand in the Middle East, and hoped to export yellow maize to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 17/05/2017

At 07h38 on 17 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.11 ZAR/EUR 14.55 ZAR/GBP 16.95 Gold 1243.06 Platinum 942.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.23 All Share 54023.12

SA to use procurement budget 'strategically' to transform economy - Gigaba - Mfuneko Toyana

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday said Treasury would use its R500bn annual procurement budget to transform the economy and give more support to black-owned businesses. "The strategic use of state procurement is an important lever to grow black business", GIGABA told a business dinner in Johannesburg. "The state getting value for money is important but this aim should be considered in conjunction with our economic history". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian oil workers extend ExxonMobil strike to Chevron, Agip and Shell - Anamesere Igboeroteonwu

Nigerian workers from the oil labour union have extended a strike to CHEVRON, SHELL and ENI subsidiary AGIP in protest over the sacking of members from EXXONMOBIL CORP, the union's general secretary said today. LUMUMBA OKUGBARA, of the Petroleun and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said union representatives would meet EXXONMOBIL management later today for talks. Members of the union began a strike at the oil major last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone growth holds stead; Greece slumps back into recession - Mehreen Khan

Eurozone growth held steady at a robust pace at the start of 2017, with Greece the only blot on the continent in Q1. Quarterly eurozone GDP grew by 0.5% in the quarter to end-Mar., the same pace as the end of 2016 and in line with a flash estimate from Eurostat. Annual growth came in at 1.75. Greece remains the bloc's laggard economy, falling back into recession for the first time in four years. Quarterly GDP shrunk 0.1%, following a 1.2% pullback at end-2016 as progress on the country's latest bailout review has stuttered. Latvia topped the eurozone's Q1 growth table, expanding 1.5%, followed by Lithuania (1.4%) and an impressive 1% acceleration in Portugal. Germany's economy grew by 0.6%, while Italy disappointed at 0.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Almost all working South Africans fear losing their jobs - Lameez Omarjee

The biggest fear of up to 92% of South African employees is losing their jobs, according to the annual International Trade Union Confederation Global Poll for 2017, released yesterday. The survey was conducted in Mar. across 16 countries - a total of 1 000 people were interviewed in SA. Ohter concerns of South African workers include climate change (74%), weakening labour laws (74%), cyber attacks (72%) and inequality between men and women (62%). Around 54% of respondents fear technology will take over their jobs. Seventy-one percent of South Africans want government to implement new rules for multinational companies to "end abuse" of workers via supply chains. Seventy-four percent want more apprenticeships and opportunities for life-long learning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's downgrades Noble Group, warns it may struggle to cover debts - David Sheppard

MOODY's has downgraded NOBLE GROUP further into junk territory on Monday, warning that the embattled commodity trader may not have enough cash and bank lines be able to cover debts maturing in the next 12 months. NOBLE GROUP was lowered to Caa1 from Ba2 by MOODY's, placing it in a category the rating's agency describes as "subject to very high default risk". The yield on NOBLE's outstanding bonds has jumped after the company posted a $130m Q1 loss last week and said it may not return to profitability before 2019. MOODY's said that NOBLE's so-called liquidity headroom will narrow to $1.2bn from $2bn at end-2016, despite issuing bonds in the first quarter, after it paid down bank debt and with a revolving credit facility maturing in May. That $1.2bn would be "insufficient" to cover $2.1bn in debt coming due between now and the end of H1 2018, MOODY's said. The outlook on the Caa1 rating is "negative" suggesting further downgrades could follow without a quick turnaround at the company. "The ratings outlook

Unilever buys Quala brands - Scheherazade Daneshkhu

UNILEVER will buy the personal-care and home-care brands of QUALA, a Colombian consumer-goods company. UNILEVER said it would use bolt-on acquisitions to help grow revenues. The company said the QUALA businesses would strengthen its position in shampoos, toothpaste, men's grooming and fabric conditioners in Latin America. UNILEVER did not disclose financial terms but said the acquired brands had combined revenues of $400m in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China boosted US Treasuries holdings in Mar., while still lagging Japan - Eric Platt

China's holdings of US Treasuries rebounded in Mar., although the country remained the second-largest creditor nation to the US behind Japan. The country's ownership of Treasuries rose by $27.9bn in Mar. from a month before to $1.09tn. Japan nonetheless maintained the top spot, increasing its holdings by $3.4bn to $1.12tn. Overall the Treasury Department said offshore investors bought $59.8bn of long-term US assets in Mar. However the selling of short-term securities and banking flows resulted in a new outflow in the month of $700m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott calls for BHP to conduct formal review of oil business - Peter Wells

ELLIOTT ASSOCIATES has dialled down its call for overhauling BHP BILLITON's dual-listed structure and its petroleum business, and asked for the company's board to launch an in-depth review to optimise shareholder value and end to the company's "chronic underperformance". Citing extremely broad and deep-rooted support among shareholders to achieve an optimal value for BHP's petroleum assets, ELLIOTT, in a new letter today, called for the company to undertake a formal open review of the unit - although its preferred approach is still a full or partial sale or IPO of these assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

'Much work remains' to drain excess oil inventories - IEA - Anjli Raval

Global oil market supply and demand is moving into balance but "much work remains" to drain excess inventories, the International Energy Agency said today. Despite drastic cuts to OPEC supply, stockpiles by end-2017 might still not fall to levels targeted by the group, the IEA said. Saudi Arabia and Russia yesterday said they backed extending the output cut agreement until Mar. 2018, intensifying their push to bring an end to the downturn that is in its third year. Commercial oil stocks in industrialised countries fell in Feb. and Mar. to just over 3bn barrels, but the IEA preliminary data shows an increase in April. Total OPEC supply rose by 65 000 bpd to 31.8m bpd last month. Non-OPEC production dropped by 255 000 bpd in Apr., as producers subject to the agreement stepped up compliance. Even so, vigorous drilling activity and growth from US shale fields will make up more than half the supply increase from outside the cartel in 2017 at around 600 000 bpd. This is an upward revision from 485 000 bpd ex

Calgro rental unit project on track - Roy Cokayne

CALGRO M3 HOLDINGS is making progress with a strategy to build a 40 000-unit residential rental portfolio valued at around R15bn within the next 5-6 years. CEO WIKUS LATEGAN yesterday said the REIT, established with SA CORPORATE REAL ESTATE, the AFHCO CALGRO M3 CONSORTIUM, did not own any rental units at this stage. However, LATEGAN said land had been transferred to the REIT, and the first phase, involving the construction of 3 852 units valued at R1.5bn, had started. LATEGAN said the first units would be handed over to tenants in June, and the business would start making a contribution to the company from July. He said the REIT would be acquiring more rental units from CALGRO, other developers and other portfolios. Meanwhile, the group's memorial parks business had turned profitable after operating for only 18 months, with R1.25m in operating profit in the FY to end-Feb. from revenue of R4.3m. The first memorial park was developed on Rand Show Road off the N1 and comprised 37 000 burial sites. LATEGAN

AMSA calls for lower power prices - Dineo Faku

ARCELORMITTAL SA has applied to NERSA to implement a better electricity-pricing model for the struggling steel industry and was considering cutting the production of long steel at its Newcastle plant due to low demand. "We have asked NERSA to look at a different tariff for the steel industry. If we do not get the answer we want, we will continue to struggle as an industry", AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK said. DE KLERK said AMSA was holding talks with ESKOM over better pricing as part of a plan to deal with its biggest costs - electricity, transport, labour and coal. "It will be difficult to be sustainable if we do not do anything about costs. As a result, we have embarked on negotiations with ESKOM", DE KLERK said. "We are a business in distress, and we cannot continue to pay these prices. We need better prices for electricity". Electricity comprised 34% of the costs at AMSA's Saldanha plant, and the company's power bill was R2.6bn a year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acquisitions boost enX's H1 revenue - Anine Kilian

Acquisitions concluded by ENX GROUP have contributed to higher revenue and net profit for the HY to end-Feb. Revenue rose to R2.4bn, from R517.7m y/y. Revenues for the petrochemicals division rose to R695.7m following the inclusion of WAI and AGL for the full period, while the company's adjusted profit before tax improved to R224.8m. ENX deputy chair PAUL MANSOUR said the results illustrated the extent of the transformation that ENX had undergone owing to these acquisitions. He added that, for the past six months, the company's focus had been on intergrating acquisitions and driving profitability of its existing operations. ENX's adjusted EBITDA rose to R306.7m in the HY, while adjusted headline earnings rose to R160.3m and translated into adjusted HEPS of 103.3cps. The equipment segment performed in line with forecasts for the period and achieved revenues of R1.16bn, adjusted EBIT of R133.9m and adjusted PBT of R75m. The fleet business achieved revenues of R554.8m, adjusted EBIT of R145.3m and adjuste

Balwin delivers solid year-end results, sustains property demand - Mia Breytenbach

BALWIN PROPERTIES has achieved a solid financial performance in the FY to end-Feb., with HEPS and EPS up by 7% to 141c. Profit for the period improved by 18% y/y to R661m, while revenue rose 30% to R2.7bn. A final dividend of 31cps was declared, which represents an 18% rise on that of the prior year. Work in progress rose by 50% y/y, attributable to the acquisition of land for future developments. Acquisitions during the FY included obtaining the development rights of the Waterfall properties in Gauteng. The total value of the developments acquired amounted to R1.5bn. As at end-Feb., BALWIN has a cash balance of R547m thanks to the effective management of working capital. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Equipment, automotive units boost Barloworld's performance - Megan van Wyngaardt

BARLOWORLD yesterday posted a 5% rise in its operating profit for the HY to end-Mar. to R1.84bn, as its automotive unit achieved record results and its overall equipment division boasted strong growth amid challenging global trading conditions. The Southern African equipment division delivered operating profit of R713m, with aftermarket revenue increasing 3%. With more greenfield projects coming on line this year and a R1.9bn order book at end-Mar., the company was set to continue benefiting from improved mining activity. The Russian equipment division realised a 24% rise in operating profit to R262m, as mining equipment demand and parts sales rose. However, the Iberia equipment division delivered disappointing results, with operating profit down 68% to R8m. BARLOWORLD attributed the decrease to low activity levels in Spain and Portugal, and its Energyst associate producing a significant loss during the period due to a contract loss in Argentina. The automotive division posted solid results in a "very c

AMSA insists 12% HRC safeguard won't translate into abrupt price hike - Terence Creamer

ARCELORMITTAL SA insists that the institution of a 12% safeguard duty on hot-rolled coil from Jul. 1 will not result in a commensurate rise in domestic prices for the product, due to a pricing agreement with government that regulates the setting of domestic flat-steel prices. The safeguard will be introduced in addition to the 10% duty already placed on HRC, thus raising overall protection for the product to 22% for a three-year period. AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK says the pricing agreement with government disallows the company from deviating from an agreed 'fair basket price' methodology, which is based on domestic selling prices in 12 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. On a quarterly basis, the Department of Trade & Industry audits the basket and has the right to insist on the application of a discount to steel consumers should it find that AMSA has been overcharging during the period. Prices could, in future, rise or fall depending on international price trends and the exchange rate, but will no

Sappi lifts Q2 EBITDA - Anine Kilian

SAPPI has delivered solid results for the quarter to end-Mar. EBITDA rose by 7% y/y to $208m for Q2 to end-Mar., while H1 EBITDA rose 10% y/y to $409m. While profit for the quarter fell from $100m to $88m, owing to an $18m positive after tax plantation fair value adjustment in 2016, profit for the HY improved to $178m, from $175m y/y. "The specialised cellulose business benefited from strong demand and favourable pricing for dissolving wood pulp, which followed the trends for viscose staple fibre, cotton and polyester", CEO STEVE BINNIE said. The paper business in SA had a positive quarter, with higher sales volumes in the containerboard and newsprint categories. But the stronger rand/dollar exchange rate impacted on sales prices. The speciality packaging business continued to achieve strong sales growth and profit margins. SAPPI cut its net debt to $1.33bn by the end of Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imports a threat to Astral workers - Sandile Mchunu

ASTRAL FOODS yesterday warned that total poultry imports remained at high levels despite the cutback from the EU as a result of avian influenza outbreaks in certain countries. ASTRAL CEO CHRIS SCHUTTE said total imports averaged 8.2m birds a week for the HY to end-Mar., even though local producers and government had undertaken efforts to curtail poultry dumping. "As the local producers we have had numerous engagements with the Minister of Trade and Industry ROB DAVIES. Unfortunately we haven't received positive feedback yet, but we remain hopeful that a solution would be found to save the local poultry industry", SCHUTTE said. "We are managing to keep our employees on their jobs for now, but if the situation doesn't improve, we might be forced to go the RAINBOW [CHICKEN] route". RAINBOW CHICKEN in Hammarsdale in Jan. reported it had reduced its two-shift system to one and cut its workforce by nearly 350. ASTRAL posted a significant drop in profitability in the HY to end-Mar., with revenue down 1% to R5

Ramatlhodi spills beans on how Molefe 'helped' Guptas - Matthew le Cordeur

Former mining minister NGOAKO RAMATLHODI has alleged that ESKOM CEO BRIAN MOLEFE and chair BEN NGUBANE pressurised him to help the GUPTAS take over GLENCORE's Optimum coal mine in 2016. RAMATLHODI said he met with MOLEFE and NGUBANE in 2015 at the chair's insistence. "At the meeting, they allegedly demanded that he suspend all GLENCORE's mining licences in South Africa, pending the payment of the R2.17bn penalty", AmaBhungane reported. "I said I'm not going to shut the mines", RAMATLHODI said, adding that he was concerned that closing 14 coal mines would have added to the load shedding crisis. President JACOB ZUMA removed him as mines minister shortly afterwards, moving him to public service and administration in 2015 and then removing him completely in the Mar. 2017 Cabinet reshuffle. RAMATLHODI was replaced by MOSEBENZI ZWANE, who allegedly met with GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG in Zurich to facilitate the sale of Optimum Coal to TEGETA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sale of old hospitals help cushion Netcare results - Lameez Omarjee

The sale of an old hospital helped cushion the blow of NETCARE's low revenue. Interim results for the HY to end-Mar. show revenue fell ore than 10% to R16.9bn. Adjusted HEPS were down 11.4% to 80.6cps. However, profit increased 46.1% to R1.9bn y/y and an interim dividend of 38cps was declared. The increase in profit has been attributed to non-trading activities, including the sale of the old Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and the mark-to-market revaluation of the UK Retail Price Index. Excluding these, group EBITDA fell 13.1% to R2.3bn. Operations in SA managed to grow revenue by 2.3% to R9.2bn, despite the low growth environment. Excluding the sale of the hospital, EBITDA fell 2.1%. Operating profit similarly decreased 3.6% to R1.5bn. So far capex came to R744m - this is expected to grow to R1.7bn as the company further develops the new NETCARE Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital medical precinct, as well as the expansion of the NETCARE Milpark Hospital. In the UK, revenue rose 3.2% to £458

Naspers invests R5.6bn in German food delivery service - Fin24

NASPERS yesterday announced it will be investing €387m for a minority stake in Germany-based DELIVERY HERO, the leading global online food ordering and delivery marketplace, at a valuation in line with the company's previous valuation. NASPERS will also be represented with one member on DELIVERY HERO's Supervisory Board. DELIVERY HERO processed 171m orders in 2016, up 65% y/y, positioning it as the leading online food and delivery marketplace in most of the more than 40 countries in which it operates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH CEO steps down - News24Wire

EOH yesterday announced that founder and CEO ASHER BOHBOT will be stepping down at the end of June after 19 years at the helm. The move is part of a wider board reshuffle and succession planning process for the company's leadership. ZUNAID MAYET, who previously worked as CEO of EOH INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES, will replace BOHBOT as Group CEO. MAYET has been with the company for eight years. EOH said BOHBOT will be taking a six month sabbatical and will serve as an adviser during this time. He will rejoin the board as non-executive director following his sabbatical. Other changes show that CEOs of divisions at EOH will now join the executive board of directors. Five new executive directors were announced, four of which are CEOs of divisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA working on strapping visas for all African citizens - News24Wire

SA is working towards allowing all African citizens to enter SA without visas - but at first "trusted travellers" like diplomats, academics, business people and students will be the only ones to benefit. The Department of Home Affairs outlines steps that will be taken towards scrapping visa requirements in the latest White Paper on International Migration, which was adopted by cabinet six weeks ago but not yet made public. According to the document, SA "fully supports the vision of an Africa where its citizens can move more freely across national borders, where intra-Africa trade is encouraged and there is greater integration and development of the African continent". But the White Paper, which moves SA's approach to immigration from a purely administrative one to a security-based approach, warns that the scrapping of visas needs to happen with caution. Visas will only be needed when there are risks of foreign nationals overstaying, security risks like organised crime, terrorism and political instability,

Eskom demands R6.2bn from Mpumalanga coal supplier - ANA

ESKOM is demanding R6.2bn from coal baron RAMESH JOE SINGH after his company, JUST COAL, supplied the utility's Tutuka Power Station with sub-optimal coal worth R5.8bn. The poor-quality coal put the operations of Tutuka Power Station at risk. ESKOM has since cancelled the contract with JUST COAL and has approached Treasury "to jointly agree on suitable alternative mechanisms to source coal". ESKOM has also laid criminal charges against SINGH and his CEO, PEET ERASMUS. "The (matter) is currently under investigation by the South African Police Service, the utility said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Royal Mint launches first ever platinum products - Martin Creamer

The ROYAL MINT yesterday launched its first ever platinum bullion products. The 1 000-year-old organisation has launched 500g and kilo platinum bars as investment-grade precious metal. The launch by the ROYAL MINT coincides with Platinum Week, currently under way in London. The May 15 launch will be followed in the next few weeks by the debut of the 1oz 'Queen's Beasts Lion of England' coin - the first platinum coin to be launched in the popular heraldic series - as well as 100g and 1oz platinum bars. The launches follow a strategic partnership between the MINT and the World Platinum Investment Council to deliver physical platinum products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinalco proposes taking all of Simandou - Tim Crocks

CHINALCO has asked Guinea to let it take over the whole of the Simandou iron ore project, sources said. The Chinese state-owned miner's written proposal for Simandou seeks more favourable terms than laid out by Guinea's mining code. In the most important concession, the firm has suggested the code could be altered to let it acquire all four Simandou blocks without competing in a public tender, according to a source. In an interview with Reuters last week, Mines Minister ABDOULAYE MAGASSOUBA declined to comment on CHINALCO's proposal but said there was a possibility of it taking the whole concession. "Everyone wants it all. Of course, they are free to express interest, but in the end we will make the decision on the basis of commercial negotiations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin buys rest of Pandora - Martin Creamer

LONMIN has bought the remaining 7.5% stake in the Pandora platinum operation from NORTHAM PLATINUM. In Nov. 2016, LONMIN entered into a sale and purchase agreement to acquire ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM's 42.5% stake in Pandora, taking ownership to 92.5% of the asset. LONMIN yesterday said it was buying the stake from NORTHAM's MVELAPHANDA RESOURCES for R45.5m cash and refunding the value of any cash calls paid by MVELAPHANDA to the Pandora JV during the period from Jan. 1 and completion of the deal, which are expected to total R6m-R8m. LONMIN is in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals for the deal from AMPLATS of the 42.5% equity interest in PANDORA, which it anticipates will be completed this year. Completion of the two transactions will result in LONMIN increasing its ownership in the Pandora JV to 100% from its current 50% stake via its EASTERN PLATINUM subsidiary. "This has immense capex benefits to LONMIN", CEO BEN MAGARA said. The company will be able to access a portion of the Pandora mini

PTM appoints advisory firm as it seeks offtake options for Waterberg project - Megan van Wyngaardt

PLATINUM GROUP METALS and JV partner JAPAN OIL, GAS AND METALS NATIONAL CORPORATION have selected SFA OXFORD to assess potential offtake options and commercial terms for the Waterberg PGMs project. The work undertaken by SFA will add to the work being done by an independent engineering qualified person in these areas and is expected to make a significant contribution to the economics to be outlined in the definitive feasibility study that is in progress. Based on PTM's completed prefeasibility study, the Waterberg project is expected to produce up to 285 000t/y of concentrate at peak production, containing 80g/t platinum elements, plus copper and nickel. The PFS estimated that Waterberg could produce 472 000oz/y of palladium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DiamondCorp delists from Aim, AltX delisting next - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIAMONDCORP's admission to trading on the Aim in London was cancelled yesterday. Earlier this year, the company's shares were also suspended from trading on the JSE, and talks are ongoing to also facilitate a delisting from the AltX of the JSE. The company last week appointed administrators STEPHEN CORK and JO MILNER from CORK GULLY after its board determined the company was no longer able to continue trading as a going concern. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa revenue hit by lower Q1 production - Megan van Wyngaardt

ATLATSA RESOURCES' revenue fell by 6.1% y/y to C$33.4m for the quarter to end-Mar., due to a 3.5% decrease in PGM ounces produced at its Bokoni mine. Revenue was further impacted by a 1.5% decrease in the rand PGM basket price to R11 130, compared with R11 305 in Q1 2016. Tonnes milled at Bokoni fell by 7.2% y/y to 296 366t, resulting in 35 338oz of PGMs being produced, down from 36 609oz y/y. Total cash operating costs were 26.8% higher than in Q1 2016 due to an increase in environmental rehabilitation costs incurred following the closure of the opencast mining operations, and increased inventory store costs. Cost per tonne milled for the quarter rose to C$162/t, compared with C$119/t y/y, while total capex for the period rose to C$11.6m, compared with C$3.5m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP Billiton changes name back to BHP - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has announced a major rebranding as part of a campaign to demonstrate the company's commitment to Australia. BHP BILLITON is changing its name back to BHP as part of the 'Think Big' advertising campaign, which chief external affairs officer GEOFF HEALY said would demonstrate the role BHP played in the Australian economy and community and, more broadly, in global economic growth and development. The company started out as the BROKEN HILL PROPRIETARY COMPANY in 1885 and retained that name until it merged with BILLITON in 2001. The rebranding comes as BHP is defending itself against ELLIOTT ASSOCIATES, which is urging the company to drop its dual-listed structure in Australia and the UK. HEALY said that in launching the 'Think Big' campaign, BHP would take the opportunity to change its logo and move to a brand that Australians have known for generations. Think Big will also be launched globally in a phased approach into other markets where BHP is located. This news brief represents a summary

Vedanta swings to profit - Bloomberg

VEDANTA reported a Q4 profit as it benefited from a rally in prices of base metals. Net income attributable to owners was Rs14.1bn in the quarter through Mar., and revenues were Rs246.1bn, the Indian unit of London-listed VEDANTA RESOURCES said. That compares with a loss of Rs138.4bn y/y due to a writedown at its oil unit. A surge in zinc prices globally saw profits at subsidiary HINDUSTAN ZINC surge 43% in the quarter y/y and the company announced a record payout to investors in Mar. A near $1.2bn windfall from VEDANTA's 65% stake in HINDUSTAN ZINC and access to around 44bn in cash at CAIRN INDIA will help soften concerns over its debt pile, according to ratings agencies. VEDANTA's gross debt stood at Rs636.6bn at end-Mar., while cash and liquid investments were Rs634.7bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen under EU antitrust spotlight over excessive pricing - Foo Yun Chee

The European Commission yesterday said it was looking into information that ASPEN PHARMACARE has imposed hefty and unjustified price hikes of up to several hundred percent on certain key cancer drugs, and has withdrawn the drugs in some EU countries or threatened to do so in others. ASPEn acquired the medicines after their patent protection had expired. Its shares extended losses on news of the EU probe and were down 3.6% at R275.26 on the JSE by midday yesterday. The EC said the investigation will focus on niche medicines containing the active pharmaceutical ingredients chlorambucil, melphalan, mercaptopurine, tioguanine and busulfan for treating cancers. ASPEN said the probe concerned several of its European subsidiaries, adding that it would work constructively with the Commission. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA reviewing five shale gas exploration applications - Wendell Roelf

Recommendations for SA's first shale gas exploration licences in the Karoo basin will be finalised soon after environmental objections delayed the process, a government official said yesterday. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, FALCON OIL AND GAS and BUNDU GAS & OIL are among five applications being reviewed by the regulator, acting PETROLEUM AGENCY SA CEO LINDIWE MEKWE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana proposes debt for equity deal for BCL Mine - Tanisha Heiberg

Botswana's government has offered state-owned BCL MINE LTD to the EMIRATES INVESTMENT HOUSE for a token price of $1 in a deal that will result in the latter taking over the mine's debts, Minerals Minister SADIQUE KEBONANG said yesterday. Since being placed under provisional liquidation in Oct., the High Court has granted two extensions to BCL as the government negotiated with potential buyers. BCL was placed under provisional liquidation after its creditors demanded close to 1bn pula. "We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding witH EIH. The proposal is for them to take up all of BCL debts including Nkomati for a token fee", KEBONANG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury appoints acting DG - TJ Strydom

The Treasury has appointed DONDO MOGAJANE as acting director-general, it said yesterday. LUNGISA FUZILE resigned as DG last month, shortly after his political head, PRAVIN GORDHAN, was removed as finance minister. MOGAJANE has worked for the department since 1999 and was mot recently deputy DG responsible for public finance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's high state spending may deepen cash crunch - IMF - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's cash shortages could worsen and inflation may be triggered if President ROBERT MUGABE's government doesn't temper excessive state spending, the IMF warned yesterday. Without balance of payment support from international financial institutions, Harare has relied on taxes and the domestic market for borrowing, sending the budget deficit spiralling in 2016. "Excessive government spending, if continued, could exacerbate the cash scarcity, further jeopardise the health of the external and financial sectors, and, ultimately, fuel inflation", the IMF said. Official data out yesterday showed inflation rising to 0.48% in Apr., the second month consumer prices have increased following more than two years of deflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando in talks to help Eni fix Port Harcourt refinery - Oludare Mayowa

OANDO yesterday said it was in talks to work with ENI to rehabilitate one of the country's four refineries. Nigeria imports most of its gasoline needs as its refineries have been shut or running at reduced capacity for years due to neglect and vandalism. Oil Minister EMMANUEL IBE KACHIKWU last week said ENI would build a new refinery with 150 000 bpd capacity, using its AGIP subsidiary. The agreement with ENI also included a repair, operate and maintain agreement for the Port Harcourt plant. OANDO said it was in talks to partner with AGIP in rehabilitating the Port Harcourt plant, returning its capacity to the original design level of 210 000 bpd from just 30% of that at present. The talks were expected to lead to a final agreement by end-July, OANDO added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin to move Joburg office to Marikana - Zandi Shabalala

LONMIN PLC yesterday announced it will move its head offices from Johannesburg to its Marikana operations in a move that will save it "tens of millions" of rand, CEO BEN MAGARA said. "For me it's really about getting closer to the operations and giving support to our management teams", MAGARA said as the embattled miner reported H1 results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank arranges debt package for Zimbabwe Power Company - Ed Stoddard

STANDARD BANK yesterday said it had finalised a $120m debt package with the ZIMBABWE POWER COMPANY, which has been grappling with power and liquidity shortages. The funds will be used for the rehabilitation of existing power infrastructure at Kariba South Hydro Power Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station, STANDARD BANK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 16/05/2017

At 10h27 on 16 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.09 ZAR/EUR 14.43 ZAR/GBP 16.93 Gold 1234.73 Platinum 936.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.20 All Share 53950.02

Toshiba confirms expected annual net loss - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA has yet to receive an auditor sign-off of its FY results but confirmed it is headed for the worst annual loss by a Japanese manufacturer. For the FY to end-Mar., the company said it expects a net loss of Y950bn, resulting from massive cost overruns at its WESTINGHOUSE operations in the US. It will aim to return to a profit of Y50bn by the 2017/18 fiscal year. TOSHIBA also said its equity likely fell to a negative Y540bn by end-Mar. and that it would remain at the level for the 2017/18 FY unless it disposes its chip division, which is valued at Y2tn. TOSHIBA shares will be delisted if it falls into negative shareholder equity for two consecutive years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin risks breaking debt covenants as losses mount - Nicholas Megaw

LONMIN has warned lenders that it is in danger of breaching financial covenants on its debt facilities as falling output and a stronger rand meant losses grew substantially in the HY to end-Mar. Pre-tax losses in the period grew to $199m, from $21m y/y. This was in part caused by an impairment charge of $146m, which the company blamed on a stronger rand, and revisions to its estimates of FY production costs. LONMIN's debt facilities include a rule that the company's consolidated tangible net worth cannot fall below $1.1bn. At end-Mar., the TNW had fallen to $1.434m, and LONMIN warned that further adverse movements could result in additional impairments and the possibility of breaching the covenant. Total production in the HY was 7.6% lower y/y at 4.7mt. Higher platinum prices offset some of the decline in output, with revenues falling 6% to $486m. The company said it had ended the period well with the best March for four years. The company said addressing the issues with workers at its K3 shaft had led

Vodafone transfers Safaricom stake to Vodacom - Nic Fildes

VODAFONE has moved to clean up its African empire after transferring a 35% stake in SAFARICOM to VODACOM. The €2.3bn switch will be paid for in new VODACOM shares issued to VODAFONE. That will take its ownership of the South African business above the 70% mark. VODAFONE said it will be open to selling down its stake in VODACOM to meet free float requirements if necessary. The move comes against a backdrop of growing political pressure to reduce the power of SAFARICOM given the success of mPesa, VODAFONE's mobile payment system, in Kenya. The move suggests VODAFONE could look to switch its Ghanaian and Egyptian units into VODACOM's ownership but a spokesperson said there are no such plans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R2.3bn sale of stake in OMAM a major step in separation - Matthew le Cordeur

OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT completed the first tranche of a two-step sale of its shares to HNA CAPITAL US, it announced today. "The first tranche consisted of 9.95% of OMAM shares at a price of $15.30 per share in cash, resulting in gross proceeds of approximately $175m", the company said. The second tranche consists of 15% of OMAM shares, to be sold at a price of $15.75/share. Completion of this tranche is subject to receipt of certain additional regulatory approvals in various jurisdictions and is expected to take place in H2 2017. Following the completion of the first tranche, OMAM is no longer a "controlled company" within the meaning of the NYSE Listed Company Manual. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom profits grow - Kyle Venktess

VODACOM grew its data revenue by almost 20% y/y to R20.696bn in the FY to end-Mar. HEPS were up 4.5% to 923cps with a final dividend of 435cps, taking the total payout to 830cps for the year. Group service revenue was up 2.3% and group revenue rose 1.5%, with the South Africa service revenue increasing by 5.6%, aided by strong customer net additions of 3m. CEO SHAMEEL JOOSUB said the change in pricing to offer customers more value via segmented and personalised offers will continue to sustain revenue growth. VODACOM's EBITDA grew 2.9% to R31.238bn, with group capex of R11.292bn, focused on data expansion and information technology. JOOSUB said the sustained demand for data remained a key driver for growth with active data users up 8.3% in SA and 29.3% across international operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays ready to sell 16% of its Africa unit - Bloomberg

BARCLAYS is weighing selling a 16% stake in its Africa unit on the market once it gets regulatory approval to separate from the business, sources said. The sale could raise as much as $1.5bn based on the current share price of BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP. The stock will likely be sold via an accelerated bookbuild offering, sources said, adding that BARCLAYS could decide to amend the size of the sale after receiving the go-ahead. Deconsolidating Africa will boost BARCLAYS' common equity Tier 1 ratio by at least 0.75 percentage points from its 12.5% level at end-Mar. The lender took an £884m writedown on the division in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Portion of Intertoll sale finalised - Roy Cokayne

GROUP FIVE has finalised the GDANSK TRANSPORT COMPANY in Poland portion of the sale of a 49.99% stake in its INTERTOLL EUROPE underlying public private partnership project investment portfolio to ABERDEEN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS for €43m. GROUP FIVE said it anticipated financial close of the MECSEK AUTOPALYA KONCESSZIOS ZRT assets in Hungary before the end of June. INTERTOLL EUROPE's PPP project investment portfolio comprises a 15% stake in GTC, a 10% stake in M6 MECSEK and a 12.67% stake in M6 DUNA. Following the implementation of the transaction, GROUP FIVE will hold 50.01% of the seed assets and AIF the remaining 49.99%, with the interests of both parties' interests held via INTERTOLL CAPITAL PARTNERS BV, a JV established to facilitate this partnership. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine concludes 15-yr lease - Roy Cokayne

REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL has concluded a 15-year lease with TK MAXX for a new store at Albion Street in Derby in the UK. RIN on Friday said it would commence a redevelopment of 9-11 Albion Street in the next few months ot combined the basement, ground, first and second floors of the three existing units into a single, modern space to accommodate TK MAXX. The new store was scheduled to open by late 2018 and would create 35 new jobs. RIN said it was anticipated it would cost 2.2m to reconfigure the space. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMI buys stake in British insurer - Sandile Mchunu

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENT HOLDINGS has acquired a 29.9% stake in HASTINGS GROUP HOLDINGS for an aggregate cash consideration of £487.3m-£499.5m. If the deal goes through, RMI will become the single biggest shareholder in HASTINGS following the acquisition. RMI will fund the deal via a debt facility, which will be fully underwritten by RAND MERCHANT BANK. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals in SA, the UK and Gibraltar. RMI said the final acquisition consideration would be determined with reference to a pre-agreed formula based on the timing of the completion of each tranche of the acquisition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/05/2017

At 10h27 on 15 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.26 ZAR/EUR 14.50 ZAR/GBP 17.13 Gold 1229.96 Platinum 931.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.00 All Share 54143.00

Old Mutual responds to spike in complaints - Lameez Omarjee

OLD MUTUAL says the reason the long-term insurance ombud received the most complaints related to it was because of its size in the market. The insurer reached out to Fin24 to explain the context of the findings, which showed that OLD MUTUAL topped the list of complaints, with 723 or 13.77% of total complaints. Of these, the ombud considered 454 cases. OLD MUTUAL COO ROSE KEANLY said the increase in the company's complaints were less (3.9%) than the industry average which increased by 5%. KEANLY noted that the ombud's report was positive overall, but that the company will look at findings to improve customer experience. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA says safety remains number one priority - Fin24

Safety remains the number one priority, ARCELORMITTAL said on Friday as it reported results for the quarter to end-Mar. It had two fatalities at its Saldanha plant on Apr. 3 - both contractor employees. However, in Q1 2017 its lost time injury frequency rate improved from 1.17 to 0.44 y/y. The refurbishment of coke batteries at Newcastle Works is progressing as planned and should be completed in Q2 2017. Liquid steel production was down 2% and local sales down 3%, while export sales were up 9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life Healthcare pleased with international strategy - Fin24

LIFE HEALTHCARE increased its revenue for the period to end-Mar. by 22.6% to R9.638bn, it said on Friday. At the same time, normalised EBITDA rose by 15.2% to R2.418bn, while HEPS decreased by 71.3% to 26.7cps. LIFE said the results have been impacted by once-off items relating to the acquisition of ALLIANCE MEDICAL during the period, which accounts for new revenue of R1.481bn and normalised EBITDA of R410m. LIFE's international expansion strategy has been focused on selected attractive markets that display supportive characteristics for the longer-term growth of the private healthcare market. "The acquisition of ALLIANCE MEDIAL exposes LIFE HEALTHCARE to the faster growing diagnostics market with a company with excellent growth prospects. The acquisition of ALLIANCE MEDIAL accelerates LIFE's geographic diversification increasing both revenue and EBITDA outside of southern Africa", group CEO ANDRE MEYER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pamensky resigns as director of Oakbay board - Fin24

OAKBAY RESOURCES AND ENERGY on Friday announced that independent non-executive director MARK PAMENSKY has tendered his resignation with effect from Jun. 10. PAMENSKY is also chair of the audit committee and a member of various other committees. OAKBAY said the board "shall immediately commence the process of appointing an independent non-executive director to fill the vacancy that has arisen as a result of Mr PAMENSKY's resignation". PAMENSKY was appointed to the ESKOM board three months after joining OAKBAY. He resigned from the ESKOM board less than a week after CEO BRIAN MOLEFE quit in Nov. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blue Cellular to give away data - Kyle Venktess

BLUE CELLULAR has a vision to offer people around the country free WiFi and data. CEO BARRY TAITZ said his knowledge of people from poorer backgrounds made him recognise the need for his business. BLUE CELLULAR deals in the distribution of starter packs and printed airtime receipts through mobile machines or via a mobile phone app. TAITZ has vision to provide those who purchase starter packs with promotional offers such as eCoupons and food specials. BLUE CELLULAR also plans to set up mobile base stations in containers to supply free WiFi to communities to make use of the offers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown defends shock Molefe reinstatement - Terence Creamer

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has defended her decision to accept the ESKOM Board's recommendation that BRIAN MOLEFE be reinstated as CEO and see out his five-year contract to 2020 on the basis that it offered "better value" than the alternative of paying him a R30m pension. ESKOM made the shock recommendation in response to BROWN's Apr. 23 refusal to accept the proposed pension payout. The board's remedy - agreed to by BROWN - is that MOLEFE agree to repay any pension money received and be reinstated as CEO for the remainder of his contract period. In addition, the terms of the contract would be revised to ensure the pension plan was revalued to be more reflective of five years service and in line with Cabinet-approved remuneration standards. Parliament on Friday confirmed the resignation of MOLEFE as MP effective from Sunday May 14, and the ESKOM board indicated he would resume duties on May 15. BROWN also confirmed that interim CEO MATSHELA KOKO would "take leave" until a forensic and legal

EU imposes dumping duties on Chinese steel pipes, tubes - Reuters

The EU has imposed definitive anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports of seamless pipes and tubes of iron ore steel to protect its industry from steel overcapacity. The European Commission on Friday said it was imposing definitive anti-dumping duties after a probe of a number of Chinese companies. YANGZHOU CHENGDE STEEL PIPE CO will face an anti-dumping duty rate of 29.2%, while HUBEI XINYEGANG SPECIAL TUPE CO will face a rate of 54.9%. The EU has imposed anti-dumping duties on several Chinese steel products such as cold-rolled flat steel and stainless steel cold-rolled flat products. Commenting on the duties, the Chinese commerce ministry urged the EU to abide by WTO rules, adding that it was willing to work with the bloc to resolve the problems facing the steel sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanlam forks out $329m - ANA

SANLAM and SANTAM last week increased their effective stake in Morocco-based SAHAM FINANCES by a further 16.6% to 46.6%, for $329m plus transaction costs after meeting all necessary regulatory approvals. SAHAM FINANCES is an insurance firm with operations in 26 countries across North, West and East Africa, and the Middle East. The effective date of the transaction would be 10 May 2017. SANLAM said the deal was funded from internal cash resources. It said the introduction of gearing to fund a portion of the acquisition consideration will be considered in due course as part of the company's continual capital management programme. SANLAM and SANTAM first acquired a 30% effective stake in SAHAM FINANCES in Feb. 2016 with SANLAM EMERGING MARKETS holding 75% and SANTAM 25% thereof. Following the latest acquisition, SANLAM EMs will now hold 85% and SANTAM 15% of the total investment in SAHAM FINANCES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SANCU calls for scrapping of TV licence - Fin24

The SA National consumer Union is calling for the scrapping of TV licences, following a proposal that consumers should pay for a TV licence for mobile phones, computers and tablets. SABC CEO JAMES AGUMA last week told Parliament that the broadcaster wants the Broadcasting Act changed to make it mandatory for people to pay a TV licence for more devices that can receive a TV signal. Such a change would broaden the collection base for TV licences, which in turn would help raise revenue for the SABC. "Consumers in South Africa are becoming extremely despondent due to government entities, such as the SABC, expecting consumers to foot the bill due to their loss of R509m during the past year", SANCU chair INA WILKEN said. "To propose that consumers would have to pay for a TV licence when using a PC, cell phone of tablet is totally outrageous". WILKEN cautioned that should the SABC's request be granted, it will further aggravate the dire financial situation that cash-strapped consumers are already facing. The S

New nuclear agreements to be inked in June - Paul Vecchiatto

SA will sign standardised agreements with the US, China, South Korea, France and Russia, Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI said at the weekend. The government opted not to appeal a court ruling that its nuclear-energy construction programme was unconstitutional. SA had signed accords with the US, China, South Korea, France and Russia to possibly use suppliers in those countries to build nuclear plants in SA. "We will sign new and standardised agreements with the five countries and this should start in June", KUBAYI said on Saturday. "Nuclear remains a core component of government's energy mix that includes renewables... However, all our processes will now be in line with the constitution and open and transparent ad we don't want to be in court every week", KUBAYI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom expects improved FY earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

TELKOM expects to post improved earnings for the FY to end-Mar. as the impact of voluntary severance and early retirement packages is reduced. The company expects a y/y rise of 110%-130% in HEPS. Basic EPS are expected to increase by 60%-80% y/y. Excluding the impact of the voluntary severance and early retirement packages, HEPS are expected to increase by 0%-20% y/y, while basic EPS are expected to be between 10% lower and 01% higher y/y. Results will be published on June 5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Royal HaskoningDHV to review Botswana airport SEZ masterplan - Anine Kilian

ROYAL HASKONINGDHV, together with HASKONING BOTSWANA, has been awarded the contract to review the masterplan of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport Special Economic Zone, in Gaborone, Botswana. Eight strategic areas across the country have been identified for promoting the development of various industries that will lead to the diversification of the country's economy via the public and private sectors. "The SSKIA-SEZ is a six-month project that is planned to be completed by the end of August and fits in well with our goal to help develop business and job opportunities on the continent", ROYAL HASKONINGDHV transport and planning Africa director MANFRED UKEN said. The SSKIA-SEZ will be a mixed-use economic zone that will house several organisations, while Botswana Investment and Trade will also be incorporated within the mixed-use economic zone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Four bidders shortlisted for Blantyre water project - Marcel Chimwala

Malawi's BLANTYRE WATER BOARD has shortlisted four bidders for a project to tap water from the Likhubula river to the city. The project will be financed by a $23m loan from the EXPORT AND IMPORT BANK OF INDIA. BWB CEO HENRY BAKUWA says the shortlisted bidders comprise a JV with WPIL and SMS PARYAVARAN, MEGHA ENGINEERING & INFRASTRUCTURE, SMC INFRASTRUCTURE and TECHNAFAB ENGINEERING. The main components of the project include the construction of an intake structure on the Likhubula river; the laying of 50km pipeline from the river to Nguludi; the construction of a storage tank at Mpingwe Hill; and the laying of supply mains from the storage tank to two locations in Blantyre. The project is aimed at curbing water shortages in the city, which are the result of increasing demand caused by rapid population growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mombasa-Nairobi rail line set for commissioning - John Muchira

Kenya is gearing up for a new era in railway transport with the impending commissioning of a standard-gauge railway line on Jun. 1. "The SGR line is the largest infrastructure project in post-independence Kenya. It's commissioning will mean low freight transport costs, which is a good development for the economies of the region", KENYA RAILWAYS MD ATANAS MAINA said. The 472km line has the potential to reduce transport costs by as much as 35%. The line will be built by CHINA COMMUNICATIONS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY and operated by CCCC subsidiary JOHN HOLLAND. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yamana raises C$80m via Brio share sale - Henry Lazenby

YAMANA GOLD raised around C$80m via a secondary offering of common shares of its subsidiary BRIO GOLD. The companies have entered an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by CANACCORD GENUITY, CIBC CAPITAL MARKETS and NATIONAL BANK FINANCIAL under which the underwriters have agreed to buy 26.67m common shares of BRIO, currently held by YAMANA, on a bought deal basis, at an offering price of C$3/BRIO share. The underwriters have a 30-day overallotment option that could result in a further 2.67m shares being sold, pushing the total gross proceeds to YAMANA to C$88m. YAMANA had in Dec. completed the spin-out of BRIO, forming a standalone public company focused on a portfolio of noncore YAMANA assets in Latin America and Canada. YAMANA advised that BRIO will not receive any proceeds from the offering and all the expenses of the offering will be paid by YAMANA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buffalo Coal swings back into black as coal prices rise - Henry Lazenby

BUFFALO COAL has swung back to profit for Q1 2017, boosted by improving demand for its anthracite and bituminous coal. The company recorded headline profit for the period of R0.01/share, compared with a loss of R0.04 y/y. The net profit for the quarter to end-Mar. was R4.2m, compared with a net loss of R12.1m y/y. Net revenues earned came to R163.9m, missing forecasts of about R185.5m but better than the R138.3m reported y/y. This reflected an increase of 18.6% due to higher realised sales prices. During the quarter, sales were 227 000t, up from 198 000t y/y, mainly due to 39 000t anthracite discard sold during the period. Bituminous sales for the period totalled 121 000t, of which 50.9% were export sales and 49.1% were domestic sales, a 9.8% y/y drop. Anthracite sales for the quarter were 106 000t, of which 71.3% were export sales and 28.7% were domestic sales, up by 66.3% y/y. Total ROM output for the quarter was 8.9% lower at 342 000t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article

Eastplats to undertake further assessment work at Mareesburg - Natasha Odendaal

A focused reassessment and additional work is targeted for the Mareesburg openpit project in Limpopo as EASTERN PLATINUM takes a "fresh look" at its mineral properties during this year. The company on Friday said it would undertake an additional limited infill drilling programme for resource and reserve determination, after the outcomes of ongoing portfolio reviews warranted further site assessment. EASTPLATS said the drilling work will be undertaken by a local operator in SA. Community liaison is under way to ensure local communities are accommodated and updated on the project status, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gemfields achieves 'mixed' results in Q3 - Anine Kilian

GEMFIELDS' 75%-owned Kagem mine, in Zambia, produced 4.5m ct of emerald and beryl during the quarter to end-Mar. - 3m carats less y/y. GEMFIELDS attributed the lower output to inclement weather during the period. It is also expected to contribute to a reduction in guided output for the FY to 20m-25m ct. Ruby production at the company's 75%-owned Montepuez mine, in Mozambique, reached 1.2m ct with an average grade of 7ct/t. The amount of premium quality rubies recovered increased by 92%. Faberge sales orders fell by 39% during the quarter, despite the number of sales transactions having increased by 63%. GEMFIELDS CEO IAN HAREBOTTLE noted that the company has decided to withdraw from the Coscuez transaction in Colombia and its operations in Sri Lanka. "The company believes its portfolio of high-quality assets in Africa, as well as other potential expansion opportunities within Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia, are all likely to deliver considerably higher returns with shorter payback periods than some of

Canadian miners among suitors for BHP's Chile copper mine - Reuters

TECK RESOURCES, LUNDIN MINING and HUDBAY MINERALS are among the suitors that have submitted bids for BHP BILLITON's Cerro Colorado copper mine, in Chile, sources said. The miner expects the asset to fetch as much as $800m. BHP last week said it has started a sales process to potentially divest the mine, without naming the potential buyers. While the sales process for Cerro Colorado is quite robust, there is no certainty it will result in a deal, sources said. A final deal could still take some months, the mine's union said on Apr. 27 after BHP updated union leaders on the proposed sale ahead of planned visits to the deposit by potential buyers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP CEO to play up shale - Reuters

BHP BILLITON CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE will this week tell investors that his company can pump more for less out of its unloved shale assets. MACKENZIE, among the executives due to address a BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH mining conference in Barcelona this week, will outline how the company is increasing output and cutting shale drilling costs, gaining better acreage by trading assets, and extending its reach by partnering with other players. ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT is pushing a three-point plan to collapse BHP's dual-listed structure, spin off the US oil and gas assets, and boost returns to shareholders - all of which BHP has rejected. The idea that has gained the most traction among investors is that BHP should rethink its involvement in US oil and gas. A source said the company is conscious that the oil and gas argument has generated the most discussion. However, investors differ over the timing of any sale and whether BHP should pursue a trade sale of the shale assets, a public listing of all of its US assets,

Newcrest to spend A$25m on Cadia East rehab, upgrades - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST MINING on Friday said its Cadia East operation, in New South Wales, would require a capital investment of around A$25m to rehabilitate and upgrade the mine following a seismic event last month. The NSW regulator placed the operation under a prohibition notice on Apr. 14, prohibiting NEWCREST from extracting ore in its Panel Cave 1 and Panel Cave 2. No injuries were sustained during the seismic event. Subject to the lifting of the prohibition notice, NEWCREST would produce between 650 000oz and 750 000oz of gold in 2018. Meanwhile, the company noted that a feasibility study on the proposed expansion of the Cadia processing plant has been completed. Approval of the study is pending while the miner focuses on finalising remedial work at the Cadia operation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz receives Kroll audit into hidden debts - Joe Brock

The Mozambican Attorney General's office on Saturday said it had received and audit conducted by KROLL into $2bn in secret loans taken out by state-owned entities and would release the results to the public as soon as possible. The discovery of the loans to state-owned fishing firm EMATUM, PROINDICUS and MOZAMBIQUE ASSET MANAGEMENT prompted the IMF to halt its support programme and led to the collapse of the country's currency and a debt default. The audit's release has been delayed several times. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch upgrades Ghana outlook to stable - Matthew Mpoke Bigg

FITCH RATINGS on Friday upgraded Ghana's outlook to stable and said the government was making progress in stabilising the economy after a period of crisis. The agency kept its B rating on the country, but said it expected a revival of GDP growth and a decline in inflation and the budget deficit. Ghana is currently following a $918m IMF programme to restore fiscal balance. The government of President NANA AFUKO-ADDO, which took power in Jan., called the rating a vote of confidence in its turnaround strategy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bushveld says vanadium mine buy transformational - Barbara Lewis

BUSHVELD MINERALS' purchase of a vanadium mine and processing plant from EVRAZ has transformed it from a developer to a big low-cost producer, CEO FORTUNE MOJAPELO said last week. The company's stock has risen more than 300% since Jan., while vanadium prices have more than doubled over a year to nearly $30/kg. MOJAPELO said the acquisition for $16.5m of the Vametco mine and processing plant was "transformational for the company and is exactly in line with our strategy of building our vanadium platform". BUSHVELD says it has 434mt of vanadium and the possibility of growing that to 500mt in the near term, which equates to more than a century's supply. It is producing around 2 700t/year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi denies restructure rumours - Nqobile Dludla

MONDI on Friday denied that CEO PETER OSWALD was planning to restructure the company, but confirmed it would move some of its Johannesburg functions to its Vienna office. OSWALD, who officially succeeded DAVID HATHORN on Thursday, said he would continue the plans of his predecessor and was committed to maintaining the group's expansion strategy. OSWALD said MONDI had identified a number of acquisitions in t he short-term to boost the packaging business. MONDI spokesperson KERRY COOPER said OSWALD is currently based in Vienna "and is going to stay there". COOPER added that some of the financial reporting support roles that are currently based in Johannesburg would move "closer to the new CEO". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya gets $1bn syndicated loan from commercial banks - Duncan Miriri

Kenya borrowed $1bn via syndicated loan from commercial banks, $200m more than anticipated, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported on Friday. Kenya in Mar. said it was raising a total of $1.55bn in syndicated loans, with $800m coming from commercial banks and the rest from development finance banks. The $1bn loan was split into a two-year tranche and a three-year tranche, IRF cited bankers as saying. The loan was arranged by CITIGROUP, RMB, STANDARD BANK and STANDARD CHARTERED. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA set to harvest largest wheat crop since 2011 - CEC - Tanisha Heiberg

SA's wheat crop rose by a third to 1.9mt in the 2016 season, the largest harvest in six years, as improved rainfall boosted yields, the Crop Estimates Committee said on Friday. This season's crop is around 100 000t larger than the 2mt harvested in 2011, the CEC said in its final assessment of the harvest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania c.bank withdraws licence of community bank - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's central bank has revoked the licence of a small community bank in the south of the country as part of a drive to clean up the financial sector, it said on Friday. The central bank said it had revoked the licence for MBINGA COMMUNITY BANK PLC, stopped its oeprations and appointed the state-owned DEPOSIT INSURANCE BOARD as its liquidator from Friday. "The measure has been taken upon determination by the Bank of Tanzania that the bank is critically undercapitalised and insolvent", the central bank said. MBINGA is one of several microfinance institutions licenced by the central bank. It specialises in serving farmers in the southern Tanzanian region of Ruvuma. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA to cut costs after drop in Q1 steel sales - Nqobile Dludla

ARCELORMITTAL SA on Friday said it would cut costs and try to boost efficiency after posting a drop in Q1 liquid steel output and local sales. The company blamed poor domestic demand and a stronger rand/dollar exchange rate for the weaker performance in the quarter to end-Mar. AMSA posted Q1 output of 1.19mt, down 2.3% y/y. Sales came in at 855 000t compared to 885 000t y/y. "Local sales will continue to be under pressure due to tough trading conditions, mainly as a result of lower steel demand due to poor economic activity and ongoing imports. Export sales will also come under pressure due to weak international prices", AMSA said. The company did not provide further details about the planned cost cuts and efficiency measures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 15/05/2017

At 07h41 on 15 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.36 ZAR/EUR 14.61 ZAR/GBP 17.25 Gold 1230.98 Platinum 928.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.67 All Share 54063.34

Barclays shakes up top management at its investment bank - Martin Arnold

BARCLAYS has shaken up the top management of its investment bank. TIM THROSBY, who was hired by BARCLAYS in Jan. to lead its corporate and investment banking operations, has become interim head of its markets division. He replaces JOE CORCORAN, who has been shifted upstairs to be vice-chair of markets, sources said. Other changes include the appointment of JOE MCGRATH to a new position as global head of banking, which includes much of its advisory, lending and transactional activities, in addition to his role as head of Americas. JOHN MILLER has been made head of global industry coverage banking, reporting to MCGRATH, while JEAN-FRANCOIS ASTIER will head its global capital markets business. JOHN MAHON will become head of corporate banking. SAM DEAN is retiring as head of corporate finance for Europe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Senate confirms Trump pick for US trade representative - Jessica Dye

Lawmakers have signed off on US President DONALD TRUMP's pick for US trade representative, ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, as the administration gears up for the promised renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Senate yesterday voted 82-14 in favour of the nominee, who will play a central role in formulating US trade policy and delivering on TRUMP's "America First" trade agenda. LIGHTHIZER is known as a ferocious political operator and negotiator, having served as a close aide to former senator and presidential candidate BOB DOLE in the late 1970s and early 1980s before joining the REAGAN administration as deputy US trade representative. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petrobras posts best quarterly results in two years - Andres Schipani

PETROBRAS continued its upward trend after delivering its best quarterly results in two years on Thursday. The company posted a net income of R$4.45bn, from a loss of R$1.25bn reported y/y. Adjusted EBITDA was up 19% in the quarter, reaching R$25.25bn versus the R$21.19bn bagged in Q1 2016. Through a strategy of asset sales, reduced investments and cost-cutting, the company's CEO PEDRO PARENTE is seeking ot turn around the embattled company's fortunes. PETROBRAS has been hit by a double whammy of lower oil prices and a sweeping corruption scandal that has shaken Brazil's business and political class. It already reversed its losses in Q4 2016, reporting a profit of R$2.51bn compared with a loss during the previous quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal profit amid rebound in aluminium prices - Henry Foy

RUSAL posted a 48% gain in net profit for Q1 2017, as rising sales of high-value products burnished the results of the continued recovery in aluminium prices. The company said net profit for Q1 was $187m, up from $126m y/y on the back of a 20% rise in revenue to $2.3bn. The aluminium producer said sales of its higher-margin products rose 8% q/q. Total aluminium sales rose an annual 3%, while average sale prices rose 17%. Adjusted EBITDA rose 52% to $475m, against a forecast of $489m seen by BCS GLOBAL MARKETS. CEO VLADISLAV SOLOVIEV said: "Aluminium demand is on track to grow by 5% to 62.7m tonnes in 2017, supported by positive economic developments globally, all of which leaves RUSAL well placed for the year ahead". RUSAL, which issued a five-year $600m eurobond and a three-year Rmb1bn bond in China during the quarter, said net debt fell slightly to $8.2bn from $8.4bn y/y, against a slight rise in assets to $14.9bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump administration hails US-China trade deal - Shawn Donnan

China has agreed to open up its market to US credit rating agencies and credit card companies as well as resume imports of US beef as part of a package hailed by the TRUMP administration as the first step in redefining the trade relationship between the two countries. Although DONALD TRUMP and his aides regularly complain about the more than $300bn US trade deficit with China, the new president has begun to display a greater appreciation of the complexities of geopolitics. Under the agreement rolled out today the US announced it would send a delegation to Beijing's upcoming "One Belt, One Road" summit, offering its symbolic endorsement of Chinese leader XI JINPING's pet strategic project to revive the ancient Silk Road to Europe. In return, China will send a delegation to a US meeting for foreign investors in July with the TRUMP administration promising equal treatment for China despite a push in some circles of Washington for it to take a tougher line on Chinese investments. This news brief represents a

ArcelorMittal profit jumps in Q1 - Paul McClean

ARCELORMITTAL has reported a double-digit boost to sales and earnings, as a recovery in the global steel market and the fruits of a turnaround programme lifted the steelmaker. The company posted a 13.9% rise in sales to $16.1bn in Q1 2017 q/q, and delivered a 34% boost to EBITDA, reaching $2.2bn. Production of crude steel rose from 21.8mt to 23.6mt in the quarter under review. "Looking ahead, we expect market conditions to be broadly stable in the second quarter. While this is encouraging, the steel industry is still impacted by unfair imports in many of our key markets and we hope to see further progress in ensuring the necessary trade solutions", chairman LAKSHMI MITTAL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ThyssenKrupp posts Q2 loss, projects 'significant' FY net loss - Patrick McGee

THYSSENKRUPP warned of a "significant net loss for the year" due to the sale of its Brazilian steel business and warned that free cash flow for the FY before mergers and acquisitions would be negative. The company today posted a net loss to shareholders of €870m for Q1, versus a €45m profit y/y. Sales rose 12% y/y to €11bn. The German group said it will remain in the red for the year, "exclusively as a result of the negative earnings impact from the sale of CSA", its steel producing business in Brazil, which resulted in a €900m writedown. THYSSENKRUPP said it would generate negative free cash flow in the "mid-three-digit million euro range" due to a "significant increase in net working capital at our materials businesses". Adjusted EBIT climbed 31% to €427m, beating analysts' forecasts of €372m, and for the year, the company upgraded its forecast from €1.7bn to €1.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Luxury industry downturn weighs on Richemont - Ralph Atkins

RICHEMONT has posted a 14% drop to €1.76bn in operating profits in the FY to end-Mar. as the company weathered a global downturn in the luxury goods sector. Sales fell 4% to €10.6bn in the FY to end-Mar. Founder JOHANN RUPERT warned that "volatility and uncertainty" were "likely to prevail" in the trading environment, adding that RICHEMONT would focus on adjusting its products and distribution to new consumption patterns. Separately, RUPERT announced his son, ANTON RUPERT, would join the RICHEMONT board. Last year, RICHEMONT bought back and destroyed some products to ease overstocking. Excluding the impact of such steps, sales would have fallen by only 2% at constant exchange rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German GDP growth accelerates at start of 2017 - Mehreen Khan

Germany's economy picked up speed at the start of 2017, expanding by 0.6% in the quarter. The Q1 GDP figure came in line with an average forecast compiled by Bloomberg, and climbed from the 0.4% posted at end-2016. Trade and investment both made contributions to Q1 growth, according to the country's federal statistics office, while household consumption also inched up. On a y/y basis, Q1 growth was 1.7% higher. Destatis confirmed consumer prices rose by 2% in April. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Plans to raise R150m capital foiled - Roy Cokayne

The subscription requirements for a planned equity raise of up to R150m by INGENUITY PROPERTY INVESTMENTS were not met and the planned issue of new ordinary shares in the company would now no longer occur. INGENUITY this week launched an accelerated bookbuild to raise the capital via the issue of new ordinary shares by means of a private placement. When it launched the capital raise, INGENUITY said it intended to use the net proceeds from the private placement for, among other things, working capital requirements, the partial repayment of debt and to finance the acquisition of the NETCARE Christiaan Barnard Hospital. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 12/05/2017

At 10h55 on 12 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.40 ZAR/EUR 14.54 ZAR/GBP 17.23 Gold 1228.44 Platinum 922.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.77 All Share 54066.32

Growth rate slowing down again - BETI - Fin24

Recent developments in SA may have contributed to the growth rate of the BANKSERVAFRICA Economic Transaction Index slowing down again in Apr. The BETI deteriorated on a m/m and y/y basis with only the q/q comparison remaining the same. The real change in processed economic transactions by BANKSERVAFRICA on a y/y basis remained negative in Apr., declining by 1.8% from Mar. The monthly chance was still positive as the BETI increased by 0.2% between Apr. and Mar. However, this is weaker than Mar. and Feb. where a 0.5% growth was reflected between the two months. "While these changes do not necessarily confirm a trend, the fact that the BETI has slowed indicates that some economic activity retreated in April and the downgrades of the South African economy probably played a role", BANKSERVAFRICA said. It added that the weaker BETI "gives concrete evidence of a slower economy, and are in line with vehicle sales and manufacturing PMI results, which both track and provide similar insight into the economy's move

Investec launches new investment - Fin24

INVESTEC has launched a new investment that gives investors access to a basket of international indices and offers principal protection of 105% in US dollars with the potential to earn enhanced upside, according to JAPIE LUBBE, of INVESTEC CORPORATE AND INSTITUTIONAL BANKING. The structure effectively ensures that investors have a positive return. An investor in the East Asian Growth Basket Limited will earn two times the growth in the underlying indices, from 105% to 127.5% with a maximum total return ot 150% in US dollars. The minimum of 105% in US dollars will be paid where the basket of indices increases by less than 5% or ends negative over the five-year term. All returns are quoted net of fees, costs and expenses. The minimum investment in the East Asian Global Basket Limited is $12 000 or A$16 000. The investment window is currently open and closes on Jun. 15, or when fully subscribed. The shares of the EAGBL are listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange and can, therefore, be sold before its schedul

AB InBev to wait a bit longer for Zim dividend - Malcom Sharara

The inability of Zimbabwean institutions to make foreign payments means ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV will have to wait a bit longer before it can enjoy dividends from its Zimbabwean associate, DELTA CORPORATION. DELTA FD MATTS VALELA said the company is sitting on around $28m in dividends meant for AB INBEV due to the ongoing liquidity crisis in Zimbabwe. Company secretary ALEX MAKAMURE added that the company, which also has a $20m backlog on payments to foreign suppliers, has since stopped applying to have the dividends transferred as it prioritises payment for key supplies. Minority foreign shareholders have been paid. At this week's briefing, DELTA declared another healthy final dividend of 2.45 US cents in addition to the 3cps interim dividend, taking its FY payout to 5.45cps on EPS of 5.70cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin shuts shafts as community protests jobs - Kevin Crowley

LONMIN yesterday said some of its shafts have been shut for a week after members of the Bapong community disrupted operations while protesting for jobs. The E2 and E3 shafts near Bapong have not been operational since May 3 to protect workers, LONMIN spokesperson WENDY TLOU said yesterday. The company has thus far suffered the equivalent of R40m in lost output. Members of the Bapo Ba Mogale community have been demanding 1 500 jobs at LONMIN, training and access to mine certain areas, TLOU said. A bus was set alight in Bapong as part of the protest earlier this week. "We have been engaging with this part of the community... but have not bee able to reach a resolutions", TLOU said. "We have explained to them that we cannot hire 1 500 people given current market conditions". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom launches municipal service delivery apps - Kyle Venktess

The OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape has become the first in SA to implement a new system by VODACOM to improve the reporting of service delivery issues. A nea platform, Thetha Nathi (Talk to us) was launched by the municipality and the company on Thursday. It provides the municipality with an omni-channel system through which citizens can access services and engage the municipality. For the first phase of deployment, the municipality has prioritised the management of water and sanitation. Through the solution, residents will be able to engage the municipality via multiple channels through the use of their cellular phones. The municipality will use the same platform to respond to any queries logged by residents to dispatch water management technicians. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB to support Namibia's economic governance, competitiveness - Megan van Wyngaardt

The African Development Bank has approved a R3bn loan to finance the Namibia Economic Governance and Competitiveness Support Programme, which will support the strengthening of public financial management and improve the quality and efficiency of public sector spending. AfDB senior VP CHARLES BOAMAH said the programme "is designed to address emerging vulnerabilities undermining macroeconomic stability and support the government's ongoing bold structural reforms aimed at driving long-term job creating growth and reducing income inequality". The AfDB, in collaboration with other development partners, will continue to support the government's steps geared towards addressing Namibia's short, medium and long-term development challenges. The approval of the EGCSP is a major step in this direction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi feels inflationary cost impact on operating profit - Megan van Wyngaardt

MONDI yesterday posted a 6% y/y drop in underlying profit for Q1 to end-Mar. to €252m, as inflationary cost pressures mount and as a result of significantly lower forestry fair value gain. Underlying operating profit was up 12% q/q on higher sales volumes and prices. Wood costs were higher y/y, while paper for recycling benchmark prices rose sharply, up 17% y/y. Benchmark polyethylene prices were also higher on the back of higher crude oil prices. The company noted that planned maintenance shuts were completed in packaging paper during the quarter, with an estimated impact on operating profit of €10m. "Based on prevailing market prices, we continue to estimate that the impact of planned maintenance shuts on operating profit for 2017 will be around €80m, of which around €35m will be incurred in the first half of the year", MONDI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade conditions remain muted - Megan van Wyngaardt

Local trade conditions have remained in negative territory in April, with SACCI's Trade Activity Index weakening further to 45 from 46 in Mar. The seasonal adjusted TAI improved by two index points to 45. The seasonally adjusted Trade Expectations Index weakened further by two index points to 49 in April, after recovering to a level of 61 in Feb. "It appears that peripheral matters to trade were still weighing heavily on trade conditions in April", SACCI said. Respondents mentioned extraneous factors such as emigration, political uncertainty, higher unemployment and crime are impeding trade, while uncertain economic and business conditions result in staff retrenchments and less credit availability. Meanwhile, large shifts in the currency value made it difficult to conduct international trade. Sales volumes were hard-hit as the sales volumes index fell from 52 in Mar. to 44 in Apr., while the new orders index fell by three points to 40. The inventory index improved to 47 from a stalled level of 40 in Ma

AEEI posts strong interim performance, with profit up 150% - Megan van Wyngaardt

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS achieved a 150% rise in pre-tax profit to R185m for the HY to end-Feb., due to improved positive returns from the company's diversified operations and investment portfolio. AEEI noted that significant revenue from its tech division and its fishing division's organic growth boosted its HEPS by 111% to 29.53cps, while EPS rose by 110% to 29.48cps for the period. Net cash generated from operating activities rose by 21% to R35m y/y, CEO KHALID ABDULLA noted. The company announced a maiden interim dividend of 20cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Datatec FY earnings expected to drop - Natasha Odendaal

A worse-than-expected performance from WESTCON-COMSTOR has dragged the earnings of DATATEC for the year to end-Feb. DATATEC expects to post double-digit declines in earnings for the period under review, with HEPS down 90% y/y to 2cps and EPS 93% lower y/y to 1.4cps. The group's 2017 underlying EPS was expected to be 66% lower y/y at 11cps. Consolidated revenue for FY2017 was $6.08bn, compared with $6.45bn y/y, while the gross margin was 13.7%, compared with 13.5% y/y. "WESTCON-COMSTOR experienced disruption to the business as a result of the final SAP implementation in Europe, Middle East and Africa", DATATEC said, pointing to transformation challenges resulting in a 12% drop in revenue for the region, which constituted 78% of the overall y/y revenue decline for the subsidiary. The revenue decline further resulted in a $31m reduction of gross profit in EMEA, representing 76% of the overall gross profit decline for WESTCON-COMSTOR. Results will be published on May 22. This news brief represents a summ

AdaptIT acquires Micros - Creamer Media Reporter

ADAPTIT has acquired 100% of MICROS SA for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is in line with ADAPTIT's acquisitive growth strategy to expand, strengthen and reinforce its customer base and solutions set, particularly in the hospitality industry. MICROS specialises in the resale, support and deployment of software and hardware products and cloud solutions for the hospitality industry. Its portfolio of products and services help with the management of hotels, retailers and food and beverage facilities across large corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises and independent businesses. It also distributes ORACLE HOSPITALITY products under value-added reseller agreements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Altron lifts FY earnings - Natasha Odendaal

ALLIED ELECTRONICs yesterday posted improvements in its earnings for the FY to end-Feb., recovering somewhat from the battering it has experienced in recent years. HEPS shifted back into positive territory of 71cps in the FY, compared with the 145cps loss posted y/y, while the group's basic LPS narrowed from 259cps y/y to a loss of 54cps. Group EBITDA surged 123% to R840m during the period, while revenue fell 26% y/y to R19.7bn. ALTRON's overall net debt decreased from R3.4bn y/y to R1.9n owing to disposals and repayment of debt. Core operations achieved a 7% rise in EBITDA from R888m y/y to R950m, while the EBITDA margin improved to 6.8%. Depreciation and amortisation charges for FY2017 increased to R222m, resulting in an operating profit improvement of 4% to R728m and improved operating margins to 5.2%. Revenue declined by 3% to R13.9bn during the FY. ALTRON also reported a profit of R415m from continuing operations for the year, up from R360m y/y, with headline earnings dropping to R387m from R425m

Trading in CRG shares suspended amid strike - Megan van Wyngaardt

CENTRAL RAND GOLD yesterday requested a suspension in trading in its shares on the JSE and LSE due to ongoing production losses associated with strikes at its operations. The company said talks for yearly wage increases had reached a deadlock, with employees embarking on industrial action. The company yesterday warned that "relations [are] worsening", with management of its subsidiaries having been excluded from the premises. With operations now not delivering cash flows, CRG said it was unsure whether it would meet its operational cash commitments of $1m in the coming month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia lifts Q1 production, earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

Increased tonnes milled, higher grades and better recoveries have lifted the Q1 output of CALEDONIA MINING's Blanket mine to 12 794oz from the 10 822oz produced y/y. CEO STEVE CURTIS highlighted that the increased production also led to lower unit costs, with the Zimbabwe-based mine realising 4% lower on-mine costs at $659/oz and 10% lower AISC at $857/oz. This contributed to increased adjusted EPS of $0.05 for the quarter, up 96% y/y. Blanket's new Central shaft remains on track to start production in H2 2018 and, once complete, will enhance the mine's operating efficiency and transform its existing underground infrastructure. CALEDONIA continues to be strongly cash generative with operating cash flow during the quarter of $1.8m, contributing to a robust balance sheet and the company's gross cash position at the end of the quarter standing at $11.9m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining production records highest headline growth in two years - Anine Kilian

Local mining output rose 15.5% y/y in Mar., marking the highest headline growth rate in production in two years. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, output rose 3.7%, the strongest such performance since May 2016. Platinum production rose 4.7% m/m in Mar., which helped push its y/y growth rate to 30%. Iron ore production rose by 1.5% m/m in Mar., pushing its y/y growth rate to 24.4%. Coal production rose 0.6% in Mar., pushing its y/y growth rate to 8.1%, after February's 9.8% contraction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa buys mining equipment - Megan van Wyngaardt

THARISA MINERALS has entered into a binding term sheet with MCC CONTRACTS to buy certain of the latter's equipment, strategic components, site infrastructure and spare parts at the Tharisa PGMs and chrome mine in the Bushveld Complex. This forms part of the company's intention to transition from a contract-mining to an owner-mining model, and would also allow for the transfer of some 900 workers currently deployed at the operation. THARISA believes with the long life of the mine's openpit, estimated at 18 years, it would be beneficial to transition to an owner-mining model. The mine has further potential to expand its life by 40 years via an underground mine extension. THARIS will buy the assets and equipment from MCC for R303.3m, which includes 153 'yellow feet' machines. The transaction will also include 17 additional machines from another MCC site. In addition, THARISA will accept assignment in respect of leased equipment comprising drill rigs, excavators and off-highway dump trucks and will continue

Export iron ore prices boost Kumba's interim earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

KUMBA IRON ORE expects its headline and basic earnings for the HY to end-Jun. to be at least R602m, or 20% higher than the R3bn it reported for the HY y/y. KUMBA said the higher earnings were as a result of an increase in export iron ore prices during the period. In this regard, HEPS and EPS are also likely to be at least R1.88 and R1.86, respectively, higher than the R9.41 and R9.30 reported y/y. KUMBA has also appointed JOHAN PRINS as acting CFO, to succeed FRIKKIE KOTZEE, who stepped down yesterday after five years in the role. The company would now embark on finding and appointing a successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hesteel acquires Palabora Mining's holding company - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Tribunal has approved a large merger between HESTEEL INTERNATIONAL HOLDING COMPANY, HESTEEL GROUP, XUANHUA CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY and SMART UNION RESOURCES HONG KONG, without conditions. The target firm, SUHK, is an investment holding company based in Hong Kong that controls PALABORA MINING COMPANY, which, in turn, owns PALABORA COPPER. During a site visit to PMC last year, HESTEEL chair YU YONG said the company would add value to HESTEEL INTERNATIONAL's development. "Our investment in South Africa and its enterprises will be long term and sustainable", YU said, adding that SA "was HESTEEL's favourite country for future development". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott willing to back BHP board candidate as next chair - Reuters

ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT is willing to back a board member of BHP BILLITON to be its chair upon the retirement of JAC NASSER, despite deep reservations about its top management, a source said yesterday. ELLIOTT is pushing for a $46bn overhaul at BHP that includes spin-offs, dismantling the corporate structure and returning more money to shareholders. BHP has rejected the demands. ELLIOTT blames NASSER and BHP's top management for what it sees as bad investments by the company, particularly in US shale gas. But the activist investor believes "there are personalities on the board that are talented and capable [with the] potential for someone to be selected from the existing board", the source said. BHP has not commented on the potential candidates for succession. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Philippines FinMin says mining should be encouraged - Reuters

Extractive industries like mining should be encouraged, not curbed, the Philippines' finance minister said yesterday, promising investors there will be no more arbitrary suspensions of operations and more transparency in regulation. The government of President RODRIGO DUTERTE has been taking a less confrontational stance towards mining after the removal of environment minister REGINA LOPEZ, who ordered the closure of more than half the country's mines to protect water resources. "We need to encourage and not suppress extractive industries", Finance Secretary CARLOS DOMINGUEZ said. DOMINGUEZ said while weak governance has led to environmental destruction, including massive deforestation over the years, "the solution is not to arbitrarily ban extractive industries". "Never again should suspensions be meted out on the basis of unseen audits", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto seeks more local suppliers for Pilbara ops - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has announced a new local procurement programme that will provide Western Australian and Pilbara Aboriginal businesses greater opportunity to bid for contracts at the company's iron ore operations in the Pilbara. Under the new programme, RIO will use a dedicated team to better link the company's procurement opportunities and spending with regional suppliers. The new procurement team will also establish a web portal to provide improved visibility of upcoming contracts, allowing more WA businesses to lodge their interest in future work. The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy has welcomed the move, with CEO REG HOWARD-SMITH saying resources companies are looking at ways to boost local content on projects. "Efforts by companies like RIO to boost local content on projects significantly benefits the Western Australian community", HOWARD-SMITH noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basil Read still in talks about becoming black-owned company - Roy Cokayne

BASIL READ is still in talks about the potential private placement of shares that would result in the company becoming black-owned. The group yesterday warned shareholders that if successfully concluded, the private placement might have a material effect on the price of the company's shares. CEO NEVILLE NICOLAU in Mar. said the group was confident about concluding a deal that would result in the company becoming 51% black-owned. BASIL READ was then already 18% black controlled. NICOLAU stressed the company did not want a passive BEE partner but for the new black shareholders to be involved in active management at all levels of the business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Equites eye further UK acquisitions - Roy Cokayne

EQUITES PROPERTY FUND believes there are still significant acquisition opportunities in the UK. CEO ANDREA TAVERNA-TURISAN this week said the company continued to seek properties with long leases and quality covenants in strategically important locations in the UK. These locations included the East and West Midlands, the M4 corridor out of London to Bristol and the ports around Southampton. EQUITES increased the value of its property portfolio by 51.4% to R6.2bn in the FY to end-Feb. from R4.1bn y/y. The company yesterday reported a 14% rise in distributions per share for the FY to 110.37cps. NAV/share grew 9% to 1 412cps, from 1 294cps y/y. The company's net property expense ration fell from 3.5% to 2.5%. TAVERNA-TURISAN said the board was confident the company would achieve distribution growth of 10%-12% in the current FY, provided macroeconomic conditions remained stable. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Molefe to return to Eskom as CEO - Fin24

BRIAN MOLEFE is set to return to ESKOM as CEO on Monday, as the board has allegedly rescinded his application for early retirement, Business Report revealed this morning. MOLEFE quit following the Public Protector's State of Capture report, and has been a member of parliament for the past three months. "ESKOM took the decision after Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN last month objected to ESKOM's payment of a R30m pension payout to MOLEFE", Business Report wrote. It added that the board met to discuss the matter and agreed to rescind the application. MATSHELA KOKO will return to his previous position of group executive for generation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba tones down 'radical' talk amid investor unease - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has sought to allay investor fears over his pledge of "radical economic transformation", toning down the rhetoric just over a month into the job to talk more of "inclusive growth". While investors want the ANC to explain what is meant by radical transformation, GIGABA has in recent speeches used language that appears aimed to calm nerves, without specifying any concrete policies. "His view is that investors in business should not be fearful when they hear the word radical and think that it means there is going to be some irresponsible approach to government programmes", GIGABA's spokesperson, MAYIHLOME TSHWETE, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye plans $1bn rights issue to refinance Stillwater acquisition - Ed Stoddard

SIBANYE GOLD plans to raise $1bn via a rights issue to repay a portion of a $2.65bn loan facility it used to acquire STILLWATER MINING of the US. "A further announcement setting out the full terms of and finalisation information regarding the rights offer is currently scheduled to be released on Thursday, 18 May", the company said in a statement. It added that all information with regards to the rights offer will be available on its website, (www.sibanyegold.co.za). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA set to avoid recession as mining, manufacturing jump - Tanisha Heiberg

SA is set to avoid slipping into a technical recession this year following surprise improvements in mining and manufacturing output. Mining output beat forecasts of a 4.3% increase, with demand from China and higher commodity prices globally propelling the sector's output to a two-year high. While growth in manufacturing was modest, at 0.3% y/y in Mar., it was comfortably wide of market forecasts of a 2% contraction. The steep jump in mining output in Mar., by 15.5% according to Statistics SA data out yesterday, combined with a surprise rebound in manufacturing could see growth remain in the black, economists said. "That will be a sizeable contribution to quarter one growth especially if we expect the agricultural sector to start to contribute positively", said ELIZE KRUGER of NKC AFRICAN ECONOMICS, who forecast Q1 growth at 1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian lower house passes budget - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's lower and upper parliamentary chambers passed the 2017 budget, set at 7.44tn naira, on Thursday, lawmakers said. Both chambers had agreed to a higher volume than the draft worth 7.298tn naira budget submitted by President MUHAMMADU BUHARI to lawmakers in Dec. The budget assumes an oil price of $44.50/barrel, foreign borrowing of 175.9bn naira and domestic borrowing of 1.488tn naira. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil workers go on strike at Exxon in Nigeria - Tife Owolabi

Nigerian workers at EXXONMOBIL have gone on strike in protest over the sacking of employees, oil labour union officials said yesterday. ABEL AGARIN, who chairs the Lagos zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said members of his unions were on strike in protest of the sacking of 150 workers in Dec. He said 82 of these were PENGASSAN members. Strikes were being held in Lagos, Bonny, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt. A spokesperson for EXXON said there were "no impacts" on oil production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 12/05/2017

At 07h48 on 12 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.36 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 17.23 Gold 1226.94 Platinum 924.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.82 All Share 54114.00

Omnia to buy 90% of Umongo Petroleum - Robert Laing

OMNIA is acquiring 90% of UMONGO PETROLEUM for R780m, OMNIA announced this morning. The remaining 10% will remain with an investment company, AUTUMN STORM, whose shareholders include UMONGO CEO BOSTON MOONSAMY. UMONGO is based in Umhlanga Ridge and employs 28 people. Besides selling CHEVRON products, the company is also an agent for BASF and EVONIC oil products. It is in the process of acquiring ORBICHEM PETROCHEMICALS, which distributes Ergon oil products in sub-Saharan Africa. OMNIA said the acquisition of UMONGO would complement its PROTEA CHEMICALS business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nissan expects FY profit to fall by one-fifth - Kana Inagaki

NISSAN today said it expects its net profit to fall 19% from a year earlier to Y535bn for the FY to end-Mar. 2018. That fell below analyst forecasts for a profit of Y618bn. Revenue is expected to rise 0.7% to Y11.8tn. In line with rivals such as TOYOTA and HONDA, NISSAN also projected slowing sales in the US market. The carmaker said sales in the US are expected to grow 1.2% in the 2017/18 year compared to a rise of 4.2% y/y. For the 2016/17 FY, NISSAN reported a 27% rise in net profit to Y663.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

European Commission puts e-commerce companies on notice - Rochelle Toplensky

The EU's competition watchdog has put e-commerce companies on notice to cut out anti-competitive practices or face investigation. "Certain practices by companies in e-commerce markets may restrict competition by unduly limiting how products are distributed throughout the EU", Competition Commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER said. The inquiry focused on consumer goods and digital content and echoed the concerns in last year's preliminary report. The commission is expected to open cases based on its findings in the coming weeks and months. Following the preliminary report, three antitrust cases were launched in Feb., and seven retailers adjusted their contracts. The Commission identified a range of concerns. For consumer products, real-time price information made it easier to compare prices but also enabled two-thirds of retailers to use software to track competitors and automatically adjust their prices. That may enable price coordination and cut the incentive to lower prices. For online content, new entran

ETF industry vaults past $4tn in assets mark - Robin Wigglesworth

The global ETF industry smashed past the $4tn in assets mark last month as the improving performance of active asset managers this year does little to dent investor appetite for cheaper, passive alternatives. The entire ecosystem now boasts 6 835 ETFs and exchange-graded products, from 313 providers, and total assets of $4.002tn at end-Apr., according to figures from ETFGI, an industry data provider. ETFs and ETPs gathered a record $37.94bn last month, which was the 39th consecutive month of net inflows and brought this year's total so far to $235.2bn - smashing last year's inflows of $81bn at this point of the year. BLACKROCK's iShares was the biggest winner last month, attracting ETF inflows of $23.9bn, followed by VANGUARD's $10.29bn and SCHWAB's ETFs, which gained $2.53bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap shares tumble after first earnings report disappoints - Tim Bradshow

SNAP's first quarterly results as a public company fell short of Wall Street forecasts on both revenues and user numbers. Its shares lost as much as a fifth of their value in after-hours trading yesterday. The company reported revenue growth of 286% to $149.6m, but analysts had been expecting almost $10m more than that. Daily active users were up 36% y/y to 166m - investors were looking for 167m-170m. On the positive side, average revenue per user was 90c, up 181% and a bit better than some analysts were expecting. ARPU for the quarter to end-Mar. was down 14% from Q4's 105cps, which is typically a stronger season for advertising given holiday sales. Analysts are not expecting SNAP to post a profit until 2019 at the earliest. Net losses for the quarter were $2.2bn, much of that due to one-off IPO costs and stock-based compensation. Capex jumped from $12.4m to $18.0m y/y. Shares in SNAP were volatile in after-hours trading, falling as much as 21% to $18.09, a new all-time low since its March IPO. T

Merck boosted by FDA approval for Keytruda use with chemo - Jessica Dye

MERCK shares rose last night after the US FDA cleared the use of its immunotherapy drug Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy for lung cancer patients. The US group's shares rose more than 3% in after-hours trading following the announcement of the FDA's greenlight for the cocktail of drugs under its "accelerated approval" programme. Total sales of Keytruda reached $1.4bn in 2016, more than double the $566m y/y. US sales of the drug jumped to around $260m in the first two months of 2017, an 80% increase from the y/y period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aussie banks rebound from dip after levy announcement - Hudson Lockett

Shares in Australian banks rose this morning after dipping the previous session in response to a new levy on lenders' balance sheet liabilities. Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON had revealed in the federal budget on Tuesday night that COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK, WESTPAC, ANZ and MACQUARIE GROUP would incur a charge on their liabilities of 6 bps annually from a levy that would raise A$6.2bn for the government over four years. CBA was up 1.3% today after closing down 0.4% on Wednesday, while WESTPAC and NAB were both up 1% after shedding 0.7% yesterday. ANZ was 0.9% higher. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore price drops to 7-month low - Hudson Lockett

China's hard commodities were on the slide today, led lower by a further tumble in the price of iron ore. Iron ore futures contracts on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 5.5% to Rmb445/t today, their lowest level since Nov. 8. Dalian-listed coking coal futures fell below the Rmb1 000/t mark for the first time since Oct. 10, falling as much as 6.9% to Rmb993. Thermal coal contracts on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange were down as much as 2.3% to Rmb203, bringing them down 15.6% lower from an Apr. 5 peak. Copper contracts were down just 0.2% at 249.95/t for a year-to-date drop of just 0.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

T-Mobile US drives solid Q1 result for Deutsche Telekom - Peter Wells

Strong growth in the US underpinned a solid start to the year for DEUTSCHE TELEKOM, although net profit was down due to an impairment charge. Thanks to the continued performance of T-MOBILE US, the German group grew adjusted EBITDA by 7.5% y/y to €5.6bn in the quarter under review. That was slightly ahead of estimates for €5.5bn. Revenues grew 5.8% to €18.6bn, with the US seeing an increase of 14.9% y/y. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM's European segment saw revenue rise by 0.7%, while the home market of Germany registered a flat result. Net profit was down 76.1% to €747m, with the company pointing out its result in Q1 2016 had been boosted by a number of one-off factors including asset sales. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM also booked a €700m writedown on its stake in BT. Earlier this year, the company took a €2.2bn charge on its investment in BT that pushed the group to a Q4 loss in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zurich profits take a hit on UK injury rules - Ralph Atkins

Changes to UK rules governing compensation for serious injuries wiped $289m from Q1 profits at ZURICH INSURANCE, taking the shine off an underlying improvement at the Swiss group. Business operating profits fell 13% to R928m in the quarter to end-Mar. but would have risen by 14% without February's revision to the so-called Ogden rate, which governs the way that payments for seriously injured people are calculated in the UK. ZURICH said its underwriting performance had improved in Q1 and it was on a "solid footing" to deliver its 2017-2019 financial targets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maersk posts quarterly revenue growth for first time since 2014 - Richard Milne

AP MOLLER-MAERSK boasted its first quarter of revenue growth in more than two years but the container shipping business continued to lose money. Revenues at the group rose by 5% to $9bn in Q1 y/y, their first rise since Q3 2014. The Danish conglomerate is still struggling with weak performance at MAERSK LINE, which suffered a loss of $66m in the quarter compared with a $37m profit y/y. Analysts had expected a profit from MAERSK LINE after a recovery in freight rates from record low. But it was held back by an 80% increase in fuel costs. MAERSK reiterated its FY guidance of an increase in underlying profits y/y and that MAERSK LINE's profits should be more than $1bn higher than the $384m loss y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 11/05/2017

At 09h58 on 11 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.44 ZAR/EUR 14.62 ZAR/GBP 17.39 Gold 1221.72 Platinum 917.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.66 All Share 54252.88

KPMG makes fintech purchase - Kabelo Khumalo

KPMG yesterday announced it has acquired MATCHI, a financial technology firm, for an undisclosed sum. The Johannesburg and Hong Kong-based MATCHI said it has worked with more than 100 leading banks and insurance companies around the world. The company provides a searchable portal of fintech solutions and provides bespoke solutions. It operates in Africa, Japan, Canada, Mauritius and India. "The MATCHI platform offers a curated approach that is much more rigorous than fintech databases that merely provide lists. Its design makes it easy to identify, match and enable collaboration with the most innovative fintechs and global solutions to address the most pressing needs of clients", said PIERRE FOURIE, a financial services director at KPMG SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SABC loses R509m in Q4 - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Communications Minister AYANDA DLODLO yesterday announced that the SABC incurred a loss of R509m in Q4. This was on top of a combined loss of more than R500m in its first and second quarters. DLODLO, who was answering questions in Parliament, said the SABC would be unable to meet its obligations. Various measures have been implemented to mitigate the situation. DLODLO said the broadcaster has imposed a moratorium on capex projects, was pushing for cases of suspended employees on full pay to be expedited, and has stopped using consultants. The public broadcaster had lost R200m as a result of the decision to implement a 90% local content quota on its TV channels and radio stations. The SABC's commercial radio stations are said to have lost a substantial amount of advertising as a result of the quota. DLODLO said the Treasury was working with the Communications Department and the SABC to find solutions to the financial crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GPI raises stake in Spur - Sandile Mchunu

GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS, via subsidiary GRAND FOOD INVESTMENTS 3 PTY LTD, has acquired a 7.48% beneficial interest in SPUR CORPORATION's securities. As a result of the deal, GPI has increased its stake in SPUR to 17.48% of the total issued share capital of the latter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No decision yet on equity partner for SAA - Gigaba - Liesl Peyper

The government has not taken a decision yet whether an equity partner will become a shareholder of SAA, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. DA MP ALF LEES asked GIGABA if SAA intends to continue with the sale of a part of the airline to private equity partners. The minister noted that it is not to say that the equity partner will necessarily be from the private sector. "It may also be a public equity", he said. LEES further asked if the Treasury will grant yet another bailout to SAA, which will have incurred financial losses to the tune of R4.5bn in the current FY. GIGABA acknowledged that the continuous losses at SAA and its balance sheet need to be addressed urgently. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim gets loan for $1.7bn AfDB, World Bank arrears - Felix Njini, Bloomberg

Zimbabwe has secured a syndicated loan put together by the AFRICAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK that will enable tit to clear $1.7bn of arrears with the World Bank and African Development Bank. The funds will allow Harare to settle $1.1bn it owes in interest and penalties and some principal debt to the World Bank and $601m to the AfDB, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA said this week. He didn't name the lenders but said the rate on the loan is cheaper than that charged by the World Bank. "It should reduce our country-risk profile and also make us eligible for access to soft windows of those institutions - we need new inflows", CHINAMASA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown to get update on probe into Koko-linked contracts - Liesl Peyper

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN would "happily" support any probe into ESKOM if there's documented evidence of wrongdoing. She was responding to parliamentary questions posed by opposition parties. DA MP NATASHA MAZZONE asked BROWN whether ESKOM interim CEO MATSHELA KOKO shouldn't be suspended amid allegations his stepdaughter unduly benefited from R1bn in contracts awarded by ESKOM. BROWN said the investigation into the allegations were ongoing and she expects a report on the matter by the end of this week. "But in essence Mr KOKO is not the person accused of anything", she added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt seeking ways to help chicken producers - Liesl Peyper

The government is in the process of trying to find funding for chicken producers who are facing closure or have closed due to the poultry crisis in SA, Agriculture Minister SENZENI ZOKAWANA said yesterday. He said the Department of Trade & Industry is leading an inter-ministerial task team to consider the competitiveness of the poultry industry and what can be done to save jobs. ZOKWANA said local producers are not as competitive as they used a lot of brining in the chicken they produced. "In addition, there's the dumping of brown meat from countries... while South African chicken farmers and producers, which are not subsidised have to compete with EU countries that are subsidised". The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with the DTI, will look at the viability of chicken farms and producers to gain an understanding of how they could be assisted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

I'm not fleeing SA - Whitey Basson - Nellie Brand-Jonker

He is not upset with SHOPRITE and is not fleeing SA, former group CEO WHITEY BASSON said this week about the R1.8bn of SHOPRITE shares he wants to sell. "It's just to diversify my own interests. I have reached retirement age". SHOPRITE on Friday announced it is obliged to repurchase 8.68m shares from BASSON in terms of an employment agreement concluded with him in 2003. BASSON resigned as CEO of the company at end-Dec. and will serve as deputy chair until Sep. According to an employment agreement, he has the option to sell any shares held either directly or indirectly by himself to SHOPRITE while he is still in the employ of the company. "SHOPRITE HOLDINGS is obliged to repurchase such shares", the company told shareholders. "There is nothing sinister about this. This is certainly not a reflection of my view on South Africa. I may not be as optimistic as I should be, but I haven't found a better place to raise my children and live". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Junk status to increase nonpayment in construction industry - Megan van Wyngaardt

This already high risk of nonpayment in the local construction industry is set to escalate further due to SA's recent downgrades by international ratings agencies impacting the industry's credit costs, MDA Attorneys' CHRIS BENNETT has warned. He notes that the first to be impacted will be employers, as lenders raise interest rates. This places pressure on employers to fund their projects and reduce their returns, with not many projects being built from cash reserves. BENNETT further notes that state construction projects are likely to be the first to be affected. Besides delaying or blocking new builds, the effect on employers already engaged in projects is significant. They must keep funding them, cancel or suspend them, with the associated results of doing so. Meanwhile, BENNETT says pressure is already on employers that are not able to pay their contractors either on time or at all. Smaller to medium-sized enterprises are most at risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mine hands over Hotazel electricity distribution to local municipality - Anine Kilian

NERSA has approved a licence for Joe Morolong local municipality to distribute electricity to Hotazel, a town near Kuruman where SAMANCOR MANGANESE operates. SAMANCOR MANGANESE - a JV between SOUTH32 and ANGLO AMERICAN - currently supplies the town with electricity. The company has decided to cede electricity supply to the municipality as it was considered a noncore business. NERSA said ESKOM supported the application by the local municipality to supply the electricity in Hotazel and that the utility would change the bulk account from SAMANCOR MANGANESE to the municipality. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indluplace posts higher income - Megan van Wyngaardt

INDLUPLACE yesterday posted an increase in its distributable income for the HY to end-Mar. to R117m, up from R110m y/y. The acquisition of Garden Views, a complex in Randburg, for R25m in Dec. 2016 has contributed to this growth. INDLUPLACE will continue to roll out its acquisition strategy in H2 FY2017. CEO CAREL DE WIT said there were ample local opportunities for the company to expand its portfolio. He said the company would remain focused on SA, rather than seeking offshore opportunities, with the company currently having a deal at the Competition Commission for a property in Bloemfontein. DE WIT said the company was on track to meet its target of delivering dividend growth of 5.5%-6.5% for the FY to end-Sep. For the quarter to end-Mar., INDLUPLACE declared a dividend of 24.71cps. The company's finance income has increased from R8.4m in 2016 to R11.4m in the HY under review as a result of excess funds being placed with ARROWHEAD PROPERTIES and in its bank facilities. Residential vacancies of 4.5% d

SASSA still has 50 000 deduction complaints to deal with - News24Wire

Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI has told MP that more than 50 000 grant beneficiary complaints were incomplete and they were still waiting for affidavits from complainants. DLAMINI said SASSA had received 95 429 disputes from grant beneficiaries from Apr. 2016 to Feb. 2017. "Most are about airtime and prepaid electricity [deductions]. We've been able to resolve 10 067 cases". She did not explain the status of the remaining 35 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers at BHP's Cerro Colorado plan 24-hr walk-off - Reuters

Workers at BHP BILLITON's Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile will strike for 24 hours in the coming weeks to protest recent retrenchments and the company's general attitude toward miners, union officials said yesterday. Earlier in the day, workers briefly blocked the access road to the mine for the same reason. Among the workers' many complaints is that BHP is transporting workers to the mine earlier in the morning than previously agreed upon and failing to pay severance to employees. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CRG workers on strike over wages - Megan van Wyngaardt

Talks for yearly wage hikes at CENTRAL RAND GOLD have ended in a deadlock, with employees embarking on a strike. The company yesterday said it had lost five days of production due to the strike and that it was in talks with union officials at the CCMA to resolve issues. The picketing rules were inked at the CCMA on Tuesday, thus allowing non-striking workers to return to work. The operation will be run with skeleton staff in the interim. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania's Magufuli pushes for listing of mining firms - Reuters

Tanzania's President JOHN MAGUFULI said his government will enforce a new rule requiring mining companies to list on its bourse by Aug. as part of measures aimed at increasing transparency and spreading wealth from the nation's natural resources. Major international miners that will be affected by the requirement to list on the Dar es Salaam bourse include ACACIA MINING, ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI and PETRA DIAMONDS. The government issued regulations last year requiring holders of special mining licences to sell a 30% stake in their companies via an IPO within two years. The mining ministry amended the rules in Feb. and set a new listing deadline to Aug. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's Lungu orders case against First Quantum be dropped - Bloomberg

Zambian President EDGAR LUNGU has instructed that the fraud case state-owned ZCCM INVESTMENTS HOLDINGS brought against FIRST QUANTUM and some of its directors be dropped. Arbitration over the matter will continue in London. FIRST QUANTUM had written to Zambia's attorney-general expressing fears that directors named in the case could be arrested if they enter the country. "The instruction is firstly to reach an amicable settlement... The settlement presupposes that the arbitration case in London will continue but these other actions that have been started here in Lusaka, they have to stop", LUNGU's spokesperson, AMOS CHANDA, said. LUNGU last month mandated Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI to oversee the dispute between the two companies. "We foresee a swift settlement of this matter", CHANDA added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DiamondCorp officially appoints administrators - Natasha Odendaal

The appointment of CORK GULLY's STEPHEN CORK and JO MILNER as joint administrators for DIAMONDCORP became effective yesterday. Late in April, the company had filed notice of its intention to appoint the administrators after the board had determined that the company was no longer able to continue trading as a going concern. Further, PANMURE GORDON resigned with immediate effect as DIAMONDCORP's nominated adviser and broker, with the admission of the company's securities on Aim now scheduled to be cancelled on May 15. DIAMONDCORP will not select a replacement. "The directors intend to continue to work with both the joint administrators of DIAMONDCORP and the joint business rescue practitioners of the company's operating subsidiary Lace Diamond Mines in order to try and preserve any remaining stakeholder value", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 warns of production cuts at Appin - Esmarie Swanepoel

SOUTH32 has warned that output from its Illawarra metallurgical coal operations in New South Wales is likely to be 10% below previous guidance of 7.9mt, after operations at the Appin Area 7 and Area 9 longwalls were suspended. The company yesterday said that elevated gas concentrations were recorded at Appin Area 7 earlier this week, resulting in staff being evacuated from the area. Production at Appin Areas 7 and 9 have now been suspended while a probe into the incident is completed. SOUTH32 warned that the decrease in production is expected to translate directly to sales, given low inventory levels at the operation. A rise in unit costs is also expected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP starts process to sell Cerro Colorado mine - Reuters

BHP BILLITON yesterday said it has started a sales process to potentially divest its Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile. The mine is located in Chile's Tarapaca Region and yielded 77 000t of copper in fiscal 2016. Banking sources have named Chile's EMPRESAS COPEC SA and Canadian companies including LUNDIN MINING as possible buyers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New twist in CompCom vs Banks case - Kabelo Khumalo

BARCLAYS AFRICA and CITIBANK stand alone in the foreign trading case brought by the Competition Commission, after the other implicated banks said the allegations against them are false and without legal basis. Earlier this year the Commission referred almost 20 banks to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution after it accused them of wrongdoing. BAG and CITIBANK laster admitted to transgressions, with the latter fined R69.5m while the Commission sought no fine against BAG for its role in the matter. The banks, including STANDARD BANK and INVESTEC did not admit any guilt and have now launched their defence against the allegations. In papers lodged with the Commission, INVESTEC says the Tribunal should dismiss the allegations against it as the evidence brought forward by the Commission could not be legally sustained. The Commission has until the end of the month to respond to the exception applications of the banks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CRG secures $250 000 loan payment - Siphelele Dludla

CENTRAL RAND GOLD yesterday announced it had received the transfer of another tranche of $250 000 of the $1m loan agreement with one of its hsareholders, JIA BANG WANG. Last month, the transfer of the second tranche of $500 000 was delayed due to certain exchange restrictions. CRG in Jan. entered into a new loan agreement with WANG in a bid to resume its underground operations. WANG already owns 9.48% of CRG. The company said it was working with WANG to assist with the release of the balance of the loan funds. CRG said the loan would provide it with sufficient working capital for the immediate future and for the procurement, shipping, instalment and commissioning of a Concentrator Circuit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast trims budget, growth forecast for 2017 - Loucoumane Coulibaly

Ivory Coast will trim its 2017 budget by around 50bn CFA francs, a government spokesperson said yesterday - less than the 200bn CFA francs of cuts announced by President ALASSANE OUATTARA last month. OUATTARA in Apr. said a sharp decline in global prices for cocoa meant spending plans would have to be scaled back sharply. Government spokesperson ANNE OULOTO did not immediately give an explanation for the latest budget revision. She noted that GDP growth for 2017 was revised 8.5% from 8.9% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers' PayU invests in German fintech firm - Nqobile Dludla

NASPERS' PAYU unit has invested €110m in a German financial technology company with the aim of bringing credit services to underbanked markets around the world, it said yesterday. The announcement follows a pilot programme managed by Germany's KREDITECH and PAYU, which offered Polish consumers improved access to credit in a real-time online process, NASPERS said. As part of the deal, PAYU also acquired a significant minority stake in KREDITECH, it said, without disclosing the size. KREDITECH is headquartered in Hamburg and is an online lender which offers loans to individuals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to start talks with GE over railway contract - Felix Onuah

Nigeria will enter talks with GENERAL ELECTRIC over a railway project in that country, Transport Minister ROTIMI AMAECHI said yesterday. In Mar., GENERAL ELECTRIC had submitted the only bid for the $2bn project connecting northern cities to the south of the country, a procurement process adviser said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LafargeHolcim won't be diluted by African unit's capital hike - Oliver Hirt

LAFARGEHOLCIM will take part in a capital hike by LAFARGE AFRICA to avoid diluting its nearly 73% stake in the company, it said yesterday. LAFARGE AFRICA this week said it wants to raise 140bn naira in fresh equity and convert some loans into shares as part of a planned rights issue after it reported FY2016 losses. A company spokesperson in Switzerland said the parent's stake was around 72.6%, adding "we do not expect to be diluted". The process will be launched once investors have approved the deal at the AGM in June, and is expected to be finalised by Oct. at the latest, the person added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia energy regulator approves 75% retail electricity hike - Chris Mfula

Zambia's Energy Regulation Board has approved of a 75% hike in the price of electricity for retail customers in 2017, acting chair FRANCIS YAMBA said yesterday. The tariff increase is to be effected in two phases. The hike is effective Jan. 1. 2017 - the first 50% will be effected on May 15, and then 25% on Sep. 1, meaning consumers will have to pay arrears. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norilsk Nickel lawsuit against Botswana undeterred by possible deal - Zandi Shabalala

NORILSK NICKEL AFRICA will proceed with a lawsuit against Botswana over a failed $271m deal to sell a 50% stake in its Nkomati Nickel Mine, even though the government is still trying to raise the funds. "From our point of view the government failed to meet its obligations. To at the end of the deal fail to pay the deal price is simply unacceptable", CEO MICHAEL MARRIOTT said. NORILSK is awaiting a Botswana court ruling before arbitration on the matter can begin in London. At the same time, the government is seeking to sell the three companies under BCL GROUP to EMIRATES INVESTMENT HOUSE. Botswana's mines minister recently said if the funds raised from the sale to EIH are enough, the government would pay off NORILSK and end its legal dispute with the Russian company. MARRIOTT said NORILSK would like "its fair share from the transaction". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 11/05/2017

At 06h20 on 11 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.52 ZAR/EUR 14.70 ZAR/GBP 17.49 Gold 1219.61 Platinum 913.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.43 All Share 54254.35

Damning PwC draft report on Eskom's Tegata deal - Liesl Peyper

ESKOM's contract with TEGETA EXPLORATION AND RESOURCES for the supply of coal contained discrepancies, was poorly drafted and in contravention of supply chain management procedures, according to a draft report done by PWC. TEGETA is owned by the GUPTAS and DUDUZANE ZUMA. Treasury's Procurement Office presented the draft report to Parliament's standing committee on public accounts today. The report noted that ESKOM's procurement policy prohibits the single adjudication of contracts. Despite this, the utility continued signing contracts in excess of R3bn. There was no proof that tender committees were consulted in the contract with TEGETA. PwC recommended that a technical and legal review of the contract with TEGETA is urgently needed "to inform ESKOM's actions relating to the further implementation and management of the relationship with the supplier". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa front-runner for Moz bank - Renee Bonorchis

BARCLAYS AFRICA is the lead bidder for Mozambique's MOZA BANCO, sources said. The central bank has received three proposals, which will be reviewed by an independent panel before the winner is announced in July, one of the people said. BARCLAYS AFRICA's existing operations in Mozambique are too small to give it a dominant position, so the acquisition will help to expand quickly. The purchase comes as bank failures in Mozambique mount with regulators ordering the liquidation of two lenders this month and the closure of O NOSSO BANCO in Nov. The central bank took over MOZA BANCO in Sep. after administrative costs soared and the solvency ratio of the country's fourth-biggest lender dropped to zero. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian lawmakers to consider 2017 budget on Thursday - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's upper house of parliament plans to consider the government's 2017 budget on Thursday, Senate President BUKOLA SARAKI said today, adding that it could approve the spending plan the same day in the next stage of its marathon passage into law. A document published by the lower house, which also has yet to approve the budget's contents, yesterday said the spending plan now totalled 7.44tn naira. The budget must be passed by lawmakers before the president can sign it into law. President MUHAMMADU BUHARI is on medical leave in the UK and on Sunday handed over power to VP YEMI OSINBAJO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Softbank's FY profit tops expectations, announces 5G tie-up - Peter Wells

SOFTBANK has delivered a net profit for the FY that came in above estimates, and announced it was teaming up with QUALCOMM and SPRINT to develop technologies for 5G wireless. Operating income at the company rose 12.9% to Y1.03tn in the FY to end-Mar., although sales crept higher by less than 1% to Y8.9bn. Net profit more than tripled to Y1.43bn in the company's FY, beating the Y975bn forecast by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. A large portion of the bottom line boost came from asset sales, but results were also affected by the recognition of a Y232bn loss on derivatives related to its stake in ALIBABA. That paper loss is likely to be translated into a gain at a later date when the bonds are converted to ALIBABA shares. For SOFTBANK's domestic telecoms operations, adjusted EBITDA rose 4% y/y to Y1.2tn, while adjusted EBITDA at SPRINT was up 9.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French industry bounces back in Mar. - Mehreen Khan

French factories enjoyed their best month in four in Mar. but this was still not enough to stop the economy falling into a growth slump at the start of the year. Official figures from Insee showed France's industrial output climbed by 2% in Mar. m/m after three months of declining output. The performance was better than an average forecast of 1% but February's contraction was revised lower from -1.6% to -1.7%. The industrial sector as a whole contracted by 0.5% in the quarter, helping push France's GDP growth rate down to 0.3% in Q1. French manufacturing, a subsector of industry, also rebounded with a 2.5% growth slump in Mar. after slipping 0.7% in Feb. Overall, the sector shrunk 0.3% in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Classifieds, digital publishing lift profits at Axel Springer - David Bond

AXEL SPRINGER said revenues from its classified advertising businesses and growing digital publishing divisions helped lift operating profits by almost 17% in Q1 2017. The publisher said it increased revenues in the period by 6.7% y/y to €836m. EBITDA, adjusted for non recurring effects, rose by 16.9% to €147m, which the company said was mainly attributable to the positive development of classified ad and paid models, whose EBITDA increased by 21.5% and 19.8%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toyota forecasts 18% drop in profits for FY2018 - Kana Inagaki

TOYOTA expects a double-digit drop in profits for the second consecutive year in the wake of a stronger yen and slowing car sales in the US. The carmaker projected its net profit to fall 18% to Y1.5tn for the FY through Mar. 2018, compared to analyst forecasts for a profit of Y1.95tn. Revenue is expected to fall 0.4% to Y27.5tn, with annual vehicle sales expected to remain flat at 10.25m vehicles. TOYOTA assumed an exchange rate of Y105 against the US dollar compared to Y108 in the prior FY. That would have a negative impact of Y135bn on its annual operating profit. For fiscal Q4, TOYOTA said its net profit fell 6.6% to Y398.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil price recovery drives Eni to beat Q1 forecasts - James Politi

ENI has posted net profit of €965m in Q1, beating analysts' forecasts as it benefitted from a recovery in oil prices. During the quarter under review, hydrocarbon production at ENI amounted to 1 795k boe/day, only a 2% increase. In Q1 2016, ENI had actually reported a net loss of €383m, with oil prices averaging around $34/barrel. By Q4 2016, it was turning a profit again, of $340m, as oil prices recovered to $49/barrel. ENI's results, which beat forecasts of €610m in net profit, follow the reappointment of CLAUDIO DESCALZI to the post of CEO by the Italian government, giving him a new three-year term at the help of the energy group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rising turnover boosts profit for HKEX in Q1 - Peter Wells

HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING saw profit rise by a fifth in Q1 2017 thanks to a rise in turnover and as the benchmark Hang Seng index rises to its highest level in almost two years. The exchange operator said market sentiment has improved since the start of 2017, with average daily turnover in the cash market rising to HK$74.3bn, a 16% rise from the Dec. quarter and up 2% y/y. Trading revenue is still the big contributor to HKEX's numbers, and so helped drive an 11% rise in revenue and other income to HK$3.05bn. Net profit rose 20% to HK$1.7bn, aided by a one-off insurance recovery that reduced operating expenses. The average daily number of derivatives traded on the HKEX's futures exchanges fell by 18% in Q1, while stock options contracts were up by 16%. The average daily volume of metals contracts traded on the LME, which HKEX owns, fell by 5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moon Jae-in sworn in as S Korean president - Hudson Lockett

MOON JAE-IN, a former refugee and human rights lawyer, has been sworn in as president of South Korea. MOON's swearing in puts the wraps on a period of prolonged political tumult set off by the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment in Mar. of his predecessor, PARK GEUN-HYE. MOON, who has a reputation for being a reliable if uncharismatic leader, has promised a new approach to North Korea based on engagement as well as increased pressure that may put him at odds with the TRUMP administration in the US. Domestically, he will need to restore public trust in political institutions and facilitate the recovery of an economy saddled with substantial household debt, stagnant wages and high youth unemployment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/05/2017

At 11h33 on 10 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.56 ZAR/EUR 14.74 ZAR/GBP 17.57 Gold 1223.57 Platinum 907.50 Brent Crude Oil 49.17 All Share 54279.56

China producer price growth slows further in April - Hudson Lockett

China's producer price growth moderated further last month from an eight-year high as rising health care costs bolstered consumer inflation. The PPI published by the National Bureau of Statistics showed a y/y rise of 6.4% in Apr., dropping further below a Feb. peak of 7.8% and to the slowest pace since Dec. The reading came in below a median estimate of 6.9% growth for economists polled by Reuters. The bureau said 5.1% points of the headline figure's rise was due to a base effect from prices a year prior, with 1.3 percentage points coming from new price growth. Producer prices registered their first sequential drop in eight months, falling 0.4% compared to March, with mined and raw materials prices dropping 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively. Consumer inflation accelerated for a second straight month in Apr. to notch a rise of 1.2% compared to a year ago, just above economist expectations of 1.1% growth. In m/m terms consumer prices rose 0.1%, with marginal price growth snapping a two-month run of deflation.

Aussie banks keep dropping after govt introduces bank levy - Peter Wells

Australian bank stocks are being slammed again after the government revealed it would impose a levy on their liabilities in a move intended to encourage competition for retail deposits and help repair the nation's budget deficit. In the federal budget on Tuesday night, Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON announced the four major banks and MACQUARIE GROUP would incur a charge on their liabilities of six basis points, or 0.06%. The levy would apply to around A$2.6tn in liabilities including senior bonds, covered bonds, subordinated bonds and all retail deposits above A$250 000 per individual, and raise A$6.2bn for the government over four years. Treasury officials are of the view it will be tough for banks to pass on the charge to customers. They think if the major banks cut their deposit rates or lift interest rates, smaller banks not subject to the levy will fill the gap with more competitive offerings. MORGAN STANLEY estimates the proposed bank levy would reduce major bank earnings by 4.5% before any repricing off

White House sacks FBI director - Demetri Sevastopulo

US President DONALD TRUMP has fired JAMES COMEY as director of the FBI, according to a White House official. COMEY was sacked after a series of controversies that critics said were undermining the reputation of the law enforcement agency. The White House said the decision was based on the "clear recommendations" of Attorney-General JEFF SESSIONS, and deputy AG ROD ROSENSTEIN. "Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well", senior Republican senator LINDSEY GRAHAM said. "I encourage the president to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation's interests". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Life, Aberdeen reveal post-merger name, board - Oliver Ralph

STANDARD LIFE and ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT have revealed a new name and a bumper 16-person board of directors for the combined entity. The company will be called STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN, although it may use different names for its product ranges. The board will have eight representatives from STANDARD LIFE and eight from ABERDEEN. As announced in Mar., STANDARD LIFE's CEO KEITH SKEOCH and ABERDEEN's MARTIN GILBERT will be co-CEOs of the new company. With 16 people, the board will be much larger than others in the UK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jack Ma steps up campaign to bring US businesses to Alibaba - Anna Nicolaou

ALIBABA CEO JACK MA is stepping up a campaign to lure American businesses to his company as he aims to woo President DONALD TRUMP with a pledge to create 1m US jobs. MA said he plans to bring 1m small US businesses to ALIBABA's ecommerce platform in the next five years, as part of a plan hatched with TRUMP in Jan. "[TRUMP] said the American midwest is the centre, where there are som many small and medium sized companies", MA told reporters. "China has 300m middle class [shoppers]. We need good stuff from outside China". MA's plan to bring 1m US businesses to ALIBABA's platform follows a goal set to secure 2bn customers in the next decade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble Group warns of $130m loss after dislocation in coal markets - Henry Sanderson

NOBLE GROUP has warned that it will record a net loss of around $130m for Q1. The company cited a challenging operating environment, which it said had been made worse "by dislocation in the coal markets". NOBLE said the dislocation had caused "the decoupling of prices of key indices, liquidity dropping significantly and the breaking down of correlation". It did not give further details. The news will be a blow to shareholders who recently backed a 10-to-1 share consolidation. After falling by almost 80% between early 2015 and the start of 2017, shares in NOBLE have fallen another 24% in the year to date. NOBLE is due to release results on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanofi pledges to cap US drug price hikes - Jessica Dye

SANOFI has pledged to put a lid on its US drug-price increases in the coming year, as the industry adjusts to growing scrutiny over how much it charges for its products. CEO OLIVIER BRANDICOURT yesterday said the group would keep its drug-price hikes at or below the national health expenditures growth projection. That would limit drug-price rises for any given product to about 5.4% in 2017. In case there is a "sound reason for a higher increase", SANOFI will publicly release its rationale for the move, he added. It will also begin releasing aggregate gross and net price increases in the US, starting with 2016 figures - across its US portfolio, the aggregate price increase compared to a year earlier was 4%, while average aggregate net pricing fell 2.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Valeant bumps up guidance after drop in revenues - Cat Cutter Pooley

VALEANT raised FY guidance as it announced Q1 revenues at the bottom end of analysts' expectations. The company posted an 11% drop in revenues to end-Mar. compared to the same quarter a year earlier, from $2.37bn to $2.1bn. Net income for the quarter swung into positive territory at $628m, but the number was flattered by a one-off tax benefit of $908m from a restructuring. It blamed lower sales volumes in two of its major segments for the drop in revenues, as well as "a loss of exclusivity for a number of products and challenging market dynamics". It said revenues were hit by exchange rates, business sales, discontinued lines and a "modest decrease" in average prices achieved. VALEANT said it had generated cash flow of $954m in the quarter from operations, and had made further progress on reducing its debt pile by $1.3bn in the quarter, down by $3.6bn since the end of 2016 to $28bn. FY adjusted EBITDA is now expected to be between $3.6bn and $3.75bn, up from a range of $3.55bn-$3.7bn. This news brief

Hyundai Heavy aims to lure investors with business break-up - Bryan Harris

HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES has split into four companies as it navigates an industry slump that triggered tens of thousands of job losses and raised questions about the future of shipbuilding in South Korea. The company today began trading as four entities, focused on shipbuilding, construction equipment, electric machinery and industrial robots, respectively. The market value of the four entities combined is a little more than $14bn, compared with $10bn for HYUNDAI HEAVY when trading was halted in Mar. after the plan was announced. The spin-off halved the shipbuilder's net debt and cut its debt-to-equity ratio of 95.6% as of the end of March, from 106.1% at end-2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Safaricom EBITDA jumps by fifth in FY - Duncan Miriri

SAFARICOM posted a 20.7% jump in its EBITDA in the FY to end-Mar. EBITDA came in at 100.3bn shillings, excluding a one-off item of 3.4bn shillings, CFO SATEESH KAMATH said today. The company has recommended a dividend payment of 0.97 shillings per share, up 27.5% y/y, KAMATH said, adding that shareholders had to approve it. The company said it had decided to extend the contract of CEO BOB COLLYMORE by another two years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spur founder sells his shares - Carin Smith

SPUR CORPORATION yesterday announced that executive chair and founder ALLEN AMBOR has sold his 3 099 176 ordinary shares in the company at R32.50 apiece for a total of R100.723m. This comprises all the shares he held in SPUR, CEO PIERRE VAN TONDER said. AMBOR opened the first Spur Steak Ranch in 1967 and from there it grew to the giant franchise company of today. VAN TONDER said AMBOR is simply diversifying his portfolio. Meanwhile, non-executive director KEITH MADDERS sold 332 650 of his shares in SPUR on Monday for a total of R10 977 450. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oliphant: JSE firms culprits in stalling transformation - Lameez Omarjee

A total of 192 designated employers have been referred for prosecution over their failure to comply with the Employment Equity Act requirements, Labour Department Inspector General AGGY MOILOA said yesterday. MOILOA said these companies failed to submit required reports and were referred for prosecution. Of these, 19 had paid fines worth R18.5m, 79 employers acknowledged their guilt and have not opposed their fines of R118.5m. A total of 90 employers have decided to oppose the fines, which are to the value of R195m. Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT said: "It is very concerning that there are just too many JSE listed companies that are completely ignoring the law". So far, 21 JSE companies have been fined for non-compliance, several others are yet to be fined. She added that the JSE companies alone "account for more than 50% of the companies that have been issued fines for non-compliance". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's may downgrade SA in coming weeks - Matthew le Cordeur with Bloomberg

MOODY's may downgrade SA by one notch in coming weeks without visiting it first, according to NOMURA economist PETER ATTARD MONTALTO. "The original view was it would visit sometime towards the end of May and then report mid-June before its July 3 window deadline. This would take the market by surprise probably... the consensus seems to still be a one-notch downgrade, maintaining negative watch", MONTALTO said. MOODY's recently said President JACOB ZUMA's Cabinet reshuffle raised questions about progress on reforms previously identified as essential to sustain SA's fiscal and economic strength, and the effectiveness of SA's policy-making institutions. It also raised questions about the more immediate implications for growth and public debt given the potentially negative impact on fragile domestic and external investor confidence, MOODY's said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Brands brings Café Rouge to SA - Fin24

GOLD BRANDS is bringing the UK casual-dining brand Café Rouge to SA. "Café Rouge has been going strong for over 25 years and, with 95 outlets across the UK, has become a household name there", GOLD BRANDS COO STELIO NATHANAEL said. "South Africans are always hungry for new, exciting dining experiences, and Café Rouge will definitely fill this gap". The chain offers authentic French food in a Parisienne-style setting. The first South African Café Rouge will open its doors in Johannesburg in July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rhino threat persists as Petmin agrees to delist from JSE - Fin24

Protestors demonstrated outside PETMIN's headquarters in Bryanston on Monday as shareholders agreed to delist the company from the JSE. The protestors attempted to intercept shareholders to demand they divest from the firm completely. The demonstration focused on PETMIN's Tendele coal mine, 10km east of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park in Somkele. PETMIN yesterday said all resolutions regarding the firm intention to acquire all PETMIN shares and delist from the JSE had been passed in a meeting on Monday. It said it expects to delist from the JSE on Jun. 7. The company has indicated it wants to start mining anthracite on the border of the park, which is essential to the survival of the white rhino. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI determined to support manufacturing sector - Ilan Solomons

To enhance industrial capabilities and ensure job creation in SA, government aims to adopt a strategy to leverage the scrap metals produced by and belonging to the State and SOEs to enhance the competitiveness of the local steel industry. This is according to Department of Trade & Industry capital equipment director and National Tooling Initiative Programme manager BONGINKOSI MAMBA. He said this would be done in conjunction with the department reviewing construction notes for streamlining and maximising local content thresholds to enhance local manufacturing. MAMBA pointed out that a number of companies had recently revamped their manufacturing facilities with environmental "state-of-the-art" equipment to gear themselves towards meeting the local content requirements for designated products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Africa more costly than any other region for developing infrastructure projects - Kim Cloete

A benchmark survey has shown that developing infrastructure projects in Africa is more difficult and expensive than in any other developing country region. The Benchmark for Investing in African Infrastructure Project Development said the risk premium attached to African projects was significantly higher than that of other developing regions such as Latin America, emerging Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Africa is the only region where respondents put the required internal rate of return at 16%-20% for securing local partners, strategic investors and international finance partners. It is between 11% and 15% in other developing country regions. The survey showed that an immense amount of political support is needed for a project to go ahead. It is also much harder to secure qualified professionals in Africa, particularly qualified project developers as there is a shortage of qualified professionals. Development costs for projects are also high on the continent, making up to 5% to 12% of total project c

Gigaba insists economy must change, but says no nationalisation - ANA

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA insisted that radical economic transformation was inevitable, but said this would not entail nationalisation of banks or mines. He told Parliament's standing committee on finance that RET was needed to address the plight of the poor. "The fact of the matter is that you want to address the plight of these people and the plight of the people doesn't confine itself to unemployment, it includes their desire to have land assets, to have access to the finance sector, and so whatever decisions we make are in line with the National Development Plan". GIGABA brushed aside concerns that his utterances, and those of his advisor, CHRIS MALIKANE, meant a turning away from the firm commitment to financial consolidation of his predecessor, PRAVIN GORDHAN. GIGABA said he believed he had been entirely consistent since taking up the post, adding that ministers were free to ignore views expressed by their advisors if they did not agree with these. This news brief represents a summary of the

Afrox CFO resigns - Creamer Media Reporter

DORIAN DEVERS has resigned as CFO of AFRICAN OXYGEN with effect from Jul. 31. DEVERS is relocating to New Zealand to pursue opportunities outside the LINDE GROUP. AFROX is confident a new CFO will be appointed before Jul. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Palladium set to overtake platinum - GFMS - Martin Creamer

The palladium price is set to exceed the platinum price for the first time since 2001, Thomson Reuters said yesterday with the publication of its GFMS PGMs Survey 2017. The price gap between platinum and palladium, which averaged just over $1 000/oz between 2007 and 2012, is now at around $100/oz. Describing platinum as the worst performing precious metal in the year to date, Thomson Reuters precious metals demand manager ROSS STRACHAN said palladium's persistent large deficit would see it above $850/oz well before year-end. Last week saw platinum plunge to $893/oz, its lowest price ratio to fold since 1987. Platinum's plunge is seen as being "too far and too fast" with GFMS expecting it to rally to above $1 000/oz this year on the back of weak mine output. Palladium's physical deficit grew 25% last year to 1.2moz. Adjusting for stock movements, the net balance rose to a deficit of 0.67moz, GFMS found. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First Quantum asks Zambian AG to block charges - Bloomberg

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS has asked Zambia's attorney-general to block criminal proceedings that may be brought against its directors of state-controlled ZCCM INVESTMENTS HOLDINGS. FIRST QUANTUM said it's been "reliably informed" that ZCCM is considering charging its directors, operations director MATT PASCALL said in a letter to the AG. That's resulted in executives at its Kanshashi unit not attending board meetings in Zambia, and has prevented the company from accepting meeting requests from government representatives, PASCALL said. FIRST QUANTUM wants the AG to ask ZCCM-IH to halt a case in the Lusaka High Court, where it accuses the company of fraud and is seeking as much as $1.4bn. PASCALL said the fraud claims are "vexatious and extraordinary". Attorney General LIKANDO KALALUKA didn't respond to requests for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee continues ramp-up at Hernic - Sens

JUBILEE PLATINUm has continued to ramp up output at its HERNIC project and expected to reach full design capacity of 45 000t/month of feed material by June. CEO LEON COETZER yesterday said he was very pleased with the progress being made in all aspects of the company's performance including project build, operations and new business development. "The scale of the HERNIC project represents a real challenge as a small developing company and the outcome demonstrates our readiness to embark on other similar size or larger projects", COETZER said. "The commissioning and ramp-up of the HERNIC chrome and platinum recovery plant has shown great progress reaching 74% of designed throughput. We look forward to ramping up production to full capacity over the coming weeks as we bring on-line the final processing unit which is the hydraulic mining of the feed material." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsogo Sun expecting higher earnings - Sandile Mchunu

TSOGO SUN yesterday said it expects EPS to be 37%-41% higher for the FY to end-Mar., up from the 188.3cps reported y/y. The company expects a 7%-9% rise in revenue by between R860m and R1.11bn, up from the R12.28bn reported y/y. EBITDA is expected to be 10%-12% higher, while HEPS is expected to be 12%-14% higher than the 188.1cps reported y/y. Results will be published on May 24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SSA economic growth to recover slightly in 2017 - IMF - Nellie Peyton

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa should recover to 2.6% this year after a more than two decade low in 2016 as commodity exporters faced lower prices, the IMF said yesterday. The slight rebound will be driven by a recovery in oil production in Nigeria, higher public spending ahead of elections in Angola, and the fading of drought effects in SA. However, Nigeria, Angola and Central Africa's six-nation CEMAC bloc are still struggling to deal with the losses caused by low oil prices, the IMF said. In non-oil producers such as Ivory Coast, Kenya and Senegal, growth is expected to remain strong at over 5% but vulnerablities such as rising public debt are starting to emerge. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eni to build crude oil refinery in Nigeria - Felix Onuah

ENI plans to build a crude refinery in Nigeria with capacity of 150 000 bpd through its AGIP subsidiary, the oil minister said yesterday. "We reached an agreement that AGIP will build a brand new refinery of 150 000 barrel capacity, EMMANUEL IBE KACHIKWU told reporters after meeting ENI executives in Abuja. A memorandum of understanding is being prepared. ENI executives declined to talks to reporters at the event, but in Jan. the company said that it would intensify oil and gas exploration in Nigeria and help to revamp the Porth Harcourt oil refinery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Etisalat Nigeria loan talks stall as banks try to avoid provisions - Chijioke Ohuocha

Talks between ETISALAT NIGERIA and its lenders to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2bn loan have reached deadlock after the company missed a payment, sources said. Lenders are pushing to finalise the debt restructuring before next month's HY audit, a banking source said. ETISALAT signed the medium-term seven-year facility with 13 local banks in 2013 to refinance a $650m loan and fund expansion of its network, but is now struggling to repay. "There is no conclusive view on the way forward", one banker said. "The most viable solution which the banks are pushing for is for the shareholders to inject equity into the business". A source at ETISALAT, which owns 45% of the Nigerian company, said the company was not willing to invest more after converting some loans it made to the affiliate to equity and writing down its investment to $50m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria stocks hit 4-month high lifted by Oando - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigerian stocks hit a four-month high yesterday, lifted by gains in oil firm OANDO and improved investor sentiment towards the economy. The stock market rose 1.28% to 26 756 points. OANDO rose the maximum 10% allowed on the Lagos bourse, its highest level in 18 months. Analysts say OANDO's Q1 results have come in better than market forecasts, signaling that the economy may be starting to recover. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell testing Forcados pipeline for restart - Libby George

SHELL is testing Nigeria's Trans Forcados crude export pipeline for a potential restart with the Astro Perseus tanker expected to load the first cargo by the weekend, sources said yesterday. The pipeline has been mostly shut since it was bombed by militants in Feb. 2016. After repairs, exports briefly resumed in Oct. until a new attack forced another shutdown in early Nov. Before the attacks, the Forcados stream accounted for 200 000-240 000 bpd. No loading programme is expected to be issued until the pipeline is fully tested. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 10/05/2017

At 07h54 on 10 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.58 ZAR/EUR 14.79 ZAR/GBP 17.59 Gold 1222.24 Platinum 906.00 Brent Crude Oil 48.97 All Share 54172.76

Start-up tureEX sues Markit - Joe Rennison

Start-up trading platform TRUEEX has filed a complaint against MARKIT, claiming the latter engaged in anticompetitive conduct by terminating its relationship with the trading venue. TRUEEX is one of the few new trading platforms to have gained traction with investors trading interest-rate swaps, challenging established players Bloomberg and Tradeweb. TRUEEX has had some success offering its own post-trade services and has since established TRUEPTS to rival MARKIT as a wholesale provider of post-trade services. But TRUEEX still relies on MARKITSERV's technology to integrate its trading venue with its clients and currently provides trade details to MARKITSERV as well. That relationship is set to end on May 14, according to a copmlaint, which was filed in US federal court in Manhattan. Without access to MARKITSERV, TRUEEX will be cut off from post-trade technology that is ubiquitous in the derivatives market, with the complaint claiming it would deny TRUEEX from providing its own services. This news brie

Coach bags rival Kate Spade in $2.4bn deal - Pan Kwan Yuk

Luxury handbag and accessories maker COACH has agreed to buy rival KATE SPADE in a $2.4bn deal as the company looks to boost sales and diversify its business away from its namesake brand. COACH's $18.50/share offer represents a 9% premium to KATE SPADE's closing price on Friday and a 27.5% premium to the undisturbed price of the share on Dec. 27, the last trading day prior to news that the company is exploring a sale. COACH CEO VICTOR LUIS cited the smaller rival's "strong [brand] awareness among consumers, especially millennial" - a fickle demographic coveted among retailers - as one reason to do the deal. COACH said it expects the deal to generate approximately $50m in synergies within three years of closing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore completes key thermal coal contract talks with Tohoku - Neil Hume

GLENCORE has ended key contract talks with Japanese utility TOHOKU, securing a price of $85/t for the supply of thermal coal, sources said yesterday. The spring talks between GLENCORE and the utility are the most important in the coal calendar, effectively setting the price for the commodity in the giant Asian market. Traders reckon around 75mt of coal are priced off the agreement between GLENCORE and TOHOKU across Asia. While the price achieved by GLENCORE is lower than in Oct., it is significantly higher y/y when it was settled at $61.20/t. The contract is usually settled at a premium of around 10% to the price of benchmark Australian thermal coal with an energy content of 6 000 kcal/kg. On Friday, that material was assessed at $76.48/t by Argus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/05/2017

At 11h42 on 09 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.66 ZAR/EUR 14.90 ZAR/GBP 17.67 Gold 1225.33 Platinum 914.50 Brent Crude Oil 49.45 All Share 54237.00

Fortescue raises $1bn to repay debt - Esmarie Swanepoel

FORTESCUE METALS is hoping to raise $1bn through a bond offering of senior unsecured notes. Proceeds from the issue will be used to repay existing debt. The miner in Mar. 2017 announced a $1bn repayment of its 2019 term loan, reducing its 2019 debt to less than $1bn and generating savings of around $38m/year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore starts sales process for NSW coking coal mine - Esmarie Swanepoel

GLENCORE has started the sales process for its Tahmoor underground coal mine, in New South Wales, after announcing in Aug. that it would not continue mining beyond 2018. GLENCORE noted, however, that given the recent rise in coking coal prices, the company had restated development for additional longwalls blocks in the North West area of the mine, and had also requested updated assessment requirements for the Tahmoor South project. The Tahmoor mine includes 57mt of reserves and 650mt of resource. The company noted the project was also equipped with efficient logistics and transport systems and established, long-term relationships with customers across Asia. Operations at the mine will continue unabated until a sales agreement is reached. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Public comment period open for BHP's Pilbara expansion plans - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON's plans for its Southern Flank iron ore deposit, in the Pilbara, is open for public comment. BHP is seeking environmental approval to include the Southern Flank orebody into its Mining Area C operations, which will require the clearing of an additional 19 850ha of land and extending the Mining Area C development by 10 218 ha. BHP previously flagged the development of Southern Flank as a replacement for the 80mt/y Yandi mine, which is likely to be depleted over the next 5-10 years. The public review period will run for four weeks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF raises Asia Pacific growth forecast to 5.5% for 2017 - Hudson Lockett

The IMF has raised its growth forecast for the Asia Pacific region to 5.5% in 2017, but warned the near-term outlook for the region is "clouded with significant uncertainty", adding that medium-term growth faced difficulties from a slowdown in productivity growth in both advanced economies and China. The Fund said the region's prospects "remains robust - the strongest in the world, in fact - and recent data point to a pickup in momentum". The IMF revised 2017 growth projections for China and Japan upward to 6.6% and 1.2%, respectively, based on continued policy support and strong recent readings. However, it revised the outlook for India downward to 7.2% due to the temporary effects of its demonetisation drive, as well as for South Korea, to 2.7%, based on political uncertainty. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba warns Western Digital on interfering with chip unit sale - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA has swung onto the offensive in its legal dispute with WESTERN DIGITAL, warning the latter to stop interfering in the estimated $20bn sale of its memory chip business. The warning is TOSHIBA's strongest retort to date in a spiralling legal battle over whether the Japanese company's right to sell the chip business is restricted by the terms of its JV with WESTERN DIGITAL. In a letter threatening litigation against WD, TOSHIBA's lawyers accused the US company of mounting an improper campaign of "intentional interference" with TOSHIBA's attempt to sell the chip business. The escalation came after WD demanded exclusive negotiation rights in a letter sent to TOSHIBA's board in early April, where it argued that the sale of the chip venture without its consent would be in breach of the JV agreement. TOSHIBA has rejected that argument and has threatened to block WD employees from all TOSHIBA premises and databases involved in the JV. This lockout could begin as early as next Monday. This news brief re

Germany powers ahead with best ever trade figures in March - Mehreen Khan

Germany is showing no signs of a slowdown, reporting its best ever month for imports and exports. The economy exported goods worth €118.2bn in Mar., with imports hitting €92.9bn - both the highest on record, according to Destatis. Year-on-year exports were up 10.8% in Mar. while imports climbed 14.7%. Germany's overall trade surplus is now at €25.8bn, just shy of the all-time record hit in Mar. 2016. Meanwhile, industrial output in the country fell for the first time in four months in Mar. The sector reported a 0.4% dip in monthly production in Mar., coming in just below a -0.5% consensus compiled by Bloomberg, while February's 2.2% climb was revised down to 1.8%. The decline was driven by falling production in energy and capital goods. In the quarter as a whole, output was up by 1.4% q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commerzbank profits leap 28% in Q1 - James Shotter

COMMERZBANK's net profit rose 28% in Q1 as Germany's second largest lender benefited from a one-off effect in its run-down unit. In the quarter to end-Mar., the lender said its net income came in at €217m, up from €169m y/y. In the private clients and small businesses division, operating profits fell 30% to €194m, due in part to higher regulatory costs. Meanwhile, in its corporate clients division, earnings fell 11% to €250m, as revenues declined 5%. However, these effects were mitigated by a one-off €68m gain on a hedging exposure in COMMERZBANK's public finance business, which helped the bank's wind down unit to cut losses to €33m, down from €119m y/y. CEO MARTIN ZIELKE said the lender had made a good start to 2017, but added it was "clear that it will take some time for our growth to be sufficient to significantly outweigh the burden resulting from the negative interest rate environment". The bank's core tier one capital ratio rose slightly from 12.3% at end-Dec. to 12.5% at the end of

Bank of France turns positive on French GDP growth - Mehreen Khan

France's economic growth is expected to climb to around its historical average following the election of its centrist president. Latest estimates from the Bank of France forecast a 0.5% GPD expansion in the quarter to end-Jun. French GDP growth softened to just 0.3% in Q1 2017 while unemployment has stuck around 10%. Newly elected President EMMANUEL MACRON has promised to relaunch the French economy, vowing to unlock growth potential by liberalising the country's burdensome labour laws and reducing taxes for entrepreneurs while bringing the country's budget deficit in line with EU spending rules. Higher growth should help MACRON meet the deficit limit of 3% of GDP while also eating into the country's debt pile which ended the year at an above target 96.4% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott launches legal action to oust Akzo Nobel chair - John Murray Brown

ELLIOTT ADVISORS has started legal action to oust AKZO NOBEL chair ANTONY BURGMANS as it seeks to force the Dutch group to enter takeover talks with US rival PPG INDUSTRIES. ELLIOTT said AKZO's rejection of PPG's latest offer was a "flagrant breach fo AKZO NOBEL's Boards' fiduciary duties and of Dutch corporate law". The Dutch group yesterday rejected what was PPG's third offer, which valued the former at €26.9bn including debt. Despite repeated calls from major shareholders to engage with PPG, the AKZO board has refused, arguing the takeover offer fails to address various concerns including value and the impact for its workforce. ELLIOTT today said it had filed a suit with Amsterdam's Enterprise Chamber to ask a judge to order an extraordinary meeting of shareholders in order to debate BRUGMANS' dismissal. Dutch law says any shareholder with a 10% stake can ask the company to call an EGM. ELLIOTT has 3.25%, but has recruited support from various institutional investors to give it the necessary level

Munich Re on track for FY profits despite Q1 miss - James Shotter

MUNICH RE today reiterated its financial targets for the year after posting a 28% rise in Q1 earnings. In the quarter to end-Mar., the group said its net profit came in at 557m, up from €436m y/y. This fell short of analysts' forecasts of €584m. CFO JORG SCHNEIDER said he was very pleased with the result and that MUNICH RE was on track to meet its annual net income target of €2bn-€2.4bn. The core reinsurance division posted a net profit of €466m, up 4% from €449m y/y. The primary insurance business, ERGO, posted a net profit of €91m, up from a €12m loss y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria seeks $5.2bn from World Bank for power industry - Solape Renner

Nigeria is seeking $5.2bn from the World Bank to expand electricity generation and help the economy recover from its first contraction in 25 years. The International Finance Corporation arm may invest around $1.3bn in power projects and electricity distribution companies. The World Bank's political-risk insurer, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, could provide equity and debt of $1.4bn for gas and solar power programmes, according to Power, Works and Housing Minister BABATUNDE FASHOLA. That is in addition to loans of $2.5bn Nigeria is seeking from the lender to help improve power distribution, expand transmission-capacity and increase access to electricity in rural areas. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wilderness expects drop in FY earnings - Sens

WILDERNESS HOLDINGS today said it expects its results for the FY to end-Feb. to be more than 10% lower y/y. The reason for the decline is the unrealised losses resulting from translation of the company's foreign currency position, notwithstanding an increase in segmental profit. Results will be published toward the end of May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcorp appoints CFO - Business Report

ADCORP has appointed CHERYL-JANE KUJENGA as CFO with effect from July. KUJENGA is a qualified chartered accountant with 20 years' commercial experience. She's spent the last nine years as a partner at EY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony on track to 1moz - Business Report

HARMONY GOLD says its annual production target is in reach. The company today said it was on track to reach 1.05moz. In its update for the 9 months to end-Mar., HARMONY has produced 812 912oz, at a cash operating cost of R439 669/kg. CEO PETER STEENKAMP said the "fundamentals underpinning our mine plans enable us to achieve our annual production guidance. Safety, costs and grade continue to be a focus and higher production in the fourth quarter will drive down unit costs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AEEI's EPS skyrocket - Sandile Mchunu

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS released a trading update informing investors that it expects basic EPS for the HY to end-Feb. to be 28.08cps-30.88cps, up from the 14.04cps reported y/y. This will represent an increase of 100%-120% y/y. AEEI also expects a better HEPS figure of between 28.13cps and 30.93cps compared to the 14.02cps reported y/y. Interim results will be published on May 11. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine has R4.7bn projects in pipeline - Roy Cokayne

REDEFINE PROPERTIES has a new development pipeline of projects with an approved value of R4.7bn that is in progress. CEO ANDREW KONIG said that three major developments stood out. These were the R998m expansion of Centurion Mall; the R712m Rosebank Link office development; and the development of a R60m industrial print park in Cornubia in KZN for HIRT & CARTER. The company was also trying to simplify and clean up its corporate structure and was in the process of selling off listed securities it owned, which would raise some R4bn. KONIG said REDEFINE had sold its minority stakes in EMIRA and ARROWHEAD and were also looking to sell shareholdings in DELTA PROPERTIES, INTERNATIONAL HOTEL GROUP and MARA DELTA and OANDA WINGS in Nigeria. KONIG said the company was not planning to expand in countries in which it had investments, but would increase its offshore exposure if attractive opportunities became available. "There are still significant opportunities in Poland and we are actively seeking opportunities to

Inclusive growth SA's biggest challenge - SACCI - Fin24

SA's biggest challenge is to enhance a business environment where a large part of the economic active population could add value in support of more employment, according to SACCI. "The challenge for growth starts with fixed investment and foreign direct investment to augment SA's dismal savings rate and thus business and investor confidence are essential", SACCI said in its latest Business Confidence Index. The Apr. BCI saw nine of the thirteen sub-indices making up the index still affected by the business climate prior to recent events. The BCI improved by 1.1 index points to 94.9 in Apr. from 93.8 in Mar. The April BCI is 0.6 index points lower y/y. The positive m/m change in five of the 13 sub-indices lifted the index last month although four of the five sub-indices reflected positive business conditions prior to April. Three of the seven real activity sub-indices were positive. Four of the six financial sub-indices either improved or remained unchanged in April. "The year-on-year movements of the s

Redefine Properties cushions against volatility - Lameez Omarjee

REDEFINE PROPERTIES' net profit for the HY to end-Feb. rose 250% y/y. The bottom line more than doubled from the R1bn reported in 2016 to over R3.5bn, interim results showed yesterday. REDEFINE reported revenue generation of R3.6bn for the HY, up 8.4% y/y, while operating profit increased 11.2% to R2.3bn. An interim dividend of 44.82cps was declared. In light of the "political issues" ahead of the ANC elective conference laster this year as well as recent ratings downgrades, CEO ANDREW KONIG said the results show the company is well positioned to "weather the coming storm". REDEFINE reported a net cash flow of R683m, while its financing activities reported an outflow of R2.5bn, compared to the inflow of R292m y/y. KONIG said a significant portion of international debt was refinanced over the period. He said this is a "very big achievement" and will stand REDEFINE in "good stead" given the volatile environment ahead. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mponeng being set up as new, cheap, ultra-deep mine - AngloGold - Martin Creamer

The global gold mining industry has reached a point where companies either need to reinvest to bolster their portfolios or turn to mergers and acquisitions, ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN said yesterday. The more immediate of its key long-term projects is the Mponeng Phase 1 project in SA, which together with Guinea's Siguiri gold mine and the DRC's Kibali JV, is giving the company line of sight to a better portfolio, backed by continued exploration successes. On the West Wits, ANGLOGOLD will be spending $34m this year on the Mponeng deepening project, taking in development under way on 123 level and 126 level in what is already the world's deepest mine. COO CHRIS SHEPPARD said production had already begun on 123 level as part of the first phase, with full ramp-up scheduled to take place through this year and 2018. SHEPPARD said the above-120-level 'old mine' would reach the end of its ore reserve position within the next four years. Mponeng was being set up as a new, lower-cost mine, w

Raubex partners with contractors as part of industry settlement - Anine Kilian

RAUBEX has named ENZA CONSTRUCTION and UMSO CONSTRUCTION as the two emerging contractors that the company will mentor as part of an industry settlement agreement with government aimed at promoting transformation. To meet commitments under the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme, RAUBEX has to facilitate workflow to ENZA and UMSO equivalent to 25% of its turnover. CEO RUDOLF FOURIE said the company believed the agreement paved the way for a "healthy working relationship" with government. RAUBEX yesterday reported expenses related to the VRP resulted in the company posting a 6.9% drop in operating profit to R661.7m in the FY to end-Feb. Operating profit included a nonrecurring expense of R119.9m to account for the settlement agreement. Before the VRP expense, operating profit rose by 10% to R781.6m. HEPS were down 14% to 201.7cps while EPS fell 14% to 203.7cps. If the VRP expense was excluded, EPS would have increased by 14.4% to 271.1cps and HEPS would have increased by 14.8% to 269.1cps. RAUBEX posted a 13.

Davies promises support for downstream firms as he confirms steel safeguard duty - Terence Creamer

Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES yesterday confirmed that he had signed off on a hot-rolled coil safeguard duty, but refused to be drawn on the duty level proposed until the WTO had been notified. DAVIES reiterated the importance of sustaining the primary steel industry, and insisted the government was taking active steps to support the domestic downstream steel sector, with some steel fabricators having expressed concern that additional protection against primary steel imports could undermine their competitiveness. DAVIES stressed that some protection had also been put in place for downstream products and announced that a new Steel Industry Competitiveness Fund would be established to support companies that added value to primary steel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAW invests R250m to upgrade Springs taxi plant - Irma Venter

BEIJING AUTOMOTIVE WORKS and the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIOn will invest R250m to expand and upgrade its minibus taxi plant in Springs. The facility currently assembles the Sasuka 16-seater taxi from semi knocked-down kits. The expansion of the facility will see BAW SA assemble the Sasuka from completely knock-down kits, as from Mar. 2018. The investment will enable the construction of a nw body assembly plant, paint plant, trim plant, a larger component warehouse to support full production and a new parts and accessories warehouse. The expansion is expected to add an additional 100 permanent jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PetroSA denies business rescue allegations - Megan van Wyngaardt

PETROSA yesterday refuted claims that it had asked holding company, the CENTRAL ENERGY FUND, to place it under business rescue, stating that it was not in financial distress. It said media reports last week about the alleged request were "inaccurate and unfair [and] painted a negative picture". PETROSA said its financial year-end "reflects an adequate cash balance", adding that its current assets and cash flow projections show that the company will have adequate cash resources for the business to carry on with its normal trading activities. Further, on the claims that the company would be posting a R2.2bn loss for the year to end-Mar., following a R14.6bn loss in the 2014/15 FY, PETROSA said it was still preparing its results for the FY under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CCBSA sells stake in Appletiser - Tanisha Heiberg

COCA-COLA SA (CCBSA) yesterday announced it had sold a 17.5% stake in carbonated fruit juice brand Appletiser to AFRICAN PIONEER GROUP as part of a merger agreement with SABMILLER. CCBSA also sold a 4% stake to SIPHO EXCELLENT MADLALA, a manager at the company, as part of merger conditions stipulating that it should sell 20% of APPLETISER to a BEE holding. APPLETISER was previously owned by SABMILLER, which merged its African soft drink operations with COCA-COLA to become the continent's biggest Coke drinks bottler. The sale of the shares will give a seat on the board of Appletiser to APG and MADLALA. MADLALA will retain his role in the company following the deal, COCA-COLA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BP, Kosmos make major gas find off coast of Senegal - Emma Farge

BP and KOSMOS ENERGY revealed a major gas discovery off Senegal yesterday, adding to other recent finds off the West African coast. "Yakaar-1... further confirms our belief that offshore Senegal and Mauritania is a world-class hydrocarbon basin", BP Upstream CEO BERNARD LOONEY said. KOSMOS in 2015 discovered a gas pool in the Tortue 1 exploration well, part of the Greater Tortue Complex spanning Senegal and Mauritania, which contained more than 15tn cubic feet of gas. Gas from the Tortue field is due to begin flowing in 2021 and is set to be exported from an LNG facility. The parties said Yakaar-1 contained sufficient reserves to warrant another LNG project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Mauritius Hotels pretax profit up 10.8% - Jean Paul Arouff

Luxury hotels group NEW MAURITIUS HOTELS posted a 10.8% rise in H1 pretax profit yesterday, helped by an increase in tourist arrivals to the island. The company said pretax profit was 850.66m rupees. "Occupancy rate increased marginally to 75% whilst average revenue per guest remained at par with the previous year", NMH said. Revenue fell to 5.692bn rupees from 5.934bn y/y, dented by the weakening euro and pound. NMH said the closure of one of its units, coupled with the continued weakness of the euro and British pound, will have a negative impact on results for the coming months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R to exit Middle East, expects lower earnings - Nqobile Dludla

MURRAY & ROBERTS will exit the Middle East as part of a R314m disposal of its infrastructure and building business, it said yesterday. The board said it decided "to exit the business in the Middle East and all construction activity on projects should be completed by the end of the 2017 calendar year". As a result of the "costly" disposal, the company said it expected basic HEPS for the FY to end-Jun. to be more than 20% lower y/y. Increased costs associated with the closure of the business are mainly due to the remaining construction work on the last four projects and an arbitration ruling on a subcontractor claim on a project which was completed in 2011, M&R said. The company will now focus on three core sectors - oil and gas, metals and minerals, and power and water. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 09/05/2017

At 07h46 on 09 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.63 ZAR/EUR 14.89 ZAR/GBP 17.65 Gold 1226.10 Platinum 915.50 Brent Crude Oil 49.41 All Share 53696.37

Commission approves Bayer, Monsanto merger - Anine Kilian

The Competition Commission has approved, with conditions, BAYER's proposed acquisition of MONSANTO. The Commission identified competition concerns in the market for the supply of GM cotton seeds in SA, saying the tie-up will create a monopoly in this market. The proposed merger also results in the removal of potential competition as it removes the opportunity for BAYER to independently enter SA and compete against MONSANTO, particularly in the development and production of traits for seeds and the accompanying herbicides used in many agricultural markets. The Commission has imposed conditions for the merged entity to divest and sell the entire global LIBERTY LINK trait technology and the associated LIBERTY branded agrochemicals business of BAYER. The Commission has also imposed a condition that requires the potential buyer of the divested business to commercialise the divested products in SA, or alternatively, oblige the potential buyer to license the divested business to a South African third party to co

Lafarge Africa plans to raise equity after 2016 losses - Reuters

LAFARGE AFRICA wants to raise 140bn naira in fresh equity and convert some loans into shares as part of a planned rights issue after it reported losses last year. The company will seek shareholder approval next month for the capital raising and for loans from existing shareholders to be converted into equity, it said yesterday. LAFARGE AFRICA swung to an FY pretax loss of 22.82bn naira last year form a profit of 29.29bn naira in 2015, it reported in Mar., though it returned to profit in Q1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom gives Zim month-end deadline to pay up - ANA

ESKOM yesterday said it had given the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority until the end of May to honour its increasing debt or it would be forced to cut electricity supply to its northern neighbour. Zimbabwe owes ESKOM R603m, of which R119m is outstanding arrears. The amount has increased from R443m that ZESA owed ESKOM for power supply as at Dec. 2016. ESKOM supplies around 300MW of electricity per day to Zimbabwe under a nonbinding agreement. ZESA had made a payment plan with ESKOM earlier this year, but defaulted due to a shortage of foreign currency reserves in the struggling economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank approves $200m to improve Zambia's rural roads - Reuters

The World Bank has approved a $200m credit for Zambia to improve rural roads in six of its 10 provinces. Zambia has a road network of 67 671 km and rural roads are in poor condition, making it difficult for small scale farmers to access markets for their produce, the World Bank said. About 7.5m rural residents are unconnected to the road network in Zambia, the World Bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Analysts see global diamond output rising in 2017 - Henry Lazenby

Global mined diamond output in 2017 is expected to rise 11.5% y/y to 142.3m ct, worth some $15.6bn, which itself is a 9.9% increase in forecast total value produced, evaluation by independent diamond analyst PAUL ZIMNISKY has found. DE BEERS' Jwaneng mine in Botswana is ranked number one, and is estimated to independently produce 15% of the world's diamonds in value. Russia is estimated to be the largest producing nation by value at 35%, followed by Botswana (22%), Canada (14%), Angola (8%), SA (7%), Namibia (5%) and Australia (3%). According to ZIMNISKY, several Canadian firms are advancing what have the potential to be world-class assets. PEREGRINE DIAMONDS has the potential to eventually produce more than a million carats a year worth in excess of $200/ct. SHORE GOLD is updating the feasibility study on its Star-Orion project, in Saskatchewan, and the project has the potential to produce well over a million carats a year at a mine life that could exceed 50 years. This news brief represents a summar

Calgro M3 strategically repositions - Roy Cokayne

CALGRO M3 HOLDINGS has strategically repositioned the group in the anticipation of tough economic conditions. The company said this repositioning involves diversifying into other sectors within the integrated residential development business, advancing the memorial parks business and establishing a REIT. "This was done to ensure that risk is optimally mitigated and managed in these uncertain times, setting a solid foundation for future growth", CALGRO M3 said. The company late last year joined forces with SA CORPORATE REAL ESTATE to build what it believed would become one of the biggest residential REIT's in SA in the coming 5-6 years, with a planned asset base of R10bn-R15bn. The company said this would yield annuity income to the company in future, which would stabilise "lumpy" cash flows generally associated with property development. CALGRO M3 said it expected its HEPS for this reporting period to be between 3.23% and 5.23% lower y/y. This equates to HEPS of 131.69cps-134.47cps for the period compar

New CEO 'soon' for SAA - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

SAA could have a new CEO soon after Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA confirmed in Parliament that the position will be filled in due course. GIGABA said various candidates have interviewed for the position, and the SAA board has shortlisted candidates. The board would now go for the final round of interviews before picking a successful candidate. SAA has been without a permanent CEO after MONWABISI KALAWE left the carrier after disciplinary issues and a settlement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN to invest $295m in Iranian Net - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

MTN GROUP has agreed to invest more than $295m in IRANIAN NET, a fixed-line broadband network in which it is to buy an initial 49% stake. The deal extends MTN's interests in the Iranian telecoms market that has opened up to foreigners following the lifting of international sanctions. The latest agreement, which is still at a non-binding stage, is the second for MTN in Iran this year after the company invested in IRAN INTERNET GROUP. MTN said it will pay R540m to buy a 49% stake in IRANIAN NET and will invest an additional R3.4bn in both equity and loans to help the Iranian company develop its fibre network over the next five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ChemChina wins shareholder backing for Syngenta takeover - Ralph Atkins

CHEMCHINA has secured its $43bn takeover of SYNGENTA after more than 80% of the Swiss group's shareholders approved the deal. CHEMCHINA on Friday said that 80.7% of the shares had been tendered by the end of the offer period on Thursday evening - above the 67% minimum required for the transaction to proceed. CHEMCHINA is offering $465/share in cash. The Chinese company has said it will keep SYNGENTA' sheadquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and that four out of its ten directors will be independent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aberdeen boss joins Glencore board - Neil Hume

MARTIN GILBERT, the head of fund management group ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT, is joining the board of GLENCORE as an independent non-executive director. GILBERT is replacing WILLIAM MACAULAY, the chair of private equity group FIRST RESERVE, who left the board of the company last month. GILBERT's appointment comes as ABERDEEN prepares to merge with STANDARD LIFE. GILBERT is set to become co-CEO of the combined entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US economy adds 211 000 jobs in Apr. - Adam Samson

The pace of US job growth bounced back in April from a weak performance m/m, while the unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level since 2007. The US economy added 211 000 jobs in April, the Labour Department said on Friday, compared with expectations of 190 000. Payrolls for March were revised down to a gain of 79 000 jobs, compared with an earlier reading of 98 000. The jobless rate fell to 4.4% from 4.5%, significantly lower than the 4.6% that Wall Street was expecting. That drop came as the labour force participation rate dipped to 62.9% from 63% previously. Growth in average hourly wages cooled to a y/y rate of 2.5%, from 2.6% in Mar. - the weakest pace since Aug. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IBM faces ratings cut from S&P - Adam Samson

IBM faced a downgrade to its credit rating from analysts at S&P GLOBAL on Friday, a day after BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY revealed it sharply cut its stake in the company. S&P lowered its rating to A+, from AA-. "The downgrade reflects IBM's transformation with operating declines in recent years as it reinvests and repositions its business to achieve better performance and our expectations that the transition to operating stability will take longer than we had previously forecast", said S&P analyst JOHN MOORE. IBM has earmarked a plan to move into cloud computing and artificial intelligence amid a deterioration in its legacy businesses. But investors have been losing patience, with sales having now fallen for 20 consecutive quarters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China import, export growth slows in renminbi terms - Hudson Lockett

China's exports grew less than expected last month in renminbi terms, taking its trade surplus to the highest level since Jan. when measured in local-currency terms. Exports grew 14.3% y/y in Apr. in renminbi terms, down eight percentage points from their March pace, the General Administration of Customs said today. That missed a median forecast of 16.8% from economists polled by Bloomberg. Imports slowed as well as growth of 18.6% from 28.6% m/m, tacking lower against expectations expansion would accelerate to 29.3%. Those trade flows brought China's trade balance to Rmb262.3bn, the highest level since Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China import, export growth slows in Apr. - Hudson Lockett

China's export growth halved last month in dollar terms as imports slowed more than expected. Exports grew 8% y/y in dollar terms in Apr., slowing from a 16.4% rise in Mar., China's General Administration of Customs said. That compared to an annual fall of almost 2% in 2016, but was below a median estimate of 10.4% growth from analysts polled by Reuters. Imports rose 11.9% y/y, slowing from 19.8% growth in Mar. and falling below expectations of deceleration to an 18% rise. April trade flows took China's trade surplus to $38.1bn, up $23.9bn in Mar. and besting a median estimate of $35.5bn from economists. China's trade surplus with the US rose $3.6bn to $21.3bn - just $100m shy of January's level - while that with the EU climbed $3.1bn to $10.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Akzo Nobel rejects PPG bid - Peter Wells

AKZO NOBEL has confirmed it has rejected a €26.9bn offer from PPG INDUSTRIES and will instead focus on its own strategy to accelerate growth and create value. The company said that following an extensive review and careful consideration of PPG's unsolicited offer, it would stick with its own plans, laid out in an Apr. 19 "road map" which included the creation of two "focused and high performing Paints and Coatings and Speciality Chemicals businesses", and a 50% higher dividend for 2017, among other things. AKZO NOBEL CEO TON BUCHNER said the PPG proposal "undervalues AKZO NOBEL, contains significant risks and uncertainties, makes no substantive commitments to stakeholders and demonstrates a lack of cultural understanding". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exports help German factory orders to beat forecasts - Katie Martin

German manufacturing performed better than expected in March, propelled by a rise in exports, new data suggest. New manufacturing orders rose by 1% on the month, beating expectations in a Bloomberg poll for a rise of 0.7%, after the previous month's 3.5% gain. On the year, orders rose by 2.4%, again above forecasts though down from February's bumper 4.7% pace. Destatis said new orders from the euro area were up 6.8% m/m, while new orders from other countries rose 3.5% compared to Feb. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil stabilises on signs OPEC deal may be extended - Katie Martin

Oil found support this morning after Saudi oil minister KHALID AL FALIH said he expected the OPEC-led production cut deal to be extended past H1 2017 to all of 2017. "Based on consultations that I've had with participating members, I am confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year", AL FALIH said during an industry event in Kuala Lumpur. BRENT was 0.6% higher at $49.37 in early trade, while US benchmark WTI rose 0.5% to $46.44/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK house prices suffer first quarterly decline since 2012 - Nicholas Megaw

UK house prices registered their first quarterly drop in more than four years in the three months to Apr., according to a survey by HALIFAX. Prices in the quarter to Apr. were 3.8% higher y/y, slightly better than economists had forecast, but they slipped 0.1% in Apr. and were 0.2% lower than in the preceding quarter. The average house price in the UK is now £219 649, according to HALIFAX. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Macron sweeps to victory in French presidential election - Anne-Sylvaine Chassany

EMMANUEL MACRON has swept to victory in France's presidential election, beating far-right candidate MARINE LE PEN and clinching 66% of the vote. The independent centrist comfortably beat the National Front candidate on 34%. In a solemn address to the French people, MACRON said: "A new page in our long history opens tonight. I want it to be one of hope and confidence regained". MACRON said he didn't underestimate the difficulties facing the country. "I understand the divisions in our nation which led some to vote for extremes. I understand the anger, the doubts and the anxiety that some have expressed". There was relief across Europe that the pro-EU centre ground held up against the populist far-right. In the end, LE PEN fell short of the 45% she had been projected to win at one point in the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's net foreign reserves rise in Apr. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's net foreign reserves rose to $41.728bn in Apr. from $41.419bn in March, the SARB said today. Gross reserves also increased to $$6.69bn, from $46.588bn previously. The forward position edged up to $2.893bn in April from $2.867bn in the prior month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold Q1 EBITDA down 16% as SA ops underperform - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI posted a 16% decline in quarterly core profit this morning, hit by a weak showing at its South African operations. The company said adjusted EBITDA came in at $314m in Q1, compared with $378m y/y. It said SA had a "difficult production quarter, as an added focus on a safety start-up contributed to an unusually slow ramp-up after the year-end break". The company is in talks with unions about cutting some 800 jobs in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Holdsport plans to open 3 new stores - Sandile Mchunu

HOLDSPORT last week said it was going to continue with its expansion strategy in 2017 by opening three new stores, despite facing low levels of consumer confidence,w weak economic growth and a sporting goods industry which was intensely competitive. "The recent political disruptions and subsequent downgrades are concerning and may result in muted sales growth over the medium term. In these difficult times, the group is firmly committed to its strategies to enhance returns for our stakeholders". Total sales for the FY to end-Feb. rose by 5.8% to R1.83bn, with retail sales up 4.4% to R1.75bn. HOLDSPORT said its sales growth during the year follows strong growth in the y/y period. Like-for-like sales increased by 1.8%, while the retail division faced price inflation of around 8.1%. Time weighted trading increased by 3.4%, relative to the prior year, while core headline earnings of 522.3cps fell by 2.3%. Core HEPS were 522.3cps, down 2.3% y/y, while operating profit fell by 11.4% to R273.7m and core HEPS a

Another Group Five director steps down - Roy Cokayne

Another board member at GROUP FIVE has resigned. The company on Friday said non-executive director BABALWA NGONYAMA had resigned with immediate effect. Her resignation follows that of non-executive director MARK THOMSON effective from Apr. 6. A number of exco members have also resigned or left GROUP FIVE since the company reported in Feb. that it had initiated a restructuring process. GROUP FIVE in Feb. announced that CEO ERIC VEMER would be leaving the company "within the next few weeks". Exco member WILLIE ZEELIE also left the company at the end of Mar., followed by JESSE DOORASAMY, an exco member and head of HR. The resignation of head of investment and concessions, JON HILLARY, is effective from the end of Jun. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon may be unable to repay club fees - Dineo Faku

EDCON's ability to pay an administrative fee and refund consumers after the National Consumer Tribunal found it had unlawfully charged club fees to its credit customers has come under question due to the company's grim fortunes. EDCON was required to refund consumers for unlawfully charging club fees between 2007 and 2016 and the National Credit Regulator has yet to determine the number of customers to be refunded and the amount they would receive. "Considering that EDCON's 2016 FY trading profit was R987m and their operational performance has deteriorated in the first quarter of 2017, EDCON's ability to pay the refund and administrative penalty is questionable", DAMON BUSS, fund manager at ELECTUS FUND MANAGERS, said. EDCON's club fees for the period had totalled R4.7bn. The NCR was likely to also impose an administrative fine on EDCON - the quantum of which was yet to be decided. EDCON said it was in the process of studying the judgment and would appeal the order. This news brief represents a summar

Fall in banks' earnings could hit SA's social spend - Dineo Faku

SA's banking shares, which lost R80bn in market cap in a sell-off following the recent Cabinet reshuffle, remained weak on Friday. RICHARD HASSON, fund manager at ELECTUS FUND MANAGERS, said the downgrades had contributed to the negative outlook of SA's banking earnings. He said banking shares started 2017 on a strong footing "but changes to the cabinet, especially the removal of the respected former finance minister, and the ratings downgrades since then, resulted in higher bond rates, a weaker currency with an interest rate cut potential being put on hold, lower business and consumer confidence, with a weaker gross domestic product growth outlook". Banking shares fell nearly R20bn in Mar. after President JACOB ZUMA replaced PRAVIN GORDHAN with MALUSI GIGABA. NEDBANK started 2017 at R238/share and closed at R216.20 on Friday. FIRSTRAND, which was at R54.17 at the start of the year, closed at R48.15 on the JSE on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Wheel & Tyre opens fifth Zim store - Business Report

TIGER WHEEL & TYRE has opened its fifth store in Zimbabwe, at Victoria Falls. The group said the store is owned by ATISH NARAN and RISHI MAGECHA and managed by SHEPHERD NYATHI, who is assisted by a team of trained sales and fitment personnel. "We're excited to introduce ourselves to motorists in the area... Whether they're new to the brand of familiar with us, they'll find this new store offers the same full complement of services and world-leading wheel and tyre brands as other TIGER WHEEL & TYRE stores in Southern Africa", NYATH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fear of jobs bloodbath over automation - Liesl Peyper

SA has a responsibility to automate and digitise in a responsible manner and not rep[lace the work that humans can do with that of machines, KPMG partner NHLAMU DLOMU said last week. DLOMU said she was concerned about the number of job losses that the advent of automation could cause, particularly in SA. She said although government hasn't yet announced its policy with regard to automation the country has a responsibility to not automate "ruthlessly". As a developing country, SA needs to acknowledge that it needs to improve economic participation and create jobs. "There is power in people and we have strong human resources. We should therefore consciously choose to not automate everything in order for us to employ more people." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba halts Denel/Gupta deal - Liesl Peyper

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has reportedly halted a transaction between DENEL and GUPTA-linked VR LASER ASIA. The Sunday Times reported that GIGABA "summoned" DENEL chair DAN MATSHA to Durban to raise concerns about the planned deal. He allegedly also told MANTSHA to withdraw DENEL's high court application against Treasury which under former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN did not want to authorise DENEL's JV with VR LASER ASIA. GUPTA business associate SALIM ESSA is the sole shareholder of VR LASER ASIA as well as a director of VR LASER RSA - an entity with close ties to the GUPTA family and DUDUZANE ZUMA. "The Minister raised a concern with the board chairperson that the joint venture didn't make business sense to the National Treasury', GIGABA's spokesperson MAYIHLOME TSHWETE told the Times, adding that the financial implications of the deal is a "matter of serious concern". This news brief represents a summary of the original

Africa lags in ICT, not ready for 4th Industrial Revolution - Liesl Peyper

African countries are not equipped to transition to a Fourth Industrial Revolution economy and even the most tech-savvy countries on the continent lags developed countries, according to the latest Africa Competitiveness Report. The report analyses the competitiveness of African countries, but place their individual performance in the larger context of the Global Competitiveness Report that assesses the Competitive landscape of 138 economies the world over. SA scored 58th place of of 138 economies with regard to ICT use, ahead of Mauritius (72), Botswana (83), Namibia (96) and Kenya (105). There has been some progress, but despite these advances, the gap with advanced economies on ICT usage has increased, hindering the capacity of the continent to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution. The report further noted that local graduates generally fail to meet the expectations of employers. "Mauritius has managed to improve its talent pool past South Africa. Despite hosting six of the top 15 African universitie

SA posts R4.5bn credit, debit card fraud over 7 years - Justin Brown

South Africans have lost almost R4.5bn to credit and debit card fraud since 2010, the latest fraud data from the SA Banking Risk Information Centre show. Since 2010, R2.49bn has been lost to credit card fraud. Over the past seven years, total debit card fraud has totalled R1.9bn. These latest figures from SABRIC show that 48% of credit card fraud losses occur throughout SA, while 80% of debit card fraud losses take place in Gauteng. Card payments constituted 61% of all payment transaction processed in SA in 2016, with more than 60m debit cards and nearly 8m credit cards having been in circulation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Houston to head Glencore's SA coal ops - Loni Prinsloo

MURRAY HOUSTON is taking over as head of GLENCORE's South African coal operations, replacing CLINTON EPHRON, according to sources. HOUSTON manages operations at GLENCORE COAL in the country and previously managed XSTRATA's South African coal unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Philip Morris debuts smoke-free product in SA - Fin24

PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL has selected SA as a pioneer market for the introduction of the new IQOS smoke-free tobacco device. PHILIP MORRIS SA has indicated the products have been available in the local market since Apr. 2017. IQOS uses an electric heat source to heat tobacco at precisely controlled temperatures below combustion levels. This system is used with specific tobacco sticks called "heets". The tobacco heating system is designed to reduce exposure to harmful and potentially harmful constituents by electronically heating the tobacco, which generates an aerosol. "There is tremendous opportunity in South Africa to accelerate switching from cigarettes to smoke-free products", PMSA MD MARCELO NICO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission seeks 10% of Ster-Kinekor's annual turnover - Fin24

The Competition Commission wants 10% of STER-KINEKOR's annual turnover over a complaint about market allocation contraventions, the Competition Tribunal announced on Friday. A hearing is set to begin today following a complaint initiated in May 2009 involving STER-KINEKOR and rival NU-METRO. The Commission says the companies engaged in market allocation relating to lease agreements at the V&A Waterfront. "A lease agreement was entered into by NU-METRO with its then landlord TRANSNET PENSION FUND, wherein NU-METRO had an oral right of first refusal in relation to any film exhibition on the Waterfront premises." When NU-METRO discovered that there were talks with STER-KINEKOR about the latter also operating at the Waterfront, NU-METRO filed an interdict at the High Court. The parties later entered into a settlement agreement, subsequently made a court order, in which NU-METRO would withdraw its objection to STER-KINEKOR's lease agreement and that NU-METRO would only show commercial films while STER-KINEKOR

MTN changes Van Coller's role to head of digital - Ana Monteiro

MTN senior executive STEPHEN VAN COLLER said his role has been changed to head of digital services at the company, seven months after he joined the group as head of strategy. VAN COLLER has been asked to examine ways to boost profit from cellphone data use. One task is to hold talks with NASPERS' MULTICHOICE unit about hosting TV entertainment on smartphones. In an email to MTN employees seen by Bloomberg, MTN CEO ROB SHUTER said he had identified digital services as an area that needs improvement and had consequently assigned the role to VAN COLLER. COO JENS SCHULTE-BOCKUM will take over the role of strategy chief. VAN COLLER retains his position in charge of mergers and acquisitions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria village suing Eni for damages from pipe explosion - Reuters

The Nigerian village of Ikebiri in the Niger Delta has filed a lawsuit in Milan against ENI demanding compensation for damage caused by an oil pipeline explosion in 2010, an Italian lawyer representing the village said last week. The village is asking ENI for €2m in damages along with a commitment to clean up the area covering more than 17ha. "The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land", LUCA SALTALAMACCHIA said. According to him, NIGERIAN AGIP OIL COMPANY LIMITED, which is owned by ENI, has claimed it has already carried out cleaning up operations in the area. ENI was not available for comment. SALTALAMACCHIA said the first hearing had been set for Dec. 11 at the Milan civil court. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UN FAO to lead Africa's fight against fall armyworm - Anine Kilian

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has been tasked with coordinating control and management interventions to combat the fall armyworm infestation in Africa. The FAO estimates the fall armyworm will cost Africa $3bn in lost maize output this year. A Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on the Fall Armyworm was held in Nairobi this week to discuss means to tackle the fall armyworm problem and the potential impact on smallholder farmers on the continent. The fall armyworm has been reported in all countries in Southern Africa, except Lesotho and the island States, we well as in most of East Africa. It has also been reported in several countries in West and Central Africa. FAO assistent DG BUKAR TIJANI said the organistion has the capacity to take on the responsibility of coordinating management interventions on the continent. "We need to develop and deploy, in a fast-track manner, improved drought-tolerant, disease-resistant hybrid [plant species] adapted to Africa that are also resistant to the fall arm

Workers seal contract deal at Collahuasi mine - Reuters

Workers at the Collahuasi mine in Chile, owned by ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE, have sealed a new contract with management that runs until 2020, the parties said on Friday. Under the terms of the agreement, workers in Collahuasi's main 1 485-member union will receive no wage hike, but each will receive a one-time bonus of 11m pesos. The workers will also be offered a 3m-peso loan at zero interest. Mine president JORGE GOMEZ said the deal "reflects the willingness of all of us who are part of Collahuasi to reach mutually beneficial agreements, with a focus on security, productivity and sustainability". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin to proceed with potential LHM sale - Henry Lazenby

PALADIN ENERGY has agreed to allow an independent valuation process to move forward regarding the sale of its 75% stake in the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia's Erongo region, to JV partner CHINA NATIONAL NUCLEAR CORPORATION's OVERSEAS URANIUM HOLDINGS subsidiary. The company announced the concession on Friday, stating it does not admit the validity of CNNC's claims and without prejudice of its rights under the LHM shareholders' agreement. As part of PALADIN's restructure proposal, there is a potential option for CNNC which, if validly exercised, could entitle the nuclear-technology company to the right to acquire PALADIN's stake in LHM. PALADIN last month launched arbitration proceedings against CNNC, weeking orders and declarations regarding the sale. In Mar. CNNC asked PALADIN to determine the fair market value of its share capital in LANGER HEINRICH MAURITIUS HOLDINGS - the holding company of the owner of LHM. This process would be the first step in a process that may lead to CNNC exercising its pote

Vale sees $70m in savings from new systems by 2020 - Reuters

VALE aims to save $70m by 2020 through a combined management system for iron ore and manganese production, replacing 17 former systems, it said on Friday. The company said the change would reduce downtime compared to current systems, cut spending on IT and provide a standardised database of various indicators. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo gold spin-off to list in May - Natasha Odendaal

Aim-listed OPERA INVESTMENTS is eyeing May 23 as the date to cancel its admission on the London bourse, and the start of trading of newly formed spin-off KATARO GOLD MINING, as the proposed sale of KIBO MINING's northern Tanzania-based gold asset is wrapped up. OPERA conditionally agreed to acquire KIBO GOLD, through which the Imweru and Lubando gold projects in Tanzania are held, from KIBO MINING for £3.66m, settled through the issue of 61m new ordinary shares in OPERA to KIBO at 6p apiece. In aggregate, 91m ordinary shares are being issued and, on admission, the company will have 108.2m ordinary shares in issue, which at 6pps implies a market cap of about £6.5m. OPERA has also conditionally raised gross proceeds of £1.5m, via the issue of 25m new ordinary shares at 6pps, for which KIBO had subscribed for 833 333 placing shares at a cost of £50 000. KATARO plans to start production at Imweru with an initial target of 50 000oz/y gold within two years of admission. This news brief represents a summa

Buyers ready to pounce om Rio Tinto coking coal mines - Reuters

The sale of two RIO TINTO coking coal mines in Australia is attracting scores of interested parties as private equity and public companies compete for a foothold in one of this year's hottest commodities. RIO is expected to soon begin an official sales process for the Hail Creek and Kestrel mines in Queensland. Analysts expect each mine to sell for more than $2bn and complete RIO's exit from Australian coal mining after it agreed in Jan. to sell its COAL & ALLIED thermal coal division to China's YANCOAL for $2.45bn. A private equity executive, who has previously bought Australian coal assets, said he expected to face "stiff competition" from other private equity groups fore the RIO TINTO mines. CREDIT SUISSE is advising RIO TINTO, a third source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria almost triples budget for Niger Delta amnesty - Felix Onuah

Nigeria has almost tripled the budget for an amnesty programme for militants in its oil-producing heardland, the presidency said at the weekend - a key factor in maintaining a tenuous peace in the Niger Delta and supporting crude output. An additional 30bn naira would be released for the former militants and an extra 5bn naira added at some later stage, the presidency said. Until 2016 the annual budget was 20bn naira. Under the amnesty programme, each former militant is entitled to 65 000 naira a month plus job training. But in Mar. a special adviser to the president said the programme was facing a cash crunch. "Currently the Amnesty Office has now paid up all ex-militants backlog of their stipends up to the end of 2016", the presidency said. It added that all promised made by VP YEMI OSINBAJO on recent visits to the Niger Delta to boost development would be kept. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE to launch Zambia dollar-denominated maize contract - Ed Stoddard

The JSE is setting up a contract for Zambian maize that will be denominated in US dollars. The contract will add liquidity to the Zambian market and provide the South African grain industry with better access to Zambian grain. JSE director of capital markets DONNA NEMER said this will be the first foreign currency listed contract in any class on the JSE. Zambia will allow monitored maize exports this year as the country expects to have a surplus after foreign sales were suspended in 2016 as a drought threatened output and pushed up prices. Zambia's maize crop is seen exceeding the 2.87mt produced last year but the figure has not been finalised. Annual consumption is 1.8mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom says plan to mothball power plants only a 'scenario' - Ed Stoddard

ESKOM chair BEN NGUBANE last week said that plans unveiled in Mar. to decommisison five coal-fired power stations were not set in stone and could be shelved depending on economic growth and other factors. The NUM and other unions have threatened strike action over the proposals, which would threaten thousands of jobs in Mpumalanga. "It is a scenario. If we put in a certain amount of independent power producers then we reduce the capacity space for these power stations. That would result in mothballing", NGUBANE said. But he added that if the pace of adding IPP projects to the grid did not take place as quickly as anticipated, or if economic growth which has been flatlining picked up, then the plants would not be shut down. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank calls on Botswana to make mining contracts public - Tanisha Heiberg

The World Bank last week called on Botswana to make details of its large mining contracts with companies public to improve transparency in the country's business dealings. Botswana earns 89% of its forex income and 30% of national revenues from mining, mainly diamonds. It has various large-scale mining, sales and marketing contracts with DE BEERS. World Bank Group consultant NILS HANDLER said the government's decision to keep the negotiation process around contracts for diamond mining and large integrated projects confidential was a cause for concern. "A more open process, including published contracts, would assist Botswana in becoming a more transparent and accountable jurisdiction", HANDLER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya to import sugar as drought causes shortage - George Obulutsa

Kenya will have to import sugar to make up for a shortage caused by a drop in cane production following a drought which has left 2.7m people in need of food aid. Kenya, which produces around 600 000t of sugar annually, compared with annual consumption of 870 000t, said it expects to import 40 000t in the next three weeks, and a further 60 000t in the next two months. The sugar deficit is usually covered by strictly controlled imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc. "We have enhanced imports and in the next 2-3 weeks, we shall receive 40 000t of sugar from the COMESA countries. A further consignment of 60 000t is expected in the next two months", Kenya's Agriculture and Food Authority said. Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed the average price of 1kg of sugar rose 21.61% y/y last month to 136.45 shillings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mali 2017 gold output forecast to slip - Tiemoko Diallo

Industrial gold output in Mali could decline this year as the country awaits production from new mines in 2018, the Ministry of Mines said on Friday. Output from large-scale mines is expected to hit 45t in 2017, down from 46.9t y/y, said National Director of Mines LELANTA HAWA BA. This forecast was subject to upward revision, depending on mines coming online. B2GOLD's Fekola mine is expected to produce around 10t/year and HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES' Yanfolila mine about 3t, according to the ministry. The mines are expected to start full production next year. Artisinal output is set at 4t, taking total official production to 49t for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 08/05/2017

At 07h43 on 08 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.47 ZAR/EUR 14.79 ZAR/GBP 17.48 Gold 1231.45 Platinum 920.50 Brent Crude Oil 49.77 All Share 53579.01

Bosch posts Q1 sales growth ahead of targets - Patrick McGee

Germany's BOSCH said Q1 sales rose 12%, well ahead of a 2017 target to grow sales by 3%-5%. CEO VOLKMAR DENNER yesterday said the company was aiming to play a central role in reimagining mobility - "a mobility that is without emissions, without stress, and without accidents". The company posted €73.1bn in sales last year and is the world's largest car component supplier with nearly €44bn in revenue last year. BOSCH said it is making "heavy upfront investments" to safeguard its future. The company said it was working on around 300 "real driving emissions" projects to help reduce nitrogen-oxide emission - a key issue since the 2015 VOLKSWAGEN scandal, in which BOSCH was accused of playing a role. It settled earlier this year, agreeing to pay $328m but without admitting guilt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels to propose new controls on London's euro-clearing market - Philip Stafford

Brussels has confirmed it will publish proposals to impose new controls on t he City's vast euro-denominated clearing business before the summer, raising market fears that the bloc will demand vast pools of capital are moved out of London after the UK leaves the EU. The European Commission yesterday said it was looking at new legislation to oversee overseas clearing houses, especially one that clear substantial volumes of euro-denominated derivatives. At present, as much as 75% of the business are cleared in the UK, mainly at the LCH clearing house, which clears a rough notional €850bn/day in euro trades. The EU is concerned its regulators will not have as much foresight to step in and calm markets, either through increased supervision or via a funding backstop, and wants more direct oversight. Among the options include forcing the business to be cleared in the EU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit narrows in Mar.; jobless claims slip - Adam Samson

The US trade gap narrowed slightly in Mar., confounding expectations of a rise. The trade gap fell by $100m in Mar. m/m to $43.7bn, data from the Commerce Department showed. Economists had forecast a reading of $44.5bn. Imports and exports both slipped by $1.7bn to $234.7bn and $191bn, respectively. Meanwhile, weekly claims for first-time unemployment benefits slid to 238 000 last week, from 257 000 the prior week. Analysts had forecast a higher figure of 248 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory orders for Mar. miss estimates - Jessica Dye

US factory orders eked out a small rise in Mar. but still fell short of Wall Street's expectations, indicating a softening in the manufacturing sector after a strong read in Feb. New orders for manufactured goods rose 0.2%, or $0.8bn to $478.2bn in Mar., the Commerce Department said. That missed the 0.4% increase expected by analysts. The pace at which new orders for manufactured durable goods rose for the third consecutive month, up 0.9% in Mar. but still slower than the 2.4% increase in Feb. That increase was driven by a 2.6% rise in transportation equipment, up $2.2bn to $83.6bn for the month. New orders for non-durable goods dropped 0.5% to $238.7bn. The department revised upwards the overall growth in new orders for manufactured goods notched in Feb., form its initial report of a 1% rise to a 1.2% increase. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US lawmakers advance bill to undo parts of Dodd-Frank - Jessica Dye

Republicans' vow to overhaul OBAMA-era financial regulations has taken a critical first step forwards. The US House of Representatives committee yesterday advanced the Choice Act, legislation intended to unwind portions of the Dodd-Frank law. Republicans had criticised Dodd-Frank for creating too much red tape that slowed economic growth, while Democrats have countered that the Choice Act would remove protections against risky and predatory behaviour from Wall Street. The Choice Act would clip the wings of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, repeal the Volcker rule and strip regulators' power to impose tougher capital and liquidity standards on institutions deemed "too big to fail". The bill must still be passed by the full House before advancing to the Senate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US House passes healthcare reform - Jessica Dye

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill designed to undo and replace Obamacare, in a vote that handed the TRUMP administration its first major legislative victory since taking office. Yesterday's vote on the American Health Care Act comes after a failed first attempt to advance healthcare reform in Mar. The final vote was 217-213 - a majority of 216 votes was needed to pass. The bill will now advance to the US Senate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple returns to bond market - Pan Kwan Yuk

APPLE returned to the corporate bond market yesterday with a multi-billion dollar offering aimed at funding the dividend increase and share buyback announced earlier this week. The company is offering notes across six tenors, including two floating rate notes that mature in 2020 and 2022. The fixed-rate notes span three- to 10-year maturities. Initial price talk on the company's 10-year bonds was set at 90 bps above Treasuries, for a yield of around 3.25%. Investor appetite for the offering was intense. APPLE CEO TIM COOK earlier this week said he hoped the TRUMP administration would pass tax reform legislation later this year to allow it to repatriate some of its $240bn held outside the US - more than 90% of its total $257bn cash pile. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Another hedge fund calls for BHP to sell US shale assets - Neil Hume

TRIBECA GLOBAL NATURAL RESOURCES, the world's top performing hedge fund in 2016, has called on BHP BILLITON to sell its US onshore oil and gas business and use the funds to launch a share buyback, boost dividends and invest in future growth projects. In an eight page letter titled "Making BHP Great Again", TRIBECA says the company could raise some $10bn from the sale of its US shale assets. "We are supportive of BHP's desire to retain its conventional oil and gas business... Conversely, we do not support the continued investment in the US onshore assets as these assets are unlikely to deliver appropriate free cash flow and we fail to identify where BHP has any particular skill that differentiates it from industry peers. It remains to us a tier two asset that sits in an irrational market", TRIBECA says. The Sydney-based fund also used the letter to call for an overhaul of the BHP board, which it said had overseen the destruction of over $30bn in shareholder capital. This news brief represents a summary

Updated market indicators for 05/05/2017

At 10h47 on 05 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.62 ZAR/EUR 14.95 ZAR/GBP 17.62 Gold 1233.55 Platinum 912.50 Brent Crude Oil 48.53 All Share 53561.71

Rosneft misses Q1 profit forecasts by wide margin - Henry Foy

ROSNEFT missed analyst estimates with a marginal increase in profit for Q1 to Rb131bn as a rise in oil prices was undercut by a stronger rouble. The company said revenue for Q1 2017 rose 34.5% y/y, to Rb1.41tn, as production rose 11% thanks to the acquisition of formal rival BASHNEFT and output from new drilling sites. Net profit rose only 8.3%. CEO IGOR SECHIN said the market remains difficult. Analysts had expected ROSNEFT to post net profit of 22bn roubgles, according to a survey conducted by Reuters. The company produced 70.3mt of oil equivalent in Q1, or 5.79m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ISA expects rise in FY earnings - Sens

ISA HOLDINGS yesterday advised that its EPS and HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. are expected to be between 17.7cps and 20.1cps, reflecting an increase of 45%-65% to the EPS and HEPS of 12.2cps reported y/y. Results for the period will be published on May 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Renergen issues trading statement - Sens

RENERGEN LIMITED yesterday said a review of its results for the FY to end-Feb. indicated that the LPS and HLPS is expected to be between 20.38cps and 24.04cps, reflecting a decrease in the loss of 34.2%-44.2% compared to the LPS and HLPS of 36.53cps reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buildmax expects improved FY result - Sens

BUILDMAX LIMITED today advised that its basic LPS is expected to be between 27.5cps and 23cps for the FY to end-Feb., an improvement of 78.11%-81.69% on the 125.60cps loss posted y/y. The HLPS is expected to be between 23.35cps and 19.50cps, a 72.2%-76.79% improvement on the 84cps loss posted y/y. Results will be published on May 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Belamant decries 'frivolous' attacks on Net1 - Robert Laing

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES CEO SERGE BELAMANT this morning complained of "frivolous and unsubstantiated public attacks" in his commentary on the company's Mar. quarter results. "Our technology continues to save the South African government an estimated R2bn per annum through the identification and removal of fraudulent beneficiaries", BELAMANT said. NET1 said revenue from its South African transaction processing division grew 26% to $64m during Q3 to end-Mar. y/y. This was partly thanks to the rand gaining 16% against the dollar over the period. Excluding that forex gain, revenue grew 6%. NET1's overall revenue for the period grew 9.8% to $148m, but aftertaf profit remained flat at $19m. "The last few months have been challenging, aggravated by the tarnishing of our reputation and questioning of our business practices due to frivolous and unsubstantiated public attacks", BELAMANT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FSB probes unusual forex trades on Gordhan recall - Fin24

The Financial Services Board is investigating unusual trading in forex futures contracts that spiked at the time of former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN's recall from London in Mar. "The FSB can confirm that it is investigating unusual trading in foreign exchange futures contracts after receiving a report from the JSE", it said yesterday. "Upon completion of its investigation, the market abuse department will compile a report with its findings for the directorate of market abuse, which may refer the matter to the enforcement committee of the FSB for enforcement action to be instituted against the offender/s if it believes that the Financial Markets Act has been contravened". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPS allocates over R2.7bn in profits - Fin24

PPS has declared that its total profit-share allocation to PPS members for FY2016 was over R2.7bn. This makes the total cumulative profit-share allocation to members R22.5bn over the last decade. PPS CEO IZAK SMIT said in addition to the profit share account allocation of R2.7bn, a further R2.4bn was paid to members in benefits (mostly life insurance claims) for 2016. He further notes that the company experienced significant growth in 2016, and new membership grew by 9% - with 61% of these members under the age of 30. In addition, the company's total assets rose to R31.4bn, the highest ever for the group. PPS INVESTMENTS increased the assets under management by 16% to R25bn in 2016, which illustrates the increasing appetite of SA's graduate professionals for the unique service offering and approach of PPS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier Food sees increased revenue - Fin24

PREMIER FOOD AND FISHING yesterday reported a 7% rise in group revenue to R182m for the HY to end-Feb. PFF listed on the JSE on Mar. 2 and raised R526m in capital via the issue of 117m new shares. CEO SAMIR SABAN said he is very pleased with the results and the company is looking to further build on this during the rest of the year. Group operating profit rose by 12% to R18m, mainly due to efficiencies achieved across all segments, while profit before tax for the HY under review increased by 26% to R24m. HEPS came in at 12.70cps, up 33% y/y. "We are satisfied that PFF is well positioned for organic and acquisitive growth to deliver the projected outlook for sustainable returns for all stakeholders in terms of its Vision 2020 Vision", SABAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PetroSA mum on business rescue reports - Carin Smith

The CENTRAL ENERGY FUND is still handling certain issues regarding subsidiary PETROSA internally, and will make its decisions known in due course. This was the response of the CEF spokesperson JACKY MASHAPU when asked about reports that the board of PETROSA has asked the CEF to place it under business rescue. Business Day yesterday quoted a senior government official as the source of the business rescue claims and that it is due to PETROSA's very bad financial situation. According to the source, the CEF has refused the request. MASHAPU also refused to comment on "an internal matter". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral reprieve doesn't absolve municipality from debt - Eugenie du Preez

ESKOM yesterday noted that its court settlement with ASTRAL FOODS doesn't usurp its constitutional right to recover debt from indebted municipalities. ASTRAL earlier this week reached an agreement with the utility in the North Gauteng High Court which ended the threat of disruptions in electricity supply to its operations in Standardon. ESKOM will now not disrupt electricity supply to the region as previously threatened, which ASTRAL said would have had devastating consequences for its operations. ESKOM head of legal compliance SUZANNE DANIELS stressed that the utility "is always open to creative alternatives to address these challenges without totally crippling the functions of a service delivery. It is in this spirit that the settlement has been reached". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New TV service launched - Kyle Venktess

DISCOVERY DIGITAL yesterday launched a new internet TV service, DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT ON DEMAND, to rival services like SHOWMAX and NETFLIX. DEOD offers video content through Internet Protocol Television, Over-the-Top internet television services and Off-line delivery solutions. DISCOVER DIGITAL formerly operated MTN's VOD service VU which was shut down on Wednesday. MTN said all customers affected by the termination of VU would be compensated with a three-month subscription to SHOWMAX. DISCOVER DIGITAL is currently 80% privately owned with the other 20% owned by DD MANCO, an entity backed by INVESTEC. DEOD offers seven subscription options which are valid for 30 days from date of payment with the cheapest package starting at R49 and the premium package at R189. The cheapest NETFLIX package starts at R108.21, with the most expensive being R162.21. SHOWMAX costs R99/month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gauteng to spend R46bn on infrastructure projects - Anine Kilian

The Gauteng provincial government will spend R46bn on infrastructure over the next three years, Premier DAVID MAKHURA said yesterday. MAKHURA said the investment would contribute to economic empowerment, radical economic transformation, improving the quality of life of citizens and enhancing the global competitiveness of the Gauteng city region. He noted that the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan estiamtes that R1.8tn is needed to meet the province's infrastructure needs over the next 15 years. "Government fiscus will never be enough... to meet the growing infrastructure needs of this dynamic province, which is why we are looking to the private sector and State-owned companies to help us reshape the spatial economy of Gauteng." MAKHURA noted that urban sprawl was financially costly and ecologically unsustainable, adding that it was imperative to promote densification and compact settlements for reasons of land scarcity and efficiency of infrastructure provision. He stressed that it was no longer afforda

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, TNPA ink liquid bulk agreement - Irma Venter

TRANSNET NATIONAL PORTS AUTHORITY and OILTANKING GRINDROD CALULO yesterday signed an agreement in Port Elizabeth that will see the latter plan, fund, construct, maintain and operate a new liquid bulk handling facility at the Port of Ngqura. The facility's concept engineering design, as well as the topographical and geotechnical survey, have been completed, and construction is due to start in Q4 2017, with commissioning planned for Q3 2019. Phase 1 of the facility will provide around 150 000 cubic metres of storage capacity for refined petroleum products. Further phases will provide for an additional 550 000m3 of storage capacity and handling. The facility will serve the oil majors, new entrants into the local oil industry, as well as international traders. OTGC CEO DIRK EXALTO said he would prefer not to provide information on the value of the contract. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma must explain reasons behind cabinet reshuffle - News24Wire

Judge BASHIR VALLY has ruled that President JACOB ZUMA must hand over all records explaining the reasons why he reshuffled the Cabinet. Sitting in the North Gauteng High Court, VALLY said he would give reasons for the ruling next Tuesday. In court papers, ZUMA had said the DA's urgent application to have reasons for the recent Cabinet reshuffle divulged was misconceived and without merit. "It is an abuse of court process", ZUMA said. He further argued that he was exercising his powers in terms of section 91 (2) of the Constitution. ZUMA said it was an executive decision that deserved protection from disclosure. The DA said it wanted the court to review and set aside ZUMA's decision to dismiss PRAVIN GORDHAN and his deputy, MCEBISI JONAS, from the Treasury. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commercial ops start at Enel's Gibson Bay Wind Farm - Megan van Wyngaardt

ENEL, via subsidiary ENEL GREEN POWER, has started commercial operations at its 111MW Gibson Bay Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape. ENEL SA country manager WILLIAM PRICE said this was the second wind farm for the company in that province. The project can generate around 420 GWh/y, while cutting CO2 emissions by over 383 000t/y. ENEL has 52MW of wind and solar plants in operation in SA, with EGP also operating the 88MW Nojoli Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer updates H1 trading expectations - Natasha Odendaal

PIONEER FOODS expects to report double-digit decreases in earnings for the HY to end-Mar. HEPS are expected to be 53%-58% lower y/y at 233cps-261.5cps, down from 556.4cps. A 53%-58% drop in EPS is also expected during the period to between 234cps and 262.5cps, down from 560.1cps y/y. Adjusted HEPS are expected to be between 242.2cps and 267cps in H1, a 44%-49% decrease on the 479.3cps reported y/y. PIONEER's operating profit before times of a capital nature for the period is expected to decrease by between 40% and 45% from the R1.2bn reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 05/05/2017

At 07h55 on 05 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.69 ZAR/EUR 15.04 ZAR/GBP 17.69 Gold 1232.80 Platinum 907.50 Brent Crude Oil 47.14 All Share 53406.31

Gold demand down 18% - Martin Creamer

Global gold demand has fallen 18% in Q1 2017 y/y, the World Gold Council said yesterday. In tonnage terms, demand in the period was down 228.3t, tumbling from 1 262.8t in Q1 2016 to 1 034.5t y/y. This year's inflows into ETFs are a fraction of last year's inflows, plummeting 68% to 109.1t - a drop of 233t compared with a high of 342.1t. Central bank demand fell by 27% to 76.3t, nearly 28t less y/y. The total supply of gold in the quarter to end-Mar. was 12% lower at 1 032t, mainly on a 21% recycling fall to 283t. Mine production of 764t in the same period was little changed from 768t in the corresponding three months of last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore cut in vanadium output continues to push prices higher - Henry Lazenby

Data yesterday that GLENCORE has produced 10% less vanadium due to lower kiln availability and maintenance on its evaporation plant is good news for vanadium prices with the shortfall in output likely to continue to support higher vanadium prices for longer. According to investment dealer SP ANGEL, vanadium pentoxide prices have jumped another 11% since Apr. 7, and it is possible that vanadium flake prices may have risen further. The brokerage believes vanadium prices should remain supported by rising demand for hardened steels and lower levels of non-primary production, such as vanadium from magnetite and slag production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wescoal, Keaton revise acquisition price - Megan van Wyngaardt

KEATON ENERGY's shares rose by 6.2% yesterday, after it and WESCOAL announced in a joint statement that the purchase price for WESCOAL's takeover of KEATON had been adjusted. Subsequent to the signing of a firm intention offer letter in Feb., KEATON had issued a further 690 374 shares in terms of its employee ownership share scheme. As such, WESCOAL and KEATON agreed to increase the aggregate scheme consideration from R525.59m to R526.83m, with the resultant increase in the cash component from R350m to R351m and the consideration shares from 87.59m to 87.80m. Upon completion of the deal during H1 FY2018, KEATON will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WESCOAL and be delisted from the JSE. The deal excludes KATON's assets marked for disposal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa CFO steps down - Creamer Media Reporter

BOIPELO LEKUBO has resigned as CFO of ATLATSA RESOURCES to pursue new opportunities, the company announced yesterday. Financial controller REINHARDT VAN WYK has been appointed acting CFO, effective Jun. 1. ATLATSA CEO HAROLD MOTAUNG said VAN WYK is a qualified CA and held previous experience in corporate and project finance, financial management and reporting within the mining industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resgen progresses talks with DBSA over funding for rail link - Megan van Wyngaardt

RESOURCE GENERATION said talks with the Development Bank of Southern Africa concerning the funding for a rail link at its Boikarabelo coal mine were now at an advanced stage, with the DBSA to submit its application for first stage credit approval this week. "If approval is granted, there will follow a short due diligence and, subject to a satisfactory outcome, a binding term sheet will be prepared for approval by the board", RESGEN chair DENNIS GATELY said, adding that the DBSA was targeting financial close by Sep. RESGEN was targeting the completion of the rail link EPC by end-Jul. Meanwhile, the company noted that its negotiations with ESKOM to conclude a coal supply agreement has been placed on hold, pending the outcome of internal inquiries taking place within the utility, unconnected with the negotiation of the agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem Diamonds recovers 80ct diamond from Letseng - Natasha Odendaal

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered a high-quality 80ct D colour Type II diamond at its Letseng mine in Lesotho. This follows less than a month after the Apr. 7 recovery of a 114ct stone at the mine. "Although this 80 ct diamond is not of the very large size for which Letseng is renowned, it is one of the highest-quality diamonds recovered at the mine and is entirely undamaged, making this a significant recovery", CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio says China's economy shaping up for positive 2018 - Bloomberg

Latest indicators on China's economy point to continued growth through 2018, according to RIO TINTO. CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES this week said the company was not concerned about China's economic health, adding: "The indications are positive for 2018... but it's early days". RIO last week reviewed the outlook for the Chinese economy in 2018. Growth in the world's second-largest economy unexpectedly picked up to 6.9% in Q1, clocking its first back-to-back acceleration in seven years, as industrial output advanced and factory prices surged. Analysts projected faster economic expansion in each of the next four quarters in a recent Bloomberg survey. RIO is continuing talks on potential opportunities with CHINA MINMETALS, JACQUES said without specifying any details. He met with MINMETALS in Beijing in March, the Chinese entity said in a posting to its website at the time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Second review of Philippine mines to go ahead - Reuters

The Philippine government will move ahead with a second review of the country's mines despite the removal this week of REGINA LOPEZ as environment minister. The Mining Industry Coordinating Council ordered a review in Feb. of the operations and the environmental and social impacts of the country's mines. "Definitely it will continue because it's the mandate of the MICC to do just that regardless of who's in the (Department of Environment and Natural Resources", Finance Undersecretary BAYANI AGABIN said. The review will cover all 41 mines operating in the country, including the 26 that LOPEZ had earlier ordered closed or suspended in Feb. after a months-long audit last year led by her ministry. Lawmakers comprising the Commission of Appointments rejected LOPEZ as environment minister at a vote on Wednesday, ending her 10-month mining crackdown. The country's Chamber of Mines said it would seek to undo LOPEZ's moves when a new minister was appointed. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Adani places order with Arrium for North Galilee Basin rail link - Esmarie Swanepoel

India's ADANI has awarded a A$74m contract to embattled ARRIUM MINING AND MATERIALS for a railway link. The Indian group will source 54 000t of hardened rail from ARRIUM for its 400km North Galilee Basin rail link from the proposed Carmichael coal mine to the Abbot Point port. ADANI AUSTRALIA CEO JEYAKUMAR JANAKARAJ said the company could have sourced the rail cheaper from abroad, but that it had chosen to support local industry with the award of the contract. The order is one of the largest placed with ARRIUM, which went into administration 12 months ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold set to exceed payout after strong 2017 start - David McKay

RANDGOLD RESOURCES was likely to pay a significant higher dividend after its current FY even after increasing the last dividend payment 52%, said CEO MARK BRISTOW. "We already have far in excess of our $500m buffer that we like to keep on the balance sheet with only the first month of the current quarter underway", BRISTOW said. RANDGOLD turned in a solid Q1, producing 322 470oz of gold, 10% more than in Q1 2016. At $619/oz, total cash costs were 4% lower y/y and although neither production or costs matched the record production in the prior quarter, BRISTOW was satisfied with the result. EPS came in at 74 US cents versus 58cps y/y, while cash increased nearly $100m to $600m before a $1/share dividend payment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA close to launch of challenger to big four banks - Mfuneko Toyana

SA is close to spinning a state-owned bank out of its postal service that will lend to the country's poor and distribute welfare grants. "It's not going to be a normal bank like the big four. It's going to be a developmental bank to deal with the market that is not being served at the moment", Telecommunications Minister SIYABONGA CWELE said. "It's a higher risk, but we are not saying we are going to be reckless in our lending but we must take that risk of funding entrepreneurs with small loans", CWELE added. SAPO's POSTBANK has around R1.4bn in excess capital, already enough to meet regulatory minimum requirements for a bank and the POST OFFICE plans to list the business as a bank by July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria c.bank lifts currency ban for small imports - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's central bank has lifted a ban on currency allocation for importers bringing in goods worth up to $20 000/quarter, it said in a circular published yesterday. The bank in 2015 placed a restriction on 41 items for which importers could no longer get dollars. "Importers of items classified as not valid for forex with transaction value of $20 000 and below per square shall now qualify for allocation of foreign exchange", the central bank said. The naira was quoted weaker yesterday at an investor trading window, at 382.14/$, data showed. The official market rate was 305.20 and the black market rate 391. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ping An to launch $1bn fintech, healthcare fund - Jennifer Hughes

PING AN is launching a $1bn fund to invest in financial and healthcare technology globally. The Chinese insurer has increasingly been building a reputation for tech investing in related fields, most notably developing LUFAX, the Chinese wealth management platform valued at $19bn and GOOD DOCTOR, the fast-growing health-app worth $3bn in a 2016 funding round. The new fund, dubbed GLOBAL VOYAGER, will be headed by JONATHAN LARSEN, an 18-year veteran of CITIGROUP, who also becomes the PING AN group's chief innovation officer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HSBC Q1 result tops forecasts - Jennifer Hughes

HSBC has beaten analyst expectations for its Q1 numbers as strong trading, rising interest rates and a weaker dollar lifted earnings. Pre-tax profits, adjusted for one-offs and currency moves, reached $5.9bn, outpacing consensus forecasts of $5.3bn. Reported pre-tax earnings reached $4.96bn. Revenues of $12.9bn were up 40% from $8.98bn q/q. EPS of 16cps beat expectations of 13cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Industrial businesses drive strong result for Siemens in Q2 - Patrick McGee

SIEMENS beat forecasts on multiple key measures and highlighted another strong quarter thanks to "margin expansion in nearly all" of its industrial businesses. The company said revenues in its fiscal Q2 rose 6% y/y to €20.2bn, just ahead of forecasts of €19.8bn. Net income in the period was €1.5bn, flat y/y but beating consensus forecasts of €1.43bn. Earnings for SIEMENS' industrial business rose 18% to €2.5bn, versus forecasts of €2.29bn, as profit margins in its industrial businesses rose to 12.1%, up from 10.9% y/y. Earnings at the company's "digital factory" rose to €482m, versus forecasts of €460m, as margins jumped to 17.8%, from 15.1% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore upgrades earnings forecasts for trading business - Neil Hume

GLENCORE has increased earnings guidance for its trading arm. In a Q1 production update the company said it expected the marketing business to generate earnings before interest of $2.3bn-$2.6bn in 2017, against an earlier forecast $2.2bn-$2.5bn. GLENCORE did not provide any commentary about the performance of the unit in the update, which showed output from its mining division had been impacted by weather events, including a cyclone in Australia and flooding in Peru. In spite of those disruptions, GLENCORE made no changes to its production guidance for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone economy expands 0.5% in Q1 - Claire Jones

The eurozone's economy grew by 0.5% in Q1 2017, beating a figure of 0.4% for the wider EU, according to data from Eurostat. The eurozone's recovery is becoming increasingly strong and broad after years of fragility. Unemployment is now at its lowest level for seven years, while recent indicators of business and consumer confidence are also at multi-year highs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook results beat on all fronts amid mobile ad surge - Hannah Kuchler

FACEBOOK beat analysts' forecasts on earnings and revenue as marketers continued to lap up mobile adverts on the social network. Diluted EPS came in at $1.04, 73% up y/y. Revenue was $8bn, higher than the consensus forecast for $7.8bn in Q1 and mobile advertising sales made up 85% of advertising revenue, up from 82% y/y. FACEBOOK said it would stop reporting EPS, as well as non-GAAP expenses, income and tax rate. The company's user base grew to 1.94bn monthly active users, 1.3% of whom log on every day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye reports pleasing quarterly results - Megan van Wyngaardt

SIBANYE's platinum unit delivered pleasing results during the quarter to end-Mar., producing 286 716oz of PGMs it an operating cost of R11 128/oz. This resulted in operating profit of R243m, excluding the equity accounted attributable operating profit of R119m from its Mimosa mine. After taking into account the revenue contribution from base metals and chrome, Kroondal, Platinum Mile and Rustenburg delivered attributable operating profits of R77m, R15m and R122m respectively for the quarter. Meanwhile, SIBANYE's gold output for the Mar. quarter of 330 100oz was 9% lower y/y, mainly as a result of the cessation of mining operations at the Cooke 4 shaft in Sep. 2016. Gold in inventory at end-Dec. of 4 147oz was sold during the quarter under review, resulting in sales of 334 200oz. All-in sustaining costs rose by 9% from R454 282/kg to R493 862/kg mainly as a result of the decrease in gold produced. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia won't allow BHP to head offshore - Treasurer - Esmarie Swanepoel

Australian Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON has warned that ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT's plan to shift BHP BILLITON's primary stock market listing offshore would be a criminal offence and that directors could be held liable. He described the proposed plan as "unthinkable" and stressed that it would not comply with conditions set for the miner to operate in Australia. MORRISON said that in 2001, when the Australian Treasury agreed to the merger between BHP LIMITED and BILLITON, the deal was subject to various conditions, including that the merged entity remain listed on the ASX, and remained the ultimate holding company for the businesses it owned prior to the merger, as long as these remained part of the BHP group. "These conditions apply indefinitely unless revoked or varied by me. It is clear that the proposals under discussion would not be consistent with these conditions", MORRISON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo sells Drayton to Malabar Coal - Esmarie Swanepoel

ANGLO AMERICAN has struck a sales agreement with unlisted MALABAR COAL to divest of its 88.17% stake in the Drayton thermal coal and Drayton South project, in New South Wales. CEO MARK CUTIFANI said the agreement to sell the Drayton business "marks further progress as we focus our global portfolio around our largest and most competitive assets". The Drayton transaction, details of which are confidential, will be effected via a sale in ANGLO's subsidiary companies that hold the Drayton interest. The deal remains subject to various conditions precedent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev to launch Budweiser in SA - Robert Laing

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV plans to launch Budweiser in SA, it said in its Mar. quarter results this morning. The company's overall revenue grew 3.7% to $12.9bn y/y. Its South African business grew revenue by "mid-single digits" despite a 1.6% decline in beer volumes. The brewer blamed the drop on "the timing of Easter". AB INBEV also suffered volume declines in the US and Colombia, which were partly offset by gains in China, Brazil and Mexico. It sold 148m hectolitres worldwide. This was 41% more than the 105m hectolitres reported in Q1 2016 before its acquisition of SABMILLER, but AB INBEV said it suffered a 0.5% organic decline in beer volumes sold over the year. Despite the drop in combined beer volumes, AB INBEV said the SABMILLER integration " continues at a fast pace, with $252m of synergies captured in the quarter". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABB wins DRC order for power link upgrade - John Revill

ABB has won a $30m order to upgrade an electricity transmission link in the DRC, part of the company's push into Africa, it said yesterday. The Swiss group will carry out the partial upgrade of the Inga-Kolwezi high-voltage direct current power transmission link that transmits power from the Inga hydropower station on the Congo River to the mining district of Katanga. The 1 700km connection was built by ABB in 1982 and was at the time the world's longest transmission line. The refurbishment will almost double the line's power transmission capacity and improve reliability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba says return to investment grade rating possible - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA can regain its investment-grade rating without compromising on promises to transform the economy for the benefit of the black majority, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. "Even with the issues that the ratings agencies are raising with us we think that we can regain our investment grade", GIGABA told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for Africa in Durban. "At the heart of what we need to achieve is to change the structure of production and change the patterns of ownership and make those who are marginalised, most of whom are black, feel they are part of the economy", GIGABA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life Healthcare expects drop in earnings - Sandile Mchunu

LIFE HEALTHCARE has warned shareholders that it expected EPS for the HY to end-Mar. to decline 70%-75% y/y, mainly due to an acquisition of the ALLIANCE MEDICAL GROUP during the period. LIFE also expected the transaction to impact on its profits, with HEPS anticipated to be between 23.3cps and 27.9ps for the period, down from 93cps y/y. Last month, the group announced it had raised R9bn via its rights offer for the 95% acquisition of UK-based ALLIANCE MEDICAL. It said the acquisition would give it access to the UK, Italy and Ireland. Normalised EBITDA for the southern African operations were forecast to decline by 1.5%-2.5% y/y due to the lower trading and the impact of the loss of the Gauteng Metal Health contract in the healthcare services division in Jul. 2016. Interim results will be published on May 12. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers studies soaking up carbon - Kevin Crowley

DE BEERS says it could operate a carbon-neutral mine within half a decade. The company plans to store CO2 in kimberlite rock - a type of ore best known for containing diamonds but which also naturally reacts with carbon to remove it from the atmosphere. By accelerating that process and using readily-available waste rock, the company could offset the emissions from its mines. DE BEERS has vast amounts of previously mined waste rock stored in tailings dams above ground at its mines. Depending on how its research progresses, DE BEERS could eventually offset more emissions than it produces. The miner is looking at removing CO2 from power generators at its mines by piping the gas through a fluid that can then be injected into the kimberlite waste rock and stored safely. It is also studying the potential to spread waste rock more thinly to increase carbon extraction from the atmosphere. It estimates it could achieve carbon-neutral status at some operations within five to ten years and is already studying the

Updated market indicators for 04/05/2017

At 10h41 on 04 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.50 ZAR/EUR 14.73 ZAR/GBP 17.38 Gold 1236.03 Platinum 903.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.38 All Share 53572.71

Lindiwe Zulu seeks land seizure without payment - Antony Sguazzin

SA must change its constitution to allow the seizure of land for redistribution to black people without compensation as the country's laws are hindering the transformation of the economy more than two decades after the end of apartheid, Small Business Development Minister LINDIWE ZULU said yesterday. "There's nothing wrong with changing the constitution where it's not helping you - where we need to change it, we will change it", ZULU said, adding: "Our people are not going to forgive us if we prolong this thing". President JACOB ZUMA has in recent months stepped up calls for so-called radical economic transformation and suggested that the constitution be changed to allow the seizure of land without compensation. "Where government feels there mustn't be any compensation, there shouldn't be compensation", ZULU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

'No chance in hell' opposition will remove Zuma - Gigaba - Gordon Bell, Bloomberg

Opposition parties will fail in their bid to remove President JACOB ZUMA and the government won't be distracted by protests against his leadership, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. GIGABA said the ANC holds 62% of the vote in the National Assembly "so there is no chance in hell that the motion of no confidence will succeed". The Constitutional Court will hear opposition party arguments on May 15 to allow for a secret ballot in the planned no-confidence motion. The groups hope an anonymous vote will encourage ANC lawmakers to support the motion. "The president is going to serve his term until 2019. Until the ANC changes its mind, the president will remain the president", GIGABA told Bloomberg TV. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon club fee ruled unlawful - Lizeka Tandwa

The EDCON group maintains it did nothing wrong, despite findings by the National Credit Regulator that it unlawfully charged its customers club fees. The National Consumer Tribunal handed down judgment against the retailer yesterday that the monthly club fee it charged to its credit customers is unlawful and in contravention of the National Credit Act. The NCR will approach EDCON to request an independent audit of its loan book. This will establish the number of consumers to be refunded, with the total amount to be refunded from 2007 to date. EDCON said it was studying the judgment and would appeal the order. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod retains rating despite SASSA uncertainty - Fin24

GLOBAL CREDIT RATINGS yesterday affirmed the national scale ratings assigned to GRINDROD BANK of BBB+ and A2 in the long term and short term respectively, with a stable outlook. The ratings reflect the lender's established business model, sound standalone financial profile and demonstrated support from parent GRINDROD LIMITED, GCR head of financial institution ratings OMEGA COLLOCOTT said. GRINDROD BANK facilitates monthly grant payments as part of NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES' contract with SASSA. The ratings agency noted the potential loss in net fee income, making up 16.5% of total operating income in 2016 due to the future uncertainty of the contract. COLLOCOTT noted that weak asset quality "coupled with a significant deterioration in the bank's profitability, liquidity and capital ratios associated with a highly challenging operating environment and/or weak credit administration, could lead to downward ratings migration". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gaia lifts FY EPS by 205% y/y - Anina Kilian

GAIA INFRASTRUCTURE CAPITAL has posted a 205% y/y rise in EPS to 65.59cps for the FY to end-Feb. The company delivered an enhanced tangible NAV/share of 1 063cps during the period, compared with 997cps y/y. "The completion of the Dorper Wind Farm acquisition... during the year was an important milestone towards the delivery of our investment mandate", GAIA CEO PRUDENCE LEBINA said. Dorper achieved commercial operation in 2014, is fully operational and is delivering electricity into the local grid. As part of that acquisition, GAIA earned an option to acquire minority interests in three additional renewable-energy projects. The company received its first dividend income of R15.6m at the end of the FY. "A further highlight for the period is the payment of our maiden dividend of 63.5c, representing a dividend cover of 1.03 times and 6% of GAIA's tangible net asset value per share", LEBINA stated. GAIA earned interest income of R33m for FY2017 with operating expenses amounting to R8.8m. PBIT came in at R4

ZTE announces new BBBEE partnership - Natasha Odendaal

Telecoms equipment and network solutions provider ZTE has entered a new BBBEE partnership with 100% black women-owned enterprise SALDOMAX TECHNOLOGIES. The alliance aimed to affirm ZTE's compliance and commitment to SA's development imperatives and create an enabling environment for economic transformation, ZTE SA chair and CEO LIU HAISHI said. ZTE also unveiled plans to move its corporate headquarters into a new 3 500m² Johannesburg facility in June. HAISHI said the new headquarters will be large enough to accommodate the group's growth plans and will house additional resources including a research and development facility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pembury to add retirement villages to portfolio - Anine Kilian

PEMBURY LIFESTYLE GROUP will introduce six retirement villages, five in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape, into its portfolio. "Combining these assets under one group is a unique opportunity for an investor to gain access to a portfolio of private schooling and retirement assets that form part of a single JSE-listed company in South Africa", CEO ANDREW MCLACHLAN said. The six retirement villages offer more than 400 units. PEMBURY plans to increase this to 700 units in the next 12 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LafargeHolcim Q1 sales, core profit beat forecasts - Reuters

LAFARGEHOLCIM beat forecasts for sales and core profit in Q1, it said yesterday. The cement maker is looking for a new CEO to replace ERIC OLSEN, who is stepping down in July after the company acknowledged making payments to armed groups to keep its factory in Syria running. The group posted adjusted operating profit before interest tax and amortisation of SFr810m, beating forecasts of SFr783m in a Reuters poll. Sales fell 7.1% to SFr5.63bn, partly reflecting the sale of businesses including operations in Chile and Vietnam during 2016. The company said the results enabled it to keep its guidance for 2017 and 2018. For 2017 it is aiming for double-digit like-for-like growth in adjusted operating EBITDA over 2016, and recurring EPS growth of more than 02%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to miss digital migration deadline again - News24Wire

SA could again miss the deadline for digital migration due to "supply chain management irregularities" and "collusion issues", parliament's portfolio committee heard yesterday. The initial deadline, as determined by the International Telecommunication Union, was Jun. 17 2015. SA missed that deadline due to legal wrangling and power struggles between government departments. Former communications minister FAITH MUTHAMBI had set a new deadline of Jun. 2018, but the Department of Communications this week told Parliament that the process was facing a funding challenge. That was not the only challenge. The Universal Service and Access Agency of SA cancelled contracts with manufacturers, acting DG BASANI BALOYI said. She explained that USASSA appointed three manufacturers for the set-top boxes required for digital migration and 27 service providers for its installation. Supply chain management irregularities and "issues of collusion" were brought to the department's attention. A probe by the Treasury followe

Yamana hikes FY guidance on strong Q1 start - Henry Lazenby

YAMANA GOLD has increased its 2017 guidance to 940 000oz gold, from 920 000oz previously, after reporting a strong operating and financial start to the year. The reduction, when compared with the 1moz achieved in 2016 is mainly due to a new production plan developed at the El Penon mine in Chile, for the current and following years. YAMANA believes the revised plan is more conducive to sustainable production over a long period, and considers existing mineral reserves, conversion of mineral resources and recent narrow vein discoveries. For the quarter to end-Mar., total attributable gold production was 257 533oz, compared with 283 758oz last year. Silver output was 1.08moz, compared with 1.8moz y/y, and copper output was 26.5m lb, compared with 25.9m lb y/y. Despite improved metal prices driving revenue up to $403.5m, higher costs attributable to a stronger Brazilian real and Chilean peso weighed on net earnings. YAMANA swung to a Q1 loss of $5.9m compared with net earnings from continuing operations of

Glencore in talks to sell some Peru, other mining royalties - Reuters

GLENCORE has hired the BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA to sell a portfolio of royalties, including a royalty on the Antamina copper-zinc mine in Peru, sources said. The Antamina royalty makes up the bulk of the value of the package and could fetch up to $250m. The portfolio also includes several smaller royalties on other mines and exploration assets owned by GLENCORE around the world. It is not clear whether GLENCORE will sell 100% of the royalties or retain a stake in them. GLENCORE declined to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore closes $7.34bn loan refinancing - Reuters

GLENCORE has closed a $7.34bn, one-year revolving credit facility that refinances an existing $7.7bn, one-year revolver that was agreed in Feb. 2016, the company said yesterday. The one-year loan is part of a bigger loan package that also includes an existing $6.8bn medium-term loan. The unsecured facility has a 12-month extension option and a 12-month term-out option, which extends the final maturity until May 2019. The facility has no financial covenants. The financing was launched at $5bn and closed substantially oversubscribed after raising $8.55bn in syndication from GLENCORE's wide and supportive group of relationship banks. A total of 56 banks committed to the facility, including 31 mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners. Due to the low average utilisation of the company's combined short and medium term facilities, the one-year facility was reduced to $7.34bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC becoming fastest growing mining market - BMI - Creamer Media Reporter

The DRC will vie with Peru as the fastest growing major mining market in the world during the next five years, according to research firm BMI. BMI says the DRC benefits from low labour costs, high ore grades and vast untapped resources that will attract foreign investment into some of its largest gold and copper deposits, particularly from China. The rise in global cobalt demand will further fuel potential growth in the DRC's mining sector owing to the country's vast reserves of the mineral. "We forecast DRC's cobalt production to increase from 70 100t in 2017 to 82 000t by 2021." But BMI warned that, despite strong growth projections, recent moves aimed at reforming the mining code to increase royalties and taxes have the potential to disrupt BMI's forecasts, while uncertainty regarding the upcoming DRC elections may lead to social unrest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Positive prices buoying ferrochrome business - Merafe - Martin Creamer

Ferrochrome prices for H1 2017 are providing ongoing momentum for the ferrochrome business, which is poised to benefit from this year's stainless steel production growth rate forecast of 3.5%. The demand for ferrochrome is driven overwhelmingly by the production of stainless steel, which in 2018 is projected to grow by a rate of 3.8%. The latest European benchmark ferrochrome price for the quarter to end-Jun. has been settled at $1.54/lb, well up on the average of $0.95/lb of 2016 and $1.07/lb of 2015. The price was $1.65/lb in Q1 2017. Pricing for H1 2017 is positive, MERAFE RESOURCES CEO ZANELE MATLALA told Mining Weekly. Starting this year, the company's policy is to pay a minimum dividend equal to 30% of annual headline earnings and then also to declare special additional distributions of remaining cash not required within the business. MERAFE's attributable ferrochrome production from its GLENCORE-MERAFE CHROME VENTURE for Q1 2017 rose by 10% t5o 113 000t y/y. This increase was primarily attributa

Emirati firm eyes mine disputed by Botswana, Norilsk Nickel - Reuters

Botswana hopes to end a lawsuit with Russia's NORILSK NICKEL by helping EMIRATES INVESTMENT HOUSE buy a disputed 50% stake in the Nkomati mine in SA, Minerals Minister SADIQUE KEBONANG said this week. State-run BCL MINE pulled out of a P3bn deal to buy a 50% stake in Nkomati Nickel from NORILSK NICKEL AFRICA last year after falling into financial distress. NORILSK filed a lawsuit against the government of Botswana last week in a bid to recoup $271m in damages it says it is owed from the aborted sale. EIH is expected to conclude due diligence on the Nkomati mine by the end of this week, KEBONANG said. "We are not worried about the lawsuit against government. Our intention is to find a buyer for the BCL... If a deal can be agreed and the funds are enough, we will pay off NORILSK and the lawsuits can then be withdrawn". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro still in talks over unwinding of BEE transaction - Megan van Wyngaardt

EXXARO and BEE partner MAIN STREET 333 have agreed an implementation agreement for the unwinding of their transaction, containing the salient terms of the replacement BEE transaction, it said yesterday. But it pointed out that the unwinding was subject to the conclusion and signing of detailed transaction agreements, no later than three months from the earlier of either the agreement of the detailed transaction agreements or Apr. 30. EXXARO further noted that detailed terms of the replacement BEE deal would be announced once the transaction agreements have been agreed and signed. "Engagement between us and MS333 is still ongoing and significant progress has been made to reach agreement on the terms". EXXARO in Nov. said it would put in place a new BEE scheme once the unwinding of the agreement with MS333 was finalised. The new scheme will see EXXARO's BEE ownership decrease from 50.19% previously to 30%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's says Elliott plan would be 'credit negative' for BHP - Reuters

Proposals by ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT to boost shareholder returns at BHP BILLITON would be "credit negative" for the miner, MOODY's said yesterday. The company has rejected the proposals to collapse its dual-listed share structure, spin-off its US petroleum business and conduct an ongoing, off-market share buyback programme. MOODY's yesterday upgraded BHP's outlook to positive from stable, saying it believes the miner will continue to generate strong earnings and free cash flow in the current commodity price environment. But it warned that the positive outlook "is predicated on the group continuing with its current operating strategy and financial policies, and that its operating footprint will not change materially as a result of the ELLIOTT proposals". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral beats Eskom in court bid - Business Report

ASTRAL FOODS has won an assurance from ESKOM that the utility will not cut off supply to its Standerton operation. This comes after ASTRAL was in the North Gauteng High Court for the past two days over its application against the utility to fend off the threat of disruptions in power supply to its operations in the Lekwa municipal region. It said an agreement offered by ESKOM was concluded in terms of which the utility will not disrupt power supply to Standerton as previously threatened, which would have had devastating consequences for ASTRAL's operations. "We are very pleased with this victory, which resulted in the settlement agreement being made an order of court thereby protecting ASTRAL's operational interests in the region permanently", CEO CHRIS SCHUTTE said. ASTRAL will now receive uninterrupted power supply to its operations in Standerton on the basis that the company will make direct payments to ESKOM for its electricity consumption. As per the court order, ESKOM will bear ASTRAL's legal costs

Rand expected to trade 5% weaker towards Dec. ANC conference - Vuyani Ndaba

The rand will remain resilient in the short term in the absence of policy surprises and further downgrades, but the currency will weaken towards the ANC's December leadership conference. A poll of up to 40 analysts suggested the currency would trade 5% weaker at R13.99/$ at the end of Oct. This compares with a forecast of R13.78 in the previous poll a month ago. The repo rate is expected to remain on hold until 2020 at least, while inflation will likely hover just below 6% this year and ease slightly to 5.8% in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rosatom still keen to build SA's nuclear plants - Wendell Roelf

ROSATOM yesterday said it was still committed to taking part in a transparent and competitive bidding process to build nuclear power plants in SA after a court blocked the plans last week. "We are confident in our world class technology, unmatched safety standards and highly competitive solutions", a senior company official said. ESKOM declined to comment on the process and said it would follow the Department of Energy's lead on the matter after the court ended SA's request for information from vendors - the first step in the tender process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ecobank to shut branches, cut jobs - Mfuneko Toyana

ECOBANK plans to close branches and cut jobs as the lender steps up investments in digital platforms, CEO ADE AYEYEMI SAID YESTERDAY. The lender's operations in nearly 40 countries across sub-Saharan Africa are exposed to some economies that have been pressured by the slide in commodity prices and unfavourable currency swings. The bank suffered a $131m pre-tax loss in 2016. AYEYEMI said the lender's plans to expand its mobile platforms would help deliver profits. "This means reducing our branch network, using technology to deliver to customers and processing transactions centrally", he said. ECOBANK posted a pre-tax profit of $75m for Q1 2017, though that was still down 17% y/y due to high bad loan provisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC copper output jumps - William Clowes

Copper output in the DRC hit 274 316t in Q1 2017, a 25% increase over the 219 009t produced in the same period last year, the central bank said yesterday. The output represents a rebound after production in Q1 last year dipped 20% due to low global prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria c.bank says has suspended some lenders from forex sales - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's central bank has suspended several lenders from its weekly spot and forward interventions after they had made it difficult for small firms to access forex, it said. The central bank last month cut the amount of paperwork small firms need to buy dollars, to improve the ease of doing business and help narrow the gap between official and black market exchange rates. It said it will offer up to $20 000 per quarter. The lenders were meant to sell dollars bought from the central bank to small firms to enable them to import eligible finished and semi-finished goods but they declined, spokesperson ISAAC OKORAFOR said. He said the regulator took action based on field reports which showed that only eight lenders sold forex to small firms since the start of the window in Apr. Nigeria has 22 commercial lenders. OKORAFOR said the action will be lifted as soon as the affected banks show evidence of "significant utilisation of the fund allocated to them under the SME window". The central bank sold a total o

Group Five cuts jobs, shakes up units - Nqobile Dludla

GROUP FIVE yesterday said it had cut jobs and split up its loss-making engineering and construction division as part of a restructuring. The company did not give further details on the job cuts and said additional guidance would be provided once the process had been completed. The restructuring, supported by DELOITTE CONSULTING, led to the implementation of voluntary and forced retrenchments that are set to conclude at end-Jun. The company said that business had now been split into Construction: SA and Construction: Rest of Africa and engineer, procure and construct. "These changes are aimed at unlocking shareholder value and addressing mainly the loss-making Engineering and Construction cluster", the company said. "These changes will result in more focused businesses with appropriate resources and cost bases relevant to the regions and service offerings provided." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 04/05/2017

At 07h28 on 04 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.44 ZAR/EUR 14.65 ZAR/GBP 17.31 Gold 1238.90 Platinum 898.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.62 All Share 53586.63

Kenya c.bank says 12 entities applied for Chase Bank stake - Duncan Miriri

Twelve parties have expressed interest in taking a stake in Kenya's CHASE BANK, the central bank said yesterday. Regulators placed CHASE under receivership in Apr. 2016 after an unexplained loss of billions of Kenyan shillings. The central bank invited expressions of interest in the CHASE stake at the end of Mar. The applicants included three Kenyan lenders, four foreign banks and other parties. "Short-listed investors will be granted access to comprehensive confidential data that will allow them to develop a formal proposal for taking an equity interest", the central bank said. They must submit formal bids by Jun. 9. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sainsbury's profits drop despite success of Argos takeover - Nicholas Megaw

The £1.4bn purchase of ARGOS helped SAINSBURY's to an 11% rise in revenues in its FY to Mar. 11, but the supermarket chain warned that rising inflation could eat into its non-food sales as it posted an 8% drop in profits. FY revenues were £26.2bn, up 11.6% y/y and in line with forecasts. However, pre-tax profits fell by 8.2% to £503m, which the company attributed to "investment in the customer offer" as intense rivalry contributed to a price war that has damaged margins across the sector. Like-for-like supermarket sales for the FY fell by 0.6%. The ARBOS business performed well, driving the increase in total revenues. SAINSBURY's now has 59 ARGOS concessions inside its larger grocery stores, and said it will accelerate its plans to open more. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sage reports 41% profit increase - Jennifer Thompson

SAGE continued to report a healthy rise in subscriptions as the software group side-steps a decline in traditional software sales. The British company said the number of software subscription contracts rose 48% in the HY to end-Mar. to over 1.2m. R evenue in the period rose 22.7% to £840m, while pre-tax profit was £180m, up 41.1%. CEO STEPHEN KELLEY said SAGE was confident it would exceed its guidance of annual revenue growth of 6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial Brands cigarette sales fall - Conor Sullivan

IMPERIAL BRANDS today said currency movements had cancelled out the hit to revenue from falling cigarette sales in H1FY2017. The company said the number of cigarettes sold in the HY to end-Mar. fell 6% to 126bn. Tobacco net revenue rose 9.3% to £3.7bn, but this would have been a fall of 5.5% at constant currencies. Total revenue came in at £14.3bn, up 11.7% y/y. Operating profits fell 10% to £902m due to increased investment in its main brands. IMPERIAL is in the process of cutting the number of its brands so it can focus on fewer but more profitable cigarette lines. Pre-tax profits rose 78% to £804m because of a sharp drop in net finance costs, which was based on changes to the valuation of derivatives. IMPERIAL CEO ALISON COOPER said the company remains on track to meet FY earnings forecasts at constant currencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kuwait Energy confirms plans for London IPO - Nathalie Thomas

Independent oil producer KUWAIT ENERGY has confirmed its intention to float in London. The company has long sought a London listing but has had to postpone plans due to the oil price crash and unrest in some of the countries in which it operates. KUWAIT is seeking to raise $150m via the issue of new shares. In addition, the offer will provide current shareholders with an opportunity to partially realise their existing holdings. The company, which is eyeing entry into the FTSE 250, produces over 24 000 boe/day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US Senate confirms Trump pick to lead SEC - Jessica Dye

The US Senate last night approved DONALD TRUMP's nominee to lead the US Securities and Exchange commission, JAY CLAYTON. The Senate voted 61-37 to confirm CLAYTON, a veteran securities lawyer who has spent his career at Sullivan and Cromwell representing some of the most prominent names in finance, including BARCLAYS, DEUTSCHE BANK and GOLDMAN SACHS. His work with corporate giants drew flak during the confirmation hearing from Democrats, with Senator ELIZABETH WARREN questioning whether his past client relationships could prompt him to step aside from major enforcement actions involving his former clients and others represented by his firm, leaving the commission short-handed. Republicans cheered the prospect of having someone with CLAYTON's familiarity with Wall Street leading the SEC, saying he would bring his expertise to bear in improving and policing US capital markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels hoists gross Brexit bill to €100bn - Alex Barker

The EU has raised its opening demand for Britain's Brexit bill to an upfront gross payment of up to €100bn, according to FT analysis of new stricter demands driven by France and Germany. EU negotiators have revised their calculations to maximise the liabilities Britain is asked to cover, including post-Brexit farm payments and EU administration fees in 2019/2020. Although over coming decades Britain's net bill would be lower than the €100bn upfront settlement, the more stringent approach to the country's outstanding obligations significantly increases the estimated €60bn mentioned by European Commission president JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER. Paris and Warsaw have pushed for the inclusion of post-Brexit annual farm payments, while Berlin is against granting Britain a share of EU assets. MICHEL BARNIER, the EU's chief negotiator, has said no figure will be set until the end of the Brexit process and payments could be staggered. But he wants Britain to agree a methodology before trade talks can begin, includ

Mondelez's sales beat estimates - Jessica Dye

A stronger dollar bit into MONDELEZ's results for the quarter to end-Mar., with sales in its North American and European markets slipping despite strong gains in Latin America. The company said net revenue fell 0.6% y/y to $6.4bn for the quarter to end-Mar. It was still just ahead of the $6.37bn analysts had been expecting. MONDELEZ said the revenue decline was driven by currency headwinds. Revenue in Europe fell the furthest, declining 3.4% y/y, while North America dipped 1.6%. Latin American revenues rose 11.4% and sales in emerging markets were up 4.2% versus a 3.3% fall in developed markets. Diluted EPS for the quarter were up 17% y/y to 41cps. Net earnings attributable to the company came in at $630m, compared to the $642.3m Wall Street had expected. Adjusted EPS beat targets, up 6% on a constant currency basis to 53cps and beating the 50cps analysts predicted. The group reaffirmed its forecast for 1% organic net revenue growth during the year and double-digit adjusted EPS growth on a constant-c

Gilead slips after quarterly results miss estimates - Adam Samson

US biotech GILEAD missed analysts' forecasts for profits and sales in Q1, sending its shares down by 2% in after-hour trading yesterday. Sales of the company's best-selling Harvoni drug fell y/y as the company contended with fierce competition from rivals like ABBVIE and MERCK. The hepatitis C drug generated $1.37bn of sales during the quarter to end-Mar. versus more than $3bn y/y. Many investors believe GILEAD needs to acquire another drugmaker to revive its fortunes. The company posted adjusted earnings of $2.23/share for Q1 on sales of $6.5bn, versus the typical Wall Street forecast for adjusted EPS of $2.28 and revenues of $6.62bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADM shares fall after earnings warning - Gregory Meyer

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND shares suffered a sharp drop yesterday after the company indicated a persistent surplus in grain supplies would weigh on investor returns. The company said it would take $7m in impairment and restructuring charges in Q1 primarily connected to restructuring its global trade desk, based in Switzerland. CEO JUAN LUCIANO said "with ample stocks around the world, there is a very subdued environment for us to make profitable international trades". As trading profits suffer, ADM aims to reduce its cost per tonne traded. It shut down an office in SA and merged offices in Argentina. It also aims to build "destination marketing" such as a JV with Cairo-based MEDSOFTS, what would bring ADM in closer contact with customers and could increase trading profit margins from about $2-$4/t to roughly $8-$10/t. Adjusted operating profit in the agricultural services business was $88m in Q1, up from $76m y/y. Net profit in the quarter rose to $339m or 59cps, from $230m or 39cps y/y. Shares in ADM wer

Vitol expands in refining with purchase from Koch - Neil Hume

Independent oil trader VITOL has moved to expand its refining business with the purchase of a condensate splitter in the Netherlands from KOCH SUPPLY & TRADING. The 85 000 bpd splitter is the largest producer in North West Europe of naphtha. The plant was put up for sale in Oct. after KOCH concluded it would be worth more to "parties with existing condensate streams". "The splitter is a well-run asset in a good strategic location at the heart of Rotterdam's oil and petrochemical industry", said RUSSELL HARDY, head of VITOL's EMEA operations. VITOL did not disclose how much it is paying for the splitter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tepid sales growth weighs on Pfizer - David Crow

Sales of several PFIZER drugs fell short of analysts' forecasts in Q1 as the company posted revenues below expectations. PFIZER posted revenues of $12.8bn for Q1 versus the typical analyst forecast of $13.1bn. Adjusted EPS of 69cps were two cents ahead of expectations. Taking currency movements into account, revenues were down 1% y/y, the group said. Several of PFIZER's best-known brands fell short, including US sales of Viagra (erectile dysfunction), Prevnar (pneumococcal vaccine) and Ibrance (breast cancer). The company reaffirmed its FY guidance for revenues between $52bn and $54bn and adjusted EPS of $2.50-$2.60. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire revenues double after Baxalta takeover - Nicholas Megaw

SHIRE yesterday announced strong Q1 results, after its $32bn takeover of BAXALTA last year helped it more than double revenues. The company has transformed itself into a leading specialist in drugs for treating rare diseases. The addition of BAXALTA's business meant total revenues for Q1 2017 were 109% higher y/y at $3.57bn. The company also remained on track to meet its goal of double-digit sales growth at its older businesses, with sales excluding BAXALTA up 11%. SHIRE plans to generate some $700m of annual cost savings through the BAXALTA deal, and said its integration plans are progressing ahead of schedule. The company is now prioritising cutting its $22bn debt pile, and yesterday said it is on track to meet its target of reducing debt to between two and three times EBITDA. Costs related to the takeover meant reported net income fell 11% to $375m in Q1, but the company said adjusted earnings were 74% higher y/y at $1.1bn. SHIRE said it is on track to meet previously-announced FY product sales targ

Merck up on strong guidance - David Crow

Sales of a hepatitis C drug made by MERCK jumped sharply in Q1, helping the company beat analysts' earnings forecasts. The company generated $367m from sales of Zepatier, compared to $50m y/y. Analysts had typically been expecting the drug to generate revenues of $269m. MERCK's vaccine for HPV, known as Gardasil, also performed better than analysts were expecting, generating $532m in sales versus expectations of $361m and last year's figure of $378m. MERCK posted adjusted EPS of 88cps on revenues of $9.4bn for the quarter, beating forecasts for adjusted EPS of 83cps on sales of $9.25bn. The group also raised its outlook on FY revenue to between $39.1bn-$40.3bn, up from its previous forecast of $36.6bn-$40.1bn. FY GAAP EPS are now expected to come in at between $2.51-$2.63/share, compared to the $2.47-$2.62 range it was forecasting jut three months ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent to open first US-based AI lab - Yuan Yang

TENCENT is joining the influx of Chinese tech companies hunting for American talent by opening its first US-based artificial intelligence research laboratory in Seattle. The Seattle AI Lab will be led by DONG YU, who was recently poached from his role as a principal researcher at MICROSOFT. "We hope that AI Lab will become more than a laboratory, but a connector... bringing together the world's leading experts in the field", said ZHANG TONG, the executive director of TENCENT's main AI Lab, which is based in Shenzhen. The new lab will focus on speech recognition - YU's area of expertise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Public holidays impacted new vehicle sales - Fin24

New vehicle sales in all segments, with the exception of medium commercial vehicles, had deteriorated sharply last month, registering double-digit declines, NAAMSA said yesterday. The lower sales could, in large part, be attributed to the proliferation and configuration of public holidays during the month. In 2017, the Easter holidays fell during the month of Apr., while in 2016 they fell in Mar. The multiplicity of public holidays also impacted new vehicle exports, which reflected a sharp y/y decline. Apr. 2017 aggregate new vehicle sales at 34 956 units had decreased by 5 392 units (13.4%) from t he 40 348 vehicles sold y/y. Export sales at 24 449 had registered a fall of 25.5% compared to the 32 832 units exported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PMI declines sharply in April - Fin24

The seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI fell to 44.7 in April from an average of 51.9 in Q1 2017. The decline was relatively broad-based, with key subcomponents measuring business activity and inventories slumping to multi-year lows. The new sales orders index fell sharply in Apr., pulling along business activity. The 8.3-point fall in orders was likely driven by the expectation of weaker demand from local consumers. The inventories index also moved lower in Apr., dropping to the lowest level since 2009. The index measuring expected business conditions in six months' time fell to 55.8 in Apr. from 68 in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU worries over growth hormones in SA chickens - Liesl Peyper

The EU is concerned about SA's ability to deal with exposure to prohibited medicines and growth hormones with regard to its poultry and other commodities. Briefing the portfolio committee on trade and industry, EU counsellor DESSISLAVA CHOUMELOVA said there are serious concerns about SA's ability to conduct strict sanitary controls. The understaffing at state veterinarians and challenges at SA's laboratories were cited in residue and public health audits conducted in Feb. this year as reasons for health and safety concerns. "We (the EU) need to be convinced and sure of South Africa's ability to deal with exposure to prohibited medicine and growth hormones", CHOUMELOVA said. "Not only for poultry but for all commodities". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Servest set to double staff complement - Joseph Booysen

SERVEST is confident it can double its workforce of 4 500 in Cape Town within the next three years, CEO STEVE WALLBANKS said yesterday at the launch of the firm's new head office in Ndabeni, Cape Town. SERVEST chose to open its new offices in Ndabeni as part of the Pinelands Development corridor and believes the new development will assist in making the area safer and stimulate local economic development by creating jobs. WALLBANKS said the company was looking into expanding into Europe and the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN suffers drop in subscriber numbers - Robert Laing

MTN suffered a 1.5% drop in its total subscriber numbers to 237m in Q1 2017, from 240m q/q. The group's South African subscriber base fell 1.7% to 30.2m in the quarter, from 30.8m q/q, with prepaid subscribers falling 2% to 25m and postpaid subscribers falling 0.5% to 5m. "While subscribers declined in the quarter as a result of traditional seasonality, we remain committed to our net additions guidance of 630 000", CEO ROB SHUTER said. MTN's average revenue per user from its South African subscribers fell 1.8% to R90.88 a month in Q1 q/q, but was 9.4% higher y/y. The average monthly revenue from prepaid users fell 8.65% to R70.83 over the period, while postpaid ARPU fell 9% to R149.58. MTN's sharpest drop was in Ghana, where subscriber numbers fell 13% to 17m over the quarter. This was impacted by the review of subscriber definitions resulting in the disconnection of 3.4m subscribers. After adjusting for these, net additions in the quarter were 893 000, MTN said. Nigeria suffered a 2.3% drop in subscr

SARB sees high risk of more ratings downgrades - Renee Bonorchis

SA faces an elevated risk and probability of further credit ratings downgrades, which may weaken the rand and lead to higher borrowing costs, the SARB said. Having been cut to junk by both S&P and FITCH this year, SA may suffer more of the same as a result of weak growth, political uncertainty, liabilities linked to struggling SOEs and slow progress in structural reforms, the SARB said in its Financial Stability Review, published yesterday. Representatives from MOODY's plan to visit the country in coming weeks to review its ratings. A further deterioration in the ratings may lead to capital outflows, cause funding costs to increase and reduce credit available for businesses, the SARB said. The severity will depend on the extent to which further downgrades are already priced in, it noted. "Further downgrades on the local currency rating could trigger high levels of selling off of bonds by foreign investors, which could also result in marked currency depreciation", the SARB said. It added that SA was excl

Octodec posts strong H1 growth - Megan van Wyngaardt

OCTODEC achieved distribution growth of 6.5% y/y to 104.8cps for the HY to end-Feb., despite low domestic economic growth. FD ANTHONY STEIN said the distribution growth was underpinned by the REIT managing to increase its like-for-like rental income by 5.5%, with its rental income from offices showing the strongest growth of 8.2%. Vacancies in the portfolio stood at 16.8% of gross lettable area. However, with the group having 101 178m² of mothballed office space under development, its core vacancies are 10.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA may appeal court ruling on Russia nuclear pact - Reuters

The government may appeal last week's court judgment declaring the cooperation pact with ROSATOM unlawful, Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI said yesterday. SA and Russia inked an Intergovernmental Agreement in 2014 for cooperation between ROSATOM and ESKOM. The pact drew criticism from civil society and environmental groups which accused Pretoria of seeking to reach secret deals with Russia without holding an open bidding process. Last week the High Court deemed the pact unlawful and said any actions taken by the government so far to start procurement should be set aside. "Do we have to appeal the judgment? We are looking at those options", KUBAYI told Parliament's energy committee. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to exploit solar resources - ANA

Nigeria is poised to capitalise on its tremendous solar energy potential by scaling up the deployment of off-grid generation and minigrid systems. This will ultimately increase access to electricity to millions more. The US Trade and Development Agency has made that possible with a grant awarded to Nigerian companY COMMUNITY SOCIAL ENTERPRISES LIMITED for a feasibility study supporting the roll-out of 25 solar photovoltaic microgrids. Together, the microgrids will produce in excess of 5MW. The feasibility study will focus on providing solar energy for rural and peri-urban communities that generally lack reliable access to electricity. CESEL selected US companY RENEWVIA ENERGY CORPORATION to conduct the feasibility study. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell loses bid to have liquidation hearings brought forward - Natasha Odendaal

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS' move to file for business rescue to ensure any liquidation order is automatically stayed has inadvertently removed the "urgency" it sought to establish by bringing forward the hearing date for the interim liquidation order against three of its subsidiaries. Following the Mar. 23 interim liquidation order against subsidiaries ROCKWELL RESOURCES RSA, HC VAN WYK DIAMONDS and SAXENDRIFT MINE LIMITED owing to an application launched by C-ROCK MINING, ROCKWELL approached the Kimberley High Court to have the Jun. 22 liquidation hearing date brought forward to "as early as possible" to have the merits of the company's liquidation application rebuttals adjudicated. With the upcoming business rescue hearings, scheduled for May 12, the powers of the provisional liquidators and the liquidation process have been suspended, allowing the subsidiaries to "carry on business". Judge CC WILLIAMS subsequently determined that "urgency was no longer a consideration" and maintained the hearing date for Jun. 22

Kinross lifts Q1 earnings as metal prices rise - Henry Lazenby

KINROSS GOLD has posted slightly better Q1 headline earnings as metals prices improved. Adjusted net earnings attributable to shareholders were $23.4m, compared with $21.2m y/y. During the quarter to end-Mar., net earnings amounted to $134.6m compared with $35m y/y. The change was mainly attributed to an increase in operating earnings, and the reversal of a previous impairment charge booked on the Cerro Casale project in Chile. Revenue for the period rose to $796.1m, based on total gold equivalent sold of 652 516oz, compared with revenue of $782.6m on sales of 664 165oz of gold equivalent during Q1 2016. Attributable output fell 2% y/y to 671 956oz of gold equivalent. KINROSS confirmed its FY guidance at 2.5m-2.7m gold equivalent ounces. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

K+S officially opens Saskatchewan mine - Henry Lazenby

Germany's K+S POTASH CANADA has opened its $4.6bn new Legacy potash mine in Saskatchewan, marking the handover of the mine to the operations team. The company said the five-year construction phase was successfully completed and the first tonne of marketable potash was expected to be produced in June. The mine, which ran under the project name Legacy, also received its new name Bethune, K+S said, continuing the Saskatchewan potash mining tradition of naming its facility after the closest neighbouring town. The project was the single largest project in the company's history and will create about 400 permanent jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMCU decries govt failures, calls for SA First approach - Ilan Solomons

The ANC-led government has failed to deliver meaningful economic empowerment for the working class majority and has instead given away SA's strategic interests and resources to monopoly capitalists, AMCU president JOSEPH MATHUNJWA said during a May Day celebration on Monday. MATHUNJWA said Workers Day was a painful reminder of the challenges workers worldwide faced, such as having to work for "slave wages and in dangerous conditions" to ensure companies made maximum profits at the expense of workers' health and safety. "Government should embrace US President DONALD TRUMP's mantra of putting 'America First' and renegotiate all trade and investment deals to ensure South Africa receives maximum benefit in all spheres of trade and industry." MATHUNJWA also called on AMCU members to boycott any goods made in China and instead only buy those that were locally produced. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Minergy lists on Botswana bourse - Megan an Wyngaardt

Coal and energy companY MINERGY listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange last week, following the raising of 72m pula via a private placement. The shares were listed to raise development funding for the company's wholly-owned subsidiary, MINERGY COAL, which owns the Masama coal resource in Botswana. MINERGY plans to build an opencast coal mine with the potential to produce 2.4mt/year of high-quality coal for the regional market, and possibly also the export market, within 16-18 months of the BSE listing. The company has further plans to list on the JSE in the latter half of 2017 or early 2018. MINERGY CEO ANDRE BOJE said an investment in the company offers shareholders an opportunity to invest in an anticipated cash generative coal mining operation, which presents a platform for further growth and creation of shareholder value. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia Coal's SA project proves promising - Esmarie Swanepoel

Australian junior ACACIA COAL has completed a prefeasibility study for the Riversdale anthracite colliery in SA, and estimates the project will require a capital investment of A$24m. The project is expected to produce 438 000t/y of low impurity anthracite coal and will generate free operating cash flow of A$14.5m over an eight-year mine life. The project is expected to have a net present value of A$73m and an internal rate of return of 53% with the capital pay-back period estimated at just under three years. ACACIA MD HUGH CALLAGHAN said the project "is ideally placed to capitalise on the strong supply-demand fundamentals in the South African premium metallurgical coal market". ACACIA will now submit an integrated water use licence application, and based on talks to date, expects to receive its final outstanding regulatory approval by mid-2018. A feasibility study into the project will start in July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa expects hike in interim earnings - Natasha Odendaal

The recovery in commodity prices during the HY to end-Mar. is expected to bolster the H1 earnings of THARISA. The company expects to post basic EPS and HEPS for the HY under review of 15c-17c when it publishes its financial results on May 16. This compared favourably to the EPS and HEPS of 1cps reported y/y. The company's production guidance for the FY to end-Sep. remains at 1.47moz of contained PGMS and 1.3mt of chrome concentrates, of which 300 000t will be specialty-grade chrome concentrates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 invests in Canada-based explorer - Esmarie Swanepoel

SOUTH32 has taken a C$110.3m share placement in ARIZONA MINING, which is hunting for zinc in the US. SOUTH32 will subscribe for 45m shares in ARIZONA MINING, priced at C$2.45/share, which ARIZONA said represented around 15% of its outstanding shares on a non-diluted basis. SOUTH32 will have the right to nominate a director to the ARIZONA MINING board. ARIZONA CEO JIM GOWANS said the investment represented an endorsement of the Taylor zinc/lead/silver deposit, and recognised the deposit's growing world-class stature and additional prospectivity. Prefeasibility studies at the Hermosa-Taylor project show it will have a net present value of around $1.26bn and an after-tax internal rate of return of 42%. The project currently has an 8.6mt measured resource, grading 4.2% zinc, 4% lead and 1.6 opt silver, as well as 63.8mt of indicated resource and 38.6mt of inferred resource. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN sacks Nigerian workers - Dineo Faku

MTN has laid off 280 workers in its Nigerian units, according to media reports. The company sacked around 15% of its Nigerian workforce last week, Nigeria's Vanguard reported, citing a source. The report stated that the retrenchments were necessary because of the changing dynamics of the telecoms industry in recent times. It said MTN had introduced a Voluntary Severance Scheme, urging workers to apply for the scheme. A source said only 200 workers applied for the VSS, while 80 were given compulsory disengagement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal Partners spends £15m on dental business - Siobhan Cassidy

UNIVERSAL PARTNERS yesterday said it had agreed to invest £15m to sink its teeth into DENTEX HEALTHCARE GROUP in the UK. The investment holding company said an initial 4m would secure a 36% stake in DENTEX, a dental partnership group. An additional £11m in convertible loan notes would enable UNIVERSAL PARTNERS to increase its shareholding to up to 49%. UNIVERSAL said the investment was in line with its primary objective of achieving strong capital appreciation in pounds sterling over the medium to long term through investing in high quality growth businesses across Europe, with a particular focus on the UK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hummingbird subsidiary set to open Mali gold mine this year - Tiemoko Diallo

A subsidiary of HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES is on course to start production at an $88m open-cast gold mine in Mali this year. The Komana mine south of the capital Bamako is operated by the SOCIETE DES MINES DE KOMANA, and has proven reserves of 700 000oz, or around 20t in its mine plan at an all-in production cost of $695/oz. Komana is an important project for HUMMINGBIRD, a small miner that founded the Dugbe project in Liberia but decided against developing it because of low gold prices in 2013. HUMMINGBIRD owns 80% of the company while the rest is held by the Malian state. Debt finance for the project was agreed last month with CORIS BANK INTERNATIONAL, which is based in Burkina Faso. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC output falls in Apr. but compliance weaker - Alex Lawler

OPEC oil output fell for a fourth consecutive month in Apr., a Reuters survey showed yesterday as Saudi Arabia kept production below its target while maintenance and unrest cut output in exempt nations Nigeria and Libya. But more crude from Angola and higher UAE output than originally thought helped OPEC compliance with its production-cutting deal slip to 90% from a revised 92% in Mar. The cartel pledged to cut output by around 1.2m bpd for six months from Jan. 1. Non-OPEC members are cutting about half as much. Compliance of 90% is still higher than OPEC achieved in its last cut in 2009 This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FSB probes trades around Gordhan recall - Nqobile Dludla

SA's Financial Services Board is probing certain trades made in the hours before former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN was recalled from an investor roadshow and then dismissed, it said yesterday. The JSE last month said it was investigating trades involving currency futures and would forward its findings to the regulator once they were finalised. "The investigation is on-going", SOLLY KEETSE, head of market abuse at the FSB said, adding that the Board would make its findings known in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Probe finds SA oil reserves sold, not rotated - Wendell Roelf

An investigation has found that 10m barrels of South African crude oil reserves sold at the end of 2015 was a straight sale and not part of stock rotation, as previously stated, Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI said yesterday. The Strategic Fuel Fund is being probed after the Auditor-General last year said it had sold strategic reserves without the approval of the Treasury. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria working to replace list of import items not eligible for forex allocation - Felix Onuah

Nigeria is working to replace a controversial list of 41 import items for which local companies cannot get hard currency from the central bank, VP YEMI OSINBAJO said yesterday. Instead, the country planned "more trade policy-driven restrictions taking into account those items that are required and locally unavailable raw materials", OSINBAJO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 03/05/2017

At 07h40 on 03 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.36 ZAR/EUR 14.49 ZAR/GBP 17.26 Gold 1255.60 Platinum 925.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.13 All Share 53915.64

Old Mutual Wealth ditches IT supplier after delays, cost overruns - Oliver Ralph

OLD MUTUAL WEALTH has ditched its IT supplier after problems mounted with a planned tech upgrade. The company has suffered a string of cost overruns and delays on the project. Last Oct., it said the upgrade would cost £450m. But in a statement today the company warned that sticking with the original supplier, IFDS, would have led to "materially greater" costs. It has subsequently terminated its contract with IFDS and has instead signed a deal with FNZ, which should put the new system into operation by early 2019. Costs may rise slightly from the £450m flagged last year. OMW has already spent £330m on the scheme, and the NFZ deal will cost a further £120m-£160m. "Given the cost, effort and time already invested in the programme, we have not taken these decisions lightly", OMW CEO PAUL FEENEY said. "We have made tough decisions today but we believe they are the right decisions for our customers, their advisers, our business and our shareholders". This news brief represents a summary of the ori

Moody's downgrades StanChart - Peter Wells

STANDARD CHARTERED has had its credit rating downgraded by MOODY's to reflect expectations for lower profitability following the bank's efforts to de-risk its balance sheet alongside a materially tougher revenue outlook. MOODY's cut the bank's long-term deposits and senior unsecured debt rating by one notch to A1 from Aa3. It said the downgrade reflects expectations that profitability "will be structurally lower following management efforts to de-risk SCB's balance sheet". STANCHART's management has targeted an ROE of 8%-10% over the medium-term, which is below the average for rival banks operating in the lender's key markets of China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE. MOODY's also said STANCHART faced challenges in materially boosting revenues in its wholesale banking business, while operating at a lower level of risk tolerance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone manufacturing growth at 6-yr high - Nicholas Megaw

The recovery across the eurozone's manufacturing sector continued in Apr. The final reading of IHS MARKIT's manufacturing PMI gave a reading of 56.7, slightly below the flash reading of 56.8 but strongly above the previous month's 56.2. The bloc's three largest economies helped to drive the growth, with France, Germany and Italy all at or near six-year highs. Greek manufacturers reported their eighth successive month of falling output, with the country's sub-index falling to 46.7 as exports declined. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AZ wins FDA approval for key cancer drug - Nicholas Megaw

ASTRAZENECA has received its first US FDA approval for a new cancer treatment that the company hopes will be a "cornerstone" of its new immuno-oncology portfolio. The FDA granted accelerated approval to the company's Durvalumab drug, under brand name Imfinzi, for use with previously treated patients with advanced bladder cancer. The announcement is the first approval for Durvalumab, which is also being developed for use on other tumour types including lung cancer and head and neck cancer. "Imfinzi is the cornerstone of our extensive Immuno-Oncology programme, in development across many tumour types, as monotherapy and in combination. This first approval for Imfinzi is an important milestone in our return to growth and brings us another step closer to our goal of redefining the way cancer is treated", AZ CEO PASCAL SORIOT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Higher oil prices help BP beat Q1 forecasts - Andrew Ward

BP almost tripled its profits in Q1 2017 as it benefited from higher oil prices to deliver better-than-expected quarterly results. Profits on an underlying replacement cost basis were $1.5bn, up from $532m in Q1 2016 and higher than the $1.26bn consensus forecast by analysts. BP's operating cash flow increased to $4.4bn, excluding expenses related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from $3bn y/y. This helped the company keep its dividend steady at 10cps despite a series of recent acquisitions to replenish its oil and gas reserves. Production rose 5% in the quarter to 3.5m bpd as BP began to benefit from t he first of several new projects due to come on stream in coming months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece agrees deal with creditors on bailout reforms - Kerin Hope

Greece has wrapped up a deal with creditors on details of reforms that must be enacted before the country can receive the next disbursement from its €86bn bailout programme. The deal was completed during intensive talks over the past week after months of wrangling between Greek finance ministry officials and bailout monitors from the EU and the IMF. Differences over the size of cuts to be applied in 2019 on pensions already reduced by over 40% since 2011 held up an agreement, according to sources. A further pension reduction was agreed at 18%. Greece's parliament must now approve the reforms, opening the way for the eurogroup of finance ministers to sign off on the agreement at a meeting on May 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBA holds rates - Peter Wells

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept interest rates steady, with its slightly more upbeat stance on the domestic labour market helping send the Australian dollar higher. The RBA held rates steady at a record low 1.5%, as expected by economists. The central bank expected the "unemployment rate to decline gradually over time", but wage growth was likely to remain slow "for a while yet'. While it continues to wrangle the domestic housing market, recent data showed annual headline inflation rose in the Mar. quarter to within its 2%-3% target range for the first time since 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China manufacturing growth falls to slowest pace in seven months - Hudson Lockett

An independent survey of China's manufacturing sector shows business activity grew at the slowest pace since Sep. 2016 as sluggish demand dragged on production, putting the country's factories on uncertain footing at the start of Q2. The CAIXIN/MARKIT manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.3 in Apr., from 51.2 in Mar. Growth in new export orders fell to a marginal level thanks to contraction in demand for capital goods. The sub-index for employment marked its 42nd consecutive month of contraction, with the pace of jobs shedding accelerating to the fastest pace since Jan. The CAIXIN gauge came in markedly below the Apr. reading of 51.2 from the official PMI produced by the National Bureau of Statistics. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMD shares take a spill after chipmaker's revenues miss forecasts - Mamta Badkar

Shares in US chipmaker AMD took a hit in extended trading yesterday after the company said sales in Q1 rose less than analysts had forecast. Shares in the company fell more than 8% after the bell after saying net revenues rose 18% y/y to $984m, just shy of analysts' forecasts of $984.5m. Revenues were down 11% sequentially, which the company attributed to seasonality in its computing and graphics segment and its enterprise unit. AMD noted that its quarterly loss narrowed to $73m or 8cps in the quarter ended Apr. 1, compared with a loss of $108m or 14cps y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, a loss of 4cps was in line with estimates. Looking ahead, AMD expects revenues to rise around 17% sequentially in the current quarter and a low double digit percentage growth for the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US manufacturing grew at slowest pace this year in Apr. - Pan Kwan Yuk

US manufacturing grew at its slowest pace this year in Apr. in the latest sign that the sharp slowdown seen in consumer spending could have a knock-on effect on the wider economy. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index came in at 54.8 in Apr., below the 57.2 recorded in Mar. and far weaker than the 56.5 the market had forecast. Meanwhile, the IHS MARKIT US manufacturing PMI was 56.5 in Apr., unchanged m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 02/05/2017

At 11h29 on 02 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.31 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 17.15 Gold 1255.39 Platinum 934.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.82 All Share 53901.78

Tencent poised to launch VR headset - Tim Bradshaw

TENCENT is preparing to launch its long-awaited virtual reality headset later this year, according to sources. An internal research team at the company has been developing both PC-based VR systems and mobile headsets. Whichever headset it decides to launch, TENCENT is planning a release in H2 2017, according to sources. The company first signalled its interest in VR in 2015, when it launched its android-powered MiniStation gaming system, which it said would be compatible with a future VR headset. A sign-up page for developers interested in creating games for the platform suggested TENCENT planned to create a one-stop shop for VR, using its WeChat and QQ services for social networking. Last year, TENCENT's INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP teamed up with QUALCOMM on a joint innovation centre, focused on developing new VR and augmented reality games for Chinese players. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chevron swings to profit on higher oil prices - Ed Crooks

CHEVRON swung back into profit and exceeded analysts' forecasts with earnings for Q1, buoyed by higher oil and gas prices. EPS were $1.41 for the quarter, compared to a loss of 39cps y/y. Net income of $2.7bn included a $600m gain from selling CHEVRON's geo-thermal energy business in Indonesia, but even excluding that earnings were higher than analysts' average forecasts for 86cps. CEO JOHN WATSON said the company benefited from rising crude oil prices and ongoing efficiencies being implemented across the group. In Q1, cash from operations was $3.9bn and capital and exploration spending $4.4bn, compared to cash from operations of just $1.1bn and capital and exploration spending of $6.5nbn y/y. Production rose slightly to 2.68m boe/day for Q1, up from 2.67m boe/day y/y. However, CHEVRON said it was still on course to meet its target for the FY of 4%-9% growth in output, excluding the impact of asset sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxon earnings boosted by crude price rebound - Ed Crooks

EXXONMOBIL on Friday reported EPS for Q1 2017 that were more than double their level y/y, thanks mainly to a rebound in oil and gas prices. EPS were 95cps in Q1, up from 43cps y/y and above analysts' forecasts of 86cps. Revenues were below expectations at $63.3bn, up 35% y/y. CEO DARREN WOODS said the results "reflect an increase in commodity prices and highlight our continued focus on controlling costs and operating efficiently". The biggest swing in earnings came from oil and gas output outside the US, where profits were $2.3bn, up from $0.8bn y/y. Profits from refining and chemicals were up 1% at $2.3bn, with an improvement in refining offset by a downturn in chemicals. Cash from operations came in at $8.2bn, with another $0.7bm coming from asset sales, enabling the company to cover both its capital and exploration spending of $4.2bn and its dividend payments of $3.1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US economy grew 0.7% in Q1 - Adam Samson

US economic growth slowed in Q1 2017 to the lowest rate since 2014. The economy expanded by an annualised rate of 0.7% in Q1, from 2.1% q/q, according to figures published by the Commerce Department on Friday. Analysts had forecast a pace of 1%. Growth in consumption tumbled to a 0.3% rate, from 3.5% in Q4 2016. It was the weakest reading since 2009. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GM earnings beat forecasts - Patti Waldmeir

GENERAL MOTORS beat market forecasts by announcing much stronger than expected Q1 earnings on the back of higher earnings in the US market. The carmaker posted adjusted EPS of $1.70, up 35% y/y and above analysts' forecasts of $1.47/share. North American revenue rose 10.7% y/y to $29.3bn and North American EBIT-adjusted earnings were up 48.8% to $3.4bn. GM CFO CHUCK STEVENS said earnings "continue to be led by strength in North America and China". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russian c.bank cuts rates to 9.25% - Max Seddon

Russia's central bank cut its key interest rate by 0.5% to 9.25% on Friday, citing the country's continued emergence from a two-year recession. The central bank said inflation - currently at 4.3% - remained on track to hit its target of 4% by year-end, allowing for further gradual cuts in rates over the course of the year. Industrial production and real income growth would allow consumer activity to grow without affecting inflation, the central bank added. The bank said it would retain its "moderately tight" monetary policy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Race for China's mobile payment market hots up - Louise Lucas

China's $5.5tn mobile payments sector is being shaken up by one-time underdog TENCENT, which is snatching market share from rival ALIBABA. ALIPAY, which ALIBABA launched in 2004, has long dominated China's mobile payments, but its share of the market had fallen to nearly hald by the end of 2016, while TENCENt's rose to more than a third. TENCENT entered the arena a decade after ALIBABA and for a year or two staged an expensive battle to attract users. Industry experts attribute TENCENT's rise to the pervasive use of WECHAT and merchants' desire to avoid relying on one provider. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Secunda strike hits Sasol - Robert Laing

SASOL revised its forecast synfuel sales for its FY to end-Jun. down to 60m barrels from 61m barrels in a production update this morning. This was mainly due to a strike at the company's Secunda colliery, which contributed to a 4.5% drop in "white product" liquid fuel sales to 42.5m barrels in the nine months to end-Mar. SASOL's "black product" bitumen sales remained level at 1.8m barrels. Secunda coal mine's saleable production fell 11.7% to 26.3mt compared with the same nine months y/y. "We are continuing to focus our efforts on restoring coal stockpile levels through our own production, increased external purchases and improving labour productivity to ensure continuous supply to Secunda Synfuels Operations", SASOL said. The drop in synfuel sales was also due to shutdowns at its Natref fuel refinery. Crude oil processed by Natref fell 2% to 15.6m barrels and its fuel yield fell to 89.5%, from 91% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sovereign Food expects FY loss - Sens

SOVEREIGN FOOD INVESTMENTS LIMITED this morning advised shareholders that the company expects to report an LPS and HLPS of 42-54 cents per share for the FY to end-Feb., compared with EPS of 108.3cps and HEPS of 108.4cps reported y/y. Included in the results are once-off costs incurred as a result of the ongoing hostile defence actions that have been expensed by the company which accounted for a charge of 41.2cps. Results will be published on May 12. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand in for rough ride as political pressures intensify - Fin24

Currency traders are in for a rough ride this week as political pressures intensify both locally and internationally. UMKHULU CONSULTING's ADAM PHILLIPS noted the upcoming French and British elections, as well as the internal fighting in the ANC as factors that could influence the local currency in May. "We did see an orderly move in the ZAR down to 13.22 on Friday, but despite month end and a thin market due to the Thursday holiday it did not stay down there for long". PHILLIPS warned that investors will be nervous of politicians' statements, possible physical violence and negative moves in the bond market. Having touched R13.43/$ in New York on Monday night, the rand was back at R13.35/$ early this morning. "Given the majors it should be nearer to 13.20, but nobody wants to transact down there at the moment. I expect 13.40 to be tested again and beyond today", PHILLIPS added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA, ANC in crisis, warns Mathews Phosa - Matthew Hill, Bloomberg

MATHEWS PHOSA, who last week accepted a nomination to stand as president, said the ANC and SA is in a crisis. PHOSA will challenge Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA and NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA, who are seen as the frontrunners to succeed President JACOB ZUMA as the party's leader at a conference in Dec. "I think my movement is in a crisis, my country is in a crisis", PHOSA said on Sunday. The former ANC treasurer general was nominated by the ANC ward in Cape Town to contest the ANC leadership in Dec. Following his endorsement, PHOSA said the ruling party would be "very lucky" to receive 49% of the vote in the 2019 polls. "We should start preparing for coalition politics, there's nothing wrong with that, it is a democracy maturing", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Relief as Zuma signs FICA bill into law - Fin24

The Banking Association of SA breathed a sign of relief after President JACOB ZUMA signed the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment bill into law last week. Pressure was mounting on SA to enact the bill with the Financial Action Task Force giving the country until June to enact the legislation. "The President is now satisfied that the Act addresses the constitutional concerns he had raised about warrantless searches", the Presidency's Dr BONGANI NGQULUNGA said on Saturday. BASA MD CAS COOVADIA said it was a "pity we reached a stage where FATF had to warn us we would be delinquent if we had not signed by June". DA MP DAVID MAYNIER warned there could still be significant delays in implementing the legislation because it only actually commences on a date to be determined by Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA and published in the Government Gazette. "The minister will no doubt be under political pressure to delay the implementation of the legislation to protect his political master's most important clients, th

Standard Bank: We are innocent - Dewald van Rensburg, City Press

Internal inquiries found no proof that a currency trader employed by STANDARD BANK did participate in the alleged forex price-fixing cartel comprising 18 banks, the bank said last week. The lender has made an urgent application to the Competition Tribunal to compel the Competition Commission to produce its record of evidence against the banks, or at least against STANDARD BANK. This follows an internal request for details of the evidence against it. Without this information, STANDARD BANK claims it cannot engage or cooperate with investigators, with the intention of securing leniency when fines get handed out. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual divests from Indian life insurance business - Lameez Omarjee

OLD MUTUAL intends to sell its 26% stake in its life insurance JV in India. The company made the announcement to divest from the JV with KOTAK MAHINDRA BANK LIMITED on Friday. The gross cash consideration of the deal is £156m, while the net cash consideration comes to £141m. The deal is subject to Indian regulatory approvals. It is expected to be complete in H2 2017. OLD MUTUAL intends to use the proceeds from t he deal for general corporate purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's trade balance records R11.4bn surplus in Mar. - Reuters

SA's trade surplus grew sharply in Mar. as commodity exports jumped on the back of strong global demand. Data from SARS on Friday showed the trade account rose to an R11.44bn surplus from a nearly R5bn surplus in Feb., with exports up 16%. Imports rose by 8.9%. Sales of precious metals rose 33% in the month, followed by a 27% rise in machinery exports and a 19% increase in vehicle sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Volvo Trucks invest in fitment of satefy features at Durban plant - Irma Venter

VOLVO TRUCKS SA has invested R6.5m into its semi-knockdown manufacturing plant in Durban. The investment will allow the facility to install and calibrate selected safety features that were previously not available in the local market. The features that form part of the VOLVO Active Safety Package that is now available to the local market, will be available as optional extras on most VOLVO TRUCK range models fitted with an electronic brake system, electronic stability control and disc brakes. The safety package consists of a number of features. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Armyworm marches on, UN says Angola now hit - Reuters

The fall armyworm has spread to Angola as the caterpillar eats its way through Southern Africa, UN officials said last week. With Angola the latest country affected, only Lesotho and island nations in the region have escaped the pest, officials said. Its spread has undermined hopes for a better harvest this year. MAMOUDOU DIALLO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's representative in Angola, said the pest had been detected by a joint government and FAO mission in the south of the country. He did not reveal the extent of the infestation and told Thomson Reuters by phone that a report was due in the coming days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agrium swings to Q1 loss on higher costs, lower phosphate prices - Henry Lazenby

Higher natural gas prices and lower phosphate prices have driven AGRIUm to a smaller-than-expected Q1 loss. The company reported a net loss of $11m, or $0.08/share, compared with net earnings of $2m or $0.02/share y/y. Removing special items, AGRIUM posted an after-tax adjusted net loss of $4m, or $0.03/share, beating average analyst forecasts for an adjusted loss of $0.07/share. The company sold 636 000t of potash during the quarter to end-Mar., at an average of $208/t, compared with 456 000t at $199/t y/y. Revenues were down slightly to $2.72bn, missing analyst expectations for $2.77bn. The company said earnings were hit in part by phosphate prices, which fell to $466/t in the quarter, compared with $589/t y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Save SA-Moz money transfers soon - Kabelo Khumalo

Mozambican nationals living in SA will soon be able to send money home securely after STANDARD BANK on Friday announced it had entered into a partnership with MUKURU to facilitate money transfers between the two nations. STANDARD BANK Mozambique head of personal and business banking, VICTOR JARDIM, said the initiative would help the nearly 800 000 Mozambicans residing in SA as they would be able to securely transfer funds to their families. MUKURU is an SA-based company specialising in money transfer services. Amounts transferred from MUKURU in SA can be credited to current accounts at STANDARD BANK in Mozambique or collected at no cost from a branch of the bank. The fee for a transfer is a fixed rate of 10%, which is lower than the average of 16.3% on money transfers between SA and Mozambique. MUKURU said people who wanted to make a transfer needed to register with a valid identity document. To collect money at STANDARD BANK, recipients need to take their ID or passport and have the confirmation SMS fr

South32 in strategic deal - Sandile Mchunu

SOUTH32 has entered into a strategic alliance in a bid to identify new opportunities through the drill bit. CEO GRAHAM KERR said the company had achieved the right balance of strength and flexibility with the announcement of a $500m capital management programme and subsequently commenced an on-market share buy-back in Apr. Consistent with the company's strategy, it has also entered into a strategic alliance with AUSQUEST. "Under this agreement, we will pursue five early stage base metal opportunities in Australia and Peru. We have also entered into an option agreement with TRILOGY covering the more advanced Upper Kobuk Mineral projects in Alaska and will initially test the extent of their high grade Bornite copper resource", KERR said. Shares in SOUTH32 closed up 1.63% at R28.02 on the JSE on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott to court BHP's Aussie shareholders on overhaul - Reuters

ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT will meet with BHP BILLITON's Australian shareholders this week as the activist investor pushes for strategic changes at the miner, sources said yesterday. The sources said ELLIOTT was seeking feedback from other investors about its proposed overhaul of BHP. The fund recently demanded BHP spin off its US oil assets, ditch a corporate structure built on dual listings in London and Sydney and hand back more money to shareholders. BHP swiftly rejected the approach, saying the costs of the changes would outweigh the benefits. But ELLIOTT could be gaining some traction, according to sources. Analysts said the fund will likely push its case for a revamp of BHP's US oil business, after BHP on Apr. 26 said it was progressing the sale of onshore US petroleum interests at two key fields. BHP said the plan had been in the works prior to ELLIOTT going public with its proposals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore warns on copper future in Qld - Esmarie Swanepoel

GLENCORE has warned that the future of its copper processing operations in Queensland would be under threat if electricity prices continued to rise. Australian copper COO MIKE WESTERMAN said future investment in energy intensive operations in the state could also be under threat. "Australia is blessed with abundant natural resources and some state governments' decision to lock up strategic gas reserves makes no sense", WESTERMAN said. The Australian government recently put gas export controls in place to ensure sufficient domestic supply. Under the new policy, if an exporter is not a net contributor to the domestic market, they will be required to outline how they will fund the shortfall of domestic gas as part of their overall production and exports. The regulation, which will be effective from Jul. 1, will only be applicable to the east coast of Australia. WESTERMAN said GLENCORE was of the belief that reliable, low-cost baseload energy for households and industry should be the cornerstone of Australi

First Quantum swings to Q1 loss - Henry Lazenby

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS has swung to an adjusted loss of $29m during Q1 to end-Mar., as no tax credit was recognised regarding losses realised under a sales hedge programme. The company posted a net loss from continuing operations attributable to investors of $114m, compared with earnings of $49m y/y. The copper sales hedging programme reduced sales revenues for the quarter by $128m and decreased the net realised copper price by $0.42/lb, the company said. As at Mar. 31, FIRST QUANTUM had unsettled and unmargined sales hedges for 402 000t of copper, with maturities to Feb. 2018 at an average price of $2.29/lb. Further to the above unmargined sales hedges, the company had zero cost collar unmargined sales hedges for 16 000t at the price range of $2.62/lb to $2.83/lb, with maturities from Jul. 2017 to Feb. 2018. Cash flows from continuing operating activities fell y/y to $239m in the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DiamondCorp to appoint administrators - Creamer Media Reporter

DIAMONDCORP has filed notice of its intention to appoint STEPHEN CORK and JO MILNER of CORK GULLY as joint administrators after the board determined that the company is no longer able to continue trading as a going concern. DIAMONDCORP on Friday said the board has sought to explore all options available to it in relation to the ongoing business rescue process for its Lace Diamond Mines operating subsidiary, as well as to the solvency of the company and all subsidiaries. Although progress had been made in terms of formal agreements and nonbinding agreements with a number of the company's creditors, an agreement could not be reached with South African bondholders. Insufficient progress had also been made in relation to the significant restructuring of debt and securing additional equity funding to allow for LDM's successful exit from business rescue. In addition, protracted talks with trade union AMCU had "obstructed the vital care and maintenance and remediation programme" at Lace, resulting in all employe

Resgen makes first drawdown from extended facility agreement - Anine Kilian

RESOURCE GENERATION has made the first drawdown of $2.4m under an extended $8.4m facility agreement. The company in Mar. reported it had obtained the $8.4m extension to a Mar. 2014 facility agreement with NOBLE RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL, with the additional funds available to RESGEN subsidiary LEDJADJA COAL in three tranches to Sep. 30. The money is being used to fund the operations and development of the Boikarabelo mine. Stage 1 of Boikarabelo is expected to produce 6mt/y of coal. Parallel to advancing the development of the mine, RESGEN has continued to work on establishing an independent power producer to produce electricity from coal supplied from Boikarabelo. It expects to submit a proposal to the Department of Energy when the next submission window for the coal-based IPP procurement programme opens towards the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoAL making progress to re-enter market as coal producer - Anine Kilian

COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED is making good progress in re-entering the market as a coal producer, CEO DAVID BROWN said on Friday. The company last month announced it would buy PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES' PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES COAL HOLDINGS subsidiary, which holds a 91% stake in the Uitkomst colliery in KZN for R275m. The acquisition is considered complementary to COAL's developing Makhado project. In the quarter to end-Mar., COAL secured a 20-year Integrated Water Use Licence for Makhado and entered into a R240m loan agreement with the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to advance Makhado's development. The 26-month construction phase is expected to start as soon as all regulatory approvals are in place. COAL is working to secure the surface rights for Makhado. The mine will produce 5.5mt/year of saleable product once in operation. During the quarter under review, COAL also concluded the sale of HOLFONTEIN INVESTMENTS to TAUNG GOLD and received the final settlement of R25m post quarter-end. Meanwhile, INVESTEC'

Ferrum's JSE shares fall as it eyes withdrawal from Moonlight - Anine Kilian

FERRUM CRESCENT's shares on the JSE fell by 25% on Friday as the company announced it would withdraw from the Moonlight iron ore project unless an alternative development opportunity can be secured in the short term. This follows after the Feb. termination of a JV agreement with BUSINESS VENTURE INVESTMENTS, which had intended to earn a 43% interest in the project in exchange for funding a bankable feasibility study on the project. BVI had been unable to fund the BFS. FERRUM had subsequently entered into talks with a third-party group about the potential development of the project, but the negotiations have now been terminated. FERRUM said that, despite its best efforts, "we have been unable to secure a path for the development of the Moonlight project and are mindful of the significant costs associated with continuing to hold and maintain the project", FERRUM chair JUSTIN TOOTH said on Friday. He added that the company would now focus on its first drill programme at the Toral lead-zinc project in northe

Mediclinic's JSE-listed shares rise on Abu Dhabi U-turn - TJ Strydom

JSE-listed shares in MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL surged on Friday in the first session since Abu Dhabi scrapped a co-payment on private healthcare which had been weighing on the firm's operations in the UAE. Shares in the company rose 14% to R141.87 by midday on Friday. The Abu Dhabi government cancelled a requirement for citizens to make a 20% co-payment for treatment at private medical facilities, official news agency WAM reported late on Wednesday, buoying MEDICLINIC's shares. The move is a major boost for MEDICLINIC, which paid $2.2bn for AL NOOR in 2015 to bulk up its presence in the UAE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's forex reserves dragged to 7-month low by SA's woes - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia's foreign currency reserves fell to a seven-month low in Mar. as a sharp slide in SA's rand caused the central bank to purchase less of the currency to which it is pegged. Data from the Bank of Namibia showed reserves at N$22.6bn, compared to N$22.7bn in Feb. The N$ is pegged one to one against the ZAR. The rand shed around 12% to three-month lows after the sudden firing of its finance minister in Mar. saw two of the big three global ratings agencies relegate the country's credit score to junk status. In contrast, FITCH last week upgraded Namibia's national rating to AAA, the highest investment score. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 02/05/2017

At 07h50 on 02 May 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.35 ZAR/EUR 14.57 ZAR/GBP 17.22 Gold 1256.51 Platinum 932.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.36 All Share 53817.30

Zim says has met all conditions to clear arrears to World Bank, AfDB - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe has met all conditions to clear arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank, paving the way for possible future funding from the IMF, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA said yesterday. The country in Oct. 2016 cleared its 15-year-old arrears with the IMF. CHINAMASA said facilities negotiated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to repay the $1.75bn arrears had been "scrutinised and scrutinised" by the World Bank and the AfDB, who were satisfied. He did not give details on where the country had obtained the money to clear the arrears. Harare is struggling with dwindling forex inflows and acute shortages of cash. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's c.bank issues licence to DIB Bank - George Obulutsa

Kenya's central bank on Friday said it had issued a licence to DIB BANK KENYA LTD, a unit of DUBAI ISLAMIC BANK, to operate in the country. "DIB intends to exclusively offer shariah-compliant banking services in Kenya", the central bank said. "DIB's entry will expand the offerings in the market, particularly in the nascent shariah-compliant banking niche". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vunani aspires to be top financial services group - Sandile Mchunu

VUNANI says it wants to build its business organically and via acquisitions to position itself as a top financial services firm of the future. The company will prioritise new ventures in SA and abroad, CEO ETHAN DUBE said this week. VUNANI had increased its investment in FAIRHEADS INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS from 62.5% to 92.5% during the FY to end-Feb. Acquisitions had continued past the reporting period, with the company having entered into an agreement in which it acquired 15% of the ordinary share capital of POWERHOUSE AFRICA HOLDINGS for R2m in Apr. VUNANI posted excellent FY results, including an increase of more than 387% in profit after tax to R40m, up from R8.2m y/y. Revenue rose by 22% to R188.6m, up from R154.2m y/y. HEPS came in at 19.2cps, up from 5.8cps y/y, while basic EPS was higher at 30.1cps as compared to 6.2cps y/y. A 5.2cps dividend was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shareholders approve Anglo's pay policy - Robert Laing

ANGLO AMERICAN's revised remuneration policy got a strong thumbs-up from shareholders at its AGM this week, with 93% of votes cast in favour. ANGLO said the board had been determined to "address certain investors' concerns about the potential windfall gains for executive directors arising from the volatility of ANGLO AMERICAN's share price and the mining industry more generally". The new policy shareholders voted in on Monday limits the share awards under long-term incentive plans that CEO MARK CUTIFANI and other senior executives can receive. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Efficient posts drop in profit - BDpro

EFFICIENT GROUP reported a 5% decline in profit to R18m for the HY to end-Feb., from R19m y/y. HEPS for the period fell by 5% to 20.22cps, while revenue came in at R465m, up 9% y/y. EFFICIENT said it delivered revenue growth despite the 3% contraction by the JSE All Share Index over the period under review, which negatively impacted higher yielding assets under management and assets under consulting. It said despite the poor performance of financial markets and a challenging economic environment, the company's strategy remained relevant. An interim dividend of 1.63cps was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual Wealth's client inflows rise - Esha Vaish

OLD MUTUAL's UK asset management business reported its highest ever quarter for client inflows and funds under management for Q1 2017, citing increased demand for its services and platform. OLD MUTUAL WEALTH forecast that markets would remain volatile and challenging in the medium term, especially until the outcome of Britain's Jun. general election and more details of the terms of the country's exit from the EU were known. OM WEALTH's net client cash flows, excluding OLD MUTUAL ITALY and the South African branches, rose 59% to £2.7bn in the quarter to end-Mar. Comparable funds under management rose 6% to £112.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norilsk Nickel files lawsuit against Botswana - Tanisha Heiberg

NORILSK NICKEL on Friday said it had filed a lawsuit against the government of Botswana to try to recoup $271m plus damages it says it is owed from the aborted sale of a 50% stake in the Nkomati mine in SA. State-owned BCL MINE pulled out of a 3bn pula deal in Oct. 2016 to buy a 50% stake in Nkomati Nickel Mine from NORILSK due to a lack of funds. NORILSK said it had served a notice of proceedings on the attorney general of Botswana, as well as the ministers of mining and finance. "The government has displayed a complete disregard for the fair, frank and reasonable dealing with outsiders which BCL's insolvent circumstances demanded", NORILSK Africa CEO MICHAEL MARRIOTT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim wants cash bail-out from foreign miners - Tawanda Karombo

Zimbabwe has asked foreign miners to spend more on local procurement and other payments. Harare is battling to contain a crisis occasioned by shortages of bank notes, with Mines and Mining Development Minister WALTER CHIDAKWA saying foreign miners now have to spend 75% of their earnings on payments inside the country. This would be in pursuit of compliance with indigenisation after President ROBERT MUGABE softened his stance on foreign miners to cede 51% shares to local groups. Increased local spending by miners would help breathe fresh liquidity into the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 28/04/2017

At 11h43 on 28 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.28 ZAR/EUR 14.47 ZAR/GBP 17.19 Gold 1267.14 Platinum 948.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.36 All Share 53924.69

Mall of Africa celebrates 1st birthday - Fin24

ATTACQ on Wednesday celebrated the first birthday of the Mall of Africa. CEO MORNE WILKEN said the company regards the Mall as one of the most valuable assets in the ATTACQ property portfolio. "This mall is the realisation of a very significant vision and a long-term business journey. We identified a gap in the market to develop something extraordinary in the Waterfall area in the centre of Gauteng", WILKEN said. Despite tough times, the Mall of Africa achieved a turnover of R3 427 184 526 for the 11 months of trading to Mar. 2017, at an average of R311 562 229/month with a highlight month of R491 145 650 turnover achieved in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sinking rand causes petrol price pain - Fin24

The Department of Energy yesterday announced petrol price hikes, effective from May 3. The retail price of both grades of petrol will go up by 49c/litre, while the wholesale price of diesel (0.05%) will increase by 30c/l. The wholesale price of diesel (0.005%) ill go up by 32c/l, and that of illuminating paraffin by 34c/l. The price of illuniating paraffin will increase by 46c/l in the Single Maximum National Retail price, while the maximum retail price of LPGas will go up by 96c/kg. The DoE noted that average international product prices for petrol, diesel and paraffin increased during the period, while the rand on average depreciated against the US dollar over the same period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats could cut more than 1 000 jobs at Marula - John Bowker

IMPALA PLATINUM said protests at its Marula mine had led it to start a reorganisation that could result in more than 1 000 job losses. The mining regulator and relevant unions have been contracted and all parties will work together to minimise the impact of the plan on employment, IMPLATS said, adding that it expected the negotiation process to be completed by the end of June. Marula employs around 4 400 workers and contractors. IMPLATS reduced its annual production forecast for the site in Feb. due to protests in the community, which owns a 9% stake in the mine via a local trust. The protest action that's led to the reorganisation is related to community dissatisfaction with the way its 50% stake in the Makgomo Chrome project is being managed. Marula's production was also affected by the closing of a hybrid mining section at one of the shafts. IMPALA said Q3 refined platinum output dropped to 331 000oz from 351 000oz y/y, while FY guidance was maintained at 1.5m refined PGM ounces. At Marula, output o

Junior miner outlines ambitions aims, supports local steel output - Ilan Solomons

Junior iron ore miner MANNGWE MINING plans to expand its asset base and increase production at its existing operation over the next five years to provide ARCELORMITTAL SA with 4mt-5mt of ore annually. Speaking at MANNGWE's official opening of its Assen mine near Brits, CEO MATODZI NESONGOZWI said that, as a "proudly emerging black-owned and -run mining company", MANNGWE intended to grow its business by extending into Limpopo and by targeting the local market. The mine and dense media separation plant was developed at a cost of R180m and will initially target production of 60 000t/m of saleable ore for delivery exclusively to AMSA. The mine has a measured resource of some 20mt, with Phase 1 of the development focusing on mining detrital ore for an estimated three years, while finalising a feasibility study for exploiting the main orebody of high-quality hematite, calcitic and banded iron ores located in the mountainous area, for an estimated 12-year mine life. NESONGOZWI noted that AMSA would buy the iron

M&R a co-applicant with GE in dispute with Eskom over Duvha contract - Terence Creamer

MURRAY & ROBERTS has confirmed it is a co-applicant with GE in a court bid to prevent ESKOM from implementing a contract with DONGFANG ELECTRIC CORPORATION for the Duvha Unit 3 boiler recovery project. The 600MW boiler was damaged catastrophically in Mar. 2014 as a result of over-pressurisation of the boiler furnace, which triggered an explosion that resulted in the entire unit being shut down. Business Day this week reported that GE had approached the South Gauteng High Court to interdict ESKOM from implementing DONGFANG's contract until it had been reviewed and adjudicated again. In an affidavit deposed by GE head of sub-Saharan Africa, GEORGE NJENGA, the US group alleged ESKOM had violated the terms of its own request for proposal, which outlined a two-stage adjudication involving a desktop evaluation to arrive at the two top suppliers, followed by direct talks with the suppliers for final selection. NJENGA said GE and M&R were the only shortlisted suppliers when final offers were submitted on Mar. 3 a

SA considers strategic grain reserve as El Nino looms - Reuters

SA is considering a strategic reserve as a buffer against future grain shortages, Agriculture Minister SENZENI ZOKWANA said this week. "Yes, we are thinking about it... It is one of the things that the inter-ministerial committee on drought should look at", ZOKWANA said, referring to a Cabinet committee set up in 2015 to look at ways of mitigating the effects of drought. He did not go into specifics, such as budget allocations for such a project. SA will likely reap 14.54mt of maize in 2017, almost double last year's harvest and its second largest ever after good rains returned. The El Nino weather pattern, which faded in May 2016, may reform again around Sep., just ahead of SA's maize planting season, according to a number of local and international forecasts. "El Nino is going to be with us, we have to adapt", ZOKWANA said, adding that commercial farmers should also hold some stocks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown grants Eskom more time to reconsider Molefe's pension payout - Anine Kilian

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has granted the ESKOM board more time to resolve issues around a pension payout to former CEO BRIAN MOLEFE. BROWN on Sunday turned down the board's proposal to award the former CEO a R30m pension payout. It was given seven days to forward an appropriate pension proposal to BROWN. "Chairperson Dr BEN NGUBANE approached me this week and indicated that the process has started, however, he requested an extension, which I have granted", BROWN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal ratifies Citi's forex rigging settlement - Reuters

The Competition Tribunal this week confirmed a R69.5m settlement with CITIBANK for its role in rigging rand currency trading. The fine is less than 10% of CITIBANK's annual revenue in SA because the bank is one of two cooperating with the Competition Commission. The Commission in Feb. said it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks colluded to coordinate trading the rand and the US dollar. The Tribunal said CITIBANK admitted to manipulating the price of bids and offers via agreements to refrain from trading, and created fictitious bids and offers. It additionally admitted to fixing bids, offers and bid-offer spreads in relation to spot trades on ZAR currency pairs through co-ordination/alignment of the bids, offers, and bid-offer spreads quoted to customers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAPO to become fully-fledged bank - CEO - ANA

Plans are under way to remodel the SA POST OFFICE into a fully-fledged bank, CEO MARK BARNES said on Wednesday. "We believe that the POST OFFICE will prove to be a critical element in financial inclusion", BARNES said. "The POST BANK operates as a ban under an exception which is that we are allowed to take deposits, which is usually the primary reason for getting a banking licence. We are moving from that to become a fully-fledged bank". BARNES said there are several ways government can capacitate the SAPO to become a commercially viable entity. "The poorest people in South Africa pay the highest unit costs of consumption. We believe that as an organ of State, the POST OFFICE can play a role in bridging that financial services offering, because we have a socioeconomic mandate". BARNES said currently, the POST BANK was doing very well. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blue Label appoints COO for S African ops - Mia Breytenbach

BLUE LABEL has appointed WAYNE MCCAULEY as COO of its South African operations. He will be responsible for developing, implementing and managing corporate business strategies and will report to joint CEOs MARK and BRETT LEVY. MCCAULEY joins the group after nearly 30 years at SABMILLER, most recently in a dual role as sales and distribution director for Africa and operations director for several Southern African countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA plans emergency steel tariff from Jul. - WTO - Reuters

SA is proposing to put emergency "safeguard" tariffs on imports of certain flat hot-rolled steel products from Jul., it said in a filing published by the WTO on Thursday. The tariff would be in place for three years, and fall from 12% in the first year to 10% in the second and 8% in the third. SA said the proposal was based on a final determination by ITAC that domestic production had suffered serious damage from an unforeseen surge in imports. In a separate case, SA had also been considering putting a 10% safeguard tariff on cold-rolled steel. Last Nov., SA said ITAC had made a preliminary determination that safeguard tariffs would be justified. But earlier this week SA told a WTO committee meeting that ITAC had recommended ending the investigation into cold-rolled steel. SA's representative told the WTO meeting that ITAC's decision was not final and the government still needed to consider comments from all parties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest production declines in Mar. quarter - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST MINING has reported a 2.6% drop in gold output and a 12.3% decline in copper production for the quarter to end-Mar. Group gold output for the period reached 598 602oz, while copper output reached 22 074mt in the quarter. Group all-in sustaining costs for the period was down 5.1% q/q, driven by a decrease in costs per ounce from all sites, except the Telfer operation. All-in sustaining costs for the Mar. quarter was recorded at A$713/oz. For the FY, the company said group gold production was expected to be at the bottom-end of the guidance of between 2.35moz and 2.6moz, with the Cadia mine unlikely to meet its production guidance due to recent seismic events. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale stocks trade lower as slower sales offset improved iron pricing - Henry Lazenby

VALE yesterday reported Q3 earnings that missed forecasts, sending the New York-listed stock down as much as 5.4% in early trading. The company posted net income of $2.49bn for the quarter to end-Mar., compared with $514m y/y. Underlying earnings in the period jumped to $2.1bn or $0.41/share, up from $514m or 10cps y/y, but fell short of average analyst forecasts calling for 47cps. Free cash flow rose to $2.42bn, up from $123bn y/y, as cash generated from operations totalled $4.06bn, despite an increase in iron ore inventories along the supply chain to support the enhanced blending activities and the payment of variable compensation in the period. Cash proceeds from net disposal/acquisition of assets and investments totalled $770m. Net revenues came to $8.52bn in the quarter, 8.1% lower y/y, while total costs and expenses rose 22.3% in the period to $5.12bn. Iron ore started the quarter on a rising trend, reaching $95.05/t in Feb., the highest level since Aug. 2014. VALE has lifted iron ore output in t

Normal production resumes at Evander after refurbishment programme - David Oliveira

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES has completed the R41.5m stoppage and refurbishment programme for the 7 and 8 shafts at its Evander gold mine, and normal production has resumed. PANAF group mining engineer BERT VAN DEN BERG said the 55-day project required a number of infrastructure items to be replaced, including 7 shaft's pump column support infrastructure, a damaged section of the main pump column at the 7 shaft and the water reticulation system between 7 and 8 shafts. Next PAN AFRICAN will build its $6.35bn Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant. Construction will start in Q3 2017 and be completed by Q3 2018, with production to start the following quarter. The first phase of the project will see tailings from the Kinross mine dump treated. Once completed, Elikhulu will process 1mt/month of tailings. The project is expected to recover about 689 000oz of gold. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sylvania's dump operations post another 'strong' production quarter - Creamer Media Reporter

SYNVANIA PLATINUM's Sylvania Dump Operations is on track to meet, and possibly exceed, FY guidance of 63 000oz to 65 000oz of PGMs. SDO delivered 17 096oz of PGMs in Q3 to end-Mar. 2017. Although this was 8% lower q/q, the preceding two quarters had delivered record output of a combined 35 819oz. The cash costs for the SDO in rand terms rose by 11% from R5 603/oz in Q2 to R6 236/oz in Q3, as a result of lower PGM oz production and slightly higher maintenance costs during the period. The strengthening in the R/$ exchange rate also contributed to a 17% increase in cash costs in dollar terms. Revenue rose by 10% in dollar terms to $12.8m and by 5% in rand terms to R168.8m. Capex rose by 134% to $1.6m in Q3, compared with $684 000 in Q2, primarily as a result of the roll-out of Project Echo, which is expected to sustain production at 55 000-60 000 oz/y. Cash generated from operations before working capital movements was $4.4m. SYLVANIA ended the quarter with a cash balance of $16.6m, enabling it to intern

PTM closes $20m bought deal financing - Anine Kilian

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has closed its recently announced public offering of common shares. The company announced on Apr. 19 that it had reached an agreement with BMO CAPITAL MARKETS to buy 15.39m shares of the company at $1.30 apiece. Pursuant to the offering, the company has issued the shares to raise gross proceeds of $20m. The net proceeds of the offering will be used for underground development and production ramp-up of the company's Maseve mine in SA; for working capital during start-up; repayment of the remaining $2.5m outstanding amount of a prior advance under the group's credit agreement with a syndicate of lenders; and for general corporate purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto in JV with Strandline - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO's exploration arm has inked an earn-in and JV agreement with STRANDLINE RESOURCES worth up to $10.75m. STRANDLINE on Wednesday said the JV would allow it to accelerate exploration activities at its heavy mineral sands tenements in Tanzania, with RIO contributing expertise and funding, while allowing STRANDLINE to concurrently progress its northern projects and pursue additional strategic exploration and development initiatives. Under the terms of the agreement, RIO can earn an initial 51% participating interest in the relevant temenets by spending $5m over the first three-and-a-half years, including a mandatory minimum spend of $2m. Stage 2 investment will see a further $4m being spent over the subsequent two years, to earn RIO a 75% stake in the tenements. Cash payments totalling $1.75m will be made to STRANDLINE as various milestones are achieved, including the 30-day anniversary of the JV effective date, the 30-day anniversary in which RIO gave notice to proceed with the Stage 2 in vestment,

Tawana raises A$15m for Bald Hill - Esmarie Swanepoel

TAWANA RESOURCES will raise A$15m via a share placement to advance the Bald Hill lithium and tantalum project, in Western Australia, to commissioning by late 2017. The company yesterday said it has received firm commitments from local and offshore institutional investors for the placement of 60m new fully paid ordinary shares, priced at 25c apiece. The placement will take place in two tranches, with the first comprising 35.9m shares and to be issued under the group's placement capacity. The second tranche of 24.1m shares will be issued subject to shareholder approval. In particular, the funds will be used to complete resource drilling, ordering long-lead capital items, complete detailed design and start engineering on the dense media separation circuit, civil works, earthworks, mechanical and electrical works, mobilisation of engineers, site establishment and associated project works. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South Deep output down, costs up - Martin Creamer

GOLD FIELDS on Wednesday said q/q gold output at the South Deep mine fell 43% in Q1, while costs soared 56%. All-in costs at the mine rose to a level of $1 821/oz in the quarter on a production fall to 45 800oz. Worse still, the mine suffered two fatal accidents, which CEO NICK HOLLAND described as "tragic reminders" of the major safety task confronting the operation. A total of 20 900oz of gold were lost as a result of the fatalities, as well as three falls of ground in the thinner more proximal part of the South Deep orebody. An operational update for the quarter to Mar. 31 showed that the company experienced a poor start to 2017 across the board. On a q/q basis, the group's mines in SA, West Africa, Australia and South America collectively reported 12% lower overall attributable equivalent gold production of 497 000oz and 18%-higher AIC of $1 114/oz, on an average gold price of $1 216/oz. A cash outflow of $35m was recorded, compared with a cash inflow of $26m y/y. The net outflow and final dividend

US shareholders give nod to Sibanye deal - Martin Creamer

The requisite majority of STILLWATER shareholders in the US have approved the acquisition by SIBANYE of the entire issued share capital of the US platinum miner. The voting took place a day after SIBANYE shareholders gave their approval for the deal, expected to close on May 4. A circular containing the terms and details of an upcoming rights offer will be issued in mid-May. SIBANYE entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of STILLWATER for $2.2bn in early Dec. The $18/share offer represented a 23% premium to STILLWATER's prior day closing share price. STILLWATER will give SIBANYE a mine-to-market PGM business that has a metallurgical processing complex, a PGM recycling operation and the near-term Blitz growth project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold suspends Colombia project after anti-mining vote - Reuters

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI has halted all exploration work at its La Colosa project after voters backed a proposal to ban mining in the municipality, the company said yesterday. ANGLOGOLD, which has been carrying out exploration work on the site outside of the town of Cajamarca for 14 years, said it "accepted" the result of last month's vote. The La Colosa project had a potential investment of $8bn, and could yield 28moz of gold. A huge majority of residents - 98.8% - voted against allowing mining in the referendum. ANGLOGOLD has invested around $900m in Colombia since 2006 and La Colosa was the largest of its three projects in t he country. ANGLOGOLD said it would continue to seek constructive dialogue about mining in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PotashCorp Q1 earnings up - Henry Lazenby

POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN yesterday surprised investors with a bigger-than-expected Q1 profit and increased FY earnings guidance, underpinned by increased sales and lower costs. POTASHCORP posted earnings of $149m, or 18cps, nearly double the $75m reported y/y. Gross margin for the period was $268m, improving upon the $234m generated in Q1 2016, mainly owing to lower cost of goods sold for all three main crop nutrients and increased potash sales volumes that more than offset weaker phosphate prices. Cash fro operating activities of $223m exceeded 2016's Q1 amount of $188m. Despite revenues being 8% lower y/y at $1.12bn, POTASHCORP stated that nutrient affordability and lower inventories led to consistent buyer engagement in potash during the first quarter. Deliveries increased to most major markets and contributed to modest increases in global spot prices from Q4 2016 levels. Q1 potash sales volumes of 2.2mt were well above the 1.8mt sold y/y. Strong demand is expected to continue through the

South32 amends coal, metals output forecast - Esmarie Swanepoel

In addition to revising its FY production guidance for the Cannington mine in Queensland, SOUTH32 has also revised its FY output guidance for its South African energy coal operations. Following a fire at Cannington this month, SOUTH32 cut its FY output expectations at the mine from the previous guidance of 19moz to 16.5moz of silver, while lead production is expected to drop from 163 000t to 135 000t and zinc from 80 000t to 70 000t. At the South African coal operations, SOLUTH32 has revised both its 2017 and 2018 production guidance following heavy rainfall and an associated delay in the development of new mining areas at the Wolvekrans-Middelburg Complex. WMC is now expected to produce 30mt of coal in 2017, while the 2018 output will be reduced by a further 2.5mt to around 27.5mt. Energy coal production for the quarter to end-Mar. was 9% lower at 6.8mt, while metallurgical coal output was up 3% to 1.4mt. "Despite several operational challenges during the quarter, we increased our net cash balance by 46

Universal doubles NCC reserves - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL has doubled the ore reserve at its New Clydesdale Colliery. The company yesterday reported a 28.94mt increase in the ore reserve at NCC, taking the reserve estimate to 58.24mt and confirming a mine life of more than 20 years. "This substantial increase in ore reserves further reinforces the reason for our New Clydesdale acquisition and achieves our goal to establish a 20-year plus life of mine plan for New Clydesdale", CEO TONY WEBER said. "The mine development and the ramp up of production are progressing on schedule and on budget, and we are on track to deliver coal into the market at full capacity by the second half of 2017". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buhari seeks approval to borrow $6.93bn from China, World Bank - Camillus Eboh

Nigerian President MUHAMMADU BUHARI is seeking parliament's approval for a proposal to borrow $5.85bn from China to modernise its rail network and another $1.075bn from the World Bank to help rebuild the insurgency-torn northeast. The president urged parliament in a letter to approve the railway borrowing because China has a limit on funds available from its China Africa Fund. "These loans form part of the overall money for the rail strategy", BUHARI said. He also asked lawmakers to approve a $1.075bn loan to help rebuild the northeast, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency, and to expand support to the poor in Nigeria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola in full compliance with OPEC output cuts - Alex Lawler

Angolan oil minister JOSE MARIA BOTELHO DE VASCONCELOS yesterday said his country was more than fully complying with OPEC output cuts, and that he believed a deal to curb output would be extended beyond June. OPEC is expected to extend the production cuts deal when it meets on May 25. The minister said Angola was implementing more than 100% of the cuts agreed under the deal. Asked about a preferred oil price for Angola, VASCONCELOS said "$60 is not bad". Brent futures were trading at $51.35/barrel yesterday morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's CIC sees new units breaking even in two years - George Obulutsa

Kenyan insurer CIC GROUP expects its Uganda and Malawi units to break even in the next two years, CEO TOM GITOGO said yesterday. "In Uganda we started trading in 2015. We anticipate we will break even this year, in 2017", GITOGO said. The same was applicable to the Malawi operation. In Kenya, the medical insurance business, which made a profit of 80m shillings last year after a streak of losses, was set to keep supporting growth. The main risk in Kenya was the August elections - the country has a history of political violence during elections, causing nervousness among investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimplats doubles profit via T-bills rather than platinum sales - MacDonald Dzirutwe

ZIMPLATS this week reported a profit leap despite declines in sales and revenue, with q3 earnings lifted by sales of T-bills rater than metal. The platinum miner more than doubled its Q3 profit to 442m by selling T-bills it received from the central bank for a longstanding debt. At the height of the financial crisis, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe raided the forex accounts of exporters, including miners such as ZIMPLATS. Short of foreign currency, the central bank last year agreed to repay the mining companies in T-bills, highlighting distortions in the country's economy. ZIMPLATS received $34m in treasury bills from the central bank during the quarter under review and sold them for a discounted $21m. Lower operating costs also helped boost profit, while revenue fell by 6% to $131m after sales of PGMs declined by 22%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 28/04/2017

At 07h36 on 28 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.35 ZAR/EUR 14.50 ZAR/GBP 17.23 Gold 1265.18 Platinum 946.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.40 All Share 53680.69

StanChart shares climb after bank nearly doubles profits - Martin Arnold

STANDARD CHARTERED has posted an almost doubling of Q1 profits, raising hopes among investors about how soon the bank can be turned round. STANCHART posted a statutory pre-tax profit of $990m, compared with a profit of $500m y/y, excluding its private equity arm which is being wound down. Operating expenses rose 3% to $2.1bn. Revenues were up 8% to $3.6bn, while loan impairments shrank 58% to $198m. STANCHART suffered a tough few years after being fined by US regulators for sanctions breaches in 2012 and incurring heavy losses on risky loans to some large Asian clients that turned bad. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eli Lilly posts earnings beat - David Crow

ELI LILLY yesterday published Q1 earnings that were slightly ahead of forecasts as it announced that its experimental breast cancer drug had succeeded in a late-stage clinical trial. LILLY posted adjusted earnings of 98cps, two cents ahead of analysts' forecasts, on revenue lin line with expectations of $5.2bn. LILLY said it would seek regulatory approval this year for abemaciclib, its breast cancer drug, after the medicine extended the amount of time that a patient survived without their disease progressing in a Phase III study. LILLY confirmed its FY guidance for adjusted EPS between 405cps and 415cps, on revenues of $21.8bn-$22.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar shares jump despite earnings guidance cut - Patti Waldmeir

CATERPILLAR yesterday cut its forecast for FY EPS due to higher restructuring costs, even as it forecast stronger than expected sales and revenues for 2017. The company said it expects EPS of around 210cps for 2017, down from a previous FY forecast of 230cps. But the company raised its forecast of FY sales and revenues to a range of $38bn-$41bn, up from $36bn-$39bn previously. It also reported Q1 sales and revenues of $9.8bn, compared with $9.5bn y/y. Q1 EPS fell to 32cps for the quarter to end-Mar., from 46cps y/y. CATERPILLAR said it expects to incur about $1.25bn in restructuring costs this year, up from $750m y/y. Shares rose 4.9% in premarket trading after the Q1 results were released. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Akzo Nobel rejects Elliott request for EGM to oust chair - Michael Pooler

AKZO NOBEl has rejected a request by activist investor ELLIOTT for an EGM aimed at ousting the company's chairperson on the ground it has "no legal basis". The hedge fund led a band of shareholders who called for an EGM to remove ANTONY BURGMANS as part of its campaign to force the Dutch group into takeover talks with larger US rival PPG INDUSTRIES. ELLIOTT has previously threatened recourse to the Dutch courts if the EGM request were turned down. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport cuts copper output targets after Indonesia spat - Neil Hume

FREEPORT-MCMORAN has cut its output forecasts following a stand-off with the Indonesian government halted exports from its Grasberg mine. The company had previously expected to sell 4.1bn lbs of copper this year, a figure it has now revised to 3.9bn after Jakarta banned shipments from Grasberg. The new guidance was announced in a trading update that saw FREEPORT report adjusted net income of $220m for the quarter to end-Mar., against a loss of $196m y/y. Adjusted EPS of 15cps were in line with market forecasts. Copper sales from Indonesia fell 30% during Q1 to 125m lbs y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US considers extending laptop ban to Europe, UK flights - Demetri Sevastopulo

The US Department of Homeland Security is considering applying a ban on passengers bringing laptop computers onto airplanes to flights from Europe, including the UK, but has not taken a final decision. "UK and Europe are certainly under consideration but nothing is imminent", a TRUMP administration official said. The DHS said it would "continue to evaluate the threat environment and make determinations based on that assessment", but added that it had "not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions against large electronic devices in aircraft cabins from selected airports". The US Transportation Security Administration last month barred passengers travelling to the US from several Middle Eastern and north African countries from carrying large electronic devices into the main cabin under new counter-terrorism measures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basel puts new banking policy initiatives on hold until 2019 - Caroline Binham

Global banking standard-setters have promised to pause new policy initiatives until 2019 so they can assess the impact of post-crisis reforms. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision yesterday said its priorities for the next two years would include finalising a long-awaited overhaul of existing rules. It will, however, hold off embarking on any major new projects until it completed its assessment of the slew of banking reforms introduced over the last eight years in in the wake of the financial crisis. The committee's to-do list still includes finishing existing projects, such as examining how regulators in different countries assess banks' exposures to sovereign debt. It will also try to stamp out inconsistencies in how regulators in different countries apply the rules, particularly around so-called Pillar 2, which gives them discretion in topping up individual banks' capital requirements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece won't implement tax reforms without debt deal in place - Tsipras - Kerin Hope

PM ALEXIS TSIPRAS yesterday insisted that Greece planned to legislate additional tax and pension reforms demanded by bailout creditors but would not implement them unless a deal on debt relief was in place. His warning came as bailout monitors resumed talks in Athens on final details of a reform package designed to ensure the IMF would join the country's €84bn current rescue package as a financial partner. Sounding an optimistic note, TSIPRAS said he expected a deal to be wrapped up by May 22. Greece this month agreed to adopt measures that would improve its primary budget surplus - before paying debt servicing costs - by 2% of GDP. TSIPRAS said the extra measures would be included in a package of bailout reforms due to be approved by parliament next month. "But a sovereign country can reverse something that it legislated if the [debt] agreement isn't adhered to", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/04/2017

At 11h54 on 26 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.17 ZAR/EUR 14.35 ZAR/GBP 16.87 Gold 1266.00 Platinum 955.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.96 All Share 53325.80

Embattled homeowners turn to loans to pay bonds - Adiel Ismail

Hard-pressed South Africans are so worried about losing their homes they are turning to unsecured debt at increasing costs to service home loan payments. Consumers are R1.66tn in debt, according to the National Credit Regulator. The latest data also notes that a big amount of this debt is in the form of mortgages, vehicle repayments, clothing accounts as well as secured and unsecured credit facilities. Although national home loan 'non performing loans' are at cyclical lows, DEBTBUSTERS CEO IAN WASON is of the view that this is due to about 30% of homeowners borrowing short-term unsecured debt to keep these artificially high. "When our clients come to us they have surprisingly good credit scores. This is due to them 'borrowing from Peter to pay Paul' and hence keeping their debt repayments up to date, but they are borrowing more debt", WASON said. He cautioned that this financial burden is often passed down from parents to their children, and urged bond-holders to get their debt under control. This new

Kganyago says SA to keep targeting low CPI for lower rates - Kevin Crowley

CPI is under control and the SARB will maintain a policy to keep it low to protect the poor, SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said yesterday. He said pursuing other priorities, such as reducing unemployment, has been shown in other countries to cause "widespread economic damage". "The best way to get permanently lower interest rates is to bring down inflation - and then keep it low and predictable". The Monetary Policy Committee has kept the benchmark repo rate unchanged since Mar. 2016 after raising it to 7% to try and bring CPI back to within its target 3-6% band. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court sets aside nuclear deals with Russia, other countries - Liesl Peyper

Judge LEE BOZALEK today set aside with costs government's nuclear agreements signed with vendor countries, declaring them unlawful and unconstitutional. The court case was first launched in Oct. 2015 with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute challenging government's decision to buy 9.6GW of nuclear power without debating it first in Parliament. Earthlife and SAFCEI further argued that the Department of Energy acted unlawfully when it decided in Dec. 2016 to move the procurement of nuclear energy to ESKOM as former energy minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON had not followed any public participation or consultative process before making the decision. JOEMAT-PETTERSSON in a responding affidavit said she was not aware of any rule or court order that would prevent her from handing over the procurement process to ESKOM. MARIUS OOSTHUIZEN SC, for government, said in counter arguments that the deal inked with Russia does not tantamount to a commercial agreeme

Implats warns of 'large-scale' job losses at SA mine - John Bowker

IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDINGS said protests at its Marula mine and low metal prices had led the company to start a reorganisation process that may lead to "large-scale" job losses. "This is something the business and economy can ill afford, but remains imperative if we are to protect the financial viability of our business and preserve jobs as far as possible", CEO GERHARD POTGIETER said today. IMPLATS did not say how many jobs may be lost. Marula employs 4 400 workers and contractors. The company reduced its annual output forecast for the mine in Feb. due to community protests. IMPLATS said Q3 refined platinum output dropped to 331 000oz from 353 000oz a year earlier, while FY output guidance was maintained at 1.5m refined platinum ounces. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Labat slides despite trading update - Sandile Mchunu

Shares in LABAT fell more than 8% to 41c on the JSE despite the company releasing a positive trading update. The company said it expected to report improved results for the HY to end-Feb. LABAT expected an improvement of more than 100% y/y, moving from a loss to a profit, but said the range could not yet be stipulated. A further trading statement will be issued in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun Intl launches new corporate golf tournament - ANA

SUN INTERNATIONAL has expanded its already existing gold offering with the introduction of a major new corporate team golf tournament that will make its debut at Sun City this year. SUN INTERNATIONAL and SEACOM will present the inaugural Corporate Masters in partnership with IAN SMITH, who is well-known in local sporting circles. SMITH was the driving force behind the 2003 Cricket World Cut which was hosted by SA. The Corporate Masters will tee off at Sun City from Aug. 28 to 30 and aims to become the premier corporate golf tournament in SA. Companies will be represented by teams of two golfers competing in a 36-hole Stableford competition at Sun City's Gary Player Golf Club and the Lost City Golf Course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CSG wraps up deal to buy Revert Risk - Kabelo Khumalo

CSG HOLDINGS yesterday said it had concluded a deal with the RTT GROUP for 100% of subsidiary REVERT RISK MANAGEMENT PROPRIETARY, for a cash consideration of R100m including certain moveable assets. All outstanding matters had been resolved and the deal would commence at the start of May. REVERT offers guarding, access-control systems and technical installations, closed-circuit television on-site and off-site monitoring, security risk-assessments, investigations and consulting, vehicle authentication, personnel and business vetting, as well as high-risk freight protection. The deal included individual client and commercial contracts, the services provided on an outsources basis on behalf of two other security companies and specific assets and employees, but excluded the domestic guarding and closed-circuit TV-monitoring divisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Talks on the cards over paternity leave - Liesl Peyper

The Department of Labour yesterday said future amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Fund may include extending benefits to employees who have resigned from their workplaces, irrespective of the reasons. Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT said SA's labour legislation are in line with international best practice and the constitution. Asked if there will be any future amendments to the act - over and above the recent additional provisions in the Act that were signed into law in Jan. 2017 - OLIPHANT said there has been an agreement to consult with NEDLAC in two years' time about future changes, such as extending paternity leave to fathers and including employees who resign from their workplaces "for whatever reasons". As part of the DoL's workers month initiative, OLIPHANT said inspectors will conduct blitz visits to certain sectors of the economy where employees have been found to be "perpetual offenders" of labour legislation across the country. The inspections will commence on May 3 when inspectors will

SA re-enters FDI confidence index, places last - Lameez Omarjee

SA re-entered a global foreign direct investment confidence index since 2014 but placed last out of 25 countries. SA scored 1.42 points on the KEARNEY FDI Confidence Index. Last year UNCTAD reported an increase in FDI to the country by 38%. However, FDI was still relatively low at $2.4bn. There is a mixed outlook for SA's ability to attract FDI going forward, mainly due to challenges linked to governance, exchange rate volatility and a "decreased trust" in political leaders, the report stated. Overall, the report showed that FDI to EMs had increased from 20% in 2016 to 28% due to a growing intention to diversify and greater appetites for risk. Both India and China were placed in the top 10 of the index, while investors are also spotting frontier markets. Developed economies continue to dominate the index with 72% of the positions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LNG-focused energy aspirant plans Jun. listing on AltX - Terence Creamer

AFRICAN ENERGY PARTNERS, a black-empowered energy company with a specific focus on LNG, intends listing as a special purpose acquisition company on the AltX in June. The company will seek to raise up to R500m to help fund its first "viable acquisition", which must take place within two years of listing. CEO EDWIN KIKONYOGO says the intention is to acquire mostly controlling stakes in a portfolio of operations across Africa and that potential acquisition targets have already been identified. AEP is focusing on power plants; cogeneration facilities; pipelines; and fuel storage terminals. "Our target operations offer a mix of medium- and long-term offtake agreements and a contracted cost base, which makes for good long-term earnings visibility", KOKONYOGO said. The company is undertaking a roadshow from May 2 to 12, with the offer period scheduled to take place from May 15-26. The targeted listing date is Jun. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB's leading business cycle indicator up in Feb. - ANA

The SARB yesterday said its composite leading business cycle indicator rose by 1.1% on a m/m basis in Feb. 2017. Six of the 10 component time series that were available for Feb. increased, while four decreased. The largest positive contributions to the movement resulted from an increase in the South African produced export commodity price index, followed by an acceleration in the number of residential building plans passed. The SARB listed the biggest negative contributions to the indicator in Feb. as a slowdown in the six-month smoothed growth rate in the real M1 money supply, as well as a decrease in the average number of hours worked in the manufacturing sectors and a drop in new car sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ekurhuleni sets aside R12bn to assist youth-owned businesses, SMMEs - ANA

MZWANDILE MASINA, the mayor of Ekurhuleni, yesterday said the city has set aside R12bn to ensure youth-owned business and SMMEs position themselves as capable and preferred service providers to government. MASINA said the money will be "ring-fenced to create procurement opportunities for local entrepreneurs, service providers and enterprises, especially businesses run by young people, people with disability and women". The City has made a commitment to ensure that not less than R1bn/year will be spent on 500 youth-owned enterprises, R500m/y on 100 emerging construction companies and over R500m on Black Industrialists. The remaining R10bn will be used for general strategic procurement from emerging black businesses and community enterprises. MASINA added that the municipality systems were being upgraded to ensure payments to SMMEs are done within 15 days from the day all documentation has been submitted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsogo Sun invests R220m in new Maputo hotel - Creamer Media Reporter

Construction has started on TSOGO SUN's new R220m, 125-room StayEasy Maputo Hotel in Mozambique. The hotel, which will be completed by Apr. 2018, is being built as part of a mixed-use development and will be located above the new Baia Mall that is currently under construction. "The time is right to increase our footprint in this prime tourist destination, which attracts both international and local travellers", CEO MARCEL VON AULOCK said, adding: "We believe this hotel will hold extra appeal for its exciting location above a lively new mall - and we look forward to seeing it become a hotel destination of choice for travellers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrimat expects higher FY earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

AFRIMAT yesterday said it expects EPS to rise by 22%-27% to between 190.6cps and 198.4cps for the FY to end-Feb. HEPS are expected to rise by 22%-27% to between 191.1cps and 198.9cps. Results will be published on May 18. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Six new prospecting licences awarded to Botswana Diamonds - Martin Creamer

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS yesterday announced that its JV with ALROSA had been awarded six new prospecting licences in Botswana. Four ar in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and two in the Orapa kimberlite province, and they extend to the end of Mar. 2020. The CKGR licences cover 3 135km² while those in the Orapa area cover 482km². ALROSA geologists and mineralogists have arrived in Botswana to begin the 2017 field exploration programme, which will focus on sampling and geophysical studies at prospect licence 260 in the Orapa area and prospect licences 135, 235 and 234 in the Gope area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC to table amended land claims bill in May - Reuters

The ANC will introduce an amended land rights bill in parliament next month after the Constitutional Court declared invalid a law that re-opened a process for blacks to make claims on land taken from then during white-minority rule. The Restitution of Land Rights Bill, allowing state expropriations of land to redress racial disparities, was among the first laws passed by SA's first democratic government in 1994. But many failed to lodge claims within the 1995-1998 window, and most land remains in white hands. President JACOB ZUMA signed an amended act in Jun. 2014 to allow those who had missed out on making claims to do so. However, the ConCourt last year declared the law invalid, saying Parliament had failed to allow for proper consultation before passing the law, and gave it 24 months to re-enact it. The ANC said the draft bill, which will be open for public comment until May 19, sought to extend the date for lodging a land claim to 30 Jun. 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Sibanye's Stillwater buy wins strong shareholder support - Martin Creamer

Shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of SIBANYE acquiring US PGMs miner STILLWATER. The number of shares that voted in favour of the proposed deal made up 83% of SIBANYE's total issued share capital. CEO NEAL FRONEMAN thanked shareholders for supporting what he described as a "unique and transformative opportunity to acquire world class, low-cost international PGM assets". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP cuts coking coal, copper guidance, narrows iron ore range - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON today lowered its coking coal and copper output targets, narrowed its iron ore guidance and said it plans to sell some noncore US shale gas acreage. The company trimmed its metallurgical coal output guidance for the FY to end-Jun. to 39mt-41mt, from a previous guidance of 44mt. It produced 10.13mt of coking coal in the Mar. quarter, which is a 2% increase on the Mar. 2016 quarter but a 5% drop on the prior quarter. Energy coal output was up 9% y/y to 7.4mt, and BHP expects to produce 30mt of energy coal in FY2017. The company reported a 20% drop in copper output in the nine months to end-Mar, which reached 939 000t. In Q3, the company reported copper output of 227 000t, down 44% y/y. BHP expects to produce 1.33mt-1.36mt of copper, compared with the prior guidance of 1.62mt. The iron ore production guidance was narrowed to 231mt-234mt, compared with a previous range of 228mt-237mt. Petroleum production for the year-to-date was down 15% to 157m boe, with quarterly output also down 15% y/y t

Barrick earmarks funds for Argentina mine after spill - Reuters

BARRICK GOLD has earmarked $500m over five years for upgrades and expansions to its Veladero mine in Argentina, four weeks after a third cyanide solution spill at the facility. BARRICK said improvements to the mine's processing facility, where the spills occurred, would include adding containment barriers, reinforcing and moving pipes, and installing new high-definition cameras to monitor the site. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold replaces 2016 Loulo-Gounkoto complex output, updates Morila reclamation plan - Henry Lazenby

RANDGOLD RESOURCES yesterday said it had replaced 100% of the 707 116oz gold it produced in 2016 at the Mali-based Loulo-Gounkoto complex via ongoing exploration, placing the operation on track to meet 2017 output guidance of 690 000oz gold. The complex's resource profile was bolstered by extensions at Gara, within the Loulo lease, and the approval of the Gounkoto superpit, CEO MARK BRISTOW said. "The focus now is on finding additional resources to extend the operation's life, but as things stand it is well placed to sustain an annual production rate in excess of 600 000oz for at least the next ten years", BRISTOW said. The combined quarterly bullion output for the complex was 206 124oz, up 30% q/q as more tonnes treated, improved grade and recovery boosted performance. For 2016, gold output rose 12% to 707 116oz, against 630 167oz y/y, beating the FY guidance by more than 37 000oz. Meanwhile, RANDGOLD said while the Morila mine continued to deliver value in its post-mining phase the company was progress

Newmont Q1 results surprise to the upside as output, prices rise - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONG MINING has surprised investors by beating average consensus estimates during Q1 to end-Mar, as it reported improved output and prices, which were slightly offset by higher costs. The company posted net income from continuing operations of $69m, or 13cps, from a net loss of $12m or 2cps y/y. Excluding special items, adjusted earnings came in at 25cps. Revenues of $1.7bn increased by 13.5% from $1.5bn y/y, boosted by higher gold output and improved realised process for gold - this missed analysts' estimates for $1.73bn for the quarter. The average net realised price for gold improved by $29/oz to $1 221/oz in the period, with the average net realised copper price also improving by $0.65/lb to $2.68/lb. Attributable gold output rose 9% y/y to 1.23moz i nthe quarter as the Merian and Long Canyon mines recorded strong output during the period. These mines offset geotechnical issues at Carlin. All-in sustaining costs of $900/oz for gold rose roughly 1% y/y. NEWMONT expects attributable gold output i

KIO to begin mediation talks with N Cape community - News24Wire

KUMBA IRON ORE representatives are expected to enter into mediation talks with the Dingleton community this week in a bid to resolve a dispute over land in the area. KUMBA wants to relocate the entire town of Dingleton to a town 25km away. Only 25 families remain and are refusing to move on KUMBA's terms. "We are hoping the mediation will assist us in the interpretation of the International Finance Corporate Guidelines. These are the guidelines that KUMBA must comply to", said RICHARD SPOOR, attorney for the residents. KUMBA has denied this claim. It says the residents are "disrupting the process of rehabilitating" a site near the railway where blue asbestos was spilled years ago. The company needs to rehabilitate the site in order to expand the Sishen iron ore mine near Dingleton. The company is demanding over R1.6m from residents who refused to relocate. The mediation would be facilitated by human rights attorney BRIAN CURRIN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners told to move DRC HQs as provinces compete for revenue - Bloomberg

The DRC told local units of GLENCORE, CHINA MOLYBDENUM, IVANHOE MINES and four other mining entities to relocate their head offices as newly demarcated provinces fight over tax revenue and control of mineral projects. The companies, all headquartered in Lubumbashi in the Haut-Katanga province, must move to Kolwezi town in Lualaba, where their mines are based, Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU said in a letter dated Apr. 14. "The objective is to move the administration of these companies closer to where they mine and consolidate the decentralisation process by building stronger relationships between the mining companies and the relevant provincial authorities", KABWELULU's chief of staff, VALERY MUKASA, said. The DRC was divided into 26 administrative regions from 11 in Jul. 2015 as part of a decentralisation drive stipulated in the 2006 constitution to strengthen local government across the country. The Katanga province was divided into four new regions, including Lualaba province, where most of the country

Israeli firm looking to buy into Zambia's mining investment arm - Chris Mfula

Zambia is talking to an Israeli company that wants to buy a stake in state mining investment arm ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENT HOLDINGS, a source said yesterday. Israel's SAPIR CAPITAL had expressed interest in buying a stake worth more than $100m in ZCCM-IH, the person said. The Zambian firm has diversified interests in mining, energy and other sectors of the country's economy. The company, which holds a minority stake in foreign mining firms in Zambia, has more than 4 000 shareholders and its market cap is over $657m. Officials at SAPIR CAPITAL could not be reached for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Debswana starts processing Cut 8 ore - Nqobile Dludla

Botswana's DEBSWANA DIAMOND COMPANY has started processing ore from the $3bn expansion of its Jwaneng diamond mine, popularly known as Cut 8, the company said yesterday. The project is meant to uncover 100m ct of diamonds and extend the life of the Jwaneng mine to 2024. DEBSWANA MD BALISI BONYONGO said 88% of an estimated 500mt of waste above diamond bearing ore had been stripped away by the end of Mar. BONYONGO said DEBSWANA would produce around 20.5m ct this year, or slightly more as the company continues with its strategy of producing to demand. The company will also close its 42-year-old Letlhakane diamond mine this year, replacing it with a tailings plant which is expected to be commissioned before June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rossing Uranium hikes output to turn profit - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia's ROSSING URANIUM, a subsidiary of RIO TINTO, yesterday said it managed to navigate "the worst year of the past decade" for the uranium industry, turning a 2015 loss into a net profit of N$107m in 2016. ROSSING said a combination of favourable exchange rates and a 48% jump in output had helped counter the effects of depressed uranium spot prices. The mine reported a net profit of N$107m for the FY to end-Dec. 2016, from a net loss of N$385m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA maize output seen rising 87% in 2017 - Olwethu Boso

Local farmers will likely harvest 14.54mt of maize in 2017, up 87% y/y after favourable weather conditions lifted yields, the Crop Estimates Committee said yesterday. The third production forecast for the season, which is higher than market expectations of 14.175mt, will be the largest yield since 1981 when 14.656m tonnes were reaped, the CEC said. The crop will comprise around 8.618mt of white maize and 5.917mt of the yellow variety. The white maize contract ending Jul. ended up 1.72% at R1 836/t on SAFEX yesterday - it scaled record highs over R5 000/t 15 months ago due to drought. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank reports muted Q1 net interest income - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

STANDARD BANK yesterday reported a "low single digit" rise in quaterly net interest income, weighed down by weak credit demand at home and lower appetite for risk elsewhere in Africa. The lender said subdued credit demand in SA, coupled with tighter risk appetite across the continent "translated into muted year to date growth in gross loans and advances across all categories". That resulted in net interest income increasing by a "low single digit" in the quarter to end-Mar. The bank reiterated that it was well capitalised to withstand the impact of SA's sovereign credit rating downgrade to junk status. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 26/04/2017

At 07h41 on 26 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.08 ZAR/EUR 14.31 ZAR/GBP 16.78 Gold 1264.01 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.04 All Share 53257.44

PRASA wants to meet unions over wage dispute - ANA Reporter

PRASA yesterday requested to meet with unions after they asked the parastatal's board to review its mandate for wage hikes, the United National Transport Union said. PRASA's management requested an urgent meeting for today. UNTU said it hoped the company makes an "acceptable salary offer" to employees, adding that it did not believe a national strike would be in the best interest of the country. UNTU general secretary STEVE HARRIS said "there will be hell to pay if PRASA continues with its unjustified threats of job losses to follow a 7% wage increase, after the management of the passenger rail operator admitted to parliament that they cannot account for R14bn". UNTU declared a wage dispute in Feb. and the CCMA issued a certificate of non-resolution after it could not resolve the dispute. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 25/04/2017

At 09h37 on 25 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.99 ZAR/EUR 14.14 ZAR/GBP 16.65 Gold 1272.43 Platinum 959.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.70 All Share 53023.47

SAP profit slips but cloud business on the rise - Patrick McGee

Profits at SAP fell y/y but the company said its "soaring growth" in new cloud bookings gained momentum. The German enterprise software giant said profit after tax fell 7% y/y to €530m, while operating profit fell 17% to €673m. However, top-line growth was strong as SAP shifts from on-premise services to cloud-based offerings. New cloud bookings soared 49% to €215m. Cloud subscription and support revenue rose 34% to €905m, ahead of estimates of €893m. Total revenue was up 12% to €5.285bn, ahead of forecasts at €5.16bn. The S/4 HANA flagship suite of business software added 400 customers in the quarter, placing the total at 5 800. SAP said 2017 cloud subscriptions and support revenue is on track to reach €3.8bn to €4.0bn, representing a growth rate of up to 34% at constant currencies. In Jan., the company lifted its 2020 total revenue estimate to a range of €28bn-€29bn, with cloud subscriptions and support revenue accounting for €8bn-€8.5bn. This news brief represents a sum

Goldman expects gold sell-off to continue - Alice Woodhouse

Gold is expected to remain under pressure in the near term, according to GOLDMAN SACHS as the bank holds its three-month target at $1 200/oz. The yellow metal is down $10.94oz from Friday's close ahead of the French election. Bullion is currently trading at $1 273.52/oz after EMMANUEL MACRON made it into the run-off for the French presidency, sending a wave of relief across markets. MACRON will compete against populist MARINE LE PEN in the 2nd round of voting on May 7. "This week is likely to continue to be volatile but should provide further catalysts to the downside in our base case scenario, as we may see a rally in real rates following the expected unveiling of President [DONALD] TRUMP's tax policies on Wednesday (or shortly thereafter), and as our US economists do not expect a US government shutdown on April 29", GOLDMAN analysts said. It added that increased military tensions in North Korea or slower-than-expected US and global growth could see prices challenge their outlook. GOLDMAN's 12-month ta

AfDB warns US cuts risk stoking extremism - Shawn Donnan

President DONALD TRUMP risks stoking extremism in Africa and provoking a further exodus of migrants heading for Europe as he goes ahead with plans to cut funding to the continent, according to African Development Bank head AKINWUMI ADESINA. The AfDB president told the FT that Africa was facing a "triangle of disaster" in high youth unemployment, extreme poverty and environmental degradation related to climate change. His warning comes after TRUMP proposed a budget last month that would slash foreign aid and cut the US contribution to the World Bank and other multinational development banks, including the AfDB, by $650m annually. "We need more resources to do more as a bank... Everywhere you find this triangle of disaster you always find terrorism", ADESINA said. Al-Shabaab has a strong foothold in drought-stricken Somalia, while Boko Haram militants have wreaked havoc in north-east Nigeria. The proposed cut to US funding comes at a time when some multilateral institutions are running up against capital l

SK Hynix delivers record operating profit - Peter Wells

Shares in SK HYNIX have eased after the chipmaker's president said robust demand may ease in H2 2017. The South Korean company booked an operating profit of Won2.468tn - a record - in Q1 to end-Mar., a 61% rise q/q and a 339% lift y/y. Net profit of Won1.899tn was up 17% from Q4. The steep price increase for DRAM and NAND memory chips since H2 2016 pushed revenue up to a quarterly record high of Won6.29tn. That represented a 17% increase q/q and 72% rise y/y. In a call with analysts, SK HYNIX president KIM JOON-HO said demand for DRAM may "ease somewhat" in H2 as supply conditions loosen. SK HYNIX is among the preferred bidders vying for TOSHIBA's prized memory chip division. Shares in the company were down 0.6%, compared to a 0.5% gain for Korea's Kospi. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kweichow Moutai rises after Q1 profit jumps - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese alcohol brand KWEICHOW MOUTAI rose as much as 2.5% this morning after the company reported a 25% rise in net profit for Q1. The company posted Q1 net profit at Rmb6.1bn, coming in above the company's forecast of 15.9% growth in net profit. Demand for grain liquor baijiu looks to be returning with LI BAOFANG, MOUTAI party secretary and GM, saying in March the company would begin producing baijiu year-round to maintain price stability amid surging demand. Earlier this month, MOUTAI overtook DIAGEO as the world's most valuable liquor company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports - Demetri Sevastopulo

The TRUMP administration will impose tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the US after concluding that Canada subsidizes the industry in a way that is detrimental to the US. US commerce secretary WILBUR ROSS said the US would impose tariffs ranging from 3% to 24% on five Canadian lumber exporters - CANFOR, JD IRVING, RESOLUTE FP CANADA, TOLKO MARKETING AND SALES and WEST FRASER MILLS. The administration has already notified Canada of its intent to impose the tariffs, which will be retroactively applied to cover the past 90 days. "It is around $5bn a year worth of lumber that comes in this way. And the Canadians have roughly a 31.5% market share of the whole US softwood lumber (market)", ROSS noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo's living will approved after 'deficiencies' fixed - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO directors yesterday got a boost ahead of what could be a stormy meeting with shareholders as regulators waved through the lender's "living will" four month after they hit it with sanctions for failing to comply. The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said WELLS had "remediated the deficiencies" in its plan for how it would avoid a bailout and wind down if it were hit by a crisis. The bank will no longer be subject to the restrictions after the Fed and FDIC gave the green light to its latest living will. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece to sell stake in port operator to German-led consortium - Kerin Hope

A German-led consortium is the highest bidder for a two-thirds stake in OLTH, operator of the port of Thessaloniki, in a deal valued at €1.1bn, Greece's privatisation agency HRADF said yesterday. The disposal of the country's second-largest port was agreed under terms of its current bailout by the EU and IMF. Private equity firm DEUTSCHE INVEST EQUITY PARTNERS, France's TERMINAL LINK and Greece's BELTERRA INVESTMENTS offered €231.9m for 67% of OLTH shares. The price represents a 70% premium over the shares' market value. The consortium will also take over operation of the port for 34 years under a separate concession agreement, projected to bring in more than €170m in additional revenues. It will invest €180m over seven years to upgrade the container terminal and other facilities, with another €500m of investments and divident payments projected over the concession period. The sale must be approved by state auditors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar says retail sales rise for first time since 2012 - Pan Kwan Yuk

Shares in CATERPILLAR rose by the most in 10 weeks yesterday after the group reported its first rinse in three-month rolling machine sales in four-and-a-half years. Worldwide machine sales reported by dealers rose 1% for the quarter to end-Mar. y/y, the first such rise since Nov. 2012. CATERPILLAR has cautioned in its recent quarterly earnings that the rebound in commodity prices over the past 12 months has yet to translate into an increase in equipment purchases. Mining companies have remained cautious and opted to trim costs by renting or buying used equipment. Demand from the resource sector remains weak, with rolling three-month sales down 19% in Mar. Demand has been coming instead from the construction sector in Asia, where sales are up 56% y/y during the period. Sales of engines, motors and pumps used in oil wells were up 15% y/y. CATERPILLAR is due to report its Q1 earnings later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New LME CEO prepares for transition - Henry Sanderson

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE will plan for an overhaul of its trading structure to attract more financial investors as it faces competition from futures exchanges such as the CME GROUP. Newly appointed CEO MATT CHAMBERLAIN yesterday launched a 56-page discussion paper that aimed to open a path forward for reform. The document suggested a move towards a monthly cash settled futures contract targeted at financial investors. The LME said it would "plan for a potential industry-led managed transition to a more monthly market structure", from its current three-month trading structure used by the global mining and metals industry. The LME provides contracts for metal traded daily up to three months. Financial investors, however, generally prefer trading a standard monthly futures contract that allows for easier buying and selling. CHAMBERLAIN said the exchange wanted to ask whether it could make its market more attractive to other users, apart from its physical metal users. "We definitely want to drive volumes

Kimberly-Clark cuts lower end of sales guidance - Pan Kwan Yuk

Shares in KIMBERLY-CLARK, the company behind Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissue, fell 1.8% in pre-market trading yesterday after it lowered the bottom end of its FY organic and net sales forecasts. The company said it now expects organic and net sales growth between 1% and 2% this year, compared to a previous assumption of about 2% growth. "The update reflects modestly higher assumptions on average for several raw materials, including pulp, recycled fibre and polypropylene resin", the company said. The revision comes as KIMBERLY-CLARK posted Q1 net sales that were little changed y/y at $4.48bn. Within this, organic sales fell 1% during the quarter. Huggies nappies volumes in North America fell by mid-single digits during Q1 "reflecting category softness, competitive activity and less promotion shipments". Sales at the consumer tissue products unit fell 3% to $1.5bn during the period amid a 7% slump in North American sales volumes. Net income came in ahead of forecasts, rising 3% to $563m, or $1.57/shar

Halliburton sees rapid increase in North American oilfield activity in Q1 - Adam Samson

Oilfield activity in North America "increased rapidly" in Q1 2017, HALLIBURTON said yesterday in the latest sign of a rebound in the shale revolution. The oilfield servicing comp;any said its North American revenues soared 24% q/q to $2.2bn, led by "increased pricing and utilisation" in the US land sector. Land revenue rose almost 30%. In international markets, revenues fell 8% sequentially to $2bn. Revenues fell 11% and 12% in the Europe and Africa and Middle East and Asia regions, respectively. Overall, HALLIBURTON's Q1 net loss narrowed to $32m, from $153m q/q and $2.4bn y/y. Revenues rose 6.4% y/y to $4.3bn, matching estimates. Adjusted profits, excluding certain items, of 4cps beat expectations by a penny. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPG sweetens offer for Akzo Nobel - Michael Pooler

US paintmaker PPG has made what it called its "last" friendly invitation to buy AKZO NOBEL, by tabling a third bid to take over the Dutch company for €24.6bn. PPG made the new cash-and-stock offer for the Dutch group, consisting of €61.50 in cash and 0.357 shares of PPG's common stock. The figure includes a dividend payment that AKZO NOBEL's shareholders would be due should the company remain independent. The revised proposal valued each share in the Dutch group at €96.75 apiece. PPG said the offer valued AKZO NOBEL's equity at €24.6bn. The company's previous bid was at €90/ordinary share. AKZO NOBEL has refused two prior offers on the grounds they undervalued the company, would lead to job cuts and result in significant disposals to appease antitrust regulators. The Dutch group said it would review the offer "in accordance with its fiduciary duties". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Whirlpool cuts profit guidance over European integration challenges - Jessica Dye

WHIRLPOOL cut its FY earnings outlook yesterday, placing the primary blame with "temporary integration challenges" in the European, Middle Eastern and Africa market following its 2014 purchase of Italy's INDESIT. The US group said it now expects FY EPS to come in at $12.65-$13.40, versus its previous estimate of $13.25-$14.25, due in part to the integration issues. WHIRLPOOL said it has been experiencing "peak complexity" in the EMEA region related to the INDESIT integration, which it said led to a temporary disruption in its supply-chain network and product availability. Earnings for the quarter to end-Mar. fell short of analysts' forecasts, with net income coming in at $153m for the quarter, translating to $2.01/diluted share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected net income of $163.2m and EPS of $2.11. Revenue came in at $4.78bn for the quarter, in line with analysts' estimates and a slight improvement over the $4.6bn reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alcoa earnings top estimates, but revenue disappoints - Mamta Badkar

ALCOA yesterday reported weaker-than-expected revenue growth but upbeat earnings for Q1 and said it expects aluminium demand to rise in 2017. The company swung to a profit of $225m, or $1.21/share in the quarter to end-Mar. That compares with a loss of $210m or $1.15/share y/y. That included $108m of special items largely due to gains from the sale of the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of 63cps topped analysts' forecasts of 48cps. Revenues rose 5% y/y to $2.7bn, driven by higher aluminium and alumina prices but were shy of forecasts of $2.96bn. ALCOA predicted that global aluminum demand will rise between 4.5% and 5% in 2017 y/y. It expects the bauxite and alumina markets to be "relatively balanced", while it estimates a surplus of 300 000t-700 000t in the aluminium market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CEF mum on fate of PetroSA board members - Liesl Peyper

The Central Energy Fund yesterday declined to comment on a report that LUVO MAKASI, who was appointed CEO, allegedly asked board members of PETROSA to step down with immediate effect. BusinessLive yesterday reported that MAKASI asked the SOE's board to provide reasons as to why they should not be dismissed following PETROSA's dismal state of financial affairs. "We wish to put it on record that the CEF would not comment on an internal matter at this stage", CEO spokesperson JACKY MASHAPU said. The Sunday Times in Dec. reported that executives at PETROSA benefited from a legal opinion that said "affordability" should not qualify as a justifiable reason not to pay bonuses. The bonus payouts to executives took place amid large-scale retrenchments at the SOE to curb costs and amid financial losses that amounted to billions of rands over the past two financial years. Between Jan. and Jun. 2016, 250 employees were dismissed. Despite this, bonuses were paid to 11 executives in Oct. and Nov., while the last paym

Aspen in CompCom price-fixing probe - Fin24

ASPEN PHARMACARE, which is under preliminary investigation for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, said it welcomes the process and the opportunity to set these allegations aside. The company said it is committed to full and constructive engagement with the Competition Commission. But it noted that pharmaceutical prices were approved by the Department of Health in terms of the Single Exit Price regulatory framework. "ASPEN has not increased pricing of its products outside of this regulatory framework", the company noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&A to feel impact of downgrade - Lameez Omarjee

The damage of the credit downgrade extends beyond foreign direct investment inflows and will also impact potential mergers and acquisitions going forward, according to KEVIN CRON, head of corporate M&A at Norton Rose Fulbright. This was because foreign investors are likely to be more cautious now that SA is rated sub-investment grade. Following the recent Cabinet reshuffle BMI RESEARCH looked at the impact on the economic outlook. Among the concerns raised was the consequence for investment. The research showed that less investor-friendly regulation such as the Mining Charter Amendment and the proposed Expropriations Bill would be negative. CRON said the downgrade would likely cause fewer transactions than there would have been. However, CRON said there are opportunities that could still arise. Investors with a "bigger risk appetite" might see an opportunity to get assets in SA more cheaply. "Domestically we may see more activity emanating from South African companies due to domestic factors like new

Hummingbird's Yanfolila gearing up for production - Anine Kilian

The development of HUMMIINGBIRD RESOURCES' Mali-based Yanfolila mine is progressing on time and within budget. The company yesterday said structural, mechanical, plate work and piping work have been under way for over three months, with the plant foundations largely complete. The ball mill is complete and due for delivery to site next month, while work on the carbon-in-leach tanks is expected to be finished then too. "With the overall project now 60% complete, we are happy with how the Yanfolila construction is shaping up so far", HUMMINGBIRD CEO DAN BETTS said. HUMMINGBIRD also signed a fuel supply contract with ZEN PETROLEUM MALI. The government of Mali will pay the company $11m for an additional 10% stake in Yanfolila. The company also received the first tranche of $25m post quarter-end from CORIS BANK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo nears Eskom power supply contract - Bloomberg

The DRC signed a provisional agreement to import power from SA that could boost copper production this year by as much as 20%, the country's chamber of mines said. State-owned power company SNEL proposed importing 200MW from ESKOM at meetings in Johannesburg held earlier this month, said BEN MUNANGA, chair of the energy commission at the chamber. ESKOM has 1 000MW available for export for as long as 10 years but only 200MW can be delivered to the DRC because of grid constraints in the transmission network between the two countries. Still, that could help to boost the country's copper production by as much as 200 000 metric tonnes, MUNANGA said. SNEL estimates that demand from copper mines outstrip supply by 750MW, a shortfall that has been one of the biggest constraints on output growth in the past three years. ESKOM will sell the power to SNEL, which will add mark-up and transit fees before redistributing to the miners. This could increase the unit cost to mining companies by as much as 27%, but it's s

Amplats Q1 output up 1% y/y - Anine Kilian

A strong performance by its Mogalakwena mine has contributed to a 1% y/y rise in ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM's production to 571 900oz for the quarter to end-Mar. The mine's output rose 3% y/y to 111 900oz, with strong plant recoveries and increased throughput. Output at Amandelbult fell 12% y/y to 97 100oz due to unusually heavy rainfall which resulted in flooding, as well as industrial action. Output at Unki rose 2% to 18 900oz, while improved crew efficiencies and mining ground closer to the access shafts resulted in a 10% increase in production at the Union mine, which is being sold to SIYANDA RESOURCES, to 37 700oz. JV production was down marginally to 182 700oz, mainly due to a two-day illegal strike and lower grades impacting Kroondal, lower grades in the current mining area at Mototolo, and a fatality and Section 54 stoppage that impacted output at Bokoni. Refined platinum production increased by 121% y/y to 576 900oz. Sales volumes of 518 800oz for the quarter were up 26% y/y due to the increase in

Chevron's A$340m tax bill appeal in Australia dismissed - Esmarie Swanepoel

The federal government has welcomed a Full Federal Court decision to dismiss CHEVRON's appeal of a A$340m Australian Taxation Office bill. The court dismissed CHEVRON's appeal against an ATO ruling that the oil major had used an intra-company loan as a means to shift profits abroad, and thus avoided paying income taxes in Australia. CHEVRON said it was disappointed with the court ruling, and would review the decision to determine its next steps, which could include an appeal to the High Court of Australia. "As recognised by the trial court in the dispute, the financing is a legitimate business arrangement and the parties differ only in their assessments of the appropriate interest rate to apply", CHEVRON said. Federal Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON said the case was an example of why the government had provided additional funding to the ATO to enable the tax office to take the fight to major taxpayers and challenge aggressive tax structures in place. This news brief represents a summary of the original artic

CompCom approves buyout of ASA Metals' ferrochrome production assets - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal approve the proposed buyout by K2015356066 (NEWCO) of the ferrochrome production assets of ASA METALS. NEWCO is a newly created JV between SINOSTEEL and SAMANCOR. SINOSTEEL operates globally in the production, supply and procurement of a range of commodity products, mainly focused on the production and supply of steel. The Commission said the proposed deal "is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in the market for the production and supply of ferrochrome". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel production reaches 410mt in Q1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

SA produced an estimated 1.56mt of steel in Q1 2017, worldsteel said yesterday. This was roughly the same as the 1.54mt produced y/y and came on the back of flat y/y output in Mar. of 539 000t. Total global steel production for the 67 countries reporting to worldsteel reached 145mt during Mar., a 4.6% rise y/y, while Q1 production totalled 410.5mt, up 5.7% y/y. Asia produced 280.6mt of steel, up 5.4% y/y. The EU produced 42.5mt in Q1, up 3.8% y/y, while North America's crude steel output reached 29.3mt, up 7.1% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB welcomes Zambia, Ghana to bond index - Megan van Wyngaardt

The African Development Bank has added Zambia and Ghana to its African Bond Index, expanding the index to the eight most liquid sovereign bond markets in Africa. The ABI provides investors with a tool with which to measure and track the performance of Africa's bond markets. The composite index now comprises SA, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia local currency sovereign indices, with Ghana and Zambia joining this month. The ABI is managed in collaboration with the African Financial Markets Initiative, which works to deepen the continent's local currency bond markets, while creating an environment where African countries can access financing at variable terms. Meanwhile in Dec., the AfDB approved the creation of the first African multijurisdictional fixed-income enhanced ETF - the African Domestic Bond Fund - which will track the performance of the ABI. The ADBF is expected to launch in Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acquisitions add value to Rebosis's interim results - Megan van Wyngaardt

Despite a tough domestic economic environment, REBOSIS declared a dividend of 60.80cps for the HY to end-Feb. This amounted to a 7.1% y/y growth, within the company's 7%-9% guidance for the FY. Meanwhile, REBOSIS reported 40.3% y/y growth in its portfolio to R18.18bn as a result of its R4.9bn acquisition of BILLION PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS in Sep. 2016. This contributed revenue of R188m and profit after tax of R62.3m for the HY under review. Group profit for the HY increased to R1.42bn, up from the R1.38bn reported y/y. Property expenses also rose y/y, with the net cost-to-income ratio rising from 13% to 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Syrah awards logistics contract to Grindrod - Esmarie Swanepoel

SYRAH RESOURCES has awarded the graphite distribution and logistics services supply contract at its Balama project in Mozambique, to GRINDROD MAURITIUS. The contract includes the provision of long-haul trucking services for graphite concentrate from the Balama site to the Port of Nacala, as well as the purpose-built cross docu product storage and shipment containerisation some 4.7km from the port. The facility will be built and operated by GRINDROD and will be for the exclusive use of SYRAH over the term of the contract. The Balama operation is expected to produce an average of 365 0