Market News

Market News (INET BFA)

Updated market indicators for 28/03/2017

At 09h15 on 28 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.01 ZAR/EUR 14.12 ZAR/GBP 16.32 Gold 1252.15 Platinum 965.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.95 All Share 51724.91

Rand dives on Gordhan recall, breaks above R13/$ - Fin24

The rand, still reeling from President JACOB ZUMA's order that Finance Minister PRAVIN GORHDAN returm to SA from an internaitonal investor roadshow, burst through the R13/$ level this morning. No reason was given for the decision, but a government source said the Presidency had not given permission for the trip, a claim Treasury dispelled. GORDHAN's recall renewed fears of a Cabinet reshuffle, but also stoked rumours that the move may be linked to the court case involving the GUPTAS and banks. The case will be heard from Mar. 28 to 30 in the North Gauteng High Court. By 08:14 the rand had already lost 2.4% to trade at R13.04 to the dollar from its overnight close of R12.74 in New York. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand dives on Gordhan recall, breaks above R13/$ - Fin24

The rand, still reeling from President JACOB ZUMA's order that Finance Minister PRAVIN GORHDAN returm to SA from an internaitonal investor roadshow, burst through the R13/$ level this morning. No reason was given for the decision, but a government source said the Presidency had not given permission for the trip, a claim Treasury dispelled. GORDHAN's recall renewed fears of a Cabinet reshuffle, but also stoked rumours that the move may be linked to the court case involving the GUPTAS and banks. The case will be heard from Mar. 28 to 30 in the North Gauteng High Court. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

More senior staff casualties at Group Five - Roy Cokayne

GROUP FIVE executive committee member and HR head JESSE DOORASAMY has resigned, increasing the number of executives who will be leaving the company this month to three. GROUP FIVE yesterday said DOORASAMY would be leaving the company at the end of June. It added that its board had initiated a process for the appointment of a group HR director, which included the assessment of both internal and external candidates. DOORASAMY's resignation follows GROUP FIVE's announcement last month that CEO ERIC VEMER would be leaving within the next few weeks, and engineering and construction executive director and member of the executive WILLIE ZEELIE would be leaving at the end of Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Geldof firm invests in Africa - Reuters

BOB GELDOF's 8MILES private equity fund yesterday said it had acquired a minority stake in UK-incorporated BLUE SKIES, a fresh-cut tropical fruit producer with operations in several African nations. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. BLUE SKIES, founded in 1997 and with more than 4 000 employees to its name, posted revenues of £89.6m for the FY to end-Dec. It has plans to expand its core fresh-cut fruit business, increase production capacity in SA, launch a fresh juice operation in Egypt and develop new product lines for some of its markets in Africa. 8MILES typically invests $15m-$45m at a time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec FY profit up 18% - Reuters

CAPITEC BANK today reported an 18% rise in FY profit as it continues to push into transaction banking. CAPITEC said it gained 1.3m active clients, bringing its total to 8.6m customers over the past year as feeble growth in SA forced thrifty consumers to shop around. CAPITEC posted diluted HEPS of 3 270cps for the FY to end-Feb., up from 2 787cps y/y. Transaction fee income rose by 30% to R3.9bn, but interest income remains the lender's largest source of revenue, increasing 11% to R14.9bn. The total dividend per share rose by 18% y/y to 1 250cps. "We continue to grow our client numbers, branches and ATM network. This will provide us with the opportunity to offer new financial services in the future", the lender said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Demand for crocodile skins high as meat demand drops - Tawanda Karombo

PADENGA HOLDINGS yesterday said it remained confident that current prices would hold as appetite for crocodile skins held despite the fact that meat consumption had gone down. The company said the skin market had been unmatched by meat sales with the Asian market that looked lucrative in previous years now effectively closed. PADENGA said revenue for the FY to end-Dec. rose from $27.4m to $31.2m, leading to a dividend of 83cps. Turnover increased by 7% to $27.5m while basic EPS rose to 1.65cps. The company said it expected to sell 46 000 premium quality skins in 2017. The company reported a 24% drop in crocodile meat sales volumes to 220t. This also saw turnover from the category decline by 25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China plans fresh crackdown on Tangshan steel production - Emily Feng

China is planning a new crackdown on steel output in the city of Tangshan in a bid to prevent false reporting of mill closures by local governments reluctant to obey shutdown orders. Officials in the Hebei province have been sent a government notice stating that an investigative team had been sent to Tangshan to verify the closure of mills. The notice, sent at the weekend, cites orders from President XI JINPING and ZHANG GAOLI, the vice-premier, for Tangshan to probe the problem of falsely reported plant closures and rising steel output. The Hebei government declined to comment, while the authenticity of the memo was confirmed by a state-run industry group. China's state council last year set out plans to eliminate 100mt-150mt of steel capacity in a bid to restructure the economy from one driven by government-led infrastructure investment and exports to a more consumption and services-oriented model. The initiative was also aimed at reducing heavy smog and groundwater pollution in China. But local autho

Merkel toughens position on Brexit - Stefan Wagstyl

Germany has hardened its stance on Brexit as British PM THERESA MAY prepares to launch the historic exit negotiations on Wednesday. Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL has adopted a tough position on issues such as the UK's exit bill and the sequencing of negotiations, partly in response to increasing expectations that Britain will seek a hard Brexit. "We have no interest in punishing the UK, but we also have no interest in putting European integration in danger over the UK", German Finance Minister WOLFGANG SCHAUBLE said recently. "That's why our priority must be, with a heavy heart, to keep the rest of Europe - without the UK - as close together as possible". The hardening mood in Germany runs counter to hopes in London that Berlin would take a softer line because of pressure from the powerful car lobby, which is concerned about its sales and investments in the UK. While MERKEL previously insisted she wished to keep the UK "as close as possible" to the EU, Berlin has now given priority to maintaining the EU's fra

Banks face stiff test for EU 'passport' after Brexit - Claire Jones

The eurozone's top banking watchdog has warned it will take a tough line in policing banks that relocate operations from the UK in response to Brexit, saying that lenders must move enough staff and resources to the continent to cope with the risks that they would run. DANIELE NOUY, head of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, vowed to crack down on lenders seeking to save their market access on the cheap by running big operations through shell units or tiny branches, saying there could be no compromise when it came to financial stability. NOUY and her deputy, SABINE LAUTENSCHLAGER, yesterday said they were preparing for new strategies by banks that had to adapt to losing the "passporting" rights that come with Britain's EU membership. The passport allows banks and financial services companies to provide a wide range of services across the single market while only being legally domiciled in one EU country. "We will only grant licences to well-capitalised and well-managed banks", LAUTENSCHLAGER said. "We will

Ghana c.bank cuts interest rate - Mehreen Khan

Ghana's central bank yesterday cut its main policy rate by 200 bps after the economy saw a drop in inflation at the start of 2017. The move to slash rates to 23.5% marks only the second rate cut since 2011 after rates were trimmed back in Nov. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast no change this month. Inflation has now fallen for five months in a row, allowing policymakers to cut rates to their lowest since Aug. 2015. Still, at 13.2% the annual pace of price growth remains above the central bank's 8% target rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bubble-wrap maker to sell hygiene unit - Mamta Badkar

SEALED AIR, the company best known for making bubble wrap, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its DIVERSEY CARE division and the food hygiene and cleaning business to BAIN CAPITAL for around $3.2bn. The company bought DIVERSEY HOLDINGS in 2011 in a cash-and-stock deal that valued it at around $4.3bn. At the time experts had questioned why SEALED AIR would pay a premium for the business. Last year, SEALED AIR CEO JEROME PERIBERE had said the company was interested in spinning off NEW DIVERSEY and that its shareholders would have 100% ownership of the common stock after the spin-off was completed. Yesterday's deal includes the DIVERSEY CARE division, which accounts for about 29% of SEALED AIR's overall revenues, and the food hygiene operations within its Food Care division, which together have been dubbed NEW DIVERSEY. The new entity generated net sales of $2.6bn in 2016. SEALED AIR expects to use the proceeds of the deal to repay debt, repurchase stock and fund core growth initiatives. The

Saudi govt slashes tax rate for Aramco ahead of IPO - Anjli Raval

Saudi Arabia yesterday announced a lower tax rate for SAUDI ARAMCO as the latter prepares for a 5% listing late next year. A royal order was issued to cut the tax rate for SAUDI ARAMCO from 85% to 50%. The tax rate is a key component in determining the valuation and dividend policy for SAUDI ARAMCO, which officials have said is worth $2tn. SAUDI ARAMCO CEO AMIN NASSER said the new tax rate "will bring SAUDI ARAMCO in line with international benchmarks". Investors and energy sector analysts have said ARAMCO's high tax and royalty payments to the state are one factor that could reduce its valuation. But with a 5% listing, the kingdom will remain the company's largest shareholder and in turn would get paid a dividend. SAUDI ARAMCO earlier this year had recommended the government approve a tax rate of 50%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap climbs as Morgan Stanley says 'buy' - Hannah Kuchler

Shares in SNAP rose 4% in New York yesterday morning as the company received five 'buy' ratings from analysts including lead underwriter MORGAN STANLEY. SNAP was just shy of its first day price, trading at $23.59, after a rocky ride since its IPO at the start of the month. Many of the initial analyst notes had recommended selling the stock because of concerns the loss-making company was overpriced and faced fierce competition. MORGAN STANLEY issued an 'overweight' rating and a $28 price target, saying it was "bullish" on its young, engaged audience and its ability to increase the number of advertisements it sells to target them. MORGAN STANLEY analyst BRIAN WOMACK said SNAP will likely not make an adjusted profit until 2020, but then will be able to scale to healthy margins by 2025. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse to finalise capital raising plans 'as soon as possible' - Don Weinland

CREDIT SUISSE CEO TIDJANE THIAM yesterday said the bank will finalise capital raising plans as soon as possible, but declined to give a specific time frame. The lender is reportedly considering a capital raise of SFr3bn-SFr5bn and continues to restructure globally. CREDIT SUISSE reported a net loss of SFr2.7bn in 2017 after in Dec. agreeing a settlement with US authorities over the alleged mis-selling of toxic mortgage securities, which led to a Q4 charge of $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek bank deposit outflows hit €1bn in Feb. - Mehreen Khan

Greece's banking system has taken a fresh hit from the country's bailout talks this year, registering its worst deposit outflows since the height of its debt crisis in the summer of 2015. Latest figures from the European Central Bank showed households and businesses pulled €1.1bn from the country's lenders last month, moderating from the €1.7bn withdrawn at the start of the year but marking the worst two-monthly outflow since Greece was brought to the brink of a eurozone exit nearly two years ago. Greece is still waiting on the approval of its second bailout review to unlock some €6bn in rescue cash Athens needs to pay off its bills and avoid default this summer. But officials in the EU and IMF have been at loggerheads over the budget targets, debt relief and reform measures baked in to the three-year bailout agreed in 2015. The IMF is demanding Europe ease up on its budget deficit targets for the country after the end of the rescue programme in 2018, while also pushing for bolder tax hikes and pens

Brussels regulators approve Dow DuPont merger - Rochelle Toplensky

Brussels yesterday cleared the $140bn merger of DOW CHEMICAL and DUPONT's global businesses, the first of three megadeals that will reshape the global agri-chem industry, after the companies agreed to sell major parts of DUPONT's global pesticide business to alleviate watchdog concerns. DOW and DUPONT agreed to sell almost all of DUPONT's global R&D organisation to mitigate Competition Commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER's main competition concern - that there will be continued innovation in crop protection products. Most of DUPONT's existing pesticide business will also be sold, along with two of DOW's petrochemical manufacturing facilities, as together the companies would be too powerful in these markets. Regulators will decide on the other two mergers - CHEMCHINA's $44bn purchase of SYNGENTA, and BAYER's $66bn purchase of MONSANTO - later this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Louis Dreyfus eyes sale of controlling stake in metals unit - Neil Hume

LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY is eyeing the sale of a controlling stake in its metals unit as it seeks to focus on its core agricultural business and reduce its debt load. The privately owned company had been looking to sell a non-controlling stake in LDC METALS, which has become one of the world's largest metals traders since it was founded in 2006. But LDC is now prepared to sell a majority stake if it can find the right partner, sources said. LDC declined to comment. LDC is looking to focus on its core operations trading grain and oilseed. As part of these plans, it is seeking partners for its metals, dairy, fertiliser and orange juice units, which have been deemed noncore. These partners could help finance the units' expansion, and enable LDC to free up capital to deploy elsewhere in the company. It is not clear what price LDC has put on a controlling stake in its metals unit but a regulatory filing in the Netherlands indicates a book value of just over $275m. This news brief represents a summary of the

Poundland places 99p Stores into administration - Conor Sullivan

Discount chain 99P STORES has been placed into administration by POUNDLAND, which bought the rival discount chain for £55m less than two years ago. After POUNDLAND acquired the 99P STORES chain and its 252 shops in 2015, it began rebranding them and reassigning the leases. Sixty stores remained in a separate shell company, however, all of which have been closed. POUNDLAND said these unprofitable outlets were near to existing stores and that the vast majority of jobs had been transferred to those shops. Announcing the fall into administration on Monday, POUNDLAND, owned by STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL, blamed previous management for the failure. According to POUNDLAND's accounts for the year to Mar. 27 2016, pre-tax profits fell 19% to £35m. The filing showed that profits fell at pre-existing POUNDLAND stores and that the converted 99P STORES branches incurred a pre-tax loss. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DAWN will appeal Tribunal fine - Robert Laing

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK yesterday said it intended appealing a fine once it had been set by the Competition Tribunal. The company's share price shed 30% on Mar. 22 when the Tribunal decided to proceed with a case referred to it by the Competition Commission in May 2015. DAWN's share has fallen 41% from R1.90 on Friday Mar. 17 to R1.13 on Monday. The case revolves around the Commission's claim that DPI PLASTICS, a subsidiary of DAWN, had colluded with a 49%-owned associated SANGIO PIPE. SANGIO subsequently also became a wholly owned subsidiary of DAWN in Jun. 2014, when its annual turnover was reported at R363m. The Commission on Sunday issued a statement saying it welcomed the Tribunal's finding that two manufacturers of regular high-density polyethylene pipes colluded between 2007 and 2012 to divide markets in SA. In its decision, the Tribunal said it was apparent that DAWN undertook not to manufacture HDPE piping for as long as it or its associates held shares in SANGIO. DAWN also undert

BHP shuts South Walker Creek coal mine ahead of Cyclone Debbie arrival - Reuters

BHP BILLITON yesterday said it was suspending operations at its South Walker Creek coal mine in Queensland with Cyclone Debbie bearing down close to the site. BHP said operations "will be temporarily suspended from end of day shift Monday 27th of March until the storm threat has passed." South Walker Creek produced 2.4mt of metallurgical coal in the HY to end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sappi appoints CellMark as lignin sales agent - Anine Kilian

SAPPI's Biotech division has appointed CELLMARK as nonexclusive sales agent for the Hansa lignin products produced in liquid and powder formats at SAPPI's Tugela mill in SA. Lignin is used internally for bioenergy generation or beneficiated and processed to technical lignins for sale to global lignin markets. "We are really pleased to partner with CELLMARK which brings an excellent fit to our Biotech business at a stage when accelerated market penetration is key to attain our growth targets", SAPPI Biotech head LOUIS KRUYSHAAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Huge appoints new CFO - Creamer Media Reporter

HUGE GROUP yesterday announced the appointment of ZUNAID BULBULIA as CFO with immediate effect. BULBULIA is succeeding group FD DAVID DEETLEFS, who will remain on the board as an executive director. HUGE said BULBULIA played a "pivotal role" in the acquisition of the CONNECTNET GROUP, as well as in various mobile network operator interactions. "Consequent to the recently announced acquisition of CONNECTNET BROADBAND WIRELESS and its wholly owned subsidiary company SAINET INTERNET, which is expected to be completed before the end of March, the board has decided that the company needs to establish a group structure that will allow it to manage effectively its existing operating companies and the future operating companies that it envisages acquiring", HUGE said. In effect, this had made BULBULIA the first direct employee of HUGE, with all other employees in the group being employed currently by the operating companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Construction fund will be 'open to public scrutiny' - Terence Creamer

Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL has pledged that all transactions pursued under the R1.5bn TIRISANO FUND - to be capitalised by the seven construction companies that recently signed up to the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme - will be "open to public scrutiny". Under the VRP, AVENG GRINAKER-LTA, BASIL READ, GROUP FIVE, MURRAY & ROBERTS, RAUBEX, STAFANUTTI STOCKS and WBHO have pledged to establish the development fund as part of a broader seven-year transformation package negotiated in the wake of findings of widespread collusion in the sector. Responding to a parliamentary question posed by the DA's MICHAEL CARDO regarding the fund, PATEL aid the trust to administer the fund was still in the process of being established and that funds will be dispersed only once trustees were in place to allocate funding on an annual basis. The money would flow through the National Revenue Fund and be appropriated by Parliament to the TIRISANO FUND to ensure Parliamentary accountability. "The Trust will report p

Erin enters farm-out agreement over two oil blocks in The Gambia - Megan van Wyngaardt

ERIN ENERGY CORPORATION has entered into a definitive farm-out agreement with ASX-listed oil and gas company FAR, which will acquire an 80% stake and operatorship of ERIN's offshore A2 and A5 blocks in The Gambia. ERIN will retain a 20% working interest in both blocks. FAR will pay ERIN $5.18m and will carry $8m of the company's share of costs in a planned exploration well to be drilled in late 2018. Blocks A2 and A5 are adjacent and on trend with FAR's 2014 SNE-1 oilfield discovery, which was the industry's largest offshore oil discovery that year. Since the drilling of the SNE-1 well, FAR has drilled five successful appraisal wells on the SNE field and increased the field's best case 2C contingent recoverable oil resource to 641m barrels on a 100% basis, according to FAR internal estimates. ERIN and FAR now plan to undertake reprocessing and interpretation of 3D seismic data recently acquired by the company to further mature identified prospects on Blocks A2 and A5. The agreement is subject ot approva

Columbia municipality votes to ban mining - Reuters

Voters in Colombia's Tolima province have backed a proposal to ban mining projects in their municipality, a result that raises questions about the future of an ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI gold exploration in the area. ANGLOGOLD may not be permitted to extract gold at its flagship Colombian La Colosa mine - a $2bn potential investment that could yield 28moz of gold - after 98.8% voted against allowing mining in a weekend referendum. About 6 165 citizens backed the ban, while 76 voted against it. Residents had previously expressed fears that extraction could damage ground water, but the company says the project will not affect the water supply. "We regret that because of a badly laid-out debate about mining in Colombia, the country and the region are now at risk of not receiving the benefits of well-done and responsible mining", ANGLOGOLD said. The group has invested some $900m in Colombia since 2006. La Colosa is its largest of three projects in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Vale completes Moatize sale to Mitsui, appoints new CEO - Henry Lazenby

VALE has completed the sale of its stake in the Mozambique-based Moatize coal project to MITSUI & CO, receiving an initial payment of $733m of the $770m all-scrip transaction. The remaining amount will be paid after the financing for the project is concluded, VALE said yesterday. MITSUI bought a 15% stake in VALE's 95% share in the coal mine. It is also buying half of VALE's 70% stake in the Nacala Logistics Corridor. VALE expects the equity transaction to close by month-end, and raise up to $2.7bn upon closing of the project financing before Dec. Meanwhile, VALE's board yesterday announced that FABIO SCHVARTSMAN has been appointed as the company's new CEO, replacing MURILO FERREIRA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turquoise Hill shares pop despite narrower FY profit - Henry Lazenby

The NYSE-listed stock of RIO TINTO subsidiary TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES rose sharply after market close yesterday, gaining nearly 6% to $3.24/share, following the company reporting an FY profit and positive production outlook. In 2016, the company recorded net income attributable to shareholders of $210.6m, compared with net income of $313.3m y/y. The decrease was attributed mainly to fewer gold ounces sold on the back of lower output and copper prices partly offset by cost reductions and adjustment to deferred tax assets. Revenue of $1.2bn in 2016 was down 26.4% y/y. Concentrate sold in 2016 of 828 600t was up 1.1% y/y. Cost of sales for 2016 were $861.8m, compared with $975m y/y, reflecting lower sales of metals in concentrate and reduced cost of production as a result of cost savings. Operating cash flows before interest and taxes in 2016 were $399.2m, compared with $650.5m y/y. All-in sustaining costs fell to $1.90/lb, down from $2/lb in the prior quarter, and rose from $1.56/lb in the y/y period.

Botswana Diamonds continues to progress exploration programmes - Anine Kilian

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS has completed a drilling programme on PL 186 on the Maibwe ground, in the Kalahari Desert, it said yesterday. "We identified the locations of the previously drilled holes where significant quantities of diamonds were discovered. We drilled three reverse circulation percussion holes in the immediate area to assess the accuracy of the earlier results. Samples are going for analysis", chair JOHN TEELING said. "Drilling deep inside the inaccessible Kalahari Desert is challenging but it was successfully accomplished by a BOTSWANA DIAMONDS team. Analysis will take up to two months", TEELING said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wesizwe to report higher FY2016 earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

WESIZWE PLATINUM expects to post improved results for the FY to end-Dec., with basic EPS forecast to increase by 144% to 164% to between 15.17cps and 22.01cps. This compares with the basic LPS of 34.20cps reported y/y. HEPS for the FY are expected to rise by 181%-201% to between 22.39cps and 27.91cps. Results will be published on Mar. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore to halt operations as cyclone nears - Reuters

GLENCORE yesterday said it was halting operations at its Colllinsville and Newlands coal mines in Australia ahead of Cyclone Debbie's arrival in northern Queensland. "We are preparing to temporarily suspend production at our Collinsville and Newlands coal mines but do not envisage any impact on our annual production forecasts", GLENCORE said. It added that operations were continuing as normal at its Oaky Creek, Clermont and Rolleston coal mines, Mount Isa copper and zinc operations, and Ernest Henry Mining copper complex. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Patel: No timeframe yet for IDC/NEF marriage - Liesl Peyper

There is no timeline yet for the proposed amalgamation of the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and the NATIONAL EMPOWERMENT FUND, Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL said yesterday. Responding to a parliamentary question by the DA's MICHAEL CARDO, PATEL said the "consolidation" was agreed upon in principle between himself and Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES, as well as the IDC and NEF. "[But] the timeframe for (the) conclusion thereof is not yet available", PATEL said. He maintained that it is government's goal to consolidate the number of public entities to avoid duplication of mandates and reduce overhead costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA's losses balloon to R4.5bn - Fin24

SAA's losses have escalated once more, to R4.5bn. This is R1bn more than reported just ten days ago. In the latest group income statement the national carrier provided to Parliament's standing committee on finance, it said the parastatal posted a loss of R4.490bn versus a budgeted loss of R1.4bn. "It is important to highlight that the budgeted loss did not take into account the expected movement of the exchange rate", SAA said. "This was because of the volatility it can present to the financials of the company; the best practice is not to budget for it". It further said the entity continues to make losses and that these are "largely driven by significant shortages of revenue and persistently high base cost". SAA will appear before the standing committee on Finance on Wednesday to report on its quarterly report, among other things. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cabinet reshuffle much bigger than Gordhan - Montalto - Liesl Peyper

Market reaction to President JACOB ZUMA's instruction that Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN immediately return from an investor roadshow to the UK and US shows that the bigger picture is not taken into account, NOMURA emerging markets economist PETER ATTARD MONTALTO said yesterday. In a note issued late yesterday, MONTALTO said the markets have focused too much on the Treasury and that a Cabinet reshuffle is also about ZUMA wanting to assert loyalty and rid the Cabinet of detractors, such as certain SACP members. "We should not forget that the whole point of a reshuffle is bigger", MONTALTO said. He noted that a Cabinet reshuffle would "surely" have been discussed during a meeting of the ANC's National Working Committee on Monday, although it was not officially on the agenda. He is of the view that it is more likely that deputy finance minister MCEBISI JONAS would be removed from his position than GORDHAN. "The risk of a GORDHAN exit is still clearly there and I think ZUMA is in favour of it, but he is pr

Rand tanks as Zuma's Gordhan move fuels reshuffle fears - Fin24

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN, who left the country on an investor roadshow to the UK and US on Sunday, was ordered by President JACOB ZUMA to return to SA immediately yesterday. The Treasury confirmed that GORDHAN will land in SA later today. The rand fell more than 3% on the news, and was trading at R12.77/$ by 18:30 yesterday evening, from a low of R12.82 reached in the session. Before the recall, the currency raced to an almost 2-year-high of R12.31 to the dollar. GORDHAN's call back fuelled speculation of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle, with analysts' reaction on ZUMA's move ranging from highly embarrassing, economic sabotage and pain-inflicting to the President being "hell-bent on breaking SA". The Banking Association of SA expressed deep concern about GORDHAN's recall from the investor roadshow. "This action by the Presidency rolls back the progress we have made as a country. It also militates against the imperative of ensuring political and policy certainty", BASA MD CAS COOVADIA said. The AN

Telkom may split company - Loni Prinsloo

TELKOM plans to break out its telecoms towers and real estate assets into a separate entity that may then be listed on a bourse, sources said. The new entity would be run by a new, property-focused management team charged with generating extra revenue for the company. TELKOM has one of the largest real estate portfolios in SA and CEO SIPHO MASEKO wants it to contribute more to earnings. The move extends a turnaround strategy at the company under MASEKO, who has cut costs and helped to engineer a near quadrupling of the stock price in his four years at the helm. The workforce has been reduced by around half to 12 000 people and the wireless unit is now profitable. The creation of the property business is part of the next phase of MASEKO's strategy, which will involve an examination of each of the company's operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell suspended amid fight over provisional liquidation order - David McKay

Trading in ROCKWELL DIAMONDS' shares has been suspended after a court in Kimberley issued an interim liquidation order on Mar. 24 against three of the company's local subsidiaries. "The company has been advised that the TSX has temporarily halted trading in t he company's shares in order to assess the impact of the announcement", ROCKWELL said in an announcement to the JSE. "Accordingly, trading in the company's shares on the JSE has been halted until such time as trading resumes on the TSX", it added. Commenting on the issue of the interim liquidation orders, ROCKWELL CEO TJAART WILLEMSE said it was "highly unusual" the court did not consider the company's opposing papers. "The order granted by Judge WILLIAMS is only a provisional order and although this is not unusual, it is quite unusual that it would be issued without considering the opposing papers, specifically when it contains forensic evidence of highly irregular and collusive activity", WILLEMSE said. "The company believes that the subsidiary co

Joffe bows out as Bidcorp exec to list new firm - TJ Strydom

BRIAN JOFFE will step down as executive chair of BIDCORP at the end of June to launch his own investment firm, BIDCORP said yesterday. BIDCORP was spun out of BIDVEST in a $5bn listing on the JSE in May 2016. JOFFE, who is also BIDVEST's chair, will take on the role of non-executive chair of BIDCORP, the first time he will not be part of the management of either company since founding the group in 1988. "BRIAN has informed the Board that he will be launching a new listed JSE investment vehicle which will not focus on activities competitive with the current BIDCORP's foodservice business", BIDCORP said in a statement. BERNARD BERSON will continue in his role as CEO of BIDCORP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shareholder in Sun Intl calls for Sun Dreams IPO - Nqobile Dludla

A minority shareholder in SUN INTERNATIONAL has requested that SUN DREAMS, its Latin American business, list on the Santiago or New York stock exchange via an IPO, the company said yesterday. SUN INTERNATIONAL, which also owns and operates casinos and hotels in a number of Latin American countries, merged with Chile's DREAMS S.A. in 2016 resulting in the group owning 55% of SUN DREAMS. One of the minority shareholders in SUN DREAMS is a private investment fund which owns 20% of the merged entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria c.bank to sell dollars to consumers at 360 naira - Paul Carsten

Nigeria's central bank will sell dollars to private individuals at 360 naira per dollar, it said in a tweet yesterday. The central bank has been intervening on the official currency market to try to narrow the spread with the black market rate, which was 520/$ a month ago after it devalued the naira for retail consumers to 375. The currency traded at 315/$ on the official market yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 28/03/2017

At 05h03 on 28 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.80 ZAR/EUR 13.91 ZAR/GBP 16.09 Gold 1254.76 Platinum 968.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.79 All Share 51549.88

US durable goods orders rise in Feb., but capital spending dips - Pan Kwan Yuk

US businesses boosted their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in Feb. for a second consecutive month, but a closely-watched gauge that tracks investment spending slipped. The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 1.7% last month following a 2.3% advance in Jan. Excluding transportation equipment, orders rose by only 0.4%, missing estimates of a 0.6% rise. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft - seen as a proxy for business investment in big-ticket items - dipped 0.1%, badly missing expectations for a 0.5% rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia cuts interest rates in Mar. for first time in seven months - Mehreen Khan

Russia on Friday surprised markets by cutting interest rates for the first time in seven months as inflation has come back under control and growth is showing welcome signs of returning in the oil-dominated economy. Policymakers at the central bank opted to cut their main rate by 0.25 percentage points to 9.75%. Rate-setters said the risk they would miss their 4% inflation target this year had "abated" with further rate cuts a "possibility" over the coming quarters. Inflation has dropped from a peak of 17% to just 4.6% last month - a near five-year low. Cental bank chief ELVIRA NABIULLINA said regulators would lower the key interest rate "gradually, possibly with a few pauses and while retaining a moderately tight monetary policy". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone loan growth slows in Feb. - Mehreen Khan

The pace of credit growth to households and businesses in the eurozone fell back a little in Feb. Monthly money supply data from the ECB showed the annual rate of loan growth to consumers rose by 4.3% in Feb. y/y, down from 4.6% in Jan. Today's figures suggest some of the shine on the continent's steady recovery could be coming off even as inflation has hit a four-year high in Feb. The M1 measure of money supply was unchanged at 8.4%, while the M3 measure slipped back to 5.4% growth from 5.5% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 27/03/2017

At 11h48 on 27 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.52 ZAR/EUR 13.59 ZAR/GBP 15.73 Gold 1257.06 Platinum 979.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.65 All Share 51518.08

Barclays launches first ETF in east Africa - John Aglionby

BARCLAYS BANK launched the first ETF in east Africa today with the listing of the BARCLAYS NEWGOLD ETF on the Nairobi bourse. The product is a cross-listing of the $1.4bn NEWGOLD ETF that listed on the JSE in 2004 and is also listed in give other African markets. Its initial size in Kenya will be Ks500m, but could be increased if there is sufficient demand. GEOFFREY ODUNDO, CEO of the NAIROBI SECURITIES EXCHANGE, said the exchange, which is the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa after Johannesburg and Lagos, plans to launch a derivatives market later this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore prices lead industrial commodities lower - Hudson Lockett

The price of iron ore in China fell as much as 6.7% in China today as markets reacted to data showing port inventories of the commodity rose again last week. Iron ore futures contracts traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange had recovered slightly in afternoon trading to be down 6% at Rmb545.5/t. The drop puts the price of iron ore at the lowest level since Jan. 10 and represents a fall of 17.6% from the most recent intraday peak of Rmb661, seen on Mar. 16. The fall comes after iron ore inventories at China's ports rose for the second week running to a record 132.5mt, according to figures published on Friday. Meanwhile, Shanghai copper futures were down 1.8% and futures in Dalian for coking coal dropped 3.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual continues to unbundle - Reuters

OLD MUTUAL has sold a 25% stake in its US fund management arm to China's HNA for $446m, as part of its plan to split itself into four entities. The group has said it plans to dual-list its UK asset management and African EM businesses in London and Johannesburg, and reduce stakes in US firm OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT and NEDBANK. The sale to HNA CAPITAL US, part of HNA's financial services unit, cuts OLD MUTUAL's remaining stake in OMAM to 26%. The two-stage OMAM deal involves the sale to HNA of a 10% tranche at $15.30/share and 15% tranche at $15.75/share, at about $1 premium to Friday's closing price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun Intl scraps dividend, profit falls - Nqobile Dludla

SUN INTERNATIONAL scrapped its dividend, seeking to conserve capital to reduce debt and complete its R4.2bn Time Square casino as the company reported a profit loss today. The group is scheduled to open its second-largest casino and entertainment complex in SA next month. "The group's main focus in the immediate future will be to reduce debt and bed down the implementation and integration of recent acquisitions", the company said. "Taking account of the difficult trading conditions, the need to complete strategic group initiatives, particularly Time Square, and the need to reduce debt, the board decided not to declare a dividend for the period". Diluted HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. fell to 223cps, from 344cps y/y. The group's core casino operations in SA were negatively affected by sagging demand from gamblers due to "difficult trading conditions and reduced consumer spend", with casino revenue down 2.7%. Group revenue grew 31% to R7.7bn, with growth attributable to the inclusion of the DREAMS S.A. merge

Vitol oil trading volumes surge in 2016 - Neil Hume

VITOL has reported a sharp rise in trading volumes to more than 7m bpd. The company said its crude oil and product volumes rose by 16% to almost 2.6bn barrels in 2016, an average of 7m bpd, in an annual update on its performance. While crude oil volumes rose 16% y/y to 3.4m bpd, VITOL said the largest growth had come from gasoline, up 44%, and diesel, up 26%, because of increased demand in both established markets and Africa. VIYTOL did not release profit figures but said turnover was $152bn, down from $168bn y/y due to a lower average oil price over 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fastjet poaches more SAA execs - Nicholas Megaw

FASTJET on Friday announced the appointment of a new chairman, CFO and non-executive director as it looks to recover after being forced to go through a series of fundraisings to keep itself in the air. RASHID WALLY, currently chairperson of SAA subsidiary MANGO, will take over as non-executive chair. He is the second senior MANGO executive to join FASTJET in the last year, following the appointment of former MANGO CEO NICO BEZUIDENHOUT in June. FASTJET also announced the departure of CFO LISA MITCHELL, who will leave "to pursue other opportunities". She will be replaced by MICHAEL MULLER, who has been at the company since Nov. and was previously the CFO of AIR CHEFS, another SAA subsidiary. PETER HYDE also joins the company as non-executive director. HYDE was previously CEO of EASYBUS, the airport shuttle business set up by EASYJET founder SIR STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse boosts bonus pot by 6% - Ralph Atkins

CREDIT SUISSE bucked the trend set by some of its European peers and increased bonuses by 6% last year as CEO TIDJANE THIAM pressed ahead with the restructuring of the Swiss bank. Total variable incentive compensation awarded rose to SFr3.09bn in 2016 from SFr2.92bn y/y, the lender's annual report showed on Friday. CREDIT SUISSE posted a net loss of SFr2.7bn last year after agreeing a settlement with US authorities over the alleged mis-selling of toxic mortgage securities. The group's annual report showed THIAM received total compensation of SFr11.9m last year. That was less than SERGIO ERMOTTI at UBS, who received SFr13.7m. In 2015 THIAM received SFr4.57m for the period he worked at CREDIT SUISSE. The lender's bonus pool was shared between 43 412 employees in 2016, up from 43 225 the prior year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US drillers add more oil rigs since Jan. - Mamta Badkar

US drillers added the most oil rigs since Jan. last week, further fuelling concerns that rising US output will frustrate OPEC's efforts to rebalance the oil market. US drillers bought 21 oil rigs back online last week, BAKER HUGHES said on Friday. Drillers have now added oil rigs every week this year barring one to bring the total operational rigs to 652, compared with 372 a year ago. It is also the highest level since Sep. 2015. The rally in crude prices after OPEC and non-members struck a deal late last year to curb output by 1.8m bpd in H1 2017 have prompted US drillers to move mothballed rigs back online. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 to put R6.1bn back in shareholders' pockets - Fin24

SOUTH32 today announced that it intends to return an additional $500m to shareholders. This equals 4.5% of the group's current market cap. The capital management project, which complements the company's dividend policy, will initially take the form of an on-market share buy-back in Australia. SOUTH32 chair DAVID CRAWFORD said: "The combination of our operating leverage, strong balance sheet and simple capital management framework is designed to maximise returns and reward shareholders as financial performance improves". CEO GRAHAM KERR said the $500m capital management programme "meaningfully increases shareholder returns and follows the recent announcement of our $192m interim dividend". The timing and number of shares purchased under the on-market share buy-back will be contingent upon the prevailing share price and market conditions. It is not subject to shareholder approval and will be funded from existing cash reserves. The programme is expected to be completed over a 12-month period and all alter

Capitec ventures into foreign waters - Adiel Ismail

CAPITEC BANK is making its maiden venture into international markets. The lender on Friday announced it will purchase a 40% stake in CREAMFINANCE for €21m, in a deal described as an "appropriate match" by CEO GERRIE FOURIE. CREAMFINANCE uses sophisticated technology and advanced smart data credit scoring methods to provide online consumer loan products. The European firm has an international footprint in Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Denmark and Mexico. FOURIE said the prospect of entering international markets was a part of CAPITEC's initial plan. CREAMFINANCE's online business model has been developed in such a way that new countries can be entered swiftly and efficiently, requiring limited investment in local infrastructure. "CAPITEC's focus will be to provide strategic input and give access to skills in key areas such as information technology, credit management and the development of term loan products, thereby assisting CREAMFINANCE to further grow its international business", FOURIE

Koko's stepdaughter nets R1bn in Eskom contracts - Kyle Venktess

KOKETSO CHOMA, the stepdaughter of acting ESKOM CEO MATSHELA KOKO, netted at least R1bn in contracts awarded to her company in the past 11 months. The Sunday Times reported that CHOMA, who graduated just three years ago, was appointed as a director at IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL in 2016. Since then, IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL secured 9 contracts awarded by the utility. ESKOM said that when KOKO became aware of CHOMA's involvement in IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL, in Aug. 2016, he had asked her to resign. "This was duly done by Ms CHOMA in September and October 2016. Thus no legal obligation for Mr KOKO to declare his interest", ESKOM told Fin24 yesterday. ESKOM also denied allegations that KOKO had instructed FRANS SITHOLE, a project director at the Kusile power station in 2015, to ensure that IMPULSE gets work from Kusile after their services were terminated at the Medupi power station. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Novus scoops prestigious training award - Eugenie du Preez

NOVUS HOLDINGS showed its commitment to artisan development by clinching a prestigious training award in Pretoria. The group's training facility NOVUS ACADEMY won the Gold award in the Best Artisan Development Programme, small to medium enterprise category at the National Skills Development Awards gala last week. Noting the shortage of specialised skills in the marketplace, NOVUS established the academy in 2011, which has since grown to a world-class facility dedicated to providing the most advanced training programmes aligned to international curricula. The academy's apprenticeship programmes offer successful applicants the opportunity to earn an income while working towards an internationally certified trade qualification. "For us this achievement is a result of great team effort as each and every person that has been supporting the NOVUS ACADEMY and its work, including our apprentices, learners and employees, have all contributed to our success", NOVUS executive head of HR NICO GROBBELAAR said. This

Denel heads to court to dispel doubts over legality of Denel Asia JV - Natasha Odendaal

DENEL has taken to the North Gauteng High Court to clear up doubts over the legal standing of DENEL ASIA, a JV with VR LASER ASIA. The parastatal on Friday applied to the High Court in Pretoria for an order declaring that it obtained approval to form the JV with VR LASER ASIA and that DENEL ASIA was duly established after following and complying with all the relevant prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act. "In spite of the company's numerous attempts to work with the National Treasury to explain the legal processes followed in establishing the DENEL ASIA JV, this matter remains unresolved and continues to unfairly cast doubt on DENEL's reputation and governance regime", DENEL acting group CEO ZWELAKHE NTSHEPE said. DENEL's founding affidavit cites Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and the Treasury as the first and second respondents respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metair sees 7% drop in profit, inks supply deal with Daimler - Irma Venter

METAIR has secured a multiyear supply agreement, from 2018 onwards, for the supply of enhanced flooded start/stop batteries to DAIMLER in Europe, MD THEO LOOCK said last week. LOOCK said the company had also started production of its first lithium-ion automotive and industrial products. He said the fast-growing trends of vehicle connectivity, autonomous driving, shared car use and electric cars were all placing increased "electrical demand on vehicles". Industrial product development includes providing batteries for use in conjunction with solar panels, or systems similar to TESLA's Powerwall. METAIR reported a 16% rise in revenue for the Fy to end-Dec. y/y to R8.95bn. Group operating profit declined by 7% to R731m, owing mainly to costs and production inefficiencies associated with new model launches within TOYOTA, as well as operation-specific challenges experienced at HESTO and FIRST NATIONAL BATTERY. HEPS declined by 8% to 229cps. LOOCK said MUTLU AKU in Turkey and ROMBAT in Romania delivered "a pl

Transnet offers voluntary severance packages to staff - Megan van Wyngaardt

TRANSNET on Friday confirmed it is offering voluntary severance packages to its management and bargaining unit employees to streamline its business and ensure the utility's long-term sustainability. It cited subdued global economic growth, including a weak outlook for the local economy, as the reasons for initiating the VSP programme. The United National Transport Union in response said its "worst fear" regarding TRANSNET had now become a reality, and would affect thousands of its members who are employed at the utility. In support of employees who opt to take VSPs, TRANSNET will provide support services in the form of psychological and financial counselling; guidance on financial transition and a social plan which includes opportunities for enterprise development for employees who would like to pursue business opportunities. The group expects to conclude the process at end-Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore bond tanks, scuppers Anglo's return - Reuters

GLENCORE sold its first US dollar bond in two years on Tuesday, but the deal tumbled after pricing as a global sell-off added to a backlash against the deal's tight spread. The $1bn 10-year trade is the company's first since Apr. 2015, and follows a recovery in commodity prices since the global decline that began that year. While GLENCORE raised relatively cheap money, investors were unimpressed, with some dropping out of the deal when the spread was tightened and others dumping the bonds after pricing. The bonds widened 4 bp in the grey market after launching at Treasuries plus 170 bps - 10 bps inside initial price thoughts. GLENCORE had offered a new-issue concession of around 8 bps on the trade, but the book was less than twice covered, with final demand of $1.75bn. The issuer was caught out by growing investor discontent over dwindling new-issue premiums, as well as a broader sell-off triggered by concerns around President DONALD TRUMP's reforms. The deal priced around 12 bps wider than where GLENCO

Escondida outcome seen as disaster for BHP as workers return - Reuters

The end of a historic strike at Chile's Escondida mine has left owner BHP BILLITON nursing an estimated $1bn loss and probably in a weaker position for negotiations in a year or so, company and industry insiders said. On Thursday, the union at the mine decided to end the strike after 43 days by invoking a legal provision that allows it to extend the old contract by 18 months. Workers told Reuters on Friday they were satisfied with the result. Although they lose out on any signing bonus or pay rise, the extension means they get to maintain current working conditions and benefits, which Escondida wanted to change. Their position in 2018 will also be stronger thanks to new labour laws in Chile coming into effect next month. Negotiators underestimated the determination of the union to keep their benefits, and did not expect workers to trigger the legal provision and wind up losing out on their bonus, company insiders said. BHP has not given an estimate for the cost of the stoppage, but extrapolating from it

Vale says US court annuls most of class action over dam disaster - Reuters

VALE on Friday said the US District Court for the Southern District of New York annulled the majority of a class action lawsuit against the company and executives over the collapse of the tailings dam at the company's SAMARCO JV in Nov. 2015. The only parts of the case that remain ongoing are linked to specific statements by VALE in 2013 and 2014, and a conference call in Nov. 2015, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell in trouble as court issues interim liquidation order on three subsidiaries - Henry Lazenby

A judge in Kimberley last week issued an interim liquidation order against three subsidiaries of ROCKWELL DIAMONDS. The interim court order does not affect the parent entity. The liquidation application was enrolled on the opposed motion roll in Kimberley high court for Thursday. The interim orders include ROCKWELL RESOURCES RSA, HC VAN WYK DIAMONDS and SAXENDRIFT MINE LTD. The interim decision stems from an action by ROCKWELL's former contractor C-ROCK MINING, which launched a liquidation application against the three subsidiaries. According to ROCKWELL, in launching its application, C-ROCK relied on an alleged 'service level agreement' a contract mining agreement that an internal company-led forensic probe was found to have been awarded to C-ROCK under "highly irregular" circumstances. The subsidiaries filed late answering affidavits and applied for condonation, owning to the need to conclude an intensive three-month forensic probe that, according to ROCKWELL, uncovered proof of "highly irregular and

Goodlace joins Kumba board - Natasha Odendaal

Former IMPALA PLATINUM CEO TERENCE GOODLACE has joined the board of KUMBA IRON ORE as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect. KUMBA is also on the hunt for a suitable candidate to succeed outgoing audit committee chair ZARINA BASSA, who plans to step down as an independent non-executive director at the company's May 11 AGM. In addition, KUMBA parent ANGLO AMERICAN reported the exit of ANGLO SA executive head ANDILE SANGQU and group head of processing NATASCHA VILJOEN as non-executive directors of the KUMBA board with immediate effect. SEAMUS FRENCH, CEO of ANGLO's Bulk Commodities business, and ANGLO FD designate STEPHEN PEARCE will join the KUMBA board as non-executive directors with immediate effect to represent ANGLO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kusasalethu strike ends - Megan van Wyngaardt

A two-day unprotected strike at HARMONY GOLD's Kusasalethu mine drew to a close on Friday afternoon, following talks between HARMONY's senior management and the senior leadership of AMCU. "I am pleased that the matter has been resolved and that operations at Kusasalethu will return to normality. Today, the parties demonstrated that they are willing and able to put their differences aside in the best interests of our employees and their families", CEO PETER STEENKAMP said. Workers embarked on the strike at the start of the day shift on Thursday, with HARMONY saying this was in retaliation for its suspension of AMCU branch leadership that had encouraged an earlier go slow at the mine. Workers also did not report to work for Thursday's night shift of Friday's day shift. HARMONY suspended the branch leadership after only 25% of the Kusasalethu workforce reported for duty on Wednesday. The go-slow was in response to disciplinary procedures against 40 employees following an illegal sit-in at the mine in Jan.

CRG raises funds for working capital, concentrator circuit - Megan van Wyngaardt

CENTRAL RAND GOLD has raised £300m via the issue of 60m new ordinary shares at an issue price of 0.5pps. The proceeds will be used for working capital and building a 60 000t/m concentrator circuit aimed at upgrading the gold grade of mine waste dumps materials before further metallurgical processing and civil construction. Under the terms of the placing agreement, CRG has agreed to grant warrants to its broker BRANDON HILL over 3.6m new ordinary shares. Each warrant entitles BRANDON HILL to subscribe for one new ordinary share at the placing price per ordinary share. The broker warrants may be exercised within three years from the admission date of the placing shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio awards A$900m in contracts as Amrun mine development progresses - Esmarie Swanepoel

Production and shipping from the Amrun bauxite mine in Queensland is on track to start in H1 2019, with RIO TINTO last week announcing the award of more than A$900m of contracts to suppliers in the Australian state. Queensland Premier ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK said RIO's investment in local and regional suppliers will provide a boost to the state economy. RIO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said the company was proud of the contribution the asset was making in supporting Queensland communities, pointing out that more than 1 600 people have been engaged by contractors to work on the project so far. Around 77% of those contracted are from Queensland and 70% are new hires. The project will produce at an initial rate of 22.8mt/year, with the option to expand to up to 50mt/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue pays down more debt - Esmarie Swanepoel

FORTESCUE METALS has announced a $1bn repayment of its 2019 term loan. CEO NEV POWER said the $1bn payment continues the company's debt reduction strategy, lowering the group's all-in cost position and reducing the 2019 debt to less than $1bn. The term loan repayment will be made on Mar. 30, and will generate an annual interest saving of around $38m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's largest pension fund increases stake in Capricorn group - Nyasha Nyaungwa

CAPRICORN INVESTMENT GROUP on Friday announced that the GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS PENSION FUND of Namibia - the country's largest institutional investor - had acquired a 25% stake in the financial services firm for about N$2bn and also lent it money. The GIPF increased its stake in CAPRICORN to 26%, making it the second largest investor in the firm. CAPRICORN operates as an investment holding company with interests in banking, insurance and asset management in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. CAPRICORN's majority shareholder, CAPRICORN INVESTMENT HOLDINGS' stake fell to 40.5% following the deal. CIH and CAPRICORN GROUP chair KOOS BRANDT said the GIPF had also offered a long-term debt of N$1.3bn to the company as part of the transaction, adding that the funds would help reduce the company's capital and liquidity risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF holds talks with Zambia over possible aid programme - Chris Mfula

The IMF on Friday said it held talks with Zambian officials over the possibility of an aid programme, and said there was a range of facilities available for the country. The parties began talks in Mar. 2016 about a potential aid package after agreeing the budget deficit was not sustainable. The government hopes to conclude a programme with the Fund in Q1 2018. The IMF said it backed Zambia's fiscal consolidation measures outlined in its 2017 budget, and said it expected the country's economy would grow by 3.5% this year from 3.0% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia: Tanzania export ban costing $1m in daily revenue - Rahul B

ACACIA MINING last week said it was incurring an average daily loss of more than $1m in revenue at its two mines in Tanzania du to a local government directive banning exports of gold and copper concentrate. Tanzania's energy and minerals ministry imposed a ban earlier this month on sending copper concentrate or mineral sand for processing abroad, putting 30% of ACACIA's revenue at risk. ACACIA said its mines continue to operate as normal at present but added that it will reassess how long it can continue to produce as normal if the ban remains in place. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 27/03/2017

At 07h18 on 27 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.40 ZAR/EUR 13.45 ZAR/GBP 15.54 Gold 1256.41 Platinum 972.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.75 All Share 51839.91

Workforce has trained nearly 15 000 - Sandile Mchunu

WORKFORCE HOLDINGS said it has trained nearly 15 000 and helped more than 3 000 to prepare them for the workplace during the past year to end-Dec. The company said the training programmes were in line with its aim of assisting in fighting chronic unemployment in SA by providing access to appropriate training, health care wellness, financial services and lifestyle benefits to South Africans. The company said it had trained 14 573 people and helped a further 3 109 to get learnership programmes during the period. WORKFORCE said its revenue for FY2016 had increased by 29.4% to R2.52bn, up from R1.95bn y/y, while EBITDA had also jumped 29.4% to R137.9m, up from R106.6m y/y. HEPS increased by 20.1% to 40cps, up from 33.3cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's 2016 capex hits record $3.3bn - finmin - Camillus Eboh

Capital released to Nigeria's ministries and government agencies under the 2016 budget has reached a record 1tn naira, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday. The minister said the money was released for projects that included road improvements, expansion of irrigation facilities and the upgrading of the country's aviation infrastructure. "With the current stability in the oil price and the return of normalcy in Niger Delta, I am sure we will do more this year", ADEOSUN said, referring to militant attacks on oil facilities in the country's energy hub. The attacks last year cut crude output by more than a third at their peak. Lawmakers have said they aim to pass the 2017 budget by end-Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brait suspends LSE listing plan on Brexit uncertainty - TJ Strydom

BRAIT SE has suspended plans to list on the LSE, the investment firm said on Friday, citing uncertainty over Britain's decision to leave the EU. BRAIT last year said it intended seeing a premium listing in London to boost its profile and tap deeper capital pools. "We're of the view that at this point in time, there's just too much uncertainty as to exactly how Brexit is going to pan out", BRAIT's head of investor relations MARK PARSONS said. "But we are very much of the view that in the longer term, it would be beneficial for shareholders to be listed on the London Stock Exchange because our portfolio now comprises quite a few UK-based companies", PARSONS added. BRAIT has a primary listing in Luxembourg and a secondary listing in Johannesburg. Its NAV declined 21% in the quarter to end-Dec. as the pound weakened against the rand and lacklustre sales in NEW LOOK weighed on results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's maize output seen rising 84% in 2017 - Tanisha Heiberg

Local farmers are expected to harvest 84% more maize this season compared with the 2016 season as yields were boosted by good rains, a Reuters survey of five traders showed on Friday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee is seen pegging the harvest at 14.35mt compared with 7.78mt last year. The range was 14m-15.19m ha. The poll is 3% higher than the CEC's last forecast of 13.918mt following improved weather conditions brought by a La Nina weather system. Improved weather conditions has lowered prices and helped improve SA's inflation outlook. The white maize contract ending in May fell to more than a two-and-a-half year low on Friday after it closed down 5.49% at R1 772/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria overnight lending rate hit 100% last week - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's overnight lending rate rose as high as 100% last week after the central bank withdrew naira liquidity to offset dollar purchases, but it fell sharply on Friday as the government disbursed budget funds via the banking system. Overnight rates fell to 10% on Friday after the government passed 285bn naira for Feb. allocations through the money market, reducing borrowing costs. The central bank has been intervening on the official market to try to narrow the currency spread with the black market rate. The central bank sold $100m in forwards on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's black market naira nears c.bank rate for consumers - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's naira firmed to 390/$ on the black market on Friday, up 2.6% from its previous session and near the central bank's rate for consumers, traders said. The central bank has been intervening on the official market to try to narrow the naira spread with the black market rate, which was 520/$ a month ago after it devalued the naira for retail customers to 375/%. On the official interbank market, the currency was quoted at 307 on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FirstRand's Namibia unit gets approval to buy money manager - Nyasha Nyaungwa

FIRSTRAND's Namibian unit has secured regulatory approval to buy out a fund manager, it said on Friday, as part of the lender's stated plan to bulk up in that country. FNB NAMIBIA has not disclosed how much it is paying for POINTBREAK, which also owns a majority stake in lender EBANK and has more than N$8bn under management. The deal is part of FIRSTRAND's cautious expansion elsewhere in Africa and coincides with the planned launch in Namibia of its asset management business, ASHBURTON INVESTMENTS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nando's franchisee has reason to crow - Tawanda Karombo

NANDO'S, CHICKEN INN and STEERS tills are chiming for Zimbabwe-listed SIMBISA brands, which has counters in the country as well as markets such as Zambia, Mauritius and the DRC despite worsening economic conditions in the region. INNSCOR AFRICA unbundled SIMBISA and listed it separately in 2015 and it seems to be raking in the profits, with basic EPS for the interim period to Dec. 2016 strengthening 2% to 0.86c after operating profits rose 3% to $10.4m. The company, however, has said its potential remains curbed by the downturn in commodity-driven markets such as the DRC and Zambia as well as difficult economic environment and liquidity challenges in Zimbabwe. Despite the challenges, the appetite for the group's fast-food products that include pizza, chicken meals and burgers has remained strong. Group income for the interim period solidified 3% to $79m. The company reported it grew its customer count 7% during the period compared to the previous comparable period. This news brief represents a summary of the

Market indicators for 24/03/2017

At 09h41 on 24 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.47 ZAR/EUR 13.43 ZAR/GBP 15.57 Gold 1244.50 Platinum 959.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.74 All Share 51866.78

Woolworths to combine Country Road Group and David Jones into one group - Robert Laing

WOOLWORTHS is combining its Australian subsidiaries COUNTRY ROAD GROUP and DAVID JONES into one group called WHL AUSTRALASIA‚ it said this morning. The retailer said this was a logical step after it moved the head office of DAVID JONES in Sydney and the COUNTRY ROAD GROUP head office in Melbourne to a single campus based in Richmond‚ Melbourne. It has promoted JOHN DIXON — a former executive of UK retailer MARKS & SPENCER who was appointed DAVID JONES CEO in 2015 — to WHL AUSTRALASIA CEO from Sep. Today's statement did not mention SCOTT FYFE‚ who was appointed COUNTRY ROAD CEO in Sep. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HNA raises Deutsche Bank stake - Don Weinland

China's HNA GROUP has increased its stake in DEUTSCHE BANK to 4.76%. Shareholding information for DEUTSCHE showed that C-Quadrat, the asset manager through which HNA made its original purchase of a 3.04% in DEUTSCHE in Feb., had increased its stake. The Chinese conglomerate, which controls airlines, hotels, banks and logistics companies, said upon taking the initial stake last month that it was a passive investor, staving off fears among investors that HNA would seek to take a strategic role in the lender. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australian beef exports to get $304m boost - Alice Woodhouse

Australia's beef industry is set to get an estimated A$400m ($304m) boost after China agreed to up the number of processors permitted to export the chilled meat to the country. A joint statement issued during Chinese Premier LI KEQIANG'S visit to Australia outlined plans to increase the number of establishments allowed to export meat to China and expedite the applications from 15 companies waiting to join this list. There are currently 11 establishments permitted to export chilled meat to China. The agreement partially reverses a 2013 ban on chilled Australian beef over food safety concerns. China is Australia's fourth-largest beef market worth A$670m last year, up from less than A$100m in 2011, Australian government officials said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung exec plays down possible ownership restructuring - fastFT

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has damped growing investor expectations for changes in its ownership structure, saying that it will be difficult at this point to adopt a holding company structure - one of the key demands by US activist hedge fund ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT. KWON OH-HYUN, the company's CEO, said at the annual shareholder meeting today that SAMSUNG continued to review "all the options from multiple perspective, including legal, tax and strategic aspects," but the process has "revealed certain adverse implications in such a transition, at this point, we see challenges in implementing a holding company structure." His comments offered investors their first glimpse into how SAMSUNG is viewing potential restructuring in its governance structure amid a leadership vacuum, with its de facto leader LEE JAE-YONG standing trial over his role in the massive political corruption scandal that has toppled South Korea's former president PARK GEUN-HYE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Huishan Dairy shares plunge 90% - Peter Wells

Shares in CHINA HUISHAN DAIRY HOLDINGS, a company that was targeted last year by activist hedge fund MUDDY WATERS, have taken a sudden plunge of more than 90%, making for one of the biggest-ever falls on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Hong Kong-listed company has now requested a trading halt following a share price move that wiped off about $4.1bn in market capitalisation. Shares had been trading relatively flat until 10.30am local time when they started to dip. The sell-off accelerated rapidly about an hour later, sending shares down as much as 91.1%. Shares had recovered slightly to be 85% lower at HK$0.42 going into the local lunch break, having closed at HK$2.80 yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australian bank stocks up as lenders lift rates - Peter Wells

Australian bank stocks were firing today, recovering from a mid-week slump and also as a number of lenders lift interest rates on certain types of mortgages in response to higher funding costs. The moves by a number of Australia's major banks come ahead of an expected regulatory crackdown on lending to riskier investors and low-deposit borrowers. ANZ BANKING GROUP said it was lifting interest rates for variable rates paid by investors and interest-only borrowers. WESTPAC today announced a series of changes to its suite of fixed loan products, and last Fri. said it would increase variable home loan rates for owner-occupiers, investors, self-managed pension funds and interest-only borrowers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan manufacturing gauge slips - Hudson Lockett

Growth at Japanese manufacturers softened to a three-month low in Mar. as output and new orders increased at a slower rate. The preliminary reading for the Nikkei-Markit purchasing managers' index dropped to 52.6 last month, down from Feb.'s reading of 53.3 and moving closer to the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. Production grew at a slower rate, dragged lower by softer growth in new orders and a weaker rise in demand from abroad, according to the gauge's sub-indices. While input costs rose at a slower pace, prices charged to clients fell into contraction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rising sales push Micron shares higher - Jessica Dye

Semiconductor maker MICRON TECHNOLOGIES saw its shares soar in after-market trading yesterday after it announced its latest quarterly revenues were 58% higher than the same time a year ago. MICRON CEO MARK DURCAN credited the results from the Q2 of its fiscal 2017 to "strong demand and limited industry supply" for its DRAM and NAND memory chips, as well as ongoing cost-cutting efforts. Since the Q1 of the fiscal year, DRAM average selling prices have jumped 21%, while trade NAND sales volumes have risen 18%. Revenue for the three-month period ending Mar. 2 were $4.65bn, in line with what analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected. Net income attributable to MICRON shareholders was $894m, or 77c/diluted share, versus the $887.8m profit and 78c/share earnings analysts expected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Twitter explores subscription-based option - David Ingram

TWITTER INC is considering whether to build a premium version of its popular Tweetdeck interface aimed at professionals, the company said yesterday, raising the possibility that it could collect subscription fees from some users for the first time. Like most other social media companies, TWITTER since its founding 11 years ago has focused on building a huge user base for a free service supported by advertising. Last month it reported it had 319m users worldwide. But unlike the much-larger FACEBOOK INC, TWITTER has failed to attract enough in advertising revenue to turn a profit even as its popularity with US President DONALD TRUMP and other celebrities makes the network a constant center of attention. Subscription fees could come from a version of Tweetdeck, an existing interface that helps users navigate TWITTER. TWITTER is conducting a survey "to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck", spokeswoman BRIELLE VILLABLANCA said in a statement yesterday. This news brief represents a sum

New home sales up, jobless claims rise - Lucia Mutikani

New US single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month high in Feb., suggesting the housing market recovery was gaining momentum despite higher prices and rising mortgage rates. Other data yesterday showed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. Still, the labor market continues to tighten, which together with the strength in housing, should underpin economic growth. The Commerce Department said new home sales increased 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month, the highest level since Jul. 2016. Sales have now more than recouped the sharp drop suffered in Dec. In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended Mar. 18. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 80 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller. The job market i

Amazon's Mideast move to shake-up regional retail - Simeon Kerr

AMAZON founder JEFF BEZOS'S visit to the cavernous Dubai Mall in Nov. last year with real estate tycoon MOHAMED ALABBAR sparked feverish speculation of a tie-up to transform the region's nascent ecommerce market. But only a few months later, AMAZON has instead made its own move, this week concluding five months of negotiations to agree to acquire 12-year-old SOUQ.COM, and setting up a battle for the region's fast growing digital sales market with the Gulf's most influential business figures. Competition for the market has suddenly become fierce. ALABBAR, chairman of Dubai developer EMAAR, had been showing BEZOS the region's biggest shopping centre, nestled in the shadow of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bob Iger to stay on as Disney CEO until 2019 - Shannon Bond

BOB IGER will remain at the helm of WALT DISNEY until July 2019 as the world's largest media company continues to search for a successor to the man who has masterminded more than a decade of expansion. IGER, 66, was due to step down as chairman and CEO next year, but told investors last month that he was open to extending his contract if it was in "the best interests of the company". DISNEY has yet to lay out a succession plan after its previous heir apparent, TOM STAGGS, stepped down as COO nearly a year ago. IGER'S annual salary, target stock awards and target bonus will not change but he will receive an additional cash bonus of $5m for extending the contract. In 2016 he was paid $43.9m in salary, bonuses and stock awards. IGER, who succeeded long-time CEO MICHAEL EISNER in 2005, has overseen the acquisitions of some of the entertainment industry's best-known and most lucrative franchises, including Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel, as well as the international expansion of the company's theme parks. This news

Ford warns profits set to fall - Patti Waldmeir and Mamta Badkar

FORD said that slowing new car demand in the US and rising costs could halve its Q1 EPS compared with last year's record Q1. The Detroit carmaker's shares slipped in New York yesterday after the company said in a statement that it now expected pre-tax profits of $9bn in 2017, down from $10.4bn last year. It expected profits to rise again in 2018. Last Sep. FORD warned that profits would fall this year as it ramps up investments in new technology. FORD and other carmakers are investing heavily in new technologies, from self-driving cars to ride-sharing, depressing profits in the near term in a drive to prepare for dramatic changes in car ownership and usage patterns in future. The company said last month it would invest $1bn over the next five years in a new driverless car unit ARGO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers buys out retail partner LVMH - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN'S diamond specialist DE BEERS has bought the 50% stake held by French luxury goods group LVMH in De Beers Diamond Jewellers for an undisclosed sum, taking full ownership of the retail operation. Analysts said the joint venture no longer fitted LVMH's strategy, while ANGLO AMERICAN, which has long dominated global rough diamond sales, has been developing its presence on the high-margin diamond retail market. LVMH had no comment. DE BEERS said in a statement that fully integrating De Beers Diamond Jewellers would enable the group to enhance value. ANGLO AMERICAN, which along with other mining companies has largely recovered from a deep commodities downturn in 2015, has put diamonds, along with copper and platinum, at the heart of its portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold mining operations need to transform - Natasha Odendaal

GOLD FIELDS CEO NICK HOLLAND believes it is time for current gold mining operations to "fundamentally transform" into "mines of the future" in order to prosper. Speaking at the University of the Witwatersrand's (Wits') School of Mining Engineering's celebration of 120 years of service, yesterday, he pointed out that, while gold mining remains relevant and valuable, its structure has evolved to the extent that, to remain sustainable moving forward, the gold mines of the future have to be set up, structured and managed differently than the current approach dictates. Operating practices and technology, talent and leadership, partnerships with key stakeholders and industry partners and governance will play key roles in the development of these mines of the future over the next few years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Building Confidence Index continues to improve - Anine Kilian

The FNB/Bureau for Economic Research Building Confidence Index improved for the third consecutive quarter, rising by three points to 43 in the Q1 of this year. This marks the highest confidence in more than a year, FNB property economist JOHN LOOS said in a statement yesterday. The confidence of main contractors recorded a level of 42 index points in the Q1, six points lower than in the Q4 of last year. The drop in overall confidence was largely owing to lower confidence among residential contractors, while nonresidential contractor confidence was largely unchanged. According to the survey, the fall in residential contractor confidence was on the back of weaker building activity and keener tendering price competition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life insurance industry revolution - Kabelo Khumalo

The life insurance industry in the next 10 years would see a radical change in customer mix, with "traditional" consumers reducing sharply in favour of "digital natives" as the omnichannel revolution had begun to shape the future of the industry. This is according to the latest report released by professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The firm's strategy and life insurance in the Digital Age report said as customers had grown used to the service levels in other industries, they were similarly expecting the same from their life insurers. The report found more than a quarter of customers were willing to transact and manage their needs on a completely digital basis, with little or no personal interaction. The findings also noted that a growing share of life insurance customers searched for products online, although the conversion rate was still much lower than for short-term insurance. The report said customers were also more informed about product options and prices, which was influencing the

EnviroServ CEO faces charges over 'toxic' landfill site - ANA

DEAN THOMPSON, the CEO of waste management giant ENVIROSERV, will be criminally charged alongside the company on several allegations of contravening environmental legislation at ENVIROSERV'S Shongweni landfill site. The company has come under severe criticism over its management of the landfill by communities near and around the site. Residents have, since at least Dec. 2015, accused the corporation of being responsible for a multitude of illnesses including nosebleeds, asthma, bronchitis and headaches as a result of "toxic fumes" emanating from the site. GRANT WALTERS, the Department of Environmental Affairs' director of enforcement for environmental impact and pollution, said on Wed. if there was a guilty verdict, a maximum fine of R10m could be issued and/or jail time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom signs electricity sales deal with Namibia - Reuters

State-owned power utility ESKOM said yesterday it had signed a new five-year electricity sales agreement with its neighbour, Namibia. ESKOM, the sole power provider in Africa's most industrialised country, has struggled to meet power demand in SA in the past due to its ageing infrastructure. Namibia, where power supply is under strain, normally imports electricity from neighbouring countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation - Business Report

SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT GROUP, which owns Independent Media, announced yesterday that they have instructed their attorneys Webber Wentzel to institute legal proceedings against TIMES MEDIA GROUP (TMG). The R500m damages claim follows the publication of an article, "Breaking the News", authored by ANN CROTTY. SEKUNJALO said the group would shortly announce similar instructions against other media outlets that have republished the offending article. Earlier this month Independent Media and the African News Agency also announced that they would sue TMG for R200m and R500m respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 24/03/2017

At 05h43 on 24 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.46 ZAR/EUR 13.43 ZAR/GBP 15.58 Gold 1243.93 Platinum 958.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.62 All Share 52027.98

CoAL COO resigns after being fined for insider trading - BDPro

COAL OF AFRICA (COAL) said yesterday its COO‚ MICHAEL JAKOBUS BRÖNN‚ who was fined R350‚000 earlier this month by the FSB's enforcement committee for insider trading‚ had resigned. BRÖNN was found guilty of buying 117‚000 shares on the JSE in May 2015‚ three days before the company announced it had been granted a mining right. The FSB said BRÖNN was aware at the time that the Department of Mineral Resources had approved an application for the company's Makhado project. The company said that it noted the resignation of BRÖNN following the judgment and fine lodged by the FSB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS has not yet paid almost R20bn worth of VAT refunds - Linda Ensor

The total value of VAT refunds‚ which had not been refunded by the SARS by end-Feb. amounted to R19.6bn of the R129.3bn claimed during the 2016-17 tax year‚ Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said yesterday. His written reply to a parliamentary question by DA deputy finance spokesperson Alf LEES comes in the wake of the announcement that the finance ministry has given Tax Ombud Judge BERNARD NGOEPE the go-ahead to conduct a systemic investigation of tax refunds by SARS. The ombud has been inundated with complaints about delays by SARS in paying refunds and allegations have been made that the tax authority was withholding tax refunds to boost its tax revenue collection performance. SARS was due to announce the amount of revenue collected in 2016-17 early in Apr. GORDHAN qualified his reply saying that the information he was providing was submitted by SARS and had not been verified by the Treasury. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral and RCL shares soar on Brazilian meat import news - Robert Laing

The share prices of South African chicken producers ASTRAL and RCL soared yesterday following the government's crackdown on Brazilian meat imports. ASTRAL'S share price gained 6% to R168 and RCL 5% to R16.79. On Wed.‚ the Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries said it had demanded a list of Brazilian companies implicated in the corruption scandal. The department said it had asked Brazil to ban all meat exports to SA from establishments accused of bribing inspectors to pass tainted meat until the issue had been resolved to the satisfaction of the South African Veterinary Authority. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral and RCL shares soar on Brazilian meat import news - Robert Laing

The share prices of South African chicken producers ASTRAL and RCL soared yesterday following the government's crackdown on Brazilian meat imports. ASTRAL'S share price gained 6% to R168 and RCL 5% to R16.79. On Wed.‚ the Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries said it had demanded a list of Brazilian companies implicated in the corruption scandal. The department said it had asked Brazil to ban all meat exports to SA from establishments accused of bribing inspectors to pass tainted meat until the issue had been resolved to the satisfaction of the South African Veterinary Authority. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Competition body accuses fresh-produce agents of cartel behaviour - Robert Laing

The Competition Commission carried out a search-and-seizure operation at the premises of nine fresh-produce market agents yesterday. According to the commission‚ SA has about 30 fresh-produce market agents‚ with about 80% of this market controlled by the biggest six players. The commission said it suspected the larger players of colluding to hold prices low until their smaller competitors ran out of fresh fruit and vegetables to sell‚ after which they sharply increased prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan says SAA will soon have a new CEO - Linda Ensor

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said yesterday he expected to finalise the process of appointing a new CEO for SAA by the end of the month. MUSA ZWANE has been acting CEO since late 2015‚ when he became the airline's seventh CEO in three years‚ and the lack of a permanent CEO has been one of the issues contributing to the instability of the airline under chairwoman DUDU MYENI‚ whose controversial term has been characterised by frequent clashes with Treasury. The time frame for the appointment of a permanent CEO emerged from a letter GORDHAN sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly BALEKA MBETE requesting permission for a delay in tabling the corporate plan for the three years 2017-18 to 2019-20. GORDHAN said the participation of the new CEO would be required in the corporate planning process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sea Harvest gets its JSE sea legs back - Robert Laing

SEA HARVEST returned to the JSE today‚ with 405‚812 shares trading for a total R5.3m by 10:30am. It traded between R12.70 and R13.50‚ an 8% premium to the placing price of R12.50. The ordinary shares of BRIMSTONE‚ the holding company unbundling SEA HARVEST into an independently listed group‚ rose 0.9% to R15.84 while BRIMSTONE'S N shares were unchanged at R15.49. On Fri.‚ BRIMSTONE said SEA HARVEST raised R1.33bn by placing 106m shares at R12.50 each. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acquisition lifts Workforce's earnings - BDPro

Recruitment group WORKFORCE HOLDINGS managed double-digit growth in FY profit‚ benefiting from organic and acquisitive growth. The small-cap company reported today that net profit increased 18.6% to R91.90m in the year to end-Dec. as revenue grew 29.4% to R2.52bn. HEPS rose 20% to 40c. WORKFORCE employs 1‚186 people and pays 32‚304 temporary contractors on a weekly basis. In addition‚ during 2016 the group trained more than 14‚500 people‚ issued more than 24‚000 lifestyle benefit insurance policies and conducted more than 50‚000 medical examinations through its 27 operating brands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony staff on illegal strike - Business Report

HARMONY GOLD said today employees at its Kusasalethu mine had embarked on an illegal strike. In a statement, the listed miner said the strike was in response to the suspension of AMCU's branch leadership, after the AMCU leadership encouraged illegal industrial action - a go slow - at the mine. AMCU has seemingly come from nowhere to become SA's largest mining union, taking the top spot from the NUM. HARMONY said AMCU branch leadership encouraged an illegal go slow at the mine, resulting in only 25% of the workforce reporting for work yesterday. The illegal go slow was called in response to the disciplinary procedures against 40 employees, following the illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu in January this year, the miner explains. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edgars Zimbabwe losing customers - Tawanda Karombo

EDGARS' Zimbabwe unit said yesterday it might have to turn to South African parent EDCON for merchandising support as it loses market share to informal traders who were importing second-hand clothing illegally. EDGARS ZIMBABWE MD LINDA MASTERSON said that the trade in second-hand clothing had made it difficult for the company to operate. The unit said it had noted a "depressed consumer demand for clothing", which was exacerbated by "stock-movement challenges". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CitiBank settlement details 'confidential' - Kabelo Khumalo

The Competition Commission refuses to disclose the exact percentage the R69.5m CITIBANK agreed to pay for its involvement in the currency manipulation probe constitutes of the bank's total turnover. The commission said yesterday it would not disclose the percentage as it was bound by the confidentiality agreement with CITIBANK, as the Competition Tribunal seeks to assess the fairness of the settlement reached last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pick n Pay cuts prices of 1 300 food items - Nicola Mawson

Listed retailer PICK N PAY is to spend R500m to reduce the costs of essential goods in celebration of its 50th birthday. The company said yesterday that it would cut prices of more than 1 300 essential items, lowering fruit, vegetable and meat prices, and putting more than 1 000 items on special to mark the milestone. Group executive of strategy and corporate affairs, DAVID NORTH, said the price cuts would generally be above 10% and, in some cases, above 20%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Revenues pull back for online trader IG - Chloe Cornish

IG GROUP, the UK's biggest online retail trading company, reported that the quiet winter trading period had pushed net trading revenues down 3.8% to £117.4m for Dec. 2016 to Feb. 2017. It comes as the retail trading industry faces a broad regulatory crackdown. The company pointed out that the slump was in comparison to the strongest quarter of the previous year, and that active client numbers were up 13% thanks to online marketing campaigns. Revenue per client was down 15%, or 7% if its lower client value non-leveraged business and Nadex, US exchange platform, are stripped out. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Worldwide push drives sales at Ted Baker - Conor Sullivan

Sales rose 16% at TED BABER as the fashion chain continued its worldwide expansion. Reporting results for the year to Jan. 28, the "affordable luxury" label said sales had risen to £531m, an 11% rise in constant-currency terms, as it opened stores in cities including Atlanta, Beijing and Madrid. Pre-tax profits rose 4.4% to £61m and the company announced a 12% rise in the dividend to 53.6p. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eddie Stobart to float on AIM - Nicholas Megaw

Logistics company EDDIE STOBART has announced plans to raise around £130m by listing on London's junior AIM market, three years after it was split off from the larger STOBART GROUP. The company, which is currently majority owned by a group of funds advised by Manx investment group DBAY, with the STOBART GROUP maintaining a 49% stake, expects to achieve a valuation "in excess" of £550m. The existing owners will hold no more than 30% of the company after the IPO, which is expected to take place next month. The company said it would use the proceeds to pay down existing debts, fund future growth and complete a bolt-on acquisition to strengthen its activities in the e-commerce sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GVC raises dividend - Murad Ahmed

Online gaming company GVC has raised its dividend for shareholders saying it is reaping the benefits of its £1.1bn acquisition of rival BWIN, even as the group incurs major costs from the transaction. The Isle of Man-based group, which also operates sites such as Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo, reported a pre-tax loss of €138.6m in 2016. This was mainly due to costs related to its purchase of BWIN which was completed last year. But the FTSE 250 company also said overall trading had been boosted by gains in sports betting, which more than made up for declines among its online casino games brands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Next shares jump - fastFT

Investors appear unfazed by the latest results from NEXT, which revealed a rare 3.8% decline in annual profits. At pixel time, shares are up by some 5.5%, taking the retailer to the top of the FTSE 100 and indeed, top of the Eurostox 600 index too. The cheery reaction may reflect the fact that the retailer clearly has a plan to get back on track, including a shift to less edgy fashion. It's also likely that a lot of the bad news had already been priced in after a gloomy post-Christmas trading update. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 23/03/2017

At 10h31 on 23 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.54 ZAR/EUR 13.53 ZAR/GBP 15.68 Gold 1247.29 Platinum 961.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.97 All Share 52023.38

Data traffic boosts China Mobile revenue - Alice Woodhouse

CHINA MOBILE saw wireless data traffic become its largest revenue source for the first time in 2016, outstripping the combined inflows from voice, text messages and multimedia messages. Operating revenue for the state-owned telecoms operator rose 6% y/y to Rmb708.4bn ($102.8bn), with revenue from telecommunications services up 6.7% and accounting for Rmb623.4bn. Wireless data traffic revenue grew by 43.5% y/y to account for 46.2% of annual revenue from telecommunications services. Net profit rose 0.2% to Rmb108.7bn ($15bn), coming in a median estimate from analysts of Rmb108.3bn compiled by Bloomberg. CHINA MOBILE raised its final dividend to HK$1.243/share ($0.16), bringing the total dividend for the FY to HK$2.2732/share, a payout ratio of 46%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WH Group shares jump 9% - Alice Woodhouse

WH GROUP, the world's largest producer of pork, reported profit grew 17% in 2016 as the company imported more pig meat into China in response to rising domestic prices. Hong Kong-listed shares in the company rose as much as 9% after it reported net profit for the year at $1bn, up from $866m in 2015. This beat a median analyst estimate of $953.5m compiled by Bloomberg. The Sino-US company, formed after the $7bn takeover of SMITHFIELD FOODS by China's SHUANGHUI INTERNATIONAL, reported operating profit from its fresh pork sector rose 141.2% y/y to $545m. The company said an imbalance of supply saw hog prices in China rise in the H1 of 2016, with the average price for the year at Rmb18.6/kg ($2.7), up 22% compared to 2015. Prices hit a peak in May of around Rmb20.5/kg, falling to Rmb17.5/kg in Dec., the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple buys start-up behind accessibility app Workflow - Tim Bradshaw

APPLE has acquired the start-up behind Workflow, an iOS app for creating shortcuts and automating processes. The move might lead to improved accessibility for disabled people using the iPhone or expanded capabilities for Siri, its virtual assistant. ARI WEINSTEIN, CONRAD KRAMER and NICK FREY, the three San Francisco-based developers of Workflow, are all in their early twenties. The trio won a design award from APPLE in 2015 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, with Workflow winning particular praise from APPLE'S accessibility team for helping visually impaired users to get more out of the iPhone. Launched in late 2014, Workflow's motto is "spend less taps, get more done". The app allows users to create their own shortcuts for a huge variety of functions related to iOS and third-party apps for iPhones and iPads. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Southern shares halted ahead of possible tie-up - fastFT

Shares in CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES entered a trading halt this morning ahead of an expected announcement on the possible sale of a stake in the carrier to AMERICAN AIRLINES. In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CHINA SOUTHERN requested the trading halt "pending the release of an announcement in relation to a possible major strategic cooperation". The company is in advanced talks to sell a $200m stake to AMERICAN AIRLINES, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. The news outlet said that under the discussions, it was possible AA might nominate an observer without voting rights to the Chinese company's board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verizon, AT&T suspend ads from Google - Reuters

US wireless carriers VERIZONE COMMUNICATION INC and AT&T INC said yesterday they had suspended digital advertising on GOOGLE'S YouTube and other advertising platforms not related to search over concerns that their ads may have run next to extremist videos. VERIZONE and AT&T joined a list of well-known British brands such as retailer MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC deserting ALPHABET INC'S GOOGLE. GOOGLE is under fire in Europe from politicians and brands angered by ads appearing alongside videos on its YouTube platform carrying homophobic or anti-Semitic messages. Google on Tue. vowed an overhaul of its practices. The company must act swiftly to ensure that more advertisers do not pile on, analysts say. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Zealand central bank leaves rates unchanged - fastFT

New Zealand's central bank yesterday held its benchmark interest rate at a record low, saying that further depreciation of the kiwi is necessary to "achieve more balanced growth". The Reserve Bank left the official cash rate unchanged at 1.75%, where it has been since last Nov. The decision matched economists' expectations. Governor GRAEME WHEELER said the trade-weighed exchange rate of the New Zealand dollar had fallen 4% since Feb., "partly in response to weaker dairy prices and reduced interest rate differentials". He said that while the fall was an "encouraging move", a greater drop would be needed to support the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Two 'buy' ratings bolster Snap shares - fastFT

Shares of SNAP, the parent of disappearing messaging app Snapchat, bounced as much as 9% higher yesterday after the company received a second "buy" recommendation from analysts in the wake of its closely watched stock-market debt. Since its IPO earlier this month, SNAP has received a total of 13 analyst ratings, according to Bloomberg data. Until this week, none of them put a "buy" on the company's shares. But that changed on Mon., when JAMES CAKMAK at MONNESS CRESPI HARDT initiated coverage of the company as a "buy" and a $25 target price, writing: This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ZTE pleads guilty in US court in sanctions case - Karen Freifeld

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE CORP yesterday pleaded guilty in US federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions by illegally shipping US goods and technology to Iran. The guilty plea was part of an agreement the company reached earlier this month with US authorities that also called for nearly $900m in fines and other penalties. US District Judge ED KINKEADE in Dallas accepted the company's plea to three charges: conspiring to export American-made items to Iran without a license, obstructing justice, and making a material false statement. Shenzhen-based ZTE has a US subsidiary in Richardson, Texas. A five-year investigation found ZTE conspired to evade US embargoes by buying US components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Baidu loses artificial intelligence chief - Louise Lucas

BAIDU lost its artificial intelligence chief, ANDREW NG, while ALIBABA pulled off the first step on its path to building a global trade platform for ecommerce. BAIDU and ALIBABA, together with TENCENT, which reported a 48% rise in FY revenues on the same day, make up China's immensely powerful tech trinity, known as BAT. They have a combined market capitalisation approaching $600bn and boast hundreds of millions of active users — but have so far made only small inroads overseas. The departure of NG deals a blow to BAIDU, which began life as a search engine, but has led the threesome on AI, where it has a team of 1,300 researchers reporting to NG. CEO ROBIN LI earlier this year described the technology as BAIDU'S "key strategic focus for the next decade". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan Chase climbs up the prime brokerage rankings - Lindsay Fortado

JPMORGAN CHASE is moving up the prime brokerage market, beating GOLDMAN SACHS for second place in the rankings of banking advisers to hedge funds. MORGAN STANLEY held the top spot while GOLDMAN slipped to third, according to a closely followed annual ranking by revenue compiled by Coalition, the industry monitor. JPMORGAN, which is aiming to reach the top spot, is prepared to take more risk in the area because it expects prime to bring in "halo revenue" by driving more business to its equities arm and electronic-trading platform. Prime brokerage, which offers securities lending, cash management, trading and other services to hedge funds, came under scrutiny by management during the financial crisis as a capital-intensive unit. Regulations around banks' funding requirements have hurt prime brokerage, since prime brokers often finance their clients' holdings by extending credit, inflating their balance sheet as a result. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jasco acquires 65% stake in Cross Fire for R52m - Natasha Odendaal

JSE-listed JASCO is acquiring a 65.4% stake in CROSS FIRE in a R52.3m deal with CROSS FIRE management and its CROSS FIRE founder JOHN CROSS. The addition of CROSS FIRE will bolster JASCO'S existing fire solutions portfolio in the blue-chip corporate market and lift it into the top three suppliers status of fire detection, suppression and protection solutions in various industries. JASCO said its "differentiation in the market" would be further enhanced with the addition of CROSS FIRE'S specialised system design and consulting capabilities to JASCO'S existing fabrication and deployment abilities, which was expected to improve margins in the fire unit. JASCO would settle the R52.3m acquisition in tranches, with an initial payment of R20m; a first maximum deferred payment of R16.16m, subject to CROSS FIRE'S financial performance for the 15-month period ending May 31, 2017; and a second maximum deferred payment of R16.16m, subject to CROSS FIRE'S financial performance for the 13-month period ended Jun. 30, 2018.

BMW SA invests in new warehouse, X3 production to start in 2018 - Irma Venter

BMW SA will, over the next two years, invest R400m in a new regional distribution centre and the expansion of its Midrand headquarters. The R400m investment is in addition to the R6bn injection, announced in Nov. 2015, to prepare the company's Rosslyn plant, in Tshwane, to build the next generation BMW X3 sports-utility vehicle. BMW SA currently builds the 3 Series for the local and exports markets. Delivery of the first new X3s from Rosslyn to customers will happen in 2018, said BMW SA and sub-Saharan Africa CEO TIM ABBOTT yesterday. Speaking in Midrand at a media briefing, he said South African production of the X3 had been brought forward owing to increasing global demand for BMW's X-model range. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 23/03/2017

At 06h11 on 23 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.54 ZAR/EUR 13.54 ZAR/GBP 15.66 Gold 1246.42 Platinum 963.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.97 All Share 52096.71

SA steel output rised by 3.6% to 496‚000 tonnes - Dominic Preuss

South African steel production rose by 3.6% y/y in Feb. to 496‚000 tonnes after falling by 4.2% in 2016 to an estimated 6.141 million tonnes‚ according to the World Steel Association. This compared with a 4.1% y/y rise in global steel production in Feb. to 136.5 Mt after a 0.8% rise in 2016 to 1.6285 billion tonnes. In 2016 crude steel production decreased in Europe‚ the Americas and Africa‚ but increased in the Russian Commonwealth‚ the Middle East‚ Asia and Oceania. Africa's production fell by 4.7% in 2016 to 12.189 Mt‚ so SA's share of African steel production was just over half. In Feb. 2017‚ Egypt overtook SA after its steel production surged by 46.8% y/y to 507‚000 tonnes. South African steel production fell by 7.6% y/y in the H1 2015 to 3.2 million tonnes as the industry battled with electricity supply disruptions and subdued domestic demand‚ but recovered in the second half of 2016 with a 3.1% y/y increase in Nov. to an estimated 498‚000 tonnes after jumping by 13.8% y/y in Oct.

Board changes at Eskom include Abram Masango's move to office of CEO - BDPro

ESKOM yesterday announced changes to its executive committee. Interim group CEO MATSHELA KOKO said movements in the executive committee structure were aimed at further strengthening the implementation of ESKOM'S design-to-cost corporate plan. The board had endorsed the secondment of ABRAM MASANGO‚ currently group executive for group capital‚ to the office of the group CEO with immediate effect. In his new role‚ MASANGO would assist ANOJ SINGH‚ group CFO‚ and KOKO with the execution of the 2017-18 corporate plan. PRISH GOVENDER‚ currently GM for capital assurance integration and special projects‚ will act as group executive for group capital with immediate effect. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P affirms Eskom's BB- rating - BDPro

Rating agency S&P yesterday affirmed ESKOM'Ss BB- global scale and zaBB+/ZaB ratings. The outlook remains negative. Citing the implicit‚ strong government support for ESKOM through the extension of the R350bn guarantee framework agreement utilisation period to Mar. 2023 from Mar. 2017 as the rationale for the affirmation‚ S&P also highlighted the power utility's challenging regulatory environment and its potential risk regarding the company's "liquidity and ability to service debt". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA suspends Brazil meat imports - BDPro

The Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries announced yesterday it had suspended imports of meat from establishments suspected to be involved in the Brazilian meat scandal. The department said it had requested Brazilian authorities to provide official information and a list of establishments that have been identified regarding unsafe meat being exported to various countries‚ which could include SA. It is not known how many consignments may have already left Brazil and are on their way to SA. However‚ the department said it was in the process of ensuring that the establishments implicated were suspended from exporting meat to SA until the Brazilian veterinary authority had fully investigated the matter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Legally enforce BEE in financial sector, says Msibi - Linda Ensor

Interventions such as BEE have not assisted in shifting racial economic barriers because they are voluntary and what is needed is legislative enforcement‚ group CEO of NUMSA INVESTMENT COMPANY KHANDANI MSIBI said yesterday. MSIBI was speaking on behalf of the Black Insurance Owners Association of SA in a presentation to a public hearing on the transformation of the financial services sector organised by Parliament's finance and trade and industry committees. He said the financial sector had not changed much since 1994 and remained "fundamentally untransformed". Black-owned insurance companies' share of the R2.2-trillion insurance industry was a mere 1%. The banking‚ retirement and medical aid industries were also untransformed. MSIBI said the financial sector charter had failed because it was voluntary. Regulators regulated in the interests of the big players in the industry and made it difficult for new entrants to gain access. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank way ahead of its peers in terms of employment equity - Linda Ensor

NEDBANK was clearly the leader in the banking sector in terms of employment equity at the top layers of its management structure‚ MPs noted yesterday. They were commenting on a presentation by NEDBANK CEO MIKE BROWN during a public hearing on the transformation of the financial services sector organised by Parliament's finance and trade and industry committees. BROWN told MPs that NEDBANK had maintained its Level 2 BBBEE ranking for the eighth consecutive year. Transformation‚ he said‚ was firmly embedded in its corporate strategy and was not just a question of compliance. BROWN said the bank realised it had to continue to transform and play a catalytic role in society‚ telling MPs that NEDBANK'S score under the financial sector charter in 2006 was 56.6‚ improving to 98.6 in 2016‚ the highest among the bank's peers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sinopec to buy 75% of Chevron business in SA, Botswana - Robert Laing

China's largest fuel company, SINOPEC, confirmed yesterday that it had reached an agreement to acquire 75% of US oil multinational CHEVRON'S businesses in SA and Botswana for about $900m. The other 25% equity of Chevron SA would continue to be held by a group of local shareholders. SINOPEC‚ whose full name is China PETROLEUM & CHEMICAL CORPORATION‚ said the assets it was acquiring included CHEVRON'S Cape Town refinery‚ which has a refining capacity of 100‚000 bpd; its lubricants manufacturing plant in Durban; a network of more than 820 service stations across SA and Botswana; and storage tanks and oil depot distribution facilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst stages strong turnaround in 2016 - BDPro

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES said today it was reasonably certain that its net profit after tax would be $45m for the year ended Dec. 31 2016‚ compared to a net loss after tax of $149m for the previous year — a 130% increase. In rand terms‚ net profit after tax would be R656m compared to a net loss after tax of R1.9bn for the previous comparative period — an increase of 135%. The earnings and HEPS were expected to be 6c (US) compared to a loss and headline loss per share of 20c‚ or in rand terms HEPS of 86c versus a R2.50 loss per share for the previous year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commitments in financial sector's draft BEE code 'too low' - Linda Ensor

The financial commitments made by the financial services sector in its draft code for BEE were too low and needed to be increased significantly‚ National Economic Fund CEO PHILISIWE MTHETHWA said in Parliament today. Both MTHETHWA and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Commission commissioner ZODWA NTULI pointed out deficiencies in the draft financial sector code‚ particularly with regard to ownership. They made presentations during public hearings by Parliament's finance and trade and industry committees on the transformation of the financial services sector. MTHETHWA said a fundamental deficiency of the draft financial service code was its lower 10% target for direct ownership‚ which compared unfavourably with the minimum 25% target in the generic BEE codes. The draft financial sector code allowed companies to use indirect ownership to meet the minimum 25% ownership target. NTULI criticised the draft code‚ saying it did not set timelines for the achievements of the targets that were "very low".

Uber launches new safety feature for SA - Fin24.com

Cab-hailing service UBER today launched a new feature in efforts to improve safety for passengers. Called Real-Time ID check, the feature prompts UBER driver-partners to share a selfie from time to time before going online. UBER then compares this image to the photograph already on file with the account through facial recognition technology. The system first identifies a face, then it builds a feature set by focusing on key features of the driver's face, and compares the feature set to the validated image UBER has on file. If the two images don't match, the account is temporarily blocked, while UBER looks into the situation. This helps UBER to ensure in real time that the driver-partner using the app matches the account it has on file. ALON LITS, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, said that it was important that the extra security feature did not inconvenience driver-partners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA current account deficit narrows - Lameez Omarjee

SA's current account deficit narrowed to 1.7% in the Q4 of 2016, the first time it reached this level in nearly six years, according to the Mar. 2017 Quarterly Bulletin of the Reserve Bank released today. This is down from 3.8% reported in the Q3. The last time this level was reported was in the Q1 of 2011, said LINDA MOTSUMI, head of the Balance of Payment division. The last three quarters of 2010 also reported deficit levels below 1.7%. The country's trade balance improved significantly during 2016, which impacted the current account deficit, narrowing the ratio to gross domestic product to 3.3% from 4.4% in 2015. The trade balance improved from a deficit of R38bn in 2015 to a surplus of R15bn in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hermes reports 'exceptional' year - fastFT

French luxury goods company HERMES today reported an "exceptional" year in 2016 as for the first time revenues passed €5bn, profits reached over €1bn and its operating margin hit an all-time high. HERMES said that like-for-like sales increased 7.5% to €5.2bn, net profit was up 13% to €1.1bn and operating income grew 10% to €1.7bn. The group reached an operating margin of 32.6%, due to a favourable impact of foreign exchange hedges. Growth was spread across all geographical regions and led by leather goods and saddlery, which was up 14%. HERMES' results outperform the luxury sector as a whole, which in the Q4 of last year reported an improvement in fortunes after several years of pressure due to a slowdown in Chinese spending and declining tourism in Europe after terrorist attacks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone current account surplus shrinks - fastFT

The eurozone's current account surplus has narrowed to its lowest level since Oct. 2015, the ECB said today. Fresh figures show the surplus fell to €24.1bn in Jan., down from a revised €30.8bn the previous month. The current account, which measures the eurozone's balance in goods and income, has swung into surplus since the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis calmed around 2012. A record surplus in Germany helped the eurozone to hit its own current account surplus record in November at €36.1bn - but the surplus has since been shrinking. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Speculation around Sinopec's plans good news for SA - Robert Laing

If reports that China's SINOPEC plans to buy CHEVRON'S South African assets for $1bn are true‚ it would be good news for the government's drive to introduce Euro-V fuel standards‚ BMI Research said in a note on Tue. Reuters reported on Mar. 17 that SINOPEC was the sole remaining bidder for CHEVRON'S 75% stake in its South African business‚ which includes a fuel refinery in Cape Town‚ about 800 Caltex-branded service stations‚ and a lubricants plant in Durban. The remaining 25% of CHEVRON'S South African business is owned by BEE partners and an employee trust. French oil firm TOTAL‚ and commodity traders GLENCORE and GUNVOR bowed out of the auction because of the South African government's desire to keep CHEVRON'S 110‚000 bpd Cape Town refinery running. This was a major stumbling point because they believed the site could be more profitably used as a storage terminal‚ Reuters said‚ quoting industry insiders who declined to be named. This news brief represents a summary of the original articl

CPI slows as food prices moderate - Tammy Foyn

Consumer inflation slowed in Feb.‚ as food inflation moderated‚ but remained outside the Reserve Bank's 3%-6% target range. The CPI rose 6.3% in Feb. compared with a year earlier‚ Statistics SA said today. That compares with 6.6% in Jan. Food inflation‚ which was expected to fall back into single digits after running rampant in 2016 as a result of a severe drought across SA‚ met those expectations by a whisker. Food and nonalcoholic beverages inflation came in at 9.9% y/y in Feb. — but inflation for food alone was 10%. Food was one of the main drivers of high consumer inflation last year — CPI growth was outside the Reserve Bank's 3%-6% target range in for most of the year — but economists agreed that the factors that pushed up inflation in 2016 would improve this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Settlement of lawsuit swells Advtech's earnings - Tammy Foyn

Private education group ADVTECH reported a 67% increase in after-tax profit for the year to end-Dec.‚ to R377.9m‚ swelled partly by receipt of a R23m settlement of a long-running lawsuit. Excluding that item‚ after-tax profit was up 55% to R350.4m. Revenue rose 24% to R3.35bn. The group's 78 schools — which include the Crawford‚ Abbotts College and Advtech Academy brands — remained the primary source of revenue‚ at R1.64bn‚ which was up 15% from the year before. Tertiary education revenue grew 28% to R1.25bn‚ accounting for 37% of group revenue. The settlement of ADVTECH'S lawsuit against Andry Welihockyj‚ Marina Welihockyj and Meridian closes the chapter on a 10-year-long case. A final dividend of 19c was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Banking system highly concentrated - Linda Ensor

SA's banking system was highly concentrated, but the Reserve Bank was in favour of this as it provided financial stability‚ Registrar of Banks and Deputy Reserve Bank governor KUBEN NAIDOO said today. The Reserve Bank took steps to mitigate the risks of this concentration especially the potential adverse effects on competition‚ he said. NAIDOO made a presentation during public hearings by Parliament's finance and trade and industry committees on the transformation of the financial services sector. One round of hearings has already taken place and a third round is scheduled for May 3. SA's six largest banks — NEDBANK‚ ABSA‚ STANDARD BANK‚ FIRST NATIONAL BANK‚ INVESTEC and CAPITEC — represent more than 91% of the total banking sector. He stressed that there was a conflict between stability and market concentration but the bank favoured stability and took measures to mitigate the risks of concentration by imposing rigorous licence conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original

FNB reports mild rise in secondary home buys - Roy Cokayne

There has been a mild improvement in the buying of secondary homes, such as holiday homes, homes for use by a relative and buy-to-let homes, in line with signs of an improved economic environment. FNB reported that the estimated percentage of secondary home buying had risen to 14.47% by the Q1 of this year after slumping to a low of 10.84% in the Q2 of last year from the multi year high of 14.14% of total home buying in the fourth quarter of 2014. FNB household and property analyst JOHN LOOS said the estimated percentage of home buying believed to be secondary home buying had increased mildly, as had certain of FNB's other residential demand side data, but it remained too early to draw any strong conclusions. LOOS said that secondary home buying was typically more cyclical than primary residential buying, largely because of its non essential nature, but a rise in the estimated percentage of secondary home buying would be reflective of an improving economic or interest rate period. This news brief represents

SA fears over Brazil meat scandal - Sandile Mchunu

In the wake of the Brazilian meat scandal this week, in which two of the biggest meat producers in Brazil, JBS and BRF, were implicated, South Africans are worried about the safety of Brazilian meat exports to SA. Some meat producers in Brazil were accused of bribing Brazilian inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella. According to the latest information from the South African Poultry Association (Sapa), poultry imports for the 2016 year totalled 560,155 tons and Brazil was the main contributor in 2016, accounting for 41.7% or 233,787 tons. Brazil has also dominated the poultry imports since the year started. Poultry imports from Brazil totalled 21,027 tons in Jan. 2017, representing 56.3% of total poultry imports in volume terms, with import value of R192.6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

$57bn for development projects in sub-Saharan Africa - Ejidiah Wangui

The World Bank has committed $57bn to development projects in sub-Saharan Africa in the next three fiscal years, said a press release from the Bretton Woods Institution on Mon. JIM YING KIM, World Bank group president, said the funds would support implementation of projects that transform the livelihoods of communities in the world's second largest continent. KIM, who is currently on a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania to emphasise the World Bank's support for the entire region, including Kenya, said the bulk of the financing ($45bn) would come from the International Development Association (IDA), the lender special fund for the poorest nations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

$276m power bill for Zambia miners - Bloomberg

Zambian copper miners, including the local unit of GLENCORE, could face a power bill of more than $276m if they lose a dispute with the government over electricity tariff rises, according to COPPERBELT ENERGY, their biggest supplier. A resolution to the three-year battle could come by the end of the month, COPPERBELT said in its 2016 annual report, published on Fri. If the High Court rules in favour of the energy regulator and its tariff increases, the supplier will be ordered to pay state-owned power producer ZESCO $276m in outstanding fees. A ruling could bring an end to a dispute that has raged in Africa's second-biggest copper producer since Apr. 2014, when Zambia's Energy Regulation Board raised tariffs for mining operators by almost 30%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 22/03/2017

At 10h36 on 22 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.62 ZAR/EUR 13.63 ZAR/GBP 15.76 Gold 1247.84 Platinum 971.50 Brent Crude Oil 50.71 All Share 52084.54

S&P stands by its 'three-deep junk status' for Eskom - Robert Laing

ESKOM'S "three-deep junk status" of BB- with negative outlook remained unchanged‚ S&P Global Ratings said yesterday. S&P said that although the government had extended ESKOM'S R350bn debt guarantee until 2023‚ uncertainty over this was a reason the ratings agency had lowered the power utility's credit rating further into junk territory in Dec. — this was offset by ESKOM receiving a lower than expected tariff increase. Nersa granted ESKOM a 2.2% tariff increase for its coming financial year. S&P said it had expected the increase to be 8%. The ratings agency said this prompted it to revise ESKOM'S liquidity position to weak from "less than adequate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand is not as attractive as performance shows - Bloomberg

While the rand extended its status as one of the world's best carry trades this year, analysis by Bloomberg revealed other emerging market currencies are more attractive. Yesterday, the rand and Mexico's peso led a measure of emerging currencies to the highest level since May 2015. This morning at 07:15, the rand was trading steady at R12.70 to the dollar. However, a Bloomberg analysis of the top nine currencies listed on JPMorgan's Emerging Market Currency Index, which reveals which currencies are the most attractive to buy, shows the rand falling behind countries like Turkey, Chile and Hungary. The rand is positioned as the fifth most attractive currency, while Mexico was seen as the most attractive emerging market for investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent overtakes Alibaba - fastFT

Chinese internet company TENCENT'S recent surge has seen it make a sustained effort to overtake ecommerce giant ALIBABA and become the most valuable emerging market stock. The Hong Kong-listed messaging company's market cap now stands at $270bn, ahead of its rival ALIBABA, which is listed in the US and weighs in at $262bn. The two companies often trade places as the most valuable emerging market stock, but TENCENT has pulled ahead since the beginning of Mar. TENCENT'S shares have gained 16.3% since the beginning of Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petrobras stages turnaround in Q4 - fastFT

Brazilian state-controlled oil company PETROBRAS reversed its losses in the Q4 of last year, reporting a profit of R$2.51bn compared with a loss during the previous three months of R$16.46bn. The recovery helped reduce the company's FY loss to R$14.82bn compared with R$34.84bn a year earlier. PETROBRAS, which is at the centre of Brazil's biggest corruption scandal, in which former directors collaborated with politicians and contractors to extract bribes from the company, has also been rocked by falling oil prices in recent years. Its CEO, PEDRO PARENTE has sought to turn the company around through asset sales, reduced investments and by slashing costs. The company said sales were R$282.59bn in 2016, down 12% from a year earlier. Exports in the Q4 rose 12%, totalling 634,000 bpd, turning the company into a net exporter in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan export growth rebounds in February - fastFT

Japanese exports' growth strengthened markedly in Feb. as the yen held largely steady against the dollar, marking a third month of expansion for outbound shipments after a 15-month streak of contraction. The value of Japan's exports grew 11.3% y/y in Feb., according to Japan's Ministry of Finance, besting a median estimate of 10.6% from economists surveyed by Reuters and ratcheting back up from a rise of just 1.3% in Jan. The value of exports to China jumped 28.2% y/y after growing only 3.1% in Jan. Shipments to all of Asia were up 20.9%, accelerating from 6% a month prior, while exports to the US rose 0.4%, bouncing back from Jan. contraction of 6.6%. The recovery for growth in outbound shipments came as the yen ended last month flat against the dollar, closing out Feb. at its end-Jan. level of about ¥112.8. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore prices tumble - fastFT

Iron ore prices in China sank today after state media reported banks in Beijing had raised interest rates for housing loans. The futures contract for one tonne of iron ore for Sep. delivery on the Dalian Commodities Exchange dipped as much as 4% to Rmb592 in morning trading, falling to its lowest level this month. That drop brings the price of iron in China down 11.9% since the Sep. futures' high of Rmb673 in late Feb., and marking the steel-making ingredient's second technical correction in that period. Today state newspaper Beijing Youth Daily reported that 16 banks located in the capital - including INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA and CHINA CONSTRUCTION BANK - had raised their baseline interest rate for housing loans 5 basis points to 0.95%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LG to launch mobile payments service for flagship smartphone - fastFT

LG ELECTRONICS plans to launch a mobile payments service for its new flagship smartphone G6 in South Korea in Jun. following in the footsteps of smartphone leaders SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS and APPLE. The South Korean company said today it would start offering the new payments service, to be called LG Pay, through its G6 smartphones that are gaining popularity in its home market after their launch on Mar. 10. The service will allow G6 users to make payments through existing credit card readers via a magnetic signal from the phone - a technology similar to Samsung Pay that was launched in Aug. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Henderson Land one of only 3 gainers in Hong Kong - fastFT

Shares in Hong Kong developer HENDERSON LAND are among the only gainers in Hong Kong today in the wake of the company's decision to conduct a bonus share issue. Shares were up 2% in morning trade, making the stock one of only three to gain today morning as the benchmark Hang Seng dropped 1.3%. The developer yesterday reported revenues for the 2017 financial year rose 8.2% to HK$26.6bn, with net profit up 2.8% at HK$21.9m and the board recommending a dividend of HK$1.13/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Takata shares drop on restructuring reports - fastFT

Shares in TAKATA sank today amid reports the troubled airbag maker might let its customers decide on how to restructure the company as it attempts to survive a crisis over its exploding airbags. The Japanese company may have little choice other than to let carmakers decide on its fate, which could involve filing for bankruptcy through court as part of its restructuring process, Bloomberg said citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter. The carmakers, which have had to shell out billions of dollars in repair costs related to the faulty airbag safety scandal, have already been involved in discussions related to possible restructuring options. Chinese-owned KEY SAFETY SYSTEMS, the leading bidder for TAKATA, is also believed to be in favour of a court-led restructuring, according to people close to the talks. A TAKATA spokesperson told the Financial Times the company is still against a bankruptcy filing and that their stance has not changed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo says SA reorganisation adds sale flexibility - Loni Prinsloo

ANGLO AMERICAN PLC said its decision to split some South African assets into a different subsidiary gives it the "flexibility" to dispose of its iron ore and export thermal coal assets should it decide to do so. The split, which was partly announced in Feb. without reasons being given, means that stakes in ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM LTD and DE BEERS are now held in a unit called ANGLO AMERICAN SOUTH AFRICAN INVESTMENTS, while another subsidiary, ANGLO SOUTH AFRICA CAPITAL PROPRIETARY, keeps the controlling stake in KUMBA IRON ORE LTD and the export coal mines. In Feb. last year, as ANGLO announced a dramatic plan to sell more than half its mines, the company said it was looking to exit KUMBA as part of a wider retreat from iron ore and coal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Manyi leaves duties at Black Business Council - Liesl Peyper

Former government spokesperson and black business lobbyist MZWANELE MANYI confirmed to Fin24 that he has resigned from his operational duties at the Black Business Council (BBC). He pointed out though that he remains on the council by virtue of being president of the Progressive Professional's Forum (PPF). Asked by Fin24 he was perhaps considered for a position in President JACOB ZUMA'S executive in the event that the president reshuffles his cabinet, MANYI laughed and said: "No, absolutely not". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nike's revenue misses estimates - Gayathree Ganesan

NIKE INCE reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue yesterday as the world's largest footwear maker battles for market share in North America with a resurgent ADIDAS AG and a fast-growing UNDER ARMOUR INC. Shares of the Dow component were down 3.6% at $55.91 in post-market trading on Tue., after the company also forecast a key metric on orders below analysts' expectations. NIKE and its Jordan brand have been dominant in the US footwear market for years, but ADIDAS and UNDER ARMOUR are gaining ground by revamping their brands and introducing new products. NIKE has lost basketball sales to UNDER ARMOUR since its rival poached the NBA's Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry in 2013. ADIDAS has also been successful in its efforts to muscle back into the US market, with fashion shoes made popular by collaborations with celebrities such as KANYE WEST, PHARRELL WILLIAMS and RITA ORA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple drives further into Facebook, Snap territory - Stephen Nellis

With the release of a new video app called Clips, APPLE INC is inching one step closer to fully engaging in the messaging world, where its huge base of iPhone users could help it compete with SNAP INC'S Snapchat and FACEBOOK INC'S Messenger. Clips, which will hit APPLE'S App Store in Apr., lets customers take videos and add animated captions and titles, complete with colorful emoji symbols. The app also makes it possible to stitch together multiple video clips and add speech bubbles and filters. The functions closely resemble those that drive SNAP'S wildly popular Stories feature. APPLE'S new Clips lets users post their video to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and more. But if users post them to APPLE'S own Messages app, APPLE will recommend whom to share it with based on which friends are in the videos and whom the user frequently contacts - the kind of predictive social features FACEBOOK excels at. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon to expand counterfeit removal plan - Jeffrey Dastin

AMAZON.COM INC is expanding a program to remove counterfeit goods from its website this spring as part of a broader push to assure brand owners that the online retailer is an ally rather than a threat. As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with AMAZON so the e-commerce company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged, PETER FARICY, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said in an interview on Mon. The so-called brand registry, which had been in a test phase, will be widely available for free in North America, FARICY said. The move reflects AAMZON'S efforts to court increasingly important third-party sellers. The Seattle-based company takes a commission for retail transactions it enables, and it sells lucrative fulfillment and advertising services to third parties. Counterfeiters have sold faulty or discounted versions of authentic goods on AMAZON, prompting lawsuits, including one from APPLE INC, against merchants on the s

US real estate a potential red flag - Jonathan Spicer

The run-up in US real estate prices could potentially amplify any future economic downturn, a Federal Reserve official said yesterday, urging regulators globally to consider tools beyond interest rates that could help cool the sector. A sharp downturn in US residential and commercial property prices in 2007 and 2008 rocked banks that were highly leveraged in the sector, sparking the global financial crisis and deep recession. With the economic recovery now well under way, bank holdings of commercial and apartment mortgages rose 9% and 12%, respectively, in the past year. ERIC ROSENGREN, president of the Boston Fed, said the "sharp" rise in apartment prices in particular may signal financial instabilities that interest rates, which are only gradually rising, may not be able to contain. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mozambique sees capital gains of $350m on Exxon-Eni deal - Bloomberg

Mozambique said EXXON MOBIL CORP'S acquisition of a 25% stake in an offshore gas block from ENI SPA will generate capital gains revenues of $350m. The government expects only to receive payment when the transaction is concluded, ANIBAL BALANGO, an official in Mozambique's tax authority, told reporters in Maputo on Tue. As a non-resident company, ENI was only eligible to pay tax on half the value of the $2.8bn deal with EXXON. That value was further reduced to $1.1bn after existing investments by the Italian company were accounted for, giving a tax rate of about 32%, the authority said. The tax windfall from the EXXON deal, announced on Mar. 9, comes as Mozambique grapples with a debt crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast faces $327m in losses over cocoa deals - Baudelaire Mieu

Ivory Coast's cocoa regulator is facing losses of more than 200bn CFA francs ($327m) after local exporters defaulted on their contracts because they wrongly speculated that prices would rise, according to a person familiar with the matter. Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, the industry regulator in the world's biggest cocoa producer, is seeking compensation from exporters who couldn't fulfill their commercial agreements, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. Companies and cooperatives that are in default aren't allowed to take part in auctions for the season that will start in October unless they make payment arrangements, said the person. Ivory Coast sold 350,000 metric tons of beans after some shippers defaulted on their export contracts and this season's crop turned out bigger than expected, Agriculture Minister MAMADOU SANGAFOWA COULIBALY said last month. Shippers bought cocoa while betting that prices would continue to rise after reaching a six-year high in Jul.

East African assets attract private equity interest - John Aglionby

The expected sale of east Africa's largest chain of coffee shops is being regarded as a bellwether deal to measure international private equity groups' interest in the region. TPG and CARLYLE, two of the world's largest buy out groups, have in the past few months expressed an interest in purchasing JAVA HOUSE, with the owner hoping any deal will value the coffee chain at as much as $100m, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The possible deal for Nairobi-based JAVA is being closely watched by businesses and their advisers in the region given the size of the transaction. JAVA has more than 50 outlets in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as pizza restaurants and frozen yoghurt shops. It is currently controlled by EMERGING CAPITAL PARTNERS, a private equity group that has a 90% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Google responds to YouTube ad backlash - Madhumita Murgia

GOOGLE has published a detailed plan of action in response to a growing backlash from advertising clients in the UK over extremist content on its video platform YouTube. A number of advertisers, including VOLKSWAGEN, TESCO and the UK government, have pulled spending from the video site over the past week following concerns their ads were appearing alongside extremist or offensive content. On Tue. PHILIPP SCHINDLER, GOOGLE'S chief business officer, gave details on expanded safeguards it will introduce in the coming weeks to alleviate concerns. First, the company will broaden its definition of inappropriate content — either because it is deemed offensive or because it appears to copy "legitimate" content — and raise the bar for what it allows advertising to appear alongside. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche slips in global investment bank rankings - Financial Times

DEUTSCHE BANK loosened its grip on the European investment banking market last year and is now tied with GOLDMAN SACHS in the race to be the Emea region's second-biggest investment bank after JPMORGAN CHASE. JOHN CRYAN, DEUTSCHE CEO, has stood by investment banking in his restructuring plans and many executives argue that the German bank will be the only European group left on the world stage within a few years. Still, the latest data from industry monitor Coalition show DEUTSCHE'S position is wavering in its home region. Having been outright number two in the first half of 2016, and for 2015 overall, it shared the number two slot with GOLDMAN SACHS for the full year 2016, according to Coalition. DEUTSCHE had already fallen from one of the world's top three investment banks for full year 2014 to sixth at the midpoint of 2016, as the bank cut resources in some areas and suffered from clients' fears about its financial position. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 22/03/2017

At 05h51 on 22 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.68 ZAR/EUR 13.70 ZAR/GBP 15.83 Gold 1245.00 Platinum 973.00 Brent Crude Oil 50.82 All Share 52753.56

One week before Samsung S8 arrives - Kyle Venktess

South Korean manufacturer SAMSUNG'S latest flag device is set to be announced in just over a week. Media from around the world have been invited to the launch of the highly anticipated Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York, with a local live stream event taking place for South African journalists in Johannesburg, on the same day. Latest leaks of the device by mobile reporter and trusted smartphone leaker, EVAN BLASS, show that the next Galaxy smartphone will have a wall-to-wall display and will be available in three colours. SAMSUNG will be looking to redeem itself, with the S8 the first smartphone to be released after the Note 7 device tarnished the company's image after a series of explosions reported around the world. According to BLASS the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be available in Black Sky, Orchid Grey and Arctic Silver. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom completes Majuba rebuild after silo collapse - Fin24

ESKOM has completed the construction of a permanent coal-handling facility at the Majuba power station, which includes the rebuilding and reinforcement of silos and a conveyor system. The power utility said today Silo 20 was rebuilt and Silos 10 and 30 were reinforced. This follows the collapse of the coal storage silo at the coal-fired station in Mpumalanga in Nov. 2014. At the time, ESKOM said the silo had cracked. The conveyer belt systems used to feed coal to the power station were also damaged, resulting in load shedding across SA. Before the collapse Majuba supplied 3 600MW of power, roughly 10% of South Africa's electricity. To enable coal supply to the station, an immediate solution entailed the installation of mobile feeders on Silos 10 and 30's boiler incline to make it possible to supply coal to the units. This ensured that at least four out of the six boiler incline conveyors could supply coal to the units. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

African CEOs discuss continent's slow recovery - BDPro

The Africa CEO Forum kicked off in Geneva today. African economies were hit hard in 2016 by low commodity prices‚ but a modest recovery from slow growth is forecast for 2017. The conference barometer — a survey of the about 1‚000 CEOs attending the conference — showed: 62% of CEOs said their companies had experienced the effects of the economic slowdown in the past few months; 71% were optimistic about business on the continent in 2017; and 92% expressed confidence in economic growth. Africa CEO Forum president AMIR YAHMED said while progress had been made in the past 15 years‚ there was still a lot to be done. African states needed to fight against fraud and corruption while pushing for economic diversification and regional integration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers makes strong run - David van Rooyen

NASPERS made a strong run on the JSE today, pulling the Industrial and All-share indices higher, but the firm rand once again put a cap on the rest of the market. The currency traded at R12.69 to the dollar early today, the highest level since July 2015. At mid-morning the Industrial index was almost 1% higher, thanks to NASPERS which gained more than 2%. A firm rand makes the dual-listed shares more expensive for foreign investors and also has a negative influence on the rand income of the international conglomerates which earn a major portion of their income in other currencies abroad. But the strong rand could not put a damper on NASPERS, which gained 2.61% by 12:50 to R2 275.67. NASPERS owns 34% of TENCENT, the Chinese internet giant listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which gained 2.79% on Monday to reach a new 52-week high of $HK228.20. This was the result of strong support for emerging markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brimstone shares soar on Sea Harvest IPO - Lameez Omarjee

BRIMSTONE'S share price has shot up by almost 10%, as demand for SEA HARVEST'S IPO increased, resulting in R1.329bn being raised. BRIMSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION - which owns SEA HARVEST - announced late on Fri. that a strong demand for SEA HARVEST shares resulted in the entity increasing the size of the share offer. The amount was raised with the issuance of 106 333 334 shares at a price of R12.50/share, it said. The settlement date is at the start of trade on Thu., when the shares will be listed on the main board of the JSE. BRIMSTONE has two listings with its one share price trading 9.68% higher at R17 a share by 11:00 today and the other share trading at R14.50. The proceeds from the SEA HARVEST listing will be used to repay debt and will be allocated to further investments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's net equity outflows hit R31.7bn in 2017 - BDPro

Foreign investors sold nearly R600m worth of local shares on a net basis last week‚ bringing the tally of shares sold so far in 2017 to R31.7bn. Foreigners have instead preferred local bonds over equities‚ which Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking analysts have attributed to policy uncertainty in the US. Offshore investors bought a net R785.53m worth of local bonds over the past week‚ helping the rand to fresh multi-month highs to the dollar as US Federal Reserve struck a less aggressive tone on future rate hikes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign investors dumped eurozone debt - fastFT

Foreign investors were net sellers of eurozone debt for the first time since the introduction of the single currency last year. Overseas bond holders reduced their net holdings of eurozone government bonds by €192bn in 2016 from an increase of €30bn the year before, according to data from the European Central Bank. Government debt made up €116bn of the sales with the ECB claiming most of the selling was down to its stimulus programme which has snapped up over €1tn of eurozone government bonds since Mar. 2015. Despite selling bonds, foreign investors were still net buyers of eurozone stocks at a pace of €126bn, down from €268bn in 2015. The data hints at cooling demand for eurozone debt from foreign investors ahead of a key year of elections in the single currency area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German producer price inflation surges - fastFT

Germany's producer price inflation is following the path of consumer prices in Europe's largest economy, hitting a five-year high in Feb. Annual producer price inflation leapt from 2.4% to 3.1% last month, the highest since Nov. 2011. The reading came in just below an average forecast of 3.2% compiled by Reuters. Inflation was pushed up by the climbing cost of energy last month, which was 5.4% more expensive compared to Feb. 2016, according to stats office Destatis. Higher producer price inflation follows in the wake of a faster than expected riser in Germany's closely-watched consumer price inflation which hit 2.2% last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiso Blackstar lifts interim dividend - Robert Laing

Businesslive's owner TISO BLACKSTAR GROUP raised its interim dividend by 20% to 4.47275c/share for the H1 to end-Dec. from the matching period's 3.74c. Shareholders will receive a special dividend of R40m once the group's sale of its 22.9% stake in KAGISO TISO HOLDINGS for R1.5bn has been completed. The company said in today's interim results statement that the sale was expected to be completed in May‚ and the per share value of the special dividend would be calculated then. The group has been repurchasing its own shares‚ spending R10.7m buying back shares during the reporting period. The group's overall interim revenue grew 6% to R4.5bn‚ with sales growth from its subsidiaries — Consolidated Steel Industries (CSI) and Robor — offsetting declines in its media and retail solutions divisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch warns Zuma's populist rhetoric will scare away investment - Robert Laing

President JACOB ZUMA'S populist rhetoric on land reform is likely to scare away investment‚ even though there is little chance of his words getting turned into action‚ BMI Research said in a note early today. In his recent state of the nation address‚ ZUMA outlined plans for "radical economic transformation". In early Mar.‚ ZUMA said he wanted to make changes to the Constitution to facilitate the process of land reform without compensation. BMI also noted that ZUMA'S proposed "precolonial audit of land ownership‚ use and occupation patterns" was unlikely to be doable before his term as president expired. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats says claim is 'frivolous' - Business Report

EASTERN PLATINUM (EASTPLATS) wants to have a claim set aside as frivolous and vexatious. In a statement issued today, it said it has taken steps to oppose and have struck as frivolous and vexatious, a claim recently filed in SA made by ALPHA GLOBAL CAPITAL. In its statement, EASTPLATS says, as previously disclosed in 2007 and after that, in connection with its acquisition of an additional 5% interest in BARPLATS INVESTMENTS, which indirectly holds the Crocodile River Mine, its subsidiary EASTPLATS INTERNATIONAL, agreed to pay R30.8m to ALPHA. It says ALPHA GLOBAL is now seeking payment of this amount, and other relief in connection with that agreement. EASTPLATS says it is of the view that no amount is currently owing to ALPHA GLOBAL and as a result it is not entitled to any remedy in connection with its alleged claim. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Contractors hobble Medupi - Siseko Njobeni

Contractors brought in to execute some of ESKOM'S big capital expenditure projects did not have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out major projects in SA, the power utility has said. The poor execution of major projects, along with cost escalations and schedule slippages at a time when SA desperately needed additional capacity, call into question the capability of some of the contractors and ESKOM'S responsiveness to the problems the utility had flagged. ESKOM has laid the blame for the delay of its Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, partly at the door of the contractors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanral says it takes duty to collect toll fees seriously - Lameez Omarjee

Those who default on e-toll payments can be taken to court, said the SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL ROADS AGENCY (SANRAL). This follows the first default judgment delivered by the Pretoria High Court for outstanding e-toll debt. City Press reported on the ruling which declared that One Stop Building Supplies must pay SANRAL R436 407.75 for driving through e-toll plazas in Gauteng between Aug. 3 2013 and Aug. 31 2015. On Oct. 24 last year, a warrant was served on One Stop's owner, NAOMI STRYDOM, which she failed to defend in court by 20 days later, City Press reported. VUSI MONA, SANRAL spokesperson said in a statement that the judgment sets a precedent for motorists and companies who do not pay e-toll debt to be taken to court This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 20/03/2017

At 10h14 on 20 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.64 ZAR/EUR 13.61 ZAR/GBP 15.71 Gold 1233.20 Platinum 965.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.55 All Share 52603.51

Too early to call end to rate cycle - Arabile Gumede

Reserve Bank can't yet call the end of its interest rate-increase cycle, even as the risks to inflation have eased since the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC'S) Jan. meeting, Governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said. KGANYAGO said in Nov. the MPC may be close to the end of the tightening cycle in which it raised the benchmark lending rate by 200 basis points over two years to 7% by last Mar. This was in bid to bring price growth back to within the government's target band after being outside it for most of last year as a drought raised food prices and the rand reached record lows. The MPC, which will announce its next policy move on Mar. 30, targets inflation between 3% and 6%. Price growth eased to 6.6% in Jan., the first slowdown in five months. The risks to inflation have "definitely been mitigated compared to the previous policy-setting meeting", KGANYAGO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ecobank eyeing more stable market - Reuters

Africa's ECOBANK expects its new digital-banking platform to help boost its customer base across the continent to 100m from 13m by 2020. It said this after announcing that it had signed up 1.5m personal accounts through the mobile app. ECOBANK has operations in nearly 40 African nations, some of which have been pressured by the commodity price slide and unfavourable currency swings that have prompted the bank to strengthen its focus on the relatively stable consumer market. ECOBANK generates about 40% of its business in recession-hit Nigeria, where several lenders have adapted their business models after low crude prices put pressure on previously lucrative oil and gas loan books, with potential for significant growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodafone to merge India unit with Idea Cellular - Reuters

Britain's VODAFONE GROUP will merge its Indian subsidiary with local rival IDEA CELLULAR within two years, IDEA said today, creating a new market leader better able to contest a brutal new price war. VODAFONE will own 45.1% of the merged entity, after it transfers about 4.9% to promoters of IDEA and/or their affiliates for 38.74bn rupees ($592.15m) in cash, IDEA said. The combined VODAFONE-IDEA group would India's largest telecom operation with almost 400m customers, or 35% market share. The merger comes after India's mobile industry was thrown into turmoil with the launch last year of Reliance Jio Infocomm, the new 4G mobile broadband network built at a cost of more than $20bn by India's richest businessman, MUKESH AMBANI, as part of his RELIANCE INDUSTRIES conglomerate. Jio has made an impact with free voice calls and cut-price data services, forcing India's three biggest operators - BHARTI AIRTEL, VODAFONE and IDEA - to slash prices and accept lower profits. This news brief represents a summary of the ori

IBM launches enterprise-ready blockchain service - Anna Irrera

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP (IBM) has launched a service that will allow businesses to build applications on its cloud using blockchain code from the Hyperledger Project, the cross-industry group led by the Linux Foundation. The US technology company said today its new product called IBM Blockchain was the first service for developers to build enterprise-grade technology using Hyperledger Fabric, the first code set to be released by the open source group. The Fabric blockchain can process more than 1,000 transactions per second and has the necessary features to be used by large enterprises to build their applications, IBM said. It added it was working with technology company SECUREKEY TECHNOLOGIES and a group of Canadian banks to build a digital identity network using its new blockchain services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MICROmega to oppose censure imposed by JSE - Thabiso Mochiko

Investment group MICROMEGA said on Fri. it would oppose the JSE's sanction of the company for breaching the listing rules. The JSE announced on Fri. that it had imposed a public censure against the MICROMEGA as well as a R1m fine of which R500‚000 is suspended for twelve months after the company was found‚ among other things‚ to have bought shares during a closed period and without a share repurchase programme in place four years ago. MICROMEGA said the breach had no impact on its shareholders because after it discovered the breach a circular was sent to shareholders to approve the specific repurchases and 100% of shareholders present gave the transactions the nod. Of the total number of shares in question‚ just over 3.8m or 88% of the shares related to a single corporate finance transaction‚ which the company received as proceeds for the sale of shares in one of its subsidiaries. MICROMEGA said it was of the opinion that this did not constitute a repurchase in terms of the JSE listings requirement

SAA loss will more than double‚ to R3.5bn - Linda Ensor

Troubled state-owned airline SAA is projecting a loss of R3.5bn for the 2016-17 financial year‚ compared with the R1.5bn loss suffered in the previous year. This information is revealed to members of Parliament's standing committee of finance in written replies to questions. DA deputy finance spokesman ALF LEES said there was "no doubt that these massive losses will mean that SAA will once again run out of cash and will have to pull out the begging bowl to get another government guarantee handout. The DA will write to Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN to urge him to refuse any further financial assistance to SAA‚ which is set on a path to self-destruction". LEES said it was of great concern that the R3.5bn loss is R1.8bn more than the R1.7bn loss for the year that SAA projected four months ago. He said it was clear that the new SAA board had not been able to turn SAA around or even stem the massive losses. The SAA replies said the airline continued to focus on growing revenue and cutting costs but noted tha

Jubilee executes tailings agreement - Natasha Odendaal

Dual-listed JUBILEE PLATINUM has secured access to 1.25m tonnes of new platinum-bearing surface material at an estimated grade of 2.7 g/t platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4E) platinum-group metals (PGMs). The execution of a framework and processing of tailings agreement with PLATCRO will allow for the acquisition of the 4E PGMs contained in the existing surface material, in addition to future material at PLATCRO'S operations, which is within trucking distance of JUBILEE'S Hernic plant. Under the agreement, JUBILEE will acquire PLATCRO'S existing surface material for a total consideration of £3.13/t of the surface material remaining following PLATCRO's recovery of chromite. JUBILEE aims to process the material in the short-term and use the cash flow from these operations to further advance its production ambitions and aggressively pursue further similar opportunities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AFD, Eskom sign R6bn financing deal - Megan van Wyngaardt

State-owned ESKOM has signed a R6bn multi-tranche framework agreement with the French Agency for Development (AFD). AFD's funding will focus on transmission lines and substations that support grid strengthening in areas where the development of future renewable-energy sources is envisaged, as well as supporting the facilitation of cross-border transmission projects. AFD CEO REMY RIOUX highlighted that the funding reaffirmed the fund's willingness to be a key financial partner of the utility. This funding opens a three-year window during which the funding is made available to ESKOM to finance projects compliant with eligibility criteria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin burning cash to stay alive - Kevin Crowley

Investors are losing confidence in LONMIN, the world's third-largest platinum producer, as it burns through cash to stay afloat, just 15 months after raising about $400m from shareholders. Platinum prices aren't far from a seven-year low and LONMIN has its own set of operational problems, including higher costs and lower output at its biggest mining shaft. The stock is down more than 30% in 2017, the most in the FTSE All-Share Basic Materials Index of 28 commodity producers. The overall index has gained 11% this year. Other mining companies are looking to deploy new cash into dividends and acquisitions, buoyed by a recovery in commodity prices and deep cost cuts. LONMIN stands out for its years of problems. The company used up 70% of its net cash last quarter, leaving it with $49m, although it can draw on $414m, mainly through credit lines from banks. CEO BEN MAGARA has pushed to get LONMIN back on track and repair its reputation after the shootings at Marikana in 2012, when police killed protesting mineworke

Credit Suisse shuffles Asian markets management - Laura Noonan

CREDIT SUISSE has shuffled the leadership of its Asian markets business amid concerns that the division is struggling with weak trading. Asia is at the heart of CREDIT SUISSE'S restructuring plan, but the region's investment bank was a sore spot in the Q4, earning just SFr7m in pre-tax profits after its fixed income revenues fell 50% from a year earlier. CFO DAVID MATHERS said at an investor day that no improvement had been seen in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) markets business so far in 2017. He said performance is "similar to the fourth quarter of 2016" and featured "weak conditions in the markets and trading activities within the region". ALI NAQVI, who had only been sole head of global markets in Asia since last Jul., is moving on to be executive chairman of the same division where he will "continue to actively focus on client engagement" and "leverage his deep relationships" in the region. KEN PANG, formerly head of global markets trading Apac, was promoted to head of global markets Apac. This news brief rep

Netmarble seeks to raise up to $2.4bn with IPO - Song Jung-a

NETMARBLE GAMES, the world's third-largest maker of mobile games, is seeking to raise up to Won2.7tn ($2.4bn) in an IPO as it looks to fund aggressive global expansion in the highly competitive market. The South Korean company said today that it would sell 17m shares at Won121,000-Won157,000 apiece in late Apr., for a listing aimed for the end of Jun. and potentially the country's second-largest. The timing of the IPO looks promising, with the benchmark Kospi Composite index near two-year highs, on heavy foreign buying sparked by reduced political uncertainty following the ouster this month of impeached former president PARK GEUN-HYE. The company has found success in the region with its role-playing mobile games featuring Marvel characters. Sales jumped 40% to Won1.5tn last year while net profit rose 24% to Won209bn, propelled by popular mobile games such as Seven Knights, Everybody's Marble and Marvel Future Fight. The company, which is 22%-owned by Chinese internet group TENCENT HOLDINGS, has stepped up a p

Unilever prepares sale of food brands - Reuters

UNILIVER is preparing a £6bn ($7.44bn) sale of some of its food brands, British newspapers reported on Saturday. The Anglo-Dutch company is planning to sell Flora margarine and Stork butter brands, the Sunday Times said. The Sunday Telegraph, which also cited a £6bn figure, cited sources as saying private equity firms BAIN CAPITAL, CVC and CLAYTON DUBILIER and RICE have started working on offers for the "spreads" business, citing sources. UNILIVER did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MoneyGram firms up bid for Euronet - Greg Roumeliotis

US electronic payments company MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC has offered to share confidential information with peer EURONET WORLDWIDE INC, after the latter made a $1bn acquisition offer, people familiar with the matter said. MONEYGRAM has found that EURONET'S cash offer of $15.20/share, which was unveiled last week, could be expected to result in a superior proposal compared with a deal it agreed to in Jan. to sell itself to China's ANT FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP for $13.25/share in cash, the people said yesterday. Before EURONET carries out its due diligence on MONEYGRAM, it will have to agree to the terms of a non-disclosure agreement, the people added. Negotiations on such a confidentiality pact may take several days, the people cautioned. Should MONEYGRAM declare EURONET'S bid superior, ANT FINANCIAL will have four business days to decide whether it wants to improve its offer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba attracting more potential bidders for chips unit - Bloomberg

TOSHIBA'S memory chips business is attracting more potential bidders ahead of an end-Mar. deadline, including Japanese government-backed entities, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Development Bank of Japan is considering a joint offer with US financial bidders, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. The electronics conglomerate is seeking a sale of the prized unit to make up for a multibillion-dollar write down in its nuclear operations. The semiconductor business is TOSHIBA'S crown jewel and makes the memory chips that go into personal computers, smartphones and data centres. It accounted for about 25% of TOSHIBA'S ¥5.67trn in revenue during the latest fiscal year. The shares of TOSHIBA rose 3.5% in Tokyo on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shares in NZ's Fletcher Building tumble - fastFT

Shares in FLETCHER BUILDING, New Zealand's biggest construction and building supplies company, fell more than 10% after losses at two key projects prompted management to downgrade earnings guidance. The company said it now expects ebit to fall between NZ$610m to NZ$650m ($429m to $457m) for the year ending Jun. 30 owing to identification of additional forecast losses and downside risks in the Buildings and Interiors unit of the company's construction division. At the lower end, that is a drop of 15.2% from its previous guidance range. The Buildings and Interiors unit already recorded a significant loss in the recent H1 results, but management said it has now increased its estimate for a loss on a major construction project, and also identified other downside risks for projects within the overall business unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Shenhua shares surge 20% - fastFT

China's largest coal producer CHINA SHENHUA ENERGY rose as much as 20% after reporting its first annual profit growth since 2012 as the price of coal rebounded last year following government output cuts. Net profit for the 12 months to Dec. rose 41.1% to Rmb24.9bn ($3.6bn), from Rmb17.6bn in 2015, the company said. The company expects increase in net profit for Jan. to March 2017 to reach or exceed 50%. CHINA SHENHUA said the sales volume of coal rose 6.6% to 394.9m tonnes in 2016. The price of a futures contract for one tonne of thermal coal on China's Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange rose nearly 63% last year to just over Rmb500. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ezra files for bankruptcy - fastFT

News that EZRA HOLDINGS, an oilfield services group listed on the SGX, filed for bankruptcy in the US over the weekend, again shone the spotlight on Singapore's oil and gas services sector. EZRA has $1.5bn of total liabilities, with Singapore lender DBS facing the single biggest hit, with loans to EZRA of $272m. DBS was caught off-guard last summer by the rapid financial implosion of SWIBER, another energy services company to which it was exposed. EZRA also owes OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION $184m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uber ride-sharing president resigns - fastFT

UBER has lost another top executive in the wake of a series of scandals at the ride-hailing company. JEFF JONES joined UBER as its president of ride-sharing in Sep. last year. Previously chief marketing officer at TARGET, JONES was charged with improving UBER'S brand and reputation, encompassing broad responsibility for operations, marketing and customer support. UBER confirmed his unusually abrupt departure this weekend, just half a year after taking up the role. JONES' resignation comes amid UBER'S search for a new COO, who will report directly to TRAVIS KALANICK, the company's co-founder and CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vivendi chief says Mediaset misled over deal - David Bond

CEO of VIVENDI has accused Italian group MEDIASET of providing "misleading" information during negotiations over a tie-up last year, upping the stakes in the acrimonious stand-off between former Italian premier SILVIO BERLUSCONI and French billionaire VINCENT BOLLORE. Tensions between BERLUSCONI, who founded and owns 40% of MEDIASET, and VIVENDI chairman BOLLORE have been rising ever since VIVENDI'S €880m deal to acquire 3.5% of the Italian group and all of pay-TV channel Mediaset Premium fell apart in Jul. The move — a feature of a wider agreement in which MEDIASET would take 3.5% of VIVENDI — was part of the French group's strategy to build a southern European media powerhouse to take on Sky and combat the growing threat from new global online streaming services such as Netflix. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Washington Companies reveals stalled Dominion bid - Lawrence Delevingne

The WASHINGTON COMPANIES said yesterday it had previously made a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of mining company DOMINION DIAMOND CORP for $13.50/share. The all-cash $1.1bn offer was sent to the DOMINION board of directors on Feb. 21, according to the statement, but subsequent discussions broke down. Canada-based DOMINION said in a statement late yesterday that its board had considered WASHINGTON'S unsolicited offer but that the terms of the proposed talks were unusual and unacceptable. They included, according to the statement, the ability to see confidential information that could later be used for a proxy fight to take over the company, and the ability to veto the board's choice of the new CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SquareTwo Financial Corp files for Chapter 11 - Reuters

Colorado-based debt collector SQUARETWO FINANCIAL CORP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company said in a statement. SQUARETWO reached an agreement with RESURGENT HOLDINGS LLC to take ownership of the debt collector's portfolio of assets, with RESURGENT agreeing to invest $405m, according to the filing. SQUARETWO COO J.B. RICHARDSON said the proceeds from the agreement would result in a final purchase price of $264m in exchange for 100% of the equity of the reorganized company. On completion of the transaction, SQUARETWO will close its operations in the US, with the closing expected to be completed by the end of 2017. SQUARETWO said its Canadian operations would continue under RESURGENT'S ownership. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 20/03/2017

At 07h14 on 20 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.66 ZAR/EUR 13.64 ZAR/GBP 15.70 Gold 1234.96 Platinum 967.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.44 All Share 52550.99

Ethos Capital explains circuitous loan - BDPro

Questions have arisen around a R105m loan that EPE CAPITAL PARTNERS (ETHOS CAPITAL)‚ which listed on the JSE in Aug.‚ has provided to two unnamed nonexecutive directors in a roundabout manner to buy shares in the company. In a note to its maiden results for the six months to Dec.‚ the private-equity vehicle disclosed the five-year loan facility‚ which FIRSTRAND issued to anchor investor BLACK HAWK PRIVATE EQUITY. BLACK HAWK then used the proceeds of the loan to buy R105m worth of shares ETHOS CAPITAL listed on the JSE. ETHOS CAPITAL 'guaranteed and provided its investments as security' against the loan. CEO PETER HAYWARD-BUTT said details of the geared facility were included in the prelisting statement and disclosed upfront. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Numsa threatens 'mother of all strikes' if Eskom closes plants - BDPro

Numsa has reiterated its warning that it will embark on a crippling strike across SA if Eskom goes ahead with its plan to close some power plants. The union‚ which represents 350‚000 workers‚ said today that it was gearing up for the "mother of all strikes" and would "bring this economy to its knees". Eskom plans to close coal power plants in Mpumalanga to make way for independent power producers and has said 30‚000 jobs would be affected. General secretary IRVIN JIM said the union suspected the closure of the power stations was a "calculated move to privatise Eskom" and create conditions for a new nuclear programme. Numsa was not against a progressive energy mix‚ he said‚ but was not prepared to sacrifice jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Accounting firms voice disapproval of mandatory audit firm rotation - Linda Ensor

Further work was needed to understand the effect and consequences of mandatory audit firm rotation that the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has decided on‚ EY AFRICA CEO AJEN SITA and PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS (PwC) CEO DION SHANGO said today. They told members of Parliament's finance committee during a public hearing on the IRBA decision that SA did not have a known crisis of the independence of its auditing profession‚ so should not rush into changing the system. SITA noted that there had not been any audit failure in the past 20 years that could be attributed to a failure of independence. SHANGO argued that mandatory audit firm rotation would not achieve the outcomes that the IRBA believed it would and would further constrict an already over-regulated market and concentrate it further. It would also not increase auditor independence nor enhance audit quality. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grand Parade CEO steps down - Fin24

GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS today announced that ALAN KEET was resigning as CEO and director of the Western-Cape based holding company. KEET, who was in the position for close on four years, will now take over as CEO of GPI's foods division with effect from Mar. 20 2017. The food division includes international brands Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. According to GRAND PARADE, KEET was already assigned operational responsibility for the foods division in Mar. last year to help steer the Burger King franchise towards profitability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE fines Micromega R1m over share purchase breach - Matthew le Cordeur

The JOHANNESBURG STOCK EXCHANGE (JSE) today imposed censure against MICROMEGA HOLDINGS and fined it R1m, of which R500 000 is suspended, following a breach in its share purchase requirements in 2013. The purchase comprised of almost R9m bought from W FRIEDLAND and nearly R1m bought from B CAROLIN in 2013. Due to a sharp rise in the share price following this, the shares bought would have been valued at R61.4m on 20 Oct. 2013. That's because the purchases occurred between Apr. and Aug. in 2013, when the share price was trading between R2 and R3 a share. The share price then saw a major surge to a high of R14.90 a share on 20 Oct. 2013. A month later, the firm revealed it would make 40% profit for the year. The share price continued its surge and on 30 Nov. 2014 MICROMEGA HOLDINGS was trading at a new high of R18.30. It remained at these levels for the duration of 2015 and started declining in Dec. 2015. It was down to R10.70 on close of business yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Net1 CEO Belamant faces removal - Fin24

NET1 shareholder ALLAN GRAY is demanding that certain actions occur at NET1 subsidiary CASH PAYMENT SERVICES (CPS) to ensure social welfare recipients receive grants or it will seek to remove the board. ANDREW LAPPING, chief investment officer at ALLAN GRAY, revealed this move to Business Day companies' journalist Ann Crotty. Removing the board could also see NET1 CEO and founder SERGE BALAMANT losing his position. LAPPING said ALLAN GRAY which owns 16% of NET1, is working to understand issues around the integrity of management. LAPPING said ALLAN GRAY would be happy to not receive any profits to ensure the extension occurs before Apr. 1, when the current contract expires. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stanbic moves into West Africa - Bloomberg

STANDARD BANK'S Ivory Coast unit plans to increase its capital levels this year as the continent's largest lender uses the West African nation as a beachhead to expand into other Francophone countries. The bank's existing capital plus the extra injection will put it among the country's top five lenders, HERVE BOYER, country manager for the Johannesburg-based lender's STANBIC BANK unit said, declining to be more specific. STANBIC BANK is scheduled to open an office in the commercial hub of Abidjan at the end of May after receiving a licence to operate in the country last year, Boyer said in an interview this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sinopec nears deal to buy Chevron's SA assets - Reuters

CHINA PETROLEUM AND CHEMICAL CORP (SINOPEC) is nearing an agreement to buy a majority stake in CHEVRON CORP'S South African assets, which are estimated at $1bn, two people familiar with the transaction said. The sources said that SINOPEC, Asia's largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to completing a deal with the US oil major. If the deal is finalised, it will be SINOPEC'S first refinery asset in Africa, forming a part of the Chinese major's global fuel distribution network. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nintendo shares recover on Switch report - fastFT

NINTENDO'S stock swung from a loss of more than 1% back into the black today on a report that the Japanese games maker planned to double production of its new Switch game console to meet strong demand. Shares in the company were up 0.3% at ¥25,205 late in the afternoon session after the Wall Street Journal reported the Kyoto-based games maker planned to ramp up production of the Switch. The paper cited unnamed sources as saying NINTENDO would double output to 16m units during the fiscal year starting next month This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Baidu invests in Chinese electric carmaker - fastFT

BAIDU has invested at least $100m in high-end Chinese electric carmaker NEXTEV, as the search engine group looks to boost flagging revenue by diversifying into artificial intelligence and unmanned cars. The investment in NEXTEV was the first made by BAIDU CAPITAL, the search engine's $3bn investment fund set up in Oct. to expand the company's footprint in internet-based technologies. Local Chinese news reports have said BAIDU'S investment could be as high as $600m, but the groups would only confirm that the figure was a nine-digit dollar sum. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AstraZeneca blood drug dealt fresh blow - fastFT

ASTRAZENECA has been dealt a fresh blow by the US Food and Drug Administration in its efforts to win approval for a core drug that treats hyperkalaemia - a condition where potassium levels in the blood are too high. The drugmaker said it had been issued with a so-called complete response letter - a formal rejection of approval for a new drug application - by the FDA for its ZS-9 drug. The FDA rejection is the second in less than a year for ASTRAZENECA'S hyperkalaemia drug after it issued its first CRL in May 2016. The rejections have come as a blow for ASTRAZENECA, which paid $2.7bn at the end of 2015 to snap up ZS PHARMA, mainly to gain access to the hyperkalaemia drug, which the pharma group believes has huge potential. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KBC makes senior boardroom changes - fastFT

Belgium's largest financial group KBC, which was one of the big casualties of the 2008 financial crisis, has announced a board reshuffle with a new CFO, CEO of the international markets business unit and chief innovation officer. LUC POPELIER, currently CFO, has been promoted to become CEO of the international markets business unit, succeeding LUC GIJSENS who is retiring. POPELIER is replaced as CFO by RIK SCHEERLINCK, currently head of KBC's Hungarian subsidiary K&H bank. ERIK LUTS, curently chief innovation manager, will join the board in the new position of chief innovation officer. The bank said in a statement today the appointments had been approved by the European Central Bank and National Bank of Belgium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tullow shares drop on rights issue news - fastFT

TULLOW OIL sank to the bottom of the Europe-wide Stoxx 600 index this morning, after it announced a £607m rights issue at a 45% discount to yesterday's closing price. The company is looking to pay down some of the $4.8bn debt pile built up as it forged ahead with capital-intensive projects during the recent oil slump. Shares in the group were down 11% at publication time, to 211p, their lowest level since last Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Berkeley shares up on upbeat guidance - fastFT

Housebuilder BERKELEY GROUP said earlier today that profits were likely to come in at the top end of analysts' forecasts for the year to Apr. The London property market where it specialises "has now stabilised", it said. At pixel time, the shares were up by 5.2%, making it the biggest gainer in the FTSE 250 index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 17/03/2017

At 09h44 on 17 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.78 ZAR/EUR 13.75 ZAR/GBP 15.77 Gold 1226.70 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.62 All Share 52561.52

Aluminium producer Rusal swings to profit - fastFT

RUSAL, the world's second largest aluminium producer, today swung back into profit in the final quarter of 2016, as a one-off windfall added shine to a recovery in aluminium prices. The Hong Kong-listed Russian company said net profit for the quarter was $645m, up from a loss of $267m/year previously, burnished by a $299m gain from the sale of one of its refineries. Adjusted EBIDTA rose an annual 35% to $412m, slightly beating a forecast of analysts surveyed by Reuters. The company sold 6% more aluminium in the quarter and average selling prices rose 4 per cent, while at the same time a fall in domestic production costs buoyed its profit margin. Russian metals and mining companies have all posted strong results for the end of 2016 as a weak rouble cut their input costs and a rally in commodity prices boosted dollar-denominated incomes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Singapore exports rise at fastest pace since 2012 - fastFT

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports grew at the fastest rate in five years last month as outbound shipments of electronics and other goods expanded. Outbound shipments rose 21.5% y/y in Feb., the quickest pace since the same month in 2012, according to data from International Enterprise Singapore. The rise from 8.6% growth in Jan. was well beyond the 12.8% median forecast from economists compiled by Reuters. The unexpected expansion bodes well for the shipping nexus following annual contraction of 2.8% in 2016. In its annual projections, IES had forecast growth of 2% for the metric. Electronics exports grew 17.2%, jumping about 11 percentage points from Jan. with shipments of non-electronic products jumping 22.3% y/y from growth of just under 10% a month earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cathay Pacific rises on cost cutting reports - FastFT

Hong Kong flag carrier CATHAY PACIFIC rose today on reports the airline was planning a 30% reduction in management costs at its head office after it reported its first annual loss in eight years. Shares in the company gained as much as 2.5% after the Hong Kong Economic Times said the carrier plans to make cost savings at middle and senior management levels in Hong Kong as part of a three-year review. CATHAY reported a net loss for 2016 of HK$575m on Wednesday on increased competition from mainland Chinese carriers and a fall in the number of premium class passengers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia sees 2017 corn harvest rising - Taonga Clifford Mitimingi

Zambia said yesterday its corn output might climb to more than 3m metric tons this year, while the government would maintain an export ban until it receives crop estimates later this month. Agriculture Minister DORA SILIYA said there were "initial indications" of the potential production figure. Zambia will review its ban on exports of the staple food if the harvest survey due for completion by the end of Mar. shows the country is food secure, SILIYA said. An announcement will be made in Apr. Zambia looks set to exceed last year's corn harvest of 2.87m tons, as above-average rainfall offsets an invasion of crop-eating armyworms that affected about 20% of the planted area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank names new candidates for board - fastFT

DEUTSCHE BANK said yesterday that it was putting forward two new candidates for its supervisory board, including a representative of the asset management company that holds Chinese conglomerate HNA's stake in the German bank. DEUTSCHE said that ALEXANDER SCHUETZ, CEO of C-QUADRAT, the Vienna-based asset manager that manages HNA's stake, would replace KLAUS RUEDIGER TRUETZSCHLER at its AGM, which is scheduled to be held in May. SCHUETZ will be appointed for an initial 1 year-term, and put forward for a full five-year term next year. The bank also said that GERHARD ESCHELBECK, head of IT security at GOOGLE would replace PETER LOSCHER, the former CEO of SIEMENS, who is stepping down at this year's shareholder meeting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US coal miner Peabody eyes bankruptcy exit - Tracy Rucinski

PEABODY ENERGY CORP, the world's largest private sector coal producer, said yesterday it expected to exit its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early Apr. after a US judge said he would approve its plan to slash over $5bn of debt. US Bankruptcy Judge BARRY SCHERMER said he was ready to sign an order to approve PEABODY'S bankruptcy emergence once language regarding a late settlement of certain US Department of Justice complaints had been finalized. PEABODY will leave bankruptcy amid dramatically improved short-term prospects for its business compared to a year ago, when it sought Chapter 11 protection. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French authorities join UK in Airbus corruption probe - fastFT

French authorities have joined Britain's Serious Fraud Office to investigate allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in the passenger jet business of AIRBUS, the European aerospace and defence group. The UK's SFO in Aug. launched its own inquiry into AIRBUS' use of third party consultants to win international aircraft orders, after the company admitted it had failed to notify export credit authorities about these agents on certain deals. The company had alerted authorities in Apr. to the errors after an internal review of compliance. AIRBUS said yesterday evening that France's Parquet National Financier, had "also opened a preliminary investigation into the same subject and that the two authorities will act in coordination going forward". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Boeing, US govt sign $3.4bn deal for AH-64E Apache helicopters - Reuters

BOEING said yesterday it had signed a $3.4bn contract with the US government through which the US Army and an international customer will buy the latest Apache attack helicopter - the Apache 'E' variant. The Army will get 244 re-manufactured Apaches while the international customer will receive 24 new ones, the company said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adobe Systems shares pop on upbeat outlook - fastFT

Shares in ADOBE SYSTEMS advanced in extended trading yesterday after the software company, known for its flashplayer and image editor Photoshop, issued an upbeat sales outlook and posted better-than-expected first quarter results. ADOBE shares advanced 4% in after-hours trade after the company said it is targeting revenue of about $1.73bn in the current quarter on adjusted earnings of 94c/share. Profits rose to $398.4m, or 80c/share, in the three months ended Mar. 3, compared with $254.3m, or 50c/share, in the year ago period. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of 94c eclipsed the 87c that analysts on Wall Street were looking for. Revenues climbed nearly 22% to a record $1.68bn, above forecasts of $1.65bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARM in 234% jump in earnings - Sandile Mchunu

AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS' share price leaped by more than 11% on the JSE yesterday, valuing the company around R22.95bn, after it reported a 234% jump in headline earnings for the six months to end-Dec. The shares closed 11.2% higher at R105.02 after the diversified mining group said its headline earnings reached R1.69bn compared to R507m recorded at the end of 2015. The group said its two divisions, ARM Ferrous and the Two Rivers Platinum Mine, benefited from improved commodity prices during the period. The company said it would continue to investigate a number of growth opportunities, including merger and acquisitions, organic growth projects and development projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blinkwater fined R10.1m - Roy Cokayne

The Competition Tribunal has confirmed a settlement agreement between the Competition Commission and BLINKWATER MILLS. Under the deal, the maize miller agreed to pay a fine of R10.1m for engaging in price fixing with 17 other firms in the market for white maize milling. The penalty represents 5% of BLINKWATER'S turnover for its 2007 financial year. The fine follows the commission in 2007 initiating a complaint against TIGER BRANDS, PIONEER FOODS, FOODCORP, PRIDE MILLING and PROGRESS MILLING, extending it to include BLINKWATER, GODRICH MILLING, TWK MILLING, KEYSTONE MILLING, WESTRA MILLING, CAROLINA MILLS, BRENNER MILLS, PARAMOUNT MILLS, NTK MILLS, KALEL MILLS, BOTHAVILLE MILLING and ALLEM BROTHERS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grand Parade Investments settles debt - Sandile Mchunu

GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS said yesterday it had managed to pay its R281.2m debt from the proceeds of exited investments in SUNWEST and GPI SLOTS. The company said this had reduced its debt equity ratio from 27.1% to 16.5%. GRAND PARADE sold its 10% stake in SUNWEST for R547.5m and 19.9% in GPI SLOTS for R262.1m last year to concentrate on investing in restaurant businesses. The group said its results for the six months to end-Dec. clearly highlighted a limited exit from its gaming and leisure investments and a continued investment into its food investments. The investment company also increased its overall holding in SPUR CORPORATION, buying 1.6m SPUR shares for R52.7m to take its overall holding in the franchise restaurant chain to 13.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Advtech to acquire Elkanah House schools - BDPro

Private education provider ADVTECH yesterday announced the acquisition of the Elkanah House schools‚ subject to due diligence and Competition Commission approval. The schools will be held through the Independent Institute of Education (IIE)‚ a wholly owned subsidiary of ADVTECH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fidelity acquires ADT after Competition Tribunal approval - Matthew Stevens

Security group FIDELITY announced yesterday that it had finalised its acquisition of competitor ADT‚ with the new firm to be named FIDELITY ADT. This was after the Competition Tribunal provided regulatory approval on Mar. 8‚ according to FIDELITY. This represented the first foreign sale of security ownership since the proposed bill that security companies in SA have at least 51% ownership‚ which has parliamentary clearance but is still‚ as yet‚ unsigned. ADT‚ which was owned by New York-listed TYCO‚ was one of the big four multi-national security firms in SA‚ the others being CHUBB‚ SECURITAS and G4S. FIDELITY CEO WALT BARTMANN said the merger "brings together two strong teams with deep industry knowledge and experience". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPC Zimbabwe's Harare mill officially opened - Natasha Odendaal

PPC ZIMBABWE yesterday officially opened its $82m Harare cement milling and dispatch facility, bringing its collective production capacity to 1.4m tons/year. The project was completed on time and under budget, and boasted a cement ball mill with dynamic separator; a single-line packer, palletiser, stretch hood and storage warehouse; road and rail offloading facilities; and a bulk bag loading facility, besides others. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt, rental markets to drive growth new vehicle sales - Irma Venter

Vehicle finance provider WESBANK expects new-vehicle sales to grow by 1.74% in 2017. The company was almost spot-on in its Mar. 2016 prediction that last year's sales would decline by 12%, with the actual number recorded at the end of 2016 a drop of 11.4%. WESBANK believes the passenger car market will grow by 1.29%, to 365 926 units, in 2017, with light commercial vehicle sales to increase by 3.32%, to 164 488 units, compared with 2016 numbers. The bad news, however, is that consumer buying is expected to remain weak. WESBANK forecasts sales growth to be driven by government buying, as there are a number of large tenders set to be awarded in the coming months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 17/03/2017

At 08h07 on 17 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.73 ZAR/EUR 13.73 ZAR/GBP 15.74 Gold 1227.25 Platinum 955.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.80 All Share 52748.97

Bell Equipment FY basic earnings per share 39c from 148c - BDPro

Industrial engineering group BELL EQUIPMENT said yesterday basic EPS dropped to 39c in the year to end-Dec. from the previously comparable period's 148c. The group said it did not achieve its goal of delivering financially sustainable results in 2016. The modest profit of R39m for the year represented a significant decline on the previous year's profit of R142m. Rand volatility during 2016‚ and particularly the rand strength in the second half of the year‚ was not favourable for Bell as a local manufacturer and exporter‚ and put further strain on an already very difficult year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mediclinic's drop in market value hits Remgro - BDPro

Investment group REMGRO yesterday reported a 15% decline in intrinsic net asset value per share to R257.79 for the six months to Dec. It attributed the decline mainly to a 38.7% drop in the market value of the MEDICLINIC investment and the dilutive effect of its rights issue. Headline earnings rose 29.7% to R4.69bn. Earnings increased 56.5% to R5.2bn lifted by‚ among other factors‚ the reversal of impairment of the investment in GRINDROD amounting to R724m. REMGRO has investment in industries such as media‚ infrastructure‚ insurance‚ banking‚ and healthcare. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoJ stands pat on rates after Fed hike - Robin Harding

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold and offered no hint of future rate rises as it battles to reach 2% inflation. Short-term interest rates will stay at -0.1%, 10-year bond yields will be capped near zero, and asset purchases remain at around Y80tn a year as the central bank pursues one of the world's most aggressive monetary policies. Japan's decision to hold rates even as the Federal Reserve hikes them highlights the global divergence among central banks, with the US farthest along the pat to an exit from easy monetary policy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China lifts interbank rates - Hudson Lockett

The People's Bank of China has raised interbank interest rates in a move designed to limit investors' interest in moving money from China to the US following the Federal Reserve's interest rate rise overnight. The PBoC raised rates on seven, 14 and 28-day reverse repos by 10 bps to 2.45%, 2.3% and 2.75%, respectively. It stressed that the move reflected market conditions and did not indicate a change in policy. It said the move "mainly reflects recent changes in external and domestic factors influencing market supply and demand" and was "not at all a rate rise" in the sense of monetary policy since its benchmark deposit and lending rates remained unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oracle cloud growth cools - Richard Waters

ORACLE's headlong rush to remake itself as a cloud software company slowed last quarter after steady acceleration throughout 2016, according to the latest earnings released this week. Revenues for the quarter came in at $2.9bn, 2% up y/y but below forecasts of $2.95bn. Shares in the US database software company still rose 3% in after-market trading after it increased its dividend by 27% and beat expectations for pro-forma earnings thanks to a jump in non-operating income. Revenue from cloud activities rose by 73% in the latest quarter to $1bn. That was a slight slowdown from the 81% of the preceding quarter, though it still reflected a big pick-up in cloud growth that has been apparent in recent quarter. ORACLE's traditional software licensing business fell a further 16% to $1.4bn. Thanks partly to $189m in non-operating income, up from $65m y/y, ORACLE was able to report a 5% increase in net income for the quarter to end-Feb., to $2.2bn. EPS rose by four cents to 55cps. This news brief represents a

Fed hikes rates, sticks to forecast of 3 rate increases in 2017 - Sam Fleming

The Federal Reserve has stepped up the pace of tightening with its third increase in short-term interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis as policymakers grow increasingly confident that America's enduring recovery will lift inflation. The Fed raised the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75% to 1% in a move that has come earlier than markets were expecting as recently as last month. Fed policymakers stuck with previous median projections that there will be a total of three increases in rates this year, defying predictions from some bullish analysts that it would release a more aggressive set of rate-raising forecasts. One rate-setter - NEEL KARHKARI of the Minneapolis Fed - dissented from the vote for a rise, arguing in favour of unchanged rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU Chemicals Agency says Monsanto's Roundup doesn't cause cancer - Nicholas Megaw

Popular weedkiller glyphosate should not be classified as a substance that causes cancer, the European Chemical Agency said yesterday in a decision that will ease concerns at BAYER ahead of its €66bn takeover of MONSANTO. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in MONSANTO's Roundup weed killer, is one of the most-widely used herbicides in the world, but has been linked with health problems including cancer and organ damage. The WHO in 2015 said the substance "probably" causes cancer, but ECHA's committee for risk assessment yesterday concluded that "the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction". A final decision on the chemical will be made by the European Commission, but had ECHA ruled that glyphosate does cause cancer, the commission would likely have forced companies to warn every customer about its health effects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US consumer prices edge up in Feb. - Mamta Badkar

US consumer inflation growth slowed sharply in Feb. m/m a a renewed sell-off in crude translated into cheaper visits to the pump for drivers. But compared to a year ago, CPI was up by the most since 2012. Headline consumer prices edged up 0.1% in Feb. m/m when they rose 0.6%, the Labour Department said. That compared with analysts' forecasts that prices were little changed last month. On a y/y basis, the inflation gauge is up 2.7%, in line with economists' forecasts - the biggest gain since Mar. 2012. Stripping out more volatile elements, prices rose 0.2% in Feb. m/m, from a 0.3% rise in Jan. On a y/y basis, core consumer prices were up 2.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammond scraps National Insurance rise at cost of £500m/year - Mehreen Khan

The Tory government has reversed a controversial proposal to raise tax contributions on self-employed workers just a week after it was announced in the annual Budget. In a letter to MPs, Chancellor PHILIP HAMMOND said there would be no hike to national insurance contributions for the self-employed in the Class 4 band "in this parliament". It was announced only last week at the spring Budget, with the U-turn estimated to cost the government £500m/y. In their 2015 manifesto, the Conservative party had vowed never to raise the tax burden on the self-employed, with the shift provoking a fierce backlash over the past seven days. The plans would have involved raising national insurance contributions on some classes of the self-employed from 9% to 11% by 2019 with the hikes kicking in next Apr. An estimated 15% of the UK workforce are self-employed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK govt 'confident' of avoiding hard border in Ireland - Nicholas Megaw

The UK and Ireland will maintain the common travel area allowing citizens to travel freely between the two countries - a key pillar of the Northern Irish peace process - after Brexit. The British government has repeatedly said it wants to avoid a "hard" border, but has not presented a consistent picture of how it aims to do so, given that the UK is unlikely to remain in the EU's customs union. Speaking to the commons Brexit committee yesterday, Brexit secretary DAVID DAVIS said: "I am confident that the two nations and the [EU] Commission between them will be able to solve this - because we really want to, because the technology is better than it used to be, because we all understand the value of it". DAVIS pointed out that there are already soem excise duty differences which apply to cross-border trade in Ireland, which are "dealt with in a subtle and not highly visible way". He said Downing Street would aim to replicate these systems on a larger scale to minimise disruption should the UK face new trade

Poroshenko threatens blockade on Russian-backed militants - Roman Olearchyk

Ukraine's President PETRO POROSHENKO yesterday threatened to impose a temporary road and railway cargo transportation blockade upon Russian-backed breakaway enclaves after militants in the far eastern Donbas region moved to seize control over strategically important steel and coal enterprises. "Today, I propose... to approve a decision to temporarily close transportation corridors - and not only of the railways - with the occupied territory. It is to be in effect until the occupiers return to Ukrainian jurisdiction stolen Ukrainian factories". POROSHENKO made clear that only humanitarian aid will be allowed to flow across front lines in the region, where millions of residents amid a nearly three-year simmering war have scrapped to survive. He said security chiefs would meet later to discuss possible sanctions to be imposed on Russian banks for allegedly accepting as clients individuals presenting internationally-unrecognised passports issued by the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk self-declared republics.

Premier Oil shares jump 10% after lenders agree refinancing deal - Nicholas Megaw

Shares in PREMIER OIL rose more than 10% yesterday morning after the company confirmed it has cleared a further hurdle to completing its long-awaited debt refinancing. PREMIER OIL had been in talks with lenders for nearly a year to renegotiate its debt pile, which stood at $2.8bn at end-2016. PREMIER is aiming to complete its refinancing by the end of May, though shares in the company have remained volatile as nerves over the agreement persist. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IEA blames OPEC production for jump in oil stockpiles - Anjli Raval

OPEC's relentless production late in 2016 is to blame for a jump in stockpiles for the first time in six months and a backlog of unused oil, the International Energy Agency said yesterday. Commercial stockpiles in industrialised natoins rose in Jan. for the first time in six months by 48m barrels to above 3bn barrels. Before the output agreement was reached late last year, production between Sep. and Nov. surged by 580 000 bpd. Exports from these countries moved into storage and points to why US stocks hit record levels last week, the IEA said. "The market needs time for the full impact of the big supply cuts under the output reduction agreements to be felt", the IEA said. Non-OPEC countries have only reached 38% compliance on the output curbs. OPEC crude supply at 32m bpd is a drop of 320 000 bpd y/y, although Feb. saw a small monthly increase. Non-OPEC oil production rose by 90 000 bpd in Feb., to 57.8m bpd, largely due to higher US output. The IEA predicts growth from these countries of 400 000 bpd

Double tax whammy robs motorists at pumps - Fin24

Although fuel prices are set to drop next month, most of the benefit of the decrease will be wiped out by the increase in the general fuel and Road Accident Fund levies, the Automobile Association said yesterday. Based on current data, the AA is predicting that petrol will decrease by 51c/l, diesel by about 27c/l and illuminating paraffin by 32c/l. Most of this will be wiped out when the combined 39c hike in the RAF and general fuel levy kick in on Apr. 1. Subsequently, petrol will go down by around 12c/l, while diesel prices will increase by around 12c/l. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oakbay Resources CEO quits - Matthew le Cordeur

OAKBAY RESOURCES CEO JACQUES ROUX has resigned, two weeks before the company is set to face off against Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN in court. OAKBAY RESOURCES is one of the 21 respondents expected in the North Gauteng High Court hearing from 28 to 31 March. ROUX will vacate his position only at the end of Mar., so should be available for the hearing. It is nor clear why ROUX has resigned, but the company said he would be replaced by GEORGE VAN DER MERWE in an acting role - a position he has held before in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod Bank: We need Net1 to ensure SASSA payments - Gareth van Zyl

GRINDROD BANK say sit needs NET1's support to continue the welfare system. The bank pays 17m grants to 10.6m distinct cardholders amounting to R11bn/month "in close association with CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES", the bank's website shows. Until this week, GRINDROD BANK has been quiet as the SASSA debacle unfolded. The bank has also not been cited as a respondent in Black Sash's urgent court application into the matter. But an affidavit dated Mar. 13, drawn up by GRINDROD MD DAVID POLKINGHORNE, says that "in the spirit of cooperation and to address the urgency" around grants, the bank has had meetings with the Department of Social Development, SASSA, the Treasury and SARB. POLKINGHORNE said during the meetings with the relevant authorities "various alternative options were raised including the option of creating an open banking solution. At all times GRINDROD BANK was clear on its reliance on the infrastructure and technology support provided by CPS and NET1, and that this support was required in any solution

York Timber H1 HEPS flat - BDpro

YORK TIMBER's HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. came in at 10cps, from 11cps y/y. Revenue was up 9% on the back of increased average sales prices, but operating profit fell by 4% due to an increase in plywood plant depreciation. Core EPS were down 28% but the company said it had cash at the end of the period of R30m. YORK said it was concerned about the current slow economic growth, which may impact results for H2 FY2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun Intl HY earnings to be higher - BDpro

SUN INTERNATIONAL expects HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be 155%-165% higher y/y. HEPS are expected to be 260cps-305cps compared with a loss of 473cps y/y. The company said the Dreams and GPI Slots operations were now consolidated and contributed to a 30% rise in revenue and 24% increase in EBITDA over the y/y period. The group's South African casino operations faced tough trading conditions, with casino revenue down 2.7% following a weaker than expected Dec. Sun City and Table Bay continued to benefit from an increase in international tourists, while helped boost overall rooms revenue by 14%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nampak's operational performance improving - BDpro

NAMPAK yesterday said it has made significant progress in the implementation of its comprehensive plan to improve operational performance through "buying better, making better and selling better". The company said operational excellence initiatives and programmes to improve efficiencies and costs "are generating good results and we have refocused the culture towards 'making bottles and cans profitably'". NAMPAK said the asset recapitalisation programme in SA was almost complete and already contributing to improved efficiencies and competitiveness. The group noted that sluggish growth and low consumer confidence in its key markets continued to affect consumer spending and hence demand for packaging. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA faces crippling strike - Fin24

SA's rail passenger transport system risks coming to a halt over demands for a double-digit salary hike, the Federation of Unions of SA warned. FEDUSA is one of four trade union federations in the country. An affiliate, the United National Transport Union, has taken its fight for better working conditions to the CCMA. "FEDUSA fully supports UNTU's decision to refer the dispute to the CCMA for conciliation after its members rejected PRASA's wage offer increase from 3% to 4.5% on condition that UNTU lowers its demands from 20% to 12%. UNTU is also demanding increases in members' medical aid, night shift, book off and standby allowances with effect from Apr. 1. "We believe that millions of rands that are being wasted on a daily basis on irregular and fruitless expenditure by PRASA management could be used to pay decent salaries and other benefits for UNTU members", FEDUSA general secretary DENNIS GEORGE said. UNTU general secretary STEVE HARRIS said: "Our members are angry. Over the past year, the managem

Old Mutual Zim focuses on investing in real assets - Malcom Sharara

OLD MUTUAL ZIMBABWE said it is taking pre-emptive steps to invest in real assets that preserve value, amid fears of the economy returning to the pre-dollarisation era where value was eroded at the expense of pensioners. Responding to questions at a results briefing yesterday, CEO JONAS MUSHOSHO said the group has adopted a strategy that focuses on investing in real assets. "You can never give full proof of the vagaries of this economy", he said, adding that some of the initiatives the group has taken include investing in equities which he said are "probably still a good space to select". Investments the company is involved ininclude the construction of an 11 800m² SME centre which will provide 2 000m² of refrigerated space. OLD MUTUAL has also invested in a 16MW hydro-power project while a total of $40m is earmarked to support upcoming businesses and turn around struggling ones. A total of $79m is invested in treasury bills. OM ZIMBABWE posted an adjusted operating profit of $76.1m, almost the same as

Insider trading rocks CoAL - Paul Burkhardt

COAL OF AFRICA chief operations officer MICHIEL BRONN was fined for insider trading that took place even after he was instructed by the company's CEO not to trade shares, the Financial Services Board said yesterday. The FSB's enforcement committee fined BRONN R350 000 for buying 117 000 shares on the JSE in May 2015, three days before the company announced it had been granted a mining right. The regulator said BRONN "was aware at the time that the Department of Mineral Resources had approved an application for the company's Makhado project". The trade occurred despite instructions from the company's CEO not to trade in shares until the announcement was published. BRONN was ordered to pay the investigation costs of his case in addition to the penalty, the FSB said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Air Liquide opposes Evraz Highveld court proceedings - Megan van Wyngaardt

EVRAZ HIGHVELD STEEL's business rescue practitioners have instituted court proceedings against AIR LIQUIDE in the High Court seeking to cancel certain obligations under a supply agreement between the parties. The application also seeks declaratory relief from AIR LIQUIDE's damages claim against HIGHVELD as a result of the cancellation. AIR LIQUIDE was opposing the relief and intends to bring a counterclaim against the BRPs, HIGHVELD and other affected persons. AIR LIQUIDE said Clause 20.12 of the supply agreement did not impose any limitation on the company's claim for damages against HIGHVELD arising from a cancellation and that the BRPs were obliged to accept a claim to the full extent of AIR LIQUIDE's duly mitigated damages. The industrial gases company further stated it was entitled to receive a supply of water according to its requirements from the HIGHVELD STEEL water pipeline and to have the waste water managed by HIGHVELD's wastewater treatment facility, on reasonable commercial terms. To this en

4AX to hold first listing in Apr. - Megan van Wyngaardt

Although the Financial Services Board has agreed to 4 AFRICA EXCHANGE becoming operational and ready for trade at the end of Feb., the bourse will only see its first listing in Apr. "Given all the holidays that are coming up and the fact that we cannot control when a company prepares itself for listing, [there is this delay] and our second listing will be in May", 4AX CEO FAY MUKADDAM said yesterday. The new bourse has further tried its exchange technology with several regulated and unregulated global exchange platforms and, in Dec., indicated a deal to secure its own source code. MUKADDAM highlighted that the bourse was currently targeting unlisted companies, that had not been listed for a number of reasons. 4AX plans to reach retail investors via investor education programmes, having already partnered with the Gauteng government to coincide with its township renewal initiatives. It will further hold information sessions in vernacular languages to reach a wider audience and create inclusivity. This n

ICASA to publish findings on effect or pro-competitive conditions in call termination regulation by end-Apr. - Natasha Odend

ICASA yesterday held a stakeholder meeting on the impending review of the pro-competitive conditions imposed on licensees in the 2014 mobile call termination rate and fixed call termination rate regulations. The authority is conducting the review to determine whether to modify the conditions or maintain them as is. ICASA is expected to publish its findings on the review by Apr. 30, following which it will determine whether the market requires amendment, based on whether market failure will exists or if the market is effectively competitive in terms of Section 67 (4a) of the Electronics Communications Act. Should the outcome of the review determine there is no market failure, the current regulations will continue until its expiration on Sep. 30. Should the licensee still possess "significant market power", the pro-competitive conditions will be deemed no longer proportional and modificatoin of thereof will be required. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

High Q1 ferrochrome price settled at lower Q2 level - Merafe - Martin Creamer

The European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at US$1.54/lb for Q2 2017, a decrease of 6.7% on the US$1.65/lb Q1 price, MERAFE RESOURCES said yesterday. The settled Q2 price is well up on the average 2016 European benchmark ferrochrome price of US$95.5/lb and the average US$1.07/lb of 2015. Stainless steel production is projected to grow by 3.5% in 2017 and by 3.8% in 2018, which should be followed by increased ferrochrome demand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale to get $733m by month-end from Moatize stale sale - Reuters

VALE yesterday said it is nearing conclusion of a deal to sell a stake in Mozambique's Moatize coal project to Japan's MITSUI & CO. VALE said it expects to receive by month-end an initial payment of $733m from MITSUI from the equity sale. The company said it would receive $2.7bn more after the financing for the project of the mine and the transportation system is concluded. MITSUI will have an option to transfer back to VALE the stake in the project if financing is not completed by Dec. MITSUI is buying 15% of VALE's 95% share in the coal mine. It is also acquiring 50% of VALE's 70% stake in the Nacala logistics corridor, a railway system connecting production at the mine to the Nacala port in Mozambique. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Assmang officially opens Sakura smelter in Malaysia - Anine Kilian

ASSMANG's Sakura ferroalloys smelter in Malaysia was officially opened yesterday. Sakura is a low-cost ferromanganese producer and has successfully commissioned two 81MVA furnaces, within the approved budget of $328m. Both furnaces, currently producing high-carbon ferromanganese, are flexible as they are designed to produce either high-carbon ferromanganese or silicomanganese. Furnace 1 was successfully commissioned in Apr. 2016, followed by Furnace 2 in Sep., with the first shipment of high-carbon ferromanganese having been exported in Jun. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem Diamonds' FY pretax profit nearly halves - Reuters

GEM DIAMONDS yesterday reported a 47% drop in its FY pretax profit, hurt by an impairment charge after it mothballed the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana due to a fall in diamond prices. The company recorded an impairment provision of $176.5m after its move last month to place Ghaghoo under care and maintenance with immediate effect. GEM DIAMONDS said its FY pretax profit fell to $52.4m from $99m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida to restart ops - Reuters

BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile plans to restart operations after striking workers again rejected an invitation by the company to return to negotiations. The mine will first resume work in two areas of the mine that are unrelated to the current talks, Escondida Mine President MARCELO CASTILLO said. The company will then begin to do additional maintenance work, before finally re-establishing mining operations and restarting copper output. Under Chilean law the mine was allowed to hire temporary workers 15 days after the strike started on Feb. 9, but had said it would wait for 30 days to show its commitment to dialogue. Tuesday marked day 34 of the strike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Scopa wants Transnet accounts - Business Report

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has requested TRANSNET to ensure that the Treasury has full access to all financial documents. This, it said, is so it can finalise its review of certain contracts and submit the report to SCOPA as soon as possible. SCOPA said it yesterday had a hearing with TRANSNET on irregular expenditure amounting to R25m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R3.9m for FY2015/16. SCOPA has requested TRANSNET to submit a detailed breakdown of the R229.8m amount and the report that claimed that this amount does not constitute irregular expenditure. The report should be forwarded to SCOPA by Mar. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CPS tried to 'blackmail' govt - Emsie Ferreira

CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES has twice given government a two-day ultimatum to agree to its demands to ensure grant payment is not disrupted, the Constitutional Court heard yesterday. DAVID UNTERHALTER, appearing for Freedom Under Law, told the court that CPS on Dec. 28 told SASSA that unless it agreed to an extension of its contract it would start dismantling its systems. "The two-day threat in December is a clear manifestation of their power and it is precicely that power that we propose the court to discipline", UNTERHALTER said. He then referred to an affidavit by NET1 UEPS that unless SASSA agreed to a new contract on its terms on Wednesday, it would not be able to pay out grants to 17m beneficiaries at the end of the month. NET1 is also demanding an increase of its administration fee from R16.44/grant to at least R22 to allow for inflationary adjustments. UNTERHALTER argued that the Court had the power to extend CPS's contract as an emergency measure, since the company incurred a constitutional duty whe

Vedanta's Agarwal to make £2bn swoop on Anglo shares - David McKay

ANIL AGARWAL, chair of VEDANTA, is to buy a £2bn stake in ANGLO AMERICAN which will make him the second largest shareholder in the UK-listed company with a 13% stake. The deal will be conducted via VOLCAN INVESTMENTS, the majority shareholder in VEDANTA, but would not proceed to a full takeover of the UK listed firm. "VEDANTA is committed to its strategic priorities, including ramping up production from its portfolio of low cost assets, increasing its free cash flow, and continuing to optimise and deleverage its balance sheet", it said. Bloomberg reported that the transaction will be funded through a mandatory exchangeable bond issued by VOLCAN INVESTMENTS and secured by ANGLO's shares. AGARWAL earlier this year said he hadn't entirely given up on the idea of combining his group's HINDUSTAN ZINC with ANGLO which he said was "a transaction that needs to be digested". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Proposed MPRDA amendment on small mining unconstitutional - David McKay

Experts say a proposal to amend a section of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act so that small mining is restricted to black controlled companies may be unconstitutional. One of the proposed amendments to the MPRDA is to Section 27, and states that mining permits for properties of less than 1.5ha, and of no more than two years in duration, can only be awarded to applicants who have in excess of a 50% BEE shareholding. PETER LEON, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehillls, said there was no reason why economic transformation should not be affected via the current conditions in the mining charter, rather than the MPRDA. "The question accordingly is why the DMR believes the transformation of the small scale mining industry cannot be achieved under the mining charter. Unfortunately, the DMR has not explained the need for the greater BEE participation for the holders of mining permits or why the transformation objectives of the MPRDA cannot be achieved under the mining charter. If the DMR is unab

Engen to ship gasoil to Singapore in rare move - sources - Jessica Jaganathan

ENGEN is set to export a gasoil cargo to Singapore, according to trade sources and shipping data. The company has provisionally booked the Torm Horizon to transport 35 000t of gasoil to Singapore from Durban, data showed. The move would be unusual as SA rarely exports gasoil. The cargo likely comprises high sulphur gasoil whose premium has risen to a more than three-month high this month due to prompt demand in Southeast Asia, traders said. The price spread between diesel with 10 ppm sulphur and 500 ppm sulphur gasoil narrowed to 5c/barrel in late Nov., its tightest in more than three years, before widening slightly this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ecobank targets strong customer growth from mobile banking - Chijioke Ohuocha

ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL expects its new digital banking platform to help to boost its customer base across the continent to 100m from 13m by 2020, it said after announcing that it had signed up 1.5m personal accounts via its mobile app. "We have brought financial services to the mobile phone... to have instant account, payment and receipt across Africa", ECOBANK's head of consumer banking PATRICK AKINWUNTA said yesterday, adding that digital operations will also reduce the lender's cost base. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda GDP growth at 5.9% in 2016 - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwanda's economy grew by 5.9% last year, less than the 6.9% growth recorded in 2015, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda said yesterday. It said the expansion was driven by growth in the agriculture, industry and services, which all expanded by 4%-7%. Services contributed 48% of the output while farming accounted for a third, the statistics office said. It added that agriculture's share of GDP decreased from 33% to 30% while the contribution of the industrial sector to GDP grew to 17% from 14% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Q2 business confidence rises but remains in negative terrain - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's business confidence rose in Q1 but remained in negative territory, a survey showed yesterday. The RMB/BER business confidence index rose to 40 points in Q1 from 38 q/q, remaining below the 50-mark separating net positive and negative territories. "It's concerning that respondents continue to show little, if any increased willingness to ramp up fixed investment as well as headcount. This is a bad omen for a country in desperate need of a growth kicker to so help safeguard its investment grade sovereign credit rating", RMB chief economist ETTIENNE LE ROUX said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Jan. retail sales down 2.3% y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

South African retail sales fell by 2.3% y/y in Jan., lagging market expectations, following a revised rise of 1% in Dec., data from Statistics SA showed yesterday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 1.2% y/y rise in Jan. On a m/m basis, sales fell by 1.2% and edged up 0.7% in the three months to Jan. compared with the same period last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim hopes tobacco sales will ease dollar crunch - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe is likely to produce 205m kilogrammes of tobacco this year, slightly more than in 2016, with sales of the crop likely to improve dollar supplies in the cash-strapped country. Marking the start of annual tobacco auctions in Harare, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board spokesperson ISHUENESU MOYO said output would climb from 202m kilogrammes in 2016 after more farmers grew the crop. MOYO said tobacco buyers had borrowed $700m offshore to purchase the crop from farmers. Agriculture Minister JOSEPH MADE said tobacco farmers would be allowed to withdraw $1 000 from banks per day to allow them to purchase farming inputs for next season. Cash shortages in the last 12 months have forced banks to impose daily maximum withdrawal limits for most Zimbabweans of sometimes as little as $50/day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimbabwe consumer prices rise in Feb. - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's consumer prices rose by 0.06% in Feb. y/y from a 0.65% decline the previous month, data from Zimstats showed yesterday. On a m/m basis, prices rose by 0.61% after increasing 0.23% the previous month, the statistics agency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 16/03/2017

At 06h38 on 16 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.85 ZAR/EUR 13.78 ZAR/GBP 15.76 Gold 1225.08 Platinum 967.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.15 All Share 51701.60

Global oil supply rebalancing 'still progressing' - Goldman - Mamta Badkar

Data across sources last month show rising OPEC compliance to crude output cuts, strategists at GOLDMAN SACHS said yesterday, reiterating their view that the oil market rebalancing "is still progressing" with evidence of "strong demand over the past few weeks". Data submitted by the Saudi government to OPEC showed an increase in output to above 10m bpd. But so-called secondary source data showed output slid in Feb. from the prior month to below 9.8m bpd. Saudi also said the extra production was intended for its domestic storage and not the international market. Moreover, the kingdom's energy ministry yesterday issued a statement asserting its commitment to "stabilising the global oil market". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shares dip after stock put under supervision in Tokyo - Leo Lewis

TOSHIBA shares fell as much as 8.1% today after the company was put under supervision by Tokyo's stock exchange. The Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday said the company had been designated as under supervision to determine whether it met delisting criteria. Part of the impetus behind today's sell-off may have arisen from the fact that investors woke up to find several analyst notes warning that TOSHIBA had taken a clear step closer to being delisted from the TSE. The Japanese conglomerate was granted a second extention for the submission of its Q3 numbers yesterday and said it will pursue a disposal of the nuclear division responsible for its distress. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Inditex posts rise in 2016 earnings - Tobias Buck

INDITEX today unveiled a 10% rise in FY net earnings to €3.16bn, underlining the strength of the ''fast fashion" business model pioneered by the retailer. Net sales rose 12% to €23.3bn, while same-store sales increased by 10% y/y - up from 8.5% in 2015. The Zara owner noted it achieved "positive same-store sales growth in all geographies and across all brands." Its annual dividend is set to rise by 13.3% to 68 euro cents. INDITEX said it opened 279 outlets over the course of 2016, taking its total to 7 292. It entered five new markets - New Zealand, Vietnam, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Aruba - and continued to launch new online sales platforms in markets around the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/03/2017

At 10h22 on 15 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.13 ZAR/EUR 13.96 ZAR/GBP 16.04 Gold 1203.66 Platinum 942.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.63 All Share 51792.82

Trafigura in $600m perpetual bond sale - Neil Hume

TRAFIGURA has raised $600m from the sale of perpetual bonds in Singapore. The issue was priced at 6.875% and will be used to bolster the commodity trader's financial position. Under international accounting standards, perpetual bonds are treated as equity rather than debt as they do not have a maturity date. After aggressively investing in fixed assets and infrastructure over the past four years, TRAFIGURA is now looking to reduce its leverage. At end-Sep. 2016, the privately-held company's adjusted net debt stood at $8.6bn - almost 1.5 times group equity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hosken, Tsogo deal heats up - Kabelo Khumalo

HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INVESTMENT yesterday said it was a step closer to consolidating its gaming assets under TSOGO SUN in a R2.1bn deal that would see the hotel and entertainment group take over NIVEUS INVESTMENTS gaming machine and bingo hall businesses. The deal would see TSOGO acquire all NIVEUS interests in VUKANI GAMING and GALAXY BINGO. HCI said the basis of the proposed deal was to consolidate its gaming interest under a single business. Under the terms of the proposed deal, 93% of NIVEUS interests in GAMECO would be distributed to NIVEUS shareholders, cutting HCI's stake in GAMECO after the distribution of 225m shares. In addition, TSOGO will, in terms of the minority offer, provide a "cash based alternative" to the minority shareholders, other than NIVEUS, pursuant to which such shareholders will be entitled to elect to dispose of their GAMECO shares for a cash consideration of R9.74/GAMECO share. HCI said the aggregate value of the TSOGO consideration shares was approximately R2.1bn. TSOGO said

PetroSA assets to be devalued by R1.1bn - ANA

PETROSA is set to suffer a projected devaluation of assets of R1.1bn this FY, in addition to the R14.5bn in impairment it suffered in FY2014/15. The SOE yesterday gave Parliament's portfolio committee on energy an insight into several investigations into the R14.5bn resulting from mostly the failed Project Ikwezi, which brought in much less gas than anticipated after the company spent billions on infrastructure. "There are indications that production assets were overstated by R1.1bn for the year ending Mar. 2017", acting CFO WEBSTER FANADZO said, adding that the latest impairment did not mean that PETROSA lost or damaged any assets. The parastatal said it had a cash balance of R2.5bn. Prior to Project Ikwezi, that balance stood at R12.8bn. "If we do nothing with the asset the company will be going down", PETROSA acting CEO KHOLLY ZONO said. The company presented a turnaround strategy but MPs dismissed it as lacking practical ways on how it would be implemented and funded. This news brief represents a

PPC's carbon tax bill could reach R90m - Roy Cokayne

PPC would be liable for an estimated R90m in carbon tax in terms of the proposed draft carbon tax bill published in Nov. But CEO DARRYL CASTLE said the company was currently looking at a number of initiatives to reduce the carbon tax burden, including the replacement of coal with carbon-neutral energy sources and improving the opportunity to increase cement extension. CASTLE added that the carbon tax regime did not apply to imports into SA and had not been meaningfully implemented elsewhere, and was scrapped in Australia due to the impact on the industry. CASTLE said it was confirmed in last month's Budget speech that a revised carbon tax bill would be published for public consultation and tabled in Parliament in mid-2017. He noted that the tax structure currently proposed for the first phase was for R120/t of CO2 emitted. There were allowances that PPC qualified for in the first phase up to 2020, which substantially reduced the effective tax rate to less than 30% of the proposed value. This news brie

Investec sees higher profit - Reuters

INVESTEC expects higher FY revenue and operating profit after a recovery in equity markets boosted the company's asset management and wealth and investment units. The bank also said it expects its specialist banking businesses to report results for the FY to end-Mar. ahead of the prior year, helped by the British unit. INVESTEC said it expects its capital ratios to be within the group's target total capital adequacy range for the FY to end-Mar. for both INVESTEC PLC and INVESTEC LTD. The common tier 1 equity ratio is expected to remain slightly below the 10% target for INVESTEC LTD, while PLC is expected to remain ahead of target. The lender also said third-party assets under management rose 24.3% to £151.2bn for the period from Mar. 31 2016 to Feb. 28 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARC enters into JV - Roy Cokayne

AFRICAN RAINBOW CAPITAL has entered into a JV with the BUFFETKLT CONSORTIUM that will focus on empowerment-linked property transactions. ARC REAL ESTATE, the JV, has already closed its first investment. In Dec. it acquired the SETSO PROPERTY FUND, comprising 13 retail and commercial assets in a R1.2bn property portfolio across Gauteng and Cape Town, from PIVOTAL PROPERTY FUND and REDEFINE PROPERTIES. ARC RE believes it was well placed to partner with leading South African corporates and property funds on their underlying property portfolios. It will be jointly headed by MARK FOX and KENTT ELLIS, both of whom have a background in structured finance and property investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAG misses bond target - Bloomberg

BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP sold less than half its target in a bond auction this week. The lender offered R1.5bn of notes on Monday but raised only R642m within price guidance, according to BAG head of treasury DEON RAJU. The debt was priced at a spread of 278 bps more than the benchmark three-month JIBAR. This compares with R2.15bn of private placements at a spread of 400 bps during H2 2016, RAJU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidders for Anglo's SA assets eye listing - Bloomberg

The two main bidders for ANGLO AMERICAN's South African coal mines plan to list their companies if they are successful in buying the operations. PHEMBANI GROUP and MASIMONG MINERALS are seen as the leading bidders to purchase the mines that produce coal for the local market, with offers ranging from R2bn to R3bn. The companies both plan to sell shares if they win the assets, said the sources. ANGLO in Feb. 2016 decided to unload more assets after commodity prices plunged and as it sought to pay debt build up during years of expansion. The company has since scaled back those plans as prices rebounded and will likely keep its coal-exporting mines in SA. The New Vaal, Kriel and New Denmark mines mainly sell product to ESKOM and together account for around half of ANGLO's local coal production. PHEMBANI and MASIMONG MINERALS both declined to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramos tells of green light for Barclays Africa BEE deal - Linda Ensor

BARCLAYS had given BARCLAYS AFRICA the go-ahead for another BEE transaction when it divests from the business, BAG CEO MARIA RAMOS said yesterday. The deal would represent 1.5% of the bank's issued share capital. RAMOS said that this BEE deal would give black South Africans a chance to increase their direct and indirect shareholdings in the company. Black ownership now stands at 17.36%. RAMOS said BAG's approach to transformation was focused on education and skills, enterprise development and financial inclusion. Since 2012, R13.3bn had been spent on procurement from black-owned businesses. Black representation stood at 25% on the BAG board and 34% in the group executive team. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ELB returns to profit - BDpro

Engineering group ELB yesterday said it returned to profitability in the HY to end-Dec. as market conditions improved. HEPS came in at 142cps, marking a turnaround from a loss of 51cps y/y. "The group continues with a number of initiatives to position itself to achieve sustainable growth, for which returns will typically only be released in the future. These initiatives are all in line with the core expertise of the group and will enhance its ability to service its markets via horizontal or vertical diversification". The initiatives include the further diversification into providing biomass, gas and energy from waste power plants up to 50MW and the development of expertise in the industrial sector, specifically in the FMCG fields. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell Equipment warns of steep drop in headline earnings - BDpro

BELL EQUIPMENT yesterday warned that HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. are expected to be 73%-79% lower y/y, partly due to fraud and mismanagement in the company's DRC subsidiary. Continued depressed conditions in the markets and industries in which it operates and the strength of the rand in H2 2016 also contributed to the expected earnings decline, BELL said. HEPS will be between 35cps and 45cps, down from 167cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH's interim revenue up 21% - Robert Laing

EOH grew its interim revenue 21% to R7.2bn and its aftertax profit by 29% to R597m in the HY to end-Jan. The company said 80% of its revenue growth was organic and 87% came from its home market during the period. "EOH intends to continue its involvement in all tiers of government and state-owned entities to improve service delivery", CEO ASHER BOHBOT said. The IT services division contributed 35% of group revenue and 37% of pretax profit. Services revenue grew 20% and profit 27% y/y. The business process outsourcing division saw pretax profit jump 61% on revenue growth of 16%. The software division grew pretax profit 54% on revenue growth of 33%, and the IT infrastructure division grew profit 51% on 26% revenue growth. No interim dividend was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Teraco raises R1.2bn for African expansion - Loni Prinsloo

TERACO DATA ENVIRONMENTS said it raised R1.2bn from BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP to invest in IT infrastructure on the African continent. The business will use some of the cash to complete the construction of a new data centre in eastern Johannesburg by the end of the year. BARCLAYS AFRICA "understands our unique business model and the associated infrastructure funding requirements and timelines", TERACO CFO JAN HNIZDO said, adding that the new site will the "the largest commercial data centre in Africa". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cell C posts first ever FY profit - Gareth van Zyl

CELL C yesterday reported its first ever F profit of R540m, following a R5.6bn loss y/y. The company also toned down subscriber numbers to 15.3m - a diversion from its previous claim it had over 20m users. Revenue rose 11% to R14.6bn while EBITDA grew 59% for the period to R3.1bn. CEO JOSE DOS SANTOS attributed the swing to profit to a stronger rand. He added that the planned recapitalisatio of the company will further aid growth. In its deal to acquire 45% of CELL C's share capital, BLUE LABEL TELECOMS late last month also said the "binding umbrella restructure agreement" is expected to bring CELL C's maximum net borrowings to about R6bn. DOS SANTOS said CELL C is benefiting from strong data revenue growth of 35% y/y. The company has also recorded data usage growth of 67% for the period and said data revenue comprised 37% of its service revenue, compared to 30% y/y. In total, the company said its active data customers are up 23% to 12.5m subscribers. This news brief represents a summary of the ori

Cell C not in capex race - CEO - Gareth an Zyl

CELL C is not in a race to beef up its capex, CEO JOSE DOS SANTOS said yesterday. Speaking at the company's financial results briefing, DOS SANTOS announced the company's first ever FY profit of R540m. CELL C also reported 15.3m users and revenue of R14.6m. The company further said it invested R3.4bn in its network and other fixed and intangible assets in 2016 and its total capex since 2013 has been over R11.6bn. "There's been one of two analysts who have commented, you know, we don't spend enough capex as the other incumbents and we can't survive... I mean this is not about a capex race. This is about having a network that offers the same coverage, the same quality as any other network...What's important to know is on the voice side we carry 92% of the traffic on our own network, and on the data side we carry 96% of all data usage on our own network", DOS SANTOS said, adding that "there's no need to spend R10bn a year". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coovadia: Banking's white monopoly capital myth must be dispelled - Liesl Peyper

The banking industry in SA has made huge progress across sectors and any suggestion that it is the least transformed in the country is incorrect, Banking Association of SA MD CAS COOVADIA said yesterday. Speaking at public hearings jointly hosed by the standing committee on finance and the portfolio committee on trade and industry, COOVADIA said BASA's data reflects the progress made with transformation. "That does not mean we are satisfied with the current situation - far from it. We aver very keen on engaging with the dialogue so that we can improve the performance and size of our economy in an inclusive manner". He cautioned MPs to be "mindful of certain myths" and said the banking sector display spatters similar to ownership patterns of the JSE. "The largest share - 49% - of the top six South African banks is owned by foreigners, 34% by institutions such as pension funds, and the remaining 17% by other categories of investors, including individuals". According to COOVADIA, 2016 figures show that bla

S&P sees higher use of guarantees by Eskom as ratings 'pressure point' - Terence Creamer

S&P GLOBAL warns that contingent liabilities associated with guarantees to ESKOM have emerged as a "pressure point" for SA's sovereign rating, which it currently has at one notch above junk with a negative outlook. Associate director and sovereign ratings analyst GARDNER RUSIKE says the combination of rising government debt and the higher utilisation of guarantees by ESKOM and other state-owned companies (SOCs) has the potential, unless contained, to "impact negatively on the creditworthiness of the sovereign". Treasury last month reported that guarantees to public entities are expected to increase by R7.8bn from R469.9bn in 2015/16 to R477.7bn in 2016/17. It added that ESKOM was expected to use R43.6bn of its guarantee in 2016/17 and R22bn yearly over the subsequent three years. However, RUSIKE notes that there has been deterioration, between the 2016 and 2017 Budgets, in the utilisation of guarantees by ESKOM, which grew at a faster pace than the National Treasury had initially assumed would be the case.

Barloworld launches incubation hub to assist in SMME development - David Oliveira

BARLOWORLD yesterday launched the Siyakhula Incubation Hub at its Johannesburg offices to assist suppliers and other companies operating in its value chain to overcome challenges such as market access, finance and skills that tend to impact on SMMEs. BARLOWORLD has partnered with the Department of Trade & Industry and STANDARD BANK to provide financial support, enterprise development, skills transfer, supplier development and marketing opportunities to its small business suppliers. The Siyakhula Incubation Hub will seek to support BARLOWORLD's existing black-owned SMMEs, while also providing support to eligible SMMEs within its larger value chain. BARLOWORLD has provided support to 42 companies and aims to grow the number of incubatees to 120 by 2022. To date, the Hub has assisted its incubatees to create around 670 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kusile's Unit 1 reaches full lead - Natasha Odendaal

ESKOM yesterday announced that the Kusile power station's Unit 1 had reached its full 800MW load-generating capacity last week after the initial synchronisation on Dec. 26. Unit 1, which is in the final stages of the combustion optimisation phase, is now one step closer to commercial operation. ESKOM said construction and commissioning activities on the remaining Unit 2-Unit 6 "continue to progress uninterruptedly with the drive to early completion". Ultimately, the 4 800MW coal-fired station will comprise six units. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Manufacturing output up 0.8% y/y in Jan. - Reuters

SA's manufacturing output rose 0.8% y/y in Jan., lagging market expectations, after contracting 2% in Dec., Statistics SA said yesterday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing volumes would rise by 1.05% y/y in Jan. On a m/m basis, factory output fell 0.4% and edged down by 0.4% also in the three months to Jan. compared with the previous three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Go Life, Elysium deal expands market to 2.5bn people - ANA

GO LIFE INTERNATIONAL yesterday announced it had agreed a strategic partnership with ELYSIUM HEALTHCARE that would enable the parties to reach an estimated 2.5bn people across 25 countries. GO LIFE said the agreement meant it would add generic and pharmaceutical medicine to its range and expand its market potential to an additional 13 African countries, as well as India. The company said the deal meant it was able to offer extensive medical services and equipment. ELYSIUM HEALTHCARE offers a wide range of services and products, from healthcare equipment and drug distribution and supply to healthcare marketing management. A statement from GO LIFE added that the deal gave it access to extensive production and manufacturing capability, as well as a well-established e-commerce platform. It also meant GO LIFE would get assistance with regulatory approval, distribution and marketing from an experienced and established partner. In return, GO LIFE would become the exclusive nutraceutical partner and provider to

Cerro Verde strike may end next week - Reuters

An ongoing strike at Peru's Cerro Verde copper mine may end next week if the labour ministry declares it illegal, the head of the union said yesterday after talks with FREEPORT-MCMORAN ended without an agreement on labour demands. Workers began the strike on Friday and demand better family health benefits and a bigger share of the mine's profits, but they risk losing their jobs in the ministry says the strike is illegal and they do not return to work, union president ZENON MUJICA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida union rejects BHP overture - Reuters

The union on strike at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile again rejected an invitation by the company to return to negotiations as worker demands were not adequately addressed, leaving the parties without an obvious path forward. In a statement late Monday, the union said BHP did not sufficiently address workers' demands in its latest invitation sent to the union earlier on Monday. The union demands include that BHP agrees not to trim benefits in the existing contract, that shift patterns should not be made more taxing for workers, and new workers be offered the same benefits as those already employed at the mine. "After revising its content, the union members have decided that unfortunately this response presents a series of inconsistencies and falsehoods. The union will maintain the strike for an indefinite amount of time", the union said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lowest-cost physical platinum marketplace launched - Martin Creamer

Platinum has been added to BULLIONVAULT's online trading marketplace, marking a first for the metal on the world's largest online precious metals marketplace. The improvement in liquidity, accessibility and pricing is expected to address demand for platinum investment, the World Platinum Investment Council said yesterday. Physical platinum has to date been difficult for private investors to trade efficiently and this initiative gives private individuals access to vaulted platinum at the same low cost currently enjoyed by institutional investors. The metal can now be bought and sold on a precious metals market that stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The physical platinum will now be bought, held and sold in the form of vaulted London Platinum and Palladium Market Good Delivery bars. WPIC market development director MARCUS GRUBB said the initiative would improve liquidity, accessibility and pricing in the global platinum market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coal drags but mining output still on the up - News24Wire

Mining production was up 1.3% in Jan. 2017, compared to levels a year ago, Statistics SA said yesterday. Mining production was up 1.7% from Dec. 2016, an uptick from a downward trend reported previously. The main drivers of this increase include manganese ore, up 20% and contributing 1.2 percentage points to overall production, and iron ore, which was up 7.3% also contributing 1.2 percentage points to production. Coal production was down 5.5% and was a "significant" negative contributor to overall production. Seasonally, output was down 5.2% for the three months up to Jan. 2017. The largest negative contributors for the period were PGMs, which contributed -2 percentage points to the decline, and iron ore, which contributed -1.9 percentage points. Mineral sales rose by 23% in Dec. 2016 y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resgen secures $8.4m facility extension - Natasha Odendaal

RESOURCE GENERATION has obtained a further $8.4m to fund the operations and development of the Boikarabelo mine in the Waterberg, until project funding is secured. An extension of a Mar. 2014 facility agreed with NOBLE RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL, agreed yesterday, will see the additional funds become available to RESGEN's LEDJADJA COAL subsidiary in three trenches over the period to end-Sep. The additional funds, together with an existing $20m facility, are unsecured and subject to a guarantee by the parent company and the restatement of existing 2013 domestic offtake and coal marketing agreements between RESGEN and NOBLE. The offtake agreement includes the supply of 3mt/y of domestic thermal coal over an eight-year period, subject to quality specifications, with two purchase price options at NOBLE's election and an opportunity for LEDJADJA to participate in the upside in any on-sale. NOBLE further obtains the first right of refusal to buy any additional uncontracted coal produced from the mine, with the ter

CoAL narrows interim loss - Creamer Media Reporter

COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED has narrowed its loss for the HY to end-Dec. to $12.97m, from a loss of $14.2m y/y. The narrowed loss was due to a net forex gain of $2.9m, compared with a net forex loss of $9.4m y/y. This was offset by an increase in employee benefit expenses of $2.5m, compared with $2m y/y. Other expenses decreased to $2.3m, from $3.2m y/y. COAL's cash and cash equivalents stood at $7m as at Dec. 31, compared with $19.5m at end-Jun. 2016. The company also reiterated it was evaluating opportunities to acquire cash-generating assets. COAL is still awaiting the approval of an integrated water use licence for its Vele colliery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim mines output threatened by foreign payment delays - Reuters

Zimbabwe's mining output is under threat because banks are delaying processing foreign payments by up to three months due to a shortage of dollars, the Chamber of Mines warned this week. CoM chief economist PARDON CHITSURO said mining generates more than half of the country's forex and should be given priority by the central bank when making offshore payments. Importers say they are struggling to pay for goods abroad because accounts held by local banks overseas have been depleted of foreign currency. "We have been facing a foreign payments gridlock with delays of up to 12 weeks impacting negatively on production", CHITSURO said. Zimbabwe needs an average of $430m/month to pay for imports, according to central bank figures for 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Australia to 'put people first' with energy security plan - Esmarie Swanepoel

The South Australian government has announced a A$550m plan to improve energy security and boost competition in the state's energy sector, following state-wide electricity blackouts last year. Premier JAY WEATHERILL yesterday said the South Australian Power for South Australian Plans will ensure more of the state's power is sourced, generated and controlled in South Australia. The plan will include building Australia's largest battery to store energy from the wind and sun. The state government will also build a A$360m government-owned 250MW gas-fired power plant to provide emergency back-up power and system stability services for South Australians. New ministerial powers will also be introduced to direct the market to operate in the interests of South Australians, while the government will incentivise increased gas production to ensure more of the state's gas is sources and used in South Australia. Further, the state government will introduce an energy security target to ensure its power system uses more

Independent Media to sue TMG for $R300m - Adri Senekal de Wet

INDEPENDENT MEDIA has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against TIMES MEDIA GROUP following the latter's refusal to retract a defamatory article, penned by ANN CROTTY, which was published in the Financial Mail and Business Live on Feb. 23. Severel allegedly untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, "Breaking the News", including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding INDEPENDENT MEDIA's current financial standing and its ability to repay loans. The article claims that IM entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity dubbed AFRICA MEDIA GROUP, to the detriment of its shareholders. The article also suggests that IM has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale. Meanwhile, IM-affiliated AFRICA NEWS AGENCY last week said it planned to sue TMG for R500m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CPS talks hinge on Treasury agreement - ANA

A task team of ministers has decided that talks between SASSA and CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES must be started afresh, and only once the Treasury agreed to entertain talks with a single bidder. This has emerged from court papers filed by SASA in response to an application by Freedom Under Law. SASSA said the task team ordered it to prepare a request to the Treasury to allow a deviation from normal public finance rules that would legitimise 11th hour talks with CPS. The drafting of the request will be overseen by Advocate WIM TRENGOVE and will then be submitted at the instruction of Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI, acting SASSA CEO WISEMAN MAGASELA said. The task team comprises DLAMINI, Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAH, Minister in the Presidency JEFF RADEBE and the ministers of state security, telecoms, home affairs and science and technology. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore sells Rosh Pinah, Perkoa to Trevali - David McKay

GLENCORE is to sell two zinc mines in Africa for $400m to TREVALI MINING CORPORATION of Canada. The deal, however, also sees GLENCORE accept part payment in TREVALI shares which will increase the former's stake to 25% from 4% and give it two board seats. GLENCORE will also market the zinc produced at TREVALI's mines including the African assets. The mines in question are GLENCORE's 80% stake in Rosh Pinah (Namibia) and its 90% stake in the Perkoa mine (Burkina Faso). The deal will give TREVALI production of 230 000t of contained zinc a year. TREVALI president and CEO MARK CRUISE said the transaction more than doubles its current production scale and placed it among the top 10 of zinc producers globally. The terms of the deal are that of the aggregate $400m consideration, some $244m will be paid by TREVALI in cash to GLENCORE with the remaining $156m paid by TREVALI via the issue of around 175.1m shares. TREVALI will also pay GLENCORE $30m to repay an existing debt facility. The deal is expected to clo

Congo c.bank raises 2017 GDP growth forecast - Amedee Mwarabu

The DRC's central bank raised its growth forecast for 2017 to 4.9% on Monday, up from an earlier estimate of 2.9%, due to a more bullish outlook for commodity prices. The figure was nearly double the 2.5% the country achieved in 2016. Central bank governor MUTOMBO NYEMBO said international prices of raw materials were looking more favourable. The mining and oil sectors account for around 95% of export revenues in Congo, whose economy has been battered by falls in metals and other commodity prices over the past 24 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya telecoms regulator says has no intention to break up any company - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's telecoms regulator yesterday said it had no intention of breaking up any company in the sector, weeks after a leaked draft document on competition it commissioned recommended that SAFARICOM be split. "It is not the authority's intention to punish success", Communications Authority of Kenya chair BEN GITUKU told a news conference. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian lawmakers aim to pass 2017 budget by end-Mar. - Felix Onuah

Nigerian lawmakers aim to pass the 2017 budget by the end of Mar., the president of the upper house of parliament said yesterday, following a meeting with President MUHAMMADU BUHARI. BUHARI presented his record 7.298tn naira budget to lawmakers in Dec. "This month is our deadline to finish work on the budget and return it to the executive", Senate President BUKOLA SARAKI said. "We are working very hard to ensure we meet that deadline". SARAKI said he had also briefed BUHARI at their meeting on the activities of parliament during the president's lengthy absence due to illness. The president resumed his duties on Monday after spending seven weeks in the UK on medical leave. SARAKI said the issues discussed with BUHARI had included "stability in the Niger Delta" and the $1bn eurobond issued by Nigeria last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Choppies to spend $55m on new stores - TJ Strydom

CHOPPIES ENTERPRISES plans to spend 570m pula to open more stores in Africa in the next 15 months, CEO RAMACHANDRAN OTTAPATHU said yesterday. CHOPPIES, a no-frills retailer which has 202 stores in small towns, reported a 47% drop in HY profit for the six months to end-Dec. Though profit after tax narrowed to 55m pula, OTTAPATHU said the company would expand in the seven countries it already operates in. The capex will be funded mostly from internal cashflows. "We are not shaken by the drop in profit after tax fall as the company is in a growth phase", OTTAPATHU said. The company plans to spend 120m pula up to Jun. 2017 and a further 450m pula in the FY to Jun. 2018. OTTAPATHU said the company plans top open 36 new stores in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria inflation eases for first time in 15 months in Feb. - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's inflation rate bucked the trend in Feb. to fall to 17.78%, its lowest level in 15 months, driven by a slower rice in general price levels, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. Inflation had risen to 18.72% in Jan. A separate food index showed inflation at 18.53% from 17.82% in Jan., pushed up by the rise in food staples such as bread, cereal and meat, while drink prices slowed. The government forecasts inflation to be at 15.74% at year-end and 12.42% in 2018, which, if achieved, could alleviate widespread frustration with loving costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growth, policy and politics remain concern to SA rating - S&P - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday reiterated its concerns about weak economic growth, political tensions and policy reform in SA, which faces the prospect of downgrades to its sovereign credit ratings which would raise the cost of borrowing. "If we see a lot increasing political tensions, infighting in state institutions which could derail the government's plans in boosting economic growth then that can impact on our forecasts on growth", S&P associate director GARDNER RUSIKE said. The ratings agency sited "political turmoil and tension" before and the issue clearly remains high on the investment radar screen. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 15/03/2017

At 07h21 on 15 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.13 ZAR/EUR 13.94 ZAR/GBP 15.97 Gold 1202.68 Platinum 940.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.63 All Share 51699.46

Saudi Aramco, Tokyo bourse to discuss Japan listing - Anjli Raval

SAUDI ARAMCO and the TOKYO STOCK EXCHANGE are considering setting up a joint group to study a potential listing of the energy giant in Japan, the governments of both countries said on the second day of KING SALMAN's visit to the Asian country. Global stock exchanges are scrambling to get a piece of the world's biggest ever IPO, with New York and London fighting to be the lead international listing venues, alongside a domestic offering on the Saudi Tadawul. The Kingdom seeks ot sell 5% of SAUDI ARAMCO in an offering planned for late 2018, which could value the company at $2tn. Analysts have questioned the valuation but even if it reaches just half that target it would still raise $50bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sturgeon to seek second Scottish independence referendum - Nicholas Megaw

The Scottish National Party will launch the process of holding a second referendum on Scottish independence next week, first minister NICOLA STURGEON said yesterday. Speaking from Edinburgh, STURGEON said "it is important that Scotland is able to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide our own path". She said autumn 2018 to spring 2019 would likely be the best time to hold the vote. STURGEON said the SNP's mandate for a second referendum "is beyond doubt" after the result of last June's Brexit vote, in which 62% of Scottish voters backed remain. British PM THERESA MAY's office last week admitted they expect STURGEON to seek a referendum next autumn, though the government would fight to delay any vote until after Britain leaves the EU. STURGEON said she and the SNP had worked "really hard to find agreement" with the government in Westminster, but said "the UK has not moved even an inch towards compromise" and that the "collapse" o

Vista/Misys confirms C$4.8bn deal in DH Corp - Nic Fildes

VISTA EQUITY PARTNERS has agreed to acquire DH CORP for C$4.8bn, including debt, in order ot merge the business with banking software developer MISYS. VISTA said the merger with D+H, the trading name of the Canadian company, and MISYS would create a fintech powerhouse with $2.2bn in revenue, around 10 000 employees and more than 9 000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks. The C$25.50/share cash offer represents a premium of 36% to the D+H share price in early Dec. when it said it was exploring strategic options. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kuwait's debut sovereign bond sale draws more than $20bn in investor bids - Elaine Moore

Kuwait has extended the recent run of mega-debt issues in the Gulf with a debut sovereign bond sale that attracted more than $20bn of investor bids. The $3.5bn 5-year and $4.5bn 10-year bonds have been sold at a yield of around 2.8% and 3.6%, respectively. Kuwait timed its bond debut ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow at which policymakers are expected to hike US interest rates. The debt sale was led by CITI, HSBC and JPMORGAN, with assistance from DEUTSCHE BANK, NBK CAPITAL and STANDARD CHARTERED. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

British MPs vote against protecting rights of EU nationals living in UK - Henry Mance

By a majority of 48, MPs have refused to protect unilaterally the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. Yesterday's vote allows PM THERESA MAY to negotiate over the rights of EU nationals in the UK, in exchange for the rights of British citizens in the EU. The House of Lords had amended the government's Brexit bill to demand that EU and EEA citizens an their family members who are legally resident in the EU "continue to be treated in the same way', despite the Brexit vote. That was rejected by 335 votes to 287. The debate featured an impassioned plea by former deputy PM NICK CLEGG, who cited his Dutch mother and Spanish wife as examples of those affected by the uncertainty. Downing Street has ruled out triggering Article 50, the EU's formal exit clause, today, saying that notification will not come until the last week of Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

British MPs reject amendment giving Parliament final say in Brexit deal - Henry Mance

MPs have rejected forcing THERESA MAY to seek parliamentary approval if she decides to lead Britain out of the EU without a negotiated deal. By a majority of 45, the House of Commons overturned a Lords amendment that would have tied the government's hands at the end of the Brexit process. Several pro-European Tories abstained. The amendment could have given parliament the ability to force MAY back to the negotiating table, if she had not been able to reach a satisfactory deal with other EU states. To date the government has promised a vote on any Brexit deal, but said, if the deal is not approved, Britain would simply leave the EU on WTO terms. The amendment failed by 331 votes to 286, a wider margin than the government's working majority. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

24m would become uninsured by 2026 under GOP health plan - Sam Fleming

The proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act could lead to 24m people becoming uninsured in less than a decade's time, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans have put forward plans to overhaul the healthcare market, following pledges by President DONALD TRUMP and others to scrap BARACK OBAMA's healthcare plan. A report by the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that the changes could have far-reaching consequences for many citizens. In 2018, 14m more people would be uninsured under the new legislation compared with the existing law, the report said. That would rise to an additional 21m in 2020 and 24m in 2026. As a result, by 2026 an estimated 52m people would be uninsured compared with 28m who lack insurance under the current law. The analysis by the CBO and JCT also finds that average premiums for single policyholders would be 15%-20% higher than under the current law, but would "lower average premiums thereafter". It further finds that the legislation, dubb

Pershing confirms it has sold Valeant stake - Stephen Foley

PERSHING SQUARE yesterday confirmed it has sold its remaining stake in VALEANT, saying it is taking up too much of the hedge fund manager's time. BILL ACKMAN and PERSHING SQUARE's vice-chair STEVE FRAIDIN will remain on the VALEANT board until the upcoming AGM but will not stand for re-election, the hedge fund said. PERSHING said it "elected to sell our investment and realise a large tax loss which will enable us to dedicate more time to our other portfolio companies and new investment opportunities". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba applies to extend earnings deadline - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA shares fell more than 6% this morning after the company confirmed it has sought another extension to submit its audited Q3 earnings amid uncertainty about the true extent of crisis at its US nuclear unit WESTINGHOUSE. In a statement, TOSHIBA said it sought the extension after an internal probe by lawyers confirmed that some WESTINGHOUSE executives exerted "inappropriate pressure" over the accounts of STONE & WEBSTER, a US nuclear construction company that was purchased in 2015. If the deadline extension request until Apr. 11 is not accepted by the Ministry of Finance division in charge, it will have until Mar. 27 to report the financial results or face delisting. TOSHIBA said it will need another four weeks to examine S&W's accounts beyond the latest third quarter. It added it has not yet found evidence that will require revision of the parent's consolidated earnings "for now". The company also faces a second deadline tomorrow that requires the company to submit a report to show that it has impro

China retail sales growth softens as state-led investment ticks up - Hudson Lockett

Retail sales rose less than expected during Jan.-Feb. in China despite accelerated growth in both industrial output and fixed asset investment. Retail sales grew by 9.5% y/y in the first two months of 2017, down from 10.4% in the 12 months to end-Dec. as well as lower from the 10.2% rise seen in the same period y/y. The softening was more pronounced at above-scale enterprises, where sales growth came in at 6.8%, though online purchases of goods were up 25.5% y/y. The softening in overall consumer spending growth comes despite a rise in investment. Urban fixed-asset investment grew 8.9% y/y in the two months of 2016, up from 8.1% in the year ended Dec. and besting expectations of an 8.3% rise. Industrial production grew at a quicker clip than anticipated, rising 6.3% in the Jan.-Feb. period from a year ago versus expectations of a 6.2% rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China real estate investment grows at fastest pace in 2 years - Hudson Lockett

Real estate investment in China rose at the quickest clip in two years and growth in floor space sold sped up in the first two months of 2017, even as growth in total sales value decelerated. Investment in real estate development for the Jan.-Feb. period rose 8.9% y/y, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That's a jump of 2 percentage points from December's level and the highest growth reading since the same period in 2015. Sales growth for new housing in the first two months of 2017 came in at 140.5m m², a y/y rise of 25.1% and up 2.6 percentage points from the pace seen in the 12 months to end-Dec. In value terms, sales totalled just over Rmb1.08tn, reflecting growth of 26% for the period and an 8.8 percentage-point deceleration from the 12-months ended Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

El Nino-style weather could hit this year - Emiko Terazono

Australian meteorologists have increased the likelihood of an El Nino weather phenomenon forming later this year, raising concerns for extreme weather in Africa and south east Asia. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said there was a 50% chance of El Nino occurring this year, with six of the eight prediction models suggesting thresholds may be reached by Jul. 2017. The En Nino of 2015/16 was one of the strongest on record. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Antofagasta earnings up on copper price recovery - Henry Sanderson

Chile's ANTOFAGASTA said its earnings jumped by 79% last year due to cost cutting and a recovery in copper prices. The company said EBITDA rose to $1.63bn as revenues rose by 12.3% to $3.62bn. It raised its dividend to shareholders to 18.4cps, from 3.1cps y/y. The copper miner said it does not forecast the metal returning to its levels hit in early 2016 due to mine disruptions. CEO IVAN ARRIAGADA said he expected to see the copper market move into deficit over the medium term, "leading to a further improvement in prices". The company said copper output rose 12.5% to 709 400t in 2016. The group is targeting copper output of 685 000t-720 000t for 2017. ANTOFAGASTA said it cut costs and capex during the year, which helped boost margins. Operating cash flow rose 69.8% during the period to $1.46bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAT invests R13bn in next generation products - Sandile Mchunu

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO yesterday said it had invested more than $1bn in building its next generation products business in the past five years. The products include Vapour Products and Tobacco Heating Products. CEO NICANDRO DURANTE said it was now a good time for the group to invest in this market as the global next generation products market was estimated to be worth around £15bn by 2020 (excluding the US). "We believe our strategy positions the group to capture a significant share of this exciting market in the future and will contribute substantially to future growth of the business", DURANTE said. BAT said its long-term prospects would be strengthened by the acquisition of the remaining 57.8% of REYNOLDS AMERICAN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DAWN proceeds with R350m rights offer - Roy Cokayne

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK is to proceed with its rights offer to raise around R350m. This follows DAWN shareholders approving the necessary resolutions at a general meeting of the company. DAWn yesterday said it planned to offer 350m rights offer shares at R1 apiece in the ratio of 147.83904 rights offer shares for every 100 existing DAWN ordinary shares held Mar. 24, the record date for the rights offer. The rights offer issue price represents a 53.1% discount to the closing price on Mar. 10. The rights offer is aimed at assisting the company to achieve and implement its turnaround strategies, increase the available working capital facilities and repay R75m of its revolving credit facility. DAWN said the gross proceeds of the rights offer would strengthen the company's balance sheet and provide the company with a sustainable platform for its ongoing operations. The rights offer will open on Mar. 27 and close at noon on Apr. 7. The results of the offer will be announced on Apr. 10. This n

intu acquires Madrid property - Roy Cokayne

INTU PROPERTIES has further expanded its presence in Spain with the acquisition of the Xanadu Shopping Centre in Madrid for €530m. The acquisition means INTU now owns three of the top 10 centres in Spain, and positions the company as one of the leading regional shopping centre landlords in that country. INTU has exchanged and completed contracts with entities of the IVANHOE CAMBRIDGE GROUP to acquire Xanadu Shopping Centre, its associated management company, and the SNOWZONE operating company. The centre, excluding the management company and SNOWZONE business, was externally valued last month at €526m, which represents an initial yield of 4.3% for the centre based on its annual net rental income of €23m. The purchase consideration will be settled with a combination of loan finance and INTU PROPERTIES' existing resources. A €263m, five-year loan with SANTANDER, BBVA, CREDIT AGRICOLE and CAIXABANK has been secured on the asset. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HomeChoice increases revenue despite tough year - Matthew Stevens

HOMECHOICE INTERNATIONAL declared a dividend of 87cps for its FY to end-Dec. Group revenue rose by 19.3% to R2.7bn and total profit and comprehensive income rose 7.7% to R424.8m. This growth took place despite some challenges, HOMECHOICE said. Challenges included the tough economic and trading conditions in SA, the fall in the prescribed minimum interest rate and the increased restriction in the unsecured credit market. This led to a slight drop in the gross profit margin in its retail sector, a decrease in the finance charges its financial services unit earned and increased operating and compliance costs. HOMECHOICE said good retail sales in H2 and improved disbursements of loans allowed revenue to grow while improved cost management allowed the company to mitigate the effects of increased costs. The company also benefited from increased cash on hand, which resulted from lower capital expenditure, and a term loan of R350m it secured. Revenue in all its divisions rose but the strongest growth was in re

RMI manages double-digit growth in H1 - BDpro

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENT HOLDINGS yesterday reported a 12% rise in normalised earnings from continuing operations to 121.3cps for the HY to end-Dec. y/y. DISCOVERY's 3% rise in normalised earnings was driven by the performance of its three established South African businesses - DISCOVERY HEALTH, DISCOVERY LIFE and DISCOVERY INVEST, as well as VITALITYHEALTH in the UK. MMI recorded a 5% decrease in normalised earnings, affected by lower health administration revenue and the effect of weak investment markets on asset-based fee income. Normalised earnings from OUTSURANCE rose by 23%, driven by a significant improvement in the cost-to-income ratio across the company. he market value of its listed investments contracted by 8% to R28bn, while the implied value of unlisted investments rose 16% to R33.25bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB kills safety deposit box service - Gareth van Zyl

Months after robbers hit hundreds of FNB safety deposit boxes, the bank is moving to discontinue safe custody storage at its branches. Burglars hit the boxes in Dec. and on New Year's Eve, stealing contents from over 300 storage units at branches in Randburg, Parktown and Sunnypark. Millions of rands in contents were stolen while crooks dumped about 250 empty boxes in the veld near the FNB Stadium. According to reports, two suspects allegedly linked to the heists were arrested and appeared in court in Feb. FNB late last week announced that it would discontinue new applications for safe custody storage in branches. "The decision follows the bank's regular review of service offerings to align with its business strategy, as well as the assessment of the product's sustainability. With immediate effect, FNB will not accept any new safe custody applications from existing or new customers", the bank said. It also said it plans to notify impacted individual and business customers to "make arrangements to colle

Updated market indicators for 14/03/2017

At 10h25 on 14 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.17 ZAR/EUR 14.02 ZAR/GBP 15.99 Gold 1201.61 Platinum 937.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.35 All Share 51967.54

MBSA adds three AMG models to production line - Irma Venter

MERCEDES-BENZ SA will, in H2 2017, add three new derivatives to its production line at the company's East London plant. The new derivatives are AMG models, which refers to the group's range of high-specification performance vehicles. Within parent DAIMLER, MERCEDES-AMG set a new global record last year with sales of around 100 000 vehicle - up 44.1% on 2015 sales. "The new AMG models being added ar the MERCEDES-AMG C 43 4MATIC, MERCEDES-AMG C63 and the MERCEDES-AMG C63 S", MBSA CEO ARNO VAN DER MERWE said yesterday. He said the total investment for the new model introductions would be in excess of R200m. The AMG engines will be fully imported. The newcomers mean that the East London plant will have the capacity to produce 10 C-model derivatives by the end of the year. MBSA reported a 10.8% jump in revenue for the FY to end-Dec., to R73.4bn. EBIT of R5.6bn were achieved for the same period - an increase of 27.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rain dampens PPC cement sales for Jan. and Feb. - ANA

PPC yesterday said that adverse weather had negatively impacted cement and concrete sales in SA during Jan. and Feb. The company's operational update showed that rainfall in excess of 200mm was experienced in many parts of the country during these two months. PPC said it managed to reduce net debt further to R4.4bn as at Dec. 2016 due to the conclusion of a component of the first empowerment transaction. PPC concluded a Strategic Black Partners and Community Service Groups components of its 2008 BBBEE transaction, resulting in a cash inflow of R1bn in Dec. 2016. PPC said retail selling prices in most African countries had been declining on the back of increased cement capacity as well as lower economic growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Momentum builds at Bridge City mixed-use development - Anine Kilian

Activities at the Bridge City mixed-use property development north of Durban are gathering momentum. To date, 65% of the 53ha development area has been sold to a mix of public and private sector investors, while 360 000m² of bulk is still available for purchase. "Our vision for Bridge City is one that combines a mix of public sector facilities, services and infrastructure with a range or private investment opportunities. At its heart, it will have an intermodal transport system that links the areas of Phonix and Inanda", TONGAAT HULETT DEVELOPMENTS executive BRIAN IVE said. The environmental-impact assessment for the first phase is under way, while construction work on the second phase of the mixed-use development is expected to start towards the end of 2017. Bridge City is expected to attract upwards of R10bn in investment once it has been completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA gets interim board - Natasha Odendaal

Transport Minister DIPUO PETERS has appointed an interim board to stabilise PRASA and guide the parastatal until a new, permanent board is selected. PETERS last week dissolved the entire PRASA board on the back of "declining performance, lack of good governance, lack of financial prudence and in-fighting deteriorating public confidence", and had recalled her seconded acting CEO COLLINS LETSOALO back to his post as Department of Transport CFO "for the good of the company". While former PRASA chair POPO MOLEFE is taking legal action to have the minister's decision set aside, PETERS has appointed former SANRAL CEO NAZIR ALI to serve as PRASA's interim chair, effective Mar. 13. The other interim board members are RONNY MKHWANAZI, TIYANI RIKHOTSO, FRANS BALENI, NATALIE SKEEPERS, CONSTANCE MAHELO, XOLILE GEORGE and a representative from the Treasury. PETERS said the interim board would be tasked with steering the utility back on track while the selection of a new, permanent board is decided on. This news bri

Tanzania gives coal mining licence to Dangote - Reuters

Tanzania has awarded a coal mining licence to the local unit of Nigeria's DANGOTE CEMENT as part of plans to lower the company's production costs and ease disruptions caused by power shortages. DANGOTE suspended output in Dec., citing technical problems and high production costs, but has since resumed production. "The process of allocating a coal mining area to the DANGOTE cement factory was completed on March 11", the energy and minerals ministry said yesterday, adding that the company will be given a coal mining licence covering 9.98km² in the Ngaka area. The cement factory runs on diesel generators and has sought government support to reduce costs. Last week, President JOHN MAGUFULI gave government officials a seven-day ultimatum to allocate a coal mining area to DANGOTE within the Ngaka coal fields, which are licensed to another company. The Ngaka basin is licensed to TANCOAL ENERGY, a subsidiary of INTRA ENERGY CORP. INTRA ENERGY said it would work with authorities to hand over part of its license

Molefe files urgent application over PRASA board dissolution - News24Wire

Former PRASA chair POPO MOLEFE has filed an urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court to have the decision by Transport Minister DIPUO PETERS to dissolve the PRASA board set aside. MOLEFE and other fired directors have approached the court to review or declare the board's dissolution unlawful, reinstate them to their former positions, and prevent an interim board from being appointed. According to his founding affidavit, the decision to remove the board members and the notices of removal are "plainly unlawful and must be set aside" to prevent irremediable damage, uphold legality and vindicate public interest. The minister's action, MOLEFE argued, interferes with ongoing corruption investigations and "may be an effort to frustrate the successful outcome of these investigations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC proposes tax on unused land to force owners to sell to the State - News24Wire

The ANC has proposed more taxes for unused land to force owners to sell their land to the State in a bid to fast-track its failed land redistribution programme. Head of Economic Transformation ENOCH GODONGWANA said the ruling party was looking at a raft of taxes for unoccupied land or land bought for speculative purposes. Speculative land refers to land bought for investment, with owners hoping the undeveloped land will in time rise in value. The ANC said the market-based valuation of land must be facilitated and accelerated by the passing of updated exploration legislation by Parliament. GODONGWANA admitted that the party had no new policy proposals on land but they had "perfumed" past policy documents. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC wants presidency to have more powers to allocate State resources - News24Wire

The ANC has proposed that the Presidency be strengthened to become a "strategic centre of power" in government, driving resource allocation within the State. This is one of the key proposals in the ANC's policy document on legislature and governance, released on Sunday. The document states that the core functions of State policy and planning, resource allocation and prioritisation, co-operative governance, public administration and performance enforcement, should form part of core functions of the Presidency. The documents will be discussed by ANC structures ahead of its policy conference and final policy will only be adopted at its elective conference in Dec. Analysts say the proposal is an attempt to clip the wings of the Treasury, that has until now held the power for finance allocation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chrome ore price improvement boosts Bauba - Megan van Wyngaardt

BAUBA PLATINUM has had a strong start to the calendar year since resuming production at its Moeijelijk mine, selling around 20 000t of free-on-truck chrome for R79m in the first two months. In its results for the HY to end-Dec., the company noted that its outlook for the year ahead was promising, capitalising on favourable chrome ore prices and owing to it having been contracted to sell a further 10 000t of chrome ore from Feb.'s production at a FoT price of R3 187/t. This will generate an estimated R31.9m in sales. "Our opencast production target for the six-month period to June 30 remains unchanged at 105 000t", it said. Meanwhile, the company noted that its underground mine plans were well advanced and first development was planned to start at the end of Mar., building up to a stable monthly production of 30 000t of chrome by the end of FY2018. Estimated capex for the development of the underground mine stood at R24.5m. BAUBA reported an LPS of 150cps for the interim period. This news brief repres

Glencore hires Morgan Stanley banker as it targets investments - Reuters

GLENCORE has hired a senior banker from MORGAN STANLEY as it looks at investments and acquisitions again after two years of belt tightening due to low commodity prices. The company has hired CYRUS BEHBEHANI, who helped run MORGAN STANLEY's investment banking franchise in the Middle East. BEHBEHANI has been working for GLENCORE since the start of 2017, based in London, sources added. GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG recently said the company was keen to carefully grow via deals, but added he did not see a big M&A target at the moment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African to reopen Evander shafts within original timeline - Natasha Odendaal

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES is on track to bring its Evander shafts back into operation within the company's 55-day safety-linked mining suspension timeline. The company on Feb. 20 announced the temporary suspension of underground operations at the project to complete infrastructure-critical refurbishment and maintenance on shafts 7 and 8. PAN AFRICAN in Dec. 2016 reported that EVANDER's 7A shaft was undergoing critical maintenance following the dislodgement of a steel shaft guide, which damaged shaft infrastructure. In conjunction with the 7A shaft refurbishment programme, the company had initiated independent and internal engineering studies to assess the condition of EVANDER's underground mining infrastructure. The studies had identified critical infrastructure issues that required remedial action to ensure the safe and sustainable operation of shafts 7 and 8. The planned 55-day suspension is expected to be completed at a capital cost of around R40m. This news brief represents a summary of the original a

Anglo plans pay cap after shareholder revolt - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN is set to cap executive bonuses, it said yesterday following a shareholder revolt last year over high payouts even when the company's share price had crashed. In its annual report, ANGLO said it would reduce maximum annual bonuses for CEO MARK CUTIFANI to 300% from 350% of basic salary, bringing it in line with other executive directors. For CUTIFANI, the limit is £13.1m. ANGLO also said that from this year, the value of long-term incentive plans would be capped at twice the face value of the award at the time of vesting. "We were determined to address investors' concerns about the potential windfall gains for executive directors", remuneration committee chair PHILIP HAMPTON said. Even then, executives would only be eligible for the limit of twice the face value if they met performance targets. In addition, ANGLO said it was increasing executive directors' salaries in 2017 by 2% after freezing them in 2016. The new policy will be voted on at ANGLO's AGM in April. This news brief repr

Samarco mine restart threatened by request to protect forest - Bloomberg

The Samarco mine in Brazil is facing one more obstacle to restarting operations later this year after a court accepted a request by prosecutors to protect a forested area that encompasses a pit the venture had planned to use for storing waste. The BHP BILLITON-VALE JV had hoped to resume operations later this year after a 2015 dam collapse that killed as many as 19 people. Samarco's ability to service around $4bn in debt obligations hinges on the restart. A court issued a temporary ban on "issuing licenses or permits for environmental intervention" in a section of the Uaimii forest, according to a document posted on the Minas Gerais state judiciary's website dated Jan. 11. State prosecutor LYSSANDRO NORTON SIQUEIRA didn't respond when asked to confirm that the court's decision will prevent the granting of licences to Samarco. The Alegria Sul pit that Samarco had planned to use for waste storage, in lieu of building another tailings dam, was meant to be a quick solution that would allow the company to res

Protector asked to probe Dlamini-CPS links - Emsie Ferreira

The DA has asked Public Protector BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE to probe the relationship between CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES and Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI, who is seeking to extend the company's contract to distribute welfare grants. "The vital question as to why DLAMINI is so hell bent on ensuring that CPS continue distributing social grants must be investigated fully by the Public Protector", said BRIDGET MASANGO, the DA's social development spokesperson. "This investigation will help shed light on whether DLAMINI will either directly or indirectly benefit from this contract with CPS." Newspaper reports at the weekend that President JACOB ZUMA's legal advisor, MICHAEL HULLEY, had sought to influence the process in CPS's favour, added to the need for an investigation, MASANGO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African confirms 976 face chop at Evander - David McKay

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES yesterday confirmed that up to 976 workers at its Evander Gold Mines would be retrenched after the company served a Section 189 notice. "We didn't commit to a number when we announced plans to restructure Evander [on March 10], but now we have reached agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers", CEO COBUS LOOTS said. Evander had been loss-making for seven months partly owing to a strengthening in the rand against the dollar. "The rand is incredible at the moment", LOOTS said. Asked if the rand had been previously oversold, LOOTS said: "Everyone is chasing yield and the rand is very liquid and a proxy for emerging markets. Most gold companies are struggling at the moment". The NUM noted that a voluntary separation package and redeployment to other mines reduced the number of workers affected to 976 from a possible 2 400. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro unlikely to exercise pre-emptive right over RBCT stake - David McKay

EXXARO RESOURCES was unlikely to exercise its pre-emptive rights in RICHARDS BAY COAL TERMINAL as it had sufficient access to the export facility. "I'm not sure we are interested in buying more entitlement", EXXARO CEO MXOLISI MGOJO said. The company has an 11% stake in the coal terminal, equal to just over 10mt/year of its 91mt/y capacity. VITOL is hoping to buy OPTIMUM COAL TERMINAL from TEGETA EXPLORATION AND RESOURCES. TEGETA bought the entitlement as part of a R2.15bn takeover of OPTIMUM COAL COMPANY. VITOL is thought to have offered $250m for the stake in the terminal which, at last year's run rate of 72mt, is equal to around 5.4mt. The purchase price has never been confirmed and public comment about the process is sparse. But MGOJO said he thought the offer price for the shares in RBCT was "expensive" and, in any event, access to the terminal had become easier following some lean years in the coal export space. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim seeks new South African electricity supply deal - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe is negotiating a new deal to continue importing power from ESKOM to make up for shortfalls in generating capacity at its Kariba hydropower station, Energy Minister SAMUEL UNDENGE said yesterday. In Jan. 2016, ESKOM agreed a one-year deal to sell up to 300MW of capacity to Zimbabwe, which was facing power shortages caused by low water levels in the Kariba dam. UNDENGE told reporters after a meeting between ESKOM and ZESA HOLDINGS that the two utilities will still discuss how much ESKOM would supply to Zimbabwe, adding that imports would be paid for upfront. "I don't want load shedding to return and we have been assured of continued support from ESKOM so that we continue to have the country supplied with power", UNDENGE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Etisalat could sell Nigerian unit stake after debt deal - Stanley Carvalho

ETISALAT is considering a sale of its stake in ETISALAT NIGERIA after the local unit defaulted on a $1.2bn loan payment but wants the unit's debt restructured before it starts the sale process, sources said yesterday. ETISALAT is due to meet with local lenders in Nigeria later today and tomorrow to discuss the loan default, a person close to the situation said, adding that the company was keen to resolve the loan issue and would look for a good deal to sell its stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's c.bank finalising licences for two new banks - George Obulutsa

Kenya's central bank yesterday said it would process requests for licences by two new banks, ending a moratorium it put in place in 2015 on licensing new commercial banks. The central bank said that DIB BANK KENYA and MAYFAIR BANK KENYA had received "approval in principle" before the 2015 suspension of licensing. "The Central Bank of Kenya announces its intention to finalise the processing of licence application for two institutions... as a first step to lifting the moratorium on licensing of new commercial banks", it said. DIB BANK KENYA is wholly owned by the DUBAI ISLAMIC BANK PJSC, which operates according to Islamic principles. MAYFAIR BANK is owned by Kenyan investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 14/03/2017

At 07h50 on 14 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.14 ZAR/EUR 14.01 ZAR/GBP 16.04 Gold 1203.63 Platinum 941.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.39 All Share 51855.38

HSBC appoints Mark Tucker as new chair - Hudson Lockett

HSBC has appointed MARK TUCKER to succeed DOUGLAS FLINT as the group's new chairperson. The plan to hire TUCKER, which had been approved by regulators in the UK and Hong Kong, had been conditional on whether an agreement could be finalised between the two sides. The deal was confirmed in early morning Asia hours by filings from Asian insurer AIA and HSBC to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. TUCKER will become a director and group chair from Sep. 1, and will take over as non-executive chair on Oct. 1. At AIA, regional CEO NG KENG HOOI has been appointed group CEO and president designate with immediate effect, and will succeed TUCKER as group CEO and president from Sep. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan machine orders fall into contraction in Jan. - Hudson Lockett

Japan's machinery orders fell into contraction in Jan. as a revision to December's reading more than halved the previous month's rate of growth. The index recorded a m/m contraction of 3.2% in Jan., down from a revised December reading of 2.1% growth (previously 6.7%). A median forecast from economists surveyed by Reuters had predicted a rise of 0.5%. The y/y rate fell 8.2% in Jan. after a rise of 6.7% a month earlier and coming in well below expectations of a 3.3% drop. MARCEL THIELIANT, senior Japan economist at CAPITAL ECONOMISTS, cautioned against reading too much into the latest data, noting that machinery orders' "link with business investment has been poor lately". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Misys close to deal to combine with DH Corp - James Fontanella-Khan

Financial technology company MISYS is nearing a deal to combined with Canadian rival DH CORP, according to sources. VISTA EQUITY PARTNERS, the US private equity group that owns MISYS, has beaten rival buyout ADVENT INTERNATIONAL to acquire the Toronto-listed company in a deal that could be worth more than C$2.5bn, sources said. VISTA will delist and combine DH with MISYS in a bid to build a larger and more global fintech company ahead of a renewed attempt to list the company. MISYS is considering a listing on the NYSE. A deal could be announced as early as today, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SEC rejects bitcoin ETF in blow to digital currency - Adam Samson

The US Securities and Exchange Commission late on Friday rejected an application that would have let the WINKLEVOSS twins list an ETF that tracks bitcoin, marking a blow to the digital currency. The regulator said it would not allow the BATS BZX exchange to list shares in the WINKLEVOSS BITCOIN TRUST amid concerns that "significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated". The ETF would have allowed investors to much more easily trade the digital currency that is controlled by algorithms. Bitcoin tumbled by 12.3% to $1 069 following the SEC announcement. It had hit an all-time high of $1 277.70 on Monday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/03/2017

At 11:04 on 13 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.13 ZAR/EUR 14.02 ZAR/GBP 16.04 Gold 1209.46 Platinum 946.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.37 All Share 51466.34

Vodafone to bring 2 100 call-centre jobs back to UK - Nic Fildes

VODAFONE has joined the push to bring customer service jobs back to the UK with the announcement of 2 100 new call-centre positions. The company, which has struggled with customer service issues in recent years, will "onshore" the support roles from SA, where it uses an external agency. It will retain some customer service operations abroad, including technical staff in Egypt. The new roles will be spread across existing VODAFONE call centres in the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and Manchester. Rampant wage inflation in countries including India, SA and the Philippines, and customer frustration at being routed to overseas locations has prompted more companies to consider bringing work back to home countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elon Musk in bold bet on ending Aussie power crisis - Jamie Smyth

ELON MUSKS says he can build an electricity storage plant within 100 days to solve an energy dilemma in Australia. MUSK has even pledged to install the 100MW/hour battery system for free in South Australia if he misses the deadline. Talks between MUSK, Australlian PM MALCOLM TURNBULl and South Australia PM JAY WEATHERILL follow several power outages in South Australia that have prompted a bitter debate between advocates of fossil fuels and those of renewable power over the country's energy policy. Australia is the latest country to consider battery storage as a solution to the challenge of providing reliable power supplies as grids become more dependent on renewable energy. South Australia will tomorrow announce its new energy policy, prioritising battery storage technology and providing subsidies to help roll it out. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Germany's Metro says split to go ahead despite shareholder suits - James Shotter

German retail conglomerate METRO on Friday confirmed that shareholders had filed suits with a German court against its plans to split itself in two. METRO said that in total four suits had been served against its plan, which involves spinning off its food businesses into a new company which will keep the name METRO. The remaining business, built around its MEDIA-SATURN electronics arm, will be renamed CECONOMY. METRO said that despite the suits, it still expected to go ahead with the demerger, and list the new shares for the food business by the middle of the year. "The shareholders of METRO AG, at the annual general meeting, approved the plans for the demerger of METRO GROUP with 99.95% of the voting capital represented", CEO OLAF KOCH said. "We consider ourselves well-prepared for nay legal dispute. We continue to expect that the demerger will become effective in mid-2017." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US adds 235 000 jobs in Feb. - Adam Samson

US wage growth accelerated in Feb., while job growth continued apace, bolstering the case for a rate hike this week. Average hourly earnings rose by 2.8% on a y/y basis in the first full month of DONALD TRUMP's presidency, Labour Department data showed on Friday. The economy added 235 000 jobs during the month, compared with forecasts of 200 000. The unemployment rate fell to 4.7% from 4.8% previously. The broader underemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 9.2%. "A March hike is a done deal", said LUKE BARTHOLOMEW, investment manager at ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT. "The report was the last piece in the puzzle and there is nothing here that will make the Fed want to step back from their recent signalling". Manufacturing added jobs for the third consecutive month in Feb., bringing the net gain over the period to 57 000. The sector had shed 62 000 jobs in the previous 10 months as factories faced a sharp downturn in demand from the energy industry. Construction employment was also string, risin

S&P upgrades Glencore to BBB - Nicholas Megaw

S&P has upgraded GLENCORE's credit rating in a further vindication of the company's efforts to slash debts and return to profit. Just over a year after the ratings agency downgraded GLENCORE's debt to one notch above junk, S&P has boosted the rating to BBB/A-2. It also left a positive outlook on the rating, indicating that the miner and commodity trader could be upgraded further "in the next year or so". Last month, GLENCORE reported that it was in its best financial position ever after swinging back to profit in 2016. S&P said the company's recent debt reduction measures have given it "increased financial resilience to future industry downturns". Shares in GLENCORE have increased 249% since S&P's downgrade last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK industrial output contracts in Jan. - Nicholas Megaw

Output in the UK's industrial sector shrank in Jan., bringing the country's annual growth rate sharply down after it hit a six-year high at the end of the year. Industrial output fell by 0.4% over the month, returning to contraction after two months of growth, according to the Office for National Statistics. Growth in the mining and engineering industries meant the overall decline was slightly less severe than predicted by economists, but the manufacturing sector performed worse than expected, contracting by 0.9% in contrast to a predicted 0.7% fall. On an annual basis, overall industrial output was 3.2% higher y/y. Manufacturing production rose by 2.7%, compared with expected growth of 2.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tata Motors strikes up partnership with VW Skoda - Simon Mundy

TATA MOTORS is to pursue a product development partnership with VOLKSWAGEN AG's SKODA AUTO, as it seeks to win back lost share in India's fast-growing car market. In a statement on Friday, the companies said they had signed an MoU on a partnership that would lead to the launch of new vehicles by TATA MOTORS from 2019. While it has won favourable reviews for recently launched vehicles such as the Tiago hatchback, TATA MOTORS is battling to regain ground lost during the past decade, during which time its share of the Indian passenger car market has fallen from 16% to less than 6%. VW CEO MATTHIAS MUELLER said the R&D partnership was part of the German group's efforts to tailor its offerings to customers in the "emerging, fast-growing automobile markets". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors start to eye 2017 eurozone rate rise after ECB shift - Mehreen Khan

It's been nearly seven years but investors are finally beginning to hone in on the prospect of a tightening in monetary policy in the eurozone. A subtle shift in the signalling from the ECB has pushed up the probability of a Dec. 2017 rate rise to over 50% from just 10% at the start of the month. Despite not changing much of its formal language about being ready to provide more monetary support to the eurozone, ECB president MARIO DRAGHI declared victory over the deflation risks that had prompted the central bank into its trillion euro bond-buying programme two years ago. "There is no longer that sense of urgency in taking further actions while maintaining the accommodative monetary policy stance including the forward guidance", DRAGHI said last week. Analysts judged the remarks to be the start of a gradual shift in the central bank's forward guidance on interest rate rises. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maize prices hit 2-yr low - Reuters

A big maize crop following recent rains has pulled local maize prices to two-year lows, eroding farmers' ability to pay for inputs for the new season, GRAIN SA said on Friday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee last month said SA will likely harvest 13.918mt of maize in 2017, 79% more y/y. The 2016 crop was hurt by a scorching drought, pushing up food prices and fuelling inflation. This year SA is likely to export to Zimbabwe. Industry officials said low grain prices mean farmers will struggle to buy seeds, fertiliser and chemicals, whose prices were high last season, because the rand was weaker. "When we drop to R2 000 a tonne level, that's not profitable at all to farmers", GRAIN SA CEO JANNIE DE VILLIERS said. The white maize contract ending in May fell to a more than two-year low on Friday after it closed 24% down to R1 950/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basil Read confident of concluding BEE deal - Roy Cokayne

BASIL READ is confident about concluding a BEE deal that will result in the company becoming 51% black-owned. CEO NEVILLE NICOLAU said the reason that it had taken a long time to conclude the deal was because he wanted it to be a normal commercial transaction rather than a BEE deal. "We want proper 51% black control when you take the share register and list the shareholders. You can't have the IDC and PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION for that", NICOLAU said. He noted that the company was already 18% black controlled and the transaction the company had been negotiating would increase the shareholding level to 51%. He stressed that BASIL READ also did not want a passive BEE partner, but for the new black investors to be involved in active management at all levels of the business. NICOLAU said a new set of corporate values had been agreed and implemented in the company, with race and gender transformation under way in the group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Energy Partners acquires Dryden Combustion - Joseph Booysen

ENERGY PARTNERS has acquired DRYDEN COMBUSTION for an undisclosed sum. The company - part of PSG GROUP - last week announced it had bought refurbished coal, oil and gas-fired packaged steam boiler suppliers firm DRYDEN. The deal will see JONATHAN PROBERT, the current national sales manager for steam and combustion at ENERGY PARTNERS, taking the reins as DRYDEN CEO, with GORDON SLATER and SUE KILEY remaining with the business until the end of 2017. PROBERT said the deal would provide a strong foundation for developing new products and services to better cater to the diverse requirements of the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Queenspark interim profit plummets - Robert Laing

Fashion retailer QUEENSPARK, owned by REX TRUEFORM CLOTHING COMPANY, reported interim profit of R3m for the HY to end-Dec. - a fifth of the matching period's R15m - but hopes online sales via ZANDO and SPREE websites will improve its fortunes. QUEENSPARK is among the JSE's few remaining pyramid structures, owned by REX TRU, which in turn is owned by AFRICAN AND OVERSEAS ENTERPRISES. REX TRU declared a 27cps interim dividend, less than half the matching period's 61cps. Besides QUEENSPARK, the company also earns rental income from an office park. Its retail sales contracted by 5% to R273m while property revenue grew 6% to R9.9m. "QUEENSPARK will continue to focus on store growth. Further product categories are to be added to existing ranges in an endeavour to improve performance", the companies said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Truworths Zim posts HY sales drop - Malcom Sharara

ZSE-listed TRUWORTHS, 34.39% owned by TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL, on Friday reported a 35.89% drop in revenue for the HY ended Jan. 8. CEO BEKITHEMBA NDEBELE said group merchandise sales of $6.5m for the 26 week period were 40.8% lower y/y. The company reported a loss of $986 888 for the period, against a profit of $327 876 y/y. The decline in sales was across all its chains with sales in TRUWORTHS declining by 40.3%, Topics by 43% and Number 1 by 31.7%. The gross profit margin dropped to 38.1%, from 46.3% y/y, as product was discounted to boost stales in a weak market. Going forward, NDEBELE said trading conditions are expected to remain extremely difficult and the business will have to reduce trading space in line with trading densities. "The shortage of foreign currency will negatively impact product availability and pricing", he said, adding that the decline in aggregate demand and gross margins will remain under pressure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Allan Gray would welcome further social grant controls - Antony Sguazzin

NET1's second-biggest shareholder, ALLAN GRAY, said if the company concludes a new welfare distribution contract with SASSA it would welcome further controls on how payment recipients' information is used. The fund manager last week said that while there have been allegations that the company has, under its existing contract, used data gleaned from payments to improperly sell grant recipients additional services through its related companies these have not been proven. The Constitutional Court will this week hear a case brought by Black Sash Trust demanding that the court have oversight of any contract concluded with NET1 and rule that no information gathered about recipients be given to NET1 associated companies that sell services ranging from cellphone airtime to loans. "Given the perceived issues with the cross selling of other products by NET1, we would welcome any additional controls or limitations imposed by a potential new contract", ALLAN GRAY said. This news brief represents a summary of the or

New Zuma jet could cost R1.3bn - Lameez Omarjee

A plan to buy President JACOB ZUMA a new private jet that could cost R1.3bn has been kept secret, the Sunday Times reported yesterday. According to the paper, the jet will be used for shorter trips across Southern Africa. The main jet, Inkwazi, will be used for longer flights for both the president and his deputy. The Sunday Times reported that this bid was not advertised as it was being tailored for a "specific supplier". Last year Fin24 reported on a bid to acquire a new luxury presidential jet at a price of R4bn. However, these plans were put on ice in Oct. This was despite the fact that Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN had made an additional R143m for aircraft leases for ZUMA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanlam CEO sees rand stabilising - Matthew le Cordeur

SANLAM GROUP CEO IAN KIRK said the rand should stabilise to the Sep. 2016 level (R13.80-R14.40/$) but warned that emerging market currencies were difficult to predict. SANLAM last week reported a 6% drop in normalised headline earnings. It said the decline was as a result of negative foreign currency translation differences and weak equity market performance during 2016. KIRK noted that SANLAM views its net operating profit as the main indicator of its performance. Here, net results from financial services rose by 10% from R7.3bn in 2015 to R8bn in 2016. Referring to the rand's performance, KIRK said: "We do see stability and a normalisation back to the level of September 2016. Predicting the rand is a very difficult process." He said SANLAM has a "diversified business - it is a key part of our strategy and so we will continue to diversify... One of the consequences of that is outside of our control like exchange rates and interest rates. You have to sort of live with the rough and the smooth". Thi

Citibank gets date for price-fixing hearing - Lameez Omarjee

The settlement agreement between CITIBANK and the Competition Commission will be heard by the Competition Tribunal on Mar. 22, the Tribunal said on Friday. CITIBANK has agreed to pay a settlement over R69.5m for its role in an alleged forex cartel since 2007. CITIBANK has declared its intentions to cooperate with the Commission making available witnesses to assist in the prosecution of the other banks that colluded. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN awards new SA CEO R8m in shares - Gareth van Zyl

MTN has awarded the new CEO of its South African unit, GODFREY MOTSA, 66 500 shares at a market price of R120.22 each as part of its performance plan. MOTSA is set to take over from MTETO NYATI. Last week, it emerged that NYATI would be stepping down as CEO of the South African unit with effect from Mar. 13 and that he would be replaced by MOTSA. NYATI has joined ALTRON as its new CEO. MOTSA is currently the VP of the South and East African region at MTN GROUP. The total value of shares awarded to MOTSA amounts to R7 994 630.00. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strike halts output at Peru's Cerro Verde mine - Reuters

Workers at Peru's top copper mine, FREEPORT-MCMORAN's Cerro Verde, started an indefinite strike on Friday that halted 95% of production of about 40 000t/month, the union said. But a dispute over worker demands might be solved at a scheduled meeting between union official sand the mine's management on Monday, said ZENON MUJICA, secretary general of the union. Workers want better family health benefits and a bigger share of the mine's profits, which MUJICA said have risen on better copper prices and higher output following an expansion. "Copper prices have improved, production has improved, but profits for workers haven't improved", MUJICA said. FREEPORT said the mine was "operating and continues to engage in constructive discussions with the union and the company's employees to address their concerns". The union had initially scheduled a five-day strike but later voted to stop work indefinitely. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC says law-making powers trump courts in mine ownership battle - Bloomberg

The ANC said mining companies should seek agreement with the state over ownership rules rather than challenging them in court because even if they win a legal battle, legislation can still be changed to further the aim of spreading wealth to the nation's black majority. The Chamber of Mines has asked the High Court to back its view that the Mining Charter stipulates that companies should be credited with disposing of a minimum of 26% of their assets to black investors, even if those stakes are later sold. "Let's assume that the court rules in your favour. The regulators can undercut that by making new legisiation that undermines whatever court judgment you have had", ANC economic policy head ENOCH GODONGWANA said. The companies argue that forcing them to replace black investors when they sell their stock will leave other shareholders with diluted holdings. They have also criticised proposals to introduce revenue-based royalties and increase procurement targets from black-owned companies. The original Mi

Basil Read maintains steady turnover in FY2016 - Megan van Wyngaardt

BASIL READ has posted steady turnover at just over R5bn for the FY to end-Dec. 2016. This was lower than the R5.5bn turnover in 2015, mainly as a result of scrapping loss-making businesses and projects. Operating profit fell from R226.2m in 2015 to R63.7m. This included the final losses on the last distressed contract in the company, where the losses are still at least partially subject to a claims process. The company further explained that the operating profit was negatively impacted on by the R61m in losses incurred on the Olifants River Water Resource Development project as well as a R32m loss form its pipeline business. BASIL READ posted a loss of R53.6bn, after the deduction of a tax expense of R25.4m, which was incurred mainly from profits generated in subsidiary companies domiciled outside of SA, as well as a loss of R33m on the sale of its SprayPave business. The group continued to place emphasis on its cash management, securing a R200m facility from the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. By

Tongaat sugar, maize output to rise - Megan van Wyngaardt

TONGAAT HULETT's sugar output is expected to increase significantly over the next two years as the company recovers from the adverse conditions suffered over the past two years. Based on good rainfall, the business's South African division is expected to produce 500 000t-620 000t of raw sugar in 2017/18, up from the 353 000t it produced last year. Output will rise to 680 000t in 2018/19. In Mozambique, TONGAAT adjusted its outlook to reflect estimated output of 221 000t of sugar in 2017/18, compared with 198 000t produced in 2016/17. For 2018/19, the company foresees production of 280 000t. For its Zimbabwe operations, TONGAAT foresees sugar output rising to 400 000t-425 000t this year, rising further to 535 000t-570 000t next year. In its maize division, TONGAAT also expects improved output as weather conditions and rains received during the sumer maize season improve. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transporters disagree with implementation of appointment only system at Durban terminal - Shirley le Guern

The trucking fraternity has not taken kindly to an announcement on Friday by TRANSNET PORT TERMINALS that it will impose an appointment only system for trucks at the Pier 2 Container Port Terminal in Durban from Apr. 1. TPT regional manager THULA DLAMINI said a similar system would be implemented at Pier 1 at the start of June once the necessary "appointment technology" and a check facility had been developed. Both piers are notorious for massive traffic backlogs. But transport company owners and operators have declared that nothing has changed and accused TPT of "moving the deckchairs on the Titanic while not looking at the coming iceberg". They said truck delays of as much as 48 hours would continue and said TPT needed to first attend to its own planning system failures and equipment breakdowns and shortages before a system such as this could succeed. DLAMINI said the problem TPT was experiencing was that truck and container transactions were not spread evenly over a seven-day week. This resulted in s

SARS to lay complaint against Judge Dennis Davis - ANA

SARS on Friday accused Judge DENNIS DAVIS of "unashamedly" misleading the public by claiming that the revenue services was at a risk of imploding. This comes after DAVIS, chair of the Davis Tax Committee, addressed a conference on tax evasion organised by the Alternative Information Development Centre in Cape Town recently. "SARS has noted with grave disbelief at the unprovoked and unwarranted attacks on SARS by Judge DENNIS DAVIS", the revenue service said on Friday. It said DAVIS "unashamedly misled the South African public and purported to undermine public confidence into SARS in a desperate endeavour to pursue a patently false narrative". DAVIS was quoted as saying that SARS had no capability of actually dealing with multinational corporations and capital that sought to evade tax, and that the drop in income tax collections was the most obvious red flag. "The biggest challenge facing South Africa today is an erosion of the integrity of SARS... SARS has no capability of actually dealing with multinati

EPP acquires mixed-development property in Poland - Anine Kilian

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES has concluded an agreement to acquire 70% of the mixed-use Galeria Mlociny shopping centre in Warsaw, Poland. The deal will be effected via EPP's acquisition of 70% of the equity in ROSEHILL INVESTMENTS, for an aggregate consideration of €29m, from POWELL REAL ESTATE INTERNATIONAL, ELSORIA TRADING, TERBANACLE anc TERBANACLE INVESTMENTS. ECHO INVESTMENT SA will be appointed as the developer of Galeria Mlociny and will acquire the remaining 30 of the equity in Roseholl for an aggregate consideration of €12.4m. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida approaches striking union, eyes new offer - Reuters

Chile's Escondida copper mine has invited its union to resume talks as a first-step towards ending a month-long strike, it said on Friday. The strike, which began Feb. 9, is the longest in Escondida's history. "The company is insistent in its call to the union to restart talks, in order to arrive at a deal that will allow the strike to end as soon as possible", Escondida said on Friday. Mine management has spoken to the union and is preparing a new contract offer that seeks to address some of their concerns, a source said. The union did not give an immediate response to Escondida's statement. The mine said Friday it "would evaluate day by day" whether it may begin to use temporary workers. However, there were no immediate plans to do so, a source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Portugal's CGD bank seeks to sell Spanish, South African ops - Andrei Khalip

Portugal's largest bank, the state-owned CAIXA GERAL DE DEPOSITOS, plans to slash its foreign assets by half by 2020 as part of an ongoing restructuring and will prioritise selling its Spanish and South African businesses, the lender said late on Friday. The bank, which posted a loss of €1.86bn in FY2016, said it expects to cut its international assets to no more than €12bn by 2020 from €23bn last year, while targeting a rise in return on equity from the operations to more than 15% from 13%. CGD's total net assets at end-2016 stood at €93.5bn, down from €101bn in 2015. The lender said it planned to maintain operations "in markets with Portuguese affinity", including Angola, Mozambique and the Macau region of China, while selling or shutting down the remaining non-core international business. BANCO CAIXA GERAL in Spain has 110 branches across the country and employs some 500 people. CGD's MERCANTILE BANK has a network of branches mainly in the Johannesburg area. This news brief represents a su

NCC seeks deal in Etisalat debt talks - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's National Communications Commission said it agreed on Friday with local banks to end the prospect of receivership for ETISALAT NIGERIA, which has missed a payment on a $1.2bn loan. A banking source told Reuters last week that the Nigerian affiliate of ETISALAT had given notice to its Nigerian lenders that it would miss a payment in Feb. The sides have not been able to agree on terms. Friday's meeting succeeded in halting the attempt by ETISALAT's creditors at bringing it under any form of takeover", the NCC said. "Receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive", it added. It gave no details, but said a follow-up meeting on Thursday would discuss a restructuring of the loan payment. The consortium of 13 banks had asked ETISALAT to convert loans from its parent into equity and inject fresh capital into its Nigerian affiliate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania c.bank asks commercial lenders to cut rates - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's central bank has asked commercial banks to consider lowering their lending rates to help spark credit growth in the country. Bank of Tanzania cut its discount rate to 12% from 16% effectively from Mar. 6 after a steep drop in private-sector credit growth last year. There were expectations that the move "will enhance credit growth and reduction in lending rates", central bank governor BENNO NDULU said. The central bank's decision to slash the rate it charges commercial lenders to borrow from it came after lending to the private sector grew by 2.5% in 2016 after expanding 26.8% a year earlier. The IMF warned in Jan. that tight fiscal and monetary policies threatened Tanzania's forecast for growth of around 7% in FY2016/17, which ends in June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields CEO predicts drop in Q1 output at South Deep - Tanisha Heiberg

GOLD FIELDS CEO NICK HOLLAND has warned that Q1 production at the company's South Deep mine could be lower than anticipated due to safety stoppages. South Deep reported a rise in profit for the first time in 2016, along with a plan to make the asset more profitable with a long term production target of 500 000oz/year by 2022. But the mine's 2017 production target of 315 000oz may be impacted by stoppages in the first part of 2017 due to two fatalities, HOLLAND said last week. "What happens in the short run in no way affects the integrity of the long term plan but it may impact whether the 9.8t is achievable or whether its a lower number", HOLLAND said. GOLD FIELDS has said it will spend R2.28bn on underground infrastructure over the next six years, peaking at R582m in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 13/03/2017

At 07:18 on 13 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.14 ZAR/EUR 14.06 ZAR/GBP 16.00 Gold 1206.83 Platinum 944.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.03 All Share 51269.54

Universal starts supply to Eskom - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL has delivered the first product from its New Clydesdale Colliery to ESKOM. UNIVERSAL returned NCC to operation in Sep. 2016 and, in Nov., inked an agreement with ESKOM for the supply of 1.2mt/y of coal over a seven-year period. Underground operations at the colliery are now progressing, with two underground sections delivering 67 000t of coal for the month of Feb., with the addition of a third underground section to start production in Mar. On the processing side, the two operational units of the coal handling and processing plant processed 200 000t of coal for the month of Feb. The boxcut development remains on schedule with the first overburden blast successfully completed, with first RoM coal scheduled for the end of Mar., and the opencast coal to be processed in April, ensuring contractual sales dates are exceeded. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MPRDA amendment calls for black-control of small-scale mining - David McKay

Small scale miners must be black-controlled in order to apply for a mining permit according to a proposed amendment to the Minerals & Petroleum Resources Development Act. Around 57 proposed changes to the Act are currently being considered by the National Council of provinces. One of these changes is that mining permits for properties of less than 1.5ha, and or no more than two years in duration, can only be awarded to applicants with a 50% plus one share black shareholding. DA MP JAMES LORIMER thinks the proposal - if promulgated in the MPRDA - could be the thin end of the wedge if applied to the mining charter when it undergoes one of its five-year redrafts. The current redraft is thought to be nearing publication in the government gazette this month. "We will oppose it at the NCOP level and when it comes back to the National Assembly... However, unless the ANC has a change of heart, they will include it in the final bill", LORIMER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Emefiele defends policy of limiting imports - Ulf Laessing

Hard currency curbs imposed by Nigeria's central bank have helped boost local food production, central bank governor GODWIN EMEFIELE was quoted as saying by two newspapers on Sunday. "This policy was basically borne out of necessity to conserve foreign exchange", EMEFIELE said in a speech, referring to the import ban, Vanguard reported. "This policy needs to be supported not just in response to the measure on the naira but as an opportunity to change the economy's structure, resuscitate local manufacturing and expand job creation for our citizens", EMEFIELE added. He also said Egypt's experience with a free float for its currency did not convince him Nigeria should follow suit as it might increase inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/03/2017

At 11h01 on 10 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.30 ZAR/EUR 14.12 ZAR/GBP 16.18 Gold 1196.58 Platinum 937.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.45 All Share 51142.08

Bowler Metcalf posts loss after 'capricious' six months - Pericles Anetos

BOWLER METCALF today said revenue grew 14% to R291m in the HY to end-Dec., but associate SOFTBEV contributed a R20.1m loss, pushing the group into an aftertax loss of R36.8m. The company raised its interim dividend by 5% to 19.32cps, to be paid from reserves. BOWLER METCALF described the trading environment during the period as "capricious". It blamed government's pending sugar tax, among other things, for "delaying the targets that formed the basis of merger profitability projections in respect of the SOFTBEV beverages business, especially in the inland region". This had prompted it to impair its 42% stake in SOFTBEV by R56m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMB interim earnings up 6% to R6.88bn - Business Day

RAND MERCHANT BANK HOLDINGS today announced a 6% rise in normalised earnings to R6.88bn in the HY to end-Dec. y/y. The company, whose largest investment is its 34% stake in FIRSTRAND, declared an interim dividend of 153cps, up 8% y/y. RMB acquired 40% of GENESIS PROPERTIES during the period under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's Chinamasa revises up 2017 economic growth forecast to 3.7% - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe expects higher economic growth of 3.7% this year, from an initial projection of 1.7% following a better than expected agriculture season, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald. CHINAMASA told military officers at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare that agriculture would spur higher economic growth, with grain deliveries expected at 3mt. "I anticipate after the revision, our growth to be around 3.7% from 1.7% or so that we had anticipated in the 2017 national budget", CHINAMASA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French manufacturing output declined sharply in Jan. - Katie Martin

French manufacturing output again declined in Jan., new data from the country's statistics office showed this morning, with a 1% drop on the month building on a fall of the same scale in Dec. and missing economists' forecasts of a 0.5% rise. On a y/y basis, production fell by 1.3%, from a (downwardly revised) increase of 0.1% observed in Dec. On the brighter side, overall industrial production saw a more modest decline on the month, shrinking by 0.3% from a 1.1% drop in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German trade surplus shrinks to 12-month low - Mehreen Khan

Germany's bumper trade surplus has shrunk to its lowest level in a year on the back of a sharp rise in imports at the start of 2017. The trade balance fell from €18.7bn to €14.8bn in Jan. compared to Dec. - a far steeper drop than the €18bn forecast by economists ahead of the release. A shrinking surplus was driven by a 3% rise in monthly imports, while exports also bounced back from a 2.8% decline to rise by 2.7%. With the exception of Nov. 2016, the rise in imports was the best month since 2014. Still, on a y/y basis the surplus still rose 12% compared with Jan. 2016, with exports up 12%, Destatis said. Germany's current account balance also shrunk more than expected, falling by nearly a half from €24.8bn to €12.8bn. Overall, the current account surplus is expected to hit an all-time record of 8% at end-2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UBS cuts bonus pool - Ralph Atkins

UBS cut its bonus pool by 17% to SFr2.9bn last year as continental Europe's banks weathered tough trading conditions. The drop in performance awards to UBS bankers, revealed today, was not as severe as the 80% fall expected at DEUTSCHE BANK. But it was a significant reversal compared with 2015, when UBS bucked the trend in the sector and increased the bonus pool by 14%. UBS CEO SERGIO ERMOTTI also saw his compensation fall in 2016. He received a total of SFr13.7m last year in fixed and variable pay, down from SFr14.3m y/y. UBS's adjusted profits before tax fell 5% in 2016 to SFr5.3bn. The 2016 bonus pool was shared by 47 603 bankers, up from 46 311 in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil edges up from 3-month low - Alice Woodhouse

Oil prices pulled back on Friday from November's lows seen in the previous session but record US stockpiles continued to weigh on the market. WTI gained 0.8% to $49.66/barrel after dipping below $49 for the first time since Nov. during trading yesterday. Brent crude rose 0.7% to $52.56/barrel after tumbling 1.7% in the previous trading session. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PBoC governor defends China's new capital control regime - Yuan Yang

ZHOU XIAOCHUAN has defended China's strict new capital control regime as a "normal" response to "over the top" overseas investments by Chinese companies and individuals. "Some people [invested offshore] blindly and were in a rush to do so", ZHOU said today at a briefing on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary session. "Some of this outbound investment was not in line with our own policies and had no real gain for China". ZHOU singled out Chinese overseas investment in "sports, leisure and clubs" for criticism. "Some investment was not [made] for the best motivations... So to regulate this, I think it is normal". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Korean president impeached - Bryan Harris

South Korea's PARK GEUN-HYE was stripped of her presidency and formally ousted today in a landmark decision by the country's constitutional court. In an unanimous decision, magistrates upheld the legality of an earlier impeachment vote by the nation's legislature, making PARK the first South Korean leader to be thrown from office. The verdict puts South Korea at a historic juncture, with many hoping it will be a harbinger of reform in a nation plagued by graft and cronyism. Tensions in Seoul ran high as demonstrators from both sides of the political divide rallied near the court. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU, IMF to continue Greek debt talks next week - Jim Brunsden

EU and IMF negotiators said they will continue talks next week with Greece in a bid to broker a deal on reforms that Athens must undertake to unlock the next stages of its international bailout programme. An IMF spokesperson said "important progress" has been made since technical teams of officials returned to Athens last month. "Discussions will continue next week, notably on pension and labour market reforms", the person said. The talks are a key part of efforts by euro area finance ministers to broker a deal that would bring the IMF fully into the €86bn Greek bailout and avert a crisis in Jul. when Greece faces a €7bn debt repayment. Euro area finance ministers will review progress when they meet in Brussels on Mar. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Repsol announces major onshore oil discovery in Alaska - Andrew Ward

Spain's REPSOL says it has made one of the biggest conventional onshore oil discoveries in the US for decades on Alaska's North Slope. The group said the latest drilling at its Nanushuk play had extended previous discoveries by 20 miles and increased estimated resources to 1.2bn barrels of recoverable light crude. REPSOl said positive results from drilling at its Horseshoe-1 and 1A wells this winter added to earlier finds in the adjacent Pikka field and together represented the biggest discovery of its kind in the US for 30 years. It aimed to start output from Pikka in 2021, with a potential rate approaching 120 000 bpd. REPSOL holds a 25% stake in the Horseshoe discovery and 49% in Pikka, with the remaining interest held by ARMSTRONG, which also has operator rights. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Airbnb wraps up $1bn fundraising round as it eyes expansion - Leslie Hook

AIRBNB has completed a $1bn fundraising round that began last June, filling its coffers as the company expands into new areas such as travel tours and luxury rentals. At a valuation of $30bn, AIRBNB is among Silicon Valley's most highly prized companies. The latest round of fundraising began last June, and by Sep. the company had raised $550m from investors including ALPHABET's venture-capital arm. Those shares were sold at $105 apiece, according to regulatory filings. With an additional $450m in funding now secured, the company has closed this round, Round F. AIRBNB declined to answer questions about the latest investors in the round. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US jobless claims tick up from multi-decade low - Pan Kwan Yuk

The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits rose last week but remained at a low level consistent with a healthy labour market. US jobless claims rose by 20 000 to 243 000 last week, the Labour Department said yesterday. While the figure came in higher than the 238 000 the market was expecting, it remains below last week's four-week moving average of 259 750. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPG hints at further interest in AkzoNobel - Michael Pooler

PPG has hinted it is not walking away from a tilt at AKZONOBEL, despite the latter rejecting a €20.9bn takeover approach. The US group said it still believed there was a "strong strategic rationale" for a combination of the two companies, and would "carefully evaluate and consider its position and path forward related to its proposal". PPG's unsolicited bid valued shares in AKZONOBEL at €83 apiece and comprised €54 in cash and 0.3 in PPG stock, roughly a 29% premium to the Dutch group's undisturbed share price at the close yesterday. AKZONOBEL said it had dismissed the offer, on the grounds that it substantially undervalues its prospects and made a broader appeal to its stakeholders by saying the takeover was not in the interest of customers and employees. PPG said it was confident in its ability to execute the proposed deal and obtain all necessary regulatory approvals - two concerns that AKZONOBEL raised in rebuffing the bid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Irish economy expands by 5.2% in 2016 - Nicholas Megaw

Ireland's economic growth rate remained surprisingly upbeat in Q4 2016 as the country retained its spot as the fastest-growing economy in the EU. GDP expanded by 2.5% in the quarter, down from 4% in Q3 but still more than twice as fast as t he 1% predicted by economists. The strong Q4 brought Ireland's annual growth rate to 5.2%, with growth across every sector of the economy. Personal consumption of goods and services rose by a healthy 3%. However, Ireland's central bank has been pessimistic about maintaining growth in the year ahead, repeatedly cutting its growth forecast since the UK's Brexit vote. In its last quarterly update in Jan., the CBI predicted the economy would expand by 3.3% this year, as an expected slowdown in the UK damages prospects for Irish exporters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese credit growth slows sharply in Feb. - Gabriel Wildau

Chinese credit growth slowed markedly in Feb., the latest sign that policymakers will prioritise risk control over stimulus in 2017. Aggregate social financing rose by Rmb1.15tn in Feb., down from a record-high Rmb3.73tn m/m, the People's Bank of China said. Local-currency bank loans grew by Rmb1.03tn in Feb., down from Rmb3.74tn in Jan . Credit flows associated with shadow banking were the biggest contributors to January's record high, but all posted significantly slower growth in Jan. Net bond financing fell outright for the third consecutive month, with outstanding bonds contracting by Rmb10.7bn. Tight liquidity and elevated interest rates in China's interbank bond market has decimated bond issuance in recent months. M2 money grew 11.1% y/y, down from 11.3% growth in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sturgeon considers 2nd Scottish independence vote in autumn 2018 - Mure Dickie

Autumn 2018 would be a "common sense" time for Scotland to have a second independence referendum, NICOLA STURGEON said yesterday. Scotland's first minister said she had not decided whether to push for another vote on leaving the UK, but insisted she was not bluffing with demands for concessions for Scotland on the terms of Brexit. Her comments will fuel expectations that Scotland, where 62% of voters opposed leaving the EU, is edging close to another plebiscite. The UK government has yet to say whether it would allow a second independence referendum, and some Conservatives have said UK PM THERESA MAY should withhold approval until the UK is outside the EU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya Commercial mulls withdrawal from S Sudan - John Aglionby

KENYA COMMERCIAL BANK yesterday reported a 10% rise in profit before tax to Ks29.1bn for FY2016, despite turbulence in its home market triggered by a cap in interest rates and hyperinflation in South Sudan. Group CEO JOSHUA OIGARA said the situation in South Sudan was so serious the bank was considering an exit from that market. "I will give the current [UN] secretary-general some opportunity to see what will happen in the first half of this year", OIGARA said. Any exit would be staggered over three years to give the bank an opportunity to reverse the decision if the situation improves. KCB reported a Ks3.4bn loss in South Sudan due to the impact of hyperinflation at 1 295%. Kenya's interest rate cap law saw the industry's average lending rate fall from 18% to 13.8% after it came into effect in Sep. 2016. OIGARA predicted loan growth of around 5% in 2017. KCB said it would pay a dividend of Ks3/share, its highest ever and a 50% increase on the prior year. This was after total operating income grew 15%

Nedbank cautions on office growth - Roy Cokayne

NEDBANK PROPERTY FINANCE is cautious about the growth prospects of the office and retail property sectors this year. ROBIN LOCKHART-ROSS, managing executive of Corporate and Investment Banking: Property Finance, yesterday said there was looming if not already existing oversupply in these sectors. "While there will still be good opportunities in these sectors for discerning developers and investors, a greater likelihood exists that we will see the relatively good run in upmarket residential properties, affordable housing and student accommodation continuing for the foreseeable future". LOCKHART-ROSS said CIB PROPERTY FINANCE had a solid approved deal pipeline of around R60bn already in place for the coming year but recognised that their advances growth and earnings performance were linked to the still-challenging economic environment. He expressed confidence that their projected advances growth figure of around 8% for the coming year was realistic and achievable. This news brief represents a summary of

Concern over poor private sector investment in SA - Liesl Peyper

Parliament's standing committee on finance is deeply concerned about the lack of private sector investment in the economy, ANC MP YUNUS CARRIM said this week. CARRIM said if the private sector investment continues to decrease and be stagnant, National Treasury should consider raising corporate income tax, which is currently at a low 17%. He added that the committee noted Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN's intention to change regulations so as to improve tax administration and collection which will clarify the powers of the Finance Minister. "We would like an update from the Davis Tax Committee on the progress of the investigation into tax administration and the new operating model at SARS", CARRIM said. He also asked Treasury to be cognisant of the "regressive nature" of a fuel levy, as it has a disproportionately negative impact on the poor. CARRIM further urged Treasury to consult widely before considering increasing VAT. "We ask you to consider a model that will protect the poor and low-income earners

Fall armyworm starts attacing SA soya bean crops - Fin24

The fall armyworm plague, which started marching through South African maize farms in Dec., has now been found in soya bean crops, according to LAEVELD AGROCHEM agent IGNI BOUWER, who says the pest was identified on a soya bean farm in the Dirkiesdorp district between Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga earlier this week. "So far it seems as if the spread to soya beans in the area is only limited to one farm that has about 250 ha of soya beans under irrigation", BOUWER said. LAEVELD AGROCHEM MD CORNE LIEBENBERG said that to control the pest, early detection is essential and specific insecticides must be applied in the early stages of the larvae's development. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FirstRand bucks low economic growth trend - Lameez Omarjee

FIRSTRAND yesterday reported growth in its earnings, despite a challenging global and local economic environment. Overall, earnings grew 7% to R11.6bn in the HY to end-Dec. Return on Equity was at 22.9%, down from 23.4% reported y/y. An interim dividend of 119cps was declared up 10% y/y. FNB's earnings grew 3% to R6.4bn. RAND MERCHANT BANK reported growth of 2% to R2.8bn, and WESBANK reported 9% growth to R1.9bn. FNB generated pre-tax profit of R9.4bn, while ROE dropped to 38.5% from 40% y/y. RMB's ROE was down to 21.3% from 22.2% y/y. The unit reported profit before tax at R4bn, up 3% y/y. WESBANK's profit before tax was at R2.7bn. This is up 9% from R2.5bn reported y/y. ROE was down to 19.9% from 20.5% reported in 2015. FIRSTRAND is optimistic that it will continue to deliver growth in earnings with an ROE targeted between 18% and 22%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Allan Gray: We didn't buy Net1 to profit from SASSA crisis - Gareth van Zyl

Asset manager ALLAN GRAY says it didn't buy shares in NET1 UEPS to profit from a growing crisis facing the welfare system. Drama has engulfed social grants with SASSA admitting it isn't ready to assume the payment function to 17m recipients on Apr. 1. ALLAN GRAY holds almost 16% of the issued share capital of NET1 on behalf of its clients. Over the year, NET1's share price on the JSE has increased some 20% from R145.50 on Mar. 9 2016 to an open of R175 yesterday morning. On the Nasdaq, NET1's stock has also increased over 40% y/y from $9.11 on Mar. 9 to a close of $13.32 on Wednesday. ROB DOWER, ALLAN GRAY's chief operating officer, has defended the asset manager's investment in NET1. "There seems to be a sense that we bought NET1 shares for clients expecting to profit from the looming crisis in grant payments. This is simply not true... Our investment case was not based on the contract being renewed after 31 March 2017... Like all sensible South Africans, we sincerely hope that a workable solution is

M&R appoints new FD - Megan van Wyngaardt

MURRAY & ROBERTS has appointed DANIEL GROBLER as its new group FD, effective Apr. 1, to succeed retiring COBUS BESTER who was in the position for six years. GROBLER is a chartered accountant and most recently was the MD of M&R CEMENTATION. Prior to that, he held positions in finance at the company, including Underground Mining business platform CFO and group corporate finance executive. BESTER will step down as FD on Mar. 31. Separately, M&R yesterday reported that the Competition Tribunal has approved the sale of its infrastructure and building businesses to a consortium led by the SOUTHERN PALACE GROUP OF COMPANIES. Certain conditions precedent in respect of the deal remain outstanding, but M&R expects the deal to conclude before the end of the current FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trevor Manuel appointed OMEM chair - Megan van Wyngaardt

OLD MUTUAL has appointed former Finance Minister TREVOR MANUEL as OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS chair, as group CEO BRUCE HEMPHILL will step down from the position but will remain on the OMEM board. MANUEL will oversee the establishment of the appropriate board and governance structures for an independently-listed OMEM in line with the King IV Report on Corporate Governance, due to come into effect on Apr. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Echo Polska posts solid maiden results - Megan van Wyngaardt

In its H1 since listing on the JSE, ECHO POLSKA has posted distributable earnings of €34m, while declaring a dividend per share of €0.31, 2.2% ahead of its forecast. EPP was listed on the JSE on Sep. 13 and since then, has grown its portfolio from 16 to 19 properties through acquisitions worth €418m. The company now owns a €1.4bn diversified portfolio of nine office, ten retail projects and one retail development site in the centre of Warsaw, totalling 498 575m². CEO HADLEY DEAN said the company hoped to close a deal for an 80 000m² property in Warsaw by the close of business on Thursday, but he could not give any further information. Net asset value for the period totalled €683m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's power costs 'defining issue' for mining - chamber - Reuters

Zambia's electricity costs will be the "defining issue" for the mining sector this year and beyond, Chamber of Mines President NATHAN CHISHIMBA said yesterday. The country is struggling to maintain power supplies as a severe drought has caused levels to drop in the Kariba Dam, which generates much of the nation's electricity. Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said in this year's budget speech that the government planned to raise electricity tariffs to reflect production costs by the end of this year. CHISHIMBA said mining companies were in talks with the government on the higher tariffs but declined to disclose any further details. He said proposed electricity tariffs at Zambia's newest power projects were more than 20% above global benchmarks established by the US Energy Information Administration. "What this suggests is that Zambia's electricity is not being produced efficiently by global standards, or there is a lack of transparency around the way in which tariffs are calculated". Zambia needed a revital

Exxon to buy stake in gas block offshore Moz - Reuters

EXXONMOBIL yesterday announced it would buy a 25% stake in a natural gas-rich block offshore Mozambique from ENI for $2.8bn in cash. ENI will continue to lead a floating LNG project and all exploration and production in the block, Area 4, while EXXON will lead the construction and operation of natural gas liquefaction facilities onshore. ENI, which operates Area 4, currently holds a 50% indirect stake in the block via a 71.4% stake in ENI EAST AFRICA. Upon closing of the deal, ENI and EXXON will each own a 35.7% stake in ENI EAST AFRICA, while China's CNPC will own 28.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iamgold prices $400m of senior notes due 2025 - Henry Lazenby

IAMGOLD has priced a private offering of $400m principal amount of senior notes due 2025, the proceeds of which will be used to redeem its $489m of outstanding 6.75% senior notes due in Oct. 2020 by Apr. 2. The notes bear a coupon of 7% and are being issued at a price of 100% of their face amount. The offering is expected to close on Mar. 16, subject to customary closing conditions. "Our four-year plan is to increase gold production to 1moz and to significantly reduce costs. While we continue to be very comfortable with our strong financial position today, reducing our long-term debt and extending the maturity date of our notes to 2025 improves our capital structure and supports our ability to fund our growth pipeline over the four-year horizon and beyond", executive VP and CFO CAROL BANDUCCI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rebase plan proving fruitful for South Deep - Dylan Slater

GOLD FIELDS' South Deep mine is rapidly beginning to bear the fruit of its long-awaited rebase plan with improved economics, a safer environment, improved efficiency and higher mined tonnes. South Deep produced 290 000oz of gold in 2016 and is expected to produce 315 000oz this year. Mined volumes are set to grow to 11.1t in 2018, 12.2t in 2019 and 13.6t in 2020. Volumes will then increase to 15.3t in 2021, before reaching steady-state production of 15.4t in 2022. GOLD FIELDS CEO NICK HOLLAND yesterday noted that South Deep had, in the past two years, undergone a major overhaul, with the addition of an "all new" management team. "We wanted the [new] team to have time to assess where we were with the mine and for them to work out what they felt was achievable. Our plan is to be profitable in the long term". To reduce fleet maintenance cost and reduce downtime, South Deep has built an extensive underground workshop and maintenance facility to undertake almost all repairs and maintenance of its new mechan

Jubilee sees opportunity at South Australia copper mine - Megan van Wyngaardt

JUBILEE PLATINUM will jointly explore and develop RESILIENCE MINING AUSTRALIA's Leigh Creek copper mine (LCCM) and other copper tenements collectively owned or held by LCCM in South Australia. The parties have entered a binding and exclusive term sheet, which will result in JUBILEE acquiring an initial 20% of LCCm for A$500 000. LCCM was mothballed five years ago and RMA has spent 18 months and more than $1m on developing the project, after buying it from PHOENIX METALS. After acquiring the initial 20%, JUBILEE will acquire a further 20% stake in LCCM by spending A$1m towards achieving commercial production. JUBILEE will have the right to acquire up to 100% of LCCM in staged considerations, totalling A$4.5m in cash, A$2.5m in secured loans and A$1m in subscription payments. The LCCM mineral inventory is estimated to be around 35 000t of contained copper with identified exploration targets of 103 000t of contained copper on the tenure, close by and regionally. JUBILEE and RMA will develop the project in

BHP eyes temporary workers to break strike at Escondida - Reuters

BHP BILLITON may try to restart production at the Escondida copper mine in Chile using temporary workers once the strike surpasses 30 days, the company said this week. If their safety could be assured "there is the option of using contractors' help to try to get production going" and it will be evaluated day by day, Escondida's corporate affairs head PATRICIO VILAPLANA said. Local media reported that the company is considering a two-pronged approach as the strike approaches the 30-day mark on Friday - submitting a new contract offer that deals with some of the union's concerns, and restarting output. BHP declined to comment. The strike is already the longest in Escondida's history. The union is confident the bulk of its 2 500 members will not break ranks and accept an offer from the company, said union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP sees massive oil demand ahead - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON estimates that around 30m bpd of new oil supply will be needed by 2025 to meet global demand. BHP president for petroleum operations STEVE PASTOR said that based on expectations of near 1%/year growth in global demand, and a 3%-4%/year decline in natural field, the world would need nearly one-third of its current global demand in new supply. "Oil shale plays a part in filling the gap, but it's not enough", PASTOR added. "We think the core oil shale positions... are likely to be developed first and fairly rapidly over the next five to seven years. Away from the sweet spots, oil shale development is inevitably higher on the cost curve and typically a lot gassier". PASTOR said growth from OPEC was also needed, but would not be enough to meet demand on its own. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcock buys Island Tribe sunscreen range - Business Report

ADCOCK INGRAM's consumer division has acquired the full range of Island Tribe sunscreen products for the South African market, from CREIGHTON PRODUCTS. The deal, announced yesterday, is for an undisclosed amount, although ADCOCK says it is in line with its commitment to expand its product portfolio via partnerships and acquisitions, especially in non-regulated areas. From Mar., the consumer division will market the Island Tribe range, which is positioned as sun protection for sports enthusiasts. Together with this acquisition, ADCOCK will also acquire from CREIGHTON the Natural Lab range of premium body care. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian regulators meet over Etisalat loan issue - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's telecoms regulator yesterday met with the central ban to discuss a $1.2bn loan renegotiation between ETISALAT NIGERIA and a group of local lenders in order to forestall a possible takeover of the company by the banks. UMAR DANBATTA, chair of the Nigerian Communications Commission, met with central bank governor GODWIN EMEFIELE with the aim of intervening to protect subscribers and investors, the NCC said. The central bank has invited the management of ETISALAT NIGERIA and the consortium of 13 lenders to a meeting on Friday to find an amicable resolution, the statement said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

At least 17 firms express interest to operate Botswana national airline - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

At least 17 companies have expressed an interest in operating AIR BOTSWANA as the government embarks on its latest drive to privatise loss-making state companies. "At least 17 companies have expressed interest but for now I cannot say who they are or what model of privatisation did they propose", Transport Minister KITSO MOKAILA said. "We have roped in the International Air Transport Association to help us assess them with the intention of getting the one that has the most suitable model for Botswana. From there we will then go to tender", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual break-up on track for 2018 - CEO - Carolyn Cohn

OLD MUTUAL is on track to complete its break-up into four parts by the end of 2018, although improvements to IT systems at its UK asset management unit could take longer and cost more than expected, CEO BRUCE HEMPHILL said yesterday. The firm in Aug. 2016 said a new platform for OLD MUTUAL WEALTH would cost £450m and be completed around the end of 2018. "This is a very, very complex new build of a replacement platform... these projects tend to take longer and cost more than one would like", HEMPHILL said, adding that he didn't think any changes to costs or timing would delay the company's separation plans. The company planned to give more detail on the platform upgrade within the next two months. OLD MUTUAL posted a slightly above-forecast 2016 adjusted operating profit of £1.67bn, up 1% y/y, helped by a focus on costs in a volatile market. The profit compares with £1.61bn in a company-supplied consensus forecast. OLD MUTUAL said it would pay a final dividend of 3.39pps and total dividend of 6.06pps,

Aspen sees growth in China sales - TJ Strydom

ASPEN PHARMACARE forecasts sales of around R2bn in China over the next 12 months, CEO STEPHEN SAAD said yesterday as the company reported a 6% rise in H1 profit. The company started trading in China during the H1 under review and is chasing growth in the world's second largest pharmaceutical market. "I think we'll do sales of about 2bn over the next 12 months", SAAD said. In Asia, the business has expanded substantially with the addition of ASTRAZENECA anaesthetics, the firm said, boosting total sales for the HY to R19.8bn, up 13% y/y. ASPEN said normalised HEPS rose to 692cps, from 656cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 10/03/2017

At 07h20 on 10 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.29 ZAR/EUR 14.08 ZAR/GBP 16.16 Gold 1198.39 Platinum 935.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.51 All Share 50910.71

AkzoNobel considers speciality chemicals spin-off after takeover talks - Michael Pooler

AKZONOBEL is looking at spinning off its speciality chemicals business, after rejecting an unsolicited approach by US rival PPG. The Dutch group today announced a "review of strategic options for the separation" of the unit, which had revenues of €4.8bn in 2016 and makes ingredients used in a wide range of products including paints, detergents, foods, plastics, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The company said it is considering "various alternative ownership structures" including an independent listed entity. It comes after the FT reported that AKZONOBEL and PPG had held talks on a potential combination that could have created a $42bn global chemicals giant. PPG made an offer of €54/share and 0.3 PPG shares per AKZONOBEL share, giving a total value of €83/share as of Feb. 28. The bid represented a 30% premium to AKZONOBEL's share price on the same date. The Dutch group's board unanimously rejected the offer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell offloads Canadian oil sands interests - Katie Martin

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has sold a series of its Canadian oil sands interests and trimmed its stake in another, in a set of transactions that will net it $7.2bn. The oil major will sell all its in-situ and undeveloped oil sands stakes in Canada, and its stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project will drop from 60% to 10%. It will retain "significant" other resources in Canada. CEO BEN VAN BEURDEN said the proceeds "will accelerate free cash flow and reduce gearing and make a meaningful contribution to SHELL's $30bn divestment programme". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrefour 2016 profits fall as competition mounts in France - Harriet Agnew

French retailer CARREFOUR posted a drop in profits last year after three straight years of gains, reflecting a tough competitive environment in its home market. The retailer said recurring operating profit at group level dropped 3.2% to €2.4bn, and was down 13.4% to €1bn in the French market. Margins in France were down by 40 bps to 2.9%, reflecting costs tied to the integration of its loss-making DIA discount stores and increased promotional activity at French hypermarkets where competition with the rest of the sector is intense. Globally, like-for-like sales rose 2.7% to 76.6bn during 2016. They were down 1.1% in France to €35.9bn, but Europe as a whole grew 0.1% to €56.0bn. CARREFOUR kept its 0216 dividend unchanged at €0.70/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung heir denies all charges in corruption scandal - FastFT

SAMSUNG's de facto leader LEE JAE-YONG has denied all charges against him in connection with the alleged influence-peddling and bribery scandal poised to topple President PARK GEUN-HYE. At the opening of a hearing against LEE, his lawyers denied all charges, which include bribery and embezzlement. LEE was not present at the preparatory hearing. He was arrested last month on evidence alleging his connection to a sprawling corruption scandal in the country that looks set to bring down the president. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung in talks to open home appliance factory in US - Song Jung-a

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS is in early talks to open a new home appliances factory in the US in response to President DONALD TRUMP's strong criticism of imports and his threat to introduce import taxes. SAMSUNG today said it began reviewing its manufacturing operations "early last fall" before TRUMP's election as he campaigned on a promise to bring back manufacturing jobs to the US. "SAMSUNG is in preliminary discussions related to opening a new manufacturing facility in the US for home appliances... However, this is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for SAMSUNG". The group declined to provide any more details on the new US plant including how much it plans to invest, how many jobs the plant will create and whether it will shift production of some home appliances from Mexico to the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Misys, Advent Intl vie to acquire DH Corp - James Fontanella-Khan

British financial software developer MISYS is competing against US private equity group ADVENT INTERNATIONAL to acquire DH CORP, a Canadian payments and lending technology company, according to sources. DH, which has a market cap of around C$2.5bn, is expecting bids sometime this week, sources said MISYS' interest in acquiring DH comes a day after the FT reported that the company is exploring a New York listing. The company was meant to list in London last year but pulled its £5.5bn float due to market volatility following the Brexit vote. ADVENT is aggressively pursuing DH in partnership with CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD, one source said. Reuters reported CPP's interest in Jan., saying that US private equity firms including TPG, CERBERUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT and THOMAS BRAVO were also looking at DH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil hits near 2-month lows amid fresh stockpile worries - Anjli Raval

Oil prices fell to their lowest level in nearly two months yesterday after data from the US energy department showed a ninth consecutive rise in crude inventories. Brent dropped $1.91/barrel to $54.01, while WTI dropped $1.98/barrel to $51.16. Stockpiles of US crude rose by 8.2m barrels in the week ended Mar. 3, and have risen every week this year, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration. That was well over estimates for a build of 1.3m barrels. The data comes after Saudi Arabia's energy minister KHALID AL FALIH said a deal among global producers to cut output and lower stockpiles was not making as quick an impact as initially anticipated. He added that the agreement was only helping to revitalise the US shale industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BT set to name Jan du Plessis as new chair - Nic Fildes

British telecoms giant BT is set to reveal that JAN DU PLESSIS will become its new chairperson as soon as today. The British group has been on the hunt for a replacement for SIR MIKE RAKE, who said last year that he would stand down in 2017 after a decade in the role. DU PLESSIS, who is the chair of RIO TINTO, was shortlisted for the job alongside outgoing HSBC chair DOUGLAS FLINT. BT declined to comment but sources said DU PLESSIS appointment would be confirmed today. Another person added that DU PLESSIS will step down from the board of RIO along with the announcement of his appointment at BT. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Krispy Kreme set to debut in Nigeria - Jennifer Bissell

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS will bring 20 new shops to Nigeria over the next five years in its latest global push to expand its brand since being acquired by a private holding company. The company made its African debut in SA in 2015. "The joy of a KRISPY KREME doughnut and coffee is beloved all over the world, and we cannot wait to introduce that joy to the people of Nigeria over the next several years", international VP MICHAEL MCGILL said. He added the company was fortunate to work with QUALIFY FOODS AFRICA, a quick-service restaurant business, in entering Africa's rapidly expanding consumer market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector added 298k jobs in Feb. - Pan Kwan Yuk

The pace of US private-sector jobs growth rose sharply last month, setting an upbeat tone ahead of tomorrow's closely watched monthly jobs report. Private employers added 298 000 jobs in Feb., according to payrolls processor ADP. That is the biggest one-month gain since Apr. 2014 and handily beat Wall Street forecasts of a 187 000 rise. "February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years", ADP VP AHU YILDIRMAZ said. "Gains were driven by a surge in the goods sector, while we also saw the information industry experience a notable increase". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK Budget: Sugar tax revenues undershoot govt forecasts - Mehreen Khan

The British government's sugar tax has brought in less cash than expected to the UK's coffers, chancellor PHILIP HAMMOND said yesterday as he announced the final rate of tax brands on the sweet stuff. HAMMOND said the sugar tax would be set between 18p and 24p a litre with the proceeds going to the Department of Education to fund sports for Britain's schoolchildren. However, he said revenues were lower than expected due to changes in sugar content levels made by drinks companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK showing 'first signs' of economic slowdown - Mehreen Khan

Britain's robust economic growth is showing its first signs of a slowdown at the start of the year, according to STANDARD & POOR's. S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday warned that consumer-driven growth that powered expansion in 2016 is already slowing down. Robust household spending in the aftermath of the Brexit vote surprised forecasters, including the Bank of England, which has twice upgraded its short-term forecasts for GDP growth since the June vote. Still, survey data at the start of 2017 has pointed to consumer spending tailing off, softening in the housing market, and rising inflationary pressures. "Looking at the recent monthly flows, net consumer credit actually slowed recently - notably in December and January - where seasonally adjusted unsecured lending to households was, at £1bn and £1.4bn, significantly lower than the 1.6bn average in the 11 months to November 2016", S&P economist BORIS GLASS said. "In our view, this is a sign that the consumer spending spree that almost entirely drove GDP gro

AkzoNobel, PPG hold talks on potential $42bn combination - James Fontanella-Khan

AKZONOBEL has held talks with US industrial chemicals rival PPG INDUSTRIES over a potential tie-up that could create a $42bn global chemicals giant, sources said yesterday. PPG and AKZONOBEL have been working with advisers to agree the terms of what would be one of the largest cross-border deals of the year. Sources warned that it was far from assured that an agreement would be reached. News of the talks emerged at a politically sensitive time in the Netherlands, where nationalist sentiments are on the rise ahead of next week's general election. Dutch Finance Minister JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM this week said the government should be given greater powers to block foreign takeovers of local companies that were deemed to be against the national interest. It was unclear whether the talks between the two companies were on friendly terms or whether PPG is trying to carry out a hostile takeover. According to one source, AKZONOBEL has sufficient powers to block any hostile approach. This news brief represents a su

AIG to set up new base in Luxembourg - Oliver Ralph

AIG is to set up a new base in Luxembourg after the UK leaves the EU as the likely loss of passporting rights post Brexit has forced the US insurer to look for an alternative location to London from which to service EU businesses. AIG CEO ANTHONY BALDWIN said: "This is a decisive move that ensures AIG is positioned for whatever form the UK's exit from the EU ultimately takes. AIG sees opportunity in the ongoing resilience of the UK insurance market. At the same time, we are ensuring that our clients and partners experience no disruption from the UK's EU exit." AIG, which has its European head office in London, added: "The majority of the business we will write out of the Luxembourg entity will be in continental Europe and geographic proximity is a benefit." It would not comment on the number of staff it would have to move to the Grand Duchy, but said there would be "some changes at a Europe senior leadership level". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LVMH goes digital with all brands under one luxury goods site - Harriet Agnew

LVMH is working on an ecommerce site that would bring together all its brands - and those of competitors - on one portal and represent the most ambitious attempt yet by the French group to capitalise on fast-growing online sales of luxury goods. LVMH plans to launch a website in May that will be branded as its department store Le Bon Marché. It will offer labels from the group's own stable as well as distributing non-LVMH brands - putting it head-to-head with online platforms such as NET-A-PORTER and FARFETCH, which already distribute several LVMH brands themselves. An ecommerce platform of this scale would be the first major digital move since LVMH hired IAN ROGERS from APPLE in 2015, in the newly created role of chief digital officer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/03/2017

At 10h19 on 09 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.18 ZAR/EUR 13.89 ZAR/GBP 16.04 Gold 1205.46 Platinum 946.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.67 All Share 50947.34

Sanlam posts 6% drop in FY profit - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

SANLAM LTD today reported a 6% drop in annual profit, dragged down by unfavourable currency moves and weaker returns from the equity market. Normalised headline earnings came in at R8.4bn, or 408.5cps in the FY to end-Dec., from R8.8bn or 432.5cps y/y. "We expect the challenging operating environment and economic climate to persist in 2017", SANLAM CEO IAN KIRK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen posts 6% rise in H1 profit - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

ASPEN PHARMACARE reported a 6% rise in H1 profit this morning, helped by the results of a recently acquired portfolio of drugs from ASTRAZENECA. ASPEN said normalised HEPS rose to 692cps in the HY to end-Dec., from 656cps y/y. ASPEN said the results were largely boosted by the $770m acquisition of marketing rights to a portfolio of anaesthetics from AZ in Sep. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iqbal Surve threatens to sue TMG over 'defamatory' article - BDpro

Media boss IQBAL SURVE and his companies - INDEPENDENT MEDIA, AFRICA NEWS AGENCY and SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT HOLDINGS - have threatened the TIMES MEDIA GROUP with legal action if it does not remove what they say is a "defamatory" article. The parties were referring to an article published on the Financial Mail and BusinessLive website titled: "Breaking the news: is Iqbal stripping Independent's assets?" In a letter to Financial Mail editor ROB ROSE and BusinessLive editor RAY HARTLEY yesterday, their lawyer, SELWYN WENTZEL of Webber Wentzel demanded that the article be removed and that a retraction and apology be published in all TMG publications that carried the article. WENTZEL said the apology should be published within three business days from the date of the letter. "Failure so to act will aggravate the harm caused to our client", WENTZEL said. He also demanded that TMG "cease and desist its continuous publication of defamatory articles pertaining to our client". The article in question focused on how

Rex Tru expects sharp drop in interim earnings - BDpro

REX TRUEFORM yesterday said its HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. would be 65.3% lower y/y, due to tough economic trading conditions. HEPS will be 22.7cps compared with the 65.3cps reported y/y. Interim results will be published on Mar. 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greater control over exports lifts Exxaro - Robert Laing

The freedom to export coal previously contracted to ESKOM seems to have been a huge boon to EXXARO, helping its aftertax profit rocket ninefold in 2016. EXXARO declared a final dividend of 410cps, taking its total payout for 2016 to 500cps, up 233% y/y. Revenue grew 14% to R21bn for the FY to end-Dec., while aftertax profit jumped to R5.2bn from R559m y/y. Sales to ESKOM accounted for 17% of the group's revenue but only 4% of net profit. EXXARO is in the process of creating a replacement BEE vehicle that shareholders will be asked to approve before the end of June. The company managed to increase its power station coal exports by 142% to more than 1mt thanks to its Leeuwpan and Mafube collieries no longer being tied to ESKOM. Mafube doubled output to 625 000t after its contract with ESKOM ceased, and Leeuwpan helped the company grow steam coal sales by 82% by redirecting its output from ESKOM to the wider domestic market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Banks' black business fund wins support from ANC - Sam Mkokeli

The ANC supports the financial services industry's plan to set up a fund to boost financing for black investors in a bid to increase their participation in the economy. "We're talking about black people who have got to get access to the economy, but for them to get access they need to have money", ANC economic policy head ENOCH GODONGWANA said. "In the financial sector's charter, there's an interesting proposal of some funding that's going to come from the financial sector, which is going to be an impressive figure", he said, declining to give the amount. SA's biggest banks and financial services institutions are calling for the establishment of a Black Business Growth Fund that could be worth up to R100bn, according to AEON INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT chief investment officer ASIEF MOHAMED. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PnP's Zim partner mulls delisting - Memory Mataranyika

MEIKLES LIMITED is mulling delisting from the Zimbabwe bourse and is planning an offer to minority shareholders, it said yesterday. MEIKLES is PICK N PAY's partner in the TM SUPERMARKETS chain in Zimbabwe. "The directors of MEIKLES LIMITED wish to advise shareholders that the company is currently engaged in discussion on a transaction that may have material impact on the value of the company", MEIKLES company secretary THABANI MPOFU said. MEIKELS has previously had disagreements with the ZSE and in 2015, the bourse suspended the company's stock from trading over alleged misrepresentation of facts in its financials. The parties later made an arrangement which was the suspension lifted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA board dissolved - Liesl Peyper

Transport Minister DIPUO PETERS yesterday dissolved the board of PRASA with immediate effect, according to acting DG of transport MATHABATHA MOKONYAMA. MOKONYAMA said PETERS will institute "interim measures" which will be announced at a later stage. PETERS cited a number of reasons for her decision, including issues that emerged from the portfolio committee on transport. The announcement came on the back of heated exchanges between MPs, board members and PRASA's former acting CEO COLLINS LETSOALO over a two-day period. MPs yesterday decided to establish an ad hoc committee to look into the irregularities at PRASA. Meanwhile, PETERS said the board's bickering with LETSOALO could have been avoided. LETSOALO was sacked by the board following allegations that he hiked his own salary from R1.7m to R5.9m a year. However, LETSOALO rejected this, saying he would have never accepted his appointment had he been offered the same salary than in his former position as CEO or the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Treasury won't break law on SASSA deal - ANC - Bloomberg

Treasury will not act illegally and approve a new social grants distribution deal with NET1 UEPS unless it has been sanctioned by the Constitutional Court, ANC spokesperson ZIZI KODWA said yesterday. Social Development Minister ZIZI KODWA this week said a new contract will be negotiated with NET1 and rather than seeking permission from the Court, she would merely inform it. The Treasury has said it will not authorise a deal unless it has the ConCourt's blessing. "Treasury will not do that. It's even exaggerated to think that people won't be paid by the 1st of April. They will be paid, but the manner in which it will be done may not be legal", KODWA said. Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN will next week appear in parliament to explain his department's position to the welfare contract to lawmakers. Yesterday, the Court ordered SASSA and government to divulge who at the agency decided it was incapable of making the payments itself from Apr., when the decision was taken and why the Court wasn't told. It als

Brown slates Eskom's ad, sponsorship spend - Matthew le Cordeur

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN doesn't believe ESKOM should spend any money on sponsorship or advertising as everyone knows the brand or the utility. She was responding to a question in Parliament yesterday about why ESKOM spent millions in advertising on the GUPTA-owned New Age Breakfast on SABC, or why ESKOM and TRANSNET donated R440 000 and R400 000 respectively to JIMMY MANYI's Progressive Professionals Forum. BROWN said while ESKOM sponsors many initiatives like schools and sports clubs, it was its sponsorship of the entities linked to the GUPTAS and MANYI that made opposition MPs angry. BROWN believes SOEs shouldn't spend a cent on advertisements. "I have encouraged them to stop advertising", she said. However, BROWN is wary of banning this outright as she knows the print industry is "under enormous strain". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria determined to overcome recession in 2017 - Felix Onuah

Nigeria is determined to emerge from its first recession in a quarter of a century this year and needs to put more effort in revamping its infrastructure, Budget Minister UDOMA UDO UDOMA said yesterday. UDOMA said the economy was beginning to recover after it experienced a smaller contraction in Q4, although it was still in a recession. "The 2017 budget is structured to do just that... we are anxious to get the budget passed so that we can begin the implementation and begin to take all the steps we need to get the economy out of recession", UDOMA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Etisalat Nigeria in talks over missed payment on $1.2bn loan - Chijioke Ohuocha

The Nigerian affiliate of ETISALAT is in talks with local banks to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2bn loan it took out four years ago after missing a payment, a senior executive said yesterday. IBRAHIM DIKKO, VP for regulatory affairs at ETISALAT NIGERIA, said the company missed payments due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, a currency devaluation there and dollar shortages on the country's interbank market. "We are in discussions with our bankers and have been for quite a while. They have not taken over the business and we are hoping that we can resolve the issue and find a way to renegotiate terms", DIKKO said. ETISALAT owns a 40% stake in the Nigerian affiliate, which accounted for some 3.7% of the group's revenue in 2013. DIKKO said the company was looking at "all the options", which could include converting the loan into naira, but did not want to anticipate the outcome of talks with the lenders. One source said lenders wanted ETISALAT to increase its stake in its Nigerian affiliate in order to re

Business confidence falls in Feb. - SACCI - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Business confidence in SA declined in Feb. m/m, weakened by lower trade volumes and retail sales. SACCI's monthly Business Confidence Index fell to 95.5 in Feb. from 97.7 the prior month. "The negative effects came from notable lower merchandise import and export volumes and less new vehicle and real retail sales", SACCI said. It added that slower inflation, higher commodity prices and a slightly stronger rand made positive contributions to the index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 09/03/2017

At 07h31 on 09 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.15 ZAR/EUR 13.85 ZAR/GBP 16.00 Gold 1205.60 Platinum 945.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.54 All Share 51299.99

Exxaro begins mineral sands exit - Martin Creamer

EXXARO RESOURCES yesterday announced its intention to begin exiting its stake in mineral sands company TRONOX. The EXXARO board would explore available alternatives to monetise the TRONOX shareholding in a thoughtful, efficient and staged process over time, EXXARO said. The company currently owns 44% of TRONOX, said to be worth an estimated $911m, based on 51m Class B shares owned by EXXARO and the $17.80 closing share price as of Mar. 7. The proceeds would be used on EXXARO's core operations and to fund capital commitments. Additionally, TRONOX has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the titanium dioxide business of CRISTAL for $1.6bn cash and stock representing 24% ownership in pro forma TRONOX, which will dilute EXXARO's current 44% stake to 33%. EXXARO said it would vote its shares in favour of the proposed CRISTAL transaction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GAIA seeks capital for next acquisitions - Terence Creamer

GAIA INFRASTRUCTURE CAPITAL has appetite for further funds for investments into energy, transport, water and sanitation assets. CEO PRUDENCE LEBINA said the company, which invests only in operational assets, has already identified suitable targets across all three sectors and is aiming to finalise at least one transaction before the end of 2017. In late 2016, the company completed its first transaction since listing in Nov. 2015 when it acquired a 25.2% stake in the Dorper Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape for R501m. The acquisition enabled GAIA to transfer its listing from that of a 'Special Purpose Acquisition Company' to the Investment Services sector of the JSE. LEBINA said it is premature to comment on how much the company could raise this year, but confirms that there is investor appetite for the lower risk and stable return proposition offered by GAIA. The company has identified a significant deal pipeline across water and sanitation, transport and energy and is also at an advanced stage of talks with

AFD sets aside €1.3bn to support high social impact South African projects - Terence Creamer

French development financier Agence Française de Développement expects to disburse €1.3bn in funding support to South African projects in the coming five years as part of a newly approved operational strategy for the country. AFD says the funding will take the form of nonsovereign loans, grants for capacity building and technical assistance, as well as guarantees. "We've committed more than €2.3bn in loans since we started operations in South Africa in 1994 with 44% dedicated to improvement in access to basic services and 55% dedicated to the fight against climate change", regional director MARTHA STEIN-SOCHAS said. For the period 2017-2020, AFD will target projects including those focused on inclusive urban development, SA's energy transition and/or providing disadvantaged youth with access to higher education and vocational training. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown calls for Eskom to bring Dentons report to Parliament - ANA

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN yesterday said ESKOM should be called before Parliament to brief MPs on the Dentons report. "ESKOM should come and run you through the report", BROWN told the portfolio committee on public enterprises after she was asked for her view on the utility's failure to release the full report. She suggested, however, that the problems identified in the report, commissioned in 2015, had been resolved by the following year. The period investigated by Dentons spanned three years prior to 2015 and problems were flagged in engineering, finance and procurement. By Mar. 2016, 27 problems picked up by Dentons had been confirmed, analysed and "fixed" by ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SolarReserve completes Netcare rooftop solar roll-out - Megan van Wyngaardt

SOLARRESERVE has completed the roll-out of commercial-sized solar photovoltaic rooftop installations at 15 of NETCARE's facilities. Installations have been completed at the NETCARE 911 head office and 14 MEDICROSS family medical and dental centres across SA. The sites produce a cumulative 950 MWh/y - offsetting 34 354t/y of carbon dioxide emissions. "SOLARRESERVES is committed to helping businesses across Africa thrive by offering predictable, long-term energy rates that protect them from rising electricity costs and price volatility", SOLARRESERVE project manager JASON GERBER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chevron field in Angola starts oil production - Sonangol - Reuters

The CHEVRON-operated Mafumeira Sul field in Angola began oil production in Oct. 2016 and will start supplying gas for export in Q2 2017, SONANGOL said yesterday. The Mafumeira Sul project has the capacity to produce 150 000 bpd of oil and 350m cubic metres of natural gas per day, SONANGOL said. The gas will be exported as LNG. TOTAL and ENI hold minority stakes in the project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

4AX appoints new directors - Anine Kilian

Local securities exchange 4 AFRICA EXCHANGE has appointed foru new independent nonexecutive directors - MFUNDISO JOHNSON NTABANKULU NJEKE, THABO VINCENT MOKGATLHA, DEON ROSSOUW and THEO VORSTER - to its board. "Each of these appointees will play an active role in offering perspective and guidance on market and business-related aspects and, in relation to this, review and assist in formalising the growing scope of the exchange's market strategy, as well as the exchange's performance", 4AX CEO FAY MUKADDAM said. In addition to the appointments, 4AX is preparing for its first six listings, and has also received an application from independent equity research firm and trading house AVIOR to operate as the exchange's first broker. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mongolia sees no change in Oyu Tolgoi copper stake - Reuters

Mongolia said it has no plans to change the size of its stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, although it is seeking to boost exploration as it works to bolster its finances. Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the government (34%) and TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES (66%), which in turn is 51%-owned by RIO TINTO. Industry insiders say there is a logic in Mongolia selling down its relatively large stake holding, while RIO's stake is relatively small given that it is the operator. "Our ministry has to find out all possible options that are good for Mongolia and within that framework we are researching all possibilities. But currently, there is no such plan, but it is something that we can watch", Mining Minister DASHDORJ TSEDEV said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian gold imports said to almost triple - Bloomberg

Gold imports by India are said to have risen almost three-fold in Feb. y/y as jewellers increased stockpiles before the festival and wedding period that starts next month. Shipments rose 175% to 96.3t in Feb. y/y, according to a source. Overseas purchases slid 32% to 595.5t in the 11 months to Feb. We expect some heavy buying in April as a large number of weddings are expected to take place", MEHUL CHOKSI, chair of jewellery store chain GITANJALI GEMS, said. "The wedding season runs from April to July, so we are expecting some recovery in demand". While annual Indian demand should recover, y/y growth rates will be modest, CITIGROUP said yesterday. Demand is estimated around 725t in 2017, similar to levels seen the prior year,. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mountain Province completes 2nd Gahcho Kue diamond sale - Creamer Media Reporter

MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS has completed the second sale of diamonds from its Gahcho Kue mine in Canada. Around 277 646ct were sold, while a third sale comprising some 193 000ct is scheduled for late Mar. Gahcho Kue - a JV with DE BEERS - last seek officially started commercial output. The mine is expected to produce around 54m ct of rough diamonds over its 13-year mine life. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap shares tumble as short sellers move in - Noel Randewich

SNAP shares fell 12% yesterday as traders raced to position themselves to cash in on further declines after analysts gave the company a lukewarm reception following its market debut. SNAP's $3.4bn public listing on Thursday was the hottest tech offering in three years, but its lofty valuation and slowing user growth have raised eyebrows on Wall Street and attracted traders who expect its shares to fall. Opening up the potential for more volatility, the company's underwriters have exercised an over-allotment option to buy an additional 30m shares, bringing the total IPO to 230m shares. That means SNAP's bankers would no longer be in a position to stabilise its shares by buying them should they fall below their $17 IPO price. In its market debut SNAP surged 44% from its $17 IPO price to close at $24.48. Since then it has fallen 22%. Options trading in SNAP is expected to start on Friday, once regulatory requirements are met. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citigroup sees 10%-plus rise in quarterly markets revenue - David Henry

CITIGROUP expects Q1 trading revenue will be up by a "low double-digit" percentage from a year earlier, CFO JOHN GERSPACH said yesterday. Speaking at an investor conference, GERSPACH said markets revenue is "doing well" in both fixed income and equity trading. The company plans to report results for the quarter ending this month on Apr. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat to fund production hike with convertible bond - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM said it will issue a R1.2bn convertible bond to fund an increase in output. RBPLAT said it will set the conversion price at between 30% and 35% premium to today's average trading price, which would also take into account the number of shares traded. RBPLAT said it would use the money to increase production at its main Styldrift underground mine from 50 000t/month to 150 000t/month by the end of 2018. If all bonds are exchanged for shares, they would dilute the existing shareholding by around 13.5%. The 2022 bonds are expected to carry a coupon of 6.5%-7% and is payable twice a year. RBPLAT said its biggest shareholder agreed to underwrite bonds valued at as much as R621m. MORGAN STANLEY and RMB are joint bookrunners and global coordinators. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria aims to have market-determined exchange rates - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's central bank aims to achieve a market-determined exchange rate regime, according to an official economic plan released yesterday, as pressure mounts to let the naira float freely. The government will also review and possibly remove a ban on accessing forex for 41 goods and services, according to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020, released by the Budget Ministry. Nigeria also sees 2017 inflation at 15.74%, and at 12.42% next year, the plan said. Inflation in Jan. hit 18.7%, its highest level in more than 11 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ascendis posts profit amid R1bn acquisition spree - Matthew le Cordeur

ASCENDIS HEALTH posted a 34% rise in HY profit as it announced three acquisitions this month that will cost around R1bn. ASCENDIS today said HEPS for the HY were 74.9cps, up 34% y/y. It also announced its intention to buy SUNWAVE PHARMA for €16.35m, as well as NHP NATURAL HEALTH PHARMA for between €26.1m and €49.1m. On Mar. 6, it announced it would buy two CIPLA companies in SA, valued at R375m. Explaining a drop in gross margin from 43.5% in H1 FY2017 to 42.6% in H2, ASCENDIS said this was "impacted partially by currency fluctuations, growth in the state hospital business in Medical Devices and by a change in product mix". It said group revenue for the HY rose by 66% to R3.1bn, benefiting from acquisitive growth of R940m from REMEDICA and SCITEC, which were only consolidated for five months of the period. Foreign revenue increased by 270% to R1.3bn, accounting for 43% of the group's total sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 08/03/2017

At 11h10 on 08 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.00 ZAR/EUR 13.73 ZAR/GBP 15.83 Gold 1213.20 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.59 All Share 51328.73

German industrial output returns to growth in Jan. - Mehreen Khan

Germany's overall industrial sector managed to grow at a m/m rate of 2.8% in Jan., according to figures from Destatis. The expansion is slightly higher than a 2.7% estimate from economists and means the sector has returned to growth following an upwardly revised 2.4% monthly contraction at the end of Dec. It was the best performance since Aug. Figures out this week on factory orders, a volatile measure of the manufacturing sector, showed growth fell by 7.4% - the worst month in eight years driven by slowing domestic demand. But the Jan. rebound for the sector as a whole shows December's blip was caused by one of factors such as factory closures due to cold weather. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adidas net income grows 41% in 2016 - Alice Woodhouse

ADIDAS has upped its long-term guidance as it plans to accelerate sales after the company reported net income grew 41% in 2016. Net income from continuing operations rose to €1bn in 2016, coming in at the top end of the company's forecast, of an increase of 35%-39% to €974m to €1bn. This was slightly above analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg of €999.2m. The company forecasts 2017 net income to grow by 18% to 20% to up to €1.2bn with currency-neutral sales to increase by 11%-13% and for operating margin to improve by 8.3%-8.5%. ADIDAS said it expects net income from continuing operations to grow between 20% and 22% on average each year between 2015 and 2020, up from a previous guidance of 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China posts first trade deficit in two years as imports jump nearly 40% - Hudson Lockett

The dollar value of China's exports contracted unexpectedly in Feb. as imports spiked, resulting in the country's first trade deficit since early 2014. Exports dropped 1.3% y/y in dollar terms last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. That was below a median estimate predicting a rise of 12.3% from economists surveyed by Reuters and marked a substantial drop from January's growth in outbound shipments of 27.9%. Imports ballooned 38.1% y/y in dollar terms last month, more than doubling from January's rise of 16.7% and well above a median forecast of 20% growth. Those trade flows produced a trade deficit of $9.15bn last month, the first deficit since Feb. 2014. That ran counter to expectations of a $25.8bn trade surplus and a marked fall from January's surplus of $51.35bn. In local-currency terms that came to a deficit of Rmb60.4bn, also the first since Feb. 2014. The trade deficit came despite the fact that the renminbi's rate against the dollar ended Feb. 5 weaker from a

Saudi, Russian ministers make show of unity on oil output cuts - Ed Crooks

The energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia gave a display of unity at a conference in Houston yesterday evening, emphasising their commitment to the deal to curb output agreed between OPEC and 11 non-OPEC countries last year. The ministers said they were working to reach full compliance with the agreed production cuts, which was estimated by OPEC at 86% in Jan. The agreed curbs run out at the end of June, and the ministers said an extension beyond that point would depend on two factors - how far countries were complying with the agreement, and how fast global oil inventories were falling. Saudi energy minister KHALID AL-FALIH described compliance with the agreement as "very satisfactory", while his Russian counterpart, ALEXANDER NOVAK, said his country was "fully committed" to the agreement, and called on all the other countries involved to reach full compliance. NOVAK said Russia was, as agreed, reaching 300 000 bpd of production "adjustment on an accelerated schedule". This news brief represents

Japan Q4 GDP revised upwards on higher capex - Hudson Lockett

Japan's GDP grew more than initially estimated in Q4, with the headline gauge of economic activity pushed higher by an upward revision to capex for the period. Japan's Q4 GDP grew 1.2% y/y, according to revised figures from the Cabinet Office, up from a previous estimate of 1%. That still fell short of a median forecast from economists polled by Reuters predicting a revision to 1.6% growth. Q/q GDP growth was revised to 0.3%, likewise short of expectations of an upward adjustment to 0.4%. Among the most substantial revisions, Q4 capex growth from the prior quarter was revised to 2% from an initial estimate of just 0.9%, besting expectations of an upward adjustment to 1.7%. However, both private consumption and external demand were unmoved from their initial readings at 0% and 0.2%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Siemens set for 5th largest bond sale of 2017 ahead of Fed meeting - Eric Platt

There remain only a few days for companies to tap bond markets before the Fed's hotly anticipated March meeting, an event that has opened the floodgates. A deluge of companies have issued debt so far this week, with SIEMENS poised to complete the fifth largest corporate bond sale of the year on Tuesday. SIEMENS was finalising plans to borrow $7.5bn, according to two investors following the bond sale. Order books for the deal eclipsed $13bn as fund managers sought out a slice of the seven tranche sale. The new SIEMENS debt, which will span three- to 30-year maturities, has been marketed alongside a flurry of deals this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit widens to near 5-yr high - Pan Kwan Yuk

The US trade deficit widened to a near five-year high in Jan. as demand for imported goods rose. The trade gap grew by $4.2bn to $48.5bn in Jan., Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. While the figure is in line with forecasts, it is the biggest shortfall recorded since Mar. 2012 and would probably be seized on by President DONALD TRUMP as evidence of the need for the US to renegotiate its trade deals with major trading partners. Since taking office, TRUMP has cited the trade imbalance as signs that US trade policies have hurt American growth and jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil's economy shrinks 3.6% in 2016 - Pan Kwan Yuk

Brazil's economy shrank for the second year in a row in 2016 as the country continues to grapple with its worst recession on record. Data out yesterday showed Brazil's GDP contracted for the eighth straight quarter in Q4, shrinking 0.9% q/q. The figure was steeper than the 0.5% decline economists had forecast and left the country's overall GDP down 3.6% for the FY following a 3.8% drop in 2015. Economists polled in the Brazilian central bank's weekly survey are forecasting only a 0.5% growth in GDP for 2017. "In real terms, GDP is now 9% below its pre-recession peak", said CAPITAL ECONOMICS chief emerging markets economist NEIL SHEARING. "This is comfortably the worst recession in recorded history. However, we suspect that Q4 should also mark the end of the recession. For a start, many of the one-offs that pulled down GDP in Q3 and carried over into Q4 have faded. Auto production is growing once again. More fundamentally, inflation is falling, interest rates have been lowered and financial conditions

Investment and spending drive eurozone GDP growth of 0.4% in Q4 - Mehreen Khan

Economic growth in the eurozone was confirmed at a 0.4% quarterly pace at the end of 2016, driven along by a healthy rise in investment and consumer spending. A final reading from Eurostat came in line with a flash estimate in the final quarter of 2016 - with the 0.4% matching the pact seen in Q3, and picking up from 0.3% in H1 of the year. Overall 2016 growth came in at 1.7%, below the UK's 1.8% and the EU's wider 1.9% in the year. Household spending has been powering the eurozone's economies over the last year and rose by 0.4% in the quarter, while investment also showed signs of life up by 0.6% after contracting 0.7%, Eurostat said. Exports in the bloc were up 1.5%, while imports climbed 2% from a 0.1% decline in Q3. Overall, consumption added 0.2 percentage points to GDP, with investment adding 0.1 percentage point. A narrowing of the trade surplus placed a drag on growth. Economists at BARCLAYS expect GDP growth to remain at a 0.4% pace for the first two quarters of the year, tilted towards a stro

Swiss forex reserves back at record high - Alice Ross

Switzerland's forex reserves have hit a fresh record high after two months of declines, according to figures released by the Swiss National Bank on Tuesday. The country's stockpile of forex rose to SFr668bn in Feb., a rise of more than SFr24bn from the previous month. The rise marks a return to the general trend of increasing forex reserves in Switzerland after they took a dip in Jan. and Dec., and signals that the SNB is pushing back against adverse strength in its currency. Last year's Brexit vote, the election of DONALD TRUMP and the current wave of political stress in the EU have all provided triggers for strength in the franc. The euro fell 0.4% against the franc in Feb. to SFr1.064 while the franc fell 1.6% against the dollar to parity at SFr1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's forex reserves rise for first time since Jun. - Hudson Lockett

China's forex reserves grew for the first time since Jun. at the end of Feb., surprising economists and sending the nation's war chest back above $3tn. Reserves at the People's Bank of China rose from $2.998tn to $3.0051tn in Feb., defying expectations of a fall to $2.969tn. The reversal comes after January's monthly drop sent reserves dipping below the $3tn mark for the first time since Feb. 2011. Analysts said the shift raised the potential for Beijing to prevail in its efforts to keep the renminbi stable against the US dollar this year. February's surprise uptick in reserves by $6.92bn suggests the strategy is beginning to pay off. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission places conditions on Pakco deal with Rhodes Food - Robert Laing

The Competition Commission placed conditions on two food-related deals yesterday: Belgian confectioner PURATOS's acquisition of half of BIDCORP's bakery division, and RHODES FOOD's acquisition of PAKCO. The Commission said it was dissatisfied with restraint of trade obligations PURATOS and BIDCORP proposed to apply to their employees. "Having considered the restraint of trade, the act and the relevant case law, it is the Commission's view that the restraint results in a substantial lessening of competition as it is not reasonable and justifiable. Therefore, the transaction is approved subject to conditions", the Commission said. Regarding RHODES FOOD's acquisition of PAKCO, the Commission said it was worried about jobs. "The Commission has approved the merger subject to the condition, among others, that the merging parties do not retrench the affected employees", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Advtech expects jump in headline earnings - Karl Gernetzky

ADVTECH yesterday advised shareholders it expected HEPS to be between 37% and 42% higher y/y in Dec. 2016, attributable to a legal settlement. ADVTECH did not provide details of the settlement, though it said in its 2015 integrated report that it had expected a drawn-out 10-year legal battle against MARINA and ANDRY WELIHOCKYJ to go to trial in Jan. 2017. The company has been pursuing damages since 2007 against the WELIHOCKYJ business, from which ADVTECH had bought COMMUNICATE PERSONNEL in 1998. ADVTECH had sought R130m in damages, plus interest, due to a disagreement over how the final purchase price was determined. "Omitting this aspect as well as other corporate action costs will result in normalised earnings per share being between 20% and 25% higher than the comparative period", ADVTECH said. EPS were expected to be between 68.8cps and 71.3cps, and HEPS between 69cps and 71.3cps. FY results will be published on Mar. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afgri seeks SARB permission to buy Bank of Athens SA - Robert Laing

AFGRI is seeking to acquire the South African portion of BANK OF ATHENS for an undisclosed sum. The deal would give AFGRI a banking licence. AFGRI is seeking permission from the SARB to acquire all but 0.09% of BANK OF ATHENS SA from its holding company NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE GROUP. VANESSA RECH, of investor relations company KEYTER RECH, said the deal was not expected to change the company's partnership with the LAND BANK, called UNIGRO, which offers loans and crop insurance to farmers. AFGRI also has a subsidiary called GROCAPITAL FINANCIAL SERVICES, whose services include trading futures contracts for farmers. "All we envisage at this stage for BANK OF ATHENS is a change of holding company. It won't make a difference to its customers or ours", RECH said. Something AFGRI will gain from the deal is the right to accept deposits, something its existing relationship with the LAND BANK does not provide. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN mulls first rand-bond sale in 7 years on Nigerian woes - Loni Prinsloo

MTN is gauging investor interest for its first sale of rand-denominated bonds in seven years as the company struggles to repatriate earnings from its Nigerian business. MTN is "approaching the market and we will see what the appetite is" for debt in ZAR, investment relations executive NIK KERSHAW said. MTN has room to raise as mush as R4bn for its South African unit in 2017 to reduce short-term debt and refinance bank facilities amounting to R19.6bn due this year, according to GIMME CREDIT LLC. MTN is at risk of losing its investment-grade credit rating from MOODY's as forex shortages and an economic contraction in Nigeria limit the company's ability to pay dividends from its most lucrative market and take on more borrowing. Net debt levels soared 64% to R52bn in 2016 as MTN boosted capex, incurred license fees and paid a fine in Nigeria for not disconnecting unregistered customers. MTN has R1.25bn of bonds maturing in July as well as a term-loan of R1.46bn and revolving credit facility of R455m that bot

Commission ditches Manyi's Futuregrowth collusion complaint - Adiel Ismail

The Competition Commission has thrown out a complaint by MZWANELE MANYI's Decolonisation Foundation involving FUTUREGROWTH ASSET MANAGEMENT. MANYI wanted the Commission to probe a case of collusion, following a move by FUTUREGROWTH to pull the plug on loans to some of the largest SOEs. The Commission said it has taken a decision to non-refer the case and is of the view that "the conduct complained of dies not contravene the Competition Act". In his complaint, MANYI alleged that FUTUREGROWTH canvassed other fund managers to support its stance to boycott lending to SOEs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN SA boss quits to join Altron - Gareth van Zyl

MTN SA CEO MTETO NYATI is joining technology group ALTRON as its new CEO. ALTRON made the announcement on Tuesday, days after its renowned founder, Dr BILL VENTER, stepped down as non-executive chair at the end of Feb. The appointment of NYATI comes as the VENTER family has agreed to collapse its control structure amid a recent R400m capital investment from VALUE CAPITAL PARTNERS PROPRIETARY. NYATI is a veteran of the local ICT landscape. He joined MTN as group enterprise officer in Oct. 2014 and eventually become MTN SA CEO. ALTRON said NYATI will assume responsibility as CEO no later than Jul. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Duterte seeks 'happy compromise' between environment, mining - Reuters

Philippine President RODRIGO DUTERTE yesterday said he hopes there will be a "happy compromise" between the mining industry and protecting the environment. throwing support to Environment and Natural Resources Secretary REGINA LOPES, who shut half the country's mines. LOPEZ will appear before Congress for her confirmation hearing later today, and will likely have to defend her decisions on mine closures amid concerns over job and revenue losses. "I know that we need the dollars but somehow we have to look at the other way... She has a good case. Hopefully we can strike a happy compromise there", DUTERTE said. LOPEZ last month ordered the closure of 23 of the country's 41 mines and suspended five others to protect watersheds after a months-long review by the environment agency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mines Ministry warns of looming India iron ore supply crisis - Ajoy K Das

India's Mines Ministry has warned iron ore bearing provinces of a looming "crisis" by 2020 if they fail to focus on the "efficient handling of mining leases" in their respective geographies. In an advisory to key provinces rich in iron ore resources, the Ministry said that unless the pace of exploration was stepped up, along with the renewal of expired mining leases, the production of the raw material will start to decline, potentially leading to a full-scale crisis by the turn of the decade. The warning comes at a time when India is poised to close the fiscal year on Mar. 31, with a five-year high iron ore production record of around 180mt. India's largest iron ore producer, NMDC LIMITED, has expressed similar concerns to that raised by the Ministry. It said the "rate of growth of India's iron ore reserves was [much lower, while] demand for the raw material [is rising]." NMDC sought to fast-track the conversion of the country's iron ore resources to reserves, which could only be achieved via more intens

Mondi says European Commission inspecting its Vienna office - Creamer Media Reporter

MONDI yesterday confirmed that the European Commission is conducting an inspection at its Vienna office. In an update to investors, the company said it was fully cooperating with the probe, which it understood was focused on kraft paper and industrial bags. "MONDI is committed to complying with all applicable competition laws and is not aware of any wrongdoing or contravention of the relevant legislation", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VWSA celebrates significant milestone - Megan van Wyngaardt

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP SA's Uitenhage plant yesterday celebrated the manufacturing of its 1.25-millionth Polo. It also marked 21 years of Polo production in SA. The facility produces Polos and Polo Vivos. As part of VW's Africa strategy, the first Polo Vivos were assembled and sold in Kenya, from kits supplied from Uitenhage, this year. Output will be around 1 000 units, in a new-car market of 3 000 units. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cartrack reaches 600 000 subscriber milestone - Anine Kilian

CARTRACK officially reached over 600 000 active subscribers globally in Feb. The figure reflects strong, consistent growth over the past year, and a 20% y/y increase in subscriber numbers. "An increase in active subscribers translates into further growth in annuity revenues and is a key determinant in our ability to grow our base globally", chief sales officer JUAN MARAIS said yesterday, adding that the company invested heavily in research and development and distribution channels. "We are part of an underpenetrated and high-growth industry and see ourselves as still in a growth phase across all continents. The expectation is that this growth trend will continue", MARAIS said. CARTRACK has maintained a recovery rate of around 94%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Two groups vie to buy Italy's Ilva steel plant - Reuters

Italy's ILVA steel group has received bids from two consortiums for its lossmaking plant in the south of the country, it said this week. The first bid came from ARCELORMITTAL and Italy's MARCEGAGLIA, a family-run group, who said they would invest €2.3bn and boost production at the plant. A consortium including India's JSW STEEL and Italian state holding company CASSA DEPOSITI E PRESTITI made a rival binding offer but provided no details of their plans for the site. The government is expected to make a decision on the bids in about a month. None of the parties involved revealed the size of the bids for the plant. ILVA was placed under court administration in 2013 after magistrates seized €8.1bn of assets belonging to its former owners, the RIVA family, amid allegations that toxic emissions were causing abnormally high rates of cancer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARM narrows basic loss as commodity prices strengthen - Megan van Wyngaardt

An increase in the average dollar prices of most of the commodities it produces has contributed to an estimates 272%-288% y/y increase in AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS' HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. This translates to HEPS of 867cps-903cps for the period, based on the weighted average number of shares in issue of 189m. Headline earnings reported for the y/y period were R507m, or 233cps. Most operations, except the Goedgevonden coal mine and Nkomati nickel mine, also achieved below-inflation unit cost increases. For this reason, ARM noted that its basic earnings would be negatively impacted. ARM expects to narrow its basic loss a share by 69%-75% to between 115c and 140c. The basic loss reported y/y was R996m, while the basic LPS was 458cps. ARM will release interim results on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mongolia to double land open for exploration - Reuters

Mongolia plans to double the amount of land available for exploration in a bid to tap into the mining industry's appetite for new resources and help shore up its finances. Mongolia will increase the land to 20.9% of the country from 9.6% at present, and could announce the change later this month, Mines Minister DASHDORJ TSEDEV said on Monday. Miners say Mongolia ranks as one of the best prospects in the world for new copper reserves, as the best quality orebodies in many other parts of the world have been depleted and electric vehicles raise the possibility of a surge in demand. The expansion reflects improved geological surveys, and the land open for exploration could increase as further improvements are made, TSEDEV said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australian Federal Police probe Rio's dealings in Guinea - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian Federal Police has launched a probe into RIO TINTO's dealings in Guinea, regarding an alleged $10.5m payment to a consultant on the Simandou iron ore project. The AFP said it was "actively engaging" with RIO in the probe, pointing out that it is also a member of the International Foreign Bribery Taskforce, working closely with domestic and international counterparts to investigate allegations of foreign bribery. "As this is subject to an ongoing investigation, it is not appropriate for the AFP to provide any further comment at this time", the AFP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo prepares for SA disposals transferring Amplats, De Beers - David McKay

ANGLO AMERICAN yesterday confirmed it had transferred its 85% stake in DE BEERS' interests in SA and some 77.69% held in ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM to a wholly owned subsidiary, ANGLO AMERICAN SOUTH AFRICAN INVESTMENTS. These shares were previously held in another wholly owned subsidiary, ANGLO SA CAPITAL PROPRIETARY, which would retain a 70% stake in KUMBA IRON ORE and control of the export coal mines. "In South Africa, we continue to work through all the potential options for our export thermal coal and iron ore interests recognising the high quality and performance of these businesses", ANGLO spokesperson ANN FARNDELL said. "The retention of these assets remains a viable position given our recent operational and other improvements and our focus on continuing improvements as we go forward". FARNDELl said the transfer of the shares in AMPLATS and DE BEERS was "administrative" and had been done "to provide flexibility in the event of any ultimate decision to divest our export thermal coal and iron ore intere

Merafe posts 53% rise in HEPS - Siobhan Cassidy

MERAFE RESOURCES yesterday reported a 53% rise in HEPS to 21.2cps for the FY to end-Dec. The company reported record revenue of R5.7bn during the period, up from R4.4bn y/y, on record ferrochrome production of 393 000t. The company said ferrochrome revenue had increased by 25% y/y to R4.9bn, mainly as a result of an 18% increase in ferrochrome sales volumes and the 15% decline in net ferrochrome prices. Profit for the year came in at R532m, up from R343m y/y, and the company declared a final dividend of 4cps. Stainless steel production is projected to increase by 3.5% in 2017 and 3.8% in 2018, the company said, indicating strong demand prospects for ferrochrome in the short-to-medium term. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer Foods in talks - Nicola Mawson

PIONEER FOODS has told shareholders it is in talks. The company bought a 49.89% stake in WEET-BIX EAST AFRICA in Nov. 2016. This followed its Aug. acquisition of UK-based STREAMFOODS for £7.5m. Yesterday, the group said it had been approached to explore a material transaction, which could affect its share price. It did not quantify whether it was being bought, or doing more buying. PIONEER said it is "exploring the merits of the proposed transaction" but that no final decision has been taken, and told shareholders to exercise caution when trading in the company's securities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya says $750m syndicated loan plan still on track - Duncan Miriri

A plan by Kenya to borrow about $750m via a syndicated loan is on track, a senior Treasury official said yesterday, dismissing concerns about delays in the process. The government picked STANDARD CHARTERED, STANDARD BANK, CITI and RAND MERCHANT BANK to lead the loan back in Jan. Sources said a plan to sign and issue the mandate for the loan last month had been postponed. "We are progressing as planned. No change of mind", said KAMAU THUGGE, principal secretary at the Treasury. Kenya said it would raise 150bn shillings from external commercial sources, to partly plug a fiscal deficit equivalent to 9.7% of GDP in its year to Jun. 2017 budget. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

City Lodge to expand further in east, southern Africa - Nqobile Dludla

CITY LODGE HOTELS is spending around R1bn on further expansion in east and southern Africa, CO CLIFFORD ROSS said yesterday, as it seeks to cater for both the business and tourist markets there. The company is targeting capitals in the expanding economies in East Africa and consolidating its presence in southern Africa but plans to avoid Nigeria for now. "The strategy is to go into a number of the major East African capitals to start off with, and then the longer-term strategy is to find other opportunities for other brands within the group within these countries", ROSS said. CITY LODGE currently has two hotels in Nairobi and is currently building a 172-room hotel there. It is also building hotels in Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia, while Uganda is another country which is "still very high on our radar", ROSS said. CITY LODGE, which reported a 5% rise in revenue to R791.3m in the HY to end-Dec., said it was also aiming to invest in Mauritius. This news brief represents a summary of the original artic

Vodacom Tanzania IPO set for Mar. 9 - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

VODACOM TANZANIA will start a more than month-long IPO on Mar. 9 ad expects its shares to start trading in mid-May, it said yesterday. The company aims to raise 476bn shillings by selling 560m shares. It will become the first telecoms firm to launch an IPO under Tanzania's mandatory listing rules. The company set its IPO share price at 850 shillings apiece and the sale will be equivalent to 25% of its total equity. The IPO will run from Mar. 9 to Apr. 19 and public trading of shares on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange will commence on May 16. The VODACOM TANZANIA IPO would be the country's biggest ever, traders said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria sees return to strong growth under recovery plan - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria expects the economy to climb out of recession and grow 2.19% this year, the budget ministry said yesterday, unveiling a reform plan that includes selling assets and hiking a luxury goods tax. The new Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 says GDP is expected to grow an average of 4.62% a year until 2020, and hit 7% that year. The plan aims to ramp up oil production to 2.5m bpd and for Nigeria to become a net exporter of refined petroleum products by 2020. Production in Feb. was 1.65m bpd, according to a Reuters survey of OPEC crude output. The goal is to increase export earnings and government revenues by an additional 800bn naira a year. Under the plan, the government also expects to earn 35bn naira from the sale of some national assets, including oil JVs, and reducing stakes in other oil and non-oil assets. The government said it would review and possibly remove a ban on accessing forex for 41 goods and services. The country hopes to improve tax collection to raise 350bn naira per annum

SA economy contracts in Q4 as mining, manufacturing slip - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's economy contracted 0.3% q/q in the Q4 2016 as mining and manufacturing output shrank, Statistics SA said yesterday. Stats SA said the decline was largely driven by lower production in mining and manufacturing. Mining fell 11.5% in the quarter, while manufacturing was down 3.1%. As well as struggling with a volatile political environment, SA has been plagued by falling commodity prices and a chronically high unemployment rate. On a y/y basis, the economy grew at 0.7% in Q4, unchanged q/q. After growing 0.4% q/q in Q3 to end-Sep., the economy shrank by 0.3% in Q4. That figure lagged the 0.5% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters. The economy grew by 0.3% in 2016, down from 1.3% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana seeks to attract investors to mining town with tax cut - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Botswana will cut corporate tax by up to 77% for investors in a mining town southeast of the capital, Trade & Industry Minister VINCENT SERETSE said yesterday, part of a package to attract them to a region hit by the collapse of BCL MINE. BCL was put under provisional liquidation in Oct. 2016, resulting in close to 8 000 jobs being lost in the Selebi-Phikwe region of 50 000 people. SERETSE said the measures include fiscal incentives, government off-take, provision of land and a one-stop service centre. The incentives include 5% corporate tax for the first five years, 10% corporate tax thereafter and zero customs duty on imported raw materials. Corporate tax in Botswana stands at 22% while companies in manufacturing and financial services and those registered in the Innovation Hub pay 15% corporate tax. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 08/03/2017

At 07h45 on 08 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.97 ZAR/EUR 13.69 ZAR/GBP 15.82 Gold 1217.75 Platinum 960.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.64 All Share 51377.78

China's forex reserves rise for first time since Jun. - Hudson Lockett

China's forex reserves grew for the first time since Jun. at the end of Feb., surprising economists and sending the country's war chest back above $3tn. Reserves at the People's Bank of China rose from $2.998bn to $3.0051tn in Feb., defying expectations of a fall to $2.969tn. The reversal comes after January's monthly drop sent reserves dipping below the $3tn mark for the first time since Feb. 2011. China has successfully curbed the flow of money cascading out of the country in Jan. following the imposition of administrative controls. Analysts said the shift raised the potential for Beijing to prevail in its efforts to keep the renminbi stable against the US dollar this year. February's uptick in reserves by $6.92bn suggests the strategy is beginning to pay off. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Misys explores New York IPO - Alistair Gray

MISYS is exploring New York as a listing venue after the financial software developer pulled the plug on a planned £5.5bn London float, in what would be another blow to the UK's sluggish market for new issues. The company scrapped what would have been London's biggest tech stock market launch at the final minute last autumn at a time of market turbulence and uncertainty over Britain's vote for Brexit. Sources said MISYS was looking to revive the float and a US listing on Nasdaq was under consideration. However, the company has not ruled out another attempt to list in its homeland. MISYS has yet to make a decision on whether to press ahead with an IPO. It does not yet have a formal plan to float. The company declined to comment. MISYS has 48 of the world's 50 biggest banks on its client roster. Sources said the company had attracted a lot of interest from US investors when it was pursuing the prospective London IPO six months ago. MISYS had initially sought a £5.5bn valuation, including debt, when it

Snap falls below debut price - Jessica Dye

Shares in SNAP closed below their $24/share price at which they debuted on Thursday. After two days of gains, SNAP shares were in retreat most of the day on Monday, ending the day down 12.3% at $23.77. Despite the decline, the shares are still trading at nearly 40% higher than the $17/share the IPO was priced at. While investors piled into the social media company after its debut, Wall Street analysts have been less enchanted, and none of the seven Wall Street analysts who have initiated coverage of the stock have given it a "buy" rating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ExxonMobil says Gulf Coast investments could total $20bn over 10 years - Ed Crooks

EXXONMOBIL has said the investments it is making or could make in chemicals and LNG plants and refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast of the US could be worth $20bn over the the years from 2013-22. CEO DARREN WOODS said the projects were intended to take advantage of low-cost resources released by the shale revolution. He added that they would be "export machines, generating products that fast growing nations need to support larger populations with higher standards of living". The planned projects have all been announced before, but this is the first time that EXXON has aggregated the amount of spending and disclosed the total number of jobs that could be created. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBA holds cash rate steady - Alice Woodhouse

Australia's central bank held interest rates steady at 1.5% in its first meeting since data showed the country's economy grew in Q4, avoiding a recession. The Reserve Bank of Australia noted an improvement in the global economy in recent months, which had helped lift commodity prices creating a significant boost to Australia's national income". Figures published last week showed Australia's economy returned to growth in Q4 after a surprise contraction in the prior quarter, meaning the country avoided its first recession in 25 years. The Australian dollar is up 0.3% at $0.7601 after rising as much as 0.6% following the RBA's announcement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citi first to fully include onshore Chinese debt in bond benchmarks - Hudson Lockett

CITIGROUP has become the first major index provider to embed onshore Chinese securities in its indices by adding onshore Chinese debt to its bond market benchmarks. Index providers for both bonds and stocks have been considering including onshore products as access to China's markets has improved in recent years. Pressure from investors worried about onshore rules and the difficulty of repatriating funds due to China's capital controls had stalled any from doing so until now. CITI Fixed Income Indices yesterday said it will include Chinese onshore bonds in its Emerging Markets Government Bond Index, Asian government Bond Index and Asia Pacific Government Bond Index, with China's weight in all three to be gradually increased over a three-month period. CITI is also introducing two new related indices that limit exposure to individual companies by imposing a maximum country weight criterion. The company said the effective date of market inclusion in its indices "will follow our inclusion eligibility validat

Lindt sales growth slows as chocolate demand softens - Ralph Atkins

Sales growth at LINDT & SPRUNGLI slowed last year as global demand for chocolates stagnated but the Swiss company still managed to significantly outpace the market. Group sales rose 6.8% to SFr3.9bn in 2016, LINDT said today. That compared with a 7.9% growth in the previous year. LINDT described the results as "particularly gratifying given the backdrop of a persistently challenging environment of stagnating and even declining chocolate markets". Like-for-like sales growth was 6% last year, down from 7.1% in 2015. Operating profits rose 8.4% last year to SFr562.5m. LINDT reported 7.4% organic sales growth in Europe in local currencies in 2016, with sales accelerating in Germany and the UK. In North America, LINDT reported organic sales growth of 3.4% despite an overall contraction in the US market. Some 60 new LINDT stores were opened last year, taking the total number of retail outlets to 370. The company plans to overtake the privately-owned GODIVA chain of shops to take the top spot in luxury choc

German factory orders suffer worst month since 2009 - Mehreen Khan

Germany's industrial sector suffered a sharper than expected drop in orders in Jan. dropping by 7.4%, the worst m/m performance since 2009. Economists had expected a decline in orders of just 2.5% after growth of 5.2% in Dec. Slowing domestic demand drove the drop in orders, falling by 10.5% with foreign orders down 4.9% and capital goods slumping 11%. On a y/y measure, industrial orders were still up more than 4% compared to Jan. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 07/03/2017

At 10h21 on 07 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.94 ZAR/EUR 13.71 ZAR/GBP 15.83 Gold 1225.91 Platinum 976.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.93 All Share 51508.18

Greek economy shrinks 1.2% in Q4 - Mehreen Khan

The Greek economy suffered a severe blow at the end of 2016, contracting by 1.2% in the quarter and underscoring the hit to growth following a fresh setback in Athens' €86bn bailout talks. Figures from Elstat showed the economy had unexpectedly shrunk three times more than its first estimate of 0.4% in Q4 2016. It was the worst quarter since the height of Athens' bailout woes in the summer of 2015 when the country was bought to the brink of default and was forced to impose capital controls on its banking system. Overall, the economy shrunk 0.1% in 2016. Still, the country's creditors are expecting a sharp rebound in growth in 2017, contingent on Athens' making major progress as part of its reforms-for-cash bailout. The EU has pencilled in growth of 2.7% for this year. Elstat said the quarterly contraction was driven by a 2.1% decline in government spending, 1.4% drop in exports and 1.1% shrinking in consumer demand. A slowing economy will also throw doubt on Greece's ability to hit a primary budget su

Noble Group plans $300m bond - Neil Hume

NOBLE GROUP is planning a $300m bond issue as it looks to replace short-term credit lines with longer-term funding. The trading house is looking to take advantage of a rally in Asian high-yield debt market to launch the issue. But the bonds are still likely to carry a coupon of 9%, according to sources. Last week, NOBLE announced a return to profitability in 2016, avoiding a second consecutive annual loss. It reported a net profit of $8.1m, flattered by a $91m tax credit, but suffered a large cash outflow of almost $600m as nervous lenders and counter parties reduced credit lines. NOBLE was forced to shrink to survive in 2016, leading it to sell operations and tap shareholders for $500m. Now, the company is looking to reduce its use of unsecured revolving credit facilities, which have to be repaid or refinanced every one to two years. In 2017, the company faces $1.3bn of short-term debt maturities. To that end, NOBLE recently announced a $1bn borrowing facility secured against its holdings of commodit

US factory orders rise more than expected - Mamta Badkar

US factory orders rose for the second consecutive month thanks to a boost in orders for transportation equipment. Factory orders rose 1.2% in Jan., ahead of the 1% advance that economists had forecast, the Commerce Department said yesterday. That followed a 1.3% increase the prior month. Manufacturing is making a comeback, with the ISM PMI hitting its highest level since Aug. 2014 last month. Separately, a final reading of capital goods orders excluding aircraft slid 0.1% in Jan. from the previous month, when it declined a steeper 0.4%, the Commerce Department said. Headline durable goods rose 2% in Jan., following a 1.8% rise previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell Nigeria shuts Bonga oil field for at least a month - Libby George

SHELL NIGERIA EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION COMPANY halted output at the Bonga oil field on Mar. 4 for mainteinance that will last at least a month. SNEPCO said that Bonga, which has capacity to produce 225 000 bpd of oil and 150m standard cubic feet of gas, is expected to resume production at some point in April, without giving further details. Market sources had expected work on the field because there were no exports planned in Mar., compared with typical exports of roughly 200 000bpd. Bonga produced an average of 192 500 bpd of oil in 2015, according to the latest annual data from state oil company NNPC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to open up govt airports to private investment - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria will open up its government-owned airports to private investment, Aviation Minister HADI SIRIKA said yesterday, as the capital's airport prepares to close for repairs after years of neglect. All government-owned airports will be offered to investors who have "the wherewithal, the know-how, the technology, the capacity, the ability, the finance to put up huge fantastic edifices as airports with everything including hotels, just the way you see them abroad", SIRIKA said. He did not specify when the government airports would be opened to investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Texton proceeds with rationalisation sales - Roy Cokayne

TEXTON has made progress with the rationalisation of its South African property portfolio via the disposal of non-core assets. TEXTON disposed of four property assets for R141.2m in the HY to end-Dec. and acquired two properties in the UK for a total of R286.6m. CEO NIC MORRIS said portfolio rationalisation was still "front of mind" and management had made solid progress in disposing of the non-core portfolio. MORRIS said low economic growth associated with the current South African environment, coupled with economic uncertainty in the UK regarding Brexit, would continue to create challenges for TEXTON in both investment jurisdictions. "While the company is well positioned to grow off its rebased core earnings, continued pressure on tenants, particularly in the office sector, will have to be closely monitored and efficiently managed", MORRIS said. TEXTON reported a 7% rise in dividends a share on core headline earnings to 47.95cps in the HY under review, from 44.83cps y/y. But the actual dividend a shar

Remgro forecasts higher interim earnings - Sens

REMGRO LIMITED today said it expects to report HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be 21%-26% higher than the 704.4cps reported y/y. The increase in HEPS is mainly due to a positive fair value adjustment of R667m, relating to the decrease in value of the bondholders' exchange option of the bonds that were issued during Mar. 2016 to partially refinance the foreign bridge funding that was raised for the AL NOOR HOSPITAL GROUP PLC transaction. The bonds are exchangeable into MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL shares and/or cash and fair value adjustments on the option are expected to cause volatility in headline earnings during its five-year term. Interim results will be published on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Forex reserves up in Feb. - Pericles Anetos

SA's gross foreign reserves rose in Feb., mainly due to an increase in the US dollar gold price. The SARB's holdings of gross reserves rose by $56m to $46.7bn in Feb., according to central bank data published today. That is up from $46.6bn in Jan. The data showed that gold reserves increased to $5bn from $4.8bn in Jan. The international liquidity position increased by $133m to $41.5bn. The SARB said the increase in the ILP reflected increases in the gross reserves and the forward position together with the change in foreign currency deposits received by the SARB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South Ocean FY HLPS to be higher - BDpro

SOUTH OCEAN HOLDINGS expects its HLPS for the FY to end-Dec. to be 42%-46% higher y/y. The headline loss for the period is expected to be 3.8cps-4.2cps higher, which it attributed in part to a net impairment charge of R13.5m to the plant and machinery of SOUTH OCEAN ELECTRIC WIRE COMPANY. This was due to the subsidiary's value in use being lower than the enterprise value and an additional net provision of RADIANT's inventory to the value of R6.4m. SOUTH OCEAN reported an HLPS of 9.1cps for FY2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metrofile raises interim dividend - BDpro

METROFILE has reported a 3.3% rise in headline earnings to R70.8m for the HY to end-Dec. This translated to a 3.7% rise in HEPS to 16.7cps, which was achieved on the back of a 1.6% growth in revenue to R380.7m. The group declared an interim dividend of 13cps - up 18.2% y/y. CEO PFUNGWA SERIMA said that despite the adverse effect of weak economic conditions, METROFILE was growing steadily while expanding its base, refocussing businesses and implementing several growth initiatives. SERIMA said METROFILE's organic growth would come from widening its customer base in SA, which would be supported by a broader offering of products and services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Marriott Intl ups game in Africa - Carin Smith

The latest plans of MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL in Africa reflects the group's confidence in the region. SA, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya are earmarked for substantial new hotel developments, and MARRIOTT is also looking at opportunities in Madagascar, Mauritius and Senegal. An announcement is expected soon about a new MARRIOTT-branded venue in SA, which remains at the forefront of the group's African presence. ALEX KYRIAKIDIS, president for Middle East and Africa at MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, said a contributing factor has been the significant change in parts of the sub-continent, where particular countries are enjoying political stability and are free of conflict for the first time in recent years. "Our presence is geared to provide accommodation and business conferencing facilities to a wide variety of market segments. The growth will happen in major gateway cities, commercial centres, as well as in resort destinations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maria Ramos asked why it took 15 months for Absa to blacklist Guptas - Matthew le Cordeur

BARCLAYS AFRICA CEO MARIA RAMOS is taking legal advice after receiving a letter seeking clarity as to why it took ABSA 15 months to close the GUPTAS' bank accounts. Earlier on Monday, DA MP DAVID MAYNIER said he had written to RAMOS after ABSA's affidavit in Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN's legal battle against OAKBAY INVESTMENTS revealed it took a full 312 working days to shut their accounts. "We are taking legal advice before responding to Mr MAYNIER as this matter is a subject of ongoing legal proceedings", ABSA spokesperson PHUMZA MACANDA said. "What the delay in closing the GUPTAS' bank accounts suggests is that ABSA may have failed to comply with processes, procedures and controls to manage money laundering and terrorist financing risks, including its obligations in respect of politically exposed persons, in terms of the Banks Act... and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act", MAYNIER said. "In the end, the real question... is not why the GUPTAS' bank accounts were closed, but why it took so long f

New deal will keep Miller beer in SA - Fin24

Miller Genuine Draft will be distributed in SA by HEINEKEN from Apr. 1 following an agreement between HEINEKEN SA and Miller owner MOLSON COORS INTERNATIONAL. Miller was part of the SABMILLER portfolio from 2002 to 2016 but was sold as part of regulatory requirements that AB INBEV needed ahead of its $103bn acquisition of SAB in 2016. MOLSON COORS bought the 58% stake in Oct. for $12bn. "We believe that the Miller Genuine Draft brand perfectly complements our existing brand portfolio and will help to grow our business in South Africa", HEINEKEN SA MD RUUD VAN DEN EIJNDEN said. "We do not foresee any impact for our consumers and customers as we have worked closely with MOLSON COORS INTERNATIONAL to guarantee a smooth transition", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya refuses to break up Safaricom - Bella Genga

Nairobi opposes using regulation to force SAFARICOM to be broken up, after a draft study found the company is dominant in the country's telecoms industry, ICT Secretary JOSEPH MUCHERU said. The government disapproves of measures that would stifle innovation as it wants companies to expand by investing in new products and technology, MUCHERU said last week. He noted that Kenya has existing laws that can be used to stimulate competition without having to introduce new regulations. A draft report by British advisory group ANALYSYS MASON found that SAFARICOM is a dominant player in the mobile money and mobile communications sectors and recommended that, unless steps are taken to improve competition, the company should be broken up. SAFARICOM is Kenya's biggest mobile provider with a 69% market share. The company's M-Pesa mobile money product is also a significant market leader, processing around 851bn shillings of transactions during Q3 2016, about 79% of the total value of mobile money transactions in Kenya.

Commission approves sale of M&R's infrastructure and building platform - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission has approved the sale of MURRAY & ROBERTS' infrastructure and building platform to FIREFLY INVESTMENTS 319 without conditions. FIREFLY is a newly established firm created for the purpose of the proposed transaction and currently does not have any business operations. The I&B platform operations are involved in civil engineering, general building and road and earthworks, opencast mining, main civil works for power stations, construction plant and equipment and property development. "The proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition and does not raise any public interest concerns", the Commission said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New duties on steel products indicative of SA's 'value-chain' approach to protection - Terence Creamer

The International Trade Administration Commission confirms that it has recommended increased protection on several downstream steel products and that it is also considering recommending duties on a range of other value-added steel products in future. In addition, the commission has told Engineering News that investigations into extending safeguard protection on two primary-steel product categories are in the "final stages". Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES recently reported that he had signed off on the duties on downstream products as part of a "whole-value-chain approach" to supporting the local steel industry. ITAC recommended that tariffs be raised on welded link chains, grinding media balls, fasteners and certain wire products to bound rates allowed for under SA's commitments to the WTO. Further tariffs are being considered for other downstream products including roofing products, tubes and pipes, appliances, prefabricated buildings and stranded wire, as well as ropes cables and gabion wire netti

Barloworld, Caterpillar to open parts centre in Midrand - Anine Kilian

CATERPILLAR and BARLOWORLD EQUIPMENT will open a joint parts centre in Kaalfontein, Midrand, later this year. "This facility interconnects with BARLOWORLD EQUIPMENT's Vision 2020, which includes our goal of becoming the world's leading CATERPILLAR dealer", BARLOWORLD EQUIPMENT SOUTHERN AFRICA CEO EMMY LEEKA said. LEEKA noted that the new facility is a consolidation of two parts distribution centres and will enable the company to work more efficiently, while increasing the capability to provide parts availability to customers throughout Africa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New auto programme to be announced by year-end - NAAMSA - Irma Venter

The framework for the government support programme to replace the Automotive Production and Development Programme in 2021 is "currently under consideration and should be announced by the end of 2017", NAAMSA director NICO VERMEULEN said. The new programme could run until 2035, providing long-term security to the industry, which contributed 7.2% to SA's GDP in 2015. Expectations are that this will grow to 7.5% in 2017. The capital to be injected by SA's major vehicle assemblers into their local operations are expected to reach R8.2bn in 2017. "Certainty and stability in the developmental policy framework within South Africa is essential in enabling manufacturers and everybody involved in this industry to make strategic investment decisions with a degree of certainty", VERMEULEN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sacoil buys majority stake in Afric Oil - ANA

SACOIL yesterday said it had acquired a 71% stake in AFRIC OIL GROUP, one of the largest independent fuel distributors in SA. Following completion, SACOIL's portfolio will consist of operated production activities in Egypt, exploration in the DRC, Malawi and Botswana, a crude trading allocation with NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY and fuel distribution operations in Southern Africa. AFRIC OIL distributes more than 30m litres of fuel product monthly to a diversified client base. A recent acquisition is expected to contribute an additional 16m litres per month of fuel products. SACOIL said the acquisition was in line with its strategy to become a fully integrated, pan-African industry player across the oil and gas value chain in Africa. SACOIL said it remained focused on delivering energy for Africa using the continent's own resources to meet the significant growth in demand expected over the next decade. SACOIL is acquiring PHEMBANI OIL, which owns a 71% stake in AFRIC OIL, from GENTACURE and holding

Fleurette responds to Global Witness on royalties issue - Martin Creamer

FLEURETTE has responded to criticism directed at it on the KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY royalties issue. The issue in question centres on the sale by GECAMINES of royalties from KATANGA's KKC project to a FLEURETTE-owned entity. FLEURETTE states in a media release that Global Witness has either misunderstood or ignored the basic economics of the deal, which it says produced significant value for GECAMINES and a loss to FLEURETTE. It points out that $3bn was paid in tax by the Mutanda and KKC assets and laments the failure to note that GECAMINES had to use the royalty to cover a pre-existing debt, and also that the DRC government continues to be entitled to royalty payments for KCC and Mutanda. Owing to GECAMINES selling the royalty right before operations at KCC were suspended, FLEURETTE says that, in addition to the loss of the royalty deal, it lost $190m on the sale of its equity stake in Katanga. FLEURETTE says GECAMINES gave directions to KCC to make the payments due to it direct to AFRICA HORIZONS INVESTME

China vows new steel, coal capacity cuts - Reuters

China will cut steel capacity by 50mt and coal output by more than 150mt this year, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Sunday as the country deepens efforts to tackle pollution and curb excess supply. The NDRC said it would shut of stop construction of coal-fired power plants with capacity of more than 50m kilowatts. Speaking at the opening of parliament, Premier LI KEQIANG reiterated Beijing's plan to ramp up monitoring of heavy industry and crack down on companies and officials that violate air quality rules. "Officials who do a poor job in enforcing the law, knowingly allow environmental violations, or respond inadequately to worsening air quality will be held accountable... We will make our skies blue again", LI said. In its report, the NDRC said it would cut energy consumption per capita by 3.4% and curb carbon intensity by 4% this year. By 2020, the government said it aims to close 100m-150m tonnes of steel capacity and 800mt of outdated coal capacity. This news brief represe

Workers at Peru's Cerro Verde to strike for five days - Reuters

Workers at Cerro Verde mine, one of the largest copper producers in Peru, plan to start a five-day strike on Friday to demand better labour conditions, a union spokesperson said yesterday. Cerro Verde is controlled by FREEPORT-MCMORAN, which owns a 53.56% stake. SUMITOMO METAL MINING controls 21% and BUENAVENTURA 19.58%. The union's deputy secretary, CESAR FERNANDEZ, said workers wanted family health benefits and other measures and hat not ruled out an indefinite strike. He said the mine's standards for sharing conventional profits with workers were too high. A representative of the mine said it would continue abiding by the collective agreement it had forged with workers. Cerro Verde produced 1.1bn pounds of copper in all of 2016, more than double output in 2015 thanks to a recent expansion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tawana to acquire 100% of WA lithium tenements - Anine Kilian

TAWANA RESOURCES has exercised its option to acquire 100% of four lithium tenements at its West Austalia-based Cowan and Yallari projects. Cowan comprises three tenements totalling 159km². The tenements are adjacent to and surrounded by TAWANA's Bald Hill mine, where lithium production is expected to start this year. "We are currently focused on drilling out a maiden lithium resource reserve at the Bald Hill mine... in preparation for mining, and the neighbouring Cowan lithium project includes a significant portion of the same large rare metal pegmatite belt with targets for future resource drilling", TAWANA MD MARK CALDERWOOD said. The fourth tenement is a 41.2km² application which forms part of the company's Yallari project. No exploration for lithium has been undertaken to date, but the project is considered highly prospective. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP, Pemex advance work on Mexico deep-water discovery - Megan van Wyngaardt

BHP BILLITON has advanced its exploration and production interests in the Gulf of Mexico by inking a contract with PEMEX EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION to complete work on the Trion discovery. BHP in Dec. successfully bid to acquire 60% of the asset that, once fully appraised, is expected to be in the top ten fields discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade. Through the agreement, BHP will have participating interest in and operatorship of blocks AE-0092 and AE-0093, while PEMEX retains a 40% stake in the blocks. PEMEX estimates the gross recoverable resource to be 485m boe. BHP's bid for Trion includes an upfront cash payment of $62.4m and an estimated $320m initial commitment to deliver a minimum work programme. Should BHP and PEMEX agree to progress the project beyond the minimum work programme, BHP will be required to fulfil the commitment to pay the remainder of a $570m minimum contribution. BHP would also carry PEMEX for an additional $561.6m on future project costs. Should the project progre

Lonmin COO resigns for 'personal reasons' - David McKay

LONMIN suffered a body blow yesterday with the departure of COO BEN MOOLMAN, who has resigned due to "personal reasons". MOOLMAN will leave the company with effect from Apr. 5, 2017. "My colleagues and I would like to thank BEN for his contribution to LONMIN and wish him well in his future career", LONMIN CEO BEN MAGARA said. RENE HOCHREITER, an analyst at NOAH CAPITAL, said MOOLMAN's resignation might be related to the low production rates at LONMIN over the last few months. "We are concerned that results may be poor even in the usually good second quarter", HOCHREITER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sonangol in talks to deploy two new oil rigs - Herculano Coroado

Angola's SONANGOL is in talks with oil majors about deploying two new oil rigs it commissioned from DAEWOO SHIPBUILDING AND MARINE ENGINEERING in 2013, the state-owned oil firm said yesterday. The company said it was in talks with EXXONMOBIL, CHEVRON, BP, ENI and TOTAL about leasing the rigs to help boost exploration and production off the Angolan coast. The two rigs, the first to be owned by SONANGOL, will enter service soon, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec expects 16%-19% profit jump - TJ Strydom

CAPITEC BANK expects to post FY profit up by as much as 19%, in line with analysts' forecasts, it said yesterday. The lender said HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. will be between 3 233cps and 3 317cps, an increase of 16%-19% y/y. Analysts expect CAPITEC to report a 16.6% rise in HEPS to 3 242cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sea Harvest to raise R1.3bn in JSE IPO - Tanisha Heiberg

SEA HARVEST will raise as much as R1.3bn in an IPO that values the company at R3.4bn, it said yesterday. The SEA HARVEST GROUP will sell around 92m shares, or a 38.7% stake, at R12-R14.50/share. The company will set the final IPO price on Mar. 20 and is due to make its JSE debut on Mar. 23. The company will use the funds raised to repay debt and speed up its growth plans via investments and acquisitions as part of its strategy to become a diversified global seafood company. BRIMSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION is the majority shareholder in SEA HARVEST, which said its parent will retain its controlling stake after the listing. SEA HARVEST's net profit more than tripled to R131m for the FY to end-Dec. on sales of almost R2bn. SEA HARVEST is the second seafood company to list on the local bourse after PREMIER FOOD AND FISHING LIMITED listed 117m shares last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN has limited scope to jack up debt levels - Moody's - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

MTN GROUP has limited room to increase its debt levels, MOODY's said yesterday, citing lack of dividend flow from Nigeria, the group's biggest market. "Financial flexibility could be restored should MTN be able to begin repatriating dividends from its Nigerian operations, however there is uncertainty over timing", MOODY's said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 07/03/2017

At 07h16 on 07 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.99 ZAR/EUR 13.76 ZAR/GBP 15.91 Gold 1226.23 Platinum 978.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.97 All Share 51498.14

Updated market indicators for 06/03/2017

At 10h31 on 06 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.04 ZAR/EUR 13.82 ZAR/GBP 16.00 Gold 1231.88 Platinum 989.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.48 All Share 51715.65

Republican tax reform could shake up global economy - Shawn Donnan

A proposal for a new levy on imports included in a Republican tax reform plan has set off a lobbying war in the US business community and raised fears of looming trade skirmishes. But economists have also begun focusing on what it might mean for the global economy. The inclusion of a "border adjustable" tax system in the proposal being pushed by House Speaker PAUL RYAN and other leading Republicans would, experts say, amount to the biggest change in global taxation in almost a century. If economic orthodoxy holds true, it could also lead to the biggest surge in the dollar since the 1980s with potentially damaging consequences, particularly in emerging markets. In a report published last week MOODY's said a 20% tax on imports could lead to an appreciation of as much as 25% in the dollar. That would be the largest swing since the aftermath of the 1985 Plaza Accords between the US, Japan and major European economies. "A full 25% appreciation of the US dollar in real terms over a short period will be unprec

China targets economic growth of around 6.5% - Tom Mitchell

China has lowered its annual economic growth target to around 6.5% as Beijing plans to focus on risk control in the final year of President XI JINPING's first term. The figure was revealed yesterday morning after Premier LI KEQIANG in his annual "work report" to China's parliament, the National People's Congress. Actual growth came in at 6.7% in 2016. "At present, overall systemic risks are under control", LI said. "But we must be fully alert to the build-up of risks, including risks related to non-performing assets, bond defaults, shadow banking and Internet finance". He added that his government was also concerned about "high leverage in non-financial Chinese firms". Li also predicted that fixed asset investment would increase 9%. Fixed-asset investment grew only 8.1% last year, below the government's initial target of 10.5%. Retail sales growth is expected to moderate slightly to 10% this year. LI raised the government's urban job creation target to 11m new positions from 10m in 2016. Last year B

N Korea fires missiles into Sea of Japan - Bryan Harris

North Korea today fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in a move likely to escalate tensions t hat are already running high in the region. The projectiles were launched from the country's Dongchang-ri long-range missile site at 7:30 am and flew around 1 000km. The launches prompted South Korea's acting president, HWANG KYO-AHN, to reiterate Seoul's commitment to deploying a US-owned missile shield - a prospect that has enraged Beijing. The consensus view among North Korea experts in Washington is that Pyongyang will develop the capability to hit the US mainland with a nuclear-armed missile before President DONALD TRUMP finishes his first term in office. Japanese PM SHINZO ABE condemned North Korea this morning after officials confirmed three of the missiles had landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, an area stretching up to 200 nautical miles, or roughly 370km, from the country's coastline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK economy losing momentum as services sector slows - Nicholas Megaw

Expansion in the UK's services sector was much slower than expected in Feb. in a potential sign the economy is losing momentum after its unexpected resilience in 2016. The PMI for the services sector slipped to 53.3, from the prior month's 54.5. Although still comfortably above the 50 reading that indicates growth, economists had expected only a modest decline to 54.1. The services sector accounts for nearly 80% of Britain's economic output. IHS MARKIT chief economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON said: "A further slowdown in UK business activity growth in February adds to evidence that the economy has lost momentum after the impressive expansion seen at the end of last year. Weaker consumer spending was a key cause of slower service sector growth, suggesting that household budgets are starting to crack under the strain of higher prices and weak wage growth". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yellen signals Mar. rate rise may be 'appropriate' - Sam Fleming

Federal Reserve chair JANET YELLEN doubled down on signals that the central bank is on the cusp of lifting rates again, predicting that the pace of tightening is likely to accelerate from the sluggish speed set in 2015 and 2016. YELLEN told an audience in Chicago on Friday that a further increase in short-term interest rates was likely to be "appropriate" at this month's policy meeting if employment and inflation stay in line with officials' expectations. While reiterating her longstanding guidance that changes will happen only gradually, YELLEN asked that barring unexpected developments, monetary support for the US economy was likely to be reduced at a quicker pace than in 2015 and 2016. In her speech, YELLEN said the US economy had demonstrated "remarkable resilience" in the face of shocks from abroad in recent years, and that developments since mid-2016 have reinforced FOMC members' confidence that the economy is on track to meet the Fed's employment and inflation goals. This news brief represents a

Revlon hurt by weak North American sales - Jessica Dye

REVLON shares fell 5% on Friday after the company reported slipping sales in the North American consumer market. The company said net sales in North America fell 9% y/y during the quarter to end-Dec., as shoppers increasingly turn to speciality stores and online retailers for their make-up and hair colour fixes. The decline in the all-important segment dragged overall group sales down 4.5% to $800.7m on a pro-forma basis for the quarter. REVLON also fell into a net loss of $36.5m after it took a $23.4m writedown on its 2015 acquisition of a UK fragrance management company and a $34.5m restructuring charge related to the integration of ELIZABETH ARDEN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank eyes possible €8bn capital raise - James Shotter

DEUTSCHE BANK on Friday said it was "conducting preparatory steps for a potential capital raise of around €8bn" and other "potential strategic measures" as it bids to revive its fortunes after a torrid 12 months. Alongside the capital increase, the German lender said it was considering raising further funds by selling a minority stake in its asset management arm. It is also mulling keeping POSTBANK, the German pot office bank, which it had said in 2015 it intended to sell. DEUTSCHE said that a final decision had not yet been made and that implementation was "subject to market conditions and approval by the Management Board and the Supervisory Board". The lender recorded a net loss of €6.8bn in 2015, and another loss of €1.4bn in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China defence budget tops Rmb1tn for first time - Hudson Lockett

China's defence spending will exceed Rmb1tn for the first time this year, according to new figures from the annual budget published by the country's finance ministry. The Ministry of Finance today announced that the annual military defence budget for 2017 would come to Rmb1.044tn, up 7% y/y. That growth rate represents a slowdown from 2015's rise of 8%. China's defence budget has grown at a double-digit rate for the last 25 years, and the country now ranks second only to the US in terms of global military spending. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSA to buy GM Europe ops for €2.2bn - Michael Stothard

PSA has announced a €2.2bn deal to buy GENERAL MOTORS' lossmaking OPEL division in a move that will make PSA the second-largest carmaker in Europe. The deal will see GM finally cutting ties with Europe after a decade of losses in the region. PSA is hoping the acquisition will help it build on its recovery. "We are confident that the OPEL/VAUXHALl turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support", PSA CEO CARLOS TAVARES said. "Having already created together winning products for the European market, we know that OPEL/VAUXHALL is the right partner". The tie-up is expected to generate annual savings of €1.7bn by 2026, with OPEL generating an operating profit margin of 2% by 2020 and 6% by 2026, GM and PSA said today. Exiting OPEL will lead to a non-cash charge of $4bn-$4.5bn for GM. The transaction includes all of OPEL/VAUXHALL's automotive operations, comprising OPEL and VAUXHALL brands, six assembly and five component-manufacturing facilities, one engineering centre and around 40 000 employ

Standard Life, Aberdeen agree merger - Mehreen Khan

STANDARD LIFE and ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT have agreed on the terms to create the UK's largest asset manager. The companies said they would recommend an all-share tie-up to shareholders. STANDARD LIFE today said the combined group's new name would incorporate both its name and that of ABERDEEN's and be headquartered in Scotland. It would create Europe's second largest fund manager with £660bn in assets under management. The merger values each ABERDEEN share at 286.5pps, with the fund's shareholders owning 33.3% of the newly merged entity and STANDARD LIFE investors owning the remaining 66.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Choppies expects drop in interim earnings - Sens

CHOPPIES ENTERPRISES LIMITED last week said it expects EPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be 40%-50% lower y/y at Thebe 4.08-4.85 , from Thebe 8.08 in the HY to end-Dec. 2015. HEPS is expected to show a reduction of 30%-40% from the figure reported y/y. HEPS will therefore be in the range of Thebe 4.08-4.85 compared to Thebe 6.84 y/y. Group results were negatively impacted by trading losses in new regions namely Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Despite difficult trading conditions in SA, focused attention resulted in an improvement with losses narrowing y/y. The company's Zimbabwean segement returned to profit, despite very trying economic conditions. Botswana results were affected by the rand strengthening against the Botswana Pula. Interim results will be published on Mar. 14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trellidor expects higher interim earnings - Sens

TRELLIDOR HOLDINGS last week said it expects EPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be between 32.1cps and 34.9cps, representing an increase of 16.5%-26.5% y/y. HEPS for the interim period will be between 32.2ps and 34.9cps, an increase of 18.5%-28.5% y/y. The results for the period under review include the TAYLOR BLIND and NMC businesses, which were acquired with effect from Jul. 7 2016. Interim results will be published on Mar. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pinnacle's headline earnings up 19% - BDpro

Despite of difficult market conditions, PINNACLE HOLDINGS improved its headline earnings by 19% to R178m in the HY to end-Dec. Revenue grew 47% to R6.3bn, with pleasing growth emanating from all operations, the company said. No interim dividend was declared. PINNACLE said the outlook for H2 FY2017 was positive with earnings expected to be greater y/y due to continuing improvements in all business segments. "PINNACLE will continue to look at further acquisitions, both local and international, to bolster its offerings in each of its clusters as these opportunities present themselves with the focus on expanding our Services and Solutions cluster", it said. As from this week, the company will be known as ALVIVA HOLDINGS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AVI's revenue benefits from tea, coffee sales - Robert Laing

Strong coffee and tea sales helped AVI grow its overall interim revenue nearly 12% to R7bn in the HY to end-Dec. "Tea revenue increased 19.9% due to price increases necessary to offset significantly higher rooibos tea input costs and the impact of the weaker rand on other raw material costs", CEO SIMON CRUTCHLEY said. Coffee revenue rose 19.3% over the period. AVI raised its interim dividend by 8% to 162cps, in tandem with its net profit growth of 8% to R1.4bn. Snackworks contributed 13% of the group's revenue and 29% of profit. The division grew revenue 12.3% to R2.2bn and profits by 11.9% to R412m y/y. Despite a three-week strike at I&J, the division grew revenue 14.2% to R1.1bn, but profit only grew 4.8% to R167m. The contribution from AVI's cosmetics and clothing brands fell to 25% of revenue from 27% y/y. Its contribution to profit remained around 31%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Liberty cans Journalism Awards - Liesl Peyper

LIBERTY has decided to cancel its inaugural Journalism Awards. In a statement issued last week, LIBERTY said the award was cancelled because the company is "redirecting its focus and resources to accelerate the delivery of its strategy". "The decision was not taken lightly, given the importance of the media in the development of our industry and the nation as a whole". LIBERTY marketing chief SYDNEY MBHELE said the company initially launched the Awards to "celebrate and recognise media excellence in South Africa". "We are now consolidating our fragmented spend to get the biggest impact", he said, adding that "we have realised that sponsoring many different properties that look similar will not help us achieve our objectives". MBHELE said the decision to cancel the awards was by no means because of LIBERTY's decrease in headline earnings in the FY to end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SASSA, Net1 agree new contract terms, but needs Treasury approval - report - Paul Vecchiatto

NET1 UEPS subsidiary CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES and the SA SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY agreed to the terms of a new two-year contract, but these have to be agreed to by National Treasury, Business Day reported this morning. NET1 CEO SERGE BELAMANT "would not provide details but said the fee charged each month for each of the approximately 11m recipients would be considerably below the R25 mentioned in the media", the publication reported. Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI yesterday said she plans to bring in a new welfare system over the next two years as calls for her resignation mounted. She said the government is yet to sign the interim contract with CPS to ensure the payments continue next month after the existing contract expires. A new contract will cost the government more than the current deal. A letter filed as part of a Constitutional Court application last week showed the fee NET1 will charge per beneficiary under the new or extended contract may rise to R22-R25, from R16.44 at present.

Politics could derail SA's first interest rate cut since 2012 - Bloomberg

A strong rand and falling inflation expectations may allow SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO to start cutting interest rates this year, as long as political developments don't derail the currency's gains. Forward-rate agreements starting in nine months, used to speculate on borrowing costs, show traders have started pricing in cuts on the repo rate. Breakeven rates have fallen 18 bps in 2017 and were below the top end of the central bank'd 3%-6% target band at least three times this year. The SARB has said it may be close to the end of the tightening cycle that saw the benchmark rate raised 200 bps to 7% in the two years through Mar. 2016. The repo rate was last cut in Jul. 2012, when then-governor GILL MARCUS dropped it by 50 bps to 5%, the lowest in at least 14 years. Politics must remain "as stable as possible" , THABI LEOKA, an economist at ARGON ASSET MANAGEMENT, said by phone. A government report due tomorrow will likely show SA's economy didn't expand at all on an annualised basis in the quarter to e

Cipla to divest 100% stake in two companies - Fin24

CIPLA yesterday announced it has agreed to divest its 100% stake in CIPLA AGRIMED SA and CIPLA VET SA to ASCENDIS HEALTH SA. The value of the deal is R375m, with potential revision linked to the FY2017 performance to group companies of ASCENDIS and is subject to customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to close in the next three months. INYANGA directly holds a 57% stake in CIPLA AGRIMED and a 43% stake is held through CIPLA VET. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. CIPLA SA CEO PAUL MILLER said the decision to divest the veterinary division will increase the company's focus and efforts to life care for all South Africans. "By doing this, CIPLA will have a more intensive approach to grow our portfolio of quality and affordable products, with an aim to provide an even broader range of pharmaceutical solutions in more therapeutic areas in the South African Healthcare sector", MILLER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS at risk of imploding - Dewald van Rensburg

SARS was at risk of imploding and the drop in personal income tax collections was the most obvious red flag, local tax experts said last week. "The biggest problem we face in South Africa today is an erosion of the integrity of SARS", Judge DENNIS DAVIS told a conference on tax evasion organised by the Alternative Information Development Centre in Cape Town. "We can have as much debate as we like about this (illicit flows), but if you do not have a SARS capable of actually dealing with multinational corporations and capital that seeks to evade tax, then frankly, you are going nowhere", DAVIS said. Former SARS deputy commissioner IVAN PILLAY said: "What is SARS' capacity? I cannot give you a definitive answer. Some people have left who had skills. The operating system has been changed. It has not been changed for the better. It has actually broken down. When an institution is deteriorating, it will take some time to see". DAVIS said the latest tax tables, published in the Budget Review, "make no sens

Tsogo Sun's CT hotel development nears completion - Fin24

TSOGO SUN's new dual-brand 19-storey hotel development on the corner of Bree, Buintengracht and Strand streets in Cape Town is entering the final stages of development, with construction expected to be completed by Sep. this year. The two hotels will add 504 rooms to the Cape Town tourist market. The development is aimed at expanding TSOGO SUN's offering to provide for both business and leisure travellers of all budgets. "We're delighted to have the opportunity to increase our presence in one of the most vibrant cities on the continent. We believe the continued development and rejuvenation of Cape Town's city centre will cater to growing demand for hotel accommodation", TSOGO SUN CEO MARCEL VON AULOCK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's Delta Corp declares second interim dividend - Malcom Sharara

Zimbabwean brewery DELTA CORPORATION has declared a second interim dividend as efforts to deploy cash into the business remain challenging. The board last week said it has declared a second interim dividend of 1 US cps in addition to the 2cps that was originally paid after the release of interim results, back in Nov. 20176. In total, the second interim dividend amounts to $12.25m. As at end-Sep., DELTA had cash and cash equivalents of $197.1m, while net cash amounted to $132.1m. The group has been unable to deploy its cash into the business in a market where aggregate demand is falling, forcing it to operate below full capacity. Last year, DELTA had to delay commissioning of its new Chibuku plants amid delays in getting some of the equipment into the country due to forex shortages. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors in UK solar assets plans secondary JSE listing from Apr. - Terence Creamer

An LSE-listed investor in UK ground-based solar photovoltaic plants, FORESIGHT SOLAR FUND, has announced its intention to pursue a secondary listing on the JSE through a private placement with institutional investors. The listing is expected to raise £50m. The closed-end investment company, which listed in London in 2013, owns a portfolio of 18 ground-based solar assets across Britain, with a gross asset value of more than £614m and a total capacity of 470MW. The South African listing will enable qualifying South African investors to participate in the future income and capital performance of the fund. It also creates a new platform for FORESIGHT SOLAR FUND to raise equity funding to pursue future growth and investment opportunities. FORESIGHT says proceeds from the JSE private placement, as well as those arising form the issuance of new shares in the UK, will be used to refinance existing revolving debt facilities used for acquisitions and to invest in further UK ground-based solar PV assets. The fun

Humphris to succeed Crosse as Omnia chair - Natasha Odendaal

OMNIA has announced the retirement of nonexecutive director and chair NEVILLE CROSSE, effective May 31, after 40 years at the group. ROD HUMPHRIS, who will retire as group MD on May 31, succeeds CROSSE as nonexecutive director and chair, effective Jun. 1. Fertiliser Association of Southern Africa chair and OMNIA FERTILISER MD ADRIAAN DE LANGE will succeed HUMPHRIS as group MD and executive director. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop sees distribution growth double as European portfolio picks up - Megan van Wyngaardt

HYPROP reported strong double-digit growth in distributions for the HY to end-Dec., owing to a solid performance from its local shopping centres and supported by the inclusion of distributable income from the newly acquired south-eastern European portfolio, whihc added R58.4m to income. The inclusion further boosted the company's dividend by 23.5c, with HYPROP declaring a dividend of 347.3cps for the period, up 16.6% y/y. HYPROP acquired a 60% stake in three malls in Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, funded with low-interest euro bridge funding, which will be refinanced with term funding in tranches during 2017 at an average interest rate of 3%-4%. CEO PIETER PRINSLOO said he was positive about the company's new footprint in south-eastern Europe. Meanwhile, PRINSLOO noted that, despite a slowdown locally in trading density, demand for retail space in HYPROP's centres remained strong, as reflected by the below industry average vacancies of 0.8% and low rental arrears. HYPROP would continue looking at oppo

BUSA welcomes COSATU's endorsement of national minimum wage - ANA

Business Unity SA on Friday welcomed the endorsement of the national minimum wage by COSATU, saying this marked the final endorsement of a labour relations stability. BUSA CEO TANYA COHEN said the agreement "heralds a new era for labour relations in South Africa. With the backing of all social partners in NEDLAC, this agreement moves our labour market in the right direction". This comes after COSATU's Central Executive Committee announced on Thursday that affiliated unions have accepted the proposed National Minimum Wage of R20/hr or R3 500/month, and that the federation was ready to sign on the dotted line. But COSATU said it would initiate a campaign for its own minimum wage of R4 500/month. The proposed NMW is expected to come into effect on May 1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CFIUS extends review of Sibanye's Stillwater acquisition - Megan van Wyngaardt

SIBANYE GOLD has received written notification from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US that it wishes to undertake further investigation of the company's proposed R30bn acquisition of STILLWATER MINING COMPANY. The notification is in line with standard CFIUS procedure for a deal of this nature, SIBANYE said on Friday. SIBANYE last month received approval from the SARB for the acquisition, with the company noting that the deal remained on schedule to close during Q2 2017. The company noted that while the CFIUS probe would be completed by no later than Apr. 14, it could be concluded sooner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iamgold launches $500m senior notes offering - Henry Lazenby

IAMGOLD has launched a $500m senior notes offering due 2025, which it will use in combination with cash on hand to redeem its outstanding 6.75% senior notes due in 2020. Under terms of the indenture governing the existing notes, IAMGOLD will issue a conditional notice of redemption to redeem all the outstanding existing notes, pending the successful completion of the notes offering. The company expects to increase its output for 2017 by 4%-9% y/y, to between 845 000oz and 885 000oz of gold, with all-in sustaining costs ranging between $1 000/oz and $1 080/oz. IAMGOLD ended 2016 with about $750m in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, which exceeds the $489m of bonds due in Oct. 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania bans metals, minerals exports in bid to increase local beneficiation - Megan van Wyngaardt

Tanzania's Ministry of Energy and Minerals on Friday announced that gold, copper, nickel and silver exports have been banned with effect from Mar. 2, in a move to ensure mineral beneficiation activities are carried out within the country. This, it added, was emphasised in the Mineral Policy of 2009 and Mining Act of 2010. "Mineral value addition activities will provide employment opportunities, revenue and technology transfer, hence more benefits to the nation", the ministry said. "All companies and individuals who were exporting concentrates and mineral ores to foreign countries for beneficiation, including processing, smelting or refining, will immediately stop, and start doing such activities within the country", the ministry noted. It added that the government would provide any necessary support to stakeholders involved in mineral beneficiation activities within the country, particularly the smelting and refining of minerals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore paid Fluerette $100m Congo royalties - Bloomberg

GLENCORE paid more than $100m previously owed to the DRC's state ,mining business, GECAMINES, to a company controlled by DAN GERTLER, Global Witness said last week. The advocacy group in Nov. said GECAMINES signed over its royalties from the Kamoto copper project in the DRC to GERTLER in Jan. 2015. GERTLER's privately held FLEURETTE GROUP said the payments were made on instruction from GECAMINES to help repay a loan. GLENCORE's Katanga Mining made the royalty and contractual bonus payments over the past four years to AFRICA HORIZONS INVESTMENTS, a unit of FLEURETTE, Global Witness said on Friday. GLENCORE confirmed the payments to FLEURETTE in a letter to Global Witness. GLENCORE said it complied with all disclosure obligations relating to Katanga. GLENCORE made the payments to GERTLER's AFRICA HORIZONS at GECAMINES' request, it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pilbara iron ore reserves rise by 57mt - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has reported a 57mt increase in the ore reserve estimate at its Pilbara iron-ore assets in 2016. The company on Friday reported that iron ore reserves for 2016 stood at 3.51bn tonnes, compared with the 3.45bn tonnes estimated in 2015. RIO told shareholders that the increase in the estimated iron ore reserve resulted from the ongoing resource development drilling programme designed to maintain ore reserve coverage ahead of mining depletion rates. At its Canadian iron ore assets, RIO reported that mineral resources decreased by 674mt in 2016, from 2.76bn tonnes to just over 2bn tonnes. This change followed both technical and financial reassessment of the mineral resource and did not impact the ore reserves, RIO said. The current life-of-mine for the Canadian iron ore assets anticipated production life extending to 2042, based on the reported ore reserves only. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gahcho Kue starts commercial production - Anine Kilian

Gahcho Kue, the world's largest diamond mine in 13 years, has officially started commercial production. The mine, developed in JV between DE BEERS and MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS, is expected to produce around 54m ct of rough diamonds over its mine life. Production ramp-up began in Aug. 2016 and the official opening ceremony took place in Sep. "The mine has reached this landmark, on budget and head of schedule, and is set to deliver socioeconomic benefits of more than C$5bn to the economy of Canada's Northwest Territories over its lifetime", DE BEERS CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said last week. Gahcho Kue is estimated to provide a further C$5.3bn in gross value-add to the Northwest Territories now that it has reached commercial production. This is in addition to a C$440m contribution to the Northwest Territories economy in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tshwane's mega-casino complex almost ready - Siobhan Cassidy

Outgoing SUN INTERNATIONAL CEO GRAEME STEPHENS last week said construction of the group's R4bn Time Square development in Pretoria is fully on track, with the casino due to open in April. Time Square GM BRETT HOPPE said: "We are nearing completion. It's down the wire for us. We are at that stage where it gets really exciting, where it also speeds up so things start blurring". He added that 220 full-time staff had come on board last week. SUN INTERNATIONAL's GM of brand and communications, MICHAEL FARR, said around 10 000 direct and indirect jobs will have been created during the construction and the initial fit-out and start-up phase. After completion, Time Square will create an estimated 2 200 permanent jobs, with 1 228 jobs being provided by SUN INTERNATIONAL and a further 972 via service providers. With 2 000 slot machines and 60 tables, the casino will be SA's second biggest after GrandWest in Cape Town. The 8 000-seat arena opens in Sep., and the hotel complex in Mar. 2018. This news brief rep

Sibanye cuts platinum reserves at RPM, Kroondal - David McKay

SIBANYE GOLD reduced estimated mineral reserves at its newly acquired platinum operations by around 12.5moz of which about half were at Rustenburg Platinum Mines. The reduction in reserves represented a significant reduction on estimates of the previous owners of the mines - ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM and AQUARIUS PLATINUM. SIBANYE bought RPM from AMPLATS in 2016 for around R4.5bn and spent a further R4bn buying AQUARIUM, which owned the Kroondal Platinum Mines and Mimosa Platinum assets. Total platinum reserves were estimated to be 23.2moz of which around 1.7moz was down to depletion from mining activities. A further 1.1moz reduction in the reserves calculated was from the sale of Everest mine by AQUARIUS to NORTHAM PLATINUM. Then SIBANYE took out reserves from a pre-existing pool and share agreement between AQUARIUS and AMPLATS. The two had both accounted for the reserves in the PSA so there was a double-count effect. Finally, SIBANYE shifted 6.2moz from reserves to resources at RMP as it couldn't mine t

Capture of DMR all but complete - Lorimer - David McKay

The capture of the Department of Mineral Resources by vested interests was immiment, DA MP JAMES LORIMER said last week following the appointment by Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE of Advocate THABO MOKOENA as DG. "Minister ZWANE came to the ministry with no record in mining... He has elevated his crony, SEIPATI DLAMINI, also with no mining experience, to the position of deputy Director General in charge of the issuing of mining licences. After this was exposed it was claimed her appointment was temporary but the department has refused to say when a permanent appointment will be made. Now the key position of Director-General has been given to another newcomer to mining. We conclude from this that the viability of the mining industry as a provider of state revenue and jobs is not seen as important by the ANC. Instead, it is deploying people who will not stand in the way of the capture of resources by cronies of the ruling faction of the ANC", LORIMER said. He added that it appeared MAKOENA had been appointed wit

Nigerian firms expanded in Feb. - Stanbic PMI - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigerian private sector activity expanded for a second consecutive month in Feb., driven by a rise in new business despite a drop in export sales, the MARKIT STANBIC IBTC PMI showed on Friday. The PMI came in at 52.2 for Feb., after rising to 51.9 in Jan., the strongest reading since Dec. 2015. "The faster than anticipated recovery in the economy may not be unrelated to the fact that survey respondents continue reporting an expansion of output, perhaps due to increased supply of FX needed for import activity and domestic investment", STANBIC IBTC economist AYOMIDE MEJABI said. He noted that output prices continued to rise in Feb., but the pace was significantly slower and fell to their lowest level since Jan. 2016. The PMI report said an overall increase in new business led to a rise in purchasing activity as companies added to their inventory at a faster rate and that growth occurred despite a fall in new export sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia halts gold, copper exports from Tanzania - Zandi Shabalala

ACACIA MINING's shares fell as much as 19% on Friday after the company said it had stopped gold and copper concentrate exports from Tanzania after a government ban. On Friday, the Energy and Minerals Ministry announced an immediate ban on sending copper concentrate or mineral sand for processing abroad, putting 30% of ACACIA's revenue at risk. The shares pared losses to close 13% lower at 461p in London. ACACIA has three gold mines in Tanzania that also produce copper. "At this stage, ACACIA has ceased exports of gold/copper concentrate and is urgently seeking further clarification from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals", ACACIA said. Among other companies operating in the country, an ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI spokesperson said the company was not impacted by the ban as it processed its ore in the country. Analysts said the ban would not hurt global gold and copper markets as Tanzania was not a significant producer of these metals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria trade balance turns positive in Q4 - Paul Carsten

Nigeria's trade balance turned positive in Q4 2016 after exports rose by more than half, the national bureau of statistics said on Saturday. But the country's GDP shran k 1.5% over the course of the FY due to lower oil revenues and a shortage of hard currency. Q4 imports rose 46.4% from the previous year to 2.31tn naira. Exports more than compensated for that rise, jumping 53.5% in value terms y/y to 2.98tn naira. The balance of trade for Q4 was 671bn naira, while the net trade balance stood at minus 290m naira for all of 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 06/03/2017

At 06h47 on 06 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.05 ZAR/EUR 13.83 ZAR/GBP 16.03 Gold 1234.05 Platinum 996.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.68 All Share 51708.61

Snap shares end 44% higher on first trading day - Mamta Badkar?

SNAP did not see its share price gains disappear at the end of its first trading day. The company, which popped 41% in its trading debut, finished the day 44% higher at $24.48/share - giving it a valuation of more than $29bn. The IPO was priced at $17, above the initial guidance of $14-$16/share, with the shares opening at $24. But a number of analysts have been critical of the company, which turned a loss of $515m in 2016 and that issued shares with no voting rights. NOMURA analyst ANTHONY DICLEMENTE initiated coverage with a "reduce" rating and a $16 price target, citing slowing growth and lofty valuations. He said: "We believe that upside in shares is limited by 1) already slowing growth in daily active users; 2) slowing monetisation (average revenue per user) growth; 3) fierce competition from larger rivals such as FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and WHATSSAPP; and 4) rich valuation relative to current and future growth. We see SNAP's revenue opportunity as constrained relative to expectations and, as such, we

Moody's warns on delay in European bank failure rules - Thomas Hale

Delays in implementing new European rules for bank failure could pose a risk to investors in the continent's financial institutions, MOODY's said yesterday. The rules, referred to as a "minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities", aim to introduce a class of bonds able to absorb major losses during a so-called "bail-in". However, divergent approaches to the rules across Europe have generated significant confusion among investors. The MOODY's report is the latest to highlight the complications over the regulatory push, identifying a possible "credit negative" for holders of senior bonds due to uncertainty, and delays in targets for issuing banks. "Creditors of banks continue to lack certainty over the extent to which liabilities may be expected to absorb losses in a bail-in", MOODY's said. It added that one reason for the delays was the desire of regulators "to be consistent within Europe and internationally". Different European countries have come up with different approaches to meeting

US jobless claims hit 44-yr low - Pan Kwan Yuk

The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell to a near 44-year low last week, reinforcing the picture painted by recent economic indicators of continued strength in the US labour market. Jobless claims fell by 19 000 to 223 000 in the week ending Feb. 25, the Labour Department said yesterday, beating market estimates for a rise to 245 000. The figures would represent the lowest level of weekly claims since the week of Mar. 31 1973. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JD.com cuts losses by 63% - Nicholas Megaw

JD.COM beat its own sales forecast in Q4 2016, helping it to shrink its FY losses by almost two thirds. JD said its final quarter of 2016 were "well above" its predictions, up 47% y/y to Rmb80.3bn. Revenues for the FY rose 43% to Rmb260bn. The company said its core business was growing "much more quickly" than the wider industry. However, it predicted a slight slowdown in growth in Q1 2017, with revenues expected to climb by 34%-38%. Net losses for hte FY shrank by 63% to Rmb3.5bn. Adjusted gross profits rose by 63% to Rmb23.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU nears approval of ChemChina takeover of Syngenta - Rochelle Toplensky

CHEMCHINA's purchase of SYNGENTA and the combination of DOW CHEMICAL and DUPONT are heading towards European antitrust approval. The $43bn purchase of SYNGENTA is China's largest cross-border transaction and is the second of three agribusiness deals, together worth nearly $250bn, that EU Competition Commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER will examine this year. DOW DUPONT's $140bn merger is on track for approval in Mar. after the companies offered to sell some R&D capability, according to sources. The sale will address the regulator's concerns that a combined entity might launch fewer new crop protection products. The third deal - BAYER's $66bn purchase of MONSANTO - was announced in Sep. and will start its European approval process before the summer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio appoints new legal chief after Guinea sacking - John Murray Brown

RIO TINTO has appointed PHILIP RICHARDS as new group head of legal to replace DEBRA VALENTINE, who was sacked in Nov. in connection with a questionable payment made to a consultant on the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. RIO made no reference to Simandou in its statement today announcing the appointment of RICHARDS, who it said would have responsibility for all group legal services and join the executive committee. VALENTINE, together with ALAN DAVIES, head of energy and minerals who was previously in charge of Simandou, were fired in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE to hike dividend by 20% - Philip Stafford

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP will offer shareholders a 20% hike in their FY dividend, further indicating that the group is preparing for the expected failure of its €29bn merger with DEUTSCHE BORSE. The LSE this week said it was unlikely to get clearance from antitrust regulators for the deal as it was unable to meet one of the watchdog's demands. The deal will proceed until regulators make a formal decision in a month's time. Today, the LSE proposed a final dividend of 31.2p, taking the FY dividend increase of 20% to 43.2p, to reflect "the strong outlook for the group". For the FY to end-Dec., total income at the LSE rose 17% to £1.7bn. Operating expenses rose 6% to £426.1m. Pre-tax profits fell to £192.9m from £357.1m y/y on increased costs relating ot the deal and higher tax charges. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish inflation hits 10% for first time in nearly 5 years - Mehreen Khan

Annual inflation in Turkey leapt to hit 10% for the first time in nearly five years in Feb., heaping pressure on monetary policymakers who are battling with a slowing economy and weakening lira. CPI hit 10.13% in Feb., from 9.22% m/m and the highest level since Mar. 2012. The reading beat economists' forecasts of 9.7%. The Turkish central bank, which targets annual price growth of around 5%, has been battling surging inflation which has been pushed up by the weakening exchange rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba to invest 177m in India's Paytm - Simon Mundy

ALIBABA has agreed ot invest $177m in the online retail unit of Indian tech group PAYTM, giving the former a controlling stake in one of India's major ecommerce businesses. ALIBABA is leading an investment round of $200m into PAYTM ECOMMERCE, at a valuation of $1bn, PAYTM said today. ALIBABA and affiliate ANT FINANCIAL had previously built up a 40% stake in PAYTM via investments including a $680m injection in 2015. Their combined stakes in PAYTM ECOMMERCE will now account for the majority of its stock. Singapore's SAIF PARTNERS will account for the remaining $23m of the funding round. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 03/03/2017

At 12h12 on 03 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.11 ZAR/EUR 13.79 ZAR/GBP 16.07 Gold 1227.52 Platinum 988.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.26 All Share 51379.48

'SASSA can't pay grants' - Tebogo Monama

SASSA wants to extend its contract with CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES by at least three years. The agency has admitted in court papers filed in the Constitutional Court yesterday that it did not have the capacity to pay out grants. If SASSA has its way and CPS demands R25 for each of the 17m recipients, this would meant the agency would have to pay R425m a month, or R5.1bn/year. SASSA claims in the papers filed yesterday that if the CPS contract is not extended, millions of South Africans will not be able to receive their grants because the department does not have the capacity to deal with the payments. In fact, it might take SASSA at least five more years to implement the internal systems. In the court papers, Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI said she "accepts responsibility for the delays in identifying and redressing deficiencies". She added that she had now "mandated a negotiating team to conduct negotiations with CPS" so it can continue paying the grants after Mar. 31. This news brief represents a summary

CoM questions expertise of new mining DG - Fin24

The Chamber of Mines yesterday expressed concern and surprise over the appointment of THABO MOKOENA as the new DG of the Department of Mineral Resources. Minister in the Presidency JEFF RADEBE announced MOKOENA's appointment at a media briefing earlier in the day. The DMR has not had a permanent DG for some time now with Chief Mines Inspector DAVID MSIZA acting in the position since 2015. The CoM said although it acknowledges that the appointment of a DG is the prerogative of Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE, it is concerned about the new appointee's depth of knowledge of the mining industry. The Chamber further claims it hasn't been consulted on the appointment. "The mining industry has a twin challenge of attracting investments and growing the industry; and is also dealing with challenges of transformation and inclusive growth... The industry regards leadership capabilities as being very important to deal with such imperatives which are immediate for the industry and the country", the CoM said in a statement.

Bigger chance of Gordhan exit - Montalto - Fin24

The probability of an exit by Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN has grown because of increasingly belligerent comments from the ZUMA camp and wider attacks against the Treasury, according to NOMURA emerging markets economist PETER ATTARD MONTALTO. He also thinks the removal of the deputy finance minister, MCEBISI JONAS, is "most likely". "...the ultimate aim of a reshuffle will be to stop the increasing momentum the ZUMA camp is sensing from SACP members, including those in the National Treasury from swinging the elective conference their way in December. President JACOB ZUMA is running out of time, however", MONTALTO said. "A lack of reshuffle by end March may lead to a significant market rally. A reshuffle, however, could cause major market dislocation especially with a March Federal Open Market Committee hike. Ultimately... ZUMA will wait for the best moment, requiring market patience". NOMURA gives a 60% probability of a ZUMA camp win with a slightly lower probability of a DLAMINI-ZUMA win. This n

Bank of Baroda SA 'closing' Gupta accounts - Bloomberg

BANK OF BARODA's South African unit has started closing accounts of companies controlled by the GUPTA family, according to sources. The Mumbai-based lender is winding down its relationship with companies related to the controversial family to ensure it is in compliance with banking rules, sources said. OAKBAY INVESTMENTS, the family's main holding company, said it isn't aware of such a move. "OAKBAY is not aware of any such information. I can only imagine that your source has their own agenda, and wants to put pressure on BANK OF BARODA", a spokesperson for the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo inches towards investment grade - Lamees Omarjee

ANGLO AMERICAN's default rating was upgraded to Ba1 by MOODY's yesterday, with a positive outlook. "We have upgraded ANGLO AMERICAN's rating... to reflect its improving credit profile following accelerated debt reduction in 2016 and improving operating cash flows", said ELENA NADTOTCHI, senior credit officer and lead analyst for ANGLO. Among the reason for the rating was the company's "strengthened" leverage profile, its reduced debt levels and its improved earnings and cash flow from operations. The recovery in commodity prices had improved ANGLO's EBITDA to $6.1bn in 2016. "We expect ANGLO to deliver higher EBITDA in 2017 of around $7bn", MOODY's said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim throttles DStv payments - Memory Mataranyika

MULTICHOICE ZIMBABWE is putting in place alternative payment platforms following the halting of mobile money and other bank payment options for DSTV subscriptions in the country. The pay-TV service provicer is among businesses singled out by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor JOHN MANGUDYA for alleged excessive and non-priority utilisation of scarce forex resources in the country. Mobile money platforms run by ECONET WIRELESS and TELECEL ZIMBABWE have stopped processing of DSTV subscriptions in US dollars. ECONET's EcoCash has however turned to rand wallet technology, which enables users to convert their funds in ZAR for payment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Country Bird to close abattoir - Bloomberg

COUNTRY BIRD is to close one of its three abattoirs as the local industry struggles to compete with cheap European imports, which it argues amounts to dumping. The company yesterday said it would close its facility in Mahikeng in the absence of increased government protection against the imports. CEO MARTHINUS STANDER said the company had notified workers last year about the planned closure. The SA Poultry Association this week told lawmakers that chicken imports should be reduced by at least half. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier Food & Fishing lists on JSE - Anine Kilian

PREMIER FOOD & FISHING yesterday listed in the Farming, Fishing and Platations sector of the JSE. "Being listed on the JSE will allow us to give our employees, as well as the members of the communities in which we operate, an opportunity to acquire equity in the company and thereby a liquid, tradeable asset within a regulated environment", CEO SAMIER SABAN said. SABAN noted that the company is well positioned for growth over the next three years and into the future. "As one of the largest black-owned fishing companies in South Africa, and given that current legislation is likely to promote black participation and development in this area, this should be beneficial for growth in this sector, which, in turn, is expected to assist with job creation and community upliftment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt won't allow poultry industry to be 'decimated' - Terence Creamer

Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES is adamant the state will not stand by while the poultry industry is "decimated", but acknowledges that there are also issues of industry competitiveness that should be addressed. Speaking this week during a government briefing, DAVIES said the provisional safeguard introduced in Dec. was in response to "abnormal" inflows of brown meat, which were undermining the local industry. ITAC on Dec. 15 imposed a 13.9% provisional safeguard duty on frozen bone-in-chicken from the EU. The duty would remain in force for 200 days until Jul. 3. DAVIES said the protection had been imposed in line with the recently ratified Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and six Southern African countries, which entered into force in late 2016. "We do acknowledge that there are issues of competitiveness that we have to address, and that's why we have a task team in place. But we can't allow the industry to simply disappear as a result of this surge of imports, otherwise we won't have

Group Five appoints interim CEO - Creamer Media Reporter

GROUP FIVE has appointed THEMBA MOSAI as interim CEO while it seeks a successor for former CEO ERIC VEMER. VEMER last week announced his surprise resignation from the company after less than three years in the position. The GROUP FIVE board has initiated processes for the appointment of a permanent CEO, which include the assessment of both internal and external potential candidates. MOSAI has been with the company for nearly 13 years, is an executive committee member and the head of the Developments business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mpact FY earnings fall - Anine Kilian

Challenging trading conditions and a higher tax rate, as well as the loss in its MPACT POLYMERS business negatively impacted MPACT's results for the FY to end-Dec. HEPS fell to 242cps for the period, down from 365.8cps y/y. Underlying earnings of 252.7cps ware down 31.1% y/y owing to a higher effective tax rate and higher borrowing costs y/y. Net finance costs rose by 44.7% to R191m for the period, owing to higher interest rates on higher net debt during the year. MPACT's balance sheet remains strong, with gearing of 33.6% and a return on capital employed of 14.2%, CEO BRUCE STRONG said. Group revenue rose 5.8% to R10.1bn, but its underlying operating profit of R784.4m was 13.7% lower y/y. Revenue in the paper business increased by 5.2% to R7.4bn. MPACT's paper converting business delivered a stable performance, growing revenue and maintaining margins despite the drought, challenging trading conditions and increased levels of competition. The plastics business increased revenue by 8.6% to R2.8bn due t

Gauteng launches road upgrade project - ANA

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC ISMAIL VADI yesterday launched Phase 2 of the Cedar Road upgrading project in Johannesburg valued at R87m. The project involves the rehabilitation and widening of Cedar road on both sides to a dual carriageway and is expected to run over 11 months. The Roads and Transport department said Cedar road formed part of the provincial road network and acted as an inter-urban collector of traffic for surrounding townships. "Unattractive land tracts now look ready for development and we hope that the rehabilitation of this road will act as a catalyst for further development to take place",VADI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Regulators approve Electrolux's buyout of Kwikot Group - Anine Kilian

Competition authorities in SA, Botswana and Namibia have approved ELECTROLUX's acquisition of KWIKOT GROUP. ELECTROLUX in Nov. 2016 announced its plan to buy KWIKOT for an undisclosed sum. Combined, the companies form the largest water heater enterprise in the Middle East and Africa. ELECTROLUX yesterday said the acquisition was "perfectly aligned with [its] strategy to drive profitable growth". It added that the deal would enable ELECTROLUX to contribute to the development of SA as a regional hub bringing increased levels of industrialisation, manufacturing and exports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cape water restrictions to remain - News24Wire

Water restrictions in the Western Cape will remain in place until dams have reached 85% of their capacity, Minister in the Presidency JEFF RADEBE said yesterday. Cabinet was looking at ways to help the province should the current water supply run out, RADEBE said yesterday. To curb excessive water use, the Department of Water and Sanitation had informed the agricultural sector of 10% additional water restrictions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod FY loss widens on depressed H1 market conditions - David Oliveira

GRINDROD's attributable loss widened to R1.9bn for FY2016, from a loss of R1.43bn y/y, as a result of depressed market conditions in H1 and impairments in its Shipping and Freight Services rail businesses. EBITDA for the period more than halved compared with FY2015, dropping from over R1.09bn to around R469m. GRINDROD also reported a headline loss of R459.5m, compared with earnings of R558.82m y/y. CEO ALAN OLIVIER noted that the headline earnings were impacted on by net forex losses of R138m, arising mainly from GRINDROD's operations in Mozambique and its investments in the UK. He pointed out that business performance had improved in H1, owing to growing demand, supported by improved commodity prices. Improved demand in H2 was reflected in the company's dry-bulk terminal use, which increased from an average of 41% in H1 to 69% in H2. The rail manufacturing business continued to experience constraints with the cancellation of planned capital investments in mining projects in Africa. Given the subsequen

Fairvest posts higher H1 distribution - Megan van Wyngaardt

Successful capital raises of R206.7m, attractive acquisitions and steady growth in property valuations contributed to FAIRVEST PROPERTY HOLDINGS' NAV increasing by 20.8% to R1.6bn for the HY to end-Dec. This was paired with distributions increasing by 9.57% y/y and a NAV/share increase of 1.9% to 205.5cps, relative to a current share price of 185cps. FAIRVEST said that annualised net property income rose by 10.4% y/y, a function of low vacancies at 4.1%, selective acquisitions, cost containment, as well as gross rentals that trended upwards across the portfolio. The company declared an interim dividend distribution of 8.95cps for the period, which was within the issued guidance of 9%-10% growth. Revenue grew by 20.6% to R162.2m, owing to income growth in the historic portfolio, as well as the acquisitions during the period. Weighted average gross rentals rose by 3% to R102.36/m² at Dec. 31, compared with R99.40/m² as at Jun. 30. Costs were well contained with the net property expense ratio improving

Nigerian lawmakers to probe $17bn subsidies received by NNPC - Reuters

Nigeria's upper house of parliament will probe allegations the NNPC illegally inflated funds it collected from an official subsidy scheme to 5.1tn naira between 2006 and 2015, lawmakers said yesterday. The Senate's decision to launch an investigation followed an emergency motion raised by Senator SINO MELAYE, who told the Senate there were possible irregularities in subsidies collected by NNPC from the government between 2006 and 2051 on its 51% market share of fuel imports. He did not name the source of the allegations. NNPC was previously implicated in allegations of fraud in a probe in 2012 that discovered a $6.8bn fuel subsidy scam, one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country's history. It was not immediately clear whether the new Senate investigation would include the 2012 allegations ore look into entirely new ones. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resgen aligns coal project contracts to secure funding - Martin Creamer

Engineering, procurement, construction and logistics contracts have been aligned to meet the debt funding requirements of the Boikarabelo coal mine project in Limpopo. The mine is being developed by RESOURCE GENERATION. RESGEN chair DENIS GATELY yesterday told shareholders in a SENS notice that by reaching agreement with supply contractors, the company is able to lock in the project costs and de-risk an important element of a final debt funding agreement, with full funding expected by mid-2017. Port destination terms have been agreed with TRANSNET FREIGHT RAIL for an envisaged Richards Bay export allocation of 3.6mt/year. A viable all-export strategy is in place in the event of ESKOM being unwilling to commit to an agreement within the required timeline. "Either way, we intend to conclude these arrangements by end April 2017", GATELY said. TFR is willing to partner with RESGEN to raise R550m to construct the necessary rail link and talks are taking place with potential funders, which include the Develop

Jubilee gets go-ahead for Tjate - Megan van Wyngaardt

JUBILEE PLATINUm has been awarded a mining right for its 63%-owned 22.3moz Tjate PGMs project, located on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. CEO LEON COETZER said the mining right confirmed the potential value of the project. "The timing of the mining right coincides with the continued global recovery supporting the anticipated improvement in the platinum markets", COETZER said. JUBILEE is now also required to issue 4.96m ordinary shares at 1pps to BEE partner NEW PLATS as part of an agreement inked in 2009. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro to post improved results for 2016 - Megan van Wyngaardt

Higher net operating profit from its coal mining business, coupled with higher equity-accounted income from investments, will see EXXARO RESOURCES posting attributable earnings of R5.17bn-R6.08bn for the FY to end-Dec. This compares with an attributable loss of R1.21bn for FY2015. Attributable EPS are expected to be between 1 456cps and 1 712cps, compared with 83cps y/y. Results will be published on Mar. 9. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo moves closer to completion of sale to Opera - Megan van Wyngaardt

The proposed sale of KIBO MINING's northern Tanzania-based gold assets, Imweru and Lubando, to OPERA INVESTMENT, is one step loser to completion after the projects' resources were upgraded. The parties in Sep. signed a heads of agreement for the unloading of KIBO's wholly-owned UK subsidiary SLOANE DEVELOPMENTS for 61m OPERA shares of 1p issued at a price of 6pps. OPERA then commissioned MINXCON to undertake a competent person's report on the projects, which included an evaluation of the geological assets. The evaluation showed that Imweru hosted 2.36mt of indicated resource at 1.19g/t, and 90 800oz, while its inferred resource measured 9.24mt at 1.43g/t and 424 310oz for a total resource of 515 100oz. At Lubando, the study confirmed 6.78mt grading 1.10g/t and containing 293 870oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fatality at Exxaro mine - Megan van Wyngaardt

The NUM has expressed concern about the number of fatalities occurring in the mining industry, after an employee at EXXARO's Matla Mine shaft 2 was killed in a conveyor belt-related incident on Tuesday. "We are concerned that these fatalities are increasing unnecessarily. There were 13 fatal accidents last year January to February 17, and this year we are already sitting at 18", NUM health and safety secretary ERIC GCILITSHANA said. The union demanded an immediate, thorough probe by both the departments of Labour and Mineral Resources to establish the causes of the accidents. EXXARO said the DRM and Matla mine management were currently conducting an on-site inspection and a full investigation would start in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB sells shares of investors deemed to have too many - Mfuneko Toyana

The SARB yesterday said it would put up for sale nearly 150 000 of its shares owned by people who have exceeded limits set by a court to prevent undue influence in the regulator. SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said the central bank had identified certain people amassing shares, and that this posed a risk to the institution's independence. He did not identify the shareholders. Shares in the SARB may be acquired by means of an OTC share trading facility and earn a dividend of 10 South African cents annually. A court last year ruled that anyone holding more than 10 000 shares in the SARB must sell their additional shares, in line with a 2010 amendment to the constitutional act to bring down the statutory limit. The amendment also limits the rights of shareholders to nominate non-executive directors, vote on remuneration or the appointment of auditors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to review IMF programme - Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Ghana will review the structural benchmarks of its $918m IMF programme that is designed to stabilise national finances, Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA said yesterday as he delivered his annual budget. The three-year programme, which is due to end in 2018, has thus far failed to meet most of its goals in terms of reducing inflation, the public debt and the budget deficit, President NANA AKUFO-ADDO said last week. OFORI-ATTA said the country will aim to reduce its budget deficit to 6.5% of GDP in 2017, from 8.7% on a cash basis last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank puzzled by accusations in FX probe - CEO - TJ Strydom

STANDARD BANK GROUP is still in talks with competition authorities over allegations by the Competition Commission that it was involved in the rigging of rand currency trading, CEO SIM TSHABALALA said yesterday. Referring to the complaint by the Commission, TSHABALALA said: "...we are unable to determine from that precisely what the infraction we are accused of is", adding that the bank was engaging with the Commission and the Competition Tribunal to clarify the issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mediclinic, rivals press Abu Dhabi to rethink healthcare reform - Stanley Carvalho

MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL is lobbying the government of Abu Dhabi to rethink a change in medical insurance rules that has damaged its business after it bet big on acquiring AL NOOR HOSPITALS. At least two other healthcare companies operating in the emirate are also in talks with authorities, seeking a reversal of amendment to the reform that reduces state insurance coverage for citizens using private hospitals. Abu Dhabi has cut insurance coverage under its Thiqa plan to 80% from 100%, meaning patients have to pay 20% of bills if they seek treatment at private hospitals. The rule was introduced in Jul. 2016, just after MEDICLINIC acquired AL NOOR. MEDICLINIC has begun lobbying the state Health Authority of Abu Dhabi over the Thiqa change, regional CEO DAVID HADLEY said. "Other providers have done the same", HADLEY said, adding that the reform had channeled patients to government hospitals, where the rule doesn't apply. "We don't have a problem with the policy on co-payments as long as it applies to the e

Zambia to tag bank acc holders to broaden tax base - Chris Mfula

The Zambia Revenue Authority has asked all account holders to obtain Taxpayer Identification Numbers by end-2017 in a bid to capture more tax payers and raise revenue, it said yesterday. ZRA Commissioner-general KINGSLEY CHANDA said the measure would make it easier to identify individuals and entities in receipt of undeclared income like foreign dividends. Zambia collected 39.2bn kwacha in tax revenue in 2016, a 15% drop from the previous year. "This is one of the measures we thought would help us in broadening the tax base. It will ensure transparency", CHANDA said, adding that account holders had until Dec. 31 to register. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 03/03/2017

At 07h14 on 03 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.16 ZAR/EUR 13.84 ZAR/GBP 16.14 Gold 1233.94 Platinum 988.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.14 All Share 51893.19

AB Inbev 2016 profits miss estimates - Alice Woodhouse

AB INBEV's 2016 results have been hurt by lower demand for beer in Brazil. The company reported EBITDA down 0.1% in 2016 to $16.75bn, coming in below analysts' forecasts of $17.22bn. EBITDA excluding Brazil rose 6.3% in 2016. Brazil also dragged down Q4 earnings with EBITDA down by 3.6% in the quarter to end-Dec. to $5.25, coming in below analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg of $5.64bn. Revenue for the brewer grew by 2.4% in 2016 to $45.52bn, above estimates of $44.9bn. Revenue per hectolitre grew by 4.5% in 2016. Weakness in the Brazil market was linked to declining real disposable income and rising unemployment in that country, but AB INBEV remains positive on the outlook. "We have been operating in the country for almost 30 years and understand that its long-term growth trajectory comes with inevitable periods of volatility", the company said. AB INBEV reported $282m of synergies and savings made between Apr. and Dec. in connection with its £79bn takeover of SABMILLER, which comes on top of t

UK manufacturing growth slower than expected - IHS Markit - Alice Ross

British manufacturing growth was slower than expected in Feb., but still marked a seventh consecutive month of expansion. MARKIT's monthly manufacturing PMI hit 54.6 in Feb., lower than expectations of a 55.8 reading and down from January's 55.9. But MARKIT said that despite the slower rate of gains in the index, the UK manufacturing sector experienced "further solid growth" of production and new orders in Feb., with growth rates still well above long-term averages and recent months producing upbeat results. Manufacturers also had an optimistic outlook overall, with almost 50% expecting output to be higher in a year's time, compared to only 6% anticipating a decline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eni poised to sell multi-billion stake in Moz - Andrew Ward

ENI is "within weeks" of sealing a multi-billion dollar deal to sell a stake in its Mozambique operations, with EXXONMOBIL favourite to buy the assets. The company has been seeking a partner to help bring Mozambique's vast offshore gas resources to the global market and EXXON is seen as the most likely candidate because it also has exploration licences in Mozambique. ENI CEO CLAUDIO DESCALZI said the transaction was "very close" but declined to comment on the identity of the buyer. His comments came as ENI unveiled better-than-expected Q4 results which included the company's first quarterly profit in 18 months. The stake sale is expected to be followed later this year by the final go-ahead for ENI's multi-billion dollar Coral South field - the first part of the Area 4 block due for development. ENI holds a 50% stake in the Area 4 block in question, with the balance held by CNPC, GALP ENERGIA, KOGAS and EMPRESA NACIONAL DE HIDROCARBONETOS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory output hits highest level since 2014 - Mamta Badkar

The Institute for Supply Management's PMI hit its highest level since Aug. 2014 in Feb., adding to signs of improvement in the economy and bolstering the case for a rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this month. The PMI rose to 57.7 in Feb., up 1.7 point m/m and topping analysts' forecasts of 56.2. A breakdown of the report showed growth in new orders, production and inventories from Jan. to Feb. but the employment and price sub-indices did register a decline. Each of the 18 manufacturing industries registered growth last month except furniture and related products. While the overall tone struck by the report was upbeat, respondents in the petroleum and coal industries said: "even though oil and gas prices are on the upswing, we still face a tough 2017 and will continue to save on costs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU scales back tariffs on Chinese solar panels - Arthur Beesley

Brussels is scaling back tariffs on Chinese solar panels as it seeks to settle divisions over penalties against Beijing for dumping products on European markets. Two sets of EU tariffs will be extended for 18 months under the decision yesterday by the European Commission, which previously wanted to prolong the penalties for two years. Brussels has also set out plans to phase out tariffs in a case dating from 2013 that has long been a source of tension between Europe and China. "Together, the prolongation of the measures and the revision of their level will result in a gradual phse-out of the current regime", a spokesperson for the Commission said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap to price IPO at $17/share - Nicole Bullock

SNAP was poised to price its IPO at $17/share, above the range it had projected, according to sources. The group behind the Snapchat messaging service had previously said that it expected to float its shares in the $14-$16 range. The better-than-expected pricing comes as a good sign for other unicorns, like UBER and AIRBNB, that have secured aggressive valuations in the private market, but had been skittish about taking the plunge into the public markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto to defer bonus payment to former CEO - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO has decided to defer the payment of thousands of bonus shares to former CEO SAM WALSH until regulators have reviewed payments made to a consultant who helped the company secure rights to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. "The board has determined that it would be inappropriate, while investigations are ongoing, to make any determination about SAM WALSH... or about his outstanding remuneration", RIO's annual report showed today. "The company has therefore reached an agreement with SAM to defer the payment of hhis 2016 Short Term Incentive Plan award and all remaining invested Long Term Incentive Plan awards for a minimum of two years". RIO in Nov. notified law enforcement authorities in the US, UK and Australia about a $10.5m payment in 2011 to FRANCOIS POLGE DE COMBRET, a French consultant who helped the company reach a settlement with Guinea over the Simandou deposit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone manufacturing growth at highest level since 2011 - Nicholas Megaw

The eurozone's recovery is looking "increasingly robust" according to a closely-watched set of business surveys which showed activity in the bloc's manufacturing sector hitting its highest level in almost six years in Feb. The overall manufacturing PMI for the eurozone came in at 55.4, slightly below flash readings made last month but still the best reading since early 2011. Italy recorded its strongest result since Dec. 2015 with a reading of 55.0, comfortably ahead of the 53.5 predicted by economists. Job creation among Italian respondents also accelerated, with optimism for the year ahead at a six-month high. Second readings from France and Germany were both slightly weaker than initial estimates, though still firmly in growth territory. Meanwhile, Greek manufacturers still failed to benefit from strength in the wider currency area, with survey respondents reporting their sixth consecutive month of falling output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev to invest R610m in raising hop production - Joseph Booysen

SABMILLER and ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV's R610m investment in the agricultural sector is set to turn SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES HOP FARMS into a net exporter and grow production by 250t annually. The global brewer yesterday announced it was committed to investing R610m by 2021 in raising hop production, creating employment and upskilling workers by investing in research and development. The AB INBEV Hops Network workshop, an annual event held with global brewers and innovation teams, is under way in George, one of only four places in the southern hemisphere where hops have been successfully cultivated since 1935. The aim of the Hops Network is to introduce South African varieties to the AB INBEV craft-beer industry and innovation department. There are 424 ha of hops under cultivation in the southern Cape. SABHF and contracted private growers harvest less than 1% of the world's production of 855t/year. Of this, about 735t are for SAB and the local craft-beer industry, while 120t are exported to the rest of Afric

MTN step closer to Nigeria listing - Yinka Ibukun

MTN GROUP is moving closer to a listing on the Nigerian stock exchange, a move that could help it regain goodwill among Nigerians and make it less vulnerable to regulatory crackdowns, according to EURASIA GROUP analyst AMAKA ANKU. MTN agreed on the listing as part of a deal to reduce a regulatory fine, originally set at $5.2bn. "Listing might not be worth it for the company's balance sheet in the short term", ANKU said. "The main benefit for MTN would be increased goodwill from a wider section of the Nigerian population". The share sale will likely happen by Sep. 2018, after regulatory issues caused delays and the stock market slumped as the economy contracted, MTN executive chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO said in Jan. The company appointed units of CITIGROUP and STANDARD BANK to advise it. The value of the listing "is not something you can quantify in dollars and pounds, or naira and kobo, but it's a lot when they're trying to seek approval or if they're going into some new venture that they need government supp

NEPI seeks to raise R500m in new share issue - BDpro

NEW EUROPE PROPERTY INVESTMENTS yesterday said it was seeking to raise R500m via a new share issue. The company, which is in the process of merging with ROCKCASTLE GLOBAL REAL ESTATE, said the proceeds of the placement would be used to fund the acquisition of Arena Centar, a shopping centre in Croatia. The centre was acquired for €237m in Nov. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Liberty drags down Standard Bank's profits - Robert Laing

Poor performance from STANDARD BANK's 55%-owned LIBERTY and tripling of head office costs dragged the group's overall profits down despite solid results from its banking divisions. LIBERTY's contribution to STANDARD BANK's total revenue fell 11% and its contribution to profit by 60%, slowing the group's overall revenue growth to 5% while its profit declined 9%. STANDARD's results for the FY to end-Dec. showed its personal and business banking divisions grew revenue 11% to R67.5bn and profit 17% to R12.5bn. Its personal and business banking divisions contributed both 56% of the group's overall R121bn revenue and of its R22bn profit. The corporate and investment banking arm grew revenue 12% to R35bn and profit 21% to R10.5bn. Corporate and investment banking contributed 29% of the group's revenue and 47% of its profit. STANDARD BANK declared a final dividend of 440cps, taking its total for 2016 to 780cps, up 16% y/y. The lender managed to improve its credit-loss ratio slightly to 0.86% from 0.87% y/y.

MMI after-tax profit falls by a third - Pericles Anetos

MMI HOLDINGS' after-tax profit fell by a third to R1bn in the HY to end-Dec., from R1.5bn y/y. Net income was R20bn for the period. MMI said it was struggling due to lower morbidity profits, lower health administration revenue, and weak growth in asset-based fee income as a result of weak investment markets. MMI said group disability claims remained high, and resulted in a R57m reduction in earnings compared with the prior year. Its new business margin remained stable at 1.4%. MMI said that while the overall group strategy remained the same, it had identified client engagement solutions and growing the group's wellness rewards programme Multiply as areas of strategic importance to set itself apart from competitors. An interim dividend of 65cps was declared, unchanged y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Santam FY HEPS down 41% - Andries Mahlangu

SANTAM suffered a 41% drop in FY HEPS to 1 086cps, hit by low investment results and lower underwriting profits. Investment income fell to R832m in the FY to end-Dec., from R1.44bn y/y. Forex losses had a significant negative effect on investment returns, offsetting the investment portfolio performance at home. The company suffered R372m in forex losses, from a R467m gain in the year-earlier period. A few large, corporate property claims and drought-related claims affected the underwriting results. SANTAM's crop insurance business achieved a net underwriting profit of R69m, down from R131m y/y, as a result of drought-related claims. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN still pays dividend despite booking losses - Robert Laing

MTN shareholders will still receive a final dividend despite the company booking numerous losses, including its full R10.5bn Nigerian regulatory fine that it has to repay over three years. Numerous deductions saw MTN plunge into a R3.1m loss for the FY to end-Dec., from the prior year's R23.6bn profit. That this loss was mainly due to accounting is indicated by MTN declaring a 450cps final dividend, taking the total payout for the year to 700cps. Costs incurred in Nigeria included R1.3bn "professional fees" to reduce its fine and R530m for a marketing campaign dubbed "Project Winback" to regain subscribers it was forced to cut off for failing to register. MTN also had to pay R1bn to subscribers of empowerment scheme ZAKHELE who wanted to exit when the lock-in period expired. Its forex losses widened to R6bn from R1.4bn y/y. Revenue was nearly flat at R147.92bn from the prior year's R147.06bn. Nigeria accounted for 32% and SA for 28% of t he company's total revenue. On Mar. 13, a new management team un

Molefe finds new home as MP, and it's not finance - Liesl Peyper

ANC MP BRIAN MOLEFE will not serve as a member of the standing committee on finance as was initially speculated. The disgraced former ESKOM CEO told BusinessLive yesterday that he has been assigned as a member of the ANC to two portfolio committees of the National Assembly - that of international relations and economic development. His appointment to the two committees will only be official once it has been tabled in Parliament's Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports which are distributed daily. DA MP MICHAEL CARDO, who represents the opposition party in the economic development portfolio committee, said that MOLEFE's deployment to this committee, if true, is a cause for concern. He said the interesting question would then be whether President JACOB ZUMA intends to axe EBRAHIM PATEL and install MOLEFE as minister of economic development instead. DA MP DAVID MAYNIER said: "No matter what committee he serves on, BRIAN MOLEFE is completely comprimised by the State of Capture report, which found inte

Aspen signs off on GSK drug transaction - Fin24

ASPEN PHARMACARE yesterday said it signed off on an agreement with GLAXOSMITHKLINE to acquire a portfolio of anaesthetics. The company will pay an initial amount of £180m, paying an added £100m if certain goals are met in the three years following completion. The deal was completed on Feb. 28, 2017 on a global scale and on a national scale in Durban on Mar. 1. The deal adds to the anaesthetics ASPEN bought in June from ASTRAZENECA of the UK for as much as $770m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Interest rate cuts on the cards - economists - Lameez Omarjee

A stronger rand, lower inflation and an improved economic growth outlook signal a rate cut by H2 2017, according to JOHANN ELS, senior economist at OLD MUTUAL INVESTMENT. ELS said the recovery and fiscal consolidation would improve SA's chances of avoiding a credit downgrade by S&P to below 50%. "In the past Treasury would not follow through with the October budget' this year they did and it's a positive. There is also a slightly better outlook that PRAVIN GORDHAN will be with us for a longer time and there has been an improvement in state-owned enterprises in terms of governance", ELS said. He added that local politics had the potential to wreak havoc, but that there is a better chance SA won't be downgraded. Lower inflation is expected by H2 2017, which would prompt rate cuts, ELS said. However, consumers still face a tough H1 of the year, given tax increases. ELS said bread and cereal prices are due for a correction. A significant drop in food prices is also expected. "We are confident in the infl

Efficient concludes two acquisitions - Fin24

EFFICIENT GROUP yesterday announced it has concluded two transactions. In terms of the transactions EFFICIENT FINANCIAL SERVICES will acquire the business of VITAL CONSULT NATIONAL HOLDINGS as a going concern and the EFFICIENT GROUP will acquire the entire issued share capital of VITAL CONSULT WEALTH MANAGEMENT. The effective date of both transactions is Mar. 1. VITAL CONSULT is a category I licensed financial services provider based in Cape Town, with total assets under management of around R1.7bn. EFFICIENT regards the VITAL acquisition as strategically important to the group as it will increase EFFICIENT FINANCIAL SERVICES' distribution footprint to around 300 registered financial advisers and its assets under advice to around R16.6bn. Simultaneously with the VITAL CONSULT acquisition, EFFICIENT GROUP will acquire the entire issued share capital of VITAL WEALTH, a category II licensed financial services provider. VITAL WEALTH will in future form part of the group's investment cluster. This news brie

PRASA appoints new acting CEO - Lameez Omarjee

PRASA has confirmed that corporate secretary LINDIKAYA ZIDE has been appointed interim CEO while the SOE looks to appoint a permanent group CEO. "PRASA has already issued an advertisement for a permanent group CEO. In the interim we have appointed an acting CEO", PRASA board spokesperson NANA ZENANI said. This follows the dismissal of COLLINS LETSOALO by the board after he allegedly awarded himself a 350% salary hike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA Taxi signs R100m finance deal with Sefa - ANA

SA TAXI yesterday signed a R100m financing agreement with the Small Enterprise Funding Agency in a bid to support small business entrepreneurs running minibus taxi operations. SA TAXI said this initiative was expected to result in development and funding of 250 black enterprises and the creation of around 450 jobs. MARK HERSKOVITS, SA TAXI capital markets director, said the agreement with SEFA marked the first time a South African SOE partnered with them directly. "It is an indication of the value we offer to small business owners in the minibus taxi industry and our close alignment with government's approach to improving land transport in this country to the benefit of all stakeholders", HERSKOVITS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport says no return to business as usual at Grasberg - Retuers

FREEPORT-MCMORAN said there will be "no returning to business as usual" at the Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, where operations have been disrupted due to an export stoppage imposed since mid-Jan. Under a revised plan for 2017, Grasberg's daily copper ore output will be scaled back to 95 000t from a previous estimate of 140 000t, a company document dated Feb. 28 showed this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New vehicle sales hold steady in Feb., BMW abandons detailed reporting - Irma Venter

New vehicle sales held steady in Feb. at 48 113 units, compared with the 48 144 units sold y/y. However, the new passenger car market declined by 4.4% to 31 400 units. NAAMSA yesterday said the car rental industry had made a strong contribution to this segment of the market, accounting for 19.1% of new-car sales in Feb. The association also noted that the rental industry's share was understated since it excluded BMW SA and MERCEDES-BENZ SA care rental sales. BMW SA said it would, from Feb. onwards, report one aggregate sales number in respect of passenger car sales in the local market, similar to MBSA. NAAMSA said BMW SA would review its decision once "all reporting companies report new vehicle sales numbers by market segment, vehicle type and channel - dealer sales, government sales, car rental sales and single units". Countering the drop in new passenger car sales, February sales of new bakkies, minibuses and vans, at 14 416 units, gained 9.7%, while sales of medium trucks, at 705 units, rose by 8.5%.

Investec inks R100m with rooftop solar project developer - Megan van Wyngaardt

INVESTEC BANK has, through its power and infrastructure finance division, signed a R100m term facility to fund METTLE SOLAR INVESTMENTS' current and future portfolio of commercial rooftop solar installations in sub-Saharan Africa. METTLE SOLAR is a JV between TRADEHOLD GROUP, through one of its subsidiaries METTLE INVESTMENTS, and the TRIGEN GROUP. The JV develops, finances, builds, operates and maintains rooftop solar photovoltaic systems ranging in size from 5kW to 100kW. METTLE SOLAR CEO FRANCOIS VAN THEMAAT noted that the company had, to date, installed more than 11.2MW of rooftop solar projects, with a further 9.8MW of installations planned over the next year. The first advance under the facility will be used to refinance an operating portfolio of 10 projects, with a combined capacity of around 5MW. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore in pole position to benefit from growing cobalt demand - Martin Creamer

Heightened ownership of the Mutanda and Katanga mines in the DRC puts cobalt in a strong potential earnings position for GLENCORE, the world's dominant supplier of the metal. In an equity research document on GLENCORe, BARCLAYS mining analysts IAN ROSSOUW, AMOS FLETCHER and JAMES HUTCHISON point out that cobalt prices has already risen by 50% in the year to date to $22/lb and suggest much scope for it to rise further owing to its increasing use in lithium ion batteries for EVs, laptops, personal computers, smartphones, polyester and tyres. GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG singled out cobalt as having strong potential during a media conference last week, following the presentation of an excellent set of results by the company. He made the point that while demand for cobalt is growing, no new copper mines are coming on board that have the cobalt byproducts. It is a market of 100t, with 50 000t produced in the DRC. The analysts note that GLENCORE currently produces 32 000t of cobalt annually, up from 28 000t in

Growthpoint reports distribution growth for H1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES yesterday reported distribution growth of 6.1% for the HY to end-Dec., delivering performance comfortably in line with market guidance. The company achieved an increase in total distributable income of 10% y/y and improved portfolio vacancies from 5.7% to 5.4%, while boosting the value of its property assets to over R120bn. CEO NORBERT SASSE noted that, although GROWTHPOINT already had a diversified portfolio, the company would continue to focus on diversifying its funding sources. It recorded a 48.8% increase in its unsecured debt during the period, while also seeing a 59.5% or R2.2bn increase in bonds issued, with more banks holding GROWTHPOINT bonds as high-quality liquid assets. GROWTHPOINT AUSTRALIA contributed 15.9% to the group's total distributable income and forecasts growing its distributions per share by 4.9% for this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Difficult trading conditions dull Clover's H1 results - Natasha Odendaal

As CLOVER works its way through muted trading and economic conditions, the company is progressing a number of strategies to set it back on a growth path. CEO JOHANN VORSTER yesterday said the growing economic pressures facing consumers were "becoming more evident" within an unstable local and global macroeconomic environment. "We had to contend with a number of complex challenges during the period. The prolonged drought and rand volatility resulted in above-inflation input costs, which could not be recovered through the prices increases implemented as consumer sentiment was subdued and competitive pricing aggressive." CLOVER reported a 13.5% drop in headline earnings to R190m in the HY to end-Dec., while HEPS decreased by 14.7% to 99.8cps and EPS dropped by 10.8% to 103.6cps. Operating profit contracted by 5.2% to R322.7m and the profit for the period was down 9.6% to R197.9m. VORSTER noted that the company's gross margin was slightly higher at 30%, "but the inflationary cost pressures and internal rest

Zim seeks $100m for emergency road repairs - Reuters

Zimbabwe requires $100m for emergency road repairs following above normal rains that have severely damaged the urban road network and highways. Transport Minister JORAM GUMBO said that in the southern parts of the country, some sections of highways and bridges were washed away following a cyclone that developed from the coast of Mozambique last month. GUMBO said the government would raise $100m to repair the roads. The national road agency would chip in with half of the money, which it would borrow from local banks. "The state of our roads has further deteriorated to the extent that some sections of the national road network have become impassable", GUMBO added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Absa PMI rises to 52.5 in Feb. - Megan van Wyngaardt

The seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI rose by a further 1.6 points to 52.5 in Feb., following a 4.2 point rise in Jan. "This corresponds with the improvements observed in a number of South Africa's key trading partner countries of late, most notably China and Europe", BNP PARIBAS economist JEFFREY SCHULTZ said. The second consecutive improvement in the PMI and the broad-based nature of the uptick across the key subcomponents is a positive sign that the manufacturing sector has started the year on a solid footing. The new sales orders index stayed above the neutral 50-point market for the fourth consecutive month, and at 55.7, the index is now at the best level since Apr. 2016. The sustained recovery in demand helped to lift the business activity index to 53.2 in Feb., up from 52.7 in Jan. The purchasing price index moved lower to 68 in Feb., from 72.4 in Jan., while the index measuring expected business conditions declined to 67.8 from 70.3 m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE results show strong investment appetite remains - Megan van Wyngaardt

Investor appetite in SA remains robust, with the JSE posting a 10% rise in operating revenue to R2.3bn for FY2016. The bourse operator also tallied 18 new listings during 2016, five of which were REITs. Although this was lower than the 23 new listings in 2015, JSE CEO NICKY NEWTON-KING said this included global commercial giants such as AB INBEV and HAMMERSON. During 2016, the JSE also saw 858 new bonds issued or listed, with a total nominal value of R2.7tn. In its equity market, the JSE saw a revenue increase of 11% to R555m, while trades were up 15%. NEWTON-KING said the company was looking at introducing an incentive model to create greater trading activity under its large-volume clients. The bonds and financial derivatives division, accounting for 13% of total revenue, achieved a 7% rise in revenue to R275m and although the contracts traded declined by 5%, the value traded increased by 4% to R6.9tn. NEWTON-KING noted that the JSE would further focus on upgrading the trading platform through its int

Net1 to buy stake in Cell C - Reuters

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES will pay R2bn for a 15% stake in CELL C, the company said yesterday. CELL C is SA's third-largest mobile network provider. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAT may close SA cigarette plant - Thembisile Dzonzi

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO said it may close SA's only cigarette plant if plans to ban branded tobacco packaging are implemented. BAT operates its eighth-largest factory globally in Heidelberg, Gauteng. The proposed new rules would threaten the financial viability of the operation, JOE HESHU, BAT's head of external affairs in Southern Africa, said. HESHU said plain packaging threatens the closure of the factory and "poses a threat to the viability of the legal tobacco industry in South Africa". SA has drafted a bill mandating plain cigarette packaging, which is expected to be made available for public comment soon, said ELIZE JOUBERT, CEO of the Cancer Association of SA. "You don't want to build jobs based on people who are sick", JOE MAILA, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said. BAT has cut 750 jobs in SA in two years as it grapples with an increase in illegal cigarettes, it said. The Heidelberg plant employs 1 100 people and produces more than 27bn cigarettes a year for sale locally and for

AngloGold sees 4moz in six years - Danielle Bochove

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI expects annual output to rise to 3.8m-4m ounces in the next six years as the company brings on projects near existing mines, negating the need for acquisitions. ANGLOGOLD has enough gold in nine areas near its current mines that can boost production in the short term, CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN said this week. The company expects to produce 3.6m-3.75m oz this year. VENKAT said ANGLOGOLD would "seriously look at" any takeover offer for the business, declining to comment on whether he had been approached. "We'd look at what gives the best value for our shareholders". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore to retain 50% stake of Mototolo with Amplats - David McKay

GLENCORE has all but exited the platinum industry, but it appears it will keep a toe in t he sector via its 50% stake in the Mototolo JV, which it manages and shares with ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM. GLENCORE holds the stake via the GLENCORE KAGISO PLATINUM PARTNERSHIP, its BEE partner. GLENCORE spokesperson CHARLES WATENPHUL said "the status quo remains" at Mototolo without elaborating. GLENCORE inherited the asset from XSTRATA which in 2005 formed a pool and share agreement with AMPLATS. In terms of the agreement, the two partners would contribute equal amounts to the R1.35bn project, the aim of which was to produce 132 000oz of platinum and 82 000oz of palladium in concentrate annually. AMPLATS also agreed to purchase half of the concentrate produced from Mototolo for refining. The JV generated R286m in net free cash flow in the 2016 FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz to seek partial debt restructuring - PM - TJ Strydom

Mozambique will seek to negotiate a restructuring of part of its debt, PM CARLOS AGOSTINHO DO ROSARIO said yesterday. The nation is struggling to repay loans of more than $2bn that were not approved by parliament or disclosed publicly. "We will negotiate with the creditors to restructure these debts", the PM said, adding that the nation wants to honour its debts "in a balanced way". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's c.bank assumes control of SME Bank - TJ Strydom

Namibia's central bank has assumed control of SME BANK LIMITED, a lender focused on small businesses in that country, it said yesterday, citing investments that can pose a risk to the lender's stability. Certain investments made by SME BANK did not conform to sound investment principles, the central bank said, adding that SME's CEO and other senior managers were removed on Wednesday. The central bank said it will further investigate the affairs of SME BANK but lending and other banking activities will continue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's Sinoma to build $1bn cement plant in Tanzania - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

China's state-run SINOMA INTERNATIONAL ENGINEERING will start work in May to build a $1bn cement factory in Tanzania, PM KASSIM MAJALIWA's office said this week. The factory will be built in the coastal town of Tanga and primarily target export markets in the DRC, Uganda and Sudan. "About 70% of the cement output will be exported, with the remaining 30% to be sold in the domestic market", MAJALIWA's office said. SINOMA will also build a wharf (at the Tanga port) to facilitate the export of cement from the plant. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Zambia unit appoints new MD - Chris Mfula

BARCLAYS BANK Zambia has appointed MIZINGA MELU as its new MD from Apr. 1, it said yesterday. MELU, who was BARCLAYS Regional Management CEO, takes over from SAVIOUR CHIBIYA who will now oversee three banks in the BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP in the Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GM plans to sell stake in East African unit to Isuzu - Joseph White

GENERAL MOTORS this week said it plans to sell its majority ownership stake in GENERAL MOTORS EAST AFRICA to Japanese partner ISUZU MOTORS, as the US group continues to streamline its operations. ISUZU will acquire GM's 57.7% stake in the unit in Kenya, which produces trucks under the ISUZU brand and sells imported CHEVROLET-brand vehicles. More than 90% of the vehicles sold are ISUZU brand models. The Kenyan vehicle market is tiny, with total sales of about 30 000 vehicles a year. Divesting the stake in a "natural next step for this business", and is consistent with the company's broader goal of refocusing capital on more profitable markets, a GM spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 02/03/2017

At 07h34 on 02 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.02 ZAR/EUR 13.72 ZAR/GBP 15.99 Gold 1246.80 Platinum 1016.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.12 All Share 51682.19

Norway's oil fund up 6.9% in 2016 - Richard Milne

Norway's oil fund overcame sluggish markets at the start of 2016 to deliver a return of 6.9% for the year. The $905bn sovereign wealth fund was boosted by strong stock markets in H2 2016, with equity investments returning 8.7%. Fixed income returned 4.3% in 2016. NORGES BANK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CEO YNGVE SLYNGSTAD said: "The return in 2016 was characterised by falling international interest rates in the first half of the year and strong equity markets in the second half. The year began with a downturn in the markets, and uncertainty regarding developments in China". The fund had 62.5% of assets invested in equities at end-2016 but is expected this spring to be given permission to increase that to 70%. Fixed income assets accounted for 34.3% and real estate 3.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's economy expands 7% in Q4 2016 - Amy Kazmin

India today said its economy expanded by 7% in the quarter to end-Dec., y/y - down just slightly from an estimated 7.4% growth in Q3 - despite the shock to the economy from PM NARENDRA MODI's November ban on using most of the country's cash. The strong performance surprised many economists, who were expecting a sharper dip in growth as a result of the demonetisation drive. "The number completely negates the negative speculations you have made about the impact of demonetisation", senior finance ministry official SHAKTIKANTA DAS said. However, JPMORGAN analyst SAJJID CHINOY said India's economic performance was buoyed by strong growth in agriculture, which expanded 6% compared to 3.8% in the prior quarter, and a 12% rise in government spending. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Valeant sales hit by currency woes - Gonzalo Vina

Canada's VALEANT said sales fell 7% in 2016 following a sharp drop in existing product sales and a hit from unfavourable currency moves. Total revenues were $9.67bn compared to $10.45bn in 2015 and were broadly in line with analysts' expectations of $9.6bn. Adjusted EBITDA came in at $4.3bn, down 20% y/y. VALEANT said it had stabilised its business but warned that 2017 would continue to be a challenging year. Chair and CEO JOSEPH PAPA said: "Over the past few months, our teams worked to stabilise and strengthen our core businesses, resolve legacy issues, improve operational processes, launch new products, and improve the balance sheet and capital structure." The group said total revenue would be in the $8.9bn-$9.1bn range this year. It had previously expected revenues to be in a range of $9.55bn-$9.65bn, which was already a downgrade on previous estimates. Shares were down 1.86% in pre-market trading at $16.40 yesterday. Many investors fear the company will battle to service its more than $30bn of net

China manufacturing PMI improves as services, construction soften - Hudson Lockett

China's manufacturing sector saw activity climb higher in Feb., counter to expectations, but both the construction and services sectors saw softer growth, according to official figures. The official PMI for the manufacturing sector came in at 51.6 in Feb., according to the National Bureau of Statistics. A median forecast from analysts had predicted slight deceleration to 51.2. The sub-index for output rose to 53.7 while that for new orders inched upward to 53 as new export orders climbed half a point to 50.8. Employment levels continued to deteriorate, but only marginally, with a reading of 49.7. Input prices grew, but at a 0.3-point slower pace from a month earlier at 64.2, while output price growth accelerated more substantially to 56.3, up 1.6 points from Jan. Meanwhile, the sub-index for services industries came in at 53.2, down from the prior month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Caixin manufacturing PMI surprises with strong growth - Hudson Lockett

Growth in China's manufacturing sector picked up in Feb. The CAIXIN-MARKIT manufacturing PMI jumped to 51.7 in Feb., rebounding from a fall to 51 in Jan. and coming in ahead of analysts' forecasts for a 50.8 reading. Production at the companies surveyed ticked upward but remained lower than levels seen in the final months of 2016. The sub-index tracking new orders also accelerated slightly as companies surveyed pointed to new product launches and stronger foreign demand. Output price growth, while still high, eased to a five-month low. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shares slip amid chip unit sale rumours - Peter Wells

Shares in TOSHIBA have taken a sharp fall following reports the company might receive a lower price for its chip business than previously thought. A successful sale would help TOSHIBA shore up its balance sheet, which has taken a hit in the wake of an accounting scandal and the recent $6.3bn writedown on its US nuclear business. Shares fell as much as 2% after Bloomberg reported the company is this week sending letters seeking bids for a majority stake in or all of its memory chip business valuing it at Y1.5tbn. This would be less than the Y2tn sum analysts had estimated the business cold be worth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India manufacturing PMI edges up in Feb. - Alice Woodhouse

Indian manufacturing activity continued to recover in Feb. helped by a rebound in export demand. The NIKKEI-MARKIT PMI rose for a second consecutive month in Feb. to 50.7, up from 50.4 in Jan. The survey found proof of intensifying inflationary pressures as input costs rose at the fastest pace since Aug. 2014, with goods producers reporting higher costs for metals, energy, chemicals and plastics. Output charge inflation also rose to a 40-month high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 01/03/2017

At 11h48 on 01 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.08 ZAR/EUR 13.79 ZAR/GBP 16.19 Gold 1244.63 Platinum 1026.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.73 All Share 51470.37

DTPS clears up ICT Policy confusion - Natasha Odendaal

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services yesterday assured that comprehensive public engagement had been undertaken in the development of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology White Paper. It added that consultation would continue throughout the paper's implementation. Earlier this week, the Free Market Foundation had raised concerns of varying degrees over the implementation and consultation process of the framework and the deployment of the proposed wholesale open-access network, stating that the DTPS was incorrect in asserting that the new policy had the support of industry. The Department yesterday dismissed the FMF's claims, noting that five engagements had been undertaken with role-players in the ICT sector on the implementation since the Cabinet-approved policy was published in Sep. 2016, with industry support secured for the WOAN at the most recent Feb. 17 meeting. Consultations on the implementation of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, whi

WBHO back in the black - Irma Venter

Amid a series of lossmaking results reported within the local construction industry over the past two weeks, WILSON BAYLY HOLMES-OVCON yesterday delivered a bit of positive news to battered investors. The company reported steady revenue for the HY to end-Dec. of R15.4bn, compared with R15.3bn y/y. Revenue growth from the building division offset lower revenue from the civil engineering, roads and earthworks divisions. Revenue from the civil engineering division fell due to strained order intake and persistently weak mining activity, as well as delays to various contract start dates. The growth in revenue from the local building division, coupled with a heavier weighting of local work within the roads and earthworks division, resulted in a 16% rise in revenue derived from SA. Operating profit before non-trading items fell by 4.7% to R471m, from the R495m recorded at end-Dec. 2015. Operating profit in the building and civil engineering business rose from R186m at end-Dec. 2015 to R217m for the period unde

NERSA increases petroleum pipeline tariff by 0.3% - Megan van Wyngaardt

NERSA has increased petroleum pipeline tariffs by 0.3%, allowing TRANSNET PIPELINES to realise a 1.43% y/y increase in allowable revenue for 2017/18. In Nov., NERSA received the TRANSNET PIPELINES SYSTEM tariff application for the 2017/18 tariff period, as a condition of TRANSNET PIPELINES' licence to operate its petroleum pipelines system. The tariffs are set for a period of one year, from Apr. 5 2017 to Mar. 31 2018. TPS applied for a decrease in AR from the R4.13bn approved by NERSA for the 2016/17 period to R3.84bn in 2017/18. This translated into a 6.83% decrease in AR, which would have resulted in a 7.87% decrease in tariffs. The reduction in AR was due to the Coastal Terminal and Inland Terminal assets not being operationalised by TRANSNET as envisaged and resulted in a clawback of R687.96m. NERSA decided to smooth the tariff increase to ensure a stable and predictable price path by using the clawback mechanism, owing to the admission of the new multiproduct pipeline assets. NERSA will spread th

Nedbank's Zim unit sees slight profit decline - Tawanda Karmobo

NEDBANK's Zimbabwe unit MBCA BANK reached $5.8m in after-tax profit for the FY to end-Dec., down 3% y/y. MBCA continued to enjoy strong liquidity support and credit facilities from its parent company. Last year, the bank had a $48m core capital base at a time when most businesses in Zimbabwe were struggling to secure offshore funding facilities. Total deposits grew by 23% to $236.7m, MBCA MD CHARITY JINYA noted. The bank also recorded a marginal rise in net interest income during the year to end-Dec. and a 17% growth in non-interest revenue. Employees were awarded shares during the year, resulting in them owing 7.5% of the bank's shares via the Employee Share Scheme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cashbuild to add more stores - Sandile Mchunu

CASHBUILD is on the lookout for acquisitions. In its results for the HY to end-Dec., the company said 44 P&L Hardware outlets, together with its nine new CASHBUILD stores, helped the company to post a 15% rise in revenue to R5.2bn for the period. SHANE THORESSON, operations director at CASHBUILD, said P&L HARDWARE was responsible for 11% of the revenue and 4% was the contribution from CASHBUILD's new stores. "We would be looking for a similar performance from the new stores and acquisitions in the future", THORESSON said. CASHBUILD said its existing 229 stores, prior to Jul. 1 2015, remained at similar revenue levels. It said it wanted to consolidate in its stores, but would look at possible acquisitions to add to the group's profitability. "We're looking for two stores as possible acquisitions in Port Elizabeth. But for us the focus is to et our established businesses performing at their best, with the right prices in the market and cut down on costs", THORESSON said. CASHBUILD's operating costs rose

Ramaphosa likely to win ANC leadership battle - analyst - Gareth van Zyl

Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA is likely to win the ANC's leadership battle in Dec., according to global business risk consultancy CONTROL RISKS. The ruling party plans to have its leadership conference at year-end and the race has heated up with RAMAPHOSA and former AU chair NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA seen as front-runners. Debate in SA has been ragina bout who could come out on top, but CONTROL RISKS is predicting a RAMAPHOSA victory. He is viewed as being part of the reformist movement in the ANC while DLAMINI-ZUMA is seen as receiving backing from traditionalists and the premier league, CONTROL RISKS analyst SEAMUS DUGGAN said. "While CONTROL RISKS expects a likely RAMAPHOSA victory, ZUMA and other party officials in favour of DLAMINI-ZUMA will look increasingly to employ rhetoric critical of 'white monopoly capital' in a bid to mobilise a broad support base', CONTROL RISKS said. DUGGAN went on to say that RAMAPHOSA has support in the Northern Cape, Western Cape and increasingly the Eastern Cape. He fu

Steinhoff to continue on growth trend - Lameez Omarjee

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's revenue rose 45% in the quarter to end-Dec. Revenue increased to €5.3bn, following the group's acquisition of the US business MATTRESS FIRM and UK-based POUNDLAND, which together contributed €1.3bn in revenue. Excluding these acquisitions, group revenue rose by 11%. CEO MARKUS JOOSTE said revenue growth achieved in the European General Merchandise segment "exceeded our expectations and management must be commended with strong double digit like-for-like sales growth." Locally, the TEKKIE TOWN acquisition came in effect on Feb. 1. Revenue in southern Africa operations rose 30%. Like-for-like revenue growth came to 6% despite difficult market conditions. JD GROUP and STEINBUILD will consider consolidation of retail brands to sustain profitability, STEINHOFF said. The general merchandise division increased revenue by 66% to €1.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma slammed for wasting time as Parliament adopts FIC Bill - Liesl Peyper

The Financial Intelligence Centre Bill was adopted by Parliament yesterday amid fierce criticism from opposition parties against President JACOB ZUMA's decision to refer the bill back to Parliament in the first place. Opposition MPs laid into ZUMA for wasting Parliament's time by referring the bill back to the National Assembly in Nov. due to "constitutional reservations" and implied it was done with ulterior motives. The bill will again be sent to ZUMA for ratification after another round of public hearings and deliberations which resulted in minor amendments to the original bill that had been passed in May 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Zim prepared for split from parent - Malcom Sharara

BARCLAYS BANK ZIMBABWE has already prepared for life without parent BARCLAYS PLC when the divestiture eventually happens. BARCLAYS PLC recently said it has reached an agreement with BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP about details of their divorce, a key step before the British lender can sell more shares of the JSE-listed subsidiary. BARCLAYS ZIMBABWE is not part of BAG but falls under BARCLAYS PLC's non-core businesses. MD GEORGE GUVAMATANGA this week said the bank started preparing for the divestiture in Mar. 2016. "We believe we have created the platforms to have a sustainable and scalable business, which at the end of the day is all about our customers and our people", GUVAMATANGA said. "We are well positioned to continue to provide sustainable solutions to our customers, clients and other stakeholders into the future", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual Wealth to acquire Caerus - Fin24

OLD MUTUAL WEALTH has reached a conditional agreement to acquire financial adviser network CAERUS CAPITAL GROUP. The proposed acquisition is subject to various conditions, including shareholder agreement and regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be completed in Q2 2017. The CAERUS board has unanimously opted to accept the offer with regard to its own holdings, and has recommended the deal to other investors. The acquisition will complement OLD MUTUAL WEALTH's existing controlled distribution footprint in the UK. More than 300 advisers are authorised through CAERUS and are responsible for more than £4bn of assets under advice. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SASSA CEO defends SAPO contract talks - Amogelang Mbatha

SASSA CEO THOmaZANI MAGWAZA defended his decision to initiate talks with the SA POST OFFICE as a contingency plan in case a contract to distribute grants with CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES couldn't be extended by the deadline of Mar. 31. "In terms of the law, I am allowed to negotiate with other government agencies. I have not done anything wrong", MAGWAZA said yesterday. While the Constitutional Court ruled four years ago that the NET1 UEPS contract was invalid because of the way it was awarded, the company has continued paying the grants after SASSA failed to appoint a replacement. MAGWAZA said he was on sick leave, refuting a report by The Star that cited the Department of Social Development spokesperson LUMKA OLIPHANT as saying he had been suspended pending a probe into allegations he sought to get the POST OFFICE to distribute grants when the NET1 contract expires. "I am aware of no investigation", MAGWAZA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

One-off items impact AECI's top-line performance in FY2016 - Anine Kilian

AECI yesterday said its core operating segments, explosives and speciality chemicals have delivered "commendable" performances in 2016, despite difficult trading conditions. Group revenue rose by 1% y/y to R18.6bn for the FY to end-Dec., with 35% of revenue generated outside SA. Headline earnings fell by 13% to R864m, whiel HEPS were down 9% to 818cps. Profit from operations declined by 22% to R1.33bn. Several one-off anomalies affected top-line performance y/y. AECI's results for 2015 included the sale of the company's bulk property assets in Somerset West, which added R394m in profit. The company also completed the derisking of its defined-benefit obligations for past and current employees this year and the related settlement costs were charged to the income statement. This negatively impacted HEPS for 2015 and 2016 by 116cps and 102cps, respectively. AECI increased its cash generation by 52% to R1.92bn owing to the effective management of costs and working capital, particularly in the explosives bu

Basil Read expects to post FY loss - Megan van Wyngaardt

BASIL READ expects to report an LPS of 84c-103c for the FY to end-Dec., as well as a loss per share from continuing operations of between 39cps and 48cps. This compared with EPS of 137.27cps y/y. Operating profit from continuing operations was negatively impacted by the R100m in losses incurred on the Olifants River Water Resource Development project, where the full loss is the subject of a claims process. Profit before tax was further impacted by a present value charge of R41m for the expense pertaining to the settlement agreement with government; a nonrecurring loss of R32m on the discontinued operations of the pipeline business; and a nonrecurring loss of R34m on the disposal of SprayPave. BASIL READ expects to report an HLPS of 80cps-98cps for the FY under review, compared with HEPS of 143.87cps y/y. Results will be published on Mar. 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Boeing establishes offices in SA, Kenya - Megan van Wyngaardt

BOEING has opened two new offices in Africa, one in Johannesburg and one on Nairobi, Kenya. The offices will be managed by BOEING INTERNATIONAL sub-Saharan Africa MD and BOEING Commercial Airplanes Africa international sales director MIGUEL SANTOS, in Johannesburg, and market development and government affairs director CHAMSOU ANDJORIN in Nairobi. SANTOS said the aerospace industry needed to start paying closer attention to Africa as the continent was "clearly on the move" economically and all the trends were pointing in the right direction for the expansion of the sector. "Our job is to be ahead in understanding these emerging trends and opportunities", he noted. Air traffic to and from Africa is expected to grow by around 6.1% a year over the next 20 years, resulting in the need for 1 150 new airplanes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Attacq holds strong amid external risks - Megan van Wyngaardt

While the HY to end-Dec. was marred by a tougher global economy and international market volatility, ATTACQ still managed to grow its local portfolio by 9.6%, with a total asset value of R27.1bn. CEO MORNE WILKEN yesterday highlighted that income on the company's local portfolio rose by 25.9% to R668.5m, which contributed to the company's overall positive growth. But he noted that the non-South African assets had experienced negative growth of 22%, owing to the strengthening of the rand. Meanwhile, the company managed to reduce its vacancies from 3.4% to 2.6% in the HY under review, with a normalised expenses-to-income ratio of 15.9%. ATTACQ further said it achieved a compound annual growth rate of 27.7% for NAV/share, adjusted for deferred tax. Its NAV/share grew by 14.4% to R21.35 in the quarter to end-Dec. WILKEN said ATTACQ's Waterfall development was a catalyst for future growth in the Gauteng region, as it served as an infill development centrally located between Pretoria and Johannesburg. Four m

Famous Brands to launch PAUL café in SA - Megan van Wyngaardt

FAMOUS BRANDs is launching the 128-year-old global bakery café brand, PAUL, to the local market this month, with the opening of its flagship PAUL restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. There are only three other PAUL stores on the continent - in Morocco, Ivory Coast and Reunion Island. FAMOUS BRANDS signed an exclusive licence agreement in 2015, after two years of negotiations with the French family-owned chain, to become its South African licensed partner for a 10-year period. CEO DARREN HELE said the opening of the 180-seater restaurant would be the culmination of 15 months of close partnership. Over 80 jobs have been created in the process, across a range of positions including bakers and chefs, pastry chefs, kitchen assistants, baristas and waiters. The Melrose Arch restaurant is a combination of bakery-patisserie-café, with a full table service restaurant and signature display counter for 'grab-and-go' orders. Skilled artisan bakers will craft breads and pastries within customer view in the be

Torre undertakes strategic review - Megan van Wyngaardt

Low customer activity across most areas of its operations has seen TORRE INDUSTRIES post disappointing results for the HY to end-Dec., with normalised EBITDA decreasing by R35m to R65m. CEO JOHAN BOTES said the interim results followed a challenging H2 FY2016, with the revenue from continuing operations down by R57m to R802m, mainly as a result of a sale in the analytical services segment relating to a contract in Namibia in the y/y period. Revenue from normalised EBITDA from continuing operations rose by R53m to R802m and by R35m to R65m, respectively, as the company benefited from operational improvements that were initiated at the end of the 2016 FY. The company's debt levels remained at similar levels to Jun. 2016 as operations managed their working capital effectively during the period. Cash generated from continuing operating activities rose by 13% to R26m. TORRE has reached agreement with AFRICAN AGRICULTURE FUND, which will acquire TORRE's 55% stake in and loan claims against KANU EQUIPMENT for $

RBPlat back in profit - Martin Creamer

The y/y sales revenue of ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUm rose by 9.8% to R3.3bn in the FY to end-Dec., reflecting the higher rand basket price. The gross profit margin rose to 7.2% compared with the y/y loss of 1.3%. RBPLAT produced 304 000oz of 4E metals in concentrate and 196 000oz of platinum in concentrate. EBITDA as a percentage of revenue rose from 9.8% in 2015 to 14.7% in 2016. Headline earnings grew by 204% to R166.7m, with HEPS of 87cps, compared with an HLPS of 83cps y/y. The average cash unit cost a tonne milled at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine rose by 10.4%, from R1 066 in 2015 to R1 177 in 2016. The cash unit cost per platinum ounce rose by 7.8% from R14 504 to R15 639 due mainly to above inflationary increases in labour, contractor and utility costs. Net cash flow generated by operations fell tom R585.3m in 2016, from R619.2m y/y. Cash and near-cash investments amounted to R835.5m, compared with R917.6m y/y. During 2016, RBPLAT funded 74% of its R1.1bn capex from cash generated by operations

De Beers seeks to bolster defences against impostor diamonds - Reuters

DE BEERS has rolled out a new machine to prove the authenticity of diamonds to ward off the threat of synthetic stones masquerading as real ones. At an event in Hong Kong, the International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research launched new equipment that can screen thousands of tiny diamonds, known as melee, and determine whether they are genuine. It says it expects over the next two years to sell around 500 of the machines at $45 000 apiece. The devices, which screen diamonds ten times faster than the previous model, are sold to jewellers across the world as DE BEERS seeks to set industry-wide standards and prevent anyone passing of a laboratory-grown stone as natural. "We are making sure we cover any future issue that may arise. Confidence is everything in the diamond sector", IIDGR president JONATHAN KENDALL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers earns $545m in latest sales cycle - Megan van Wyngaardt

DE BEERS raked in $545m in its second rough diamond sales cycle for 2017. "We continue to see good demand across our product range in the second sales cycle, which was in line with expectations at this time of year. Sentiment remains positive heading into the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show this week - an important barometer of trade confidence", CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said. But sales were lower than the $729m achieved in the first sales cycle of 2017, as well as the $617m achieved in the second sales cycle of 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP says 'bloody awful' trade pledges threaten Trump's pump - Bloomberg

BHP BILLITON CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE intensified his warnings that US trade protectionism under President DONALD TRUMP would threaten global growth and the fight against poverty. While applauding efforts by the administration to boost US growth and infrastructure spending, MACKENZIE said the consequences of restricting trade would be "pretty bloody awful". He said BHP is "very anxious about the possibility that instead of that good leadership, we could have bad leadership from the US on global free trade". MACKENZIE said global long-term growth is about 3% but needs to be 4% to get more people out of poverty. "And that won't happen under a protectionist regime and protectionist leadership in the US." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida deal hopes fade as sides give contradicting views - Bloomberg

Copper traders were left confused over the state of play at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile this week. BHP said wage negotiations had resumed, while the union said striking workers have had no contact with management for a week. "The good news is that we are back around the table and things are starting to come together in some for of a negotiation", BHP CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said on Monday. Meanwhile, the union said a meeting the previous Monday organised by Chilean labour authorities was the last time the two sides have sat down together. "It is absolutely not true", union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES said about MACKENZIE's remarks. "He is either misleading public opinion or someone is not informing him correctly. WE have not been invited to participate in anything". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue denies making bid for Wesfarmers' Curragh assets - Esmarie Swanepoel

FORTESCUE METALS has refuted claims it is bidding for WESFARMERS' Curragh coal assets in Queensland. WESFARMERS in Nov. announced it was evaluating "strategic options" for both of its coal assets in Queensland and New South Wales, with the miner reportedly placing a price tag of A$2bn on the assets. Media reports last week suggested that FORTESCUE had made a play for the 8.5mt/year metallurgical and 3.5mt/year thermal coal operations. But FORTESCUE on Monday said the reports were incorrect. "We are focused on debt repayment and capital flexibility", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom Tanzania seeks to raise 476bn shillings in IPO - Katharine Houreld

VODACOM's Tanzania subsidiary received approval yesterday to list on the Dar es Salaam bourse and aims to raise 476bn shillings in the IPO, the market regulator said. VODACOM plans to sell 560m shares at 850 shillings apiece, said CHARLES SHIRIMA, a spokesperson for the Capital markets and Securities Authority. He said the IPO was scheduled to take place on Mar. 6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Zenith Bank to seek approval to raise 100bn naira - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's ZENITH BANK yesterday said it would seek shareholder approval next month to raise 100bn naira via a combination of share or bond sale and global depository receipts. The lender also said it would seek approval to increase its share capital to 40bn naira from 20bn naira at the shareholders' meeting on Mar. 22. ZENITH BANK on Monday reported an FY2016 pretax profit of 156.75bn naira, up from 125.62bn naira y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jan. credit growth rises to 5.56% y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's private sector credit demand growth rose to 5.56% y/y in Jan. from 5.1% in Dec., the SARB said yesterday. Expansion in t he M3 measure of money supply rose to 7.91% y/y, compared with 6.07% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 01/03/2017

At 07h34 on 01 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.15 ZAR/EUR 13.88 ZAR/GBP 16.26 Gold 1243.10 Platinum 1020.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.64 All Share 51146.05

SASSA to seek new deal with CPS to pay grants - Emsie Ferreira

Talks to enter into a new contract with CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES to distribute welfare grants to more than 17m South Africans will begin today, SASSA said yesterday. SASSA project manager ZODWA MVULWANI said the approach to CPS would technically entail a new contract, not an extension of the existing contract, which could only be done with the permission of the Constitutional Court. "We are going to negotiate starting from tomorrow", MVULWANI confirmed. She noted that SASSA would not go to the Constitutional Court to seek approval for an extension of the contract the court declared invalid years ago. It would, however, still approach the court to file a "supplementary report" detailing SASSA's difficulty in taking over grant payments itself beyond Mar. 31, when the court's indulgence in letting the CPS contract run so as not to compromise the poor, ends. Social Development Department DG ZANE DANGOR said he expected the talks with CPS to conclude by Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the or

Blue Label builds earnings - ANA

BLUE LABEL TELECOMS yesterday reported a 54% rise in HEPS for the HY to end-Nov. It said a "binding umbrella restructure agreement" had been reached with CELL C, its debt providers and a third party investor to reduce the maximum net borrowings of CELL C to R6bn. The unnamed third party investor would take 15% of the share capital of CELL C for R2bn, with BLUE LABEL's subscription for 45% of CELL C's share capital remaining unchanged. BLUE LABEL yesterday reported a 25% rise in gross profit to R1.1bn on revenue growth of 3% in the HY under review. The company noted organic growth in local operations as well as the impact of a fair value gain on its investment in OXIGEN SERVICES INDIA because of an accounting change. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Curro eyes separate listing for tertiary unit - Siobhan Cassidy

CURRO HOLDINGS yesterday expressed confidence in the tertiary eduction market and revealed plans for a separate listing of that business during the course of 2017. The company posted a 69% jump in headline earnings to R169m in the FY to end-Dec. HEPS came in at 43.9cps, up 55% y/y, while revenue rose by 27% to R1.8bn. Last year saw student numbers increase by 14% to 47 589. CURRO invested R1.7bn in the business during 2016, including R763m in the construction of nine new campuses, R571m in expanding existing campuses and R100m in land banking. The company planned to invest up to R1.8bn in 2017. CURRO said it saw the tertiary sector as a potential star performer this year. "We believe that the tertiary-education component can reach more than 100 000 students over the long term". CURRO started expanding its tertiary education business, EMBURY, whose original campus could accommodate 1 000 students, in 2016. At end-2017, EMBURY operations would move to a new facility in Durban that could accommodate 2 6

Nigeria's economy contracts in 2016 for first time in 25 years - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's economy contracted 1.5% in 2016 due to lower oil revenues and a shortage of hard currency, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. "This contraction reflects a difficult year for Nigeria, which included weaker inflation-induced consumption demand, an increase in pipeline vandalism, significantly reduced foreign reserves and a concomitantly weaker currency", the statistics office said. Q4 national output shrunk by 1.3%, it said. However, non-oil sector production fell by only 0.33% during the quarter to end-Dec. Oil production fell to 1.833m bpd last year after 2.3m bpd in 2015, it added. VP YEMI OSINBAJO said the GDP data suggested Nigeria was "well on its way out of recession". Forex reserves rose to a more than 19-month high of $29.45bn as of Feb. 24, the central bank said, but still remain far off their peak of $64bn in Aug. 2008. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank slashes value of Ecobank stake - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

NEDBANK booked a $293m writedown on the value of its stake in ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL and yesterday reported its slowest growth in annual profit since 2009. ETI's operations in central and west Africa are exposed to some economies that have been pressured by the commodity price slide and unfavourable currency swings since NEDBANK bought a 20% stake for $500m in 2014. The writedown reduces ECOBANK's value on NEDBANK's books to R4bn from R7.8bn. NEDBANK said ETI remained vital to its expansion elsewhere on the African continent, where it has operations in nearly 40 countries outside its home market. NEDBANK CEO MIKE BROWN forecast another tough year for ECOBANK, which makes the bulk of its earnings in Nigeria, before improving in 2018 and beyond. NEDBANK said diluted HEPS rose 4.8% to 2 350cps in FY2016, the slowest pace since 2009. The lender said the results were affected by slack demand for loans as slowing economic growth and higher interest rates hit consumption and investment spending across Africa.

SA trade balance swings to deficit in Jan. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA posted a R10.81bn trade deficit in January, more than market expectations, following a revised R12.41bn surplus in Dec., data from SARS showed yesterday. Exports in Jan. fell by 14% on a m/m basis, while imports were up 12.5%, the revenue service said. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a trade shortfall of R8.4bn for Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MAS on big expansion trail in CEE - Roy Cokayne

MAS REAL ESTATE has reported significant progress in expanding its acquisition and development pipeline, resulting in the company reaffirming its confidence in achieving close to its target of recurring distributable EPS growth of 30cps for 2017 and the next two years. MAS yesterday said it had grown its income generating property portfolio by 67.5% in the HY to end-Dec. to R406.44m, from R242.63m y/y. In Central and Eastern Europe, the development pipeline includes accretive acquisition opportunities with value adding potential and development opportunities in partnership with developers PRIME KAPITAL. MAS CEO LUKAS NAKOS said the group had secured a further large acquisition in CEE in excess of 50m, with significant value-add potential. NAKOS said the company's income-generating and development JVs with PRIME KAPITAL in CEE had unlocked very exciting opportunities in Slovenia, Poland and Romania plus several other CEE countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE balked at Brussels demand without consulting partner D Borse - Philip Stafford

The near collapse of the €29bn merger between the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP and DEUTSCHE BORSE was precipitated by the LSE's decision to reject concessions demanded by Brussels without warning or consulting its German partner. Both exchanges took turns apportioning blame to EU authorities and obstinate rivals on Monday, making clear the deal was all but dead. Although both sides blamed outsiders for the deal's failure, sources said the breakdown was precipitated by LSE, which resisted a last-minute demand from Brussels in a letter to antitrust regulators on Thursday, and then finally rejected late on Sunday after an all-day board meeting. Executives and advisers now see little chance of the deal going through. The hardline view taken by LSE has led to accusations in Germany that the London bourse wanted out of the deal entirely and was using the demand by Brussels as an excuse. Both sides were surprised by a sudden demand two weeks ago by EU regulators to divest MTS, which the LSE admitted was only a

China eyes 12% broad money supply rise in 2017 - Kevin Yao

China plans to target broad money supply growth of around 12% in 2017, slightly lower than last year's goal, policy sources said. Under its new "prudent and neutral" policy, the People's Bank of China has adopted a modest tightening bias in a bid to cool credit expansion. The M2 growth target was endorsed by leaders at the closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in Dec., according to sources. In 2016 the money supply target was around 13%, though it ultimately grew just 11.3% due to the effects of the central bank's intervention to support the renminbi, which effectively drained renminbi liquidity from the economy. Still, the PBoC injected more cash through its open market operations, medium-term lending facility and standing lending facility, underpinning record lending of Rmb12.65tn in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap expects some IPO investors to make year-long commitments - Lauren Hirsch

SNAP INC yesterday disclosed that it expected investors buying up to a quarter of the shares in its $3.2bn IPO this week to agree not to sell them for a year. While SNAP cautioned it had no binding commitments yet from investors accepting such a lock-in period, the disclosure is a sign of confidence from the company. SNAP is targeting a valuation of $19.5bn and $22.3bn from listing on the NYSE on Thursday. It is looking to price 200m shares on Wednesday night at a range of $14-$16/share. Orders for the IPO have begun to come in at the high-end of the range, and its book is already oversubscribed, sources said. In its updated IPO registration document with the SEC, SNAP said it expected around 50m shares of its Class A common stock purchased by investors in the offering to be subject to a separate one-year lock-up agreement. The roughly 50m shares are designated for new SNAP IPO investors who do not currently have a stake in the company, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the origin

Updated market indicators for 28/02/2017

At 09h30 on 28 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.97 ZAR/EUR 13.75 ZAR/GBP 16.13 Gold 1253.98 Platinum 1031.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.56 All Share 51505.16

Samsung heir to be indicted for bribery linked to Korean corruption scandal - fastFT

SAMSUNG's de-facto leader LEE JAE-YONG will be indicted today for bribery, embezzlement and perjury in connection with South Korea's corruption scandal. The indictment of the 48-year-old vice-chair of SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS came as the group is set to announce some reform measures including the dismantlement of the Future Strategy Office, which has been deemed as the group's control tower. LEE was one of more than 10 people indicted yesterday for their involvement in the political scandal, which is poised to topple President PARK GEUN-HYE. Along with LEE, four other SAMSUNG executives including CHOI-JI-SUNG, head of the Future Strategy Office, and PARK SANG JIN, president of SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS, were indicted for similar charges. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign companies free to remit profits from China, say FX authorities - Gabriel Wildau

China's foreign exchange authorities today said foreign companies are free to remit profits out of the country using normal procedures, in the latest effort to reassure investors that new capital controls aren't overly restrictive. The Financial Times in Dec. reported that several European companies have been unable to repatriate profits from China due to forex controls. That report followed a series of other moves to clamp down on forex outflows, notably tighter approval requirements for outbound acquisitions. Since then, rumours have circulated about specific companies facing remittance difficulties. The People's Bank of China and the State Administration of FOreign Exchange posted identical statements on their official Sina Weibo accounts today, stating that normal procedures were in effect. The statements reiterated China's commitment to full renminbi convertibility under the current account and said companies can conduct payments for goods, services and dividend payments based on "authentic and vali

China opens up currency hedging for foreign bond investors - Gabriel Wildau

Foreigners buying bonds onshore in China can now hedge the currency risk of doing so in a step forward for China's efforts to attract international investment in its booming debt markets. The approval of hedging tools including forex forwards, forex swaps and currency swaps comes as policymakers are keen to broaden the mix of investors trading in China's interbank bond markets, with some Rmb64tn of debt outstanding - up 32% on 2015 levels. Last year Beijing surprised banks and investors by opening up access to the market under a sponsor-style scheme, where funds can still invest only under the auspices of an approved bank, but without requiring direct approval themselves. Foreigners accounted for Rmb870bn of the interbank market, or 1.3%, at the end of 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ian Cheshire to chair Barclays UK - Alice Ross

IAN CHESHIRE has been confirmed as the chairperson of the new BARCLAYS UK ring-fenced bank, the lender said yesterday. SIR IAN will also become a non-executive director of BARCLAYS from Apr. 3. BARCLAYS UK which is in the process of being established, will be made up of the lender's UK retail and business banking, consumer credit card and wealth management businesses. It is being set up in line with regulations that require banks to ringfence their UK retail operations to protect taxpayers. BARCLAYS chair IAN MCFARLANE said: "I am delighted to welcome SIR IAN CHESHIRE to the BARCLAYS Boards. Identifying a chairman for BARCLAYS UK is, of course, an important step on our journey to establish our UK ring-fenced bank and I welcome the opportunity to work closely with SIR IAN as we take BARCLAYS forward in its new structure". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble ekes out profit in 2016 - David Sheppard

Commodity trader NOBLE GROUP posted a small profit for 2016, avoiding a second annual loss as it tries to attract a strategic investor to cap its restructuring. The company posted adjusted net profit of $8.2m for 2016, following a loss of $1.7bn in 2015. Revenues declined 30% to $46.5bn following the sale of its agricultural business. "Although we have more work to do, we look forward to 2017 with confidence, as we complete the repositioning of the group", co-CEOs JEFF FRASE and WILLIAM RANDALL said. In order to survive NOBLE has been forced to shrink its business, exiting loss-making and non-core operations. Headcount was reduced by 30% to 1 050 over the year, the company said. NOBLE said it has increased its liquidity headroom to over $2bn. The cost cutting measures and efforts to preserve capital have taken their toll, however, with NOBLE's oil business seeing a 60% decline in operating income from supply chains. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABF sugar profits hit sweet spot; Primark feels Brexit pinch - Scheherazade Daneshkhu

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS has said it expects a "substantial" increase in sugar profits this year compared with last, but reiterated that earnings at PRIMARK would come under pressure from the weak pound. In a trading update yesterday, ABF said almost all the profit increase for 2017 would come in the first half of the FY which ends on Mar. 4. The company said the benefits of the weak pound for its food businesses would face in H2 FY2017. Meanwhile, less advantageous currency hedges on PRIMARK's purchases than in the firt six months would lead to a bigger fall in profit margins at the chain in H2. PRIMARK has been hit by the pound's fall since the UK voted to leave the EU. It has said it will not recoup the higher costs via price hikes as it wants to keep the lowest prices on the high street. ABF said H1 sales at PRIMARK would be 11% higher at constant currencies y/y, and 21% higher at actual rates, thanks also to new store openings in the UK, US and Europe. Analysts pointed to a recovery in ABF's sugar

Morgan Stanley slices outlook for German govt bond yields - Adam Samson

After German short-term bond yields struck a record low last week, MORGAN STANLEY analysts have reduced their year-end target for the country's sovereign bond yields. The bank's rates strategists now predict that the two-year Schatz yield will end 2017 at -0.7%. That represents a 60 bp cut to MORGAN's outlook at the end of 2016. The two-year yield ticked higher by 1.3 bps yesterday, to -0.952% as MARINE LE PEN's standing in French election polling eased. LE PEN has promised to pull France out of the eurozone should she become president. MORGAN's sharp reduction to its Schatz yield forecast is not due to European politics, however, but instead a result of ECB policies. "The overall narrative for 2017 remains the same as it did in our 2017 outlook: the ECB will look to scale back stimulus gradually over the year", MORGAN said. "However, the policy mix we received at the December ECB meeting was different from what we had anticipated". Looking at the longer end of the curve, MORGAN cut its 10-year foreca

Berkshire Hathaway more than doubles stake in Apple to $18bn - Adam Samson

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY more than doubled its stake in APPLE after the end of 2016 to more than $18bn, CEO WARREN BUFFETT said yesterday. BUFFETT said BERKSHIRE holds about 133m APPLE shares. That represents a sharp increase from the 61.2m that the investment group reported as of Dec. 31 2016. The Oracle of Omaha said BERKSHIRE had stopped buying APPLE stock after the company reported its quarterly earnings at end-Jan. given the increase in the group's share price. APPLE shares have climbed 12.6% since then and are up 41.3% y/y. BUFFETT released his annual letter over the weekend, in which he suggested BERKSHIRE may begin to more actively trade its large public equities portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US durable goods orders rise, but capital spending slips - Adam Samson

Orders for durable US goods climbed in Jan., but a closely-watched gauge of capital spending by American businesses slipped, according to data published yesterday. Durable goods orders rose by 1.8% last month, the commerce department said, exceeding expectations of a 1.6% rise. Excluding the volatile transportation component, orders were down by 0.2%, missing forecasts of a 0.5% increase. Meanwhile, non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft dropped by 0.4%. That represented the biggest fall since Sep. and came in well below estimates of a 0.5% rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Perrigo shares down as drugmaker posts preliminary loss - Mamta Badkar

US drugmaker PERRIGO yesterday said it would sell the royalty rights of its multiple sclerosis drug to an affiliate of ROYALTY PHARMA as it reported a preliminary loss for 2016 and said its CFO had resigned. The shares slumped 11% to $75.60 in extend trading in New York. PERRIGO said it would divest royalty rights from Tysabri in a transaction of up to $2.85bn - with $2.2bn in cash at closing and up to $650m in "milestone payments" based on future global net sales of the drug in 2018 and 2020. The deal is expected to close in 30 business days, subject to certain conditions, and ROYALTY PHARMA will have the rights to receive royalty payments from Jan. 1 2017. The news comes after activist investor STARBOARD disclosed a stake in the company in Sep. It has pressed PERRIGO to make changes to "reverse the trajectory of poor operating and financial performance" and urged it to consider divesting its prescription drug business and the royalty rights to Tysabri. PERRIGO said RON WINOWIECKI has been appointed ac

Japan industrial output posts surprise fall in Jan. - Peter Wells

Industrial output in Japan staged an unexpected reversal in Jan. and contracted for the first time in six months. The preliminary reading from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed industrial output shrank 0.8% m/m in Jan., down from growth of 0.7% in Dec. Economists had expected a gain of 0.4%. Driving the decline in production, shipments contracted for the second consecutive month, while inventories moderated to zero growth. The most recent data kept the annual pace of production steady at 3.2%, but well short of expectations for 4.3% growth. This is still a relatively healthy level given production grew in Nov. at its fastest pace since Mar. 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA board dismisses acting CEO after salary scandal - Fin24

The board of PRASA has voted unanimously to dismiss acting CEO COLLINS LETSOALO, the SABC reported yesterday evening. This comes just hours after a media briefing held by LETSOALO saying a war was brewing between him and those he claimed were trying to destabilise the parastatal. He held the press briefing to respond to a damaging Sunday Times report which alleged he had increased his salary from R1.7m to R5.9m/year in Oct. LETSOALO was appointed in Jul. 2016. PRASA communications head NANA ZENANI confirmed the board's decision to dismiss LETSOALO. The disgraced CEO yesterday rejected the Sunday Times report that he increased his salary by 350% as "unfair" and "seeking to undermine the work I have done". LETSOALO said he would not have accepted his appointment at PRASA had he been offered R1.7m, which he earned as ROAD TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CORPORATION CEO. "I have 70 000 employees and five CEOs. You want to say I must still get paid that money? If they sent me that letter in the agreement I would have

Average real disposable salaries continue to decline - index - Fin24

Average real disposable salaries continue to decline, according to the latest BANKSERVAFRICA Disposable Salary index data for Jan. 2017. Take-home pay remains under pressure due to tax bracket increments, low salary increases and medical insurance costs. However, total salary pay-outs did not decrease in real terms. There were 177 000 additional small pay checks, mostly for part-time and weekly paid temps in the system which contributed to keeping the movement of salaries static in real terms. In nominal terms, average salaries rose by 3.9% in Jan. 2017 - below the actual cost of living increase. The average nominal disposable salary, according to the BDSI, was R13 752 for Jan. 2017. However, salary declines in real terms of 2.6% represented the biggest fall over the last year. "Clearly the heady days of 2011 and 2012 are now over and the 'new normal' seems to be for very low single digit growth in disposable salaries", BANKSERVAFRICA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original artic

Sasol says US project on track for 2018 start - Paul Burkhardt

SASOL yesterday said the first units at its Lake Charles chemical project will start operating in 2018, as the company posted lower H1 profit due to currency losses and a strike. The Lake Charles project is 64% complete and still within its $11bn budget, co-CEO STEPHEN CORNELL said. SASOL last year said the cost of the project had escalated by almost 25%, prompting it to make cuts elsewhere. The chemicals complex, which includes a 1.5mt/year cracker, will convert ethane into plastics and other products. SASOL's HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. dropped by 38% to 1 512cpws. An interim dividend of 480cps was declared and the group said it is well placed to operate profitably at an oil price of $40-$50/barrel. AMCU members downed tools for about three months last year at SASOL's Secunda mining operations over disputes about wages and benefits. The mining unit's operating profit fell 35% y/y as a result, SASOL said. SASOL also recorded translation losses of around R1.3bn due to the strengthening of the rand rel

Brimstone pays out 15th consecutive dividend - Fin24

BRIMSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION recorded a 22% rise in revenue and 147% increase in operating profit for the FY to end-Dec. 2016, it announced yesterday. A dividend of 42cps was declared for the period. BRIMSTONE pointed out that it moved from a loss position of R668.1m in the previous year to a profit of R197.3m. The major contributors to the results were SEA HARVEST and LION OF AFRICA INSURANCE COMPANY. Share of profits from associates and JVs turned from a loss of R341.5m in 2015 to a profit of R98.3m in 2016. Fair value losses rose from R429.6m in 2015 to R70.8m. Intrinsic gross assets rose to R9.3bn. Intrinsic NAV rose by 21.4% to R5.13bn at end-Dec., from R4.23bn y/y. This translates to an INAV/share of R21.30 at end-Dec., up from R17.41/share y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hulamin shows jump in HEPS - Fin24

HULAMIN LIMITED yesterday reported HEPS up 222% to 119cps for the FY to end-Dec. During the period it had record sales of 232 000t, a strong cash flow of R415m and the best ever safety performance. According to CEO RICHARD JACOB this record set of results is based on a much improved and more consistent manufacturing performance, tighter capital discipline and a weaker rand against the dollar. Group sales volumes for 2016 rose 17% to 232 000t. HULAMIN Rolled Products was the major contributor to this performance, improving sales volumes by 19% to 214 000t. Manufacturing output was consistent throughout the period, while improved product yields, lower unit costs and a higher level of value added products made significant contributions to the improved profitability. Turnover rose to R10.1bn driven by higher sales volumes. Total manufacturing costs rose by 14% to R3.1bn. HULAMIN said EBIT rose by 110% to R622m. Comparative operating profit (before metal price lag) was 20% higher at R567m. Net interest c

Shareholders tell Freeport to get tough with Indonesia - Reuters

Shareholders are pressuring FREEPORT-MCMORAN to stand up to the Indonesian government over changes the country wants to make to the US miner's contract, CEO RICHARD ADKERSON said yesterday. RIO TINTO, which is a partner in FREEPORT's Grasberg copper/gold mine in Indonesia, is also supportive of the company's approach towards Jakarta, ADKERSON said. In some of his strongest language yet on the issue, ADKERSON said the new regulations sought by Indonesia were "in effect a form of expropriation of our assets and we are resisting it aggressively... Many of our shareholders fell that we have been too nice. Now we are in the position of standing up for our rights under the contract". He said the company had held talks with large investors but declined to name them. FREEPORT last week warned it could take the Indonesian government to arbitration and seek damages over a contractual dispute that has halted operations and exports at Grasberg. The dispute, which centres around the sanctity of FREEPORT's 30-year min

Anglo appoints new group general counsel - Megan van Wyngaardt

ANGLO AMERICAN has appointed RICHARD PRICE as group general counsel and as a member of its management committee with effect from May 1. PRICE will be based in London and will report to STEPHEN PEARCE, who will take up the role of FD on Apr. 24. Prior to the appointment, PRICE was a senior corporate partner at international law firm Shearman & Sterling since 2003 and currently co-leads the firm's global metals and mining practice. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore, steel resume rally amid steel curbs, demand pickup - Reuters

Iron ore and steel futures in China jumped more than 4% yesterday amid planned curbs in steel output in key areas and a pickup in seasonal demand. Rebar prices pushed to a fresh 3-year high and iron ore neared a record peak as both benefited from Beijing's efforts to tackle a steel glut and boost infrastructure spending. The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was u p4.7% Rmb3 610/t yesterday morning after rising as high as Rmb3 648 earlier. Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 4.4% at Rmb722.50/t. Iron ore has risen 30% this year. Steel producers in the Hebei-Beijing-Tianjin area have been asked to shift their peak-load production to replace pollution ahead of the start of China's National People's Congress on Friday. Steel inventory held by Chinese traders fell to 16.29mt as of Feb. 24, from 16.39mt in the prior week, due to seasonal demand recovery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Last-minute deal reached between Blue Label, Cell C - Gareth van Zyl

BLUE LABEL TELECOMS has reached a last-minute agreement that is expected to see it acquire 45% of the share capital of CELL C. In a note to shareholders yesterday, BLUE LABEL said a "binding umbrella restructure agreement "has been entered into by BLUE LABEL, CELL C, debt providers of CELL C, a third party investor and other relevant parties in which the maximum net borrowings of CELL C will be cut to around R6bn. Meanwhile, a third party investor will subscribe for 15% of CELL C's share capital at R2bn. The announcement comes one day before the deadline to finalise the deal. Amid this deal, BLUE LABEL's previously proposed acquisition of 45% of the share capital of CELL C remains unchanged. "The binding restructure agreement is subject to the conclusion of the relevant transaction agreements, which agreements are expected to be unconditional by no later than 30 June 2017", BLUE LABEL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian fine continues to weigh on MTN - Gareth van Zyl

A Nigerian regulatory fine, forex losses and losing money from digital investments are key reasons behind MTN's losses, the company said yesterday. In an updated trading statement for the FY to end-Dec., MTN said it expects to report an FY basic HLPS of 74cps-81cps, as well as a basic LPS of 137cps-151cps. In FY2015, the company reported HEPS of 746cps and EPS of 1 109cps. MTN said its FY results, expected to be announced on Mar. 2, were impacted by the Nigerian regulatory fine, which had a 455cps negative impact. MTN last year agreed to pay a 330bn naira fine to the Nigerian government for failing to disconnect just over 5m unregistered SIM cards in that country. Other factors impacting the company's FY results are set to include forex losses, the interest unwind related to the Nigerian fine, the MTN ZAKHELE FUTHI BBBEE transaction charge, professional fees related to the Nigerian fine settlement, and losses from investments in its Digital Group. This news brief represents a summary of the original a

Accentuate sees profits drop as elections freeze govt work - Irma Venter

The HY to end-Dec. was one of the most difficult periods for ACCENTUATE in its just more than 10 years on the JSE. CEO FRED PLATT yesterday said the flooring and chemicals company experienced particularly poor trading conditions due to the municipal elections held in the period under review, as a result of delays during the rum-up to the elections, as well as in the period afterwards, when no meaningful project decisions were made or implemented by government departments and institutions. PLATT said the impact of the election was particularly dramatic, with the trading lag even longer than in previous elections, especially in metros where a change in the ruling party an administration were made. This impact, coupled with negative growth in the manufacturing, mining and construction sectors resulted in revenue for the HY to end-Dec. dropping to R159m, compared with R173m y/y. Operating profit declined to R6.1m, from R10.8m y/y. FloorworX contributed 79% of group sales. Revenue of R127.7m was down 7.2% y/

Bidvest lifts H1 headline earnings, revenue - Anine Kilian

THE BIDVEST GROUP's headline earnings rose by 5.6% to R1.7bn for the HY to end-Dec., while revenue rose 4.1% to R3bn. Five of the group's divisions managed to maintain or increase margins via enhanced efficiencies and cost control. "While markets remain difficult, our seven divisions, as well as the property business, must be commended for maintaining competitiveness, market shares and good cost management", CEO LINDSAY RALPHS said. The services unit continued to perform well, with a 6.8% increase in trading profit for the period. "Excellent results were achieved by facilities management services, security services and allied services. Industrial services produced steady results, however the travel services business remains a concern", CFO PETER MEIJER said. Difficult macroeconomic factors in Namibia contributed to a disappointing overall performance, with trading profit down 80.6% across BIDVEST's businesses in that country. RALPHS said he expected BIDVEST to benefit from new infrastructural and other

Mokonyane lifts Gauteng water restrictions - ANA

Water and Sanitation Minister NOMVULA MOKONYANE yesterday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng with immediate effect. She made the announcement following the sharp rise in dam levels as a result of recent torrential rains. The Vaal Dam is 97.8% full and is expected to reach its capacity later today. "I must thank the people of Gauteng for their efforts in helping us save water by adhering to the restrictions and for using water wisely and responsibly in the last three to four months", MOKONYANE said. "I trust that the lessons learnt on responsible water use will become a norm and a way of life for us all and that we will adapt to the realities of being a water-scarce country". The minister said water restrictions in other provinces would remain in place and would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis together with the affected municipalities and if need be, they too will be advised to lift the ban. She urged South Africans to continue to use water wisely. This news brief represents a

Cold weather curbs armyworm outbreak in SA - Grain SA - Reuters

Cold weather, rains and resilient genetically-modified crops have limited the damage caused by a fall armyworm outbreak in SA, GRAIN SA head JANNIE DE VILLIERS said yesterday. Neighbouring countries who do not grow GMO crops are suffering larger losses. "The worm is a tropical worm, so the cooler weather is not conducive for it to multiply quicker and the wetness is having an effect on its ability to fly", DE VILLIERS said. Limpopo and the North West provinces were most affected by the caterpillars. "Currently as we look at the crop we can't call it a disaster, mainly because of the GMOs and our ability to protect our crops through commercial agriculture", DE VILLIERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida strike enters 3rd week - Reuters

A strike at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile appeared far from ending yesterday as the conflict neared its third week. The mine's abut 2 500 workers began a strike on Feb. 9 after contract talks with BHP failed. Last week, the sides briefly returned to the negotiating table for government-mediated talks, though the discussions ended after one meeting. The union told Reuters on Monday it had not been approached about resuming talks and denied a report quoting CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE saying the parties were back at the table. The contract talks relate to pay, bonuses and other conditions, with disagreement principally over the status of new workers and proposed changes to shifts and benefits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buffalo Coal concludes shares-for-debt agreement - Megan van Wyngaardt

BUFFALO COAL yesterday said it had completed a shares-for-debt arrangement with one of its creditors STA COAL MINING COMPANY. BUFFALO issued 4.28m common shares to STA, at a deemed issuance price of $0.05/share, in settlement of about $214 345 in contract mining fees payable to STA for work done in the quarter to end-Dec. BUFFALO holds a majority stake in two operating mines via its 100% stake in BUFFALO COAL DUNDEE, a South African company which has a 70% stake in ZINOJU. ZINOJU holds a 100% stake in the Magdalena bituminous mine and the Aviemore anthracite mine in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CRG acquires concentrator circuit - Megan van Wyngaardt

CENTRAL RAND GOLD has placed an order for a 60 000t/month concentrator circuit to upgrade the gold grade of mine waste dumps materials before further metallurgical processing. The circuit will comprise four centrifugal concentrators, two scrubbers, a high-speed agitator, a dewatering screen, hoppers, conveyor belts, sand/water pumps, a master control panel, high-density polyethylene pipelines, solenoid/butterfly valves, cables, steel structure and other ancillary equipment. It also includes a water recycling system to limit the use of clean water. The circuit is expected to be delivered and assembled in Q2 2017 and commissioned in Q3. Separately, CRG yesterday also announced that it would issue 6.94m shares to BERGEN GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY FUND after the latter chose to exercise its convertible securities in CRG at 0.7pps. Following admission of the relevant shares on the JSE and Aim, the company's enlarged issued share capital will comprise 227m ordinary shares with voting rights. The companies in Jun. 201

Anglo to appoint Nolitha Fakude to board - Natasha Odendaal

ANGLO AMERICAN has appointed NOLITHA FAKUDE as nonexecutive director, effective Apr. 24. The appointment, which is subject to shareholder approval, will follow the conclusion of ANGLO's AGM. FAKUDE had 25 years of experience across a diverse range of industry sectors, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, financial services and retail and had served as an executive director of SASOL since 2005, where she led the strategy and sustainability portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa plans Kenya gold ETF listing - Chanel de Bruyn

BARCLAYS AFRICA is preparing to list its NewGold ETF on the NAIROBI STOCK EXCHANGE after receiving regulatory approval to begin trading the securities. "We expect the listing to take place early this year", MICHAEL MGWABA, head of exchange traded products at ABSA CAPITAL, said. Kenya's Capital Markets Authority approved the listing last week. The ETF, which has a primary listing on the JSE, already has secondary listings in Botswana, Nigeria, Mauritius, Namibia and Ghana. The Kenyan regulator approved the listing of 400 000 gold bullion debentures, each equivalent to 0.01 of an ounce of gold. "Investors in the Kenyan market are keen on diversification and eager to add more products to their portfolios", GEOFFREY ODUNDO, CEO of the Nairobi bourse, said. The ETF will be structured as an open-ended fund, allowing investors to buy as many shares as they can, according to MGWABA, who anticipates "decent" uptake from investors seeking to diversify risk and a hedge against currency and inflation swings. Thi

CoM may challenge Mar. gazette of mining charter - David McKay

SA's Chamber of Mines will turn to the courts again should the Department of Mineral Resources record the current draft of the mining charter in the government gazette next month. "While our preference is to engage on key issued with Government to achieve practical workable outcomes, as with any issue, the courts remain an option to the Chamber and its members", CoM CEO ROGER BAXTER said. Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE on Feb. 7 said there was a clear determination to gazette the charter in Mar. although he did suggest there would be engagement with stakeholders. Whilst BAXTER was not clear on the court action to which it may resort, it is though the Chamber could interdict the charter. While this would not stop it being gazetted, it would be possible to set it aside. BAXTER said the local mining sector had not yet had sight of the redrafted mining charter although it is aware of some of its new provisions - most of which it believes are impossible to reach. This news brief represents a su

Uganda's GDP to grow 5.5% - budget paper - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda's economy will grow 5.5% in the year to Jun. 2018, edging up from estimates for the current fiscal year thanks to lower borrowing costs and higher oil sector investments. The country's central bank began a round of policy easing last April, since when the benchmark rate has dropped from 16% to 11.5%. "Growth will be supported by a recovery in private sector credit due to the easing of monetary policy", the finance ministry's budget framework said. Issuance of crude production licenses would boost activity in the oil sector, also aiding growth, the paper said. The government expects economic growth of 5% in the year to end-Jun. 2017, 50 bps lower than it estimated last June due to the impact of war in neighbouring South Sudan, depressed commodity prices and slower implementation of public infrastructure projects. Overall public spending in the next fiscal year is forecast to decline to 24.3tn shillings, from 26.4tn, with much funnelled into civil works and the transportation and energy sectors, the

Botswana c.bank sees economic growth above 4% in next two years - Mfuneko Toyana

Botswana's central bank expects the economy to expand by more than 4% annually in the next two years following growth below 1% in 2016, it said yesterday. The country, which has kept its benchmark lending rate at 5.5% at its last two meetings, has struggled with weaker growth in recent times as mineral sales slowed and electricity shortages hurt mining. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol sees first Moz oil production in 2-3 years - Ed Stoddard

SASOL has found oil wells in Mozambique and aims to bring them to production for the first time in the country, joint CEO STEPHEN CORNELL said yesterday. "This will be the first oil wells in Mozambique to go to full development. Probably in two, maximum three years", CORNELL said. The company earlier said four of 12 planned wells had been drilled and the result had been surprising. "We have drilled four wells, two of them gas, two of them oil, all showing positive results. In one of the areas where we expected mostly gas we found gas and oil". CORNELL said SASOL had discovered oil in Mozambique before but as "part of an appraisal of the field and that helped us know where to drill. But he said Mozambique was still "primarily a gas play". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 28/02/2017

At 05h03 on 28 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.02 ZAR/EUR 15.78 ZAR/GBP 16.19 Gold 1252.97 Platinum 1027.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.48 All Share 51497.16

Nigeria c.bank to auction $100m in currency forwards - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's central bank yesterday said it will auction $100m in forward contracts after selling greenbacks last week to boost dollar liquidity and help close the gap between the official and black market exchange rates. The bank sold $370m in 60-day contracts last Monday while the result of another $230m forward auction held last week is yet to be released. The naira traded at around 305.50 on the interbank market after the central bank intervened with $1.5m on Monday. On the black market, the currency was quoted at 460/$. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidvest can tap $1bn for acquisitions - CEO - TJ Strydom

BIDVEST has access to $1bn for acquisitions, CEO LINDSAY RALPHS said today in a conference call to reporters. "We'd be able to raise $1bn should we need it, or about R14bn to R15bn and that has been confirmed by a lot of the bankers... We have got ample headroom to accommodate expansion opportunities", RALPHS added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol flags stronger rand as key earnings risk for H2 - Terence Creamer

SASOL has warned that ongoing rand/dollar volatility could pose an earnings risk for H2 FY2017, but said hedges are in place to protect it from any downward oil price pressure. The company posted a 38% drop in HEPS to 1 512cps for the HY to end-Dec. Results were negatively impacted by a strengthening of the rand against the US dollar to R13.74 at the end of the interim period, negatively impacting earnings by around 146cps. Joint president and CEO BONGANI NQWABABA said a 10c move in the rand/dollar exchange rate and a $1/barrel change in crude oil price could swing annualised earnings by R730m-R740m. For the rest of the FY to end-Jun., SASOL had hedged 75% of its crude oil at a floor price of $47/barrel, but had paid a premium to ensure that it did not forfeit any price upside. NQWABABA indicated that the group was still working on its hedging strategy for the 2018 FY and was considering protection against both currency and oil price volatility. "We are still working on those [2018] hedges to establish a

Telkom sets sights on Cell C's debt - Bloomberg

TELKOM is considering acquiring CELL C's debt as it seeks to gain access to the latter's subscribers. CELL C creditors approached TELKOM to help reorganise debt that includes R8.7bn of bonds maturing in Jul. 2018, sources said. TELKOM is trying to gain access to the company's financials ahead of a possible offer, one person said. Creditors to CELL C include INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA, CHINA DEVELOPMENT BANK, DEVELOPMENT BANK OF SOUTHERN AFRICA and the NEDBANK GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Balwin Waterfall pre-sales reach 240 - Roy Cokayne

BALWIN PROPERTIES has already achieved pre-sales of 240 apartments in its first development in the Waterfall node. This follows the company last year acquiring development rights in Waterfall, comprising three separate land parcels, for R1.5bn that will enable it to develop around 15 500 sectional title apartments over the next 8-10 years. A host of commercial and residential developments have already been completed in Waterfall, including the R5bn Mall of Africa. The Polofields, the first of the land parcels that will be developed by BALWIN, will comprise 1 512 sectional title upmarket residential apartments once completed. BALWIN CEO STEVE BROOKES said demand had been exceptionally strong and The Polofields had achieved more than 240 pre-sales to date. Prices in the complex range from R2m for a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, to R2.12m for a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R100m expansion to create jobs in PE - Joseph Booysen

The expansion of the Port Elizabeth Cold Storage plant at a cost of R100m will add a further 20 jobs to the facility. The investment is an addition to the original warehouse investment made during the 2007/08 financial year which totalled R85m and, since then, the plant has seen its business grow in the process, benefiting a substantial number of facilities in the Nelson Mandela Bay region through job creation and employment. Dr AYANDA VILAKAZI, head of marketing at COEGA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, said the PE Cold Storage plant is one of the first export orientated investors to locate their facility in the Coega IDZ. PE Cold Storage director MARK JENSEN said: "The expansion of the new facility amounts to a further investment of R100m, which would result in the doubling of the existing facility of 7 500 pallents to around 15 000 pallets storage". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Geomer raises stake in Esor - Roy Cokayne

GEOMER INVESTMENTS has increased its stake in listed construction company ESOR to 52.89%. ESOR on Friday confirmed that GEOMER INVESTMENT had increased its beneficial interest in the company and had, as required by the Companies Act, filed the required notice with the Takeover Regulation Panel. GEOMER was obligated to make a mandatory offer to ESOR shareholders to acquire all their shares after it increased its shareholding in ESOR to above 35% in Oct. 2016. This followed GEOMER increasing its stake in ESOR to 42.39% when it acquired the 11.7% stake that was previously owned by KAMAL PARBHU. The mandatory offer closed in Dec. and resulted in GEOMER increasing its stake in ESOR to 49.44%. ESOR last month successfully raised R37.54m via a rights offer, with 63.9% of the 98.79m rights offer shares being taken up by ESOR investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastern European deal boosts Hyprop - Roy Cokayne

HYPROP expects its interim dividend a share for the HY to end-Dec. to be between 15% and 17% higher than the y/y period. This equates to an interim dividend per share of 342.8c-348.4cps for the period, up from 297.8cps y/y. HYPROP said distribution growth was enhanced in the reporting period largely by the inclusion of distributable earnings from investments in south-eastern Europe, none of which was included in the y/y period to Dec. 2015. The company in Mar. 2016 took its first step towards expanding to EMs outside of Africa with the acquisition of a 60% stake in two shopping malls in Serbia and Montenegro. It envisages growing the size of its central and eastern European property portfolio to between six and eight shopping malls valued at €1bn over the next five years. Interim results will be published on Mar. 3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia Mining hits gold in Kenya - John Aglionby

ACACIA MINING has announced an expected gold resource of at least 1.31moz in West Kenya, which the company said marked a "first step" in the delineation of a multi-million oz high-grade corridor. The compliant-inferred gold resource, at 12.1g/lt, was found in the Liranda corridor. ACACIA said it hopes to increase the size of the resource to 2moz after spending a further $12m on drilling this year in the Liranda corridor and nearby sites with known mineralisation deposits. The resource announcement is larger than the estimates the company gave in its annual results last week and comes after four years of exploration. "This is one of the highest grade projects in Africa today, and we believe that this initial resource is a first step in the delineation of a multi-million ounce high-grade corridor", ACACIA CEO BRAD GORDON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 27/02/2017

At 11h22 on 27 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.97 ZAR/EUR 13.71 ZAR/GBP 16.09 Gold 1254.77 Platinum 1028.50 Brent Crude Oil 57.04 All Share 51428.54

Investors pulled $5.2bn from hedge funds in Jan. - Lindsay Fortado

Investors pulled $5.2bn from hedge funds in Jan. and some said they would further reduce their allocation to the sector this year after being disappointed by performance. The figures follow redemptions of $110bn last year, the highest amount of money pulled from the hedge fund industry since the financial crisis, according to data provider EVESTMENT. Many investors are opting for more liquid products or, on the other end of the spectrum, strategies such as real estate, private equity and infrastructure funds that require them to lock up their money for longer but promise steady returns. Systematic funds were the hardest hit last month, with investors pulling $3.67bn after raising more money than any other strategy last year. The amount redeemed in Jan. was a significant improvement over the same month in 2016, when $19.3bn was pulled from hedge funds. And $5.2bn is a small amount for an industry that manages just over $3tn. More than a third of investors are planning to further reduce their allocation t

Gold fingered for distorting Brexit Britain's trade balance - Gavin Jackson

A surge in Chinese demand for gold is distorting UK trade and investment figures and confusing the picture of the Brexit vote's impact on the economy. A rise in exports and a fall in business investment since the vote last June have sparked debate over whether Brexit is fuelling a trade-boosting rebalancing of the economy, or prompting companies unsure about the outcome to rein in capex. A closer look at the data suggests that an increase in trading of gold assets is making these exports and investment shifts look much more dramatic than they really are. Bullion sales from the UK to foreign markets appear as both an increase in exports and a reduction in investment in the national accounts, because, while the country has sold something abroad, it now has fewer assets. These two effects exactly offset one another so do not affect the headline reading of GDP. But they make it appear as though trade and investment flows are much larger than they are. As the London Bullion Market accounts for more than 80%

JC Penney to shutter up to 140 stores - Mamta Badkar

US department store JC PENNEY on Friday announced plans to shutter 130-140 stores in the coming months as it focuses on better competing with online rivals amid a downturn in department store sales and said it recorded its first annual profit since 2010. The company said stores that are being shuttered represent less than 5% of its annual sales and their comparable sales have been "significantly below" the remaining store base. JC PENNEY also said it was closing two distribution facilities and the efforts would help redirect capital to locations and certain areas like beauty, home refresh and special size clothing with the greatest revenue potential. It is also offering a voluntary early retirement programme for about 6 000 of its eligible employees. JC PENNEY expects to record a pre-tax charge of about $225m in H1 and annual cost savings of around $200m. Accounting for the store closures, comparable sales are expected to range between a 1% drop to a 1% gain in fiscal 2017. Adjusted earnings are project

StanChart suffers 2nd year of losses - Martin Arnold

STANDARD CHARTERED has made its second consecutive annual loss as the lender suffered another decline in revenues that offset the benefits of recent cost-cutting and lower bad-debt impairments. STANCHART reported a net loss of $478m that trailed analysts' expectations even though it was an improvement from the $2.4bn loss it made in 2015 - its first for more than 15 years. Revenues fell from $15.4bn to $13.8bn. The lender recorded a 40% fall in impairments for bad loans to $2.38bn in 2016. Operating expenses were down 5% to $10bn, while pre-tax profits rose from $800m to $1.1bn. The bank has 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.

Deutsche Bank cuts bonus pool by almost 80% - James Shotter

DEUTSCHE BANK has cut its 2016 bonus pool by "almost 80%", one of its top managers has said, as Germany's biggest bank battles to shore up its financial position in the wake of heavy fines. Chief administrative officer KARL VON ROHR acknowledged in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday paper that bonus reductions were "frustrating" for staff, but said that the decision had been taken "very consciously, also bearing in mind our shareholders". In late Dec., the lender reached a $7.2bn deal with the US Department of Justice to settle allegations that it mis-sold mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, and in Jan. it agreed to pay $630m to settle US and UK investigations into alleged mirror trades used to launder $10bn out of Russia. In the wake of the settlement with the DoJ, CEO DON KRYAN said DEUTSCHE's management board had decided to waive their bonuses for 2016. He also said employees with the titles VP, director and MD would receive no individual bonuses for 2016, although

Chinese wages now higher than in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico - Steve Johnson

Average wages in China's manufacturing sector have soared above those in countries such as Brazil and Mexico and are fast catching up with Greece and Portugal after a decade of breakneck growth that has seen Chinese pay packets treble. Across China's labour force as a whole, hourly incomes now exceed those in every major Latin American nation apart from Chile, and are at around 70% of the level in weaker eurozone countries, according to data from EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL. Average hourly wages in China's manufacturing sector trebled between 2005 and 2016 to $3.60, according to EUROMONITOR, while during the same period manufacturing wages fell from $2.90/hr to $2.70/hr in Brazil, from $2.20 to $2.10 in Mexico, and from $4.30 to $3.60 in SA. Even in India, which has seen rapid economic growth, manufacturing wages have flatlined since 2007 at just $0.70/hr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE-D Borse deal in jeopardy - Philip Stafford

The planned €29bn combination between the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE and DEUTSCHE BORSE is in jeopardy after the former said it would not be able to meet a new condition proposed by regulators in Brussels. In a statement late yesterday, the LSE said it would not be able to sell a fixed income trading platform by a sudden deadline imposed by officials to ensure that the main remedy that the exchanges have offered Brussels will work in practice. The request from the European Commission on Feb. 16 was an unexpected demand on the companies, but the LSE said it would not be able to submit a proposal to sell MTS by midday central European time on Monday. "Based on the Commission's current position, LSEG believes that the commission is unlikely to provide clearance for the merger", the British exchanges operator said. DEUTSCHE BORSE declined to commend. The LSE said it remained convinced about the rationale of the deal and that it would continue to implement the merger. However, it added that it was also confiden

HKEx profit falls 27% in 2016 - Alice Woodhouse

HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING reported a 27% drop in profit in 2016 as trading in the city's securities market was subdued and its UK commodity business suffered from weakened global demand. The bourse operator reported net income down 27% to HK$5.77bn for the FY to end-Dec., coming in below analysts' estimates of HK$6.06bn. Revenue was down 17% y/y at HK$11.11bn, missing forecasts of HK$11.33bn. HKEX said this fall was linked to subdued activity in the cash market in Hong Kong and decreased commodities trading on the LME, though it saw increased trading of derivatives contracts on the futures exchange. HKEX launched the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect in Dec. and said it will continue t6o broaden its connectivity scheme to other asset classes to "capture opportunities from the [renminbi's] internationalisation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung to launch Galaxy S8 in Mar. - Alice Woodhouse

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS is expected to launch its Galaxy S8 smartphone on Mar. 29 as the electronics maker seeks to rebuild its scorched reputation after it was forced to recall its Note 7 phones when several devices burst into flame. The company announced the release date ahead of the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, saying it will unveil the latest addition to the Galaxy line-up in New York in March. SAMSUNG was forced to terminate its Galaxy Note 7 devices in Oct. after several units caught fire. The company in Jan. blamed design and manufacturing defects and the device's batteries causing them to overheat. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PS VR sales reach 915 000 units - Hudson Lockett

SONY has for the first time released sales figures for its virtual reality system, PlayStation VR, showing the total creeping up on the 1m mark after its launch in Oct. SONY said sales of the system had hit the 915 000 unit mark as of Feb. 19, while its estimated install base for the PS4 - which is required to operate the VR system - stood at 53.4m. "We are increasing production to meet demand and will continuously support content developers as they create innovative VR experiences that are only possible on PlayStation", said ANDREW HOUSE, president and global CEO of SONY INTERNACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump signs order creating task forces to weed out 'excessive regulation' - Jessica Dye

With DOW CHEMICAL CEO ANDREW LIVERIS and other business leaders at his side, President DONALD TRUMP on Friday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to set up task forces to review what regulations can be repealed. TRUMP said the order will make sure that each federal agency has a "dedicated team of people" to research which regulations are "unnecessary", "burdensome" or "harmful to the creation of jobs and business". "Every regulation should have to pass a simple test - does it make life better of safer for American workers or consumers? If the answer is no, we'll be getting rid of it and getting rid of it quickly", TRUMP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek primary budget surplus exceeds €1bn in Jan. - Mehreen Khan

Greece continued to outperform on its tax collection and revenue cutback efforts at the start of 2017, with a key measure of the country's public finances in the black last month. The state's primary budget surplus grew to hit €1.02bn in Jan., better than the €1bn recorded y/y and far exceeding a target of €670m. The government's better-than-expected fiscal performance over recent months has emboldened Syriza's claims that its bailout programme is on track, with the government disputing the IMF's claims the country cannot meet the surplus targets built into its three-year bailout. Greece's primary budget surplus has become a key battleground in its latest bailout talks. EU creditors and Athens think the country can maintain a surplus of 3.5% a decade after the bailout ends in 2018, while the IMF has pushed for a lowering of the target after six years in which the country has repeatedly missed its economic forecasts. Latest forecasts from the Bank of Greece expect the surplus to hit 1.75% this year.

AMSA unveils interim steel rail hub - Natasha Odendaal

The official unveiling of the Isando Distribution Centre on Friday marked the next step in ARCELORMITTAL SA's long-term initiative to migrate the bulk of domestic final product steel distribution from road to rail. Dedicated rail links between AMSA's production facilities in Newcastle and Saldanha and the Isando steel rail hub were established by TRANSNET FREIGHT RAIL late in 2016, with the first transport of steel by rail undertaken in early Dec. The initiative is a multistakeholder partnership between AMSA, BARLOWORLD LOGISTICS, TFR, GRINDROD FREIGHT SERVICES and commercial and industrial property investment company NEWLYN. The Isando centre is the 3-year interim distribution solution in Gauteng while a permanent R140m centre is being built at the GRINDROD facility, in Denver, AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK said. Some 700 000t of steel will be taken off the long-distance routes and TFR will secure additional revenue in excess of R100m, while improving AMSA's service delivery and lead times to the downstream stee

Fuel pump prices to fall in Mar. - Reuters

The retail price of petrol and the wholesale price of diesel in SA will fall from Mar. 1, the Department of Energy said on Friday. The price of 95 octane petrol will drop by 8c/litre to R13.54 in Gauteng, while diesel will go down by 2c to R11.60/l, the DoE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chicken imports contribute 21.9% drop in RCL's interim EBITDA - Megan van Wyngaardt

The issues facing the local poultry industry have decimated RCL FOODS' profits, with the company reporting a 21.9% drop in EBITDA to R900.4m for the HY to end-Dec. Related margin also declined to 6.9%. MD SCOTT PITMAN said poultry imports remained high at an average of 28 000t/m over the past year. "This is three times higher than seven years ago, which continues to contribute to a massively oversupplied retail poultry market", PITMAN noted. To mitigate this, RCL had strengthened its resolve to speedily implement a new business model, which included initiating a programme to reduce its Hammarsdale operation in KZN to a single shift from the beginning of this month. This would eliminate a portion of lossmaking individually quick frozen mixed portion product. The total cost of implementing these strategic actions in the current period amounted to R194.1m, comprising a R142.2m impairment to the fixed asset base, as a consequence of the downsizing, predominantly in the IQF space; a R42.9m provision for rest

Monyane asks Zuma to intervene in finmin dispute - ANA

SARS Commissioner TOM MOYANE on Friday disputed Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN's assertion that there was a R30bn tax collection shortfall which had contributed to the budget deficit. Instead, he accused GORDHAN of interfering in the running of SARS, to the point of even granting leave to subordinates. MONYANE said he was also hurt when GORDHAN refused to shake his hand and he felt he was being treated like a child. MONYANE also responded to claims that there was an exodus of SARS staff under his watch. He said 95% of the people he found when he was appointed commissioner were still there and there was no lack of capacity at the revenue collection service. SARS defended the reported R30.4bn tax collection shortfall, saying there may have been a misreading of the situation because of refunds worth billions of rands that it had made. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma says to amend law to expropriate land without compensation - Reuters

President JACOB ZUMA on Friday said SA will amend its laws to expropriate land without compensating landowners as it seeks to speed the process of distributing land to the black majority. "We need to take bold steps that will transform our economy, including land ownership, very fast", ZUMA said in a speech outlining agricultural policy. "...we are busy amending (laws) to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the Constitution". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tax administration developments 'deeply disturbing' - Davis - Terence Creamer

Judge DENNIS DAVIS, who heads the Davis Tax Committee, has added his voice to concerns about the state of tax administration in SA, particularly in light of the R30bn under-recovery in 2016/17 relative to the estimate provided in Feb. 2016. In the 2016 Budget it was estimated government would receive total revenue of R1.175tn during the year. By Oct., the estimate was revised downwards and a revenue shortfall of R22.8bn was forecast. In the 2017 Budget, the shortfall was again revised upwards to R30.4bn, translating to a new tax-collection estimate for the year of R1.144tn. Speaking at a post-Budget event in Johannesburg last week, DAVIS said there had been an "extraordinary" under-collection on personal income tax and VAT relative to estimates. The Budget Review shows that personal income tax, VAT and customs duties were down by an estimated R15.2bn, R11.3bn and R6.5bn respectively relative to the 2016 Budget estimate. Part of the explanation for lower collections lay in the downturn in the economy, bu

Vale intensifies CEO search as Ferreira to quit - Reuters

VALE has stepped up the search for a new CEO as MURILO FERREIRA announced his departure, signalling efforts by some top shareholders to shield the company from political interference, sources said on Friday. Earlier in the day, VALE said FERREIRA will step down when his term expires on May 26. In a securities filing, VALE did not name a potential replacement or detailed how a transition will happen. Some of VALE's controlling shareholders lean towards picking one of FERREIRA's lieutenants to spearhead VALE's transition into a company with dispersed share ownership, the sources said. External candidates with previous experience at VALE are also under consideration, the people said. Potential candidates include CFO LUCIANO SIANI; ferrous metals director PETER POPPINGA; and CLOVIS TORRES, VALE's executive VP for human resources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bushveld signs BEE deal to complement Vametco acquisition - Megan van Wyngaardt

BUSHVELD MINERALS has agreed to facilitate a change in the ownership of one of EVRAZ VAMETCO's BEE partners. BUSHVELD will support JAXSON 640's acquisition of a controlling stake in the BEE shareholdings in VAMETCO, which will take place alongside its own proposed acquisition of a 78.8% stake in STRATEGIC MINERALS CORPORATION from EVRAZ GROUP. Under the terms of the deal, JAXSON 640 will acquire an effective 21.2% in VAMETCO from a consortium led by AVACAP for R47m. This will include the acquisition of 100% of the shares in MARBLE GOLD, which owns a 70% stake in BUSINESS VENTURES INVESTMENTS HOLDINGS 973, which, in turn, owns 15% of VAMETCO. BUSHVELD CEO FORTUNE MOJAPELO said the company was pleased to welcome JAXSON 640 as its BEE partner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo, Metal Tiger call it quits on JV projects - Megan van Wyngaardt

KIBO MINING has terminated JV activities with METAL TIGER at the Pinewood and Morogoro mines in Tanzania. The companies will also relinquish the mine licences back to the local authorities. KIBO said the companies had experienced considerable success in other projects, which has led to these interests becoming the absolute focus of each company. METAL TIGER's investment in Botswana has resulted in a substantial and developing copper/silver discovery, while significant process is being made in the company's investment in Thailand, where a JV partner is looking to permit and produce from a long-standing silver/lead/zinc mine with an on-site processing plant. Meanwhile, with progress made at KIBO's Mbeya coal-to-power project, paired with advancements at its Imweru and Lubando gold projects, KIBO would shift its focus to these projects. "Each of the projects can materially further the success of the companies, and provide a significant opportunity, through continuing investment, to have a major local econom

Bauba exceeds first production target at Moeijelijk after restarting activities - Megan van Wyngaardt

BAUBA PLATINUM had exceeded its production target of 12 000t of RoM ore at its Moeijelijk mine, after having resumed mining activities earlier that month. The mine was placed on care and maintenance in Jan. 2016 as a result of low prices, but mining resumed in Jan. after a recovery in prices. BAUBA sold and delivered 10 044t of RoM free-on-truck at the mine in Jan. The company has further received a composite sales consideration of R40.3m for the sale of the Jan. RoM, which took place in terms of an offtake agreement entered into by BAUBA with a Singapore-based trading company. BAUBA CEO NICK VAN DER HOVEN said the achievement of the Jan. 2017 production target "reflects that the newly appointed day-to-day management team of BAUBA has successfully been bedded down and we are confident that the continued build-up to a monthly production of 20 000t RoM may be achieved by the end of March". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Northam narrows H1 loss - Anine Kilian

NORTHAM PLATINUM has narrowed its loss to R226.6m for the HY to end-Dec. compared with a loss of R273m y/y. Revenue rose 7.9% y/y to R3.5bn, owing to a 19.1% rise in the revenue per platinum ounce sold and a 3.2% weaker R/$ exchange rate, which was offset by a 9.8% y/y decrease in sales volumes to 223 705oz. The lower sales volumes were attributed to metallurgical constraints and an 18-day outage resulting from a mill bearing failure on the UG2 concentrator at NORTHAM's Zondereinde operation. Operating profit rose to R352m, from R93.4m y/y. Booysendal mine achieved a good growth performance during the period, with a production run rate of 100 000 PGM ounces significantly exceeding the mine's nameplate capacity. NORTHAM's cash balance stood at R2.2bn, and its financial position remained robust. The company is well positioned to benefit from an upswing in metal prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tawana cements Bald Hill farm-in - Esmarie Swanepoel

TAWANA RESOURCES has finalised the farm-in agreement with ALLIANCE MINERAL ASSETS over the Bald Hill lithium and tantalum project in Western Australia. The final farm-in agreement cemented the terms of the binding term sheet, and would see TAWANA spend a minimum of A$7.5m by end-Dec., on exploration, evaluation and feasibility. It would also spend A$12.5m by end-Dec. 2019 to upgrade and convert the plant for processing ore derived from the project. On completion of the initial expenditure, TAWANA will be granted a 50% stake in the lithium mineral rights. Once the company has fully committed A$12.5m in capital, TAWANA will be granted a 50% share in the entire project. TAWANA in Jan. launched a feasibility study at the Bald Hill project, which is likely to be completed by the end or March. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB wants accoutability in forex rigging scandal - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

The SARB wants commercial lenders involved in the rand currency rigging scandal to be held accountable, deputy governor DANIEL MMINELE said on Friday. The Competition Commission recently said it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks had colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and US dollar using an instant chat room called ZAR Domination. MMINELE said the SARB saw the allegations in a serious light. The SARB "is of the view that those found to have violated the law should accept full responsibility for their actions and be held accountable, and corrective measures should be implemented", MMINELE said, adding that a resolution of the matter was in the interest of SA's financial markets and the banking system. "It is also important, however, that we do not jump to conclusions and allow the steps now initiated to be completed following due process". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA expected to harvest 68% more maize - Tanisha Heiberg

South African farmers are expected to harvest 68% more maize this season as increased rainfall has boosted plantings, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. The Crop Estimates Committee, which will provide its first production forecast for 2017 on Tuesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 13.11mt compared with 7.78mt y/y. The 2017 summer harvest is expected to consist of 7.44mt of white maize and 5.67mt of the yellow variety. White maize futures surged to around R5 400/t in Jan. 2016. They currently trade at R2 030/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia hopes for IMF programme before end-Jun. - Karin Strohecker

Zambia expects to agree a deal with the IMF in H1 2017, Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said on Friday. He also told Reuters the country was unlikely to return to international bond markets before 2018. "We have a roadmap - the shareholder consultation including cabinet approval - and we hope that the deal can be consummated in the first half of the year", MUTATI said. He added that it was too early to put a precise number on how much Zambia was hoping to borrow from the IMF. MUTATI said financing needs in the 2017 budget amounted to $1.2bn-$1.3bn. His government had also recently spoken to the AfDB, the World Bank and the EU. "I can tell you without a doubt they are all enthusiastic to give us budget support", MUTATI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 27/02/2017

At 06h27 on 27 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.93 ZAR/EUR 13.66 ZAR/GBP 16.07 Gold 1256.95 Platinum 1028.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.50 All Share 51609.86

Kenya's Stanbic 2016 pretax profit drops, impairment costs up - Geoge Obulutsa

Kenya's STANBIC HOLDINGS today said its 2016 pretax profit fell, partly due to an increase in impairment costs on credit. The company said pretax profit fell to 6.05bn shillings in 2016, from 7.36bn shillings y/y. Total income rose to 18.52bn shillings from 16.94bn shillings y/y, while net interest income rose to 10.86bn shillings, from 9.30bn shillings y/y. It said credit impairment costs jumped to 1.75bn shillings from 907.31m shillings y/y, while EPS fell to 11.18 shillings from 12.41 shillings y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimplats gets export incentive - Tawanda Karombo

IMPALA PLATINUM's ZIMPLATS unit yesterday said it had received a $6.6m export incentive from the Zimbabwean government. The company said it benefited from Harare's injection, but warned that its future in the country remained uncertain. The incentive for export receipts and the repayment of the central bank loan drove ZIMPLATS' after-tax profit to $16.2m compared to a $600 000 loss y/y. The company posted a 21% rise in revenue, while production surged 4% to 135 824oz. It said sales volumes increased 4% to 133 937oz and royalty and commission expenses rose 16% from $5.1m y/y to $5.9m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier Foods oversubscribed - Kabelo Khumalo

PREMIER FOOD & FISHING says its much-anticipated listing on the JSE has been oversubscribed. The company yesterday said its IPO was four times oversubscribed, following a successful two-week road show in anticipation of starting trading on the local bourse next week. The company will list on Mar. 2 under ticker PFF. The company intends distributing 30% of its annual free cash flow to shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US oil exports again top 1m bpd - Gregory Meyer

US crude oil exports have surpassed 1m bpd for the second week in a row. The country exported 1.2m bpd in the week ended Feb. 17, hitting a new record, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. The export data came alongside a rise in US crude stocks for a seventh straight week. Inventories of US crude rose by 564 000 barrels in the week ended Feb. 17. That compared with economists' forecasts for a build of 3.4m barrels as oil imports averaged 7.3m bpd last week, down by 1.2m bpd from the prior week. Inventories at the Cushings delivery hub fell by 1.5m barrels, compared with expectations of a 25 000 barrel draw. The EIA also said stocks of gasoline decreased by 2.6m barrels, against forecasts for a draw of 1.2m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ArcelorMittal, Votorantim to combine Brazilian long steel ops - Michael Pooler

ARCELORMITTAL and Brazilian industrial conglomerate VOTORANTIM plan to combine their long steel operations in that country. The merger will result in a producer of long steel products with annual crude steel output capacity of 5.6mt. Under the deal, VOTORANTIM SIDERURGIA will become a subsidiary of ARCELORMITTAL BRASIL. VOTORANTIM, whose business interests span from zinc to cement to orange juice, will hold a minority stake in ARCELORMITTAL BRASIL. The companies said the move would generate cost, logistical and operational savings. Regulatory approval is required in Brazil. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bill Venter to step down as Altron chair next week - Gareth van Zyl

Dr BILL VENTER, who founded ALTRON 51 years ago, will step down as the company's non-executive chair at the end of Feb., the company said in a market update to shareholders this morning. VENTER is set to assume a non-executive role on the board as chairman emeritus from Mar. 1 2017. He is set to be replaced by MIKE LEEMING, a former banker who has been on the ALTRON board since 2002. The change in chair positions comes after ALTRON announced a fresh R400m capital investment in the company from VALUE CAPITAL PARTNERS late last year. VCP is an investment company founded by ANTONY BALL, founder and former CEO of BRAIT, and SAM SITHOLE, former CFO of BRAIT. The VENTER family agreed that if the transaction is successful, it will collapse ALTRON's current control structure through the conversion of the company's low-voting shares into a single class of voting shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore eyes US grain traders for next big takeover - Javier Blas

GLENCORE sold half of its agriculture division to two Canadian pension funds for $3.1bn last year to fund an aggressive debt-reduction plan. Now, with cash levels rebounding and support from new partners for acquisitions, the commodities trader is planning to enter the US market. "We want to grow in agriculture", CEO IVAN GLASENBERG said yesterday after the group reported better-than-expected FY results and lower debt. "We want to fill a gap in the US". GLENCORE is looking at multiple options including buying US assets such as export terminals and inland silos, or acquiring a complete business. Analysts said GAVILON GROUP, a grain merchant owned by MARUBENI, would be a good fit. MARUBENI bought the company in 2013 for $3.6bn from several hedge fund investors including GEORGE SOROS, and took a writedown on its investment in 2015. The "timing is good" for buying grain-trading assets, CHRIS MAHONEY, who heads GLENCORE's agriculture division, said yesterday. "Infrastructure is the key to the business. You

Risk of Nigeria devaluing currency rising, but it won't float freely - Vuyani Ndaba

Nigerian authorities may soon devalue the naira but won't fully relinquish control over it, instead taking steps to narrow the gap between the official and black market rates to boost confidence in the economy, a Reuters poll showed today. The survey of 18 analysts showed they are sceptical of the extent officials can fully liberalise the naira after it made dollars available on Monday to a few private individuals. The poll suggests there is a 45% chance that the central bank will devalue the naira in coming weeks amid speculation that the government is stepping closer to liberalising it. Still, the survey suggested that if the naira were to be devalued, any float would still be managed as the central bank intervenes to keep it within desired levels. The central bank auctioned $230m in forward contracts o the official market on Thursday after selling $370m earlier in the week to boost dollar liquidity and help narrow the gap between the official and black market rates. This news brief represents a summ

Liberty to buy 75% stake of Nigerian insurer - Nqobile Dludla

LIBERTY HOLDINGS will acquire a 75% stake in a Nigerian long-term insurer for R160m, it said today, pursuing its strategy of expanding on the African continent. LIBERTY is expanding beyond its home base to parts of Africa where demand is rising form a growing middle class. Further details of the deal were not disclosed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HP Enterprise shares take a spill on downbeat outlook - Hannah Kuhler

Shares in HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE fell as much as 6.5% to $23.50 in after hours trading yesterday as revenues missed forecasts and reduced its earnings outlook for the FY. The firm blamed forex movements, higher commodities pricing and some "near-term execution issues" for lowering its FY 2017 outlook by 12c. President and CEO MEG WHITMAN said it remains "on the right track" and would be making investments. "The steps we're taking to strengthen our portfolio, streamline our organisation, and build the right leadership team, are setting us up to win long into the future", she said. HPE reported sales of $11.4bn, below the average analyst estimate of $12.1bn. Sales were down 10% for Q1 FY2017, or 4% when adjusted for currency and divestitures, with revenue from servers and storage falling the most on a constant currency basis. Non-GAAP EPS came in at 45cps in Q1, the higher end of the company's guidance and slightly above the consensus forecast for 44cps. Net income was $300m, flat y/y. HPE forecast

Merck to take charge on hep C treatment - Jessica Dye

MERCK & CO yesterday said it will take an after-tax charge of $1.9bn in connection with a research programme for a drug being eyed to treat hepatitis C. The drug - MK-3682, uprifosbuvir - was obtained by MERCK in its 2014 acquisition of IDENIX PHARMACEUTICALS, which it snapped up in hopes of bolstering its position in the race to develop a new generation of hepatitis C treatments. MERCK said it "determined that recent changes to the product profile, as well as changes to its expectations for pricing and the market opportunity, taken together constituted a triggering event that required the Company to evaluate the uprifosbuvir intangible asset for impairment". As a result, MERCK said it was recognising a pre-tax impairment charge of $2.9bn which shakes out to $1.9bn after taxes and will be reflected in its 2016 results. MERCK previously reported EPS were lowered from 42c to a loss of 22c, with FY2016 EPS reduced from $2.04 to $1.41. The revisions reflect the impact of the charge, which was partly offset b

Samsung plans greater transparency on financial donations - Alice Woodhouse

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS introduced new rules on Friday for declaring financial donations to increase transparency after its heir apparent has becoem embroiled in a corruption scandal. The company said all financial donations and funding for corporate social responsibility activities above Won1bn will require approval from its board of directors. This represents a cut from the previous threshold for declaring endowments of more than 0.5% of shareholder equity, which currently stands at Won680bn. SAMSUNG's heir-apparent LEE JAE-YONG was arrested earlier this month, accused of bribery and other charges as part of a scandal linked to the impeachment of President PARK GEUN-HYE. SAMSUNG will disclose details of donations through South Korea's financial regulator as well as include the information in its quarterly reports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBS annual losses deepen after mis-selling scandal - Emma Dunkley

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND today reported a £7bn loss after taking a huge hit from mis-selling and conduct charges. The annual loss represents the ninth in a row for RBS, up from a £2bn loss y/y and higher than analyst forecasts of a £6.1bn loss. RBS's total losses since 2008 now amount to around £58bn, overshadowing the bank's £45.5bn bail-out during the financial crisis. CEO ROSS MCEWAN has set out new cost-cutting measures for the next four years to end-2020, as margins come under pressure from record low interest rates. MCEWAN is aiming for a bottom-line profit next year for the first time since the financial crisis. He is targeting £750m of cost savings this year, as part of a total £2bn of planned cuts over the four-year period, which is expected to involve hundreds of job losses and branch closures. Mis-selling and conduct costs amounted to £5.9bn in 2016, up from £3.6bn y/y. Of this, RBS set aside £3.1bn to cover an impending US fine. It earmarked £400m as compensation for small busines

Pearson posts loss but revenues beat forecasts - David Bond

PEARSON has reported a £2.5bn pre-tax loss for 2016 as revenues fell by 8% and the company took a huge writedown on the value of its US higher education business. The company said the underlying issues in the North American business "were more severe than anticipated", highlighting declining student enrolments and changes in buying patterns and a correction of inventory levels by college bookstores and distributors. Beyond the headline loss, the company posted better than expected revenues for the FY at £4.49bn and operating profits of £635m. "Our priorities for 2017 are clear. We will continue to accelerate our digital transformation, simplify our portfolio, control our costs, and focus our investment on the biggest growth opportunities in education", PEARSON CEO JOHN FALLON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Liberty feels pain of constrained consumers - Hanna Ziady

A challenging consumer environment, lower investment returns and a drop in earnings from STANLIB were the main drivers behind LIBERTY's 38.8% drop in normalised headline earnings for the FY to end-Dec. Normalised headline earnings of R2.5bn, represented a 37% drop in operating earnings y/y and a 42% decline in earnings from the shareholder investment portfolio, which was hit by weak equity markets. Headline earnings from the company's South African retail operations of R1.1bn were 40% behind the y/y period. The high value of policy surrenders and maturities drove net customer cash inflows in that business 70% lower to R1.9bn. In the corporate business, earnings fell 13% to R191m. Net cash outflows of R751m reflected low single digit premium new business and high risk claims linked to the challenging economic environment and associated job losses. STANLIB's headline warnings of R362m were 42% lower y/y. STANLIB's net customer cash inflows amounted to R5.8bn, due mainly to South African non-money market

Northam buys Eland mine from Glencore - Allan Seccombe

NORTHAM PLATINUM's strategy of buying additional mines netted it GLENCORE's Eland Platinum mine for R175m in cash. As part of the agreement, GLENCORE will have exclusive rights to market and sell all the chrome NORTHAM produces in exchange for the sale of the Eland mine and a concentrator that can treat 250 000t of ore a month. It also comes with a 100-piece mining fleet, some of which NORTHAM will divert to its new Booysendal South mine. The Booysendal mine increased its chrome concentrate output by 45% in the HY to end-Dec., to 138 635t. Eland has a resource of 21.3moz of four PGMs near Brits in the North West province. NORTHAM reported a narrowing of its loss for the HY to end-Dec. at R226.6m, against a R273m loss y/y. The loss comes despite an uptick in revenue to R3.5bn from R3.2bn and operating profit growing to R352m from R93m. Metal sales fell nearly 10% to 223 705oz during the interim period because of an 18-day stoppage caused by a mill failure at its UG2 concentrator at the Zondereinde mine.

Updated market indicators for 24/02/2017

At 10h54 on 24 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.91 ZAR/EUR 13.68 ZAR/GBP 16.21 Gold 1254.78 Platinum 1017.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.26 All Share 51965.45

BAT Zim FY volumes down 21% - Malcom Sharara

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO Zimbabwe reported a 21% decline in sales volumes for the FY to end-Dec. MD CLARA MLAMBO this week said the volume decline was on the back of weak consumer demand. "The economic environment remained constrained, characterised by weak consumer demand resulting principally from weak macroeconomic performance". Total revenue was down 25% to $34.1m, while gross profit for the FY declined by $7.6m to $24.7m. Net profit attributable to shareholders for the FY was $8.5m, down from $7m y/y. The company paid a dividend of 33cps, bringing the total dividend for the FY to 51cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African plans 2 000 job cuts - Paul Burkhardt

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES is considering job cuts at its Evander gold mine that would affect around 80% of employees at the mine, after warning a refurbishment programme could take longer than expected and be difficult to implement successfully, the NUM said this week. NUM spokesperson LIVHUWANI MAMMBURU said the company notified workers that it could terminate as many as 2 000 jobs. The mine, which employs 2 435 workers, needs significant improvements to prevent it being mothballed. PAN AFRICAN on Monday announced it would halt Evander's underground operations for as long as 55 days for refurbishment. The work is needed to ensure safe operations after an employee was killed in an accident on Feb. 15. The incident this month has put the mine's "future viability in serious doubt" and means that substantial further capital spending is required. "Unless the mine's operating costs are materially reduced and the sustainability of its infrastructure is substantially enhanced through the envisaged refurbishment, t

Discovery still optimistic about UK business - Lameez Omarjee

Low exchange rates and interest rates in the UK impacted DISCOVERY's earnings by 4%, but CEO ADRIAN GORE is optimistic about the company's business in the UK. DISCOVERY yesterday reported growth in its normalised profit from operations of 13% to R3.4bn. Headline earnings were up 14% to over R2bn and new business growth was up 15% to R8.2bn. Speaking about the UK units, VITALITYHEALTH and VITALITYLIFE, GORE said: "We remain very optimistic about what we can do in the UK". He added that the state of low interest rates and a weaker pound was only a temporary situation. GORE added that both UK units progressed well, reporting a 6% rise in new business to £57.5m and a 10% rise in normalised operating profit to £22.5m. DISCOVERY's PING AN HEALTH business in China grew new business by 55%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cell C rejects Telkom's offer to purchase - Kyle Venktess

CELL C has rejected an offer to purchase from TELKOM, stating that transactions with BLUE LABEL TELECOMS are still taking place. BLUE LABEL is currently in the process of acquiring a 45% stake in CELL C for R5.5bn. CELL C chair MOHAMMED HARIRI said the company has received an unsolicited, non-binding and conditional proposal from TELKOM to purchase the company. HARIRI said the company would like to confirm that it "has already entered into legally binding agreements in terms of which it has committed to a recapitalisation transaction with, among other parties, BLUE LABEL TELECOMS LIMITED... CELL C has undertaken to not enter into any agreement, incur any obligation or take any action which may restrict it or any of its affiliates from complying with its obligations under such agreements or which could result in the transactions envisaged in such agreements not proceeding to completion". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Erin Energy CEO resigns - Megan van Wyngaardt

SEGUN OMIDELE has resigned as CEO of ERIN ENERGY CORPORATION, with immediate effect. His departure is expected in the coming weeks, during which time he will assist in the orderly transition of his duties and responsibilities to interim CEO JEAN-MICHEL MALEK, who previously served as senior VP, general counsel and secretary. Prior to joining ERIN, MALEK was with CAMAC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, where he served as executive VP and general counsel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aton share buying spree an opportunity - M&R CEO - Irma Venter

MURRAY & ROBERTS CEO HENRY LAAS views ATM HOLDINGS' acquisition of a 25.5% stake in M&R as "an opportunity, not a threat". Speaking at the company's interim results presentation yesterday, LAAS said the group was notified of the share acquisition on Feb. 21. "Other than the formal notification received, we have not received any further communication regarding their investment in M&R. I have written a letter welcoming them and asked for further engagement so we can talk about their investment". ATM HOLDING, which is now M&R's largest shareholder, is owned by private investment holding company ATM. M&R in 2010 engaged ATON in London on the former possibly acquiring the latter's REDPATH mining business, LAAS noted. Talks happened again in 2015 and 2016, again on combining REDPATH and M&R's underground mining business platform, but also with no success. M&R had a tough HY to end-Dec., with revenue from continuing operations down to R10.7bn, from R13bn y/y. The group reported a loss of R60m for the period,

NERSA allows Eskom to raise tariffs by 2.2% - Anine Kilian

NERSA has allowed ESKOM to raise its tariffs by 2.2% for the 2017/18 FY. NERSA chair JACOB MODISE this week said the regulator had confirmed the utility's allowable revenues of R205bn for the period. "The approved revenues will be able to cover all of ESKOM's allowed costs, plus a return to the value of R33.67bn as per the [MYPD3] decision", MODISE noted. He added that the allowable revenue also includes an amount of R23bn for purchases from IPPs as a cost pass-through in line with the MYPD3 methodology. The new tariff is set to come into effect in Jul. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Molefe sworn in as ANC MP - News24Wire

Former ESKOM CEO BRIAN MOLEFE has been sworn in as ANC MP. Sources confirmed that the swearing in took place in the Speaker's office yesterday morning. It was earlier announced that he had resigned from the board of the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. MOLEFE's nomination by North West has been mired with controversy, with branch leaders in Hartbeespoort differing on whether he is a member of not. Another branch in Irene, Pretoria, claimed he was still on their books. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank in talks with CompCom in rand-rigging probe - Reuters

STANDARD BANK GROUP yesterday said it was engaging with the Competition Commission about a probe into alleged rigging of rand currency trading and had not suspended any employees to date. "Pending the outcome of these engagements and in the light of these historic allegations only having been brought to STANDARD BANK's attention on 15 February, no suspension of current employees of STANDARD BANK have taken place", the lender said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrox weathers another difficult trading year - Megan van Wyngaardt

The benefits of its successful restructuring and litigation settlement with ARCELORMITTAL SA resulted in AFRICAN OXYGEN reporting a 23.2% y/y rise in EBITDA to R1.24bn for the FY to end-Dec. The EBITDA margin increased by 400 bps to 22.3%, with the overall improvement in EBITDA contributing to a 36% rise in HEPS to 189.4cps and a 44% increase in basic EPS to 193.3cps. This growth was achieved despite the weakness in the local economy and CO2 and LPG supply constraints, with this reflected in AFROX's revenue rising only marginally by 1.2% to R5.53bn. AFROX noted that its continued focus on inventory management, optimisation of fixed assets and underlying EBITDA growth resulted in the company continuing to increase its cash on hand, which now reflects a net cash position of R153m, up from R148m y/y. Capex of R379m remained constant y/y. Gross profit after distribution expenses (GPADE) for atmospheric gases rose by 27.5% to R868m as a result of the litigation settlement and the FY benefits of 2015 restructu

CRG production impacted by summer rains - Megan van Wyngaardt

Ongoing adverse weather conditions that have heavily impacted CENTRAL RAND GOLD's cash flow as a result of production downtime have prompted the company to introduce programmes and plans to address the issues. This includes the openpit mining and processing of CRG's own material, interspersed with the batch treatment of tolling companies' materials. CRG is currently crushing and screening its own material on site, running down material available from previously mined-out areas. The company explained that heavy rainfall made RoM material problematic to crush and screen, with the wet conditions further affecting the feed material as it became muddy and challenging to handle, resulting in clogging which, in turn, leads to a reduction in processing capacity. A steel structure has now been ordered, which, once erected, will assist in keeping the feed materials dry during the wet season. Storms have also led to power supply interruptions. CRG would explore alternative power sources, as well as the use of a di

Trans Hex sees strong sales, production from local operations - Megan van Wyngaardt

Improved market conditions have resulted in TRANS HEX posting better sales of R201.1m from its Oct., Dec. and Feb. tender sales of diamonds recovered at its South African operations. Some 16 447ct of diamonds were sold at the tenders at an average price of $895/ct. Six single diamonds were sold for more than $10 000/ct, including a four-carat diamond recovered at the Baken mine, which sold for $27 245/ct. TRANS HEX produced 11 356ct in the four months to end-Jan., with its 40%-owned West Coast Resources producing 26 030ct in the same period. Sales from WCR amounted to R83.9m, with output fetching an average price of $158/ct. The next sale of South African production will be held in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petmin highlights delays in accessing new mining areas at Somkhele - Anine Kilian

PETMIN's normalised earnings fell by 43% to 8.49cps for the HY to end-Dec. The company attributed the drop to lower average selling prices for anthracite exports and 12% higher operating costs as a result of delayed access to new mining areas at its Somkhele mine in KZN. Delays in accessing the KwaQubuka mining area meant an additional cut of deeper coal, which is more expensive to mine, was extracted from the Luhlanga pit. Basic EPS reached 8.3cps, from a loss of 7.15cps y/y when PETMIN incurred a R115m impairment in its investment in VEREMO. The company had invested R27m in capex at Somkhele in the period under review, with R18m spent on a plant expansion project to increase recoveries of fine coal and R9m spent to maintain operations with the start of development of the new KwaQubuka openpit mining area. FY capex is expected to reach R50m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hummingbird appoints GM for Yanfolila - Megan van Wyngaardt

HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES has appointed KEVIN MOXHAM as GM of its Yanfolila project in Mali. An engineer by profession, MOXHAM has over 30 years' experience in the effective management and commissioning of mining projects in jurisdictions including Ghana, Eritrea, Tanzania and SA. HUMMINGBIRD CEO DAN BETTS described MOXHAM's appointment as "crucial". "It is no exaggeration to say that we have searched extensively for the candidate who we believe demonstrates the right blend of skills, commitment and chemistry to join our team", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ACCC warns South32's Metropolitan acquisition may harm Aussie steelmakers - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns around SOUTH32's $200m acquisition of the Metropolitan mine. SOUTH32 in Nov. struck a deal with PEABODY ENERGY to acquire the Metropolitan mine, as well as PEABODY's 16.67% stake in the Port Kembla coal terminal in New South Wales. The Metropolitan colliery has a production capacity of 2.3m/year, with a 28mt proven and probable coal reserve. It produced 2mt of saleable coal in 2015. The ACCC yesterday noted that SOUTH32 and Metropolitan were two of the largest coking coal producers in the Illawarra region and the two largest suppliers of coking coal to Australian steelmakers. "The ACCC is concerned that the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the supply of coking coal to Australian steelmakers... steelmakers currently appear to benefit from competition between SOUTH32 and Metropolitan in the form of lower prices and a wider product range. This transaction will remove that competitive rivalry", ACCC chair ROD

PAC again rejects Drayton South project - Esmarie Swanepoel

The New South Wales Planning and Assessment Commission has again rejected ANGLO AMERICAN's Drayton South coal project, maintaining that it could not coexist with nearby stud farms. The PAC recommendation comes despite the Department of Planning and Environment in Sep. 2016 announcing support for the project, and marks the fourth time that the Commission has rejected ANGLO's bid. ANGLO previously adjusted the mine plan for Drayton South, including reducing the tonnage from a projected 189mt to only 75mt and cutting around A$7bn in coal revenue. The mine plan also reduced the life of the operation from 27 to 15 years. Despite the most recent rejection, the PAC recommends that part of the extension of the existing Drayton is approvable and should be allowed to progress as it will provide "some short-term extensions" to current employment at the mine. The PAC noted that the animal boarding and training establishments - COOLMORE and GOLDOPHIN, to the south of the proposed mine - currently generate around A$30

MTN concerned over violence against its property in Nigeria - Nqobile Dludla

MTN GROUP yesterday said it was concerned over the violence against its property in Nigeria, where protesters attacked and vandalised its head office. "Reacting to recent events that appear to be directed against non-nationals both in South Africa and Nigeria, MTN GROUP expresses concern over the violence", the mobile operator said. Nigerian protesters attacked and vandalised MTN's head office in Abuja in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 24/02/2017

At 07h06 on 24 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.87 ZAR/EUR 13.62 ZAR/GBP 16.15 Gold 1250.26 Platinum 1013.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.55 All Share 52183.10

Kenya's ARM plans expansion - Reuters

ARM CEMENT plans to expand grinding capacity at its 1mt/year plant in Kenya by 50% over the net year to meet rising demand, CEO PRADEEP PAUNRANA said this week. ARM is the second largest cement producer in east Afria and also has operations in Tanzania and Rwanda. In 2016, it received a $140m equity injection from Britain's CDC GROUP, which took a 40% stake. PAUNRANA said the money was used to pay debts, adding that the Kenyan plant was at full capacity and expansion was needed to meet the growing demand for cement in the country. "We are completing a grinding plant expansion in Athi River which will give us an additional 500 000t of cement in the next 12 to 14 months", PAUNRANA said. He did not give the cost of adding production capacity but noted it was being funded by internal resources. ARM CEMENT had an equivalent of $125m in debt, and will pay it down over a four-year period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Slower govt spending hurts Mustek - Kabelo Khumalo

MUSTEK experienced a slowdown in revenue growth for the HY to end-Dec. The company said this is due to a reduction in spending from the government sector in the period. Group revenue rose marginally by 5.6% to R2.6bn. MUSTEK said its gross profit margin from continuing operations fell from 14.4% to 12.6%, and was marginally down from the 12.9% for the FY to end-Jun. 2016. "Although the gross profit percentages achieved by products such as HUAWEI ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS and MICROSOFT VOLUME LICENSING are lower, their contributions to profit are expected to continue growing", MUSTEK said. HEPS came in 27.7% lower at 37.34cps, while basic EPS were 27.4% lower at 37.24cps. For the HY ahead, MUSTEK expects lower inventory levels to have a positive impact on its gross profit margins and will seek alliances with players in the Internet of Things space. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats sticks to its guns in Zim - Brendan Ryan

IMPALA PLATINUM is sticking to its guns on ZIMPLATS for both commercial and longer-term strategic reasons despite continued pressure from the Zimbabwean government on indigenisation and the latest attempt to seize nearly half of the company's existing mining lease. Acting CEO GERHARD POTGIETER said the $260m being invested to develop the Mupani mine will all come from funds generated by ZIMPLATS' existing lease area. IMPLATS has lodged an objection to the notice issued by Harare on Jan. 13 to compulsorily acquire 27 948ha of the ZIMPLATS lease. This latest attempted land grab is despite ZIMPLATS having voluntarily surrendered a sizeable chunk of its mineral rights more than a decade ago in order to secure title to the ground it now holds. POTGIETER said that should ZIMPLATS lose the land, it would not affect the life-of-mine of the existing operation which is planned to produce 260 000oz of platinum a year for the next 35 years. He said such a loss would scupper any major future "blue sky" expansions. P

SA govt drawdowns rising, pose risks to fiscal position - Moody's - James Macharia

MOODY's has warned that government drawdowns are rising and represent increasing risks to its fiscal position, a day after Treasury targeted the wealthy with tax hikes in a bid to rein in the budget deficit. ZUZANA BRIXIOVA, a lead analyst for SA, said the budget aimed to stabilise the debt:GDP ratio but "while government guarantees relative to GDP are also projected to stabilise, their actual drawdowns are rising and represent increasing risks to the government's fiscal position". The Treasury is targeting a budget deficit of 2.6% of national output by 2019/20 from 3.4% at present. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's oil output up to 2.2m bpd - Feli Onuah

Nigeria's oil production has risen to 2.2m bpd, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday, after a decline in attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta. VP YEMI OSINBAJO last month said oil output was between 1.7m and 1.8m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Distell starts producing canned drinks in Angola - TJ Strydom

DISTELL has started producing canned drinks in Angola, CEO RICHARD RUSHTON said yesterday. Angola is DISTELL's largest export market in Africa but sales have fallen sharply there as a decline in oil revenues and lower economic growth have limited the availability of forex and hit Angolan consumers. "We've just started up local production of cans in Angola and that investment will be followed up by bottle production before the calendar year is out", RUSHTON said. DISTELL spent some $20m to build the plant, which will produce around 10m litres a year initially. The company plans to use cash flow from kwanza sales to expand production to bottled drinks and gradually replace more and more of its exports to Angola. DISTELL hopes to build its exports to Angola back up to 200m litres and then increase the volume of sales there via local manufacturing. The company yesterday reported HEPS of 535.9cps for the HY to end-Dec., up 1.2% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's projected growth rate insufficient - Linda Ensor

Without a growth strategy‚ SA will not get the revenue it requires for job creation nor be able to explore the potential for economic inclusivity‚ Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said today. GORDHAN was briefing members of four parliamentary committees on the 2017-18 budget he tabled in Parliament yesterday. "The low growth trap we find ourselves in is not helping‚" he said. "If the growth engine does not kick in‚ then transformation becomes more difficult." Transformation had to mean improving the lives of the majority and not the enrichment of the few‚ GORDHAN noted‚ adding that transformation also meant deconcentrating SA's very concentrated and less efficient economy‚ and that a new‚ restructured economic model was needed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays in UK will pay billions towards cost of separation from Absa - Robert Laing

UK bank BARCLAYS agreed today to contribute R13bn to the cost of divorcing itself from ABSA‚ the South African bank it married with much fanfare in 2005. The announcement was made after both the UK principal and its JSE-listed subsidiary‚ BARCLAYS AFRICA‚ released their 2016 financial results this morning. Following its cut to 50.1% from 62.3% shareholding in May 2016‚ BARCLAYS applied to the SARB to reduce its shareholding in BARCLAYS AFRICA to less than half‚ ABSA's holding company said in a statement today. The UK principal had agreed to pay a total of £765m to cover three expenses involved in the separation from its South African subsidiary. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats falls into loss - Allan Seccombe

IMPALA PLATINUM (IMPLATS)‚ the world's second-largest producer of the metal‚ reported today an interim loss‚ withheld its interim dividend payment and lowered its full-year production and refined metal forecasts. IMPLATS rep