Market News

Market News (INET BFA)

Facebook data storm wipes nearly $37bn off market value - Hannah Kuchler

FACEBOOK's shares fell the most in four years on Monday, wiping $36.7bn of the company's market cap as a backlash intensified over claims it had been used to harvest the data of millions of US voters. EU lawmakers joined their UK and US counterparts by saying they would probe reports that CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA mined the personal data of 50m FACEBOOK users to create profiles to target them in the US elections. Reports in The New York Times and The Observer say the company broke FACEBOOK's rules by using data collected solely for research. CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA faced further questions after an undercover investigation by the UK's Channel 4 news showed video of CEO ALEXANDER NIX explaining that the company could use women or offer bribes to entrap politicians. FACEBOOK shares shed 6.8% and ended the day at $172.56. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Xi targets separatism in major speech -

China's President XI JINPING promised China would "ride the mighty east wind of the new era" and "charge forward with a full tank" in a nationally televised speech today. In closing remarks before the National Peoples Congress, XI lauded China's historical "rejuvenation" but warned against the evils of separatism, and "tricks" aimed at undermining China's unity. "Safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and realising the complete reunification of the country are the common aspirations of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation", XI said, alluding to Beijing's longstanding goal of taking Taiwan. "The Chinese people have a firm will, full confidence, and sufficient ability to frustrate all activities to split up the country! The Chinese people and the Chinese nation share a common belief that every inch of our great motherland's territory cannot possibly be separated from China", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy protection - Alice Woodhouse

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday in the wake of allegations of serial sexual misconduct by its co-founder HARVEY WEINSTEIN and after months of searching for a buyer. TWC filed for bankruptcy in Delaware outlining $500m to $1bn in liabilities and the same amount of assets. The company has made an agreement with an affiliate of LANTERN CAPITAL PARTNERS to acquire its assets, Reuters reported. TWC said it had released victims from non-disclosure agreements that stopped them from speaking out about abuse. More than 80 women have come forward to accuse WEINSTEIN of sexual misconduct and he is under criminal investigation in New York, Los Angeles and London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mercuria earnings up 50% despite tough oil market - David Sheppard

MERCURIA hailed a strong performance in 2017 as it reported a near 50% rise in earnings, overcoming tough market conditions in its core oil business. The company posted around $450m in net income, up from $302m y/y. "This is one of the first years we have reached cruising speed in terms of return and performance", CFO GUILLAUME VERMERSCH said. In 2017, MERCURIA's oil trading volumes rose 12% to 121mt, the equivalent of more than 2.4m bpd. NAV rose to a record $3.1bn, up from $2.9bn y/y. Gross trading profits fell to $674m from $716m, while revenue came in at $104m against $91m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore to buy Australian coal mine from Rio Tinto - Federica Cocco

GLENCORE today announced it has reached an agreement to acquire RIO TINTO's 82% stake in the Hail Creek coal mine in Australia. The deal will total $1.7bn and includes adjacent coal resources, as well as RIO's 71.2% stake in the Valeria coal resource in Queensland. NIPPON STEEL AUSTRALIA owns 8% of Hail Creek, while MARUBENI COAL and SUMISHO COAL DEVELOPMENT hold 6.7% and 3.3%, respectively. GLENCORE says "each joint venture partner has the right to sell its shares to GLENCORE through a 'tag-along' right with respect to this transaction". In this case, the group will have to cough up an additional $340m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BlackBerry climbs on Microsoft partnership - Pan Kwan Yuk

BLACKBERRY shares rose more than 5% in after-market trading yesterday after the company unveiled a new partnership with MICROSOFT. The collaboration will result in the creation of a new product called BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE BRIDGE, which will allow users to access MICROSOFT's mobile apps in a highly secure way through BLACKBERRY's Dynamic platform. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oracle's mixed earnings brightened by cloud - Jessica Dye

Sales from its growing cloud business continued to power ORACLE's latest quarterly revenue jump. However, shares fell in after-market trading after its net earnings were wiped out by a massive charge related to US tax reform. The group yesterday reported a 6% y/y rise in revenue to $9.8bn for the quarter to end-Feb., its fiscal Q3, in line with analysts' forecasts. A $6.9bn charge related to tax reform wiped out its reported profits to leave it with a $4bn net loss for the quarter, or 98cps. Adjusted for special items, income came in 21% higher y/y at $3.5bn, or 83cps, compared to the $3.01bn or 72cps analysts were looking for. Total cloud revenue for Q3 rose 32% to $1.6bn. ORACLE CEO SAFRA CATZ said the earnings put the company solidly on track to achieve the double-digit non-GAAP EPS growth for fiscal 2018 that it had predicted last year, with non-GAAP EPS up 20% in the past quarter. The mixed bag of earnings left ORACLE shares down 3% in after-hours trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VW finance arm posts record 2017 - Patrick McGee

VOLKSGAWEN FINANCIAL SERVICES continues to post record results as if the emissions scandal never happened, but the threat of city bans on diesel-engine cars could harm residual values. VWFS had another record year in 2017, with operating profit up 16.9% to €2.46bn and total assets rising by 9.9% to €186.9bn. The company said the threat of older diesel-engine cars falling in value "was of particular significance" now that a federal German court has ruled that cities may ban older diesel cars from inner cities as they try to meet EU air quality limits. It estimates the financial risk at €100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK and EU agree 'decisive step' with 21-month Brexit transition - Alex Barker

Britain and the EU have agreed terms for a 21-month transition after Brexit, providing business with stronger assurances that a cliff-edge exit will be avoided next year. The conditional agreement represents one of the most valuable economic guarantees secured by the UK since Brexit talks began. Speaking in Brussels, EU chief negotiator MICHEL BARNIER said the deal was a "decisive step". Under the time limited period, the UK will have to abide by all existing EU rules but will lose its say in the decision-making process. On Ireland, the UK has agreed to include a "legal" backstop that would keep Norther Ireland in key parts of the single market and the EU's customs union. "The backstop will apply unless, or until, another solution is found", BARNIER said. The effective extension of Britain's participation in the EU single market and customs union provides businesses with at least an additional 21 months to make preparations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aldermore looks to expand business offering after FirstRand takeover - Nicholas Megaw

ALDERMORE will use the "additional firepower" provided by its new owner FIRSTRAND to expand its business banking operations and potentially offer current accounts for the first time. The move would make it the latest in a wave of banks looking to expand their offerings for SMEs in order to take advantage of a £775m package agreed by the Treasury, EU and RBS to boost competition in the sector. ALDERMORE CEO PHILLIP MONKS said "the fund was set up to stimulate competition and we are very clearly at the forefront of that... we always had plans to broaden that [SME] proposition and transactional banking is one way we could do that, and FIRSTRAND gives us an opportunity to accelerate". His comments came as ALDERMORE posted a 20% jump in profits in its final year as an independent company. The bank agreed to the £1.1bn takeover offer in Nov., and the deal was completed last week. Underlying profit before interest rose from £133m to £160m, excluding costs related to the deal. On a statutory basis, pre-tax profit rose 10% to £141m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU to probe Facebook, Cambridge Analytica data usage - Federica Cocco

EU lawmakers will investigate whether the data of millions of FACEBOOK users was misused, the president of the European Parliament ANTONIO TAJANI said yesterday. TAJANI said allegations of misuse of FACEBOOK user data "is an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights", adding that the European Parliament will "investigate fully" and call digital platforms to account. A spokesperson for British PM THERESA MAY said she expects FACEBOOK and CAMBRIDGE ANLAYTICA to co-operate fully with the probe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HKEX working with ASX on blockchain - Emma Dunkley

HONG KONG EXCHANGES & CLEARING is working with the AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGE to share information on blockchain, as global exchanges accelerate plans for the technology in a bid to compete and cut costs. HKEX CEO CHARLES LI said the venue is "developing a much closer dialogue to understand what they're doing, and sharing information... for sharing vendor relationships". LI said HKEX is looking to use blockchain in areas such as stock borrowing and lending, and for a number of trades that are transacted over-the-counter. He said HKEX is seeking to implement blockchain "where nobody wants to spend the money to do anything, but where the exchange can come out and say let's use this cheap technology to do something that doesn't affect the central order book". The ASX became one of the first trading venues globally to commit to blockchain when it said at the end of 2017 that it would use the technology to clear and settle equities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

StanChart launches online-only bank in Ivory Coast - Reuters

STANDARD CHARTERED launched its first African online-only bank in Ivory Coast on Friday. Clients at STANCHART's Ivorian bank will be able to open an account in less than 15 minutes and then use an app on their mobile devices to carry out all their banking activities. "We have been steadily investing in expanding our footprint in Africa over the years, and this will continue to be a priority moving forward", said SUNIL KAUSHAL, STANCHART's regional CEO for Africa and the Middle East. "Digitising Africa remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CAC sets aside Media24 predatory pricing case - Fin24

The Competition Appeal Court yesterday set aside a predatory pricing case involving a community newspaper owned by MEDIA24. The company had been accused of engaging in predatory pricing to drive out independent publications around the Welkom area between Jan. 2004 and Feb. 2009. MEDIA24, via newspaper Forum, had been taken to the Competition Tribunal for engaging in predatory pricing in the advertising market in the Goldfields area, where it was competing with independently-owned GOLD NET NEWS in the Welkom area. The Competition Commission had submitted that MEDIA24 had used Forum as a "fighting brand" to prevent GNN and other possible new players from entering the market. In 2011, the Competition Tribunal said Forum did not make economic sense, other than being used for predatory objectives. In Sep. 2016, the Tribunal ruled against MEDIA24. MEDIA24 appealed against the Tribunal's finding that it used predatory pricing to push out independent competitors. In its ruling the CAC said the Tribunal had failed to prove that the dominant firm would have increased its cash profits by charging market related prices during the disputed period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CEF applies to invalidate oil sale contracts - Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg

The Central Energy Fund has applied to invalidate 2015 contracts for the sale of crude oil to TALEVERAS GROUP and JVs led by VITOL and GLENCORE. The sale of 10m barrels of oil reserves by the CEF's Strategic Fuel Fund when prices languished near an eight-year low was probed by the Department of Energy. The CEF filed a founding affidavit on Mar. 12 to declare the contracts invalid, spokesperson JACKY MASHAPU said. The SFF had previously described the transaction as a rotation of stocks, and in Oct. TALEVERAS said the fund should have used the proceeds of the sale to buy fresh reserves. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB to enter short-term insurance market - Ntoaleng Lechela

The Financial Services Board has awarded FIRSTRAND a short-term insurance license. The group acquired a long-term insurance license three years ago. "The license will enable FNB to become a complete insurer, with the ability to underwrite short and long-term insurance to businesses and retail customers", FIRSTRAND said. FNB CEO JACQUES CELLIERS said: "Central to the success of our insurance business will be our ability to significantly increase efficiency by leveraging the FNB banking infrastructure and channels". FNB LIFE INSURANCE CEO LEE BROMFIELD said the bank's long-term strategy was to "build the lowest cost insurance company in the market through our ability to interact with customers at a significantly lower cost than competitors". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff said to consider selling stake in STAR - Loni Prinsloo

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS is considering the sale of part of a R58bn stake in STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL as it looks to shore up liquidity, according to sources. A disposal would follow STEINHOFF's sell-down of shareholdings in PSG GROUP and KAP INDUSTRIAL, which have raised more than $1.2bn since an accounting scandal wiped 90% off STEINHOFF's share price. The sale of shares in STAR would come via an accelerated bookbuild, the sources said. The move is yet to be approved by SA's financial regulator and may yet be abandoned, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS head Moyane supsended - Jan Cronje

SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE has been suspended. In a late-night statement on Monday evening, the Presidency announced that MOYANE had been suspended with immediate effect pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings. His successor is set to be announced by Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE. The statement referenced two specific reasons for the suspension, as well as a "deterioration in public confidence" in the agency under MOYANE's watch. The two reasons cited were MOYANE's handling of the investigation into top SARS official JONAS MAKWAKWA, and "the management of VAT refunds" which had "brought the SARS into serious disrepute". While the Presidency did not give examples of maladministration in the management of VAT refunds in the statement, MOYANE has been in the spotlight recently for his role in handing millions of rands in VAT refunds to a GUPTA-linked company via a third party. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ethos Capital lifts interim NAV - Anine Kilian

ETHOS CAPITAL's NAV increased to R1.9bn during the HY to end-Dec. The company yesterday said it increased its underlying exposure to 11 companies, with invested capital equal to 39% of NAV. ETHOS reiterated its long-term strategy of fully investing NAV, while retaining sufficient liquidity to meet commitments. "Across the various funds, ETHOS is in exclusive discussions on seven investments. Two have been signed and are subject only to regulatory approval. A further two investments are well progressed and have signed term sheets", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CMH FY headline earnings expected to rise - Simone Liedtke

COMBINED MOTOR HOLDINGS expects to report a 10%-20% rise in HEPS to 312.6cps-341cps for the FY to end-Feb. CMH reported HEPS of 282.2cps for FY2017. EPS are expected to rise by 20%-30% to between 316cps and 342.3cps, compared with 263.3cps y/y. Results will be published on Apr. 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated study lowers Wafi-Golpu project cost by A$1bn - Esmarie Swanepoel

A feasibility study into the Wafi-Golpu gold project, in Papua New Guinea, has decreased the expected total project costs by around A$1bn, project partners NEWCREST MINING and HARMONY GOLD said yesterday. While the preproduction capital costs rose from the A$2.6bn estimated in the 2016 PFS to A$2.8bn, sustaining capital has decreased from A$3.7bn to A$2.5bn, bringing the project's total life of project capital down from A$6.3bn to A$5.3bn. The feasibility study is based on a 17mt/y throughput, compared with 14mt/year considered in the PFS, with the life-of-mine decreasing from the previous 35 year estimate to 28 years. The mine is expected to deliver 4.5mt of copper and 7.4moz of gold, at an average of 161 000t/y of copper and 266 000oz/y of gold. The new feasibility study has also resulted in an increased net present value of A$2.6bn, compared with the A$1.9bn estimated in the PFS, while the internal rate of return rose from 17.5% to 18.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC curbs expectations of miners about concessions on code - Bloomberg

Mining companies in the DRC won't secure substantial concessions in talks with the state about changes to the industry code, a senior mining official said recently. "There can be no renegotiation on any point once the code has been promulgated", ALBERT YUMA, chair of GECAMINES, said in an emailed response to questions last week. President JOSEPH KABILA met top executives of major foreign investors on Mar. 7 to discuss their objections to the new law, which was signed into law on Mar. 9. KABILA at the time assured miners that their worries "will be taken into account" in talks with the government. But YUMA stated that "the taxes and royalties to be paid have been fixed in the code by law... no one can any longer change or remove them, or create new ones". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA junior miner to earn into Scotgold's Portugal licence - Mariaan Webb

South African exploration junior PANEX RESOURCES has signed an agreement to earn into the Portuguese subsidiary of SCOTGOLD RESOURCES, under which it will spend €6.6m in various phases. The Portuguese subsidiary owns the Pomar exploration licence, covering 264km2 and including the historical antimony mines of das Gats, Pomar and Casalinho, in addition to various small-scale antimony trials and occurrences. The small high-grade mines were active during the 1940s producing antimony concentrate with associated gold. In terms of the earn-in agreement, the initial development phase will entail expenditure of up to €100 000, followed by the first phase development phase, under which PANEX has to spend at least €1.5m within 18 months, to earn a 50% stake in SCOTGOLD PORTUGAL. Should PANEX elect to start the second project development phase, it has to spend at least €5m within two years. At that point, PANEX will earn a further 30% in SCOTGOLD PORTUGAL, taking its stake to 80%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto hires UBS to explore Pacific Aluminium listing - Reuters

RIO TINTO has asked Swiss investment bank UBS to explore a possible public listing of its PACIFIC ALUMINIUM business on the ASX, two industry sources said on Friday. RIO has tried to sell the business many times without success, including last year when it added two alumina refineries in Australia to the portfolio to make it more appealing. The addition of QAL and Yarwun alumina refineries, however, doubled the $1bn price tag and interest waned. RIO inherited the assets as part of its $38bn acquisition of Canada's ALCAN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese ride-hailer set to expand - Reuters

A unit of Chinese ride-hailing firm DIDI CHUXING has submitted an application to raise Rmb10bn via an issuance of asset-backed securities. DIDI raised $4bn in Dec. to support its overseas expansion. It did not say how the new funds raised would be used. The funds will be raised by DIRUN TECHNOLOGY, according to a filing published on the Shanghai Stock Exchange's bond market website. DIRUN's sole shareholder is DIDI CHUXING, local government records show. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Improved division results expected for Investec - Sandile Mchunu

INVESTEC expected its Asset Management and Wealth & Investment divisions to report improved results for the FY to end-Mar. y/y. The group said both divisions had benefited from higher levels of average funds under management, and strong inflows. The expected improvement was a result of the recently improved outlook in both its key geographies over the past year. The group's other divisions are expected to show mixed results, with specialist banking business expected to report results behind the prior year, and the South African specialist banking business expected to report results ahead of the prior year. Results will be published on May 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun Intl FY adjusted earnings drop 41% on once-off items - Nqobile Dludla

SUN INTERNATIONAL yesterday reported a41% drop in FY adjusted earnings due to once-off items which include onerous lease contracts and restructuring costs. The company said diluted adjusted HEPS fell to 298cps in the FY to end-Dec., from 503cps y/y. The group incurred a number of once-off items that included an onerous lease contract provision in Colombia of R50m relating to the Sun Nao Casino and restructuring costs of R43m relating to the Sun Nao, Morula and Fish River closures. Revenue rose 12% to R15.6bn, with growth attributable to the inclusion of the results of its Sun Dreams merged entity and the new Times Square casino. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Surprise Kenya rate cut puts lending rate cap in focus - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's central bank cut base interest rates for the first time since Sep. 2016 on Monday, fuelling talk that a government cap on commercial lending rates introduced in the same month will be modified or removed soon. The 50 bps cut in the benchmark lending rate to 9.5% took much of the market by surprise. The central bank's monetary policy committee said the inflation outlook was benign while economic growth remained short of its potential. Private sector credit grew 2.1% in the year to Feb., well below the central bank's target rate of 12%-15%. The central bank has said the cap would make the effectiveness of monetary policy uncertain. It noted the risk of "perverse outcomes" after its previous policy meeting in Jan., when it also said there was room for more monetary accommodation in the near term. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz to meet creditors to discuss debt restructuring - Karin Strohecker

Mozambique will meet its commercial creditors in London today to present proposals on how to restructure its debts, but eurobond holders and analysts expressed little confidence on how much progress can be made. Shortly after restructuring a eurobond in 2016, Mozambique's government admitted to $1.4bn of previously undisclosed loans, much of which was spent on building a state tuna-fishing company and enhancing maritime security. The disclosure prompted the IMF and foreign donors to cut off support. In the 17 months since Maputo said its debt was unsustainable and needed restructuring, little progress seems to have been made and there has been little contact between the government and its creditors. "Put simply, it is not clear what the government is going to say to creditors. Without any discussions, it is not clear what Mozambique wants to present and how it will be received", said STUART CULVERHOUSE at EXOTIX CAPITAL. Mozambique's external public debt is seen rising to $13.3bn this year from $10bn in 2016, according to the IMF. Its external public and publicly guaranteed debt is expected to peak in 2023 at more than 370% of GDP, while economic growth in the near-term looks anaemic, the IMF said. Meanwhile, its overall external arrears have been building up rapidly, hitting $709.7m by end-2017, more than 80% of which is owed to commercial creditors. Mozambique is also in arrears to the governments of Brazil, Libya, Iraq, Angola, Bulgaria and Poland. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK says $500m from alleged fraud can be returned to Angola - Stephen Eisenhammer

Britain's National Crime Agency yesterday said $500m frozen in the UK as part of an ongoing investigation into a potential fraud against Angola's central bank can be returned to the country. "The necessary authority has now been provided for the monies to be returned to the Angolan Authorities", an emailed response to questions said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Brands flags loss at meat unit after listeria outbreak - Nqobile Dludla

TIGER BRANDS yesterday said it expected its meat products unit to record a monthly loss of up to R33m after it suspended operations at four sites over a listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people in 14 months. TIGER BRANDS said the potential losses before interest and tax were estimated at R28m-R33m for March. In addition, the food producer said it was taking a R337m-R377m pre-tax hit due to the costs of a product recall and suspension of production at its Polokwane, Germiston, Pretoria and Clayville sites. The company added that it has received notice of two class action suits against it, with the total amount claimed estimated at R425m. TIGER BRANDS said independent laboratory tests corroborated the health ministry's findings of the presence of the listeria strain LST6 at its Polokwane facility and on the outer casing of two samples. "Whether this presence of LST6 can be said to have caused any illness or death remains unclear at present and testing in that regard is an ongoing process likely to take time", TIGER BRANDS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Total renewables unit targets Africa's power-starved mining sector - Joe Bavier

TOTAL's renewable energy unit yesterday said it had opened the world's largest solar-thermal hybrid plant in Burkina Faso, the first of what it hopes will be many projects supplying the African mining industry's growing need for power. TOTAL EREN and Africa-focused IPP AEMP inaugurated Essakane Solar over the weekend, adding 15MW of solar capacity to an existing 57MW heavy fuel oil power plant at IAMGOLD's Essakane mine. Mining companies operating in remote areas have long relied on thermal power plants, making their operations carbon-intensive and their costs vulnerable to fluctuations in world oil prices. The Essakane plant, made up of nearly 130 000 solar panels, is expected to decrease the mine's fuel consumption by around 6m litres per year and reduce CO2 emissions by some 18 500t/y. The mine will buy the entirety of the plant's production via a 15-year power purchasing agreement signed with a special purpose vehicle in which TOTAL EREN owns a 90% stake. AEMP holds the remaining 10%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADvTECH FY profit falls, schools unit underperforms - Patricia Aruo

ADVTECH yesterday reported a 3% drop in earnings as a result of a lower student intake and a financial hit from an accounting fraud uncovered last year. Diluted HEPS fell to 69cps in the FY to end-Dec., from 71cps y/y. ADVTECH took a R35.5m hit from a three-year long fraudulent overstatement of sales, understatement of costs and theft of cash. The fraud claimed the head of the company's finance manger in the schools unit, the biggest contributor to ADVTECH's annual sales. Enrollments at the schools division rose 3% for the FY under review, lagging far behind rival CURRO, which recorded a 14% increase. But ADVTECH's tertiary and recruitment divisions showed strong growth thanks to cross-border expansion that included investments in schools in Botswana and Zambia. ADVTECH said its recruitment unit benefited from the success of Africa HR Solutions, its unit based in Mauritius with networks across Africa, which countered slow job growth at home. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim changes empowerment law limiting majority ownership to diamond and platinum mines - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe has changed its empowerment law to limit majority ownership by state entities to only diamond and platinum mines and not the entire mining sector as in previous legislation, according to a government notice. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was designed to increase black Zimbabweans' share of the economy, but were opaque and open to abuse, to the detriment of foreign investor confidence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netcare gets competition clearance for $107m Akeso takeover - Nqobile Dludla

The Competition Tribunal has approved NETCARE's acquisition of AKESO CLINICS after the company agreed to sell two hospitals and maintain a range of pricing levels, it said yesterday. NETCARE announced the R1.3bn deal in 2016. The Competition Commission had initially recommended that he takeover be blocked as it was likely to cause a substantial lessening of competition. But the Tribunal yesterday said NETCARE had agreed to sell its Rand and Bell Street hospitals, both of which have psychiatric beds, and would maintain a range of prices at AKESO clinics. The deal was conditionally approved by the Tribunal. AKESO has 12 dedicated mental health facilities, comprising 811 beds and located in various parts of SA, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Nelspruit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's cbank to hold interest rate meeting early next month - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's central bank plans to hold its next interest rate meeting on Apr. 3-4, a spokesperson said yesterday, contingent on the upper house of parliament confirming the president's nominees for the monetary policy committee. "The new dates for the MPC are April 3 and 4... We are hoping that between now and then the members of the committee would have been confirmed by the Senate", a spokesperson said. A political spat over nominations for the MPC meant Nigeria's Senate had not approved President MUHAMMADU BUHARI's candidates, leaving the committee unable to form a quorum to set interest rates. The Senate will consider a report into the nominations later this week and could approve them, paving the way for the first rate-setting meeting of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 20/03/2018

At 07:42 on 20 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.01 Rand/Sterling 16.86 Rand/Euro 14.83 Gold 1316.31 Platinum 951.00 Oil 65.76 All-Share Index 58088.42

Rosneft Q4 profit more than doubles - Henry Foy

ROSNEFT reported a more than doubling of profit in Q4 2017, in line with analyst estimates. The oil producer said Q4 profit stood at Rbs100bn, up 113% y/y, and exactly what analysts had estimated, according to a Reuters poll. Revenue rose 14.2% to Rbs1.71tn, as the average price for its oil rose by around 19%. Hydrocarbon production fell an annual 2% during the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammerson rejects bid from Klepierre - Naomi Rovnick

French shopping centre operator KLEPIERRE has revealed it made a proposal to buy HAMMERSON that the UK mall owner rejected. KLEPIERRE said it had offered 615pps for HAMMERSON. This represented a premium of around 41% to HAMMERSON's closing price on Mar. 16. The announcement followed a report in The Times on Monday about a £5bn offer from KLEPIERRE, which today said the offer had been rejected within 24 hours. HAMMERSON is in the process of completing a £3.4bn all-share merger with its smaller British competitor INTU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble sinks to 19-yr low ahead of missed bond payment - Edward White

NOBLE GROUP shares sank 19% this morning after the company confirmed it would not make a payment on bonds due on Tuesday. The embattled commodity trader in Jan. announced a new debt restructuring plan that will see creditors take control of the company. The arrangement would see lenders control 70% of the new company and management up to 20%. Still, NOBLE shares fell to S$0.11 today, the lowest since 1999, after the company on Friday said it would not make payments owed on its 2018 and 2022 notes, the first of which is due on Mar. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba invests further $2bn in Lazada to develop south-east Asia ecommerce - Alice Woodhouse

ALIBABA is doubling down on its investment in ecommerce group LAZADA, pouring a further $2bn in the company as it tries to capture one of the fastest-growing markets for online shopping. ALIBABA said the move, which takes its investment in LAZADA to $4bn, will "deepen LAZADA's integration into the ALIBABA ecosystem". LAZADA chair LUCY PENG will take on the additional role of CEO, replacing founder MAX BITTNER, ALIBABA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan notches 15th month of export growth but shipments to China slide - Edward White

Japanese exports eked out a 15th consecutive month of growth in Feb. as an increase in shipments to the US helped to offset an almost double digit fall in exports to China. Total exports rose 1.8% y/y in Feb., the Ministry of Finance said. Exports rose 12.2% in Jan. Japanese exports to the US rose 4.3% y/y while those to China and Asia contracted by 9.7% and 3.2%, respectively. Imports also increased in Jan., rising 16.5% y/y, though short of the 17.1% increase forecast by economists. Those numbers shook out to a trade surplus of Y3.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Qualcomm ousts Jacobs as director over buyout plan - Tim Bradshaw

PAUL JACOBS will not be renominated to QUALCOMM's board this week after clashes over his plan to take the $90bn chipmaker private. JACOBS, QUALCOMM's former chair and CEO, called the move "unfortunate and disappointing". QUALCOMM said the board "reached that decision following his notification to the board that he has decided to explore the possibility of making a proposal to acquire QUALCOMM". JACOBS did not want to leave the board but plans to present his vision for the company later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia raises $4bn in eurobond issuances - Max Seddon

Russia sold $4bn in eurobond issuances on Friday in a sign that the Kremlin can still raise cash in western markets despite sanctions and geopolitical tensions with the west. Investors' order book for the two bonds on offer placed $7.5bn, said ANDREI SOLOVIEV, global head of debt capital markets at VTB CAPITAL, the sole lead manager and bookrunner. An extra issuance for Russia bonds maturing in 2047 was placed with $2.5bn in volume and a 5.25% yield, taking its total size to $7bn. Another issuance maturing in 2029 was placed with a volume of $1.5bn and a yield of 4.625%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels advances retaliation plans against US tariffs - Jim Brunsden

Brussels has kicked off the process of applying retaliation measures against the US over its planned steel and aluminium tariffs, in case the EU fails to securer an exemption from Washington. The European Commission published a draft list of US imports to be targeted for retaliatory tariffs, ranging from whisky to motorbikes and tobacco. The move kicks off a 10-day period for companies to raise concerns before Brussels formally adopts the list. The countermeasures concern about €2.8bn of US imports. The EU is set o notify them to the WTO, even if in the end they do not need to be activated. Brussels also published another list of additional products that could be targeted, after three years, if no progress is made on resolving the trade spat at the WTO, or if the WTO rules against the US measures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan Tobacco acquires Russia's fourth-largest cigarette maker - Kerin Hope

JAPAN TOBACCO has agreed to pay around $1.6bn for DONSKOY TABAK, Russia's fourth-largest cigarette manufacturer, which is owned by IVAN SAVVIDES, a Russian-Greek businessman based in Greece. The acquisition will strengthen JT's leading position in the Russian cigarette market, JT said. "The transaction will increase our market share to approximately 40% and contribute to the group's profit immediately with synergies expected in the following years", said MUTSO IWAI, head of JT's global tobacco business. The sale would include SEKAP, a lossmaking Greek cigarette maker acquired by SAVVIDES in 2013 in a privatisation deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Group holding legacy Yahoo assets urged to sell Alibaba stake - Miles Johnson

The London-based activist investor TCI has called on the company holding the legacy assets of YAHOO to wind down and sell its $76bn holding in ALIBABA. TCI, a $20bn fund run by Sir CHRIS HOHN, holds a $6bn stake in ALIBABA, which contains the legacy assets of YAHOO including large stakes in ALIBAA and YAHOO JAPAN, said the company was trading at an unnecessarily large discount to the value of its assets and should take advantage to recent US tax reforms to liquidate. ALTABA, which was renamed from YAHOO following VERIZON's purchase of the former's search business, currently trades at a 26% trading discount to NAV, which TCI said it believes could be closed to 17%-18% if its assets were sold or distributed to its investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Remgro sees no threat to investment in RCL Foods - Sandile Mchunu

REMGRO on Friday said its investment in RCL FOODS was not facing a threat due to the listeriosis outbreak in SA. REMGRO holds 77.2% in RCL FOODS. CEO JANNIE DURAND said RCL performed admirably in the HY to end-Dec., as it added 56.6% or R498m in headline earnings to REMGRO. The increase was attributed to an improved result in the chicken business. REMGRO's intrinsic NAV/share rose by 5.7% to R265.86/share in the HY to end-Dec., from R251.48 at end-Jun. It declared an interim dividend of 204cps, up 5.2% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US industrial output rises by most in four months - Pan Kwan Yuk

US industrial production roared back in Feb., rising by the most in four months amid robust output gains in manufacturing and oil and gas sectors. Industrial output jumped 1.1% last month, topping forecasts for a more modest 0.4% advance, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. Officials also revised the drop for Jan. from 0.5% to 0.3%. Manufacturing production rose 1.2% in Feb., its largest gain since Oct. Mining output rose 4.3%, mostly reflecting strong gains in oil and gas extraction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiffany drops 8% despite rare rise in same-store sales - Pan Kwan Yuk

A pick-up in demand for high-end baubles in the Americas and Asia over the holiday shopping period helped shake TIFFANY out of its sales slump during Q4, but doubts over whether it can keep up this momentum sent shares lower in pre-market trading. TIFFANY said same-store sales excluding currency fluctuations rose 1% in the quarter to end-Jan. That fell short of the 2.7% increase analysts were expecting. The rise is the first in nine quarters. Still, shares fell over 8% in pre-market trading, setting it up for its worst drop since May. Overall sales were up 1.9% at $1.3bn. The gains were driven by the Americas region, which notched a5% rise in both like-for-like sales and overall sales during Q4. Revenue from the Asia-Pacific region were up 13% compared to the prior year period. TIFFANY, said it planned to ramp up its investment spending and as a result it expects earnings for FY2018 to be between $4.25-$4.45/diluted share, against Wall Street estimates of $4.44/share. Net income for Q4 came in at $61.9m, compared to the $157.8m reported y/y as a result of one-off charges related to US tax reforms. Excluding this, adjusted net income rose 15% to $208m, or $1.67/diluted share, ahead of the $1.63/share that Wall Street had forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eni lifts dividend 4%, boosts production target - James Politi

ENI has raised its dividend by nearly 4% to €0.83/share, marking its first change in the payout to investors since 2015 as a flurry of successful explorations has helped bolster the company's balance sheet. CEO CLAUDIO DESCALZI also raised the company's target for production growth over the next four years to 3.5% from 3% in 2017, as some of its biggest projects ramp up more rapidly than expected. During a strategy presentation, DESCALZI also pledged to commit €1.8bn in green energy investments over the next four years - more than half of the €3.5bn in funds it will devote to traditional exploration in 25 countries. ENI shares rose 1% to €13.97 on the back of the dividend increase. The company also pledged to consider share buybacks in the event that it generates cash exceeding its leverage target of 20% to 25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

'No progress' on Ireland border issues, say MPs - Katie Martin

No workable solution to the Brexit impact on the border in Northern Ireland has yet come to light, a committee of MPs said on Friday, keeping the issue at the forefront of talks over the UK's exit from the EU. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said that "no progress" has been made on finding a way to avoid erecting a hard border on the island, leaving this as a major stumbling block after a series of concessions made by the UK side in other areas. "We have heard no evidence to suggest that there is currently a technical solution that would avoid infrastructure at the border", said ANDREW MURRISON, chair of the committee. "Furthermore, we have no detail on how checks on goods and people will be undertaken away from the border". The committee said the government "will not have time" to implement a "non-visible customs regime" before Brexit. It also rejected the notion of a sea border, which has been suggested by the EU as a fallback measure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Activist fund takes 5% stake in Barclays - Martin Arnold

EDWARD BRAMSON's activist investment fund has taken a stake of just over 5% in BARCLAYS, becoming at op five shareholder in the British bank and increasing pressure for it to turn round its faltering performance. BARCLAYS today said entities controlled by SHERBORNE, BRAMSON's investment vehicle, had acquired voting rights over 5.16% of its issued share capital. Shares in BARCLAYS rose 3% at the open on Monday. The bank said that made the activist investor its fourth largest shareholder behind CAPITAL GROUP, the QATAR INVESTMENT AUTHORITY and BLACKROCK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell Equipment will start assembling Kamaz range - Roy Cokayne

BELL EQUIPMEMNT is set to start assembling a range of KAMAZ heavy duty trucks early next year, resulting in the creation of additional jobs in is Richards Bay manufacturing facility. Outgoing CEO GARY BELL on Friday confirmed that the company had launched the new KAMAZ range in SA in Johannesburg last week, as a completely built-up unit. BELL said they would move to the semi-knocked down assembly of the range from early next year and then ramp up local component manufacture for these trucks over the next 2-3 years. He said the group would be investing over time in more production capacity in the plant for components. The manufacture of BELL's existing truck range was being transferred to its plant in Germany, which would be offset and replaced by the production of the KAMAZ range. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Davies demands clarity from SABS on bribery concerns - Khulekani Magubane

Minister of Trade & Industry ROB DAVIES last week told Parliament that he had written to the management of the South African Bureau of Standards to find out how many of its employees have been arrested for taking bribes since FY2015/16. The SABS has a mandate to check various products for compliance to general standard stipulated by law. It is also in the process of investigating alleged collusion in the testing of coal which TEGETA supplied to ESKOM. DAVIES said the SABS had not provided a satisfactory response to his office, but stressed that he appreciated the seriousness of any bribery allegations against a regulatory body with the mandate of the SABS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Media24 agrees to pay R14m in price-fixing settlement - Carin Smith

MEDIA24 has agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R13.83m as settlement in a price-fixing case brought against it and 27 other media companies by the Competition Commission. As part of the settlement, MEDIA24 has also agreed to contribute R4.98m to the Economic Development Fund over a three-year period and provide 25% bonus advertising space for every rand of advertising space bought by qualifying small agencies over three years, capped at R35m annually. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Liberty wants more cancelled provident funds reinstated - Fin24

LIBERTY plans to mount another court application by the end of the year seeking the reinstatement of more cancelled pension funds. This follows an order by the North Gauteng High Court to have 25 "orphan funds", which ad been considered by the Financial Services Board to be inactive, restored. LIBERTY said its own investigations had revealed that a further 65 provident funds may require reinstatement. "Between 2007 and 2013, over 4 600 dormant retirement funds were de-registered across the industry in what was known as the Fund Cancellation Project". LIBERTY said the de-registration of some of the funds had occurred before the Fund Cancellation Project. The Registrar of Pension Funds had not opposed LIBERTY's first application. LIBERTY described the court ruling as a "great step forward in getting benefits paid out to beneficiaries". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RCL Foods says Free State plant clear from ST6 listeria strain - Marleny Arnoldy

Independent laboratory tests have found that RCL FOODS' Wolwehoek polony plant, in the Free State, is clear of the ST6 listeria strain, which the Department of Health fingered as being responsible for the listeriosis outbreak. RCL has recalled its Rainbow brand polony products as a precautionary measure and temporarily closed the plant. However, RCL on Friday announced that tests by a laboratory in France had found no ST6 listeria at the factory. RCL said it would continue to support national efforts that take the message about food safety and listeria to as wide an audience as possible. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Listeria outbreak could herald tighter food safety rules in SA - Reuters

The deadly listeria outbreak in SA could alter the country's approach to food-borne disease and prompt improvements in food safety standards, a leading health official said on Friday. The WHO's top specialist on global food safety likened the outbreak's potential impact to the "mad cow disease" BSE crisis in Europe that began in the 1980s. "I'm convinced we're going to be talking about his outbreak for the next 20 years", PETER BEN EMBAREK, who manges the WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network, said. "This could be the crisis that will finally make at least South Africa - and possibly the whole of Africa - realise the importance of food safety and food-borne diseases and the need to invest in improving things". BEN EMBAREK said there are many unanswered questions in SA's listeria outbreak, which health officials have linked to polony made by TIGER BRANDS. One line needing further investigation, he said, was whether there might be more than one outbreak occurring at the same time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibian solar plant to start operating in Sep. - Marleny Arnoldi

ALTEN AFRICA has achieved financial closure of what will be the biggest photovoltaic solar power plant in Namibia and one of the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa. The plant's commercial operation is scheduled for Sep., with installed capacity of 45.5 MWp for an output of 37 MWac. With an estimated annual production of 112 GWh and occupying 100ha, the plant will meet energy needs equivalent to a population of 70 000 - 3% of Namibia's energy needs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARM's Motsepe predicts successful charter, land outcomes - Martin Creamer

AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS executive chair PATRICE MOTSEPE on Friday expressed the firm conviction that SA was in the process of reinforcing its position as a competitive mining destination through a positive Mining Charter outcome and widespread consensus on the manner in which the issue of land expropriation is tackled. After ARM declared a R549m dividend on a 15% rises in HY headline earnings to R1 945m in the HY to end-Dec., MOTSEPE said he was confident that current Mining Charter talks under way would ensure SA's position as a competitive global mining destination for investment. MOTSEPE committed ARM to the payment of dividends to shareholders and pledged to reposition the company as a globally competitive and growing group. He said that he regarded dividends and a rising share price as being a critical component of global competitiveness. ARM's basic earnings were R1 753m, compared with an H1 loss of R254m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfriTin completes geological mapping at Namibian project - Simone Liedtke

AFRITIN MINING has undertaken and completed detailed geological mapping over the V1 and V2 pegmatite bodies at its flagship asset Uis tin mine, in Namibia. The V1 and V2 bodies were previously identified as priority targets for ore to supply the new, intermediary plant, based on an historic report by consultancy firm SRK in 1985. The completed mapping programme confirms that the V1 pegmatite has a strike length at surface or more than 950 m and reveals that the centre of the mineralised body at V2 is thicker than initially thought. The programme further confirmed the presence of mineralisation throughout the unmined surface extensions of the V1 and V2 pegmatite bodies. "We are very pleased with the results of the geological work recently completed at Uis, as this supports the detailed work that was contained in the historical SRK report that produced a 70-year life-of-mine plan", AFRITIN CEO ANTHONY VILJOEN said. "We believe the results provide a solid foundation on which AFRITIN can base its mining programme, to resume early production at what was once the biggest hard rock tin mine in the world". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin transaction filed with competition authorities - Marleny Arnoldi

SIBANYE-STILLWATER has filed a submission with the competition authorities regarding the proposed R5.15bn acquisition of LONMIN. This is in accordance with the Competition Act of 1998, which requires the relevant stakeholders to be duly notified. Analysts recently warned that the strength of the rand could make the deal less attractive for SIBANYE-STILLWATER, but both companies on Friday confirmed they remained fully committed to the transaction. "The proposed transaction remains in the best interest of stakeholders and will create a leading mine-to-market producer of PGMs in South Africa", SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said. Meanwhile, trade union AMCU on Friday threatened to interdict the deal, owing to alack of consultation with workers and communities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell delivers significantly better results - Marleny Arnoldi

BELL EQUIPMENT last week delivered significantly improved results for FY2017, with profit rising to R272.1m, from R38.6m y/y when the company recorded operating losses of R185m from its African operations outside SA. Revenue increased by 13% to R6.8bn in 2017, with a stronger rand having offset the benefit of higher sales volumes. BELL anticipated 2018 results to be better than 2017, owing to the improved sentiment in SA and an economic revival in most major economies. "Most major equipment markets are expected to see growth this year with global construction and mining machinery markets expected to increase by between 10% and 15%", BELL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NERSA announces petroleum pipelines tariff hike - Simone Liedtke

NERSA has granted TRANSNET a lower-than-requested allowable revenue increase for the 2018/19 tariff period to cushion end-users from the impact of recent fuel levy and VAT increases. TRANSNET applied for an increase in allowable revenue of 36% to R5.68bmn in 2018/19, which would have pushed up pipeline tariffs by 28%. However, NERSA has approved only a 26% hike in allowable revenue, which translates to a 19% tariff hike for the Durban-Alrode pipeline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NPA reinstates corruption charges against Zuma - Sane Dhlamini

The National Prosecuting Authority will reinstate charges of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering against former president JACOB ZUMA. NPA director of public prosecutions SHAUN ABRAHAMS on Friday said ZUMA will have his day in court on sixteen charges relating to fraud and corruption. The charges relate to the R30bn State arms deal in the late 1990s. ABRAHAMS said he was convinced there were reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of ZUMA in relation to the charges. ZUMA will appear in the Durban High Court but the date of the first court appearance is till to be decided. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R awarded R3.8bn in mining contracts - Marleny Arnoldi

MURRAY & ROBERTS on Friday announced that it had been awarded new underground mining projects in North America and Australasia to the value of R3.8bn. The contracts represented a 25% rise in the value of the group's underground mining order book, which stood at R15.3bn at end-Dec. M&R's share price rose on Friday, trading at a high of R10.85/share, up 12% from the previous day's closing price of R9.70/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iron ore gives SA's Jan. mining output at boost - Marleny Arnoldi

Mining production increased by 2.4% y/y in Jan., bolstered by strong growth in iron ore production and "other" non-metallic minerals, Statistics SA said last week. The Jan. growth compares with a contraction of 0.5% in Dec. Iron ore production rose by 25.1% and contributed 3.4 percentage points to the Jan. growth, while production of other non-metallic minerals jumped 27% and contributed 1.3 percentage points. PGMs and gold production fell by 13.6% and 7.7%, respectively, resulting in a negative contribution of 2.9 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Erin Energy widens loss despite higher revenue - Simone Liedtke

ERIN ENERGY has widened its net loss of $151.9m, or $0.71/share, in 2017, from $142.4m or $0.67/share in 2016. The loss comes despite a 30% rise in revenue to $101.2m and lower exploration and production expenses. ERIN has booked an impairment charge of $78.71m in 2017. During the year, ERIN produced 1.7m net barrels of oil, compared with 1.8m in 2016, but generated higher revenue owing to a stronger oil price. The company achieved an average price of $54.84/barrel in 2017, compared with $45.45/barrel in 2016. At end-Dec., its crude oil inventory was worth about $3.6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US defends dumping of cheap poultry - Luyolo Mkentane

The US has defended its dumping of cheap poultry products into the local economy, saying that with a consumption of 1.8mt/year, the South African chicken demand outstrips local supply. The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said international imports played a vital role in meeting the demand for high quality, affordable protein. It said South Africans were consuming around 33kg of chicken, 10.9kg of beef and veal, 3.4kg of pork and 3kg of mutton per person annually. The US exports its poultry to SA under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The council's regional director, ZELDA SHARAP, said that while US imports represented only around 3% of SA's annual poultry production, they were bringing new choice to the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Construction index at 125.4 points - Roy Cokayne

The AFRIMAT Construction Index increased for the second consecutive quarter in Q4 2017. Compiled by economist ROELOF BOTHA, the index increased by 1.9% to 125.4 points in Q4. This improvement in the index was largely driven by increases in the values of buildings completed by major municipalities, retail sales values for hardware, glass and paint, and the sales value of building materials produced. The index has expanded by 26.5% since the base period of Q3 2010, substantially higher in real terms than the rate of growth of 15.8% for the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edgars continues to fight over climb fees - Dineo Faku

The North Gauteng High Court has reserved judgment in the appeal by EDCON against the National Credit Tribunal declaration that it had flouted the National Credit Act by requiring the payment of club fees in terms of its credit agreements. EDCON's senior counsel, CHRIS LOXTON, last week argued before the court hat the NCT had made errors in its judgment and that it had not established what conduct EDCON had breached. "The one thing which the tribunal was obliged to find was that the credit agreement obliged consumers to pay club fees. No such finding was ever made. In the absence of that finding, there can never be a breach of Section 101", LOXTON said. The NCT in Apr. 2017 hit EDCON with an order to pay an administrative penalty equal to 10% of annual turnover, after finding that it had contravened Section 101 of the NCA by adding the club fee to its credit agreement. It also ordered EDCON to refund members who from 2007 to date had been charged club and membership fees. However, EDCON appealed the judgment, contending that the programme was a product and had nothing to do with the cost of credit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's finmin says rate caps are "unsustainable" - Omar Mohammed

Caps on commercial interest rates in Kenya are unsustainable and the government plans to modify them without driving up lending rates, Finance Minister HENRY ROTICH said yesterday. Kenya introduced a cap on commercial lending rates in Sep. 2016, setting them at four percentage points above the central bank's benchmark rate which stands at 10%, to limit the cost of borrowing from commercial banks. It justified the caps at he time by accusing lenders of failing to pass on the benefits of growth in the industry to consumers via cheaper loans. "This is not sustainable", ROTICH said, adding that officials were working with parliament to change the law. "It can entail an abolishment or a modification, or complete amendment to allow flexibility". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Kenya launches mobile app - Duncan Miriri

BARCLAYS KENYA launched an app on Friday to allow customers to borrow up to 150 000 shillings for 30 days using their phones. The lender wants to attract at least 5m new customers in the next five years, up from around half a million, through mobile phone-based lending, CEO JEREMY AWORI said. "Our focus is to use innovation and technology to develop products that are more relevant to the emerging needs of our customers", AWORI said. Known as Timiza, the new app's competitors include KCB GROUP's KCB M-PESA and CBA GROUP's M-SHWARI, both operated in partnership with SAFARICOM. AWORI said the app will allow users to buy insurance and hail rides via a partnership with local ride-hailing company LITTLE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola's growth outlook boosted - IMF - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola's economic growth prospects are on the rise as higher oil prices and sounder policies under President JOAO LOURENCO bring greater stability to the country, the IMF said on Friday. The economy is expected to grow by 2.25% this year from 1% in 2017, and growth should reach 5% in the medium-term, IMF Africa division chief RICARDO VELLOSO said. He said LOURENCO's government had already supported the economy by devaluing the kwanza currency, promising to reduce debt and restructuring SONANGOL. He added that higher oil prices had also helped. "Over the medium term, the outlook is for continued gradual recovery in economic activity but there are risks, including a decline in oil prices and slippages in implementation of the structural reforms to promote economic diversification". The IMF does not think a bailout is necessary despite Angola's heavy debt burden and high inflation, saying LOURENCO's reform plans and a buoyant global debt market should help stabilise public finances, VELLOSO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Seven firms bid for majority stake in Zambian oil refinery - Chris Mfula

Seven companies have submitted bids to buy a majority stake in Zambia's sole 24 000 bpd Indeni Petroleum Refinery, ZAMBIA DEVELOPMENT AGENCY procurement specialist MWILA KAPITA said at the weekend. KAPITA said GLENCORE ENERGY UK, VITOL SA, CHINA PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and PHILIA TRADING were among the firms that had submitted bids. The others are JOINT STOCK COMPANY GLOBAL SECURITY of Russia, SAHARA ENERGY RESOURCES and a consortium of BEIJING HUIERSANJI GREEN CHEM COMPANY and AVIC INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS. Zambia is looking for a strategic partner to work with Indeni, which is currently 100% owned by the state-controlled INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LIMITED. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 19/03/2018

At 07:23 on 19 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.98 Rand/Sterling 16.69 Rand/Euro 14.70 Gold 1311.85 Platinum 942.00 Oil 65.89 All-Share Index 58101.02

Shell to exit NZ after more than 100 years - Edward White

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has called it quits in New Zealand after more than a century operating in the country. The company has agreed to sell its stake in New Zealand to Austrian group OMV for $578m. The agreement includes the sale of the Maui field off the west coast of the North Island, historically the country's most important oil and gas resource. SHELL will also sell its exploration holding in the Great South Basin, a prospective deep water gas resource off the coast of the bottom of the South Island. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil's Fibria, Suzano to merge - Joe Leahy

Brazil's two largest pulp producers, FIBRIA and SUZANO, are to merge to create the world's largest producer of the raw material for paper production, according to Brazil's development bank, BNDES. SUZANO beat fierce competition from PAPER EXCELLENCE in the battle to woo FIBRIA. While the price of the deal was not immediately available, one person familiar with the talks said PAPER EXCELLENCE had offered R$71.50 per share for FIBRIA, which would have valued the company at just below R$40bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Borse futures exchange faces 'serious issues' - Adam Samson

DEUTSCHE BORSE faced "serious issues" on its futures exchange this morning, preventing key futures contracts such as those tracking the Dax and Euro Stoxx 50 indices from opening. The group said it was "currently experiencing technical issues" on its Eurex T7 trading system. A glitch on that system in Dec. caused the open of trade to be delayed from 8am CET to 8:50am. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Siemens to price Healthineers IPO at €28/share - Patrick McGee

The IPO of HEALTHINEERS is off to an underwhelming start after SIEMENS' health care unit priced on the lower end of expectations. Late last night the deal was est to be priced at €28/share - on the lower end of earlier guidance set between €26 and €31. HEALTHINEERS is the imaging and diagnostics unit of SIEMENS. A share price of €28 values the company at around €32bn. With SIEMENS selling a stake of 13%, plus a 2% greenshoe option, the stake is worth around €4.2bn, making it Germany's largest deal since the INNOGY IPO of Oct. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrefour buys French meal-kit delivery startup Quitoque - Harriet Agnew

French retail giant CARREFOUR has bought a French meal-kit delivery startup as it seeks to ramp up its ecommerce strategy. CARREFOUR said it has bought a majority stake in QUITOQUE, a "food-tech" company that sells online meal kits. Each week QUITOQUE's subscribers receive a variety of healthy recipes to be made at home with local, organic and seasonal products. "QUITOQUE will enable us to strengthen our position in the food-tech industry in order to provide an omnichannel response to new consumer habits through the combination of proximity, convenience and quality", MARIE CHEVAL, executive director at CARREFOUR, said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Profit falls at Alrosa - Max Seddon

ALROSA saw its profits drop 41% y/y in 2017 as it dealt with the effects of a fatal mining collapse. Net profit for FY2017 was Rbs79bn, down from Rbs133bn y/y. Total revenue fell 15% to Rbs270bn, while EBITDA contracted by 28% to Rbs126.9bn. ALROSA blamed the slump on the rouble's strength against the dollar and a 9% drop in the average price of gem-quality diamonds. It also lost Rbs8.5bn after an accident at its flagship mine in Mirny, in which eight employees died last summer. ALROSA CEO SERGEI IVANOV said the mine will not be operational until at least 2022, and the company expects "significant" capex will be required to resume operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Former Qualcomm chair seeks funding for buyout - James Fontanella-Khan

PAUL JACOBS, the recently demoted chair of QUALCOMM, has approached several global investors in a bid to acquire the chipmaker founded by his father, in what would be one of the largest buyout deals in history. The move comes days after US President DONALD TRUMP blocked BROADCOM's $142bn hostile bid for QUALCOMM over national security concerns. JACOBS has informed members of the board about his plan to launch a buyout, according to sources. SOFTBANK is one of the potential partners approached by JACOBS, according to one of the people with knowledge about his take-private plan. It is unclear whether SOFTBANK will team up with JACOBS, although several people close to the matter said JACOBS' personal ties with founder MASAYOSHI SON could facilitate the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wesfarmers will spin off Coles supermarket chain - Jamie Smyth

WESFARMERS plans to demerge its COLES supermarket division to create one of Australia's top 30 listed companies, the company said today. The retail conglomerate said its decision follows a review of its portfolio, which resulted in a decision to focus WESFARMERS' capital on supporting higher growth businesses and shareholder returns. WESFARMERS MD ROB SCOTT said the demerger "will facilitate greater focus by WESFARMERS on growth opportunities within its remaining businesses and the pursuit of value accretive transactions". COLES accounted for about 60% of WESFARMERS' capital employed and 34% of group divisional earnings at Dec. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify sets IPO date - Anna Nicolaou

SPOTIFY will debut on the public market on Apr. 3, it announced yesterday. "The traditional model for taking a company public isn't good for us", CEO and co-founder DANIEL EK said. "For us, going public has never been about the pomp or circumstance of it all". SPOTIFY also said it would issue guidance on Mar. 26 for its first fiscal year, before listing its stock directly on the NYSE the following week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German watchdog threatens to fine Steinhoff over missing reporting deadline - Olaf Storbeck

Germany's financial watchdog Bafin is threatening to mete out a fine of €1.15m to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL if the company does not publish its FY2017 results in due course. STEINHOFF is legally required to publish its results within four months after the end of its business year. It missed the Jan. 31 deadline amid an ongoing investigation into accounting irregularities. STEINHOFF yesterday said it is "aware of the regulatory requirements and our team is working hard on the 2017 financial statements. It is not possible at this stage to provide any definitive timing for the publication of the 2017 financial statements, but the company will provide regular updates on any material developments and clarity on timing as soon as possible". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Montanto tumbles on report of US antitrust hurdles for Bayer deal - Peter Wells

Shares in MONSANTO fell sharply in morning trade following a median report that BAYER's plan to secure US regulatory approval for its $66bn deal to take over the US group has not adequately allayed competition concerns. Shares in MONSANTO fell 5.1% to $116.88, their lowest level this year, after Bloomberg reported that the US Justice Department antitrust unit thinks BAYER's proposal to sell businesses if the two companies merge does not do enough to resolve antitrust concerns. BAYER would need to sell more assets to resolve those potential competition issues, according to a Bloomberg source. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petrobras narrows 2017 loss, net debt falls below $85bn - Joe Leahy

PETROBRAS of Brazil yesterday reported a net loss of R$446m for 2017, compared with a loss of R$14.8bn y/y, with the result weighed down by a large shareholder corruption settlement. The company said it would have reported a net profit of R$7.01bn without the extraordinary R$11.2bn expense created by the shareholder lawsuit as well as a R$10.4bn programme to regularise outstanding debts to the Brazilian federal government. Investors launched the class action suit in the US against PETROBRAS after the state-owned oil company was found to be at the centre of Brazil's largest corruption scandal, in which former directors conspired with politicians and contractors to extract bribes from the company. Revenue was flat at R$283.7bn, but net debt fell 12% to below $85bn as the company sold assets to reduce what is the largest leverage in the sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil major changes name - Cat Rutter Pooley

STATOIL yesterday said it has recognised that it is not so much an oil major as a "broad energy company", and to reflect that, it is changing its name to EQUINOR. "The name EQUINOR is formed by combining 'equi', the starting point for words like equal, equality and equilibrium, and 'nor', signalling a company proud of its Norwegian origin, and who wants to use this actively in its positioning". CEO ELDAR SAETRE said EQUINOR is a "values-based company, and equality describes how we want to approach people and the societies where we operate". The re-branding costs are estimated at around NOK250m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Over a third of SA water supply lost through poor infrastructure - Kyle Venktess

Over a third of SA's water supply is being lost due to aged and leaking infrastructure before it can be used. That is according to CSIR principal researcher MARIUS CLAASSEN. Speaking during a panel discussion yesterday ahead of World Water Day, CLAASSEN said countrywide an average of 37% of SA's water supply was lost before it reached users due to leaks. "For metropolitan areas infrastructure is fit for supply and sanitation, but in rural areas infrastructure is at imminent risk of failure as it has not been upgraded for years", CLAASSEN said. According to the South African Institution of Civil Engineering's 2017 Infrastructure Report Card for SA, water supply in major urban areas gets a C+ grading, while supply of all other areas is D-. "When we face water outages in the country it isn't normally linked to less water in dams but rather as a failure of pumps or pipes", CLAASSEN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana exporting power, SA among buyers - Mbongeni Mguni, Bloomberg

Botswana is exporting power for the first time in 10 years. State-owned BOTSWANA POWER started "limited" sales to the Southern African Power Pool's auction platform, where regional utilities buy and sell electricity, CEO STEFAN SCHWARZFISCHER said yesterday. Sales have been made possible by improved plant availability at the flagship 600MW Morupule B plant, which is now producing 450MW and is expected to reach full capacity next month. Exports will rise to a targeted 100MW once the 120MW Morupule A plant is put back online in July, following a six-year refurbishment programme. "Namibia and South Africa have been the buyers thus far through the SAPP platform", SCHWARZFISCHER said. "While we would want bilateral supply contracts, the countries we know could pay us don't need it and those that need the power have problems paying". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

STAR turns back on parent Steinhoff - Janice Kew, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL was left mortified in Dec., when majority shareholder STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL reported accounting irregularities that wiped 90% off the parent company's market cap. STAR was initially dragged down by the panic that ensued from the revelations, plunging more than 30% in two days. The reputation risk was compounded by STEINHOFF's announcement that STAR had agreed to gradually repay R16bn of debt to shore up its parent company. However, the stock has since clawed back more than half the deficit as investors acknowledge that its own 2017 financials have been audited and are apparently untainted by the scandal. Now STAR is trying to distance itself further from STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. STAR chair JAYENDRA NAIDOO is considering a name change and overseeing a hunt for new non-executive directors that have no connection whatsoever with STEINHOFF. Before the accounting scandal broke, STAR shared six directors with its parent company and "was very much an offspring", NAIDOO said. Since Jan., START's investor relations team has moved from STEINHOFF's offices in Stellenbosch to Parow. The email address has been changed from @steinhoff to @star-group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comair ups fleet efficiency in partnership with Boeing - Fin24

COMAIR yesterday announced the latest details of its fleet renewal programme. At a media briefing jointly hosted by COMAIR and BOEING, COMAIR CEO ERIK VENTER outlined the next phase of the airline's fleet renewal programme. The carrier is scheduled to take delivery of the first of eight BOEING 737 MAX 8s early in 2019, with the last one due in 2022. VENTER said this will give COMAIR's two airline brands, KULULA.COM and BRITISH AIRWAYS operated by COMAIR, the benefits of increased seating capacity, lower operating costs and lowered downtime for maintenance. "Our fleet renewal strategy means we use 33% less fuel per passenger and the aircraft are 7% more fuel and cost-efficient overall. It means that increases in the oil price actually work in our favour", VENTER added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's Econet offers free Facebook access - Memory Mataranyika

ECONET WIRELESS' KWESE pay-TV platform is offering free FACEBOOK access and a subscription package for civil servants. The pay-TV platform has taken competition directly to MULTICHOICE ZIMBABWE's doorstep. However, DSTV ZIMBABWE is holding onto its market share although KWESE is becoming popular in the country. KWESE TV yesterday announced a new deal aimed at the country's civil servants, which will give them a premium subscription, free installation and free decoders for $20/month over a period of two years. DSTV ZIM charges $65 for its Premium option, $25 for its Compact option and $8 for its Access bouquet. KWESE charges $28 for its premium offering for general viewership. Meanwhile, ECONET WIRELESS has announced free FACEBOOK access for its mobile network subscribers in Zimbabwe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Business as usual for Toys R Us SA - Lameez Omarjee

Despite the US arm of TOYS R US filing for bankruptcy this week, it is "business as usual" for the chain in Southern Africa. NICOLE ANNELLS, marketing manager of TOYS R US and BABIES R US SA, yesterday said the local company is privately owned and only pays royalties to the international firm to use its brand name. All local operations are managed privately, ANNELLS said, adding that royalties will continue to be paid to the international business, as per its agreement. She said the South African operations have been experiencing "phenomenal growth". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

State firms, departments 'obliged' to implement BBBEE Act - Simone Liedtke

Out of 195 compliance reports received from the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Commission, only eight were for state entities and government departments, representing a gross level of under compliance, Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES said yesterday. None were from sector education and training authorities, he lamented. Addressing the BBBEE Commission's annual conference in Midrand, DAVIES stressed that all SOEs and government departments were required to implement the BBBEE Act and that noncompliance was undermining transformation efforts. The minister urged the BBBEE Commission to be tougher with companies bypassing the Act. Portfolio Committee on Trade & Industry chair JOAN FUBBS urged businesses to have the desire to be part of the real economic transformation by implementing the BBBEE Act's objectives. She also called for integrity within the BEE verification agencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moyane 'not aware' of reports he may be sacked - News24Wire

SARS Commissioner TOM MOYANE yesterday said he was not aware of news reports stating that his removal from the tax authority may be imminent. Business Day yesterday reported that CAbinet was due to discuss MOYANE's removal, possibly replacing him with former deputy finance minister MCEBISI JONAS. This comes after the revenue service's chief officer for business and individual tax JONAS MAKWAKWA abruptly resigned yesterday under a cloud, after reports of alleged inappropriate relationships with businesses rendering services to SARS. SARS is due to brief Parliament's standing committee on finance next week about internal reports which previously cleared MAKWAKWA of wrongdoing, as well as other pressing issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metair aims to almost double GWh capacity in next three years - Irma Venter

METAIR is gearing up to become a multiple-site giga factory, in a bid to reap the benefits from the rapid increase in battery use in the automotive, telecoms, utility, mining, retail and materials-handling sectors. "We have made good progress in becoming a multiple site giga factory, servicing customers closer to the geographies where they operate", METAIR MD THEO LOOCK said, adding that the company's combined energy vertical "sold over 10.4 gigawatt-hours in 2017, which is equivalent to TESLA's Giga factory automotive output." Capacity within the group is 11.5 gigawatt hours. METAIR aimed to have 20 gigawatt hours capacity in the next two to three years. This growth would not be organic, but acquisitive. METAIR's 2017 revenue was up 6.3% to R9.5bn, while operating profit rose by 15.9% y/y to R847m. The group margin expanded to 8.9%, up from 8.2% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R2.1bn top-up deal takes PPC SA BEE shareholding to 30% - Schalk Burger

PPC yesterday announced details of its R2.1bn top-up BEE scheme that, together with the BEE shareholding from two previous transactions, will result in an effective 30% BEE shareholding at the PPC SA level. The PPC PHAKAMA deal, which was proposed in Dec., will comprise the PPC SA EMPLOYEE TRUST, a community development trust and eligible black entrepreneurs. PPC employees will hold around 10% direct shareholding in the South African business, allocated equally, CEO JOHAN CLAASSEN said. Meanwhile, communities, through a community development trust, will have an indirect equity shareholding of about 8% in PPC SA. The trust will consist of communities, which are still to be confirmed, residing in and around the areas in which PPC SA operates. Eligible black entrepreneurs will be allocated about 7% direct equity shareholding in PPC SA. The PPC PHAKAMA deal is valued at R2.1bn based on a derived intrinsic equity value of R10.2bn for PPC SA, before adjustments for a non-controlling and unlisted interest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fuel prices to rise in April - News24Wire

Although basic fuel prices are showing signs of further decreases at month end, the overall price of fuel is set to increase because of the addition of increased fuel levies in April, the Automobile Association said yesterday. "The Rand/US dollar exchange rate has been virtually flat since the beginning of the month, with the local currency having weakened against the dollar by around two cents. Over the same period, international oil prices have retreated slightly in favour of South African fuel users". The AA says petrol is indicating a likely decline of around 12c/litre and diesel 18c. However, despite these predicted decreases to the basic fuel price, the additional 52c in fuel levies will push the overall price of fuel up going into April. "Even though there's a decrease of 12 cents a litre to the basic price of petrol, the overall price will jump 40c in April because of the increases to the General Fuel and Road Accident Fund levies announced by former Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA in his Budget Speech in February", the AA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gary Bell to become chair of Bell Equipment - Creamer Media Reporter

BELL EQUIPMENT has appointed outgoing CEO GARY BELL as nonexecutive chair of the board with effect from Jun. 1. BELL will succeed JOHN BARTON, who will become the lead independent nonexecutive director of the board. LEON GOOSEN, who was named CEO designate last year, will assume the position of CEO on Jun. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kinross adopts new poison pill - Henry Lazenby

KINROSS GOLD has adopted a new shareholder rights plan to replace the expiring existing document from Mar. 29, the company said yesterday. The new plan will ensure that KINROSS and its shareholders continue to receive the benefits associated with the current shareholder rights plan, designed to ensure that shareholders have an equal opportunity to participate in a take-over bid and receive full and fair value for their KINROSS common shares. The new plan is similar to plans recently adopted by other Canadian companies and approved by their shareholders, the company said. Subject to the receipt of requisite regulatory approvals, shareholder ratification at the annual and special meeting of shareholders on May 9, and shareholder reconfirmation at the company's AGMs in 2021 and 2042, the new plan will remain in effect until the conclusion of KINROSS' AGM in 2027. The new plan includes amendments that reflect changes to the legislative framework governing take-over bids in Canada that came into force in 2016. These amendments include: lengthening the minimum bid period to 105 days, from 35 previously; requiring that all non-exempt take-over bids meet a minimum tender requirement of more than 50% of the outstanding securities of the class subject to the bid held by independent shareholders; and requiring a minimum 10-day extension after the minimum requirement is met. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oligarch buys 2% of Norilsk Nickel from Abramovich - Reuters

Russian billionaire VLADIMIR POTANIN's INTERROS HOLDING yesterday said it had completed the purchase from ROMAN ABRAMOVICH of a 2% stake in NORILSK NICKEL, which has been the subject of a legal battle. ABRAMOVICH struck a provisional deal last week that allowed him to sell a 4% stake in NORILSK to fellow shareholders POTANIN and RUSAL, pending the outcome of a London court case. RUSAL is trying to stop ABRAMOVICH from selling NORILSK shares, arguing it would violate a 2012 shareholder agreement. The share purchase by INTERROS could yet be revoked if the court, which is expected to make a decision in May, rules in favour of RUSAL. INTERROS said it had bought a 2.1% stake in ABRAMOVICH, increasing its holding in the miner to 32.9%. The purchase was made at a price of $234/share, as set out in POTANIN's initial offer to buy a stake from ABRAMOVICH in early Feb. It was unclear whether RUSAL planned to buy the remaining 2% stake on offer from ABRAMOVICH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining companies to engage with DRC on new mining code - Marleny Arnoldi

A legal and technical team representing the major mining companies operating in the DRC arrived in Kinshasa yesterday for 30 days of engagement with the government on its new mining code. This follows a meeting on Mar. 7 where President JOSEPH KABILA gave an assurance that the issues raised by the companies would be resolved via transitional arrangements, mining regulations and agreements, as well as guarantees, that need to be considered after the new mining code was signed into law. In a joint statement yesterday, the international mining companies said a matrix of issues and proposals regarding the mining code had been delivered to the Mines Minister. The companies were now awaiting an appointment with the Minister to discuss a programme of engagement with the government's working group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vele impairment sees MC Mining widen H1 loss - Esmarie Swanepoel

MC MINING has widened its after-tax loss from $12.9m in the HY to end-Dec. 2016, to $97.3m in the same period of 2017. The loss includes a cost of sales of $14.36m, and an impairment of $87.5m on the Vele colliery, as expected production from the project is delayed by two years. MC's investment in Vele and the positioning of the colliery within the company's portfolio will be finalised before the end of FY2018, CEO DAVID BROWN said yesterday. MC reported revenue of $17m for the HY to end-Dec., with the recently acquired Uitkomst colliery delivering 346 336t of RoM coal during the period under review. The mine processed 265 609t of Uitkomst RoM coal and 80 727t of purchased RoM, resulting in sales of 308 275t. MC is also developing the Makhado project, with construction estimated to take 12 months to complete. The project is expected to cost between $75m and $85m to construct, and will produce around 1.7mt/year of saleable coal, over a mine life of 29 years. At end-Dec., MC had $10.2m cash and cash equivalent on hand, compared with the $9.6m reported at end-Jun. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida invites union to early labour talks - Reuters

BHP's Escondida copper mine in Chile this week said it has invited its workers' union to start early talks on a new collective labour contract. Last year, a more than month-long strike at the mine ended with workers opting to extend their previous contract through Jul. 31 2018 instead of replacing it. New talks are scheduled for June, but BHP said it hoped to begin earlier. The union summoned its members to an assembly to decide whether to accept the invitation, according to the union's website. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New stokvel savings tool launched by PnP - Joseph Booysen

With consumers widely using stokvels as a savings tool and the concept continuing to grow in popularity, PICK N PAY has partnered with ABSA to launch a new stokvel account, providing a safer and easier way to save. The Grocery Stokvel Account caters for groups saving for groceries and other store-bought essentials. PAPI RAPOLAI, GM for wholesale and stokvel at PNP, said there was a gap for a savings solution that would address stokvel members' need to save for groceries safely and securely, but one that also provided a competitive interest rate on savings. There are more than 800 000 stokvel groups in SA, estimated to generate an economy worth R49bn in SA alone, according to the National Stokvel Association of SA. With the new Grocery Stokvel Account, stokvels are able to earn a very competitive interest rate on balances of as little as R50 and spend their stokvels' money safely and conveniently at PNP, where they already receive further savings on groceries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank launches SA investment initiative - Kabelo Khumalo

NEDBANK has launched the Investing in SA initiative to woo investment into the country on the back of renewed business confidence. GOOLAM KADER, MD of NEDBANK BUSINESS BANKING, said the time was opportune for businesses to invest and to shy away from the "wait and see" approach of the past few years. "The initiative is about putting the conversation to our clients and saying that we are potentially entering a new growth phase", KADER said. NEDBANK last month committed R3.4m to an enterprise development initiative with non-profit FIX FORWARD aimed at developing the entrepreneurial skills of 100 trade people in the greater Cape Town area and Gauteng. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Helios ditches London IPO plans, Congo turmoil weighs - Pamela Barbaglia

HELIOS TOWERS yesterday pulled its plans to list in London, with one banker saying the expected IPO price was too low for shareholders who had been valuing the firm at as much as £2bn. HELIOS said it had received "considerable interest" from institutional investors who liked its business plan and growth prospects. However, without giving reasons, it said shareholders had decided to withdraw from the listing, which had been scheduled for April. A banker involved on the deal said investors were worried about the political and policy uncertainty in the DRC and Tanzania. HELIOS is owned by MILLICOM and BHARTI AIRTEL and hedge funds including ALBRIGHT CAPITAL MANAGEMENT and SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim coal output set to quadruple as investors arrive - Barbara Lewis

Zimbabwe has attracted around $300m in its coal industry that will quadruple production next year versus 2017, its mining minister told an investment conference yesterday. Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said interest had focused on coal, as well as on lithium and platinum. He was speaking to investors in London. CHITANDO told investors coal output in Zimbabwe would reach more than 8mt next year compared with around 2mt in 2017, following around $300m in investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell, GT Bank agree $270m oil-backed loan to Nigeria's Amni - Julia Payne

Nigeria's GUARANTY TRUST BANK and a subsidiary of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL have granted a $270m loan to independent Nigerian oil and gas producer AMNI INTERNATIONAL, the latter said yesterday. The terms of loan will give SHELL WESTERN SUPPLY AND TRADING sole access to the 16 000 bpd of oil the company pumps in two fields off Nigeria's Delta region. AMNI said the loan would allow it to further develop the Ima and Okoro/Setu offshore fields. "We are excited to work with GT BANK and SHELL as commercial and financial partners to enable the realisation of AMNI's ambitious plans for growth", CEO TUNDE AFOLABI said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim firm to invest $400m in Zimbabwe platinum - Clara Denina

GREAT DYKE INVESTMENTS yesterday said it would invest around $400m to build a precious metals mine and smelter in Zimbabwe. The JV between Russia's JSC AFROMET and Zimbabwe's PEN EAST LTD expects to produce some 855 000oz of PGMs and gold per year from the Darwendale PGM project. The deposit, which has total resources of around 1 300t of PGMs, is part of the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe and is the world's biggest PGM asset, the companies said. The mine life after project ramp-up to full capacity is estimated at 35 years. The project is expected to create around 8 000 highly skilled jobs at full capacity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, Randgold mines quit DRC industry body ahead of govt talks - Rahul B

Mines run by GLENCORE, RANDGOLD RESOURCES and three other international companies have quit the DRC's chamber of commerce, saying the industry body does not adequately represent their interests after the introduction of a new mining law. The miners said in a joint statement that a team representing the companies had arrived in Kinshasa and would begin detailed talks soon with the government on implementation of the new rules signed into law last Friday. At least five mines, which produce more than 85% of the country's copper, cobalt and gold, resigned from the industry body. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 16/03/2018

At 07:34 on 16 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.90 Rand/Sterling 16.57 Rand/Euro 14.64 Gold 1316.35 Platinum 952.50 Oil 64.80 All-Share Index 58203.77

Warning on UK consumers send PZ Cussons shares down 25% - Katie Martin

PZ CUSSONS says it is scrubbing up its strategy to try and deal with persistent caution among UK consumers, sending its shares down by a quarter this morning. In a trading update, the soap maker said "it is now apparent that profit for the full year will fall short of expectations". Profits before tax are likely to land between £80m and £85m, it said. The UK and Nigeria are dragging it down; meanwhile, markets in Australia and Indonesia are proving "robust". "The UK washing and bathing division has continued to experience lower levels of purchases reflecting consumer caution across all retail channels caused by economic uncertainty and inflation out-stripping wage growth. Whilst new product launches have been well received, they have not had the desired uplift in sales to compensate for the wider volume and margin shortfall". PZ CUSSONS said it is reassessing its operating model, taking a fresh look at product costs and reviewing its milk business in Nigeria. It will also more broadly focus on "fewer, bigger projects requiring lower levels of complexity". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade war would have 'strong consequences' for oil demand - IEA - Anjli Raval

President DONALD TRUMP's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports risk a global trade war and could threaten rising oil demand growth, the International Energy Agency said today. Global oil demand is expected to rise by 1.5m barrels a day in 2018 to 99.3m bpd, an upward revision of almost 100 000 bpd, the IEA said. But recent signs of protectionism from the US could hit global economic growth forecasts and in turn trade flows and oil demand, the IEA said. "A slowdown [in world trade] would have strong consequences, particularly for fuel used in the maritime sector and in the trucking industry". The growth in world trade, which accelerated from 2.5% in 2016 to 4.7% in 2017, is part of the strong increase in global oil demand last year, the IEA said. Global oil supply in Feb. was at 97.9m bpd with production from OPEC countries edging lower to 32.1m bpd. Strong growth in the US is expected to boost production outside the OPEC cartel in 2018, which will grow by 1.8m bpd compared to 760 000 bpd in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual says units 'set up for future growth' ahead of break-up - Cat Rutter Pooley

OLD MUTUAL today said it had improved the performance of its underlying businesses and "set them up for continued future growth" as it prepares to finalise its breakup by the end of 2018. Despite facing what it described as "challenging macroeconomic conditions" in SA during 2017, results for the year were ahead of expectations, CEO BRUCE HEMPHILL said. Pretax adjusted operating profit was up 22% to £2bn and pretax profit from continuing operations was just over double the previous year, at £617m. HEMPHILL reassured investors that plans for the group's split were on course, with OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS and OLD MUTUAL WEALTH "ready for independence with balance sheets finalised". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unilever chooses Netherlands over UK for corporate base - Adam Samson

UNILEVER has chosen the Netherlands over Britain as its single legal base. The group said it will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York and indicated that no UK jobs would be lost as a result of its decision. The group currently has one management team but two parent companies, with headquarters in both Rotterdam and London and two separately listed entities - a UK plc and a Dutch NV. UNILEVER said its decision reflects the fact that the Dutch NV represents 55% of the group's overall share capital and that the shares listed in the Netherlands are more liquid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UBS to merge equity with capital markets unit in Asia Pacific - Emma Dunkley

UBS GROUP is combining its equity and debt capital markets division in Asia Pacific in a move to streamline the business. DAVID CHIN said in a note tho staff that the lender is amalgamating the two divisions because there were "synergies" in terms of investors and products. One source said there will be no jobs lost as a result of the merger. The announcement comes days after the local securities regulator banned UBS from sponsoring IPOs for 18 months in Hong Kong, and fined the bank HK$119m. The ban was the result of a probe into the Swiss lender's role in certain listings on the city's stock exchange. UBS said it is appealing the decision. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

White House supports UK expulsion of Russian diplomats - Jessica Dye

The White House yesterday evening said it stands behind the UK's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats and suspend all high-level contact with Moscow in retaliation for its suspected involvement in the attempted murder of double agent SERGEI SKRIPAL. "The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom. The United States shares the United Kingdom's assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom's decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response", the White House said. Russia, which has denounced the UK's "unprecedentedly crude provocation, is expected to announce counter-measures as early as Thursday, which could prompt the UK to respond in turn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SEC approves pilot programme to scrutinise trading rules - Nicole Bullock

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday approved a pilot programme that will put up for scrutiny some of the key rules underpinning trading in the world's largest equity market. The move caps years of debate over the so-called maker taker system, by which exchanges pay brokers to post orders and charge them for accessing bids and offers. Proponents of the system argue that it boosts liquidity and ultimately shrinks trading costs for investors. Critics believe it creates conflicts of interest for brokers that may feel pressure to direct trades to the venues most advantageous for them while adding to market complexity and fragmentation. The terms of the scheme will be put up for public comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US retail sales shrink for 3rd consecutive month in Feb. - Peter Wells

US consumers were reluctant to open their wallets in Feb., with retail sales contracting for a third consecutive month, the first time that has happened in five-and-a-half years. Retail sales shrank 0.3% m/m in Feb., following a revised 0.1% decline (-0.3% previously) at the start of the year. Combined with a 0.1% drop in Dec., it is the first time sales have shrunk three months in a row since Apr. to June 2012. The headline figure fell well short of forecasts for a 0.3% rise, according to a Reuters survey. Excluding vehicles, retail sales grew 0.2%, up on January's 0.1% but below expectations for 0.4%. Control sales, which strip out volatile items, grew 0.1%, up from zero in Jan. but far short of forecasts for a 0.4% advance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Opec forecasts faster crude output growth from rivals - David Sheppard

OPEC yesterday revised up its forecast for supply growth from outside the cartel in 2018 and now sees rivals adding barrels to the market at a faster pace than demand will rise. The cartel said non-OPEC crude output would now grow by 1.66m bpd this year, a 280 000 bpd jump on the same forecast last month. That compares with global demand growth of 1.6m bpd, which was only revised marginally higher m/m. Almost all of the production growth OPEC forecasts comes in North America, led by shale output growth in the US, with small additions from Canada. While non-OPEC supply growth is only marginally higher than global demand growth, the addition of 180 000 bpd of rising OPEC natural gas liquids output suggests the market will not be as tight in 2018 as last year. That could change if OPEC members' own output declines, with countries such as Venezuela and Angola currently producing below their target levels under the production deal. OPEC's total output fell by 77 000 barrels last month to 32.2m barrels, according to secondary sources. OPEC revised own demand for its crude by 200 000 bpd to 32.6m bpd - a number still above current output. Saudi Arabia held production below 10m bpd for another month, showing little sign of wavering from its commitment to draw down global inventories. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Don't ignore full scope of expropriation plans - Nedbank CEO - Carin Smith

NEDBANK GROUP CEO MIKE BROWN yesterday said it is important to emphasise the fact hat what Parliament announced was a process to investigate land expropriation without compensation in a way that does not impact food security or the economy. This statement is, therefore, open to a broad interpretation which creates uncertainty, BROWN said. He said NEDBANK is confident that the consultation process will result in the appropriate level of engagement amongst all interested parties to ensure the outcome is one that does not impact food security or the economy and is in the best long-term interests of all South Africans. "Clearly wholesale land expropriation in a way that does not impact the economy or food security is not possible... and the President has reiterated this by saying this is not, in his words, smash and grab. We fully support this process as the current land issues in SA are unsustainable in their own right, but it will require our people to have cool heads and think deeply about the long-term impacts on our country and all her people rather than be focussed on emotional rhetoric", BROWN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats over nerve agent attack - Katie Martin

PM THERESA MAY has revealed a sweeping set of measures in retaliation for what she called the "highly likely" involvement of the Russian state in the poisoning of former spy SERGEI SKRIPAL and his daughter on British soil. MAY told Parliament that Russia had responded to her request for an explanation over the incident with "sarcasm, contempt and defiance". The UK will now expel 23 Russian diplomats whom the UK has identified as "undeclared intelligence officers", she said. They have one week to leave, in what will form the "single biggest expulsion in over 30 years" reflecting a persistent pattern of behaviour from the Russian state. MAY also said an asset freeze on Russian state assets "wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property" of British nationals or residents would be introduced. She added that UK officials and members of the Royal Family will not attend the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tokyo Gas, Petronas agree 13-yr flexible LNG deal - Emiko Terazono

TOKYO GAS has agreed on a 13-year flexible LNG purchase deal with Malaysia's PETRONAS in the latest move among large buyers of the fuel to shift away from fixed destination contracts. According to the heads of agreement signed, TOKYO GAS will buy Malaysian LNG for up to 13 years from Apr. this year, purchasing up to 500 000t/year for the first six years and up to 900 000t in the next seven years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toys R Us to close all UK stores after failing to find buyer - Naomi Rovnick

The UK arm of TOYS R US is to close all of its 100 stores after administrators for the business failed to find a buyer. SIMON THOMAS, of administrators MOORFIELDS, said he had imposed a deadline of midday on Wednesday for potential buyers of TOYS R US after its US parent went into bankruptcy protection last year. "We spoke to 121 people, of which about half were only interested in the stock and some were interested in the fixtures and fittings... Some expressed interest in the whole business or part of it, but the last interested party left the process yesterday". MOORFIELDS already planned to close 25 stores. It will now close them all, but keep sites open until all remaining stock is sold off at a discount. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cobalt a strategic metal under new DRC mining code - Adrienne Klasa

Cobalt will be designated as a "strategic" metal under the DRC's new mining code, clearing the way for royalties on the metal to rise as much as fivefold to 10%. "If we look at the situation today, cobalt - where a tonne cost $30 000 in 2007 and now goes for $85 000 per tonne - is a metal that is both rate and strategic, so the state wants to extract profit", PM BRUNO TSHIBALA said. Congo is the world's number one producer of cobalt, accounting for more than half of known reserves. "We cannot accept a situation where, despite a price evolution for commodities, this does not profit the country, it only profits investors", TSHIBALA said. Under previous legislation, the government put a 2% royalty on cobalt. The revised code will see royalties for base metals increase to 3.5%. That would rise to as high as 10% if a commodity is designated as "strategic". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom withdraws $142m offer for Qualcomm - Eric Platt

Broadcom withdrew its $142bn offer to purchase QUALCOMM on Wednesday, two days after President DONALD TRUMP blocked the Singapore group's pursuit of its US rival, citing national security concerns. The move brought to an end a months long battle between the two companies. BROADCOM said it would still move its official base from Singapore to the US and would hold its special stockholder meeting on Mar. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone industrial production shrinks beyond forecasts - Katie Martin

Industrial production in the eurozone contracted by 1% in Jan., from 0.4% growth in Dec., and well below forecasts for a 0.4% decline. On the year, that left industrial output up by 2.7%, two percentage points below what economists had been expecting. Eurostat said the industrial production data reflect a 6.6% decline from the energy sector over the month. The biggest declines came from the Netherlands (-5.7%), Romania (-2.9%) and Spain (-2.5%). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Malmstrom pledges firm response to damaging US tariffs - Jim Brunsden

European trade commissioner CECILIA MALMSTROM said US authorities will "very soon" publish more details of how countries can win exemptions from planned punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium, warning that DONALD TRUMP's policy risks damaging EU-US relations and the multilateral trading system. "Dialogue with the US is intense and it is continuing this week", MALMSTROM told the European Parliament yesterday. "If the EU is not excluded from the measures there will have to be a firm and resolute, but proportionate, response", she added. Should the EU be hit, "this would be very damaging for transatlantic relations", MALMSTROM added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DP World reports higher profits on rising volumes - Simeon Kerr

Dubai's DP WORLD reported a 7% rise in profit to $1.2bn for 2017 on rising volumes that the port operator said had outperformed in market. FY revenue grew 13.2% to $4.7bn, driven by gross throughput growth of 10% to 70m twenty-foot equivalent units as global trade rebounded. The company said it had invested $1.1bn last year, less than its guidance of $1.2bn. It forecast capex of $1.4bn in 2018, including investment into its home base in the UAE, Posorja in Ecuador, Berbera in Somaliland, Pusan in South Korea, Maputo, and Sokhna in Egypt. Gross global capacity of 88m TEU is expected to grow to more than 100m TEU by 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore signs massive cobalt sale deal with China's GEM - Reuters

GLENCORE has agreed to sell around a third of its cobalt production over the next three years to Chinese battery recycler GEM CO, according to a filing by GEM on Wednesday. GLENCORE will sell 52 800t of cobalt hydroxide to GEM between 2018 and 2020 as demand for cobalt soars. According to the filing, GEM and its subsidiaries will purchase 13 800t of cobalt hydroxide from GLENCORE in 2018. They will buy 18 000t in 2019 and 21 000t in 2020. GLENCORE expects to produce around 39 000t of cobalt in 2018 - equal to about 35% of estimated global production. GLENCORE expects its cobalt production to rise to 65 000t in 2019 and dip to 63 000t in 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Signs of return to confidence for business and consumers - Ntoaleng Lechela

The BANKSERVAFRICA Economic Transaction Index shows a slight drop in transactional growth to 3% in Feb., from 3.5% in Jan. According to BETI data, growth between Jan. and Feb. was almost flat, similar to that between Dec. and Jan. The seasonally adjusted and standardised BETI figure adjusted for inflation continues to show a flat trend between these months. Regardless of the slight decline in transactional growth, there are signs of a return to confidence for businesses and consumers. The number of monthly transactions at 94.6m was the highest level of growth since Feb. 2013. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH shares dive on profit warning - Jan Cronje

Shares in EOH fell by just over 20% yesterday after the company announced a drop in its HEPS for the HY to end-Jan. The company, in a market update, said HEPS would be 20%-30% lower y/y. Its total revenue for the HY is expected to be around R8.4bn, an increase of around 16% y/y. EBITDA is expected to be between R980m and R1.035bn. This would correspond to a decline of 5%-10%. At 13:00 yesterday, EOH shares were trading at R58.51 on the JSE, down 21.71% on the day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet says it cancelled contracts with state capture firms - Khulekane Magubane

TRANSNET CEO SIYABONGA GAMA this week said the utility had cancelled contracts with companies that are considered central to the state capture debacle, including TRILLIAN and MCKINSEY. GAMA said the monies that would have been paid to companies it cancelled contracts with recently are in a suspending account. Regarding companies such as T SYSTEMS, NEO-TEL PMC and others, GAMA said allegations were being dealt with according to their merits. With regards to German software giant SAP, GAMA said the company had worked with TRANSNET for 21 years. He said he found it peculiar that TRANSNET had a long working relationship with the company, and yet SAP only began paying commissions in 2014. "They found three or four of their employees broke the rules of SAP and started paying commissions to companies CAD and GSS. The last payment we made to GSS was in April of 2015. We are looking at making sure we blacklist these entities". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors rush to get in on Steinhoff's KAP share sale - Carin Smith

Less than 24 hours after announcing it has decided to sell part of its stake in KAP INDUSTRIAL HOLDINGS, STEINHOFF reported it had raised R3.667bn. STEINHOFF said it had successfully placed the placing shares in KAP at a price of R8.15 apiece. This price represents a discount of 4.1% to the KAP closing price on Monday. STEINHOFF said the book of demand was multiple times oversubscribed. The placing shares make up around 16.7% of KAP's issued share capital, and will trim STEINHOFF's stake in KAP from 43% to around 26%. Settlement of the placing is expected to occur on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ELB posts interim profit - Marleny Arnoldi

ELB yesterday announced interim profit of R52m for the HY to end-Dec., up 13% on the R46m reported y/y, while HEPS rose from 142cps previously to 158cps. Sales for the period improved by 63% to R1.72bn, from R1.05bn y/y. The increase was driven by the engineering services segment, but there were also significant sales increases in the equipment and Australasia segments, the company said. Sales in the engineering services segment rose to R974m in H2 2017, from R452m in 2016, with profit before tax rising to R24m, from R23m y/y. ELB's equipment sales rose to R485m in 2017, from R410m y/y, with profit before tax up to R47m, from R43m y/y. ELB reported a net cash outflow from operating activities of R48m, compared with a net cash inflow from operating activities of R286m in 2016, with a decrease in net cash and cash equivalents to R363m, from R437m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM welcomes delay in signing of agreements with IPPs - Marleny Arnoldi

The NUM yesterday welcomed government's decision this week to hold off on the signing of power purchase agreements with 27 IPPs. Last year, the union started its fight against the signing of the agreements in line with its objective of protecting jobs in SA. The union views the IPP deals as capitalistic and a backdoor privatisation of ESKOM. "The plan is to privatise 42% of ESKOM by 2030, masquerading as the implementation of clean energy. The NUM and the Congress of South African trade Unions successfully fought against the privatisation of ESKOM before and the organisations area ready to do it again", the union said. "If government and ESKOM are going to continue with this madness, the NUM will be pushed to a total shutdown. We are going to mobilise all our members and society to revolt against the IPPs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Phase 1 of Loftus Park mixed-use development nears completion - Schalk Burger

Phase One of the mixed-use Loftus Park precinct being developed by REDEFINE PROPERTIES and built by ABLAND will include 34 000m2 of office space, a gym, an open-air piazza with restaurants and a convenience retail offering, as well as a new 152-room MARRIOTT hotel. The retail component will be anchored by brands like Checkers and Dis-Chem, while Virgin Active will open a premium health club, REDEFINE commercial asset manager PIETRE STRYDOM said. The precinct lies within shadow's length of the Loftus Versfeld stadium, enjoys good access and, with the Gautrain bus stop adjacent to the precinct, Loftus Park connects to Centurion, Sandton, Rosebank and OR Tambo International Airport via Hatfield. Phase Two will add another 7 600m2 to the development and will see the inclusion of a hospital. Phase Three will include the development of an additional 13 000m2 of office space. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa says won't allow illegal land grabs - Reuters

SA will not allow illegal land grabs, President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said on Wednesday, after lawmakers backed plans for land expropriation without compensation last month. "We cannot have a situation where we allow land grabs, because that is anarchy", the president said in a speech to parliament. "We cannot have situation of anarchy when we have proper constitutional means through which we can work to give land to our people". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WesBank forecasts 0.75% growth in new vehicle sales - Irma Venter

SA's new vehicle industry is expected to grow by 0.75% in 2018 y/y, WESBANK said this week. WESBANK CEO CHRIS DE KOCK delivered the bank's view on the market at the 2018 Car of the Year awards, held on Tuesday. "While the recent positive sentiments about South Africa's economy will impact the automotive industry, it will take time to generate material growth", he noted. "The economic challenges faced in South Africa are structural in nature and will take an extended period of time to correct". Dealer sales accounted for 80% of total sales in SA in 2017 and are a key indicator of the total market outlook. WESBANK expects a modest rise of 3% in the dealer segment in 2018, driven mainly by new passenger car sales. This growth will be influenced not only by the improved sentiment but also a reduction in interest rates and a stronger rand, which impacts positively on vehicle price inflation. The rental car market accounted for 13% of total sales in 2017, showing "unusually high growth". DE KOCK said it would be tough to match this growth rate during the coming year. Taking all challenges into account, WESBANK anticipates a 14.9% drop in rental sales this year. The lender expects economic growth of 1.8% in 2018, with inflation at 5.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zwane a no show at Parliament - ANA

Former mineral resources minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE yesterday failed to appear before Parliament's portfolio committee on mineral resources where he had been expected to answer questions on allegations of State capture. According to committee chair SAHLULELE LUZIPO, ZWANE said he was unable to attend as he was attending another meeting. ZWANE was due to answer questions in connection to maladministration and fruitless expenditure, including his role in the issues related to the GUPTA family's controversial acquisition of the Optimum coal mine. The committee resolved to write to the Speaker's office asking for legal expertise to help the committee investigate the allegations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF approves Kenya's request to extend stand-by agreement by 6 months - George Obulutsa

The IMF has approved a request by Kenya to extend by six months a stand-by agreement that was due to expire at the end of Mar., giving it time to finish mandatory reviews, the Fund said in a statement. The stand-by agreement was for $989.8m, alongside a stand-by credit facility of around $494.9m. Last week, the IMF said that stand-by credit facility agreements cannot be extended beyond 24 months. It said the reviews were expected to be completed by Sep., allowing access to the funds available in the stand-by agreement. "In support of this request, the authorities have committed to policies that will enable them to achieve the program objectives, including reducing the fiscal deficit and substantially modifying interest controls", the Fund said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Q1 business confidence rises 11 points to 45 - Rahul B

South Africa's business confidence rose by eleven points in Q1 2018 in a sign that the country's economy is picking up pace, a survey showed yesterday. The RMB/BER business confidence index rose to 45 points in Q1, from 34 points q/q, but remained below the 50-mark separating the net positive and negative territories. RMB chief economist ETTIENNE LE ROUX said the Q1 confidence jump was driven "more by the expectation that the recent (mainly) market-friendly political development will boost activity levels in future than an immediate improvement in the real economy". "It goes without saying that the current uncertainty around land reform needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. If allowed to linger, the latest rise in the RMB/BER BCI could easily fizzle out with little or even no enduring positive impact on business capital expenditure and the economy at large", LE ROUX added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's total debt rose to 21.7tn naira at end 2017 - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's total national debt grew to 21.7tn naira at the end of Dec., the country's Debt Management Office said yesterday. It was 17.36tn naira at the end of 2016. Nigeria's first eurobond will be repaid when it matures in July, DMO head PATIENCE ONIHA said. The national debt mix is around 30% foreign and 70% local after a $2.5bn eurobond sale in Feb., she added. Eurobond sales last year boosted foreign reserves by $4.8bn, in addition to February's $2.5bn gain, ONIHA said. The country is also expected to save 81.66bn naira after it refinanced $3bn of treasury bills. Last week, the central bank said foreign reserves rose to $46bn at the close of business on Mar. 9. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

W Africa's BRVM bourse targets 12 listings over 2018-2020 - Nqobile Dludla

West Africa's regional BRVM bourse is targeting 12 new listings between 2018 and 2020, including one bank this year, the bourse's CEO said yesterday. EDOH KOSSI AMENOUNVE also said he expected two listings this year by SMEs. He declined to name any of the firms that plan to list on the exchange. "We identified 10 SMEs in the region that can come to the market during the next 2 to 3 years", he added. "We're in discussion with many of the private equity funds that are operating in our market and we think that some of them will exit during the next three years so we are working with them to have some of them list their investments on the BRVM", AMENOUNVE said, without elaborating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/03/2018

At 07:30 on 15 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.75 Rand/Sterling 16.45 Rand/Euro 14.56 Gold 1326.47 Platinum 960.00 Oil 64.75 All-Share Index 58423.17

Gem recovers 169ct diamond at Letseng - Reuters

GEM DIAMOND has recovered a 169ct white colour Type IIa diamond at its Letseng mine, in Lesotho. This is the seventh diamond larger than 100ct recovered at the mine so far this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto teams up with junior in Serbia exploration venture - Esmarie Swanepeoel

RIO TINTO's exploration arm has reached a $31.5m earn-in and JV agreement with ASX-listed junior RAIDEN RESOURCES over the latter's project holding in Serbia. The earn-in and JV agreement covers RAIDEN's Zapadni Majdanpek, Majdanpek Pojas and Donje Nevlje exploration licences, which are all located within the Western Tethyan Metallogenic belt, which hosts a number of tier-one copper/gold porphyry deposits. Under the terms of the deal, RIO will spend an initial $2.5m over the first three years to earn a 51% participating interest in the JV project area, with a minimum spend of $500 000 required within the first 12 months. A further $9m will be spent over the following three-year period, giving RIO a further 14% interest, for a total participating interest of 65%. The major could then increase its shareholding to 75%, by spending a further $20m over the following three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KenolKobil says FY pretax profit up in 2017 - George Obulutsa

Kenyan fuel distributor KENOLKOBIL yesterday said its FY pretax profit for 2017 rose to 3.68bn shillings, from 3.54bn shillings y/y, helped by higher sales. KENOLKOBIL said its group net sales rose to 158.71bn shillings from 103.50bn shillings in 2016. "The results were achieved despite a slowdown in the economy arising from the prolonged electioneering period, drought and unstable exchange rates in most of the markets the group operates in". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's EximBank approves $1.3bn for Guinea hydro plant - Saliou Samb

China's EXIMBANK has approved $1.3bn in financing for a 450MW hydroelectric plant in Guinea that the African country's government hopes will allow it to export electricity to its neighbours. EXIMBANK first agreed to fund construction of the Souapiti dam in 2007 but the project did not get off the ground as Guinea experienced a period of political instability. CHINA WATER ELECTRIC began building the dam in Dec. 2015 and the government said at the time it expected construction to take around five years. A senior adviser to President ALPHA CONDE said the loan would be reimbursed via electricity sales to neighbouring countries by a JV between the state and CWE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Big energy users oppose SA's proposed carbon tax law - Wendell Roelf

Big energy users yesterday opposed plans by the government to enact long-delayed carbon tax laws in 2019, arguing that the levies are unaffordable and should be scrapped or delayed. The tax has already been postponed at least three times since first being mooted in 2010, after mining companies, steel firms and SOEs said it would erode profits and push up prices. The new law would affect around 1 000- 1 500 companies and 75% of national emissions. It proposes a tax rate of R120/t of CO2 equivalent and states that total tax-free allowances during the fist phase until 2022 can be as high as 95%. "SIBANYE-STILLWATER's position on the imposition and implementation of a carbon tax remains the same, that is, a total rejection of the carbon tax in any shape, form or quantum", the company said in a written presentation to parliament at the start of public hearings on the second draft carbon tax bill released in Dec. Industrial firms say the proposed tax fails to take into account a lower carbon path already adopted, will create policy uncertainty and diminish SA's investment allure. ARCELORMITTAL SA opposed the bill on the grounds that it would hurt the company's competitiveness at a time when it was struggling with cheaper imports and weak demand. The company said the estimated carbon tax liabilities would be in the region of R100m/year, and wanted changes to be made, including additional tax incentives to protect struggling companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OECD ups world growth forecast - Chris Giles

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development yesterday upgraded its global growth forecast for this year and next year, while also warning over the risk presented by trade protectionism. It revised up its forecast for 2018 global growth from 3.7% as recently as Nov. to 3.9% with improvements expected in almost every country, except for Russia. Even larger improvements in the growth outlook were pencilled in for 2019, with the global economy also expanding 3.9%, a level similar to pre-crisis normal rates. In an interim update of its economic outlook, the OECD said: "Trade protectionism remains a key risk that would negatively affect confidence, investment and jobs". Meanwhile, the UK was singled out with the lowest projected performance among the leading advanced and emerging economies across 2018 and 2019, with only 1.3% growth forecast this year and 1.1% in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto's Mongolian mining woes deepen - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO is facing further problems in Mongolia, where it is developing the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold deposit. TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES, the Canadian-listed company through which RIO controls Oyu Tolgoi, yesterday said it had received an "information" request from the Mongolian Anti-Corruption Authority to provide financial information. The request relates to an investigation about possible abuse of power by authorised officials during negotiation of the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. "There is no indication in the ACA information request to suggest that Oyu Tolgoi is a subject of the investigation", TURQUOISE HILL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's Ant Financial makes foray into Pakistan through Telenor deal - Farhan Bokhari

Norway's TELENOR GROUP and ANT FINACNIAL SERVICES, an affiliate of ALIBABA, yesterday announced a 'strategic partnership' that will see ANT invest $184.5m in Pakistan's TELENOR MICROFINANCE BANK, a subsidiary of TELENOR. The investment, which is the first by ANT in Pakistan, will oversee investments in further developing TMB's mobile payment and digital financial services. "There are 100m Pakistanis who don't have a bank account... The services they will receive will range from payments of bills, drawing salaries, drawing pensions and access to micro finance, TELENOR CEO SIGVE BREKKE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche's DWS warns governance structure could dent IPO valuation - Olaf Storbeck

DEUTSCHE BANK's asset management division DWS is warning investors that its governance structure may dent the valuation to its upcoming IPO. The German lender is listing DWS as a partnership limited by shares, or KGaA, which gives outside investors less control. "The fact that investors might not be familiar with the German legal form of a KGaA could adversely affect the market price of the Company's shares", states the IPO prospectus. Large institutional investors have been criticising DWS's governance structure for months. "The KGaA structure increases complexity and may lead to a valuation discount", warned INGO SPEICH, a portfolio manager at UNION INVESTMENT, one of DEUTSCHE's top 25 shareholders. DEUTSCHE is offering a minority stake of 20%-25% in DWS to outside investors. NIPPON LIFE of Japan has already committed to acquiring a 5% stake in the company. The book building for the remaining shares will happen between Mar. 14 and Mar. 22, with the first day of trading scheduled for Mar. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo faces disruption in Brazil - Neil Hume

Production at ANGLO AMERICAN's giant iron ore mine in Brazil has been disrupted after a leak was found in a pipeline used to transport the ore to a port more than 500km away. ANGLO said iron ore pulp from its Minas Rio mine had leaked into a nearby water stream. While the damage is being assessed, ANGLO said only water was being pumped into the pipeline. "As a protection measure to the local communities, ANGLO AMERICAN has requested the water distribution company to interrupt water supply to Santo Antonio do Grama. The company has also mobilised water trucks to guarantee water supply", ANGLO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 14/03/2018

At 11:23 on 14 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.78 Rand/Sterling 16.43 Rand/Euro 14.58 Gold 1324.87 Platinum 967.50 Oil 64.73 All-Share Index 58629.66

Prudential to spin off M&G - Oliver Ralph

PRUDENTIAL is to split itself into two, dividing its UK business from its US and Asian operations. The move follows years of speculation over whether the group had a future as a single entity, as the Asian and US businesses have been growing faster than the UK. Shareholders will be left with shares in two companies - PRUDENTIAL PLC, which will house the US, Asian and African operations, and M&G PRUDENTIAL. The company also announced the sale of a £12bn book of UK annuities to ROTHESAY LIFE, in a deal that has been under discussion since last year. CEO MIKE WELLS said following the separation, M&G PRUDENTIAL will have more control over its business strategy and capital allocation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan machine orders grow at fastest pace in 2 years - Alice Woodhouse

Japanese core machine orders grew at the fastest pace in two years in Jan., bouncing back from a sharp contraction in Dec. Core machine orders rose 8.2% m/m in Jan., the Economic and Social Research Institute said. That reading marked the fastest growth since Jan. 2016 and a partial recovery from an 11.9% contraction in Dec. On a y/y basis, orders rose 2.9%, from December's 5% fall. This was higher than the 0.6% uptick forecast by economists. The total value of machinery orders rose 4.5% m/m on a seasonally-adjusted basis in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China industrial production beats estimates in Jan.-Feb. - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese industrial production and urban fixed asset investment had a strong start to 2018, with growth for both measures coming in above estimates. Industrial output grew 7.2% y/y in the first two months of 2018, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. That figure was up from 6.2% growth in the previous month and came in above a median estimate of 6.1% growth. Urban fixed-asset investment, meanwhile, rose 7.9% in the first two months of 2018, climbing from 7.2% in Dec. Economists had forecast 7% growth. Investment by state-controlled firms to the end of Feb. grew 9.2% while that for the private sector rose 8.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MSCI launches 12 new China equities indices - Emma Dunkley

Global index provider MSCI has launched 12 A-share indices ahead of the inclusion of mainland Chinese stocks in its flagship emerging markets benchmark, which will fully open up the market to international investors for the first time. MSCI said the new indices provide a greater range of ways to access specific parts of the A-share market, which are stocks listed on the exchanges in mainland China. The range includes the MSCI China A index, the MSCI A Large Cap index, and the MSCI China A Mid Cap index, among others. The launch comes ahead of the inclusion of A-shares within MSCI's flagship Emerging Market index in June, as well as its MSCI ACWI index. Bringing A-Shares into the EM index will compel global investors that rack the benchmark to invest in these Chinese mainland stocks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cathay Pacific posts second straight loss - Ben Bland

CATHAY PACIFIC has reported a second consecutive annual loss as Hong Kong's flag carrier remains under pressure from rivals in mainland China and the Gulf. The company said it lost HK$1.26bn in 2017, compared to a HK$575m loss in 2016. Revenue rose by 5% to HK$97bn, boosted by an increase in demand for CATHAY's air cargo services. But profits were squeezed because of "intense competition", the airline said. Passenger yield per km fell by 3.3% to 52.3 Hong Kong cents. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Google to ban cryptocurrency advertisements from June - Alice Woodhouse

GOOGLE will ban advertisements from cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings from June as part of a move to clamp down on unregulated financial products. The move follows similar measures by FACEBOOK in Jan., which banned all advertisements for cryptocurrencies and ICOs after it decided many of them were being used to mislead potential customers. GOOGLE said it had "updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs)". The price of bitcoin was unchanged at $9 113 following the announcement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Inditex logs 7% profit rise on rapid online growth - Michael Stothard

Double-digit growth in online sales helped INDITEX report a jump in profits this morning, in spite of the negative effect of currency headwinds which weighed on margins. The world's largest clothes retailer by sales posted a 7% rise in FY net profits to €3.37bn, which was broadly in line with analysts' expectations. INDITEX said revenue from online sales grew 41% y/y and that 10% of total sales were now online. The number of stores rose by 2.5% to 7 475 over the year. This included the opening of 524 stores in 58 markets, which was offset by 341 smaller units which were replaced or absorbed by larger stores. The group said its gross margin was down, from 57% in 2016 to 56.3% in 2017, amid a stronger euro. Like-for-like sales were up 5%, but this was the slowest pace in three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff to sell part of stake in KAP to help settle debt - Carin Smith

STEINHOFF yesterday announced that it has decided to sell part of its stake in KAP INDUSTRIAL HOLDINGS. STEINHOFF said it was launching an accelerated book-build of up to 450m ordinary shares in KAP. If successfully completed, this would cut STEINHOFF's stake in KAP from 43% to 26%. The sale is subject to acceptable pricing being achieved, and certain additional conditions. The placing shares will be offered to qualifying institutional investors only. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff submitted 'malicious' report to Hawks - Jan Gerber

The report STEINHOFF provided to the Hawks was "malicious" as it contained no information, the HAWKS' head of commercial crime unit, Major General ALFRED KHANA, told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts yesterday. He said a day before STEINHOFF's board appeared before Parliament on Jan. 31, they provided the report to the Hawks. KHANA said there is nothing they can do with the report as "it doesn't even say who did what". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS given one-week ultimatum to release KPMG, Makwakwa reports - Khulekani Magubane

SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE yesterday told parliament's standing committee on finance that embattled SARS official JONAS MAKWAKWA has approved the release of two reports in the revenue service's possession, as well as making his personal tax information available to the committee. The reports in question relate to the KPMG report into a SARS rogue unit working within the tax body, as well as accusations against MAKWAKWA. The committee has now given SARS just under a week from Tuesday morning to supply the reports to its members. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First global bond ETF listed on JSE - Marleny Arnoldi

The ASHBURTON WORLD GOVERNMENT BOND ETF listed on the JSE yesterday, becoming the exchange's first global bond ETF. The listing will bring the number of ETFs listed on the JSE to 67 - exceeding the JSE's total market cap of R73bn. The ASHBURTON WORLD GOVERNMENT BOND ETF will track the CITI WORLD GOVERNMENT BOND INDEX, which invests in fixed-rate, local currency, investment grade sovereign bonds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARC lifts intrinsic NAV to R9bn - Marleny Arnoldi

AFRICAN RAINBOW CAPITAL yesterday released its maiden interim results for the HY to end-Dec., and reported an increase in its share price to R8.79 before dilution (R8.75 after dilution) as at Dec. 31, from R8.46 at its JSE listing in Sep. ARC also reported a 3.9% increase in its intrinsic NAV to R9.07bn, compared with September's INAV of R8.7bn. During the reporting period, the ARC FUND invested an additional R2.3bn. Since ARC's establishment in 2015, R7bn has been invested into expanding the portfolio of companies it is invested in. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Groupe PSA to assemble Peugeot, Opel vehicles in Namibia - Irma Venter

GROUPE PSA has signed an agreement with the NAMIBIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to assemble PEUGEOT and OPEL vehicles in Walvis Bay. Semi-knockdown assembly at the JV is scheduled to start in H2 2018, with a targeted volume of 5 000 units a year by 2020, in order to meet demand in the South African Customs Union. The Peugeot 3008 and Opel Grandland SUVs will be the first output from the factory, with other products set ot follow. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ELB pulls SA into 4th industrial revolution with IoT.nxt partnership - Simone Liedtke

ELB ENGINEERING SERVICES believes it can leapfrog SA into the fourth industrial revolution by implementing Internet of Things platforms at mineral processing plants. ELB aims to achieve this via an exclusive tech partnership with software developer IOT.NXT, which was signed yesterday. The starting point will be iron ore miner SEDIBENG's dense media separation plant, which ELB is currently constructing. The plant will be 100% overlayed with an IoT platform and be the first of its kind in SA, ELB CEO STEPHEN MEIJERS said, adding that recognition technology will be implemented and installed at the plant by about Sep. 2018. Once this has been completed, ELB aims to roll out the IoT solution to the rest of the local mining industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's drought declared national state of disaster - Natasha Odendaal

South Africa's drought has now been declared a national state of disaster under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act. The declaration will mobilise technical and financial resources by all spheres of government, private sector, NGOs and communities to activate several extraordinary intervention measures to deal with the impact of the drought. The declaration will also enable access to the provisional allocation of R6bn that had beens et aside in the 2018/19 Budget for several purposes, including drought relief and to augment public infrastructure investment. The declaration, gazetted yesterday, is valid for a period of three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana Diamonds starts drilling at Ontevreden kimberlite pipe - Simone Liedtke

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS has started drilling at the Ontevreden kimberlite pipe, which is part of the company's Vutomi JV in SA and contains significant quantities of G10 and G9 garnets. Following the discovery of the kimberlite pipe at Ontevreden in Jul. 2017, work was undertaken to ascertain the potential for the pipe to be diamondiferous. Results from ground samples taken from the pipe were analysed and produced abundant G9, G10 and complementary eclogitic garnets in a mix typically associated with high-grade kimberlites. The drilling operations will confirm the size, provide an understanding of the internal geology and enough samples to enable both petrography and microdiamond analyses, BOTSWANA DIAMONDS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta dividend payout hits record - Megan van Wyngaardt

VEDANTA RESOURCES' subsidiary VEDANTA LIMITED yesterday declared a record interim equity dividend of $1.2bn. VEDANTA RESOURCES would receive $600m of this dividend, sending its shares in London up 2.6% to £7.82/share. The board of VEDANTA LIMITED has approved an interim dividend of 21.20 rupees a share, for a payout of 78.81bn rupees. The board also approved a dividend of 7.5%/year on preference shares, taking the total amount of its dividend payout to both its equity and preference shareholders to 80.91bn rupees. Meanwhile, VEDANTA said UK SINHA has been appointed executive director of VEDANTA LIMITED with effect from Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurochem produces first potash at new Russian plant - Reuters

Russia-focused fertiliser producer EUROCHEM has produced its first potash at its new $2bn Usolskiy plant in Russia. Privately-held EUROCHEM plans to produce the first ready-for-sale potash at its new Russian plant in Q2 2018. By year-end, it plans to produce 450 000t of ready product at the plant. EUROCHEM has been actively investing in two potash projects and one ammonium project in recent years. After the start of the Usolskiy plant in Mar., another - VolgaKaliy - will be launched this summer. EUROCHEM expects to produce a total 500 000t-600 000t of potash in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile attempts to block China from prize lithium asset - Reuters

Chile's government has asked antitrust regulators to block the sale of a 32% stake in Chilean lithium company SQM to a Chinese firm on the ground it would give it an unfair advantage in the global race to secure resources to develop electric vehicles. Chile development agency CORFO claimed in a 37-page complaint filed on Friday that the purchase of a stake in SQM by "TIANQI LITHIUM, or any entity related to it directly or indirectly (including companies controlled by the government of China [would] gravely distort market competition". It was unclear if CORFO's complaint, if upheld, would block all potential Chinese bidders for the stake. Together, TIANQI and SQM would control 70% of the global lithium market, the report warned. An equity stake in SQM worth over $4bn is in play. The stake is being sold by NUTRIEN, which has to offload its 32% interest to meet regulatory requirements after its merger with a rival fertiliser firm to create the new entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coal, rapid loadout projects under construction - Exxaro - Martin Creamer

EXXARO RESOURCES, which began a R13bn coal expansion programme in H2 2017, has three coal projects and a rapid loadout station under construction, and is at the ready to develop another two coal projects, pending Department of Energy and ESKOM approval. The largest of the projects is the R4.8bn, 1.7mt/y GG6 expansion project at the Grootegeluk mine in Limpopo, where the first semi-soft coking coal is expected to be produced in FY2020. The second coal project under construction is the R3.3bn, 2.7mt/y Belfast project in Mpumalanga, where first production is expected during H1 2020. The third project under construction is the R600m Leeuwpan life extension project, also in Mpumalanga, where the first thermal coal is expected before the middle of this year. EXXARO is also ready to construct the R3.2bn first phase of the Thabametsi project, which will have a capacity to produce 3.9mt of thermal coal a year for a proposed independent power station, as well as the Matla Mine 1 relocation project. The DOE's notice to proceed with Thabametsi was expected in H2 2018, with the delay causing the capex of the project to rise by a likely R300m. No timeframe for the ESKOM-delayed Matla Mine 1, but the company did report that the delay of the diversion of the R50 road did cause the capex of the Leeuwpan life extension project to rise by R78m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem sells Lesotho Legend for $40m - Megan van Wyngaardt

The "exceptional quality" 910ct D-colour Type IIa diamond recovered from GEM DIAMONDS' Letseng mine, in Lesotho, in Jan., achieved a price of $40m on tender in Antwerp on Monday. "We are delighted with the outcome of the sale of this iconic diamond, which demonstrates the exceptional quality of the Lesotho Legend itself, as well as reaffirming the unique quality of the Letseng diamond production", GEM CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AVI expects subdued trading environment - Sandile Mchunu

AVI yesterday said it expected the trading environment to remain subdued, despite the improved political climate in the country. The company said recent political developments were positive, but unlikely to materially change consumer spending in the short term. It said the increase in VAT next month would further dampen spending. AVI posted a 2.3% rise in revenue to R7.3bn for the HY to end-Dec., from R7.13bn y/y, with volume growth achieved in the Spitz business as customers responded positively to stable prices. However, the company said volumes fell in some key food and beverage categories following several years of above-inflation price hikes to offset sever cost pressures from a weakening rand and higher raw material prices. Operating profit rose 8.7% to R1.53bn, from R1.41bn y/y, and operating profit margin improved from 19.7% to 21%. Headline earnings rose by 8.3% to R1.06bn, from R980m y/y, with the growth in operating profit and lower finance costs partially offset by a decline in earnings from I&J's Australian JV. HEPS rose 7.5% to 325.6cps. An interim dividend of 175cps was declared, up 8% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwandan economy grew 6.1% last year - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwanda's economy grew 6.1% in 2017, accelerating slightly from 5.9% in 2016, boosted by better performances in agriculture and other sectors, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda said yesterday. NISR said there was a good harvest of food crops in 2017, which helped the agricultural sector to expand by 7% from the prior year. NISR said there was also a surge in production of mining and quarrying products, especially coltan and cassiterite. The manufacturing sector also recorded healthy activity as output of cereals, textiles, clothes and leather products increased. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's refinery overhaul projects to start in Q2: NNPC - Wendell Roelf

Refinery overhaul projects will begin in Nigeria as soon as Q2, an official from the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION said yesterday. NNPC is in the final stages of talks with consortia including top traders, energy majors and oil services companies to revamp its long-neglected oil refineries in a bid to reduce its reliance on imported fuel. "We believe that by the second quarter of this year we will... start getting the ball rolling on the refurbishment and rehabilitation exercise and believe this will run to the end of next year", NNPC COO ANIBOR O. KRAGHA said. The government plans to give Nigeria's refineries until 2021 to meet lower sulphur fuel requirements that will start phasing in this year for imports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell, Eni preempt any US probe over Nigeria with filings - Libby George

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL and ENI have voluntarily filed to US authorities internal probes into how they acquired a giant field in Nigeria as the companies seek to fight corruption allegations in Europe and Africa. The filings, to the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, do not mean US authorities are investigating the companies. But the move shows the companies are trying to preempt questions from the US as they face one of the industry's biggest-ever graft trials in Italy, to begin in May, a pending trial in Nigeria and an investigation in the Netherlands. The case revolves around the purchase of a huge block off Nigeria, known as OPL 245, which holds an estimated 9bn barrels in reserves. Italian prosecutors allege that bribes were paid in a bid to secure rights to the block in 2011. The companies deny any wrongdoing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jan. manufacturing output up 2.5% y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's manufacturing output rose 2.5% y/y in Jan. after expanding by a revised 1.8% in Dec., Statistics SA said yesterday. Factory output on a m/m basis was down 1.6% and rose 1.8% in the three months to Jan. compared with the previous three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VAT rise won't lead to higher interest rates - SARB - Karin Strohecker

The SARB expects a hike in VAT to lift inflation by around 0.6 percentage points over the coming year though it doesn't expect to raise interest rates in response, one of its top policymakers said yesterday. "With inflation targeting, you try and look through exogenous shocks, particularly temporary ones and this is a one off", BRIAN KAHN said on the sidelines of investor meetings in London. "There may be a few second round effects, it may affect wage increases in the following years, so we expect a moderate, very small increase in the following year as a result of that... But it is something that we would not react to by raising rates and we would certainly try and look through it", KAHN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA suspends CFO over disciplinary process - Nqobile Dludla

SAA has suspended indefinitely two officials including its CFO over a disciplinary process at the loss-making carrier. CFO PHUMEZA NHANTSI and head of the airline's technical unit, MUSA ZWANE, were suspended on Monday, SAA spokesperson TLALI TLALI said yesterday. "It's an internal matter that is governed by labour relations and we must observe internal processes. We're not at liberty to give details on that at this stage", TLALI said. NHANTSI was appointed the airline's permanent CFO in May 2017 after having served as acting CFO since 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 14/03/2018

At 07:45 on 14 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.78 Rand/Sterling 16.48 Rand/Euro 14.61 Gold 1327.60 Platinum 966.00 Oil 64.73 All-Share Index 59084.51

EOH in R3.2bn BEE deal with Lebashe - Kabelo Khumalo

EOH this week announced that it would embark on a R3.2bn BEE deal with LEBASHE INVESTMENT GROUP. EOH said it wanted to establish a long-term strategic partnership with LEBASHE, which specialises in financial services. Under the terms of the deal, LEBASHE will subscribe for new ordinary EOH shares for R250m and EOH will have access to a funding facility for growth in an amount of up to an additional R3bn. EOH said the deal would significantly enhance its BEE ownership credentials over a 10-year period, at a minimum of 20.3% for five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exor lifts stake in Sibanye above 5% - Dineo Faku

Italy's EXOR INVESTMENTS has acquired a stake of just more than 5% in SIBANYE-STILLWATER. EXOR acquired a 5.4% stake in the issued ordinary shares of SIBANYE-STILLWATER, which beneficial interest is represented by its holding of 29 299 829 US depositary shares, the gold miner said this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Somalia bans DP World, says contract with Somaliland null - Abdi Sheikh

Somalia has banned Dubai ports operator DP WORLD from operating in Somalia, saying that a contract that the company signed last year with the breakaway Somaliland region to develop an economic zone is null and void. It is unclear how Somalia's federal government could enforce the ban, given Somaliland's semi-autonomous status. "Any agreement signed with DP WORLD is null and void since it opposes the constitution, the rule of foreign investment in Somalia, and other rules of the country", read the resolution, which was approved late on Monday and published by Somalia's state news agency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dropbox IPO points to value around $7.5bn - Aliya Ram

DROPBOX is set to be valued at $7bn-$7.9bn in its IPO this month, significantly below the $10bn that made it one of the tech industry's highest valued businesses as a private company. DROPBOX has set a price range of $16-$18/share, according to an updated regulatory filing published on Monday. The price range will give DROPBOX a proposed market cap of around $6.7bn, far below the $10bn valuation it achieved after a private financing four years ago. Because the company will also sell restricted stock and options, its value on a fully diluted basis is higher than this market value. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoE to begin £18.3bn gilt reinvestment programme - Adam Samson

The Bank of England is expected to begin pumping money back into the UK bond market on Monday after a wave of debt redemptions in the past week. The central bank will purchase £18.3bn of gilts over the next six weeks, according to research by UBS strategist JOHN WRAITH, as it tries to hold steady its vast debt portfolio. The BoE has purchased roughly £435bn in Gilts and £10bn in corporate bonds as part of the QE programme it kicked off in response to the global financial crisis. The central bank will be in the market buying gilts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, excluding today when chancellor PHILIP HAMMOND delivers his 'spring statement', and Easter Monday. Policymakers have committed to reinvesting in gilts until the bank rate rises to 2%, from 0.5% today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Abraaj CFO leaves private equity group - Simeon Kerr

ABRAAJ's CFO has left the Dubai-based private equity group as the company seeks to restore investor confidence after being accused of mishandling funds. ASHISH DAVE is the most prominent executive to have left the embattled group since founder ARIF NAQVI last month said he was stepping aside from the running of the fund business investor upheaval over concerns of misusing capital in its $1bn healthcare fund. NAQVI has denied any claims of mismanagement of funds but he told the FT he felt this was the right time to step back as the company launches a review of governance. Other executives are set to leave the firm amid expected job cuts, which has temporarily halted fundraising and deployment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump blocks Broadcom's Qualcomm takeover - Eric Platt

President DONALD TRUMP blocked BROADCOM's $142bn takeover bid for QUALCOMM on Monday, halting the group's bitter four-month battle for its US rival. In a statement from the White House last night, TRUMP said the deal threatened to "impair the national security" of the US, following a recommendation by CFIUS. "The proposed takeover of QUALCOMM by the Purchaser is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited", TRUMP wrote in an order. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China to merge banking, insurance regulators - Gabriel Wildau

China will merge its banking and insurance regulators in a move to plug regulatory loopholes that have enabled risky forms of shadow banking. The National People's Congress announced the combination of the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission today as part of a sweeping government re-organisation plan that will see at least a dozen agencies merged or eliminated. The CIRC has been without a permanent chairman since April, when the Communist party's anti-corruption agency placed then-chair XIANG JUNBO under investigation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TP ICAP 2017 cost savings higher than indicated at £27m - Philip Stafford

TP ICAP today said its cost-cutting programme had gone deeper and further than it had previously indicated to the market. In its FY results, the London broker revealed it had made cost savings of £27m last year compared to its initial target of £10m. During the year it cut 295 staff as it began to merge the global broking business it bought from ICAP for £1.3bn. For the year to end-Dec., revenues rose to £1.76bn compared to £1.69bn y/y as flat global markets becalmed volatility. Underlying pre-tax profits rose just £1m to £233m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copper price rise drives bumper payday for Antofagasta shareholders - Neil Hume

ANTOFAGASTA has announced a bumper payout to shareholders on the back of rising prices and cost-cutting as its flagged the prospect of supply disruptions across the industry this year. The company declared a final dividend of 40.6cps, bringing its total payout for 2017 to 50.9cps - higher than analysts had expected. ANTOFAGASTA said EBITDA jumped 60% to $2.6bn in the FY to end-Dec. Pre-tax profits were $1.86bn, against $284.6m in 2016. The company reported a 31% rise in revenue to $4.75bn. Production was 704 300t of copper, in line with guidance but down 0.7% y/y. It forecast output of 705 000t-740 000t for 2018, and is targeting cost savings of $100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/03/2018

At 10:53 on 13 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.83 Rand/Sterling 16.44 Rand/Euro 14.59 Gold 1318.50 Platinum 960.00 Oil 64.92 All-Share Index 58983.15

Fever Tree eyes dark spirits after long-running sales jump - Adam Samson

FEVER-TREE says this year is off to an "encouraging" start as it confirmed a sharp increase in 2017 sales and reiterated plans to add dark spirits to its typically gin-dominated menu. The company said it remains "confident that we are increasingly well positioned to deliver further growth across the business". Its shares have rocketed by 1 500% since listing in 2014. Sales rose 66% to £170.2m, with revenues up across all of its markets. In the UK, FEVER-TREE's biggest market, sales rose 96.4%, while they climbed 43.8% elsewhere in Europe, and 38.9% in the US. But its gross margin fell to 53.5% in 2017 from 55.2% y/y. FEVER-TREE said the slide was "primarily driven by an expected increase in product costs following the decision to introduce a new, bespoke glass bottle in the second half of 2016". Pre-tax profits rose to £56.4m from £34.3m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify enters SA market - Nqobile Dludla

SPOTIFY is set to launch its services in SA on Tuesday, marking its entry into Africa, where there is a rapid uptake of smartphones and improving telecoms infrastructure. The Swedish group is the biggest music streaming company in the world and counts services from APPLE, AMAZON.COM and ALPHABET's GOOGLE PLAY as its main rivals. The South Africa launch comes as SPOTIFY prepares for a direct listing for its shares on the NYSE, which will let investors and employees sell shares without the company raising new capital or hiring Wall Street banks to underwrite the issue. Further details about the local service, pricing and content will be announced on Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gupta firms could seek damages against Bank of Baroda - Fin24

GUPTA-owned companies may seek damages against the BANK OF BARODA as a result of its departure from the country, the North Gauteng High Court ruled yesterdaY. In his ruling, Judge NTENDEYA MAVUNDLA said the companies could seek remedy in the form of a "damages claim" against BANK OF BARODA "to prove that they have suffered damages as the results of the respondent's action to close their operations in South Africa". Judge MAVUNDLA added: "The decision by the respondent to exit [the] South African banking sector, cannot, in my view be interfered with by the courts". He stated that they have "every right to terminate any business contract, including that of the applicants" - adding that the court could "not compel" the bank to "keep the doors of its business open for whatever duration". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Class action news knocks Tiger Brands - Paul Burkhardt

The share price of TIGER BRANDS dipped by more than 5% in early trade on Monday, before recovering to trade a touch over 3% down on news that listeriosis victims plan to file a class action suit against the company. Attorney RICHARD SPOOR is teaming up with Seattle-based firm Marler Clark on the listeriosis case, he said yesterday. The suit could be brought within the next two weeks. TIGER BRANDS' shares were trading down 3.3% at R355.95 yesterday afternoon after reaching an intraday low of R348.52. "I can't see how it would be in TIGER BRANDS' interest to contest this aggressively", SPOOR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN may sell R27bn stake in top Africa tower company - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

MTN could cash in from an IPO of Africa's largest telecommunications towers company by selling a stake valued by the wireless carrier at around R27bn. IHS TOWERS, of which MTN owns around 29%, is planning an IPO in New York, sources said last year. If the tower operator goes ahead with the share sale and the valuation is appropriate, MTN will look go sell out, CFO RALPH MUPITA said. "It is not strategic to lock up so much capital", MUPITA said, adding that the IHS stake has been earmarked by the company as an asset for sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stadio maiden results outperform prelisting target - Fin24

STADIO HOLDINGS successfully outperformed a forecast headline loss of R10.8m in its published pre-listing statement with a headline loss of R7m for the FY to end-Dec. The headline loss amounted to 1.2cps compared to a forecast headline loss of 2.3cps in the pre-listing statement. At year-end, STADIO had 12 976 enrolled students, representing a 16% increase during the period under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN, Vodacom charging up to 2 639% more for out-of-bundle data - Kyle Venktess

Amid reports of SA's top two networks charging up to 2 639% more for out-of-bundle data, VODACOM has said it is normal business practice to offer discounts to customers that make longer-term commitments. MyBroadband recently revealed that data rates on both the VODACOM and MTN networks were reported to be exponentially higher when users ran out of data bundles. It was reported that while on contract, a VODACOM 20GB data bundle cost R329, which worked out to R0.02/MB, but out-of-bundle the rate per MB was R0.44, 2 630% higher than an in-bundle rate. Meanwhile, MTN's 25GB contract bundle costs R1 250, equating to R0.05/MB and out-of-bundle costs R0.99/MB, 1 928% more expensive than in-bundle. The prepaid price for 20GB on VODACOM worked out 204% higher, being priced at R999 as opposed to the R329 on contract. MTN's prepaid versus contract offering was hiked by 234% with 20GB on prepaid costing R299 and 25GB on prepaid at R1 250. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC undertakes to cooperate with VBS Mutual Bank curator - Lameez Omarjee

The PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION said it will cooperate with VBS MUTAL BANK's curator to find a way forward for the institution. In a statement issued yesterday, the PIC, which has a 27% stake in VBS, said it has noted the SARB's decision to place the bank under curatorship given its liquidity crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Last-minute court interdict blocks IPP signing - Jan Cronje

The signing of 27 IPP contracts later today has been put on hold after NUMSA and Transform RSA managed to obtain a last-minute court interdict. NUMSA said the interdict prevents ESKOM from concluding the outstanding renewable energy power purchase agreement. "NUMSA believes that the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole. The signing of the IPP means that ESKOM will require less coal-fired electricity... This is likely to lead to the closure of the coal-fired power plants and the impact will be that at least 30 000 working class families will suffer because of job losses", the union said. The union also claimed that the IPP roll-out would raise the cost of electricity dramatically. The matter will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on Mar. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH announces restructuring, management changes - Marleny Arnoldi

EOH yesterday announced a major restructuring and said it had appointed founder and former CEO ASHER BOHBOT as executive chair. The restructuring would entail the creation of two independent businesses. The businesses that would continue under the EOH brand would focus on end-to-end ICT and would grow organically, rather than via acquisitions. These businesses would offer highly proficient systems integration as a market differentiator and would focus on new generation digital technology. The EOH brand would contribute around 55% to the group's revenue. The businesses clustered under NEWCO would be specialised and would be equally focused on acquisitions and organic growth. The business units would operate relatively autonomously and be differentiated by vertical specific offerings. In addition to BOHBOT, EOH also appointed HR executive TEBOGO MAENTJA as executive director for group HR and transformation and said that GRATHEL MOTAU had resigned as nonexecutive director. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

2018 brings renewed optimism for SA stainless steel industry - Simone Liedtke

This year may break the downward trend of reduced consumption in the local stainless steel industry, according to South African Stainless Steel Development Association director JOHN TARBOTON. He notes that stainless steel consumption fell by around 5.6% in 2017, and that the industry has suffered around a 28% contraction in use since 2014. But he noted that according to SASSDA's expectations index released last year, the sentiment improved in the last few months of 2017 to sit around 50 index points. That index rose to 65 in Jan., and was sitting at around 71 in Feb. "The order quantities for the first two months of this year are lower than what it was for the last few months of 2017. the confidence and optimism in the industry is yet to translate into increased order levels", TARBOTON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint lists first local green bonds - Megan van Wyngaardt

GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES has issued a Green Bond on the JSE, the first local company to do so. The GROWTHPOINT GREEN BONDS will be available in terms of five, seven and ten years and are aimed at raising capital solely allocated for funding projects that result in positive environmental and climate benefits. The R1.1bn Green Bonds would be used to fund the company's green buildings and initiatives and form part of GROWTHPOINT's R20bn domestic medium-term note programme. The bonds were priced at 139 bps for the five-year term, at 169 bps for the seven-year term and at 200 bps for the 10-year term above the three-month JIBAR. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA commits to new continental trade agreement - Megan van Wyngaardt

The African Ministers of Trade last week considered and approved, for submission to the extraordinary summit of the AU Heads of State and Government, an agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, as well as the protocols on trade in goods and trade in services that will form part of the agreement. The Ministers also approved a work programme for concluding the outstanding issues for implementation that will start after the extraordinary summit of the AU Heads of State and Government that will take place on Mar. 21, in Kigali, Rwanda. The envisaged AfCFTA offers an opportunity to create larger economies of scale, a bigger market and improve the prospects of the African continent to attract investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to become 8th country to export helium - Renergen - Marleny Arnoldi

RENERGEN expects to become a significant global producer of helium when its Virginia project starts production in 2019. This will also result in SA becoming the eighth country in the world to export the gas. RENERGEN last seek released an updated independent reserve review for its Virginia project in the Free State, which included quantified results of recoverable helium-4 resources, at 6.2bn cubic feet on a discovered commercial basis. The Virginia project had previously been valued at around R6.6bn. The updated review now values the project at R8.4bn. RENERGEN CEO STEFANO MARANI points out that the increase is based on various factors, including increased helium reserves, a more favourable oil price and a more formal evaluation of the helium reserves. MARANI says the company's prime focus is to finish up final studies at the Virginia project to finalise the amount of necessary capex, procure drilling equipment and services, build a reticulation network and go into production by Q3 2019. The total projected capex to roll out he first phase of production is about R400m. To bring the project into full-scale production, including the production of LNG, will cost $15m-$20m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diamcor seeks more project efficiencies as Krone-Endora at Venetia water runs low - Henry Lazenby

DIAMCOR MINIGN has launched a nonbrokered private placement worth C$5m in a bid to address the insufficient recoveries of water from the settling dams. The miner is finalising installation of a paste thickening plant and associated operational equipment that will help to lift project output. Other portions of the capital will be used to advance additional bulk sampling efforts into surrounding areas, and for general and administrative purposes. In connection with the deal, DIAMCOR offers up to 12.5m units at C$0.40 apiece, with each unit comprising one common share, and one-half of a common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant will entitle the holder thereof to purchase one share at an exercise price of C$0.60 for the period of 36 months following the date of issuance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM calls for removal of Optimum BRPs - Megan van Wyngaardt

The NUM has called for the removal of business rescue practitioners at the Optimum coal mine, claiming that their appointment was unlawful. The union has approached Kruger & Co Attorneys to represent it and its 500 members at the mine to set aside the resolution taken by the directors of Optimum to appoint JOHAN KLOPPER and KURT KNOOP as BRPs. The NUM claimed their appointment was contrary to the provisions of the Companies Act of 2008. Attorney RUANN KRUGER said the union "is seeking the appointment of a truly independent business rescue practitioner". He further claimed that Optimum is being denied applications to open a bank account from major financial institutions owing to the alleged ties between KNOOP, KLOPPER and the shareholders of GUPTA-linked companies. Without a bank account, the mine currently cannot remain operational, which puts the income of hundreds of mine employees and various contractors at risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Optimum should have gone into business rescue months ago - Anine Kilian

GARETH CREMEN, a partner at HOGAN LOVELLS, believed that Optimum Coal, which is a subsidiary of TEGETA EXPLORATION & RESOURCES, should have gone into business rescue months ago, before the BANK OF BARODA opted to pull out of SA. The North Gauteng High Court yesterday dismissed the application of GUPTA-linked companies against BANK OF BARODA with costs. Judge NTENDEYA MAVUNDLA ruled on an urgent application by 19 GUPTA-linked companies to prevent the bank from closing its South African operations. "Business rescue proceedings aim to aid a company that is in financial distress, by allowing it to restructure its affairs, assets, equity, debts and liabilities. The goal of effective business rescue proceedings is to rescue a company from financial distress and avoid liquidation, this must be done in a manner that balances the rights and interests of all relevant stakeholders", CREMEN said. He added that the implementation of a BRP should result in a better return for the creditors of the company than immediate liquidation would. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court orders preservation order for Guptas' mine rehab funds - News24Wire

The National Prosecuting Authority has secured a court order to preserve the mining rehabilitation funds of two GUPTA-owned mines held by the BANK OF BARODA which intends leaving SA. According to the North Gauteng High Court order, the money in the Optimum Mine Rehabilitation Trust and the Koornfontein Mine Rehabilitation Trust has to be transferred from the BANK OF BARODA to NEDBANK for safekeeping, with interest. The amounts involved are R1 469 916 933.63 in the OMRT, and R280 000 000.00 in KMRT. The money is to stay with NEDBANK until a forfeiture order is granted and if anybody with the right to, needs to access the funds, it can only be done via application to the NPA and the Department of Mineral Resources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa uses gas sale proceeds to repay loans - Creamer Media Reporter

ALROSA has used the proceeds of the cash sale of its gas assets to repay $450m in bank loans. The company yesterday said it had repaid a $250m loan from ROSBANK and a $200m portion of its existing RAIFFEISENBANK loan, reducing its debt by more than 27% to $1.17bn. The early repayment of the loans would save ALROSA $9m in interest payments, CFO ALEXEY PHILIPPOVSKIY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford will monitor SA expropriation developments - Roy Cokayne

FORD MOTOR COMPANY SA was monitoring developments around the expropriation of land without compensation, but the company wasn't "nervous" about it, FORD SSA MD CASPER KRUGER said last week. KRUGER confirmed that FORD owned the properties on which its manufacturing plants in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth were built, and had 130 dealers, including dealers in neighbouring countries. He admitted that it was unclear how far-reaching expropriation of land without compensation would be and whether it would also have an impact on the retail environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CT faces severe economic troubles over drought - Moody's - Mfuneko Toyana

MOODY's yesterday warned that the water criss affecting Cape Town would cause the city's borrowing to rise sharply and the provincial economy to shrink the longer the situation lasted. MOODY's said that one of the most direct impacts would be on the city's operating revenues, as 10% of them are from water charges. It estimates capex related to water and sanitation infrastructure could be as much as R12.7bn over the next five years. "The long-term solutions are likely to require significant capital and operating expenditure", MOODY's analyst DANIEL MAZIBUKO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/03/2018

At 07:25 on 13 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.81 Rand/Sterling 16.42 Rand/Euro 14.58 Gold 1321.00 Platinum 961.00 Oil 64.92 All-Share Index 59194.45

NERSA invites comment on tariff guideline increase - Siseko Njobeni

Energy regulator NERSA has invited comments to its published municipal tariff guideline increase of 6.84%. NERSA in Dec. 2017 approved ESKOM's allowable revenue of R190.34bn for the 2018/19 FY. The utility had requested an allowable revenue of R219.514bn, which translated to 19.9%. The approved allowable revenue of R190.348bn has resulted in an average percentage price increase of 5.23%. NERSA has proposed a municipal guideline increase of 6.84%. The body said municipalities applying for an increase higher than the guideline should justify their increase to NERSA. An approval of such an increase would be based on, among others, a detailed plan on the additional funds requested. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAP appoints new director for Africa - Business Report

SAP has appointed CATHY SMITH as its new MD for Africa. She will take the lead from the acting MD appointed during the GUPTA contract scandal in SA. SMITH joins SAP from CISCO, where she served as the MD for the tech group's sub-Saharan Africa branch. She brings over 25 years of technology experience to the role. CLAAS KEUHNEMANN, the previous MD for SAP Africa, has assumed a new leadership role with SAP in Switzerland. KUEHNEMAN will continue to be a non-executive director of the SAP South Africa board, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats execs get pay boost - Dineo Faku

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM paid its executive directors and prescribed officers R139m in remuneration last year after recording a solid production performance and cutting net debt, the group's 2017 annual report showed last week. The total remuneration package of AMPLATS CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH rose to R32m, from R23.8m y/y. CFO IAN BOTHA's pay package rose to R16m in 2017, from R14m y/y. NOMBULELO MOHOLI, AMPLATS' remuneration committee chair, said the company had overcome a number of operational challenges in 2017, including fatality problems at the Waterval smelter and placing Bokoni on care and maintenance. "Despite these, we have recorded a solid production performance, up slightly year-on-year, and exceeded 2017 budgeted earnings and net debt-reduction targets. This performance reflects the collective effort of our employees", MOHOLI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya to sell 5yr, 20yr T-bonds - cbank - George Obulutsa

Kenya will sell five-year and 20-year Treasury bonds worth a total 40bn shillings this month, the central bank said yesterday. The bank said it would receive bids for the two bonds until Mar. 20, and auction them a day later. The five-year bond will have a market-determined coupon, while the 20-year bond has a coupon of 13.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria raises excise duties on tobacco, alcohol - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's President MUHAMMADU BUHARI has approved an increase in excise duties on tobacco and alcoholic beverages, the finance ministry said on Sunday. In addition to a 20% tax on tobacco, the government will add an extra fixed tax per cigarette. A percentage tax on alcoholic beverages will be replaced by taxes of fixed amounts based on volume. The finance ministry said the changes will take effect from Jun. 4. The ministry said the new regime was in line with a directive from the Economic Community of West African States regional bloc on the harmonisation of member-states' legislation on excise duties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim gives mines, farmers six months to clear electricity bills - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's state-owned electricity distributor has given businesses, including mines and large-scale farms, six months to clear their bills or risk being cut off and face litigation. The ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION AND ISTRIBUTION COMPANY is owed more than $1bn by electricity users. ZETDC said businesses had six months to clear their bills because it required the money to pay for electricity imports to supplement local generation. Zimbabwe this month expects to commission two new generating units at the country's biggest hydro power plant, Kariba, which will add 300MW of capacity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TFG's CEO to retire, CFO to take over - Nqobile Dludla

THE FOSCHINI GROUP yesterday announced that CEO DOUG MURRAY would step down on Sep. 3 and be replaced by the company's CFO, ANTHONY THUNSTROM. MURRAY, who took the helm in 2007, will become a non-executive director after his retirement, the company said. THUNSTROM will become CEO designate to ensure a smooth handover and officially assume the position of CEO in Sep. A process to recruit a CFO will commence with immediate effect, TFG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Algeria's Sonatrach to invest $250m to boost output at Tinhert gas field - Lamine Chikhi

Algerian state energy firm SONATRACH will invest $250m to boost output at the Tinhert gas field to 20m cubic metres per day by 200, up from 5m cubic mcm, CEO ABDELMOUMEN OULD KADDOUR said yesterday. Algeria's total gas output is around 100bn cubic metres per year, of which 55bn are exported. Several gas fields which were due to come onstream in 2016 and 2017 will come online this year, boosting Algeria's gas output. The new fields include Touat, with 12.8m cubic mpm, Reggane North with 8m cubic mpm, and 148 barrels of condensate per day and Timimoun with 5m cubic metres per day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clarkson sees recovery in global commodity shipping market - Naomi Rovnick

Shipbroker CLARKSON has called the start of a "recovery" across its market for hiring out ships to transport commodities across the world, as it also posted a healthy set of FY results. Revenues rose 6% to £324m in 2017, while CLARKSON's pre-tax profits fell 5% to £45m, although this reflected its one-off sale in 2016 of a stake in maritime trading house BALTIC EXCHANGE. Excluding this, underlying pre-tax profits rose 12% to £50.2m. CLARKSON chair JAMES HUGHES-HALLETT said the shipping market was showing "early indicators of recovery", adding that he remained "cautious about the near term direction of the industry". The group's forward order book for long-term bookings is running at $93m for 2018, down from $112m y/y. "We start 2018, as we did 2017, with lower forward visibility of earnings from a lower forward order book", CLARKSON CEO ANDI CASE said. He added that the rates clients were paying for spot orders "have been improving", however, which "during 2017 more than offset the lower forward order book brought forward". CLARKSON announced a dividend of 72pps, up from 65pps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU probes UK tax treatment of commodity derivatives - Philip Stafford

The EU is investigating whether the UK has failed to respect single market laws by not imposing enough tax on commodity derivatives trades, according to the UK Treasury. At present, Britain applies no VAT to derivatives transactions in spot, futures and options on commodities contracts, if they are traded on an exchange. The European Commission last week began "infraction proceedings" against the UK for that tax treatment. In 1977, the UK got special permission from the EU that meant it did not have to charge VAT on certain types of commodities transaction. The Commission is now challenging how the UK has applied that carve-out as markets, and the instruments traded on them, have become more complex. Applying the exemption to commodity derivatives transactions "generates major distortions of competition to the detriment of other financial markets within the EU", European officials said. The UK has two months to present its arguments in response to the allegations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK manufacturing forges record run of growth - Gavin Jackson

The UK's manufacturing sector registered its ninth consecutive month of growth during Jan., the longest period of expansion since records began in 1968, boosted by surging global economic growth and a drop in the pound. Manufacturing grew by 0.1% in Jan. m/m, the Office for National Statistics said. Overall industrial output grew by 1.3%. Analysts expected growth of 1.5%. The monthly growth figure was flattered as the Forties Pipeline in the North Sea was witched back on during Jan. after a shutdown due to a hairline crack in Dec. This led to a 23.5% rise in the output of the "mining and quarrying" sector in Jan. after a 19.1% fall in Dec. Energy supply fell by 3.4% due to an unseasonably warm Jan., dragging down overall industrial production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cobalt price hits highest level since 2008 on EV demand - Henry Sanderson

The price for cobalt on Friday hit its highest level since 2008, prompted by rising demand from electric vehicles and the prospect of higher taxes in the DRC. The metal surged to $40/lb last week, according to Metal Bulletin. The rise comes as carmakers are looking to secure long-term supplies of cobalt for use in their rechargeable batteries. Last year, VOLKSWAGEN put out a tender looking for five years' supply of the metal. Around 10kg of cobalt is used in an electric car battery - over 1 000 times the amount used in an iPhone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays becomes first UK bank to garner High Court approval for ringfencing plan - Jane Croft

BARCLAYS has become the first UK bank to obtain approval from the High Court for the ringfencing of its day-to-day banking activities. BARCLAYS was the first of five institutions to seek court permission to separate out its retail banking activities from its riskier investment bank under new government reforms which are designed to make the banking system safer and to protect ordinary customers and taxpayers from footing the bill for bank bailouts. On Friday SIR GEOFFREY VOS, chancellor of the High Court, said he would agree to the ringfencing plans by BARCLAYS and dismissed concerns that the new structure could have an adverse effect on members of BARCLAYS pension scheme. Pension scheme members last month complained that the scheme, which has a £7.9bn deficit and 230 000 members, would in future be reliant on the solvency of the riskier investment banking business, which could go bust. In his ruling to approve the split, the chancellor agreed that the new measures agreed with BARCLAYS pension trustees would provide sufficient support for the pension scheme. He said his initial concerns had been "completely assuaged" and added that alternative proposals including dividing the pension fund into two schemes would be "entirely unworkable". The non-ringfenced bank will have assets of around £900bn compared to the £200bn of assets in the ringfenced bank and would also generate most of BARCLAYS future attributable profit, the chancellor noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi Aramco IPO delayed until 2019 - Anjli Raval

SAUDI ARAMCO's listing is unlikely to go ahead this year, according to British officials who have been warned by their Saudi counterparts that the world's biggest flotation was expected to be delayed. Sources said London still had a good chance of securing the listing, which Riyadh said could value the state energy company at $2tn, but any foreign flotation was likely to happen in 2019 at the earliest. Saudi Arabia wants to sell 5% of the world's largest oil-producing company as part of an economic reform programme driven by Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN. The kingdom had targeted a late 2018 listing, but preparedness for the offering and willingness for a simultaneous or sequential flotation on a foreign exchange has been questioned. Delays on IPO decision-making come as advisers have struggled to achieve the $2tn valuation that Prince MOHAMMED wants. SAUDI ARMACO's finances and internal operations have been shrouded in secrecy for decades and its close relationship with the state has raised financial, legal and regulatory challenges. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paul Jacobs out as Qualcomm chair - Eric Platt

QUALCOMM removed PAUL JACOBS as the chair of its board of directors on Friday, replacing him as it fends off a hostile takeover from rival BROADCOM. The board named JEFFREY HENDERSON, who has served as an independent director on the company since 2016, as its next non-executive chair. As part of the move, QUALCOMM eliminated the role of executive chair. JACOBS will continue to serve on the board. "The board is committed to the principles of strong corporate governance and believes that having an independent director as chairman at this important juncture in QUALCOMM's history is in the best interest of the company and our stockholders", said TOM HORTON, the lead director on the board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US economy adds 313 000 jobs, wage growth cools - Mamta Badkar

US payrolls climbed by the most since Jul. 2016 last month, even as wage growth cooled. Non-farm payrolls rose by 313 000 in Feb, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said on Friday, topping analysts' estimates of 200 000. That compared with a revised 239 000 in Jan. (previously 200 000). Job growth was boosted by gains in construction, retail, manufacturing, business services and financial activities. The report further showed the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the fifth straight month. Wage growth cooled with average hourly earnings up 2.6% y/y, against expectations of a 2.8% increase. On a monthly basis, average hourly earnings were up 0.1%. The labour force participation rate ticked up 0.3 percentage point over the month to 63%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook, Warner forge music deal - Anna Nicolaou

FACEBOOK has struck a licensing agreement with WARNER MUSIC GROUP, the latest in a string of music deals that have put the social media company directly against YOUTUBE. The pact allows FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM users to post videos or send messages with music from WARNER BROTHERS artists. The deal covers both recorded music and songwriting through contracts with WARNER MUSIC and WARNER CHAPPELL PUBLISHING. Since Dec., FACEBOOk has reached agreements with UNIVERSAL MUSIC, SONY/ATV and several other groups. Through these deals, FACEBOOK will start paying for the music posted on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM - such as fan covers of hit songs or wedding dance videos. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pulp-makers Suzano, Fibria in tie-up talks - Andres Schipani

Brazilian pulp-maker SUZANO and the controlling shareholders of competitor FIBRIA are negotiating a potential tie-up that could bring together two of the world's leading producers. Following a report in Brazilian media, FIBRIA said in a filing on Friday that its controlling shareholders, VOTORANTIM and BNDESPAR, the shareholding arm of Brazil's national development bank, BNDES: "...inform that they have had discussions with SUZANO and its controlling shareholders, with a view to assessing possible business involving FIBRIA and SUZANO". It added that the parties "are still analysing the eventual possibilities of a transaction. However, there is no definition of the terms and conditions for the conclusion of a possible business". FIBRIA, which boasts a market cap of $11bn, is the world's top producer of eucalyptus pulp. SUZANO, with a market cap of $7.7bn, is the world's second largest producer of cellulose made of eucalyptus, and Latin America's biggest maker of printing and writing paper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bunge shares drop in ADM deal talks stalling report - Emiko Terazono

Shares in BUNGE fell as much as 6% on Friday following reports that takeover talks with rival ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND had stalled. ADM is said to have approached BUNGE about a potential takeover that would combine two of the world's four largest grain trading houses, although traders and analysts noted the lack of activity despite frenzied speculation. Earlier on Friday analysts at JPMORGAN said the economics of a deal between BUNGE and ADM were far from compelling. Shares in BUNGE were down nearly 4% to just above $74 after hitting $72.32 on the back of the Wall Street Journal report, while ADM was at $43.48/share, up 0.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US grain exporters brace for Trump steel tariffs backlash - Emiko Terazono

US grain exporters are bracing themselves for retaliation from leading buyers after President DONALD TRUMP signed orders imposing heavy tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into America. The US Grains Council said it was concerned about "retaliation in kind" from trading partners such as Mexico, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and the EU. "We have tremendous concern about the global ramifications of any new tariffs on ag exports", US Grains Council CEO TOM SLEIGHT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico leftist Amlo vows no nationalisation, no expropriations - Jude Webber

No confiscations, no expropriations, no nationalisations, and no corruption - that was the promise from ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, the leftist frontrunner for Mexico's presidential elections in July, to the country's top bankers gathered for their annual meeting in Acapulco. Although he addressed them as friends, AMLO, a the candidate is widely known, also told members of the Association of Mexican Banks that "the state will promote development" if he wins the July vote. He also held out the prospect of private investment following and supporting the state's lead, and banks expanding into undeveloped areas of the country. "I will support banks. We won't confiscate assets. No expropriations, no nationalisations. We'll have a country more focused on its main problem: the cancer of corruption. That's my proposal, to end corruption", AMLO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom shares up on report of possible Intel interest - Jessica Dye

Shares in BROADCOM rose in after-hour trading on Friday after a report said INTEL was weighing strategic options in response to BROADCOM's drama-filled pursuit of rival QUALCOMM, including a possible bid for BROADCOM. BROADCOM shares rose almost 7% after the closing price on Friday to $271.50 in response to a Wall Street Journal report, which said INTEL was weighing "a range of acquisition alternatives" in response to BROADCOM's months-long effort to gobble up QUALCOMM in a $142bn hostile takeover offer. INTEL is reportedly watching that battle with greater interest and hoping for it to fail so that it would not face competitive threats from a potential tie-up of the two companies. If BROADCOM looks to be making progress, INTEL may step in with a bid of its own for BROADCOM, sources said. However, INTEL may also respond by pursuing smaller acquisitions rather than trying to snap up BROADCOM, which has a market cap of $104.1bn. INTEL's market cap stands at $236.85bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest shares slide after dam breach forces mine closure - Jamie Smyth

NEWCREST MINING today announced it had experienced a "limited breakthrough of tailings material" on a dam at its Cadia mine in New South Wales, forcing the gold miner to suspend operations at the operation. Shares in NEWCREST fell by as much as 5% to A$20.51 at the opening of trading on the ASX, to an eight month low. The company said there were no injuries as a result of the event and it believed there is no ensuing threat to personal safety. It said the suspension would adversely impact guidance for 2018. Production at Cadia was suspended last year following an earthquake in the region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Guptas pillaged their own companies - Dewald van Rensburg, City Press

The GUPTAS "raped and pillaged" the productive companies they controlled to subsidise unprofitable ones, and to pay from everything from houses to their jet and a game farm, business rescue practitioner JOHAN-LOUIS KLOPPER said last week. Officially, it is the lack of bank accounts that forced the companies into voluntary business rescue, as reflected in sworn statements by directors submitted to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. There are, however, real underlying cash-flow problems, even at fundamentally profitable mining operations, the BRPs admitted to creditors. KLOPPER noted that on their own, most of the GUPTA mines are profitable and perfectly capable of survival An "incestuous" network of intercompany loans, however, allows money to move freely between entities in the group. Optimum Coal is owed R2.7bn by other GUPTA companies, while TEGETA MINING AND EXPLORATION's biggest creditor is its own subsidiary SHIVA URANIUM, to which it owed R1.3bn. One creditor at last week's meeting had evidence of TEGETA paying R5m to SHIVA URANIUM last month, even though it has been unable to pay all its external creditors. "The mines were raped by their owners", KLOPPER told creditors. "From now on, the cash will go to the company, not into someone's pocket outside the country", he told suppliers and creditors of SHIVA URANIUM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comair opts for Honeywell tech in new aircraft - Fin24

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL on Friday announced that COMAIR has selected its suite of advanced cockpit technologies for its future fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. "Our new fleet additions will enable us to be on the cutting edge of aerospace technology and in a leadership position among the airlines in region", COMAIR CEO ERIK VENTER said. COMAIR will take delivery of the first of eight Boeing B737-800 MAX 8s in Jan. 2019, which will complete its fleet replacement strategy. "Maintaining reliable, safe service is of maximum importance to airlines, especially as they look for new and more impactful ways to upgrade their fleets", said RUDOLPH LOUW, aerospace leader - Africa, of HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SANRAL at risk of downgrades, more bailouts - OUTA - Lameez Omarjee

SANRAL must improve its internal audit processes as its growing impairments will put it at risk of further downgrades and it may require state bailouts, OUTA said on Friday. The civil rights body was responding to concerns raised over SANRAL's financials by the standing committee on public accounts earlier in the week. SANRAL's accumulated irregular expenditure amounted to R10bn, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure was over R15m. "Irregular expenditure is intolerable, regardless of the excuses", OUTA portfolio manager for transport RUDIE HEYNEKE said. "Variations from supplier standards should not become the norm and SANRAL's internal audit processes need to be robust to overcome these issues". OUTA further expects e-toll fees to drop, and unpaid e-toll fees to increase SANRAL's impairments by a further R2bn. This is in addition to the R3.6bn in impairments reflected in its 2017 FY statements. "This will place SANRAL at risk of further downgrades and more bailouts from National Treasury", OUTA warned. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS appoints debt collectors to recover R16.6bn owed - ANA

SARS on Friday announced that it has appointed eight debt collection agencies to recover an amount of R16.6bn in debt owed to it. The revenue service said the objective was to boost revenue collection by outsourcing the recovery of older and relatively small amounts due to SARS. The contract takes effect immediately and will run until end-Feb. 2019. SARS said in total it was owed R150bn by 2.3m taxpayers and traders. Taxpayers and traders with outstanding accounts will only be contacted via electronic channels. SARS warned that under no circumstances should debtors pay money directly to the debt collection agency. All outstanding taxes must only be paid directly to SARS via authorised payment channels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Poultry association says concerned about imported chicken paste - ANA

SA's poultry producers association on Friday said it was concerned that the country was accepting imports of untested mechanically deboned meat into the country, even as its neighbours blocked its own processed meat products over a listeriosis outbreak. "The South African Poultry Association calls on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to determine whether [Brazilian food processor] BRF is a supplier of MDM to South Africa, and if so, how many thousand tons are imported every month from this company". Brazilian police last week arrested the former CEO of BRF on charges that he and other executives know the company engaged in fraud to evade food safety checks. SAPA urged the government to also establish from Brazilian authorities whether the food safety tests that BRF allegedly evaded included tests for listeria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to make tariffs submission as Trump leaves door open for exclusions - Terence Creamer

The Department of Trade & Industry is studying US President DONALD TRUMP's proclamations to impose a new 10% tariff on aluminium products and a 25% tariff on steel products from Mar. 23. However, the DTI also confirmed that it would be making a formal submission to the US on the tariffs as provided for in the proclamations. The proclamations state that Commerce Secretary WILBUR ROSS would, within 10 days, issue procedures for the requests for exclusion. This will happen where it could be shown that there is a lack of sufficient US production capacity of comparable products, or in instances where exclusions would be in the interest of national security. Bloomberg reports that TRUMP has invited "any country with which we have a security relationship" to discuss "alternative ways" to address the security risks of steel and aluminium imports. THE DTI said SA's steel exports to the US amounted to $950m in 2017 and accounted for 1.4% of US global imports, while the country's aluminium exports were valued at $375m, accounting to 1.6% of US imports. "It is clear that South Africa's exports do not impose a threat to US industry and jobs", the DTI said, noting that some of the products were employed by US companies in further manufacturing processes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal approves Sinopec, Chervon SA deal with conditions - Nadine James

The Competition Tribunal on Friday approved SINOPEC's proposed $900m acquisition of a 75% stake in CHEVRON SA, subject to a range of employment, investment and other public interest conditions. SINOPEC and CSA had tendered a set of proposed conditions, which the Competition Commission recommended the Tribunal approve. These include a commitment by SINOPEC to establish a head office in SA; that there shall be no retrenchments as a result of the proposed transaction; and that CSA must continue to meet any ongoing contractual obligations in terms of its retired employees. Further, SINOPEC must, within a five-year period, invest R6bn, over and above CSA's current investment plans, to develop the Western Cape refinery. It also has to ensure that CSA maintains a baseline number of independently owned service stations and that, where new independent service stations are to be established, CSA will give preference to small businesses, especially black-owned ones. CSA is also required to establish a R215m development fund, over a five-year period, to support small businesses and black-owned businesses which are involved in CSA's value chain. SINOPEC, meanwhile, has agreed to ensure the BBBEE shareholding in CSA increases from 25% to 29% over the next five years. SINOPEC will also use reasonable measures to promote the export of South African manufactured products for sale in China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Codelco inks deal on Ecuador copper project - Reuters

CODELCO signed a deal with Ecuador on Saturday for joint development of the Llurimagua copper project near Quito. The project could become the first mine CODELCO operates abroad following years of efforts to expand internationally as much of the best-quality ore in Chile has already been mined. No estimate on the cost for developing the deposit or how much copper it might produce were immediately available. Ecuador's state-owned miner ENAMI EP will own a 51% stake in Llurimagua, and CODELCO 49%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold miners' silicosis suit settlement expected within 6 weeks - Reuters

South African gold producers will likely reach a settlement within six weeks in the silicosis lawsuit that companies have set aside R5bn in provisions for, a lawyer and industry group said on Sunday. "I am confident we will finalise the settlement within six weeks", human rights lawyer RICHARD SPEAR said. A spokesperson for the working group on Occupational Lung Disease said it was "hopeful" the settlement can be reached in that timeframe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile says companies to invest $754m in lithium industry - Reuters

Chile's development agency CORFO on Friday said that companies from China and South Korea, as well as Chile, had been approved to make investments of around $754m in the lithium industry. The companies selected in a bidding process to develop technology focused on the lithium market were Chile's MOLYMET and China's SICHUAN FULIN INDUSTRIAL GROUP, a JV between SAMSUNG SDI CO and South Korea's POSCO. CORFO said within two years the companies would be ready to produce around 58 000t of cathode a year, the main material in lithium batteries. Also on Friday, the mining ministry said CODELCO had signed a contract to mine lithium from the Maricunga deposit, without giving details on potential partners or investments. It would be the first foray into lithium for the world's top copper producer. CORFO in Jan. said it had struck a deal with SQM that would allow CODELCO to begin lithium development in Maricunga. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shareholders to vote on Mountain Province, Kennady Diamonds merger on Apr. 9 - Marleny Arnoldi

Shareholders of MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS and KENNADY DIAMONDS will, on Apr. 9, take a vote on whether to approve the merger of the two companies. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE in Jan. signed an arrangement agreement to acquire KENNADY in an all-scrip deal worth some C$176m. It believes there is significant upside to further growth resources at both the Kelvin and Faraday kimberlites and to develop potential resources at the Doyle and MZ kimberlites. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE noted that he deal will add some 67 164ha of highly prospective and 100%-owned exploration ground strategically surrounding the company's flagship Gahcho Kue mine, which is operated by DE BEERS CANADA. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE will provide financing to KENNADY of up to C$10m via an equity private placement at C$2.50/share, in multiple tranches, designed to coincide with KENNADY's budget for the current work programme. Meanwhile, KENNADY will gain access to MOUNTAIN PROVINCE's development, production and marketing expertise and financial strength to enhance the advancement of KENNADY's North project, while generating enhanced exploration upside for the combined assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Biggest Ghana mine union plans strike over Gold Fields jobs - Bloomberg

Ghana's largest mineworkers' union plans protests and strikes throughout operations in the country if the government allows GOLD FIELDS' local operations to dismiss more than 2000 staff as it starts the process of hiring a contractor to operate its biggest mine in the country. Ghana Mine Workers Union general secretary PRINCE WILLIAM ANKRAH said the company is committing "acts of corporate greed aimed at amassing huge profits at the expense of Ghanaian mine workers... We cannot allow this to happen, all the reasons given by GOLD FIELDS are flawed". ANKRAH said the union will send a delegation to protest at the company's next AGM "to let all shareholders know how their management is cheating workers". A contractor will take charge of the Tarkwa operations this year as the deposit's remaining life span is too short to replace aging mine equipment, GOLD FIELDS said in Dec. Tarkwa produces around 550 000oz of gold annually and has about five to six years left for its current design. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hanwa to join PTM, Jogmec in Waterberg JV - Marleny Arnoldi

JAPAN OIL, GAS AND METALS NATIONAL CORPORATIOn has signed an MoU with global trading company HANWA for the transfer of a part of JOGMEC's interests in the Waterberg JV project to HANWA. The project is jointly owned by JOGMEC, PLATINUM GROUP METALS, BEE partner MNOMBO WETHU CONSULTANTS and IMPALA PLATINUM. JOGMEC currently holds a 21.95% stake in the project and is planning to transfer a 9.755% stake to HANWA. Upon completion of the transfer, HANWA will also acquire JOGMEC's right of first refusal to certain metal produced by IMPLATS from the Waterberg project. HANWA on Feb. 23 won a public tender to acquire an interest in the project. JOGMEC and HANWA will now start negotiations on the terms of the transfer of a part of JOGMEC's stake in the Waterberg JV. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bauba swings into the black in H1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

BAUBA reported a profit before tax of R46.7m for the HY to end-Dec., against a loss of R6.8m y/y. Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent was R15.89m, resulting in diluted HEPS of 4.16cps. During the period, the company's Moeijelijk underground mine design was revised to increase the extractable tonnes from the 2.9m initially reported to 3.8mt, extending the life-of-mine from 9 to 12 years. BAUBA expects an improved performance in H2 as it capitalises on the positive chrome ore market. Planned stable monthly underground LG6 chrome ore production of 30 000t is still expected to be achieved by H1 FY2019. Underground production of 25 000t is now forecast for FY2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto's last two coal mines set to attract bids over $2.5bn - Reuters

At least three bidders are expected to submit final offers for RIO TINTO's Hail Creek and Kestrel coal mines in Australia, which could fetch up to $2.5bn, sources said. Australia's WHITEHAVEN COAL is expected to bid, as well as Australian private equity grouP EMR CAPITAL along with Indonesia's ADARO ENERGY. A consortium led by US private equity firm APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT is also expected to be in the running. Final bids for the two mines are due later today. UBS values the two mines at $1.94bn, based on a long-term price of $120/t for hard coking coal, while MACQUARIE values them at $2.7bn based on $125/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EPP to keep disposing of office assets to fund retail portfolio - Roy Cokayne

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES plans to continue disposing of its office assets to fund its retail property programme in line with its strategy to become one of the leading retail landlords in Poland. EPP CEO HADLEY DEAN said they would also assess the quality of their retail portfolio for possible recycling as it grew to align with the strategy of owning high quality assets that could continue to deliver growing income streams. EPP reduced its exposure in offices in Dec. with the sale for 160m euros of three office properties - A4 Business Park, West Gate and Tryton Business House. Three further offices were in the process of being sold, with the proceeds from the office disposals used to fund retail acquisitions. EPP last week reported a 125% growth in distributable earnings to 76.6m euros in the FY to end-Dec., from 34m euros in the y/y period. This translated into distributions of 10.87 euro cents a share, 87% higher than the 5.8 euro cents a share y/y. NAV rose by 39% to 928m euros in the year. Retail vacancies declined to 1.41% from 1.63% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen resolves tax dispute with Sars - Roy Cokayne

ASPEN PHARMACARE has resolved its six-year dispute with SARS related to a revised tax assessment for the company's 2011 FY. The revised assessment followed ASPEN being subjected to an international tax and transfer pricing audit by SARS. ASPEN has never disclosed the quantum of the assessment, but last week confirmed that talks entered into with SARS had resulted in the assessment being reversed by SARS. The company is still subject to separate investigations by both the European Commission and UK Competition and Markets Authority. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Brands calls in experts to identify listeria cause - Ed Stoddard

TIGER BRANDS on Friday said it had appointed an expert team to identify the causes of a listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people in the past 14 months and which has been traced to one of its factories. TIGER BRANDS said it had received a report from the Department of Health on Thursday which confirmed the presence of the LST6 listeria strain at its factory in Polokwane. "We are well advanced in the national recall of all ready-to-eat chilled processed meat products, which we initiated on Sunday... We have appointed a team of local and international scientific exports to attempt (to) identify the root cause of LST6", TIGER BRANDS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria says injected $355.43m into currency market - Alexis Akwagyiram

Nigeria's central bank on Friday said it had injected $355.43m into the interbank forex market, as part of its efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate dollar shortages. The central bank said the money was released to "meet requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors". Nigeria emerged from recession in Q2 2017 but has maintained a system of multiple exchange rates in a bid to reduce pressure on the naira. The IMF, in a report published last week, reiterated its call for the country to scrap its multiple exchange rates and move to a unified rate as quickly as possible. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania president says will not bail out struggling banks - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's President JOHN MAGUFULI has ordered the country's central bank not to bail out any struggling banks as the country tries to control rising bad debts in the sector. The president said there would be no help for failing banks, accusing them of misappropriating taxpayers' funds used to bail them out in the past. "It's better to have a few viable banks than dozens of failing banks", MAGUFULI said on Friday. The country has around 40 licensed banks, but its financial services sector is dominated by only a handful of big lenders, such as CRDB BANK. Bad debts as a proportion of the total bank loans rose to 11.7% in Dec. 2017, more than twice the maximum target of 5%, up from 10.6% in Jun. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo says economy stabilising - Amedee Mwarabu

The DRC's economy is stabilising as commodity prices rebound, its central bank said on Friday, reiterating its forecast for 5.2% growth this year. The central bank said the economy grew 3.7% in 2017, revising its figure from a previous estimate of 3.5%. Congo saw GDP growth slide and inflation soar over the past two years due to weak commodity markets and high government deficits. Central bank governor DEOGRATIAS MUTOMBO said inflation and currency depreciation were now slowing and forex reserves had increased to nearly four weeks' worth of imports after slipping to about two-and-a-half weeks of imports in the middle of 2017. The central bank expects year-end inflation of around 38%, down slightly from last year's 47%, as the franc continues to lose value against the US dollar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kabila signs into law new mining code - Aaron Ross

DRC President JOSEPH KABILA on Friday signed into law a new mining code that raises royalties and taxes on operators, the presidency said in a statement. The law replaces an earlier code from 2002. It raises royalties on minerals across the board and removes a clause that protected miners from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years. Executives from international mining companies failed to convince KABILA during a six-hour meeting last Wednesday to re-open talks over the code, but the parties agreed to open negotiations this week over measures to implement the code, Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU said, adding that the companies' concerns would be considered on a case-by-case basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana pays Norilsk Nickel to settle mine sale dispute - Joe Brock

Botswana has paid NORILSK NICKEL $45m to settle a dispute after its state-run mining company pulled out of buying a stake in a South African mine from the Russian firm, the minerals minister said on Friday. Botswana's BCL MINE pulled out of a 3bn pula deal in Oct. 2016 to buy a 50% stake in Nkomati Nickel Mine from NORILSK due to a lack of funds, prompting the Russian group to file a legal claim. Minerals Minister SADIQUE KEBONANG confirmed the settlement to Reuters and said the payment was approved via a presidential directive on Jan. 24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB places VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship - Lameez Omarjee

The SARB has placed VBS MUTUAL BANK under curatorship, governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said yesterday. KGANYAGO said given the severity of the liquidity crisis VBS is facing, the minister of finance, upon the recommendation of the Registrar of Banks, has placed the bank under curatorship with effect from Mar. 11. "The SA Reserve Bank is of the view that the appointment of a curator is in the best interest of the public and VBS depositors", KGANYAGO said. Auditing firm SIZWENTSALUBAGOBODO has been appointed curator, the current board and management of VBS are relieved of their powers. KGANYAGO said VBS had grown rapidly over the past few years. It had gone from a balance sheet of R150m three years ago to voer R2bn, mainly due to an increase in municipality deposits. The bank has over R1.5bn in municipal deposits. But in terms of the Municipal Financial Management Act, it is not legal for municipalities to make deposits into mutual banks as they are not registered in terms of The Bank's Act, KGANYAGO explained. "So municipalities with deposits with VBS had broken the law, and so did VBS in accepting the deposits". The curator will now assess if the situation at the bank is still salvageable and the options it will have going forward. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 12/03/2018

At 07:08 on 12 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.83 Rand/Sterling 16.41 Rand/Euro 14.59 Gold 1323.00 Platinum 962.00 Oil 65.54 All-Share Index 59169.23

Domino's 2017 profits slip despite soaring sales - Adam Samson

A slate of non-core expenses sent profits at the UK's DOMINO'S PIZZA GROUP falling in 2017 despite a nearly 32% jump in revenues. The chain posted 201 pretax profit of £81.2m, down from £82.5m in 2016. The fall came as a result of £15m in net non-underlying expenses, which included items such as provisions for potential employment tax liabilities on a historic share scheme and acquisition costs. Group underlying profit rose 9.1% y/y to £94m. Revenues increased to £474.6m during the year from £360.6m during 2016. UK group sales breached £1bn for the first time, but the company said the market, which represented 88% of group system sales in 2017, had "moderated this year, after three years of very strong like-for-like growth". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ECB edges towards ending crisis-era support - Claire Jones

The ECB has taken a crucial step towards ending its crisis-era stimulus measures, dropping a commitment to buy more bonds and expand its QE programme. The central bank's governing council kept all of its main rates on hold but removed its stated aim to intervene more aggressively in bond markets should growth disappoint, the so-called easing bias, from its monetary policy message. Central bank watchers will view the move as a sign that policymakers are becoming increasingly confident that growth in the region can survive without the ECB's extraordinary monetary support. The central bank is expected to call time on buying new bonds under the €2.3tn QE programme later this year. The ECB kept the benchmark main refinancing rate at zero, while the deposit rate remains -0.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW profits rise by 26% on record sales - Patrick McGee

Net profits at BMW rose by 26% last year thanks to record sales, improved margins and a lower tax rate in the US. The German carmaker said net profit in the year was €8.7bn, up from €6.9bn y/y, "despite a significant increase in upfront expenditure for future mobility". Operating profit for 2017 rose 5.3% to €9.88bn, and margins were steady at 8.9%. BMW has now met its 8%-10% target every year since 2010 despite rising costs. BMW's R&D budget for the year was €6.1bn, up 18.3%. As a percentage of revenue, the budget was 6.2%, versus 5.5% in 2016. Sales volumes across all its brands rose by 4.1% to a record 2.46m units in 2017, with electrified cars climbing by nearly two-thirds to 103 080 units. BMW expects to sell 140 000 such units this year. Overall revenues rose 4.8% to a record €98.7bn. The company blamed currency effects for "slightly restraining growth" but noted that group profit before tax rose "significantly" €10.66bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU launches €2bn claim against UK over China customs fraud - Rochelle Toplensky

Brussels has launched a process to recover around €2bn from the UK for failing to crack down on customs fraud by Chinese clothing importers. The European Commission sent London a formal notice yesterday that the UK must pay customs duties lost on undervalued Chinese textiles and clothing brought into the bloc through Britain between Nov. 2011 and Dec. 2017. EU officials calculated that the UK's failure to act resulted in EU budget losses of €2.7bn, or nearly €2bn after collection costs. A three-year long probe by OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office, accused the UK of failing to act on repeated warnings since 2007 that some Chinese importers were escaping customs duties on the textile imports by using fictitious and false invoices and declaring the items to be worth a fraction of their true value. OLAF passed their findings to the Commission a year ago, and formally recommended that the EU recover the lost duties that it estimated at around €2bn. Britain has two months to respond with its arguments, after which EU officials will take a decision. If London fail to comply with that decision, the commission can refer the matter to the ECJ. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SGX tells Noble to appoint IFA to review debt restructuring plan - Neil Hume

The SINGAPORE STOCK EXCHANGE has asked NOBLE GROUP to appoint an independent adviser to review its proposed debt-for-equity swap that will see existing shareholders almost wiped out. Under the proposed deal, about half of NOBLE's $3.5bn of senior debt will be swapped for equity. As a result, creditors will own around 70% of the restructured company, while management will get 20%. Existing shareholders will get just 10%. That has triggered a furious response from some of NOBLE's biggest shareholders. Holders of NOBLE's $400m perpetual bonds are also furious about the swap because they will be offered just a few cents on the dollar. The intervention by the SGX is a further complication for NOBLE, which has a $380m bond maturing later this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump adopts steel tariffs but opens door to exemptions - Shawn Donnan

DONALD TRUMP formally adopted new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports yesterday while allowing US allies to apply for exemptions. Acting under a Cold War statute that gives US presidents the power to impose tariffs on imports if they threaten the country's national security, TRUMP said the US would begin applying tariffs on imports from everywhere but Canada and Mexico. The proclamations he signed yesterday impose a 25% penalty on steel imports and 10% penalty on aluminium imports. The tariffs, which will come into force within 15 days, are expected to lead to retaliation from the EU and other steel producers and heighten fears of a trade war. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

May needs to provide 'realistic' Irish border plans - Tusk - Arthur Beesley

DONALD TUSK has called on British PM THERESA MAY to provide "specific and realistic" plans to avoid a hard border in Ireland, saying such proposals are a prerequisite to any further progress in Brexit talks. "If in London someone assumes that negotiations will deal with other issues first before moving to the Irish issues my response would be: Ireland first", the European Council president said. TUSK has also rebuffed London's demands to include financial services in an EU-UK free trade deal. TUSK said he had heard "very critical comments" from MAY about he way the Irish border was dealt with in a draft UK withdrawal treaty from Brussels, but insisted the next move was for the British PM to make. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Advocacy group says Rio denies UK investor vote on fossil fuel memberships - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO is denying UK investors an opportunity to vote on a motion that would force the company to review its membership of powerful industry associations that support fossil fuels, according to the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. The advocacy group said it was disappointing that RIO's board would only allow the resolution to be heard at the company's AGM in Melbourne and not in London. "It is puzzling that RIO TINTO would choose to deny UK shareholders the opportunity to express an opinion on an issue with ramifications for the long-term interests of their company", ACCR executive director BRYNN O'BRIEN said. Earlier this month, the ACCR and a group of investors including the Church of England Pensions Board, the Australian Local Government Super and Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund filed a motion in Australia calling on RIO to review its membership of industry associations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KFC returns to Bidvest after UK chicken flap - Jessica Dye

KFC has switched the supply of 350 of its UK restaurants back to its original distributor, BIDVEST, after a move to DHL last month prompted a chicken shortage at the group's outlets that ruffled British customers' feathers. KFC yesterday said it had inked a new long-term supply agreement for more than a third of its UK restaurants with BIDVEST. BIDVEST LOGISTICS confirmed it would "provide renewed supply" to KFC for the restaurants from Mar. 26. A KFC spokesperson said the company would continue to operate with QSL and DHL for the remainder of its restaurants in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Korea says Trump to meet Kim Jong Un by May - Katrina Manson

US President DONALD TRUMP has agreed to meet KIM JONG UN within weeks after the North Korean leader extended an invitation and offered to suspend nuclear and missile tests. The surprise announcement came from CHUNG EUI-YONG, South Korea's national security director, on White House grounds following high-level discussions. South Korean officials appear to have extracted a number of concessions from the North. Among others, Pyongyang would not object to routine large-scale joint military exercises that the US has already once delayed to accommodate the Winter Olympics in Seoul. CHUNG also confirmed KIM said in a meeting earlier this week that he is committed to de-nuclearisation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China credit growth cools after Jan. spike - Hudson Lockett

New loans in China fell in Feb. as growth in total financing slowed. New renminbi loans totalled Rmb839.3bn in Feb., according to the People's Bank of China - down from a record Rmb2.9tn in Jan. The Feb. figure represented a drop of 28% y/y compared to a 43% y/y rise in Jan. Meanwhile, new total social financing was 7% higher y/y in Feb. to Rmb1.17tn after a 17% dip in Jan. to Rmb3.06tn. Combined growth from shadow financing channels came to just Rmb1.2bn as outstanding entrusted loans dropped by Rmb75bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China consumer inflation up 2.9% in Feb. - Hudson Lockett

Consumer inflation in China accelerated to the fastest pace in more than four years in Feb., hitting a recently set official target as producer price growth weakened to the slowest pace in more than a year. The official CPI rose 2.9% y/y last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, up from just 1.5% in Jan. The figure reflected a rapid alignment with the official target of "around 3%" set by Premier LI KEQIANG in his annual work report last week. While the NBS attributed 1.1 percentage points of the move to a base effect from 2017, the latest reading still came in well above a median forecast of 2.5% from economists surveyed by Reuters. The official PPI slowed half a percentage point to notch a y/y rise of 3.75, the slowest pace since Nov. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Seacom boosts African internet growth with 100Gbps ethernet tech - Fin24

SEACOM has deployed 100 gigabit per second ethernet technology to bolster the growth of the internet in Africa. The company made the upgrade at its data centre core Points of Presence in Teraco Johannesburg and Teraco Cape Town. By upgrading its core routers and switches at these Teraco PoPs to 100Gbps ethernet technology, SEACOM has activated up to 400Gbps of routing and switching bandwith at each facility. The upgrade enables SEACOM to scale up the capacity it has acquired on the West Africa Cable System undersea cable to provide alternate traffic paths in the case of a SEACOM subsea cable system outage. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to get forex boost from tobacco sales despite poor quality crops - Memory Mataranyika

Zimbabwe is expecting a foreign currency boost from tobacco sales, with the 2018 auctioning season starting on Mar. 21. "Growers shall be paid a maximum of $300 per day through banks stationed at the auction floors. The balance shall be transferred into the growers' bank account or mobile wallet", Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor JOHN MANGUDYA said. Farmers cannot be paid all their proceeds in hard cash due to cash shortages in the country, but sources said merchants have provided enough foreign currency for the purchase of tobacco for this season. Tobacco is a major earner of forex for the economy, which is struggling to put a liquidity crunch under control. The RBZ has increased the incentive for tobacco farmers from 5% to 12.5%. In 2017, Zimbabwe earned around $560m in tobacco sales, selling 188m kg of the leaf. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanlam pleased with results, upbeat about SA - Carin Smith

SANLAM announced adjusted return on group equity value per share of 15.8% for the FY to end-Dec. This exceeded the group's target of 13.2%. Net results from financial services per share rose by 7%; normalised HEPS was up 18%; and the dividend per share increased by 8.2% to 290cps. Overall, SANLAM redeployed a net total of R2.8bn in 2017. FD HEINIE WERTH said the group has shown a pattern of double digit average growth over time. "We are pleased that, notwithstanding the economic and political situation in SA last year, SANLAM again shows excellent results", WERTH said. Meanwhile, the company announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase the remaining shareholding in SAHAM FINANCES for $1 050m. The deal is subject to certain conditions including regulatory approvals. SANLAM and subsidiary SANTAM first acquired a joint 30% stake in SAHAM in Feb. 2016, and a further 16.6% in May 2017. Following the conclusion of the deal, SANLAM will own 100% of SAHAM FINACES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS offshore disclosure programme nets R2.7bn so far - Lameez Omarjee

SARS has thus far collected R2.7bn via its Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme, and expects to collect a further R580m by the end of this month. The revenue agency yesterday said South Africans with unauthorised foreign assets and income have used the disclosure programme to enter into agreements with SARS to the value of over R3.3bn. This figure also includes agreements reached with SARS related to information contained in the Panama Papers. SARS said 759 high net worth individuals made use of the normal VDP programme since 2012. During the SVDP period, between Oct. 2016 and Aug. 2017, 195 high net worth individuals applied to voluntarily disclosure their unauthorised offshore assets and income. The VDP process is still open for taxpayers who did not use the SVDP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA as going concern doubtful - AG report - Lameez Omarjee

SAA incurred a net loss of over R5bn, according to the Auditor General's report which was tabled in Parliament on Thursday. The AG tabled the audit report for both SAA and MANGO for FY2016/17 - both airlines received qualified audit opinions. In the report, AG KIMI MAKWETU flagged the airline's going concern. SAA incurred a loss of R5.57bn and its liabilities exceeded assets by R17.8bn. "Six consecutive years of operating losses have further eroded the capital base and this continues to impact on the entity's ability to operate in a highly demanding and competitive environment", MAKWETU said. "The history of losses, lack of capital and volatility in foreign exchange rates, along with maturing loans and working capital deficiencies, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt sets date for signing of 27 outstanding renewable energy IPPs - Lameez Omarjee

Government has affirmed its commitment to renewable energy by announcing the signing of the 27 outstanding renewable energy independent power producer projects. Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE made the announcement at Parliament on Thursday. The projects will be signed on Mar. 13, and has the full support of the Presidency and Cabinet, as well as ESKOM. RADEBE said the signing demonstrates government's commitment to renewable energy and to partner with the private sector. "A partnership with the private sector, labour and civil society, where we support each other in different roles, is of really great benefit to our economy", RADEBE said. The 27 projects will create more than 61 000 jobs, linked to the construction of the plants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo renews partnership with Vuka Marine - Fin24

ANGLO AMERICAN renewed its various ocean freight contracts with VUKA MARIN, a JV between VIA MARITIME HOLDINGS of SA and KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA of Japan. Under these freight contracts, ANGLO transports bulk iron ore and coal products to its customers around the world. VUKA MARINE was committed to deploy and train local cadets on these vessels. The partnership currently accounts for some $30m in annual freight spend. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Famous Brands flags up to $34m in FY impairment - Reuters

FAMOUS BRANDS yesterday said its annual earnings would be hit by impairment charges amounting up to R400m on its Gourmet Burger Kitchen business. As a result, FAMOUS BRANDS expects EPS to decrease by more than 20% for the FY to end-Feb. The company bought GBK for £120m in 2016. FAMOUS BRANDS said it would book an impairment of intangible assets at group level, estimated to be between R241m and R322m and an impairment of property, plant and equipment at GBK, estimated to be between R59m and R78m. In addition a provision for property-related expenses at GBK, estimated at between R37m and R49m, will also be booked. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Therapeutic brands help lift Aspen's H1 profit - Reuters

ASPEN PHARMACARE yesterday said H1 earnings rose 26%, buoyed by a strong result from therapeutic focused brands and positive performance of the pharmaceutical business in its home market. ASPEN said normalised HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. rose to 872cps, from 692cps y/y. Group revenue grew 11% to R21.9bn, from R19.8bn y/y. Therapeutic focused brands comprising the Anaesthetics, Thrombosis and High Potency and Cytotoxic portfolios, delivered revenue of R9.9bn, contributing 45% of total group revenue. Sub-Saharan Africa was the main growth driver in regional pharmaceutical brands, underpinned by the South African business which raised revenue 21%. ASPEN said the sales achieved in H1 are expected to be maintained in the second half "in spite of the continued supply constraints which will prevent realisation of full potential". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal Coal acquires stake in third operation - Nadine James

UNIVERSAL COAL has, through a 49%-owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to buy EXXARO COAL's North Block Complex assets, in Mpumalanga. UNIVERSAL and JV partner NDALAMO RESOURCE have recently established a new company NORTH BLOCK COMPLEX PTY LTD to acquire the assets from EXXARO. NBC will be managed by UNIVERSAL. The fully operational North Block Complex was acquired by NBC for about A$18.6m. The Complex is an opencast operation located in proximity to ESKOM's Arnot, Tutuka and Komati power stations. It has historically achieved average RoM production of about 3.5mt/year over the past four years, with sales of around 2.7mt a year. UNIVERSAL said it plans to convert the Complex into a multiproduct operation with the inclusion of the adjacent Paardeplaats project, pending relevant regulatory approvals and permits. The acquisition is expected to be finalised towards the end of this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BSGR enters administration to protect itself - Reuters

BSG RESOURCES yesterday said it had voluntarily entered into administration, adding that it had taken the decision to protect itself as it faces legal action. The mining arm of BENY STEINMETZ's businesses is caught up in legal disputes in relation to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. As well as facing legal action, BSGR is using financier GEORGE SORSO for $10bn in damages over lost contracts. SOROS has sought to have the lawsuit dismissed. A judge put the case on hold in Nov. BSGR director DAG CRAMER said going into administration was to protect the company against "any adverse or malicious development out of our control". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Master Drilling warns of lower FY earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

MASTER DRILLING yesterday said its EPS, in rand terms, for the FY to end-Dec. were likely to be 22.1%-32.1% lower y/y at 142.6cps-163.6cps. HEPS are expected to decrease by 20.2%-30.2% y/y to between 146.6cps and 167.6cps. The company recorded EPS and HEPS of 210cps for FY2016. Results will be published on Mar. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hebei aims to cut iron, steel making capacity by 20mt in 2018 - Reuters

China's Hebei province will aim to cut iron and steel making production capacity by more than 10mt each and shut down all "zombie" mills this year, the province's vice governor YUAN TONGLI said yesterday. YUAN said the region has launched a new three-year plan to cut capacity and will ban any future increase in the region's steel capacity. Crude steel production in the province fell 0.7% last year to 191.2mt, 23% of the nation's total output, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. YUAN said Hebei has cut 69.93mt of steelmaking capacity and 64.42mt of ironmaking capacity respectively between 2013 and 2017. Last year, it shut 27.54mt of steelmaking capacity and 21.32mt of ironmaking capacity in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global platinum demand expected to increase marginally this year - Nadine James

Global platinum demand is expected to increase marginally this year, based on a 2% recovery in jewellery demand in Asian markets, as well as a 6% demand increase for industrial applications. This combined with a 2% drop in supply, due to mine closures in SA, will have resulted in a "tighter 2018", the World Platinum Investment Council said yesterday. The 3% rise in refined production to 4.3moz in SA outweighed lower output from Zimbabwe and North America. Autocatalyst recycling also grew by 9% to 1.3moz. WPIC research director TREVOR RAYMOND said demand in 2017 declined by around 7%, but that some of the trends affecting demand had reversed, resulting in a more positive forecast for this year. Demand for industrial applications is expected to rise to 1.75moz this year, RAYMOND noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMI concerned about structural imbalances in SA - Siseko Njobeni

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENT HOLDINGS on Wednesday said that while the local economy was expected to recover moderately this year and next due to higher commodity prices, growth would be constrained if structural imbalances were not addressed. The imbalances that needed to be addressed included high-profile corporate failures as well as critical water shortages in various parts of SA. RMI's normalised earnings rose 7% to R4.2bn in the HY to end-Dec., while normalised EPS rose to 295.2cps, from 275.4cps y/y. The group increased its market cap by 19% to R111.8bn, from R93.7bn y/y. RMI raised its interim dividend by 10% to 168cps, from 153cps y/y. NAV/share rose 8% to 3 022.4cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine to sell part of Cromwell stake for R3.7bn - Roy Cokayne

REDEFINE PROPERTIES has agreed to sell a 19.5% stake it owns in ASX-listed CROMWELL PROPERTY GROUP for R3.7bn to Singapore-based AR ASSET MANAGEMENT. The deal has bolstered its liquidity and signalled the start of a process to refine its offshore structure. REDEFINE CEO ANDREW KONIG said the CROMWELL sale was "investor positive from a number of respects, most notably from a liquidity point of view, and is balance-sheet positive on the loan-to-value front". The NAV of REDEFINE's total investment in CROMWELL was R4.89bn at the end of Aug. 2017. REDEFINE will retain 60m CROMWELL securities, representing 3.09% of total exposure in issue, with a current market cap of R556.3m. The transaction is still subject o approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen eyes Saudi Arabia to expand infant milk business - Nqobile Dludla

ASPEN PHARMACARE is looking to expand its infant milk formula business into Saudi Arabia, deputy CEO GUS ATTRIDGE said yesterday, as the company seeks to grow its brand presence in the Middle East. "We've started some very small test sampling of the markets in the Middle East where Saudi Arabia is a particularly attractive market there", ATTRIDGE told Reuters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN swings to $279m annual profit - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

MTN GROUP returned to annual profit in 2017 in the absence of one-off charges related to a $1.1bn Nigerian fine. Headline earnings totalled R3.3bn, or 182cp for the FY to end-Dec., compared with a loss of R1.4bn or 77cps y/y. Group service revenue rose 7.2% to R124bn on a strong performance in Nigeria. MTN said it would pay a total of 700cps in dividend payouts for the FY, unchanged y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro FY profit down 65% - Tanisha Heiberg

EXXARO RESOURCES yesterday reported a 65% drop in FY profit, in line with its estimates, due to costs related to an investment vehicle that is used to increase black shareholding. Although the operating profit rose 17% to R6.06bn for the FY to end-Dec., costs to the tune of R4.339bn linked to the replacement of its BEE vehicle hurt the annual earnings. EXXARO said its coal business benefited from higher selling prices and volumes while the group's results were impacted by various once-off transactions. Annual diluted HEPS from continued and discontinued operations fell to 450cps from the re-presented figure of 1 294cps y/y. A final dividend of 400cps was declared, down from 410cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank FY profit up 14% - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

STANDARD BANK yesterday reported a 14% rise in FY profit as relatively higher commodity prices boosted its operations elsewhere in the continent. Diluted HEPS came in at 1 620cps in the FY to end-Dec., up from 1 421cps y/y. Net interest income grew 6% to R60bn. STANDARD BANK said its operations elsewhere in Africa delivered a robust performance, while its home market suffered as a weak economy hit both consumption and investment spending. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's KCB to boost mobile payment service as profit flattens - George Obulutsa

Kenyan lender KCB GROUP plans to set up its own mobile payment platform this year to handle the jump in transactions via phones, CEO JOSHUA OIGARA said yesterday. The lender posted flat pretax profit of 29.1bn shillings, with growth having slid from the 10% achieved y/y. OIGARA said KCB planned to spend $9m on its mobile payments platform to help it to increase the number of transactions it can handle. The bank said that 57% of its transactions were via mobile phone last year, up from 53% y/y. KCB already has mobile banking services and collaborates with SAFARICOM for use of its M-PESA mobile payments service. KCB said net interest income rose to 48.4bn shillings, from 47.03bn y/y. The bank said that total assets rose to 647bn shillings from 595.24bn shillings and customer deposits rose to 500bn shillings, from 448.17bn shillings y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/03/2018

At 06:29 on 09 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.90 Rand/Sterling 16.42 Rand/Euro 14.65 Gold 1317.69 Platinum 949.00 Oil 63.87 All-Share Index 58926.01

BSI awarded SAPO tenders - ANA

ALTRON this week said subsidiary BYTES YSTEMS INTEGRATION had been awarded tenders worth nearly R220m to support the SA POST OFFICE with biometric technology as it prepares to take over the payment of social grants. ALTRON said the system would verify beneficiaries' identifies via biometric technology connected to the Home Affairs Identification System. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAP admits misconduct in Gupta deals - Joe Brock

SAP found compliance breaches and "indications of misconduct" in $50m of public sector deals in SA involving the GUPTAS, the German software giant said yesterday. Outlining the findings of an external legal review of five software deals with ESKOM and TRANSNET, SAP said three executives suspended last year had resigned without severance pay. SAP admitted it paid more than $8m to intermediary companies controlled by the GUPTAS. The company said there was no evidence of payments directly to South African government officials. Following the investigation, SAP said it had tightened up its compliance and anti-corruption procedures, including banning sales commissions on public sector contracts in countries with poor graft ratings, including SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold backs Randgold's talks with DRC govt - Rahul B

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI said it was fully supporting JV partner RANDGOLD RESOURCES, as several miners operating in the DRC negotiate with the government terms of the country's new mining code. President JOSEPH KABILA will soon sign into law the new mining code, the government announced yesterday. The announcement followed a nearly six-hour meeting between KABILA and mining executives about the new code. "President gave assurances that the questions raised will be resolved through discussions with the Government, in the mining regulation to be adopted by the Government", ANGLOGOLD said. RANDGOLD, which operates the Kibali JV with ANGLOGOLD, will continue talks with the government next week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French firms to invest $10bn in Kenya - Duncan Miriri

French companies will invest $10bn in Kenya in roads, energy, manufacturing and other sectors, a Kenyan official said this week without giving a time frame, after a visit by more than 60 French executives. The two countries have been trying to boost business links in recent years, and French companies like TOTAL and PEUGEOT already have investments in Kenya. "The identified (investment) projects will attract more than $10bn in investments and create thousands of new direct jobs", Industrialisation Minister ADAN MOHAMED said. Other firms that sent representatives on the visit included SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, SSE AIR LIQUIDE and BOLLORE, the Kenyan presidency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kabila to sign new mining code despite CEO's intervention - Henry Sanderson

DRC President JOSEPH KABILA will "shortly" sign a controversial new mining code into law, despite a personal intervention by the CEOs of some of the largest international mining companies. KABILE said the miners' concerns will be taken into account after the law passes, according to a statement issued after a meeting with the heads of GLENCORE, RANDGOLD, CHINA MOLYBDENUM and IVANHOE MINES, who had travelled to Kinshasa to lobby against it. "The president of the Republic assured the mining operators that hey are economic partners of the Democratic Republic of Congo and their concerns will be taken account of through a constructive dialogue with the government after the promulgation of the new mining law", Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya commits to slashing budget deficit, changing rate controls - John Aglionby

Kenya has committed to slashing its budget deficit and "substantially modify" interest rate controls to secure a six-month extension of a frozen $1.5bn stand-by facility with the IMF, the lender announced. The IMF said its executive board would consider the request before the two-year facility expires on Mar. 13. It did not clarify whether the board would unfreeze Kenya's access to the funds or whether that would require a review of the government's reforms, a date for which has not been set. The Fund said Nairobi agreed to significantly cut its budget deficit, adding that an "appropriate" reduction would be from 8.8% in the FY that ended in Jun. 2017 to 7.2% this year and 5.7% by the end of Jun. 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China exports jump in Feb. - Hudson Lockett

China's exports grew at the fastest pace in two years in Feb. despite the lunar new year holiday, pulling the country's trade surplus back up from a recent dip. Outbound shipments rose 44.5% y/y in Feb. in dollar terms, the General Administration of Customs said, up from a rise of just 11.1% in Jan. and exceeding a median estimate of 13.6% from economists polled by Reuters. Meanwhile, import growth slowed considerably to a y/y rise of 6.3%, from 36.9% in Jan. Those flows shook out to a trade surplus of $33.7bn, up from a revised $20.35bn in Jan. (previously $20.34bn). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German manufacturing orders fall in Jan. - Katie Martin

German new industrial orders fell by 3.9% in Jan. m/m, preliminary data showed this morning - a much deeper pullback than the 1.6% contraction pencilled in by economists in a Reuters poll. That represents an 8.2% gain on the same month of the previous year, but still, domestic orders dropped by 2.8% on the month, and foreign orders by 4.6%. December's 3.8% monthly gain was also trimmed back to 3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU rejects UK's plan for post-Brexit trade relationship - Alex Barker

The EU has rebuffed THERESA MAY's vision for trade after Brexit, laying out a narrow view of future relations with the UK and warning of the "negative economic consequences" of her choices. European Council president DONALD TUSK circulated draft guidelines instructing EU negotiators to take an austere approach, with severely limited arrangements for services and regulatory co-operation. No mention of financial services is made. "The European Council has to take into account the repeatedly stated position of the UK, which limit the depth of such a future partnership. Being outside the customs union and the single market will inevitably lead to frictions", the guidelines state. The document rules out MAY's desire for Britain to stay part of EU agencies after Brexit. "The Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a third-country to EU institutions, agencies or bodies". The text states that should the UK's position "evolve", the EU "will be prepared to reconsider its offer". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom vows to press on with Qualcomm bid despite US objections - Eric Platt

BROADCOM yesterday indicated it would not abandon its pursuit of QUALCOMM despite an unusual public warning from the US government earlier this week. BROADCOM vowed to maintain QUALCOMM's research and development efforts on the 5G wireless standard, adding that it would launch a $1.5bn fund to invest in engineering talent in the country. "With its proven track record of investing in and growing core franchises, BROADCOM is committed to making the US the global leader in 5G", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Look to close 60 stores in deal with creditors - Frederica Cocco

Up to 960 jobs are under threat at NEW LOOK as the fashion retailer announces plans to go into Company Voluntary Arrangement. Weaker consumer confidence, "the implications of Brexit" and competition from online channels are the main factors behind the decision, according to DELOITTE partner DANIEL BUTTERS, one of the nominees to the CVA appointed by the company. NEW LOOK has identified 60 out of a total of 593 stores in the UK for potential closure, as well as a further six sites that are sub-let to third parties. It will also ask landlords to accept lower rents at 393 stores. The group is currently seeking creditor approval on the proposal, due on Mar. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector adds 235 000 jobs in Feb. - ADP - Pan Kwan Yuk

Non-farm private employers in the US added 235 000 jobs last month, according to payrolls processor ADP. The figure easily topped expectations for a gain of 200 000 and is the fourth month in a row that job gains came in above 200 000. The data also revised up jobs gains for Dec. to 244 000. The service sector drove the bulk of the month's gains, adding 198 000 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit hits widest level in nine years - Peter Wells

The US trade deficit widened to $56.6bn - the biggest since Jul. 2008 - at the start of this year, from a revised $53.9bn in Dec. (previously $53.1bn) and ahead of economists' forecasts for a $55bn shortfall. The country's deficit with China was at its biggest level since Sep. 2015 in Jan. at $36bn. The deficit with Canada, at $3.6bn, was its widest since Dec. 2014. CAPITAL ECONOMICS senior economist MICHAEL PEARCE said that barring a large rebound in Feb. and March, the Jan. figure "suggests that net trade will once again be a drag on economic growth in the first quarter, and will only add fuel to President DONALD TRUMP's protectionist rhetoric in recent weeks". Exports were down 1.3% m/m versus a 1.7% gain in Dec., while imports were flat versus 2.6% growth m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem Diamonds recovers 152ct diamond at Letseng - Marleny Arnoldi

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered a 152ct, top white colour Type IIa diamond from its majority-owned Letseng mine in Lesotho. This is the sixth diamond larger than 100ct recovered at the mine this year. Letseng is the highest dollar per cart kimberlite diamond mine in the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa ups Feb. sales - Creamer Media Reporter

ALROSA yesterday announced its latest diamond sales results and reported on geological prospecting developments, including the reorganisation of its exploration unit. The Russian diamond major said it had sold $541.9m worth of rough and polished diamonds in Feb., compared with $504.5m in Jan. ALROSA further reported that it had grown its rough diamond reserves to almost 1.2bn carts in 2017 and had reorganised its exploration unit. The company spent around 8bn roubles on prospecting and onsite exploration last year, with its focus on the Republic of Sakha in the Arkhangelsk region, and Angola. It also reported that it had implemented the first stage of its exploration complex reform, with three specialised competence centres - exploration, mining and drilling, and scientific and anALytical - having been formed at four exploration subdivisions. ALROSA has also completed an audit of exploration projects and has stopped work on projects in low potential territories, while it accelerated work in promising areas. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

City of Johannesburg to revise 8 000 property valuations - Sibongile Khumalo

The City of Johannesburg will revise its new property valuation process following a public outcry over the system unveiled last month, Mayor HERMAN MASHABA said yesterday. The City last month published a new property valuation list, which was criticised by residents for overvaluing properties, with some facing increases of over 100%. The increased valuations would have hiked the commercial value of properties and lead to considerable increases in rates and taxes for property owners across the city. According to MASHABA's office, a total of 8 000 new valuations have been identified as "potentially" overvalued. Owners will from next week be sent letters informing them about the changes. Over 4 000 property owners had lodged objections to new valuations ahead of the Apr. 6 deadline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SANRAL wasting taxpayer money with irregular spend - SCOPA - Lameez Omarjee

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has raised concerns over SANRAL's high levels of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, which has resulted from non-compliance with supply chain management processes. According to a report submitted by SANRAL, accumulated irregular expenditure for FY2016/17 amounted to R10bn, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure was over R15m. SCOPA said SANRAL was deliberately ignoring Treasury and the Public Finance Management Act, which has resulted in the agency's finances being in a bad state. In one instance, R549 000 of irregular spend was as a result of competitive bidding processes not being followed. There were two instances where a further R33 000 was incurred when bids were not awarded to the lowest bidder. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Business rescue may put Optimum back under Glencore ownership - Khulekani Magubane

The prospect of GLENCORE possibly returning as the owner of Optimum mine opened up yesterday when the mine's business rescue practitioners told Parliament here is a "distinct possibility" that GUPTA-owned mining assets could eventually be bought up by other investors. But such a transaction would be subject to strict regulation compliance, the Department of Mineral Resources said. GLENCORE previously owned the mine, but compelling evidence has emerged that ESKOM and GUPTA-owned TEGETA together conspired to strongarm GLENCORE into relinquishing the mine for TEGETA to scoop up. LOUIS KLOPPER, the BRP for the eight TEGETA-linked companies of the group under business rescue, said that since the BANK OF BARODA's exit from SA, he and his colleagues have been preoccupied with getting the mines financed by transactional banks to ensure they can continue paying employees. The companies running the mine operations went into business rescue after the BANK OF BARODA's exit left them straining to pay employees and service providers. KLOPPER said once this is fixed by end-Mar., the businesses could continue operating and may very well be acquired as a going concern. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basil Read to take on building of top structures - Megan van Wyngaardt

BASIL READ has received permits from the National Home Builders Registration Council to start building top structures at its housing developments, such as the Savanna City Estate near Orange Farm in Gauteng. The top structure would be build under a new unit, BASIL READ HOMES, which was established at end-2017 and falls under its Developments division. Fourty-four two-bedroom units at Savanna City have been allocated to start with this year under the new programme. CEO KHATHUTSHELO MAPASA said the company chose 44 units to start with to enable it to slowly build on its capability. It will also focus on using emerging black construction companies to assist in the building of these units. When complete, the 1 462 ha Savanna City development will provide 18 399 integrated housing units, 16 educational facilities and nine retail and commercial sites. Savanna City is being built at estimated cost of over R24bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi joins WWF's climate saving business leadership programme - Marleny Arnoldi

MONDI has adopted 2050 science-based targets to help limit the rise in global temperature to under 2 ¢ªC above pre-industrial levels by joining the World Wide Fund for Nature's climate leadership programme for businesses - Climate Savers - which aims to transform businesses into low-carbon economy leaders. "In joining Climate Savers, MODNI commits to working towards further reducing GHG emissions across its entire value chain and to taking action to positively influence the packaging and paper industry, as well as policy-makers", MONDI CEO PETER OSWALD said. He added that the company has managed to reduce its GHG emissions by 38% since 2004, by focusing on operational and energy efficiencies by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, sustainably managing its forests and associated ecosystems and sourcing its raw material responsibly. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint starts excavation for Rosebank office development - Marleny Arnoldi

GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES has started the excavation process for the 35 000m2 144 Oxford premium-grade office development in Rosebank, with the project expected to be completed in Oct. 2019. The development will entail two office towers of about 17 500m2 each. This development is located opposite the Hyatt Regency and is within walking distance of the Rosebank Gautrain station. GROWTHPOINT office division asset manager PAUL KOLLENBERG says there is growing demand in the Rosebank node for premium-grade office space. The company is targeting a 4-Star Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of SA for the development. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Day Zero in CT will not happen in 2018 - Maimane - ANA

DA leader MMUSI MAIMANE yesterday said Day Zero will not occur in 2018 and this means taps will stay open, provided Cape Town residents continue consuming water at current levels and there is decent rainfall. MAIMANE said consumption now sat at between 510m and 520m litres per day, down from almost 1.2bn litres in Feb. 2015. "This 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement and outperforms many other cities across the world which faced severe droughts, including Sao Paulo, Melbourne, and the State of California", he added. Depending on the extent of consumption and the amount of rain received over the winter months, the city may be in a position to scale back the current restrictions from Level 6B to Level 5 in the near future, MAIMANE added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee delivers positive results in final six months of 2017 - Natasha Odendaal

JUBILEE has pushed its earnings into positive territory during the HY to end-Dec., following the inclusion of the HERNIC ferrochrome platinum and chrome tailings operation for a full six months. JUBILEE yesterday posted a rise in earnings before noncash operating expenses and interest to a positive R27.2m during the HY under review, compared with the loss of R4.06m y/y. CEO LEON COETZER noted that the company managed to achieve a unit cost per PGM oz produced of only $382. Gross profit for the period rose to R41.85m, from R16.2m y/y. The LPS, including noncash expenses and interest, fell from 95cps y/y to 44.15cps in the HY under review. During the period, revenue rose to R105.8m, from R86.8m y/y. HERNIC produced 6 629oz during the HY under review, while its revenue for the period reached R63.59m. Operating earnings were R26.06m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana president seeks to barter bauxite for roads, bridges - Bloomberg

Ghana will finalise details of an infrastructure programme before the end of 2018 and will pay for it with refined bauxite, President NAN AKUFO-ADDO said this week. Last year, the country said it signed an agreement with China that may culminate in the development of a $10bn bauxite venture that will include the construction of alumina refineries and railways. "This will probably be the largest infrastructure programme in Ghana's history", the president said, adding that it will involve "the barter of exchange of refined bauxite for infrastructure" such as roads, bridges and hospitals. He didn't elaborate on potential partners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan's Lixil poised for growth after investment of R1.6bn in SA - Roy Cokayne

Listed Japan-based LIXIL GROUP CORPORATION is investing a total of R1.6bn in SA, part of which includes the acquisition in Sep. last year of the remaining 49% interest in GROHE DAWN WATERTECH. LIXIL acquired DAWN's stake in GDWT for R324.5m. LIXIL president and CEO KINYA SETO said the corporation's total investment in SA now stood at R1.6b. SETO said for many years between 1% and 2% of GDWT's sales were invested in its facilities, but there was a need to catch up with the lack of capex. "Many of the facilities are 60 years old, so we need to upgrade them to modern facilities and invest more", SETO said. "This year, we are planning to invest 10% of sales". That would likely translate into an investment of around R152m in GDWT's manufacturing facilities in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon retail sales take a knock - Dineo Faku

EDCON yesterday said retail sales had taken a knock in the quarter to end-Dec. following the sale of the LEGIT business and exit of unprofitable international brands. Retail sales contracted by 94% to R7.64bn from R8.44b. "Our strategy of exiting non-profitable international brands and the optimisation of merchandise categories and store rationalisation has impacted on our retail sales performance with like-for-like retail sales decreasing by 4.9%", the company said. It added that retail sales were affected by weak consumer demand and fierce price competition through ongoing promotions and clearance activity by competitors, both JET and EDGARS continued to trade positively in ladieswear and footwear. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers union livid at 3 000 job cuts because of robotics at Nedbank - ANA

The South African Society of Bank Officials yesterday condemned NEDBANK for announcing plans to cut 3 000 jobs as a result of robotics, and threatened "serious action plans" if the bank sidelined it in future decisions on staff. NEDBANK last week said it could possibly do away with 3 000 employees as a result of software robots, but that the job losses would be offset via the bank's expected growth. NEDBANK has installed 59 software robots and plans to have 200 in place by the end of 2018. With around 32 000 staff, the bank said its natural attrition rate is around 3 000 per year. SABO said it had had long exploratory talks with NEDBANK on the impact of digitisation and robotics. "SASBO is startled and disappointed that NEDBANK turned to the media to release a condemning press statement of 3 000 job losses thereby causing major disturbances and confusion in the financial sector. We are constantly engaged in discussions with NEDBANK on various issues and at no stage did SASBO consent or agree to this statement, nor was any report alluding to such large scale job losses based on robotics ever presented to us. SASBO rejects this statement as the country cannot afford further job losses". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Putprop ups stake in Pilot Peridot - Roy Cokayne

PUTPROP has increased its stake in PILOT PERIDOT INVESTMENTS to 61.21% via the acquisition of a further 7.75% stake in the firm from JDC PROPERTY INVESTMENTS and BOKSPITS INVESTMENTS for a total of R14.6m. PILOT PERIDOT has interests in various retail and commercial property developments. The acquisition complied with PUTPROP's objective of strategic investments focused on retail and commercial opportunities. The acquisition of the additional shareholding also allowed the company to enhance and protect its existing investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cashbuild to maintain focus on expanding footprint - Siseko Njobeni

CASHBUILD yesterday said it would maintain its focus on store growth and broadening its footprint as it published results for the HY to end-Dec. "Despite a 9% growth in the number of stores, the severe economic pressures experienced by the man in the street were noticeable in the marginal increase in CASHBUILD's number of customer transactions period-on-period. During the first half, CASHBUILD added 22 new stores and four CASHBUILD stores were relocated", CEO WERNER DE JAGER said. Group revenue for the HY rose by 5% to R5.4bn, while operating expenses were up 9% Operating profit dropped by 10% to R325m. The operating margin, which indicates how efficient a company is at controlling costs, was 6%, compared with 7% in Dec. 2016. Basic EPS and HEPS fell by 8%, while NAV/share rose by 15% to R73.03. An interim dividend of 496cps was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferreira to retire from leading RMI - ANA

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENTS yesterday announced the retirement of co-founder and chair GERRIT THOMAS FERRAIRA, who will turn 70 next month. RMI said FERREIRA will be replaced as chair by JANNIE DURANG, the current deputy chair, effective Mar. 31. RMI also announced the retirements of board members JAN DREYER and KHEHLA SHUBANE on Mar. 31, and lead independent director PAT GOSS on Apr. 10. In their places, the company appointed new board members MAMONGAE MAHLARE, RALPH MUPITA and JAMES TEEGER as independent non-executive directors; or DAVID FRANKEL as an alternate to TEEGER. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando drops lawsuit against Nigeria's SEC - Felix Onuah

OANDO PLC has dropped its lawsuit against Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission, paving the way for a forensic audit of the company, the regulator said this week. OANDO had filed the suit against the regulator to halt it's suspension of the company's shares and the planned audit, based on concerns about possible insider trading. The SEC in 2017 probed OANDO on the basis of petitions from shareholders and a whistleblower. An OANDO spokesperson said the company is fully cooperating with the regulator. With the lawsuit dropped, the SEC has asked DELOITTE to conduct the audit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's net foreign reserves fall to $43.272bn in Feb. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's net foreign reserves fell to $43.272bn in Feb., from $43.588bn in the prior month, the SARB said yesterday. Gross reserves fell to $50.051bn from $50.501bn, data showed. The forward position rose slightly to $2.057bn from $2.024bn previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mpact FY earnings down as sales slow - Nqobile Dludla

MPACT yesterday reported a 34% drop in FY earnings, partly due to lower domestic sales as a consequence of subdued demand and the drought in fruit growing regions. HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. fell to 166.3cps from 252.7cps y/y, while underlying operating profit dropped to R457m from R784m y/y. Group revenue was R10.1bn and sales volumes were in line with the prior year, with increased exports offsetting a 4.3% decline in domestic sales volumes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MMI to buy back shares as earnings fall - Nqobile Dludla

MMI HOLDINGS yesterday reported a 2.6% drop in H1 earnings and said it would start buying back some of its shares instead of paying dividends. MMI said diluted core HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. came in at 97cps, from 99.6cps y/y. "This was largely due to weaker persistency in Metropolitan Retail, weaker profitability in both new generation and legacy life products at Momentum Retail, and an increase in MMI's share of losses, in line with business plans on new initiatives such as the India joint venture", the insurer said. Operating profit after new initiatives rose 4% to R1.31bn, from R1.26bn y/y. MMI said it will set aside R2bn for a share buy-back in the next 12 months. "Given the current discount to embedded value, we are of the opinion that a share buy-back is the most efficient use of capital and will enhance value to shareholders", MMI FD RISTO KETOLA said. MMI updated its dividend policy to target a dividend cover centered at 2.5 times core headline earnings, from a cover range of 1.5x-1.7x previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand to slip over 4% as Ramaphosa euphoria fades - Vuyani Ndaba

The rand is expected to weaken more than 4% in 12 months as investors start to take profits from the over-bought currency on doubts of how much President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA can achieve in reforms. A Reuters poll published yesterday showed the rand is expected to trade at 12.25/$ in a year, down from around 11.74 at present. "We see any rallies in the rand being met by profit taking and scepticism that President RAMAPHOSA can transform the economy", said CHRISTOPHER SHIELLS, emerging market strategist at INFORMA GLOBAL MARKETS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miner ERG revives sale of Congo copper mine - Clara Denina

Embattled Kazakh miner EURASIAN RESOURCES GROUP has revived efforts to sell its Frontier copper mine in the DRC, despite a drop in valuation of around $400m, sources said. The company, which is working with VTB CAPITAL and ROTHSCHILD to spin off and eventually list some of its assets, had already tried to sell its international operations in 2014 but failed to do so as the global economy slowed and commodity prices crashed. But a sale is now complicated by the DRC parliament's adoption in Jan. of a new mining code to increase taxes and royalties for mining companies. ERG also wons copper and cobalt mines Boss Mining and Comide and some development and near-production assets in the DRC. One source said the company aims to leave the country within two years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda ditches pension privatisation plan - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda has ditched a long-standing plan to liberalise private-sector pensions after concluding the reform would hand foreign firms an advantage over their local counterparts. All statutory retirement contributions from employees on formal company contracts will instead continue to be managed by the state-run NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY FUND, Labour Minister JANAT MUKWAYA said yesterday. The NSSF, which had 7.9th shillings under management as of June 2017, has faced accusations of mismanagement from some contributors. The government came up with the privatisation plan in response to that criticism. But MUKWAYA said allowing competition would be a "surrender of both the banking and non-banking financial sector to foreign capital because indigenous firms will have a very limited role to play". All private sector workers in Uganda are legally obliged to contribute 5% of their salaries to the NSSF as social security savings to be redeemed as a lump sum on retirement. Their employers add an additional 10%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast to begin week-long eurobond roadshow - Loucoumane Coulibaly

Ivory Coast is launching a week-long roadshow starting in London for its planned eurobond issue, Finance Minister ADAMA KONE said yesterday. "We are leaving tonight", KONE said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Abidjan. "We start with London... I can't say anything about the amount", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's GDP contracted in 2017, growth expected in 2018 - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia's economy contracted by 0.4% in 2017 but is expected to recover and expand by 1.2% in 2018 and by double that the year after as a return of government spending boosts activity. Finance Minister CALLE SCHLETTWEIN yesterday said the country's budget deficit will drop to 4.5% of GDP in 2018/19 from 5.8% in the previous fiscal year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Business confidence retreats from recent high - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Business confidence pulled back in Feb. after hitting a two-and-a-half year high in Jan. as exports, imports and retail sales contracted, but prudent economic policies could help boost sentiment going forward, SACCI said yesterday. The Chamber's monthly Business Confidence Index fell to 98.9 in Feb. from 99.7 in Jan. - the highest since late 2015. "The relative large negative monthly effects came from lower merchandise trade export and import volumes, and real retail sales", SACCI said. It said the budget was a first step towards prudent and consistent economic policy to re-establishing long-term investor confidence. "However, pivotal to a sustainable and inclusive economic growth performance over the longer-term is a substantial increase in fixed investment by local and foreign investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF warns Nigeria of vulnerability amid slow exit from recession - Alexis Akwagyiram

The IMF yesterday said Nigeria was lowly exiting recession but remains vulnerable because its growth is tied to oil prices with improved revenues restricted to the energy and agriculture sectors. The assessment came in the Fund's Article IV consultation, an annual appraisal of a country's economy. "The Nigerian economy is slowly exiting recession but remains vulnerable", the IMF said in its report. It said the economy had been helped by higher oil prices, improved access to forex and foreign reserves rising to a four-year high but said improvements had not yet boosted non-oil, non-agricultural activity. "Lower oil prices, tighter external market conditions, heightened security issues, and delayed policy responses are the main downside risks". The Fund also repeated its calls for Nigeria to lift its remaining forex restrictions and scrap its system of multiple exchange rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's land expropriation plans making markets nervous - Goldman Sachs - Wendell Roelf

SA's plan to expropriate land without compensation is causing nervousness in markets but the process is likely to be adopted in a rational way, GOLDMAN SACHS Africa chief COLIN COLEMAN said yesterday. "We can't pre-empt what that process is going to be so there is naturally some nervousness in the market... One has to be confident we are not going to end up in an irrational space and we will end up close to a rational position", COLEMAN told a conference in Cape Town. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 08/03/2018

At 07:43 on 08 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.84 Rand/Sterling 16.47 Rand/Euro 14.69 Gold 1327.69 Platinum 952.00 Oil 64.54 All-Share Index 58962.65

Gigaba given 10 days to prepare for Eskom probe - Lameez Omarjee

Home Affairs Minister MALUSI GIGABA has ten days to prepare for his appearance before the ESKOM Inquiry. GIGABA was scheduled to appear before the portfolio committee on public enterprises on Tuesday, but sent a letter to chair ZUKISWA RANTHO on Friday, requesting an extension. The committee accepted his request. The minister has been caught up in dealing with matters related to the GUPTAS. GIGABA yesterday confirmed that AJAY GUPTA and his brother ATUL are not South African citizens, and provided clarity on the process of their naturalisation. GIGABA is expected to testify on his tenure as public enterprises minister between 2009 and 2014. He has been criticised for the regression of several SOEs under his watch. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ofcom opens net neutrality probe into Three, Vodafone - Nic Fildes

OFCOM has launched an investigation into whether THREE and VODAFONE "throttle" certain services on their networks, breaching EU rules on net neutrality. The probe could have a profound impact on how telecoms groups across Europe manage traffic on their services, and whether they continue to offer customers unlimited access to certain types of content on top of normal data usage restrictions. The British communications watchdog said it would look at how VODAFONE and THREE handle categories of traffic which place a burden on their network, especially when their customers are roaming overseas. OFCOM will also question whether THREE should be allowed to restrict tethering and if it should be able to block its customers from using SIM cards sold for smartphones in tablets. It will look at VODAFONE's traffic management policies relating to its 'Passes' bundles, which allow customers to buy endless usage of music and video streaming, social media or messaging apps without eating into the data allowance under their regular contract terms. THREE said it would work closely with the regulator to understand its concerns, but that it believed that he Eu rules were more about customer choice. A VODAFONE spokesperson said the company had met with OFCOM repeatedly on the issues raised, and that it was "very disappointed with OFCOM's decision to target VODAFONE Passes". VODAFONE said it does not "throttle" videos when roaming but that it does "optimise" some of those services by, for example, reducing the quality of the stream. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Smurfit Kappa rejects takeover approach from International Paper - John Murray Brown

SMURFIT KAPPA has rejected an unsolicited cash and share offer from INTERNATIONAL PAPER of the US, describing the approach as "fundamentally opportunistic and conditional". The Dublin-based company did not disclose the value of the bid but said the proposal "fails entirely to reflect the group's strong growth prospects and attractive industry outlook. SMURFIT KAPPA's enterprise value is about €9.8bn, according to FactSet data. SMURFIT KAPPA said the proposal comprised "a combination of cash and a minority holding in the combined business". INTERNATIONAL PAPER is the world's largest paper and pulp company. The Irish group announced record EBITDA for 2017 of €1.24bn and said it would accelerate an investment programme to "improve its market position". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lego posts first annual sales, profit drop since 2004 - Richard Milne

Danish toymaker LEGO last year suffered its first fall in sales and profits since 2004. Revenues fell by 8% to DRr35bn in 2017 while operating profit fell by 16% to DKr10.4bn y/y. The results underscore how the company is facing its biggest test since the group came close to financial collapse in 2003/04. LEGO said its aim was to stabilise its business this year. It tried to put a gloss on last year's results by saying much of the decline in revenue was due to a "clean-up of inventories". It added that global sales were flat and ended the year on an upwards trend. CEO NIELS CHRISTIANSEN noted that December sales grew in seven of the company's 12 largest markets and that it entered 2018 with "healthier inventories". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Temasek, GIC in talks to buy stake in D.ream Group - Javier Espinoza

A trio of investors, including Singapore's TEMASEK and GIC, are close to buying a minority stake in a group of high-end restaurants that includes Nusr-Et steakhouse, famous for the social media phenomenon of Salt Bae. The purchase, which is still under discussion but could be announced by the end of this week, values D.REAM GROUP, a subsidiary of the owner of these restaurants called DOGUS GROUP, at close to $1.5bn. London-based investment firm METRIC CAPITAL is also part of the consortium of investors. The purchase, which is roughly an equal cheque of $200m, also includes restaurants Coya, Zuma and Roka. Sources said these restaurants are seen as luxury chains on par with brands like GUCCI and LVMH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kushner to visit Mexico after presidential talks collapse - Jude Webber

DONALD TRUMP's son-in-law and advisor, JARED KUSHNER, will visit Mexico on Wednesday, days after the prospect of a meeting between the US president and his Mexican counterpart, ENRIQUE PENA NIETO collapsed following a difficult 50-minute phone call between the two leaders. KUSHNER "will make a working visit... as an envoy of President TRUMP" and will be accompanied by State Department and US National Security Council officials, the Mexican government said. KUSHNER will meet PENA NIETO and hold a working meeting with foreign minister LUIS VIDEGARAY. According to sources, TRUMP lost his temper in the call two weeks ago and refused to endorse publicly the Mexican position that it will not pay for the planned border wall. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US imposes new N Korea sanctions over Kim Jong Nam assassination - Edward White

The US government has imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its use of chemical weapons in the assassination of KIM JONG NAM, the half-brother of North Korean leader KIM JONG UN. The State Department did not detail what the sanctions would cover but said they were "in addition to existing US comprehensive sanctions against targeting unlawful North Korean activities". The sanctions followed a determination by the US last month that the North Korean government used VX, a chemical warfare agent, to assassinate KIM JONG NAM in Feb. 2017. The new sanctions come amid a thawing of tension on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang told Seoul yesterday it is open to ending its nuclear weapon programme in exchange for the guarantee of its security. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia Q4 GDP growth slows - Alice Woodhouse

Australia's economy grew at a slower pace than expected in Q4 2017 as a rebound in household consumption was offset by a drop in exports. GDP grew 0.4% q/q in Q4 to end-Dec., slowing from 0.7% in the previous quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That was below the 0.6% expected by economists. Household consumption grew 1% during the quarter while exports of rural goods and transport equipment fell and construction of homes also contracted. In y/y terms, GDP grew 2.4% in Q4, short of the 2.5% growth forecast and at a slower rate than the 2.8% pace recorded in the prior quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gary Cohn resigns as Trump advisor - Shawn Donnan

DONALD TRUMP's top economic adviser, GARY COHN, has resigned after losing a battle over tariffs. In a statement yesterday, the White House said COHN, the former number-two at GOLDMAN SACHS, would be leaving in the coming weeks. COHN, the head of the National Economic Council, has been leading pro-free trade advisers in an effort to capture the president's ear in the tariffs debate. Since TRUMP's announcement last week, COHN has been working to try to blunt the effects of any tariff and argue for exemptions. Inside the administration, COHN had been seen as one of the few people who stood up to TRUMP. In Aug., he told the FT he had considered resigning after the administration's response to violent protests in Charlottesville. GOLDMAN SACHS CEO LLOYD BLANKFEIN was one of the first to weigh in publicly on COHN's departure. "Gary Cohn deserves credit for serving his country in a first class way. I'm sure I join many others who are disappointed to see him leave", BLANKFEIN tweeted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Weinstein Co deal with investor group collapses - Shannon Bond

A last-minute agreement to sell THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY to an investor group backed by the billionaires RON BURKLE and LEN BLAVATNIK has collapsed after the buyers learned of previously undisclosed liabilities at the troubled studio. "After signing and entering into the confirmatory diligence phase, we have received disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction. As a result, we have decided to terminate this transaction", said MARIA CONTRERAS-SWEET, a former OBAMA administration official who was leading the group. The collapse of the deal means TWC will probably be liquidated. CONTRERAS-SWEET said her group would "consider acquiring assets that may become available in the event of bankruptcy proceedings, as well as other opportunities that may become available in the entertainment industry". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NYSE to pay $14m penalty to settle SEC claims - Nicole Bullock

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE and two affiliates with multiple violations related to market events including the tumult on Aug. 24, 2015, when selling pressure at the session open resulted in chaotic trading, delays and suspensions. NYSE, a unit of INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE, has agreed to pay a $14m penalty to settle the claims. NYSE, NYSE Arca and NYSE American neither admitted nor denied the findings in the regulator's order. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell doubles LNG purchase agreement with Venture Global - Peter Wells

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has agreed to double its LNG purchase agreement with VENTURE GLOBAL, taking the US LNG group one step closer to a final investment decision for its project in Louisiana. SHELL's latest deal takes the total committed purchases for VENTURE GLOBAL's Calcasieu Pass 10mt project o 3mt. VENTURE GLOBAL had initially signed a 1mt binding 20-year agreement with SHELL in 2016, followed by another 1mt deal with Italy's EDISON in 2017. VENTURE GLOBAL is hoping to start production by end-2021 with commercial operations commencing the following year. It is also working on a 20mt project at Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US security panel warns against Broadcom's Qualcomm bid - James Fontanella-Khan

A secretive US national security committee has issued an unprecedented public warning against BROADCOM's proposed $142bn hostile takeover of QUALCOMM, saying it is worried that the deal may result in China dominating the US in providing 5G technology. The letter by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US constitutes an unusual use of a regulatory body to protect US technology from Chinese competition by intervening in an ongoing negotiation. CFIUS criticised BROADCOM's "private equity" style plans for QUALCOMM, saying it would reduce long-term investment in research and development in search of quick profits. It cited reports that BROADCOM has spent six times as much on acquisition as on R&D and allegations from former employees that the company starves investment in product development. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory orders fall for first time in six months - Pan Kwan Yuk

US factory orders fell for the first time in six months in Jan. amid lower demand for transportation and defence equipment. Factory orders contracted by 1.4% to $491.7bn in Jan. m/m, the Commerce Department said yesterday. The figure stands in contrast to the 1.8% increase recorded in Dec. and marks the gauge's first drop since July. Within this, orders for transportation equipment were down 10% while those for defence aircraft and nondefence aircraft slumped nearly 46% and 28%, respectively. Orders for non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft fell 0.3% m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining Forum SA determined to stop Lonmin sale - Tehillah Niselow

LONMIN faces another hurdle in its R5.1bn sale to SIBANYE-STILLWATER, with Mining Forum SA threatening to file an interdict to stop the deal and accusing the company of failing to fulfil its mandatory licence obligations. In a lawyer's letter to the minister of mineral resources last month, the NPO claimed the department did not play its oversight role in ensuring the correct implementation of LONMIN's social and labour plan for the period 2012-2017. Mining Forum SA claims the DMR's inspectorate raided LONMIN mines in the North West province in Aug. and found the company did not comply with the commitments made in its social and labour plan of 2014-2018. The DMR in Nov. said it is investigating the claims. In a statement on Friday, the lobby group said its court application aims to force the DMR to suspend or revoke LONMIN's mining rights. The NPO said it will apply for an interdict to bar the platinum producer from transferring its mining operations to a third party, should it not have received an intention of a notice to oppose its court challenge, by May 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FirstRand shares up on HY financials - Ntaoleng Lechela

FIRSTRAND shares rose 2.44% yesterday afternoon after it announced a 7% rise in group earnings for the HY to end-Dec. The group said its two largest operating entities, FNB and RMB, had produced strong operational performances, while WESBANK had a tough period. Overall, FIRSTRAND earnings grew by 7% to R12.4bn and pre-tax profits saw an increase of 8% to R17.3bn. Dividends per share rose 9% to 130cps, from 119cps y/y. Outgoing FIRSTRAND CEO JOHAN BURGER said the results were pleasing given that "the second half of 2017 was a very challenging operating environment". FNB's normalised earnings for the HY under review were R7.1bn. RMB increased pre-tax profits by 23% to R839m. WESBANK's pre-tax profit was down 2% to R2.705bn in the HY under review, from R2.755bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brimstone pays dividend despite tough trading conditions - Fin24

Despite tough trading conditions for two subsidiaries contributing to a drop in earnings, BRIMSTONE declared a dividend of 42cps - unchanged from the previous year. BRIMSTONE said subsidiary SEA HARVEST recorded excellent results, which contributed positively to earnings. BRIMSTONE posted a profit of R147m for the year compared to a profit of R197m y/y. It regarded this as a considerable improvement from the loss of R201m reported in the HY to end-Jun. 2017. Dividends received were R223m, down from R339m y/y. Fair value gains improved to R71m from losses of R70m reported in the y/y period. SEA HARVEST reported EBIT of R383m, up 53% y/y and profit after tax of R267m, up 103% y/y. Investments in EQUITES and STADIO alone contributed R353m in fair market value adjustments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB HY profits up 11% - Jan Cronje

FNB yesterday announced that its banking app usage had increased by 66%, as it reported that overall profits had increased by 11% for the HY to end-Dec. Pre-tax profits grew from R9.3bn to R10.43bn on the back of strong growth in its SA banking businesses, which saw pre-tax profit up 12%. The local business contributed R9.8bn to pre-tax profits. FNB's banking portfolio in the rest of Africa remained under pressure, with pre-tax profits down 5%. When a once-off profit for FNB INDIA is factored in, this changed to an increase of 3%. According to the group's figures, FNB customers transacted over its app a total of 73.5m times in the second half of last year. This is 66% more than the total of 44.4m transactions over the same period in 2016. FNB internet banking fell by 1% to 104m transactions, indicating that some customers were using the app instead of logging on to the group's website. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Expropriation without compensation key for economic growth - Masondo - Anine Kilian

Land reform, including expropriation without compensation, is necessary for economic growth and development and will contribute towards ending unacceptable levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment, ANC NEC member Dr DAVID MASONDO said yesterday. MASONDO said expropriation should not be seen as a destructive measure, but rather as a developmental measure. "The expropriation of land without compensation is one of many key mechanisms for land redistribution, with the aim of increasing agricultural production and food security... and to support other economic sectors", MASONDO said. He noted that the resolution specifically targeted underused and unused land, adding that it did not stipulate that all land would be expropriated without compensation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clover not too worried about land expropriation proposals - Megan van Wyngaardt

Despite concerns about he recent calls for land expropriation without compensation and the possible effect this could have on the economy, CLOVER INDUSTRIES believes it is not all doom and gloom. CEO JOHANN VORSTER said he was not as skeptical about the proposals as the general market was. "With all changes, there are opportunities. Many farmers will buy more farms at reasonable prices. There are good things that can come form it, if it is done orderly and responsibly. There is still a lot of water the needs to go under the bridge". VORSTER noted that CLOVER farmers in the KZN and Eastern Cape areas were running programmes to assist local farmers in improving their dairy farming skills. However, he noted that a general consensus was that not everybody who received farmland wanted to be farmers. "They're [city folk] and don't understand farms. It's like asking me to farm, I won't know where to start". This, VORSTER said, also highlighted the need for skills transfer, particularly via tertiary colleges "where people can go and school themselves" in agriculture. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Columbus Stainless aims to export competitively, while growing local market consumption - Simone Liedtke

COLUMBUS STAINLESS is positioned well to export competitively to the international market, while remaining committed to growing domestic demand for stainless steel. With market consumption of around 120 000t/y of flat production, CEO LUCIEN MATTHEWS says SA is the largest consumer of stainless steel in Africa, besides Egypt. Growth in the stainless steel industry is critical, he warned, adding that COLUMBUS is aiming to expand its production capabilities in about 2021. It is also currently assisting PRASA with the development of new stainless steel products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Undoing State capture will face stiff resistance - Gordhan - ANA

Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN yesterday said the new political dispensation in SA and the reversal of the "bad things" which led to the capture of key State institutions will be regularly opposed by the beneficiaries of corruption. "I think we all know now that we can't talk about allegations of State capture, corruption and so on... those are facts of life in South Africa. Any number, or pieces of evidence are now available to the South African public that [show that] various attempts have been made in the past decade or less, to take control of various parts of government - not to serve the people but private interests and to pilfer money", GORDHAN said. He warned that the current efforts to implement the rule of law and the Constitution will be sabotaged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold-backed ETFs lose 5.1t in Feb. - Henry Lazenby

The latest data from the World Gold Council shows that gold-backed ETFs has lost 5.1t of the yellow metal during Feb., but in total added 25.3t during the first two months of 2018. The inflow over the period was mainly boosted by a 10% rise in Asian funds, while European-listed funds had outflows, with both regions reversing their 2017 trends. Elsewhere, iShares Gold Trust accounted for 47% of global net inflows. Global gold-backed ETFs collectively held 2 393.4t, or about $101.4bn at end-Feb., following the February outflow. Global inflows were dominated by Asian-listed funds which added 7.9t valued at around $318m, and adding about 8.3% to their assets under management during Feb. Flows across the rest of the globe were negative. European funds lost 7.3t valued at $240.6m, while North American-listed funds had outflows of 5.1t valued at $196m. Funds in other regions had marginal outflows of 700 000kg valued at about $28m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore's talks to sell cobalt to Chinese firm falter on price - Reuters

GLENCORE is in talks to sell around a quarter of its cobalt output in a one-year deal to Chinese firm GEM, but price is a sticking point as GLENCORE and rivals are now able to exert more pressure in negotiations. Expectations of cobalt supply shortages have fueled a rally that has taken prices to around $39/lb, from near $10/lb in Jan. 2016 and to their highest level since Jul. 2008. One source close to the matter said GEM had not yet signed a contract for this year with GLENCORE, which was offering a price with a fixed instead of a percentage discount to the monthly average from trade publication Metal Bulletin. Previous contracts for cobalt hydroxide were typically agreed at the Metal Bulletin price minus 10%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers earns $555m in 2nd sales cycle - Marleny Arnoldi

DE BEERS' second sales cycle of 2018 saw the continuation of good rough diamond demand, with provisional sales of $555m. CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said this is in line with expectations. Sales for the second cycle were slightly ahead of the $553m earned in the same cycle of 2017, but lower than the $672m in sales recorded for the first cycle of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump tariffs are black day for world - BHP CEO - Bloomberg

President DONALD TRUMP's plans to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium imports is a black day for the world and business, BHP CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said yesterday. HE said BHP and its rivals could be hit should other economies follow the move by the US towards a more protectionist and anti free-trade agenda. MACKENZIE said the US tariffs are "a black day for the world and business". "I am worried about this sentiment shift that people all around the world might suddenly say that free trade isn't good for the world and that would be particularly bad for a trading company like BHP... We have to speak up loudly against these measures as being bad for America and bad for the world". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Quick deals create synergy for Sirius - Roy Cokayne

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE has completed the acquisition of a business park in Schenefeld, a town on the edge of Hamburg in Germany, for €15.1m including acquisition costs. SIRIUS, which owns and operates a portfolio of branded business parks in Germany, said the Schenefeld business park had around 42 000m2 of multi-purpose office and warehouse/logistics space and was acquired at a European Public Real Estate Association net initial yield of 7.8%. SIRIUS CEO ANDREW COOMBS said that, with an annualised rental income of €1.5m and 71% occupancy, the property provided a good combination of both initial income and value-add opportunity. COOMBS said the acquisition, together with the €8.4m Hamburg-Hummelsbuttel acquisition in Dec., continued the successful recycling of capital into key German commercial markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R secures US mining contracts - Business Report

MURRAY & ROBERTS has secured two underground mining contracts worth a total of R1.5bn in the US and was making progress with a planned acquisition in that country. CEO HENRY LAAS noted that the company needed to take R60m in costs out of its power and water business, which would result in retrenchments. M&R group FD DANIEL GROBLER said the total power and water platform order book had fallen to R2.7bn in Dec. from R5.8bn y/y, purely as a result of the Medupi and Kusile power programme coming to an end. LAAS said the company had around 6 000 people working in its power and water platform, but would be demobilising around 1 000 people this month at Medupi and Kusile. LAAS was unable to disclose any further details about the two underground mining contracts in the US, but confirmed that he company was making good progress with an acquisition target in the oil and gas sector in that country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Raubex embraces foreign market opportunities - Roy Cokayne

RAUBEX has made progress with its strategy of looking for growth in international markets with the acquisition of 70% of WESTFORCE CONSTRUCTION GROUP in Western Australia for A$6.5m cash. RAUBEX CEO RUDOLF FOURIE said the group was encouraged by prospects in Western Australia and the opportunities that could be unlocked through the WESTFORCE acquisition. In an operational update for the FY to end-Feb., FOURIE said the South African environment had not been conducive to growth during the past year. "Against this backdrop, RAUBEX has continued to explore opportunities, both locally and internationally, to supplement its revenue streams with current local conditions subdued. Good progress has been made during the second half of the year with regard to international expansion opportunities". The company will publish FY results on May 7. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA Q4 GDP grows above forecasts - Mfuneko Toyan

The South African economy grew more than expected at the end of 2017 as agriculture and trade recovered. Statistics SA yesterday said GDP grew 3.1% in Q4 2017, the highest rate since Q2 2016, after expanding by a revised 2.3% in Q3. The figure beat market forecasts of a q/q GDP expansion of 1.8%. MOODY's is due to publish its rating decision on SA's debt this month after placing the country on review for a downgrade. S&P and FITCH already rate South African debt as junk. The agriculture industry registered the highest growth at 37.5% q/q, although the expansion was slower than in Q3 when the sector expanded 41.1%. Trade recovered in Q4 to expand 4.8% after shrinking 0.1% q/q, while manufacturing grew 4.3%, up from 3.7%. GDP rose 1.5% on an unadjusted y/y basis in Q4 versus 1.3% in Q3, and expanded by 1.3% in 2017 as a whole compared with a revised 0.6% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC delays debate on nationalisation - Wendell Roelf

The ANC has delayed a motion due to be debated in Parliament yesterday on a resolution calling for the nationalisation of the SARB, but has not shelved the plan altogether. The ruling party in Dec. resolved to change the ownership of the central bank. The SARB, in response, said any change of ownership would not affect its mandate or independence. NONCEBA MHLAULI, spokesperson for the chief whip, said the resolution stands but the ANC withdrew the motion for debate to allow for consultations within the party and key stakeholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana 2018 GDP growth seen at 8.3% vs 6.8% budget target - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's economy is expected to grow 8.3% in 2018, higher than the 6.8% estimated in the government's budget, President NANA AKUFO-ADDO said yesterday. "Our economy has grown from 3.6% in 2016, the lowest in 22 years, to 7.9% in 2017 and is this year expected to grow at 8.3%, which will make it the fastest growing economy in the world", AKUFO-ADDO said. He pledged to continue to manage the economy in a disciplined and sound framework aimed at making Ghana less dependent on aid. Ghana is on track to narrow its fiscal deficit to 4.5% of GDP this year, compared to 5.9% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda's economy to grow 6.5% in 2018 - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Good climate conditions are expected to help Rwanda's economy grow 6.5% this year, up from a projected 5.2% in 2017, central bank governor JOHN RWANGOMBWA said yesterday. At least 70% of Rwandans are farmers. The central bank said inflation is expected to be around 5.0% in 2018, slightly up from 4.9% in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA eyes Mar. 2019 for radio spectrum allocation - Wendell Roelf

South Africa plans to allocate delayed radio frequency spectrum by Mar. 2019, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Telecommunications said yesterday. Allocation of the spectrum is seen as key to expanding broadband services in SA, where the high cost of telecommunications is a barrier to doing business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF says confident Ghana will meet Apr. review requirements - Kwasi Kpodo

The IMF is confident Ghana will implement outstanding measures needed for a successful review of its $918m aid programme next month. A confidential document seen by Reuters last week said the Fund wants Ghana to adopt new measures to boost revenues, slow the pace of borrowing and outline plans to clean up the financial sector. "The ongoing macroeconomic stabilisation is an opportunity to reduce the cost of debt, by reducing risk premia and refinancing it on more favourable terms, including by issuing a eurobond", IMF Ghana mission chief NATALIA KOLIADINA said. Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA last week said the government planned to issue up to $2bn of sovereign issuance by Jun. to pay down debt that hit 68.7% of GDP last Nov. and help finance the 2018 budget. The Fund expects the central bank to continue its disinflation policy to support exchange rate stability, KOLIADINA said. IMF staff expect to finalise talks on the remaining issues to allow Ghana to proceed with the proposed IMF board review in Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clover H1 profit up on retail sales growth - Tanisha Heiberg

CLOVER INDUSTRIES yesterday said H1 profit rose 19%, boosted by retail sales growth. Diluted HEPS rose to 116.9cps for the HY to end-Dec., compared with 98.3cps y/y. CLOVER said launching other products such as olive oil and soya propelled its revenue growth. "The higher-than-expected retail sales growth was derived from customers taking advantage of Black Friday promotions", it said. An interim dividend of 26.56cps was declared, up from 24.21cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat FY profit down 35% - Tanisha Heiberg

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM yesterday said its FY profit fell 35%, weighed down by weak platinum prices and higher restructuring costs. HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. fell to 56.4cps compared with 86.7cps y/y. Capex for 2017 rose 91.8% to R2.16bn on the back of a ramp-up at the company's Styldrift I operations. "Given the persistent PGM market volatility, our approach remained one of prudently aligning capital spend and its timing with project progress requirements", RBPLAT said. It reported a 5.7% rise in cash generated by operations to R618.4m and a strong cash position of R1.3bn. RBPLAT's 4E PGM production for 2018 is forecast at between 370 000oz and 387 000oz, with cash operating unit cost increases expected to remain below inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania criticises Moody's for negative rating outlook - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania criticised MOODY's decision to impose a negative outlook on the country's first international credit rating, saying the agency's concerns about the business climate were misleading. MOODY's on Friday assigned Tanzania a B1 credit rating with a negative outlook, saying this was justified by unpredictable policymaking, which could affect economic growth and the ability to attract foreign investment. The government has tussled with mining and energy firms in a bid to renegotiate their contracts, alarming foreign investors. "Tanzania rejects the negative outlook on the credit rating. The government expected MOODY's to sit down with the government to discuss any queries they may have after their review", BEN MWAIPAJA, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance and Planning, said on Monday. MOODY's said Tanzania's debt could rise to 43% of GDP in 2020 from 40.2% last year. Nevertheless, the agency expects the debt burden to remain below that of regional peers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 07/03/2018

At 07:31 on 07 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.82 Rand/Sterling 16.43 Rand/Euro 14.69 Gold 1335.09 Platinum 964.00 Oil 65.49 All-Share Index 59242.86

Updated market indicators for 06/03/2018

At 10:58 on 06 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.83 Rand/Sterling 16.36 Rand/Euro 14.59 Gold 1322.13 Platinum 957.00 Oil 65.57 All-Share Index 58867.05

Oil rips higher on report of Cushing stockpile draw - Pan Kwan Yuk

Oil clawed back some of its losses from last week's drubbing on Monday amid reports of further declines in crude stockpiles in Cushing. Brent rose as much as 2.4% to $65.88/barrel on the report, while WTI rose as much as 2.5% to $62.79. According to Bloomberg, a biweekly report from market intelligence company Genscape showed another notable draw in Cushing, where stockpiles are already running at their lowest level since Dec. 2014. The gains come despite a separate report saying that output at Libya's biggest oilfield has resumed after a one-day halt over the weekend. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Continental Grain reveals stake in Bunge - Neil Hume

CONTINENTAL GRAIN has taken a stake in agricultural trading house BUNGE, sending the company's shares up as much as 4% to $79 yesterday. A filing with the Federal Trade Commission showed CONTINENTAL GRAIN had secured approval from US regulators to buy more shares in BUNGE. Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, if a group of individual purchases more than $84m of stock in a company and its investment is considered "non-passive" it needs clearance to increase its position. CONTINENTAL GRAIN declined to comment, but sources said it now owned more than 1% of BUNGE, which has a market cap of almost $11bn. The sources said CONTINENTAL GRAIN wanted to make sure that value maximisation and not self-preservation was first and foremost in the minds of BUNGE's senior management team. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble co-CEO paid $20m in 2017 despite record $5bn loss - David Sheppard

The departing co-CEO of embattled commodity trader NOBLE GROUP was paid more than $20m in 2017 as the company slumped to a record $5bn loss and headed for a restructuring that will all but wipe out shareholders and some bondholders. JEFF FRASE, who ran the oil and gas business at NOBLE, took home $3.4m in share-based payments and almost $17m in other emoluments, as part of a package to keep him on until the operations he oversaw were sold. The bumper pay package was more than what the rest of NOBLE's executive team received combined last year and is $5m more than what perpetual bondholders stand to receive under a proposed debt-for-equity swap, on which the company's survival now hinges. The restructuring has faced sharp criticism from some share and bondholders who have claimed NOBLE is giving a better deal to senior creditors and management ahead of the interests of other stakeholders. Senior bondholders will get 70% of the restructured company and management will control up to 20% of the restructured business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone private sector hits speed bump in Feb. - Adam Samson

Eurozone business executives said growth in activity fell in Feb. from a near 12-year high. IHS MARKIT's composite PMI fell to 57.1 in Feb., missing expectations for a reading of 57.5. In January, the PMI clocked in at 58.8. "The eurozone economy looks to have hit a speed bump in February after a stellar start to the year", IHS MARKIT chief economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON said. "It's too early to read too much into the February fall in the PMI, and some pullback from January's high was always on the cards". The composite PMI for Germany hit a three-month low. Italian purchasing managers also pointed to a slowdown from a 10-and-a-half year peak. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK execs point to Feb. uptick in services sector activity - Gavin Jackson

Activity in the UK's dominant services sector grew at the fastest rate in four months during Feb. The IHS MARKIT/CIPS PMI rose to 54.5 in Feb. from 53.0 in Jan. Analysts had expected only a modest rise to 53.3. Businesses reported the strongest increase in new orders since May last year, driven by new business-to-business work helped by an "improving global economic backdrop", MARKIT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US halts Qualcomm takeover showdown on national security grounds - Arash Massoudi

The US government has ordered QUALCOMM to delay an upcoming shareholder meeting by a month, while it probes whether a proposed takeover by Singapore-based BROADCOM would put national security at risk. The intervention comes as QUALCOMM shareholders were set to vote on whether to replace six of its directors on Tuesday with candidates put forward by BROADCOM, which is seeking to force through a $142bn takeover of the company. The US Treasury department said a 30-day delay of the vote "will afford CFIUS the ability to investigate fully BROADCOM's proposed acquisition of QUALCOMM". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump links planned steel tariffs to NAFTA talks - Shawn Donnan

The US struck a more conciliatory tone on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico City, even as President DONALD TRUMP vowed to play hardball with Canada and Mexico by linking his plans for tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium to a successful deal. US trade representative ROBER LIGHTHIZER said that with just six out of a potential 33 chapters closed so far, progress had been slower than hoped but added: "If the political will is there, I am certain we have a path to rapid and successful completion". LIGHTHIZER made clear that he saw the threat of tariffs on steel imports as a carrot. "In my view, it's an incentive to get a deal", he said. TRUMP earlier alarmed NAFTA partners, who had been hoping for an exemption from the planned tariffs, by tying that explicitly to the deal. "We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA... has been ab ad deal for USA", TRUMP tweeted yesterday. He added that Canada needed to treat US farmers "much better" and that "highly restrictive Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the US". TRUMP is facing resistance from Republicans in Congress who say the tariffs would hurt the president's efforts to boost US economic growth ahead of midterm elections this year . "We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan", a spokesperson for House Speaker PAUL RYAN said. But TRUMP indicated that he remained determined to push ahead with the plan. "We are not backing down", he said. Over the weekend he aimed his fire at the EU, threatening to impose new taxes on European cars if Brussels retaliated against his steel and aluminium tariffs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBA holds interest rates steady as wage growth remains elusive - Alice Woodhouse

The Reserve Bank of Australia held its overnight cash rate target at 1.5% at its March meeting as wage growth and inflation remained low. RBA governor PHILIP LOWE said unemployment growth was expected to continue but that low wage growth was "likely to continue for a while yet". LOWE added that inflation is "likely to remain low for some time reflecting low growth in labour costs and strong competition in retailing. A gradual pick-up in inflation is, however, expected as the economy strengthens". The central bank forecast is for CPI to be a bit above 2% in 2018, while it expects the economy to grow faster in 2018 than in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clothing, dept stores weigh on Aussie retail sales - Alice Woodhouse

Australian retail sales rose in Jan. but remained short of forecasts as clothing and department stores sales dragged. Retail sales rose 0.1% m/m in Jan., according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, returning to growth from a 0.5% fall m/m. However, the figure came in below the 0.4% growth forecast in a Reuters poll. Sales of household goods rose 0.1%, other retailing grew 1% and restaurant, cafe and takeaway sales rose 0.1%, while clothing and footware sales fell 0.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt looking at ways to soften VAT blow - Sibongile Khumalo

Government will continue to hold talks with stakeholders in a bid to soften the blow for the poor from the impact of the VAT increase which comes into effect next month, Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE said yesterday. "We are going to be engaging stakeholders to find amicable ways of how best to soften the blow particularly for the poor and vulnerable", NENE said, adding that the government will look at expanding the list of zero-rated products. NENE said the Treasury would move swiftly to resolve "governance and operational failures" at SOEs, particularly ESKOM, revealing that he would soon be meeting with new Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN to discuss the financial state of SOEs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Irish PM says US-Canada border model not solution for N Ireland - Arthur Beesley

Irish PM LEO VARADKAR has dismissed THERESA MAY's suggestion that border arrangements on the US-Canada frontier could be replicated to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit. His comments came after the British PM told parliament that the US-Canada border was under examination as a possible solution to the Irish border problem. VARADKAR last night said he had visited the US-Canada border last Aug. and insisted it did not provide an answer. "I saw a hard border with physical infrastructure, with customs posts, people in uniforms, with arms and dogs -- and that is definitely not a solution that is one that we would possibly entertain", VARADKAR told reporters in Dublin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No word on financial impact of listeriosis - Tiger Brands CEO - Lameez Omarjee

TIGER BRANDS is still quantifying the financial impact of the listeriosis outbreak on its business, CEO LAWRENCE MACDOUGALL said yesterday. The group's share price held at around R394.02 during a press briefing yesterday afternoon, after falling more than 8% when markets opened. By 16:00, before the briefing closed, shares were trading up at R398.50. TIGER BRANDS has suspended operations in Polokwane and Germiston to clean the facilities, MACDOUGALL said. The company has a 25% share of the 240 000t of processed cold meats, some 60 000t/year. "We are busy with the financial estimation of what it will cost. There are no numbers yet. The cost of the withdrawal from the market is at our expense". He said the first priority for the company is to remove the contaminated products from consumers. "We have put personal health and safety above all else. The financial cost to the industry is a consequence of what we are doing, but we are putting the health and safety of consumers first." MACDOUGALL said it was "devastating" that TIGER BRANDS products were associated with the listeriosis outbreak. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil tainted meat probe intensifies - exports to SA halted - Julia Leite

The turmoil at Brazilian poultry giant BRF SA intensified after it became the target of a new phase of the food-safety probe that threw the country's meat industry into disarray in 2017. Emails from BRF employees point to evidence of widespread fraud that reached the company's top management, federal police said yesterday. The wrongdoing allegedly occurred between 2012 and 2015, police said, and involved three of the company's plants and executives from all levels. According to the police statement, five laboratories accredited with the Agriculture Ministry and an unnamed company falsified results of tests on meat samples. The motive was to hide poor sanitary conditions and incidences of salmonella above requirements set by certain importers, avoiding sales restrictions and punishments. Exports from the plants targeted in the probe have been halted to some destinations with specific salmonella-control requirements, including SA, the EU, Russia and China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Woolies pulls cold meat products in listeriosis recall - Khulekani Magubane

WOOLWORTHS yesterday acknowledged that ENTERPRISE FOOD supplies meats for the products it was recalling, necessitating that some of its house brand products be pulled from the shelves or taken back for a refund. The retailer yesterday called on customers to return close to 35 different product items to store for full refund. "WOOLWORTHS has a team of food scientists and technologists who proactively manage food safety, in addition to our independent food safety testing and auditing, to prevent microbial contamination of food. This testing includes Listeria". Items recalled include Waferthin chargrilled and smoked ham, Waferthin roasted and smoked chicken, salami sticks, a variety of viennas, gammon and assorted meat products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec expects jump in HEPS - Fin24

CAPITEC expects its HEPS and EPS for the FY to end-Feb. to be 16%-19% higher y/y. It yesterday said it expects that HEPS will be between 3 806cps and 3 904cps, compared to 3 281cps y/y. CAPITEC also expects EPS to be between 3 802cps and 3 901cps, compared to 3 278cps y/y. Results will be published on Mar. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral sees 400% jump in earnings - Khulekani Magubane

ASTRAL FOODS yesterday said it has come to grips with bird flu jitters and the costs that came with the last outbreak of the disease. However, it acknowledged the persistent toll high feed costs had on its profits. In a report to shareholders, ASTRAL showed positive sentiments and expectations for growth despite anxiety in the sector caused by the latest listeriosis outbreak. The group reportedly lost at least R50m as a result of the spread of bird flu in 2017, and said it is pushing to get into higher profitability margins. The company said EPS and HEPS would rise by 410% y/y to 1 800cps and 1 816cps, from 353cps and 356cps respectively y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom still studying NERSA report warning of utility 'death spiral' - Terence Creamer

ESKOM says it is still studying the reasons for decision (RfD) advanced by NERSA for restricting its 2018/19 tariff increase to 5.23%, as opposed to the 19.9% hike sought, and would "decide on the way forward thereafter". In Jan., the utility said it was awaiting NERSA's RfD, as it had expected to receive a minimum increase of 9% in terms of the tariff-setting methodology. "We would like to see how NERSA has come up with reasons for 5.23% and if we believe there's grounds to review it, we will make that recommendation to our board", acting CFO CALIB CASSIM said. NERSA's decision to limit ESKOM's allowable revenue for the year to R190.3bn is justified in a 118-page RfD document. The regulator dismissed ESKOM's argument that a "rebasing" for lower sales volumes alone would result in a 9.4% tariff increase from Apr. 1, 2018, noting that the tariff-setting methodology made no reference to any concept of rebasing. NERSA also concurred with those stakeholders arguing that the utility was in a "death spiral", whereby price elasticity of industrial demand, in particular, had become a primary driver of the lack of demand. The "vicious cycle" is that of increasing electricity prices leading to declining sales, which results in ESKOM having to recover the same cost base from a shrinking customer base. The net effect is an application for higher tariff increases, which triggers a further decline in sales, which will result in a "utility death spiral if not arrested by way of deliberate and focused intervention". In order to break this cycle, ESKOM needs to either reduce its costs and, hence, its allowable revenue requirement while growing its sales volumes, thereby driving its tariffs to their most efficient level. This should result in smaller tariff hikes going forward that will attract additional sales volumes, which will result in even smaller tariff increases and even higher sales volumes going forward. To cut production costs, NERSA directed ESKOM to reduce excess capacity and its rese

3M appoints new CEO - Pan Kwan Yuk

Industrial conglomerate 3M named company veteran MICHAEL ROMAN as its new CEO on Monday. The company said ROMAN will be replacing INGE THULIN, who is moving on to a newly created position of executive board chair. Both men will begin their new jobs on Jul. 1. ROMAN has been with 3M for over 30 years, and has served as chief operating officer and executive vice president since Jul. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chicago bourse abandons deal plan after SEC rejection - Nicole Bullock

The CHICAGO STOCK EXCHANGE and a bidding group called NORTH AMERICA CASIN HOLDINGS have given up on a controversial acquisition plan after regulators rejected the deal. The Securities and Exchange Commission last month voted against the deal, citing concerns that it conflicted with rules governing exchanges, but the plan had been met with opposition over the presence of Chinese investors in the bidding consortium. The exchange had hoped the sale would boost its presence by catering to Chinese listings in the US, as well as Chinese investment in US-listed shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa sells $1.7m diamond parcel from Lulo - Megan van Wyngaardt

LUCAPA DIAMOND COMPANY sold 2 072ct of diamonds recovered from the Lulo mine, achieving gross proceeds of $1.7m during its second sale for the year. This represented an average price per carat of $804. The largest diamond in the sale parcel weighed 44ct, which also included a vivid pink of 1.9ct. The latest sale brought gross proceeds from Lulo diamonds sales to date in 2018 to $10.8m at an average price per carat of $1 731. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA needs to adopt strategic water plan to avoid deteriorating supply - Anine Kilian

SA's water crisis is having a significant impact on economic growth and on the wellbeing of South African citizens, Department of Water and Sanitation DDG TREVOR BALZER said yesterday. Addressing the Consulting Engineers of SA Infrastructure Indaba, BALZER said the water crisis facing the country was caused by insufficient water infrastructure maintenance and investment, together with recurrent droughts driven by climate change, deteriorating water quality and a lack of skilled water engineers. "South Africa is facing a projected 17% water deficit by 2030 if it doesn't adopt a 'new normal'. Achieving water security in the country requires a significant paradigm shift that recognises the limitations of water availability and the need for financial sustainability". Based on projections, by 2030, the water deficit could be between 2 700m and 3 800m cubic metres a year. By 2040, BALZER said, treated acid mine drainage and desalinated seawater would make a significant contribution to SA's water mix and the over-reliance on surface water would be reduced. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drop in govt spending could harm infrastructure sector - Anine Kilian

This year is going to be very difficult for SA's infrastructure sector due to the 12% decrease in infrastructure spending, economist ELSIE SNYMAN told delegates at he Consulting Engineers SA Infrastructure Indaba on Monday. Former finance minister MALUSI GIGABA last month announced that a considerable cut would be made in estimated public sector infrastructure spending from the values projected in 2017. The public sector infrastructure programme encompasses energy, transport and logistics infrastructure, housing subsidy initiatives, health and education facilities, as well as investment in water and sanitation infrastructure. SNYMAN said the main challenge for consulting engineers was getting involved in a project from an early planning stage. "It has been a major complaint from them, especially because if they get involved at a late stage of a project, it can cause delays in the scope of the project... Although government says it has over R900bn invested in infrastructure projects, one needs to know over what period of time that has been spend. A company needs to survive on an annual basis and needs to know how much funding it will receive". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Texton declares interim dividend - Simone Liedtke

TEXTON PROPERTY declared an interim dividend of 47.95cps for the HY to end-Dec. This was achieved from a solid performance of the company's core portfolio and is in line with market guidance and the prior year dividend. In addition, TEXTON's revenue rose by 1% to R303.2m, with a net property income of R212.4m, UP 2% Y/Y. During the period under review, the company renewed facilities with STANDARD BANK totaling R285m with tenures of two and three years. TEXTON is also considering the realignment of capital management so that its UK assets are financed with UK debt and South African assets are financed with South African debt. In line with this strategy, the company is in the process of finalising a £10m facility with HSBC. During H1, TEXTON successfully concluded 14 new leases amounting to 2 489 m2. In the same period, 32 existing leases were renewed, amounting to 43 154 m2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China will cut 30mt of steel, 150mt of coal this year - Reuters

China will cut steel capacity by 30mt of coal output by 150mt this year, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday. In a work report at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament, the NDRC said it will shut coal-fired power plants with capacity of less than 300 000kW that fail to meet standards in 2018. Beijing last month said it aims to meet its target for reducing steel production capacity two years earlier than planned, as the world's top steel producer ramps up its years-long pus to reduce excess output. The original plan called for reducing 150mt of steel production capacity by 2020. China cut 250mt of capacity last year, taking the total since 2016 to 460mt, almost hitting its 2020 target of 500mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Intl community should not panic over land reform - Sisulu - News24Wire

Government has urged the international community not to panic over SA's parliamentary processes with regards to the land expropriation policy. Minister of International Relations LINDIWE SISULU said she "noted a number of international organisations and individuals commenting on the parliamentary processes in South Africa in relation to land distribution... There is no need to panic or be alarmist. The president has already said in Parliament and in a number of public platforms whilst addressing various stakeholders that there is no need to panic". SISULU said President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA had stressed that the matter was "being handled properly for the benefit of all South Africans". She invited members of the international community "to continue supporting our efforts to reverse the legacy of apartheid". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lundin Gold eyes growth after mine in Ecuador built - Reuters

LUNDIN GOLD has an appetite for growth even as it focuses on building its first mine in Ecuador on time and budget, CEO RON HOCHSTEIN said at the weekend. "We want to grow to be an at least 1moz/year producer with three to four operations", HOCHSTEIN said, adding that the company would focus on North and Latin America for future growth. The Vancouver-based miner is first focused on building Fruta del Norte, which will be Ecuador's biggest gold mine, after raising $1m in financing over the past year. The start of production is targeted by end-2019. The underground mine is expected to operate for 15 years and produce some 325 000oz of gold annually. It encompasses six of the company's 29 mining concessions, which cover 70 000ha of land. Last week, NEWCREST MINING said it would pay $250m to buy a 27.1% stake in LUNDIN GOLD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Africa attracts 14% of world's 2017 exploration budget - Megan van Wyngaardt

Africa attracted 14% of the $8.4bn budgeted for exploration for nonferrous metals globally in 2017, S&P's Global World Exploration Trends reported yesterday. Exploration in Africa was focused on the DRC, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and SA. Continued interest in West Africa made gold the top target, with the metal's share of regional spending rising to 61% from 51% in 2016. The increase in global exploration expenditure, from $7.3bn in 2016, was the first annual increase after four consecutive years of declining investment in this area. This was predicted to continue expanding over the course of 2018. Exploration targeting base metal assets also rebounded in H2 2017, with battery metals exploration surging. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats secures financing deal for CRM retreatment project - Megan van Wyngaardt

EASTERN PLATINUM and subsidiary BARPLATS MINES have entered into an agreement with UNION GOAL OFFSHORE SOLUTION for the construction, mining and processing of the tailings resource, and the subsequent offtake of chrome concentrate from the BARPLATS ZANDFONTEIN UG2 tailings facility located at the Crocodile River mine. UNION GOAL will finance and supply BARPLATS with the chrome processing circuit, related technology and knowhow, while BARPLATS would develop and operate the retreatment project. The chrome circuit is designed to improve on recoveries of chrome concentrate compared with traditional technology. This could expand available resources for mining and processing. The estimated capital requirements for BARPLATS are R164m, which are expected to be funded from cash on hand, a R42.2m upfront project payment from UNION GOAL and revenue from the retreatment project. Te parties have presourced equipment and the construction phase is estimated to take seven months to complete. EASTPLATS CEO DIANA HU said the company was pleased to come to an agreement with UNION GOAL and begin construction immediately on the chrome recovery project, which would again establish BARPLATS as an operator. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kabila to meet companies over mining code revision - Reuters

DRC President JOSEPH KABILA will meet mining company representatives later today to discuss a mining code revision awaiting his signature that would raise taxes and royalties. The bill was adopted by parliament late in Jan. but the industry has been lobbying KABILA not to sign it, saying it would discourage investment and violate existing agreements. The mining code could see royalties on cobalt rise five-fold to 10%. It would also remove a stability clause in the current law protecting miners from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petropavlovsk reports increased reserves, resources - Simone Liedtke

PETROPAVLOVSK yesterday announced that its reserves have increased by around 8%, before depletion, and its resources by around 6%, before depletion, as at end-Dec. This forms part of the results of a review of gold ore reserves and mineral resources, which highlighted a 1.17moz rise in JORC-compliant resources, mainly as a result of successful exploration of underground and openpit targets at Pioneer and Albyn. PETROPAVLOVSK also reported a 660 000oz rise in JORC-compliant nonrefractory reserves, mainly as a result of the new reserves at the company's flagship Pioneer and Albyn mines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana recalls imports of S African processed meat over listeriosis - Business Report

Botswana yesterday recalled imports of processed meat products from SA after a deadly listeria outbreak was linked to a factory there. Botswana's move follows a similar ban by Mozambique and Zambia in the wake of the outbreak that has claimed 180 lives in SA. TIGER BRANDS has been forced to recall all its processed meat products from retailers after Health Minister AARON MOTSOALEDI ordered a recall of the products manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop mulls separate listing of Hystead - Roy Cokayne

HYPROP anticipates taking a decision within the next six months on the possible separate listing of UK-based HYSTEAD, the vehicle housing its European investments. HYPROP owns a 60% stake in HYSTEAD which, once the post end-Dec. reporting period acquisition of two shopping centres in Croatia were transferred, would own a portfolio with a gross asset value of €740m. HYPROP CEO PIETER PRINSLOO said the rationale for the listing of HYSTEAD was to position it for future growth, without relying on HYPROP's capital. PRINSLOO said HYPROP would be unable to provide future funding to HYSTEAD without it increasing its loan to value significantly, and would likely be looking to raise between €150m and €200m via the listing. HYPROP would retain a significant stake in HYSTEAD when it listed, likely 51% or 49%, and be the biggest shareholder in the fund, PRINSLOO added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell ups earnings guidance - Roy Cokayne

Improved demand and sales was one of the factors that positively impacted on BELL EQUIPMENT's financial performance in the FY to end-Dec. BELL on Friday said it expects HEPS to be at least 192c higher for the reporting period than the 48cps reported y/y. BELL said the expected rise in earnings was largely due to an improvement in demand in the markets in which the group was active and commensurate increases in production and sales volumes. BELL will publish results on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's growth forecasts likely to be raised - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's economic growth forecasts will likely be revised upwards by the time the medium-term budget outlook is announced in Oct. as the government finalises reforms to boost growth, Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE said yesterday. The Treasury last month said GDP growth is expected at 1.5% this year, up from an estimated 1% last year, helped by a recovery in agriculture and improved investor sentiment. "We do not want to be overly optimistic about these numbers. At the moment they are pencilled in, but we are likely to revise these numbers upwards come the medium term budget in October", NENE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nene says met Moody's, discussed growth, SOEs - Mfuneko Toyana

Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE said he met ratings agency MOODY's yesterday and discussed issues around growth and balance sheets of state-owned entities. NENE said it would not be possible to "spin" the ratings agencies but he was confident that Treasury had "presented a credible story in the 2018 budget that was not littered with ifs but instead with whens." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's trade acc turns positive in 2017 - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's trade account turned positive in 2017 as a rise in oil exports outweighed imports after dollar shortages frustrated transactions, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The balance of trade was 4.03tn naira. The net trade balance stood at -290bn naira for 2016. The statistics agency said oil and gas exports accounted for more than 83% of exports in Q4, with cocoa bean exports making up 0.37%. Q4 imports fell 8.5% y/y to 2.11tn naira, the NBS said. However, exports more than compensated, up 31.3% in Q4 y/y to 3.91tn naira. The trade balance for Q4 more than doubled to 1.8tn naira from a year earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to appoint CEO by end of Apr. - chairman - Mfuneko Toyana

ESKOM will appoint a permanent CEO by the end of April to begin the process of reforming the ailing utility, which may include reducing job numbers. "We will be appointing a new chief executive by the end of April and hopefully weeks thereafter we will appoint a new CFO", newly appointed chair JABU MABUZA told a labour union conference. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Celsius aims to bring Namibia's first cobalt mine to production by 2020 - Ed Stoddard

Australia's CELSIUS RESOURCES is aiming to start production from a remote cobalt mine in 2020, MD BRENDAN BORG said this week. "We have found cobalt in Namibia and a lot of it. Everywhere we drill a hole along this prospective horizon we find cobalt", BORG said. The company will declare its maiden resource around the end of March on the deposit, which is in the northwest of Namibia. "We are looking at late 2020 for first production", BORG said. He said CELSIUS could do it with the company's Namibian partner, GECKO NAMIBIA, or it might divest from the project before that time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 06/03/2018

At 07:05 on 06 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.81 Rand/Sterling 16.36 Rand/Euro 14.60 Gold 1322.07 Platinum 960.00 Oil 65.57 All-Share Index 57912.40

Axa agrees to buy XL Group - David Keohane

AXA has agreed to buy XL GROUP, a Bermuda-based property and casualty insurance company for $15.3bn. "This transaction is a unique strategic opportunity for AXA to shift its business profile from predominantly life and savings business to predominantly property and casualty business", AXA CEO THOMAS BUBERL said. The all-cash deal at $57.60/share represents a premium of 33% to XL GROUP's closing share price on Mar. 2, AXA said. It will fund the takeover using €3.5bn of cash on hand, €6bn from the planned US IPO and related transactions and €3bn of subordinated debt. The deal will push AXA into the number one position in the property and casualty commercial lines business measured by gross written premiums. The acquisition is expected to close in H2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IEA warns of oil supply crunch after 2020 - Anjli Raval

US dominance of oil production growth over the next two years will keep the market well supplied, but a crunch could loom after 2020 if investment into future global output fails to keep up with rising consumption, the International Energy Agency said today. Crude prices above $60/barrel, coupled with output cuts from OPEC and other producers, have spurred a second wave of production growth from US shale companies. These producers will help US output grow by 3.7m bpd by 2023 - more than half of the world's total growth, the IEA said in its five-year oil market outlook published this morning. It revised higher its US output estimates by more than 2m bpd compared to last year's report. The US, together with Brazil, Canada and Norway, will ensure supply growth meets rising consumption over the next two years, the IEA said. Total supply outside of the OPEC cartel is expected to reach 63.3m bpd in 2023. But a pullback in spending on future output since the 2014 price crash could be "storing up trouble". A recovery in investments into exploration and production has "barely started", the IEA said, with the world at risk of a lack of extra capacity if the market requires more barrels in the event of a supply shock. "Upstream investment may be inadequate to avoid a significant squeezing of the global spare capacity cushion by 2023", the IEA said. "With global demand rising steadily, the response from the supply side is crucial". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

McKinsey unclear how to repay SA scandal fees - Madison Marriage

MCKINSEY is trying to return fees earned from a contract that has been tainted by ties to the GUPTA family but does not know where to send the money. MCKINSEY head DOMINIC BARTON said the firm was seeking to work with new President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as it looks to repair the reputational damage caused by a scandal that has also caused it to lose clients. MCKINSEY earned around R1bn from its work with ESKOM in 2015. "We have been trying to return this money. It has been very difficult to do it. By returning it to ESKOM, is that enabling something else bad to happen?" BARTON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK online-only retailers net 23% sales rise - Camilla Hodgson

Sales at the UK's 20 biggest online-only retailers rose 23% in 2017, as consumers embraced mobile shopping and AI-driven features, a study shows. Sales for the top 20 etailers by turnover rose to £8.4bn in 2016/17, compared with £6.8bn in the prior year, according to research by RPC. The boom was fuelled by the growth of mobile shopping apps, as well as technological innovations that enhance shopping experiences and convenience. The UK's top three online-only retailers - SHOP DIRECT, ASOS and OCADO - had combined sales of £5.1bn in 2016/17, up from £4.4bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Brands hammered as food firms scramble on listeriosis fears - Khulekani Magubane

TIGER BRANDS has confirmed a full national recall of ENTERPRISE FOODS meat products after Health Minister AARON MOTSOALEDI yesterday said ENTERPRISE's facilities in Polokwane were the source of SA's latest listerioris outbreak. TIGER BRANDS also announced it has halted operations in Polokwane and Germiston, to carry out cleaning protocols at those facilities. The group's share price took a beating, at one stage dipping almost 13% to R370.30. "We have contacted all our customers to confirm that he recalled products are removed from their store shelves and will continue to work with authorities to ensure an effective and speedy recall", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merafe hikes dividend 151% - Martin Creamer

MERAFE RESOURCES delivered exceptional results for FY2017, setting new records in production, revenue and EBITDA. Cashflow from operating activities rocketed 179% to R1 400m, compared with R502m y/y, leaving the company with net cash of R600m compared with net debt of R409m y/y. Shareholders are on the receiving end of a record R301m total dividend declaration, which is up 151% on last year's R120m at 12cps. Ferrochrome production reached a record high of 395 000t, up on the 393 000t of 2016. Revenue rose 3% to a record R5 889m and EBITDA 47% higher to a record R1 665m. HEPS soared 72% to 36.4cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal Coal declares interim dividend - Megan van Wyngaardt

Given the solid financial performance in the HY to end-Dec., UNIVERSAL COAL has decided to reward its shareholders, declaring an interim dividend of A$0.01/share unfranked. The company said net profit after tax rose to A$14.1m and EBITDA jumped by 162% to A$29.6m for the HY under review. EPS were A$0.02. The performance was underpinned by solid coal sales of 2.3mt, with 1.96mt being domestic sales and 370 000t being export sales generated from UNIVERSAL's two operating mines in SA - Kangala Colliery and New Clydesdale Colliery. UNIVERSAL expects to achieve its FY sales target of 4.6mt for the 12 months to end-Jun. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Electrolux to put US investment on hold over Trump tariffs - Richard Milne

ELECTROLUX is putting on hold a $250m investment in a cooking factory in Tennessee announced in Jan., citing concerns over the impact from President DONALD TRUMP's tariffs on steel and aluminium. "We're concerned about the impact that the tariffs could have on the competitiveness of our US operations. Until we have the final order and can understand the details, we are putting our commitment to invest $250m in Tennessee on hold", the Swedish group said. The appliances maker was planning to start expanding and modernising its factory in Springfield from late 2018 until 2020 by adding 37 000 m2 of manufacturing capacity. But it warned that "tariffs are likely to cause a significant increase in the price of steel on the US market. This will give foreign-made products an unfair cost advantage compared with products made in the US". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Canada's economy grows less than expected in Q4 - Pan Kwan Yuk

Canada's economic growth slowed more than expected in Q4, marking a more muted end to the year following a robust H1. GDP grew at an annualised pace of just 1.7% in the final quarter of 2017, below the 2% the market was expecting. Q3 growth was also revised down to 1.5%, compared to the initial reading of 1.7%. A slowdown in consumer spending was the main drag on growth during the final quarter, with household spending up just 0.5% - the weakest pace since 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Virtu Financial moves to distance itself from VirtCoin - Nicole Bullock

VIRTU FINANCIAL on Friday moved to disassociate itself from VIRTCOIN, which was using VIRTU's logo on the website describing a cryptocurrency operation. "VIRTCOIN has no relationship, connection, or affiliation to VIRTU FINANCIAL and its officers and directors. VIRTU has notified the appropriate authorities and intends to commence all necessary legal actions to defend itself from any attempt to infringe on VIRTU's copyrights, trademarks and intellectual property", VIRTU said in a statement. VIRT is VIRTU's stock symbol. The website also includes news coverage of VIRTU FINANCIAL including a television interview with CEO DOUGLAS CIFU. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Irish PM presses for more concrete border plans from May - Arthur Beesley

Ireland's PM LEO VARADKAR said British counterpart THERESA MAY had provided important reassurances on Friday, including restating her goal of a very close relationship with the EU. But he pressed for concrete plans from London. "I remain concerned that some of the constraints of leaving the customs union and the single market are still not fully recognised... We will now need to see more detailed and realistic proposals from the UK. Brexit is due to happen in a little over 12 months, so time is short", VARADKAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

May sets out proposal for future British trading relationship with EU - George Parker

THERESA MAY has warned that the EU and UK will lose some access to each other's markets as she set out her detailed proposals for a future British trading relationship after Brexit for the first time. MAY on Friday promised that Britain would not try to undercut the EU in areas such as regulation and state aid and that UK regulators would work closely with their continental counterparts. There would also need to be a new arrangement on data sharing, she said, to provide "stability and confidence" on both sides of the English Channel. Yet she also spelled out that Britain would inevitably lose access to European markets because of her determination to take the country out of the single market and customs union. "We all need to face up to some hard facts. We're leaving the single market, life is going to be different. Access to each other's markets is going to be less than it is now". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China sets economic growth target of around 6.5% for 2018 - Gabriel Wildau

China announced an annual economic growth target of about 6.5% today, signalling a slowdown from last year's recorded growth of 6.9%. Premier LI KEQIANG revealed that target as he delivered a work report to the opening of an annual meeting of the parliament in Beijing that is also expected to approve a constitutional amendment to eliminate the presidential term limit, allowing XI JINPING to serve beyond the 10-year maximum that has bound predecessors since JIANG ZEMIN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Caixin services PMI dips in Feb. - Alice Woodhouse

Growth in China's services sector pulled back in Feb. but remained in sight of the almost six-year high recorded in Jan. The CAIXIN-MARKIT services PMI index dipped to 54.2 in Feb. from 54.2 in the previous month, a 68-month high. Companies reported solid sales while hiring in the services sector offset a drop in headcounts at manufacturers. The services gauge, combined with the improved 51.6 reading for the country's manufacturing sector, resulted in a composite PMI of 53.3, down from the seven-year high in Jan. of 53.7. The official services reading published by the National Bureau of Statistics fell 0.6 points to 53.8 in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev seeks to expand investment into Africa - Loni Prinsloo

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV is ramping up investment in Africa after seeing a boom in demand for its beer on the continent, building on the company's $106bn takeover of SABMILLER in 2016. Shipments in the region excluding SA rose by as much as 20% in 2017, putting it among the fastest-growing territories for the brewer. "We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the continent this past year, most notably $200m in South Africa", regional head RICARDO TADEU said last week. AB INBEV is building a brewery in Nigeria that will start production by mid-2018. However, there are no plans to add more as the company is able to grow on the back of existing operations. The company said it will start distributing its flagship BUDWEISER brand in SA this year and introduce an alcohol-free version of SABMILLER's Castle Brand. EBITDA in SA advanced 21% last year, even as the brewer had to deal with the effects of a crippling drought at its Newlands brewery in Cape Town. AB INBEV's overall Q4 revenue rose 8.2%, beating analysts' estimates for 5.3% growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Robots could cut 3 000 jobs at Nedbank - Justin Brown

Software robots might see NEDBANK do away with around 3 000 employees, which would happen via natural attrition and would be offset via the bank's expected growth rater than through retrenchments, chief information officer FRED SWANEPOEL said on Friday. "With about 32 000 staff, our natural attrition rate is about 3 000 per year. When we look at a three-year period, we don't think that robotics will take up more than one year of that natural attrition". NEDBANK has installed 59 software robots and plans to have 200 in place by the end of the year. "We have a chat bot in NEDBANK WEALTH. It navigates through an app or the web via voice or text. We also have a robo adviser in the asset management division. We have robots that help us avoid duplicate payments from a procurement perspective". SWANEPOEL said NEDBANK was spending around R2bn on tech investments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite, PnP scramble to pull products linked to listeriosis - Adiel Ismail

SHOPRITE and PICK N PAY yesterday said they are withdrawing products linked to the source of the world's largest listeriosis outbreak. This followed a safety recall by the National Consumer Commission after TIGER BRANDS subsidiary, an ENTERPRISE FOODS factory in Polokwane, was identified as the source of the disease. Health Minister AARON MOTSOALEDI yesterday said polony was a definite source, but warned that products such as Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats not typically cooked could also be affected due to the risk of cross contamination. Two more facilities have been singled out pending more tests to determine the sequence type. These are an ENTERPRISE facility in Germiston, and a RAINBOW chicken facility in the Free State. TIGER BRANDS committed to ensuring that all ENTERPRISE products, as identified, will be recalled. SHOPRITE said it immediately started to remove the products produced by ENTERPRISE FOODS and RAINBOW CHICKEN from its departments. It said customers can return any ENTERPISE FOODS and RAINBOW CHICKEN processed meat for a full refund. PICK N PAY also urgently pulled the products. RCL FOODS confirmed that its Wolwehoek processing plant has taken the precautionary measure to suspend all production of RCL FOODS' RAINBOW polony brand. It added that it was in the process of recalling alL RAINBOW Polony products from its entire customer base. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cartrack mulls expanding new affordable insurance offering - Irma Venter

CARTRACK aims to expand its newly launched affordable vehicle insurance product range over the next 6-18 months. The company unveiled a R9.99 product in Feb., strictly for vehicle theft and hijackings, through subsidiary DRIVE + SAVE. To take advantage of the offer, customers have to subscribe to a CARTRACK vehicle tracking system with a monthly subscription of R99-R179. The vehicle theft insurance cover, underwritten by KING PRICE INSURANCE, only becomes valid once a CARTRACK tracking device is installed in the vehicle. The insurance offering pays up to R150 000 in the event of theft or hijacking. The R9.99 premium remains the same regardless of the value of the insured vehicle. CARTRACK SA CEO ANDRE ITTMANN expects the DRIVE + SAVE product to typically attract vehicles priced between R50 000 and R150 000. The company is also looking at expanding its insurance offering in a second phase rollout with, for example, a R19.99/month product that could insure vehicles up to a limit of R300 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CIL output, sales rise as power plants rebuild stockpiles - Bloomberg

COAL INDIA LIMITED's shipments rose 4.8% y/y and output increased for a seventh consecutive month as power plants bought up fuel to replenish stockpiles and meet increasing demand for electricity. Sales totalled 49.97mt in Feb., a stock exchange filing showed last week. Production rose 0.3% y/y to 54.46mt. Output in the first 11 months of the year to end-Mar. advanced 1.4%, while sales were up 7%, lagging the company's annual targets. CIL has seen production rise y/y every month since Aug. as power plants seek to build inventories. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue secures $500m through bond offering - Megan van Wyngaardt

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP has raised $500m through offering 5.25% senior unsecured notes, due 2025. FORTESCUE CFO IAN WELLS on Friday said the completion of the offering was a step in the transition from an all-asset secured capital structure to one which reflected an investment-grade company. The offering was expected to settle around Mar. 15 and would refinance another $500m of the 9.75% $2.16bn senior secured notes. The combination of refinancing and debt repayment will lower FORTESCUE's annual borrowing costs by around $130m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barberton Mines completed head grade rises - PanAf - Nadine James

The average head grade of PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES' Barberton Mines complex has increased by 32%. The head grade improved from an average of 8.7g/t during Jul. to Dec. to 11.5g/t last month, mainly as a result of mining high-grade ore at the 272 platform since Jan. The latest on-reef development samples taken in the 272 platform recorded an average grade of 99.2g/t over a mineralised width of 3.36 m along a strike length of 24 m. Further, face sampling of the on-reef development, taken of the mineralised 11 block MRC orebody at the 358 platform, resulted in an average grade of 45.7g/t over a mineralised width of 2 m. Meanwhile, construction of the Elikhulu tailings retreatment project is progressing ahead of schedule with first gold expected in Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank FY profit edges up, Ecobank weighs - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

NEDBANK on Friday reported a slight rise in FY profit as cost cuts and lower bad debts offset a weak showing at ECOBANK. Diluted HEPS rose 2.4% to 2 406cps in the FY to end-Dec. Excluding the results from ECOBANK, which suffered R744m in associate income losses, NEDBANK would have managed an 8% rise in HEPS. Net interest income was 4.5% higher at R27.6bn. "While structural challenges remain, 2018 has started with renewed optimism that these will be addressed and that improving business and consumer confidence should lead to a cyclical upturn off a low base", NEDBANK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent chair urges ID link for HK, Chinese citizens - Lulu Yilun Chen, Bloomberg

TENCENT HOLDINGS chair MA HUATENG called on the Chinese government to introduce an ID system that would link multiple sets of travel documents with a mobile phone as part of a plan to boost regional trade between Hong Kong and the mainland. MA said new technology systems and laws could let Hong Kong residents make electronic payments and cross the border more easily. "It's still very complicated and we'd need to make it work with the customs systems but from a technology point of view we can do it", MA said. He has advocated the integration of the prosperous Pearl River Delta region, saying Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province can be more like the San Francisco Bay Area tech hub in the US if it is easier to move around. Hong Kong and Macau have retained their own immigration policies since the British and Portuguese handovers in 1997 and 1999, respectively, and have busy border crossings with the mainland. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa to return to ABSA roots - Janice Kew, Bloomberg

BARCLAYS AFRICA is returning to its roots. The bank plans to revert back to the ABSA GROUP name, as it was known before BARCLAYS took control of the company in 2005. With the British lender's stake now reduced to 14.9%, BARCLAYS AFRICA is also embarking on a plan to double in size and capture at least 12% of banking revenues across the continent. "We will stretch ourselves to develop the platform for double-digit growth", CEO MARIA RAMOS said. With the split from BARCLAYS PLC on track, RAMOS said she will consider acquisitions to support the company's growth, explore strategic partnerships and new markets, and use technology so the lender's operations become fully digitised. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop lifts H1 distributions by 8.3% y/y - Simone Liedtke

HYPROP on Friday reported solid growth in distributions of 8.3% for the HY to end-Dec., which was driven by a stable performance from local shopping centres and a strengthening South-Eastern European portfolio. CEO PIETER PRINSLOO said acquisitions in South-Eastern Europe concluded in the HY to end-Dec. 2016 proved successful. HYPROP declared a dividend of 376.3cps for the period, compared with 347.3cps y/y. PRINSLOO further added that each of HYPROP's three core geographic portfolios contributed to the REIT's ongoing growth in distributable income. Excluding vacancies connected to STUTTAFORDS and construction work, growth in distributable income from SA was 5.2%. Actual distributable income growth was 2.1%. HYPROP is forecasting growth of 8%-10% in dividends for the FY to end-Jun. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to investigate DWS amid severe drought - Reuters

Parliament will conduct an inquiry into allegations of mismanagement at the Department of Water and Sanitation, as Cape Town grapples with the worst recorded drought in its history. MLUNGISI JOHNSON, chair of Parliament's portfolio committee on water and sanitation, said the committee was drafting the terms of reference for the inquiry and expected it to get under way this month. "We are going to get to the bottom of the situation at he Department of Water and Sanitation and are moving with speed", JOHNSON said. A spokesperson for the ministry said it would cooperate with the probe. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts last week said it wants a criminal case opened against the DWS for opening a R2.9bn overdraft with the SARB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SEIFSA welcomes improvement in manufacturing business activity - Simone Liedtke

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa has welcomed the continued improvement in overall business activity in the manufacturing sector, as reflected in the ABSA PMI for Feb. SEIFSA economist MARIQUE KRUGER said the data showed that the PMI improved from 49.9 in Jan. to 50.8 in Feb. This is the first time since May 2017 that the indicator trended above the 50 level, which is encouraging for companies in the metals and engineering sector. KRUGER said the federation expects next month's data for the composite PMI to improve further, provided that business confidence continues its positive trajectory. She added that SEIFSA is also hopeful that businesses in the metals and engineering sector will take advantage of the general buoyancy, improving business prospects and positive expectations to increase production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moab Khotsong, Kopanang sales concluded - AngloGold - Nadine James

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI on Friday announced that the sale of the Moab Khotsong mine to HARMONY GOLD and the same of the Kopanang mine to HEAVEN-SENT SA SUNSHINE INVESTMENTS, have been completed. The gross cash proceeds of R3.57bn will be used to reduce debt, in line with the company's commitment to continually improve strategic and financial flexibility. Both sales were announced in Oct. 2017 as part of ANGLOGOLD's capital allocation strategy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 05/03/2018

At 07:27 on 05 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.98 Rand/Sterling 16.52 Rand/Euro 14.76 Gold 1326.50 Platinum 966.00 Oil 64.59 All-Share Index 57744.70

Liberty FY profit up 8% - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

LIBERTY HOLDINGS reported an 8% rise in annual profit on Friday, a sign ghat a turnaround strategy under a new CEO is bearing fruit. Normalised HEPS came in at 2 719cps in the FY to end-Dec., compared with 2 527cps y/y. The insurer is in the middle of a turnaround plan that includes a greater focus on higher margin products and slower offshore expansion under new CEO DAVID MURNO. "We are confident that the group will emerge from this period of change with significantly greater potential to serve the needs of all stakeholders", LIBERTY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Helios plans London listing - Clara Denina

HELIOS TOWERS plans to list on the LSE in early April, the African mobile towers operator said last week, with an expected valuation of around £2bn. HELIOS is the third African mobile towers business scheduled to float in 2018, with IHS TOWERS and EATON TOWERS also preparing for listings to fund infrastructure investment. "The demographics and growth prospects of the countries we serve are compelling and, with our well invested towers base, we can continue to meet the needs of mobile network operators", HELIOS CEO KASH PANDYA said, adding that this will boost margins and top-line growth. The company also filed for a secondary listing on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPC taps Moleketi as chair - Tanisha Heiberg

PPC appointed former deputy finance minister JABU MOLEKETI as its chairperson effective Friday, the company said. The appointment comes just one month after the company replaced its CEO. PPC said outgoing chair PETER NELSON had led the cement maker through difficult times but it was now focused on a new strategy. PPC last month appointed JOHAN CLAASSEN as CEO and executive director. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro expects 30%-40% rise in FY core HEPS - Nadine James

EXXARO RESOURCES expects to report a 30%-40% rise in core HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. "While the coal business benefited from higher selling prices and volumes, the group's results were impacted by one-off items... therefore, EXXARO's HEPS are expected to be between 24c and 29c, compared with 1 302cps reported for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016", the company said. Further, attributable EPS are expected to decline by 6%-15% y/y. Results will be published on Mar. 8. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Santam reports solid growth despite disasters - Sizwe Dlamini

SANTAM reported solid underwriting results and strong growth for the FY to end-Dec. The company reported double-digit gross written premium growth of 15% and a solid net underwriting margin of 6%, which is well within the target range of 4%-8%. The results followed a year impacted by major disasters which included the fires in Knysna, floods in Durban and hailstorms in Gauteng. SANTAM paid out R19bn in claims during the year under review, up from R16bn y/y, with R823m paid out in claims for the Knysna fires. The total claims paid relating to the Durban and Gauteng disasters amounted to R1.1bn. SANTAM's HEPS rose by 31% to 1 425cps, from 1086cps y/y. The board declared a final dividend of 616cps, up from 570 cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA fuel prices to fall in March - Nqobile Dludla

The retail price of petrol and the wholesale price of diesel will fall on Wednesday after the rand strengthened, the Department of Energy said on Friday. The price of petrol will drop by 36c to R13.76 per litre, while diesel will go down by 47c to R12.09/litre. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Total expands in Libya, buys Marathon's Waha stake for $450m - Ahmad Ghaddar

French oil major TOTAL raised its presence in Libya with the purchase of a 16.33% stake in that country's Waha concessions from US group MARATHON OIL for $450m on Friday. The deal will give TOTAL access to reserves and resources in excess of 500m bpd, with immediate production of around 50 000 boe/day and "significant exploration potential" in concessions in the Sirte Basin. "This acquisition is in line with TOTAL's strategy to reinforce its portfolio with high quality and low-technical cost assets whilst bolstering our historic strength in the Middle East and North Africa region", TOTAL CEO PATRICK POUYANNE said. The WAHA OIL COMPANY, a subsidiary of Libya's state-owned NATIONAL OIL CORP, currently produces 300 000 boe/day, which is expected to rise to 400 000 boe/day by the end of the decade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF tells Ghana to adopt new revenue plan before Apr. review - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana must legislate new measures to boost revenues by at least 0.5% of GDP before the IMF reviews a $918m credit deal next month, the Fund said last week. Ghana must also outline plans to clean up the financial sector and show stronger commitment to cut debt, including limiting its next eurobond for budget support to $500m, the IMF said. Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA last week said the government planned to issue up to $2bn of sovereign issuance by Jun. to pay down debt that hit 68.7% of GDP last Nov. to help finance the 2018 budget. The IMF said the government must publish by end-Mar. an agreement between the Finance Ministry and Bank of Ghana to reinforce zero financing of the budget deficit, ac ore condition of the programme. The Fund said while the country made progress, the central bank must adopt a fully market-based forex management policy and cut non-performing loans. The government aims to cut the budget deficit to 4.5% of GDP in 2018 from a revised 6.3% while inflation is projected to fall to 8.9%. It sees GDP growth at 6.8% from a projected 7.9% in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German retail sales drop despite economic strength - Nicolas Megaw

German shoppers stayed at home in Jan., defying expectations for a rebound in retail sales with a second consecutive month of declines. Turnover shrank by 0.7% over the month, in contract to forecasts for 0.9% growth. The weak month weighed on the y/y growth rate, which was just 2.3% - better than December's figure but well below the 3.5% consensus estimate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU looks to 'safeguard' import tariffs in response to US move - Shawn Donnan

The EU will consider imposing its own "safeguard" tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium in response to President DONALD TRUMP's decision to levy national security tariffs on imports of the metals from around the world. EU trade commissioner CECILIA MALMSTROM said officials in Brussels would wait to see the formal announcement on US tariffs, which TRUMP said would come next week, before taking any action. But MALMSTROM also warned that the EU would have no choice but to respond, echoing warnings from other countries likely to be affected, such as Canada and Brazil. Of particular concern, she said, was the TRUMP administration's decision to use a national security statute to apply tariffs. That move would end a decades-old ceasefire on using a loophole in global trading rules intended to be employed only in times of war or other national emergencies. MALMSTROM said it also risked undermining the World Trade Organisation and provoking other countries to do the same. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump slaps 25% tariff on steel imports - Shawn Donnan

President DONALD TRUMP last night said he would impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium "for a long period of time", in a move likely to trigger retaliation from the EU and China. The US president announced he would next week sign an order imposing global tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. The news prompted warnings from both China and the EU, outrage from other countries and a steep fall in US equity indices, although shares in US producers jumped. "We're going to build our steel industry back and we're going to build our [aluminium] industry back", TRUMP told reporters after a White House meeting with industry CEOs. The options TRUMP nominated would apply to imports from all countries, although many trade experts expect there to be a process for countries and companies to apply for exclusion from the tariffs. Canada, which is now the largest source of US imports of both aluminium and steel, said it would view any restrictions on its exports to the US of either metal as "absolutely unacceptable" and vowed to respond. "It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States", Foreign Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND said, adding that the country "will take responsive measured to defend its trade interests and workers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Supply bottlenecks drag on eurozone manufacturing sector - Nicholas Megaw

Manufacturing businesses in the eurozone are increasingly struggling to keep up with demand as the sector's long boom creates supply bottlenecks and signs of overheating. The eurozone-wide manufacturing PMI fell to 58.6 in Feb., from 59.6 m/m. Growth was broad-based, with every sub-sector and nation surveyed reporting solid progress. Even Greece reported its strongest growth for 18 years. IHS MARKIT chief economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON said: "These signs of overheating have important implications for inflation", and the eurozone-wide data showed the biggest increase in output prices for almost seven years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil records 4th consecutive quarter of growth - Andres Schipani

Brazil's economy expanded for the first time in three years in 2017, with an improved agriculture sector boosting its recovery from a brutal recession. GDP rose by 1% for 2017 as a whole, a turnaround after contractions of 3.5% in each of the previous two years. The Brazilian economy grew in every quarter of the year, according to official data published yesterday. GDP rose 0.1% over Q4, or 2.1% versus the same period in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US, EU regulators greenlight Luxottica-Essilor merger - David Keohane

US regulators have joined their EU counterparts and unconditionally cleared the way for the merger of Italy's LUXOTTICA and France's ESSILOR. The Federal Trade Commission dropped a probe into the merger of the parties following the unconditional approval of the deal by European authorities earlier yesterday. The decisions pave the way for the creation of a global giant in the eyewear industry. The FTC said in a statement that "the evidence did not support a conclusion that ESSILOR's proposed acquisition of LUXOTTICA violates federal antitrust laws". The EU said it "coordinated closely" with US FTC on the eyeglasses case. An antitrust decision still due from China is one of the last major hurdles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US manufacturing index pushes higher in Feb. - Jessica Dye

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing PMI reached 60.8 in Feb., a 1.7 percentage point rise from January's 59.1. Analysts had on average expected a slight contraction to 58.7 for the month. Most of the 18 industries grew in Feb., with just apparel, leather and allied products and furniture and related products shrinking. ISM chair TIMOTHY FIORE said price increases occurred across most industry sectors. ING chief international economist JAMES KNIGHTLEY said the level of activity reported in Feb. "suggests that the manufacturing sector will continue to contribute significantly to economic activity in coming months". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME announces $1 OTC contract fee - Neil Hume

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE plans to introduce anew fee from the start of Jun. for contracts in the over-the-counter market that references its prices. The fee, to be set at $1/lot, aims to reduce the difference in cost between trading on the LME and OTC, where customers do business with investment banks on electronic platforms. The new fee for dealers issuing OTC contracts that use LME reference prices will also help balance the loss of income from other fee cuts that have been pushed through by LME CEO MATTHEW CHAMBERLAIN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aussie watchdog to take former Rio execs to court over Moz deal - Jamie Smyth

Australia's Securities and Exchange Commission is taking legal action against former RIO TINTO CEO TOM ALBANESE and CFO GUY ELLIOTT, alleging they engaged in "misleading and deceptive conduct" over the accounting of its $4bn purchase of coal mines in Mozambique. The regulator alleged that the executives signed statements in the 2011 annual report, which misrepresented the reserves and resources of the coal assets. Further, by allowing RIO to engage in such conduct, ALBANESE and ELLIOTT failed to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with the care and diligence required by law as directors and officers of RIO TINTO. RIO had no immediate comment on the Australian legal action when contacted this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Data and clearing help boost LSE in slow markets - Philip Stafford

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP shrugged off last year's slow trading environment on global markets, reporting double-digit earnings growth on the back of its push into indices and derivatives clearing. It reported total revenues, at constant currencies, up 10% to £1.8bn in 2017. The results included the $685m purchase of global bond analytics businesses from CITIGROUP. "We have delivered another year of strong performance with growth across all of our core businesses", acting CEO DAVID WARREN said. The bourse's majority-owned clearing house LCH processed more than $873tn in notional swaps in 2017, up 31% as investors ignored the potential threat from European regulators to move the euro denominated swaps business to the EU after Brexit. It proposed a final dividend increase to 37.2p, which meant the FY dividend rose 19% to 51.6pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev profits rocket as Brazilian rebound helps quell concerns - Scheherazade Daneshkhu

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV reported a 64% rise in FY net profits, boosted by savings from the SABMILLER acquisition and a rebound in Brazil. The company yesterday said 2017 had been a year of "transformation" as it digested the 2016 £79bn takeover of SABMILLER and an acceleration in revenue growth that led to a strong finish to the year. The company was upbeat about 2018, saying that despite volatility in some markets, it expected "strong" growth in revenues and EBITDA. Net profit of $8bn was up from $4.9bn in 2016, due to higher revenues and $1.3bn of cost savings and synergies from the SABMILLER acquisition. The company said it had achieved $2.1bn of the promised $3.2bn of cost savings from the deal. In Brazil, EBITDA grew by 20.4% in H2 y/y, a rebound from a 19.7% fall in H1 to finish the year up 1.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi shrugs off cost pressures - John Murray Brown

MONDI has given an upbeat assessment of its outlook for 2018, with the paper company announcing a special €1/share dividend to reflect "our strong financial position and confidence in the group's cash generating capacity". The company described cost pressures as "continuing but manageable" after reporting profits up 5% last year, having warned in Oct. that FY results would be below expectations. For the FY to end-Dec., the company said pre-tax profits were up from £843m to £887m, while revenues rose 7% to £71bn. MONDI said average paper for recycling costs were up 12% on 2016. Energy and labour costs were also up on the previous year. But improved average prices for all key grades of paper and packaging products offset higher input costs and negative currency effects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LafargeHolcim halts share buyback following write-offs - Ralph Atkins

LAFARGEHOLCIM has halted a share buyback programme and reported a SFr478m operating loss for 2017 after booking SFr3.8bn in write-offs following a review of political risks and its asset portfolio. It said the impairment charges followed a revaluation of assets, an assessment of market conditions, and political risks. Two thirds related to operations in Algeria, Malaysia, Iraq, Brazil, Indonesia and Egypt. The operating loss compared to a profit of SFr2.96bn in 2016. LAFARGEHOLCIM in 2016 announced a SFr1bn share buyback programme, but today said it would be discontinued with SFr581m completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA could score $4bn chunk of Africa's banking potential - Memory Mataranyika

Local banking institutions are expected to raise revenues to $4bn by 2022 amid massive upside potential for investment banking products across Africa. This is despite currency adjustment hurdles and the likelihood of foreign investors in BARCLAYS AFRICA and OLD MUTUAL selling down. These are the findings of a new study by MCKINSEY, which highlights the "huge room for growth in meeting unmet needs for borrowing, saving, investing, and protecting" across the continent. This is because fewer than 20% of African banking customers hold products in areas such as lending, deposits, insurance and investments. MCKINSEY say if banks across Africa can tap into this and ride on consumer preferences for digital platforms to roll out service delivery channels, there will be massive revenue increase prospects. "Three quarters of the $18bn in absolute retail revenue growth will be concentrated in 10 countries. In absolute terms, the greatest growth will be in South Africa, which will account for $4bn", the report states. However, SA's banking sector is also set to be the biggest loser in terms of adjusting for currency losses, although the rand has been firmer in recent weeks owing to political movements seen as supportive of business and economic growth. "Adjusting for currency, the big lower in terms of banking revenues will be South Africa, which accounted for 37% of the African revenue pool in 2012, and will account for 26% in 2022. This reflects not only real economic growth that is slower than the rest of the African continent, but also steep depreciation in the South African Rand over this period". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drought impact on W Cape economy worse than anticipated - Carin Smith

Compared to the previous season, aggregate income after costs in the agriculture sector in the Western Cape is estimated to have declined by up to R5.9bn, due to lower output as a result of the drought. The impact of the drought on the province's economy cannot be sugar-coated and is higher than previously anticipated, Western Cape minister of economic opportunities ALAN WINDE said yesterday. "We need the drought to be declared a national disaster and an allocation from the new Cabinet for infrastructure investment in our dams", WINDE said. Agriculture and agri-processing contribute a combined R54bn to the provincial gross value added. Of all the province's exports, 52% comes from the agriculture and agri-processing sectors. Research indicates that around 30 000 jobs will be lost in the province due to the drought. Agricultural economist LOUW PIENAAR estimates that it will take between eight and ten years for agriculture in the province to recover from the impact of the drought. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cosatu to govt: 'You are playing with fire' - Tshidi Madia

COSATU has rejected the proposed 1% hike in VAT that was announced in last week's Budget. The union federation said it rejected the hike, along with an increase in the fuel and road accident fund levies. "This is a way of forcing the workers to pay for the sins of others", COSATU general secretary BHEKI NTSHALINTSHALI said. He said COSATU wanted the National Assembly to either reject the proposal or to expand the basket of zero-rated goods. The federation said it hoped Parliament would reject the VAT proposal outright, or spend more than two weeks debating whether it was the right thing to do. COSATU president SDUMO DLAMINI warned: "We are reminding our government [that] you are playing with five on this one, we are not going to keep quiet about it". NTSHALINTSHALI said it was a misconception to say the poor only used certain goods, explaining that there had been an evolution in the kind of goods South Africans used on a day to day basis. "Take sanitary towels, people are struggling to even get them at school now. If you VAT them it would make their lives even more difficult", he said. Increasing fuel prices also meant that other goods were affected, including foods that had been declared zero rated, NTSHALINTSHALI added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kganyago says SA leadership set on solid policy trajectory - Francine Lacqua

SA's new political leadership under President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA sets a solid and credible policy trajectory, SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said yesterday. "South Africans couldn't have hoped for a better leader than the president we have now", KGANYAGO said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in London. "He is a serious constitutionalist, he understands the importance of the rule of law, having been at the forefront of drafting the Constitution". RAMAPHOSA this week reappointed NHLANHLA NENE as finance minister, a move that triggered a sell-off in the rand and bonds. While NENE brings credibility to the Treasury, it "will take more than the finance minister" to avoid another junk credit rating, KGANYAGO said, adding that the future of the country's credit rating is in the hands of the policymakers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Markus Jooste conspired with other Steinhoff execs - Oliver Sachgau, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's former CEO MARKUS JOOSTE conspired with fellow executives at the company to move revenue figures around subsidiaries to boost heir balance sheets, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. JOOSTE reportedly discussed how to manipulate accounts for the 104 FY, the German newspaper said, citing internal emails. STEINHOFF earlier this week said that a probe by PWC, commissioned in Dec., is focusing on off-balance-sheet structures and deals, particularly related to the central European businesses. It is likely to find that some assets, revenue and profit figures have been overstated, STEINHOFF chair HEATHER SONN said. According to the German newspaper, JOOSTE told one of his managers to add an additional €100m of revenue from a subsidiary to help inflate the company's reported profit. In a separate email, he referred to a need to "clean up the past". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Omnia acquires Oro Agri for $100m - Simone Liedtke

OMNIA GROUP has agreed to acquire 100% of the ordinary shares of ORO AGRI SEZC and 52% of the ordinary shares of ORO AGRI SA, which is not already owned bY ORO AGRO SEZC, for $100m. OMNIA will fund the deal via existing available cash, with the effective date of the transaction being Jan. 1, 2017. The transaction is expected to close in the next two months. Following implementation, ORO AGRI SEZC and ORO AGRI SA will become subsidiaries of OMNIA and will report under the agriculture segment. As at end-Dec. 2017, the reviewed but unaudited results of ORO AGRI reflected total net assets of $21.3m, revenue of $51.5m , EBITDA of $10.1m and net profit after tax of $5.2m. On a normalised basis, excluding one-off costs relating to the transaction, the net profit after tax increases to $6.1m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ascendis launches strategic review - Simone Liedtke

ASCENDIS HEALTH has initiated a strategic review to create a sustainable market position for itself and accelerate organic growth following the completion of various acquisitions since the company's listing in 2013. The review is expected to be completed late in the 2018 FY. It also published results for the HY to end-Dec., with normalised headline earnings up 20% y/y to R53m and normalised HEPS 7% higher y/y at 75.8cps. The weighted average number of shares in issue rose by 12% during the HY period, mainly in relation to the rights issue and vendor placement in Nov. and Dec. 2017. Normalised operating profit for the HY rose by 28% to R602m. Normalised EBIRDA rose by 28% to R653m. The EBITDA margin improved by 10 basis points to 16.5%, despite increased investment in marketing and new markets. Cash flow of R327m was generated from operations, with a cash conversion rate of 50%, which was mainly impacted on by strong growth in the cash intensive businesses, like REMEDICA and MEDICAL DEVICES. ASCENDIS's revenue for the HY rose by 27% to R4bn, with revenue generated outside SA having increased by 50% to R1.9bn. Vendor debt of R1.1bn was settled during the reporting period, which included an accelerated payment of €50m to the sellers of REMEDICA to reduce the group's overall debt position. No interim dividend was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fairvest's interim distributions up 9.53% y/y - Anine Kilian

FAIRVEST announced solid results for the HY to end-Dec., with interim distributions having increased by 9.53% y/y to 9.81cps. Revenue rose by 15.2% y/y to R186.9m. CEO DARREN WILDER noted that FAIRVEST raised R138.4m of new equity during the period, which, together with existing debt facilities, was used to acquire properties to the value of R494.9m. The company also entered into a strategic relationship with ABLAND to develop South View Shopping Centre, in Soshanguve, anchored by SHOPRITE. The centre is expected to open its doors in June. FAIRVEST's total property portfolio rose by 27.1% from R2.2bn as at end-Jun. 2017 to R2.8bn at end-Dec. The historic portfolio grew by 4% over the same period. Asset quality continued to improve, with the average value per property rising by 21.1% to r65.1m, and the average value per square meter rising by 7.7% to R12 223/m2. During the period under review, 62 new leases were concluded with a total gross letting area of 6 996m2. FAIRVEST successfully renewed 15 842m2 of leases with a positive reversion achieved of 6.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE suspends Steinhoff's preference shares - ANA

The JSE LTD yesterday said it had suspended trading of STEINHOFF INVESTMENT HOLDINGS LIMITED's preference shares after the company failed to submit its annual report on or before Feb. 28. STEINHOFF INVESTMENT HOLDINGS LIMITED manufactures, sources, warehouses, distributes and sells furniture and household goods in Europe and the Pacific Rim and is a subsidiary of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS NV, whose shares plunged in Dec. after it admitted accounting irregularities. "The market is reminded that STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS NV has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE and therefore the JSE wishes to reaffirm that it is not considering the suspension of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL", the JSE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint cautions about expropriation - Roy Cokayne

Corporate SA needed certainty on key government policies, including expropriation of land without compensation, before it would be prepared to pull the trigger and invest in the country, GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES said this week. CEO NORBERT SASSE said companies that had been focusing offshore in the past couple of years and hoarded cash would be more inclined to invest in the country now with the improved sentiment and recent political developments. SASSE stressed that clarity was needed on policies before "the money started mobilising". "You can't just willy nilly take all the land away and not pay compensation. They will change it (the policy) in a sensible way, one hopes", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RCL Foods eyes greater market share as new pet food facility opens - Megan van Wyngaardt

RCL FOODS yesterday launched its new R150m pet food manufacturing facility, in Randfontein. Through the establishment of the 1 500m2 facility, the company aims to take a greater share in the R5bn/year South African pet food market, of which R3bn is demand from the retail sector and around R1.2bn from vets. R800m fell in the non-groceries sector. RCL currently holds 40% of the retail sector and will focus on gaining clientèle in the vet market. The new facility increased the company's pet food production by 60%, from 7 000t/m to 12 000t/m. As part of the new manufacturing facility, RCL FOODS introduced six new capabilities to its pet food range, which includes brands such as Bobtail, Canine Cuisine, Ultra Dog and Catmor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa says land motion 'no reason to panic'- News24Wire

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA has said there is no reason to "panic and start beating war drums" over Parliament's decision to look at land expropriation without compensation. RAMAPHOSA tried to calm fears over the National Assembly's passing of a motion to have Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee look at the feasibility of amending the "property clause" in the Constitution. "What this moment requires is for people to engage with each other and come up with proposals that can lead to a just and sustainable outcome... Farming activities must continue as normal, and investments in land and farming must continue. We are going to handle this matter in the way we've always handled difficult issues in our country: by dialogue, discussion, engagement, until we find good solutions that will take our country forward", RAMAPHOSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lynne Brown resigns as ANC MP - News24Wire

The ANC yesterday announced that former public enterprises minister LYNNE BROWN has resigned as an MP for the party. BROWN was removed from her position in Cabinet in Monday night's reshuffle. ANC Chief Whip JACKSON MTHEMBU thanked BROWN for her service. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo concludes sale of Eskom-tied mines to Seriti - Anine Kilian

ANGLO AMERICAN has completed the sale of its ESKOM-tied thermal coal mines to SERITI RESOURCES, which is led by CEO MIKE TEKE, for R2.3bn. The acquisition includes the New Vaal, New Denmark and Kriel mines, as well as various mine life extension projects. The three mines supply some 24mt/year of thermal coal to ESKOM power stations. SERITI, which is 84% black-owned and chaired by Dr ANNA MOKGOKONG, funded the acquisition through a combination of shareholder equity and acquisition finance raised from STANDARD BANK. SERITI will supply 22% of ESKOM's yearly coal requirement from the three mines. Separately, TEKE said SERITI would be interested in considering acquiring the OPTIMUM coal mine, which is currently under business rescue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mineral flowsheet development completed at Prieska project - Simone Liedtke

ORION MINERALS has successfully completed the development of a mineral flowsheet for the treatment of sulphide zinc/copper mineralisation at the Prieska project. The derived mineral processing flowsheet achieves high zinc and copper recoveries into separated product streams from which the production of high-quality, differentiated zinc and copper concentrates can be yielded. The company yesterday said the processing flowsheet has been tested with notable success on all the mineralised zones of the deposit that are targeted in the bankable feasibility study that is under way. The deposit is zoned for metallurgical testing by the degree of oxidation, while the internal variation in zinc and copper grades relative to each other across the deposit was also considered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee, BMR extend agreement deadline for Zambia project - Megan van Wyngaardt

JUBILEE METALS GROUP and BMR GROUP have agreed, under their JV agreement for the Kabwe project in Zambia, to extend the date for the fulfilment of all conditions precedent from Feb. 28 to Mar. 3. The extension will allow the project to remedy the cancellation of its current small-scale mining licence. In Feb., BMR GROUP received a surprise mining rights termination notice from the Mining Cadastre Department of Zambia. BMR had the right to appeal against the termination notice within 30 days from Feb. 6. The notice of appeal by BMR would now be submitted by no later than Mar. 2. JUBILEE CEO LEON COETZER said the company would continue to support BMR during this process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Suspended Eskom exec Sean Maritz resigns - Business Report

Suspended ESKOM chief information officer SEAN MARITZ has resigned with immediate effect, the utility said yesterday. MARITZ was suspended in Jan. pending a probe into allegations of impropriety. "MARITZ's resignation comes against the backdrop of serious charges of misconduct that were levelled against him, that would have been adjudicated at his disciplinary hearing scheduled for 8-9 March 2018. The disciplinary process to hold MARITZ to account for any proven wrongdoing can no longer be pursued in light of clear legal precedent that a resignation by an employee unilaterally terminates the employment relationship", ESKOM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R Dubai Airport arbitration award delayed - Roy Cokayne

The arbitration award to MURRAY & ROBERTS' multi-million-rand uncertified revenue dispute with the Dubai government over its Dubai Airport claim has been delayed. The company this week said the Dubai International Arbitration Centre had extended its deadline for the award from May to Nov. 2018. M&R CEO HENRY LAAS said it was a large and complex dispute, and the arbitration tribunal requested more time to deliver its award. M&R at one stage had uncertified revenue claims valued at more than R2bn, but this reduced after the settlement of claims related to the Gautrain rapid rail project and the Gorgon Pioneer materials offloading facility in Australia. M&R this week reported revenue from continuing operations up 10% to R11.8bn for the HY to end-Dec., from R10.7bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cabinet considering expanding zero-rated VAT basket - Wendell Roelf

SA's cabinet may expand the basket of zero-rated VAT items after it was hiked by 1% in last week's budget, Minister of Communications NOMVULA MOKONYANE said yesterday. Treasury last Wednesday said VAT would be raised for the first time in 25 years as part of efforts to cut the budget deficit, stabilise debt and raise revenues for free tertiary education. "As a response to concerns raised on the VAT tax increases proposed, cabinet is also considering expanding the list of basic goods that are zero-rated on VAT", MOKONYANE told a media briefing. The move to raise VAT to 15% from 14% in Apr. is expected to generate an additional R23bn of revenue in 2018/19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria Union Bank working with Cit on eurobond, others to follow - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's UNION BANK is working with CITIGROUP and RENAISSANCE CAPITAL on a planned eurobond sale, sources said, following on from its $163m share sale in Q4 to boost lending. The bank's plans also follow Nigeria's $2.5bn eurobond sale in Feb. to refinance local currency bonds at lower cost. The country aims to raise a further $2.8bn this year. Banking sources said UNION could issue up to $250m in bonds including one in local currency. The bank plans to tap opportunities to lend to agribusiness. Sources said rival lenders could follow UNION's lead. FCMB is considering a eurobond and DIAMOND BANK, with an existing $200m eurobond due next year, could tap markets again, sources say. FIDELITY BANK issued a $200m eurobond in Oct. at 10.75% to refinance existing debt and boost lending. The mid-tier bank told Reuters it used the bond proceeds to fund its trade book in Q4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola pays bond coupon to wrong account, says now fixing issue - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola mistakenly transferred a bond coupon payment to the wrong account last month, the Finance Ministry said yesterday, and is working to correct the situation so that bondholders can receive the funds due. Some market participants had raised concerns when a coupon payment for a 2019-dated eurobond Angola issued via SPV NORTHERM LIGHTS III BV failed to come through to holders in mid-Feb. Although there is a 30-day grace period for payment on the bond, any delay could disadvantage Angola as it looks to come to market to sell eurobonds this year. "The value was paid ahead of time, but due to some lapse there was an error in the correspondence and the total was transferred to the wrong account. It is being corrected so that the right account at DEUTSCHE BANK is credited", a finance ministry spokesperson said. The bond is currently trading at 102.1c in the dollar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afreximbank plans $1bn share sale over next five years - Chijioke Ohuocha

The African Export-Import Bank plans to sell shares worth as much as $1bn over the next five years to diversify its shareholders and add more private investors to its ownership. The bank, rated BBB by FITCH, plans to issue the shares via depository receipts to new and existing investors. An offering of $300m was listed on the Mauritian Stock Exchange last year at $4.30 apiece. It now plans to list the shares on the Lagos bourse by Q3 and then issue fresh receipts worth $200m in Nigeria. The note issue will support financing for Nigeria in areas such as trade, manufacturing, financial services, tourism, medical and agribusiness. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New vehicle sales down 3.8% y/y in Feb. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's new vehicle sales fell 3.8% y/y to 46 347 units in Feb., data from the Department of Trade & Industry showed yesterday. Exports fell by 5.8% to 27 473 units y/y, the DTI said. The National Association of Automobile manufacturers of SA commented that improved business confidence and the recent positive political developments seen within the country should support higher economic growth in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA PMI rises above 50-mark in Feb. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI rose in Feb. to its best reading in nearly a year as companies anticipated activity would be boosted by the improved outlook for the local economy. The index, compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research, rose to 50.8 in Feb. from 49.9 in Jan. The increase was driven by improvements in the business activity and new sales orders, which together account for more than half of the PMI's weight. Expected business conditions in six months' time rose to their highest level since 2001 on the back of increased optimism about local economic and political conditions, ABSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats CEO seeks friendlier Zim mining laws to lift investment - Zandi Shabalala

Zimbabwe must offer foreign miners a consistent legal framework, the right to keep a controlling stake in operations and a greater share of profits to encourage investment, ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH said this week. "We are not investing in any material growth", GRIFFITH said, adding that AMPLATS was considering investing in a small process to optimise operations. "But that is not betting the farm on Zimbabwe yet", he said, adding that terms now on offer and an uncertain global outlook for platinum meant the company had no immediate plans for major investment in Zimbabwe. As well as concerns about not keeping a controlling stake, miners were concerned that companies were only allowed to retain 20% of their foreign earnings, GRIFFITH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa lifts profit, looks to Nigeria for growth - Ed Stoddard

BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP plans to extend its reach throughout the continent, it said yesterday after posting annual profit up nearly 4%. CEO MARIA RAMOS said the lender aims to enter Nigeria as it seeks to lift its share of the African market to 12% from 6% over the medium term. BARCLAYS AFRICA yesterday reported normalised diluted HEPS up 3.9% to 1 837.7cps for the FY to end-Dec., helped by a 20% drop in credit impairments. Net interest income rose by 1% to R42.32bn, while its net interest margin was unchanged at 4.95%. The lender said it expects growth in loans and deposits to improve in 2018 and forecast stronger loan growth from the rest of Africa. It also forecast stronger loan growth in corporate and investment banking in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats reports narrower HY loss, Marula turnaround - Tanisha Heiberg

IMPALA PLATINUM yesterday said its H1 loss narrowed by 70%, helped by improved operational performance but weighed down by a tax in Zimbabwe. It reported a diluted HLPS of 21cps in the HY to end-Dec., versus a loss of 71cps y/y. ZIMPLATS incurred an additional profit tax of R250m while the group's Marula mine had a strong turnaround. A nearby community chrome project, which ad triggered violent protests by locals who felt excluded, was restarted, leading to "a significant decline in community disruptions". IMPLATS also undertook restructuring at the operation, which was in danger of closure. It said the mine achieved a gross profit of R68m versus a gross loss of some R173m y/y. IMPLATS, which in Sep. said it would review its Rustenburg operations and began talks with unions over cutting up to 2 500 jobs, said the operation's cash flow is expected to improve by more than R1bn over the next two years. FY production guidance for its Rustenburg operations has been reduced to between 650 000 and 670 000 ounces, from 700 000oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 02/03/2018

At 07:09 on 02 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.87 Rand/Sterling 16.36 Rand/Euro 14.58 Gold 1316.74 Platinum 964.00 Oil 64.17 All-Share Index 57923.16

Japan manufacturing growth weaker in Feb. - Hudson Lockett

Growth in Japan's manufacturing sector softened in Feb. The NIKKEI-MARKIT manufacturing PMI came in at 54.1 in Feb., down from 54.8 in Jan. and closer to the 50-point line separating growth from contraction. The final reading confirmed output and new orders had both increased, but at a slower pace m/m, while employment growth accelerated to an 11-year high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify filing values Tencent Music at $12.3bn - Louise Lucas

TENCENT MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT has been valued at $12.3bn based on its reciprocal share swap with global peer SPOTIFY. The numbers were revealed in SPOTIFY's Wednesday filing to list its shares directly on the NYSE. In the prospectus, SPOTIFY valued its 9% stake in TME at €910m. That implies a valuation for the whole company of €10.11bn, or $12.3bn. TENCENT and TME hold a 7.5% stake in SPOTIFY, making them the third biggest shareholder after founders DANIEL EK and MARTIN LORENTZON. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's manufacturers saw modest growth in Feb. - Caixin - Alice Woodhouse

Growth in China's smaller private manufactures ticked higher in Feb., according to a survey, contrasting with a sharp pullback in larger state-owned firms. The CAIXIN-MARKIT PMI edged up to 51.6 in Feb., from 51.5 m/m. That beat Beijing's official gauge of manufacturing activity, which dropped to 50.3 from 51.3 in Jan. Manufacturing output rose at a modest pace in Feb., according to the CAIXIN survey, while production growth softened from the prior month. Employment in the sector fell further as companies sought to cut costs, while higher raw material prices pushed up input prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Schroders defies gloom with £9.6bn net inflows - Owen Walker

SCHRODERS provided a rate bright spot for active managers as it reported net inflows of £9.6bn for 2017, increasing its total assets under management by 13% to £447bn. It reported increased pre-tax profits of £760.2m, up 23% on the y/y figure of £618m. The company overcame the withdrawal during H1FY17 of $6.3bn by PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, which represented a setback to the UK manager's aspirations of cracking the US market. In 2016, it mustered net inflows of just £1.1bn, having drawn in £13bn of new business in 2015. SCHRODERS reported EPS of 215pps and dividends per share of 113p, both beating analysts' estimates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble 'satisfied' it can continue after $5bn loss - Neil Hume

NOBLE GROUP said it had slumped to a loss of almost $5bn last year, hit by a raft of charges and impairments as it battled for survival. The commodity trader said the result for 2017 was made up of $1bn of losses from discontinued operations, coupled with $3.24bn of exceptional charges, including a $2.1bn hit to the value of a controversial derivatives portfolio. NOBLE recorded a loss of $4.93bn in the FY to end-Dec., against a net profit of $8.7m y/y. Revenue from continuing operations dropped from a restated $8.666bn y/y to $6.24bn, and trading volumes were down 27% to 77.8mt. NOBLE said its board was "satisfied that the group can continue as a going concern" until the debt restructuring is completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec spurns stock as collateral for Resilient-tied REITs - Loni Prinsloo

A plunge in the share prices of REITs tied to RESILIENT REIT is starting to impact the ability of investors in the property companies to borrow using the stock as collateral. INVESTEC's wealth unit informed customers that it would no longer accept the securities of RESILIENT, FORTRESS REIT, GREENBAY PROPERTIES and NEPI ROCKCASTLE to back loans from the start of Mar. STANDARD BANK is also looking into not accepting the shares as collateral, although it hasn't made a final decision. Lenders are getting tougher with the intertwined REITs after a slide in their shares made them 2018's worst-performing property stocks globally. STANDARD BANK has the highest exposure to RESILIENT and FORTRESS with R11.2bn lent directly to the companies. RAND MERCHANT BANK is owed R8.1bn, NEDBANK about R4.4bn and BARCLAYS AFRICA's ABSA R1.6bn, according to analysts. Most of the loans are backed by property, with only NEDBANK having 82% of its collateral tied up in securities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Take-home pay increases slowest in 5 months - Tehillah Niselow

Take-home pay and private pensions started off 2018 on a stronger footing than in 2017, according to data measured by BANKSERVAFRICA, signalling an improvement in consumer confidence could lie ahead. SA's average formal sector take-home pay was R14 675 in Jan., representing a 5.8% y/y growth and a 1.2% increase if seasonally adjusted for inflation. January's take-home pay was the slowest increase in five months, but BANKSERVAFRICA said the figures in recent months reflect a positive real increase for money banked by employees. This points to a gradual rise in living standards for most formally employed people. The number of people earning between R12 000 and R16 000 per month was 474 700 in Jan., while 436 900 earned below R4 000. The Private Pensions index shows that pensions rose substantially y/y in Jan. as the average pension reached R7 072. Stripping out inflation, this represents an increase of 4.8% or a pay-out of R4 654 for the median pensioner - the biggest rise since Sep. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to pay back PIC loan - Tehillah Niselow

ESKOM has confirmed that the R5bn short-term loan it received from the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION will be paid back today. When the loan was extended by the PIC in Feb., the Public Servants' Association said it felt "betrayed" by the agreement as this could risk government employee pensions being caught up in flailing SOEs. PIC CEO DAN MATJILA explained to Parliament that the R5bn was only bridging finance until the end of the month, and would earn above market interest rates for the GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE PENSION FUND. The rate which was agreed on was an addition of 75 bps to the one-month JIBAR, which is currently 6.9%. The PSA welcomed the repayment of the loan to the PIC, but said it's "not the end of it". It said the loan "was still paid irregularly... [we] have to make sure that a transaction like this doesn't happen again". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPI slows slightly in Jan. - Tehillah Niselow

SA's producer price inflation slowed to 5.1% y/y in Jan. compared with 5.2% in Dec., Statistics SA said yesterday. On a m/m basis, January's producer inflation for final manufactured goods fell to 0.3%, from 0.6% in Dec. Petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products were the main contributors to the annual inflation of 5.1% for producers, while the main contributor to the 0.3% Jan. PPI rise was transport equipment. Farm and factory gate inflation for water and electricity rose by 3% y/y in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian GDP growth overtakes China - Kiran Stacey

India has regained its title as the world's fastest-growing economy after figures confirmed it grew by 7% on an annualised basis in the quarter to end-Dec., overtaking China once more. Data out yesterday showed the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2% in Q3 of its fiscal year. The Chinese economy grew by 6.8% on an annualised basis in the same period. India grew at a pace of 6.5% in the previous quarter, reversing five quarters of consecutive slowing growth in the wake of PM NARENDRA MODI's demonetisation experiment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Valeant disappoints Wall Street - David Crow

VALEANT posted Q4 revenues that fell short of Wall Street forecasts, sending shares in the drugmaker 8% lower in premarket trading yesterday. VALEANT said it generated $2.16bn of revenues compared with a consensus forecast of $2.18bn. It posted $875m of adjusted EBITDA, missing forecasts of $879m. VALEANT said it expected FY revenues for 2017 to be in the range of $8.1bn-$8.3bn, versus expectations for $8.4bn. It forecast FY adjusted EBITDA of $3.05bn-$3.2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US GDP growth revised lower - Mamta Badkar

The US economy expanded at a slower pace than previously thought in Q4 2017, data showed yesterday. GDP grew by an annualised 2.5% in the final quarter of 2017, in line with economists' forecasts, according to a second reading from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That is lower than the initial reading of 2.6% issued in Jan. and growth of 3.2% recorded in Q3. The downward revision reflected a drop in private inventory investment, the report said, although consumer spending remained unchanged at 3.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shareholders greenlight Tesco-Booker takeover - Naomi Rovnick

TESCO's £4bn takeover of BOOKER has finally made its way through the checkout, with shareholders on both sides approving the deal. TESCO yesterday said that just over 85% of its investors agreed it should buy restaurant supplier BOOKER, which also owns the small convenient store chain LONDIS and retailer BUDGENS. BOOKER's shareholders also voted Wednesday, with 83% approving the tie-up. The deal was first announced in Jan. 2017 but did not get the green light from the UK's competition authority until Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrefour reports slower sales growth, declining FY profit - Harriet Agnew

French retail giant CARREFOUR said sales slowed down in 2017 and operating profit fell sharply as the group continued to come under pressure, particularly in its home market. The retailer said it will cut its 2017 dividend 34% and reported a net loss of €531m, as a result of non-recurring charges of €1.3bn. The results are the first set of annual figures since ALEXANDRE BOMPARD took over as CEO of the group in July. CARREFOUR said like-for-like sales grew 1.6% in 2017, versus 3% y/y. Recurring operating income dropped 14.7% at current exchange rates to €2bn, roughly in line with analyst consensus, marking the group's second consecutive annual drop in operating income. CARREFOUR's overhaul includes slashing thousands of jobs in France, cutting €2bn in costs and ramping up digital investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify files to go public - Anna Nicolaou

SPOTIFY yesterday filed to go public in what could be one of the biggest tech debuts this year. The company plans to list its shares on the NYSE under the symbol "SPOT", according to documents filed with the SEC. The company said it aims to "unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators". SPOTIFY plans to pursue a so-called direct listing, which means investors will be able to trade shares on the open market without the conventional IPO process. SPOTIFY said it made €4.09bn in sales in 2017, a jump from €2.95bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Underground mining lifts M&R in challenging market - Terence Creamer

MURRAY & ROBERTS yesterday posted a strong rise in results for the HY to end-Dec. on the back of a robust performance form its underground mining unit. M&R reported a 283% rise in attributable earnings to R110m during the period and a 104% rise in diluted continuing HEPS, which rose to 55cps. Revenue increased by 10% to R11.8bn and the group's cash holdings rose 18% to R1.3bn. M&R's order book for continuing operations fell by 10% to R22.1bn. M&R's underground mining platform emerged as the largest contributor to group earnings for the period, with the unit's operating profit rising to R239m, up from R198m y/y. The unit's order book had also increased to R15.3bn, from R12.9bn previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint's distributable income rises in H1 - Simone Liedtke

GROWTHPOINT's distributable income rose by R281m, or 10.6%, to R2.9bn in the HY to end-Dec. Distributions per share grew by 6.5%, with the company declaring an interim dividend of 101.2cps for the HY under review. This growth is in line with guidance given to the market for the 2018 FY. Gross revenue rose by 6%, with South African revenues having increased by 6.4%. GROWTHPOINT's Australian operations' revenues rose by 4.7%. The group's NAV/share increased by 3.9% to R25.93, and GORWTHPOINT had a market cap of R80.4bn as at Dec. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Downer awarded contract at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance mine - Creamer Media Reporter

Mining contractor DOWNER EDI has been awarded a three-year, A$600m contract to provide mining services at the Blackwater coal mine, in central Queensland. The mine is owned by the BHP MITSUBISHI ALLIANCE. The companies have a history of working together and this latest contract extends this relationship. The scope of work includes overburden removal and haulage, equipment maintenance and drilling services. The contract will consolidate two existing contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barloworld ends talks on acquisition - Roy Cokayne

BARLOWORLD has terminated talks related to a potential acquisition adjacent to its automotive business. The company withdrew a cautionary announcement related to the possible acquisition, advising shareholders that negotiations had been terminated because the parties could not agree on certain key commercial terms. BARLOWORLD said it would continue to pursue target growth opportunities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Balwin expects to post lower FY18 earnings - Anine Kilian

BALWIN PROPERTIES expects to report a 23%-28% y/y drop in HEPS and a 23.21%-28.19% y/y decrease in EPS for the FY to end-Feb. BALWIN yesterday said it has experienced delays in obtaining town planning and local authority approvals for the start of construction on certain new developments around the country. "Management, together with its team of professionals, have continued to engage with the local authorities to expedite the approval processes. Four of these developments have now been approved to start construction and the remaining approval is imminent", BALWIN said. These delays have affected a total of 696 apartments. BALWIN'S FY results will be published on May 14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DWS blames municipal debt, budget cuts for huge debt - News24Wire

A full parliamentary inquiry into the finances of the Department of Water and Sanitation has been instituted after it conceded to being billions of rand in debt. The DWS presented itself before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday where its overdraft was the centre of focus. The committee focused on the irregular expenditure reported by the Auditor-General in the 2016/17 FY and an overdraft of R2.7bn in the department's Water Trading Entity account for the same financial year. The DWS blamed the overdraft on the failure of municipalities to pay for services received, coupled with significant budget cuts totalling R2.6bn in FY2016/17. Currently, the department is owed R11bn by municipalities and water boards with the debt having risen by R1.3bn between Apr. 1 2017 and Jan. 31 this year. As a corrective step and in agreement with Treasury, the DWS said it decreased the overdraft to R1.9bn. It said the debt was "reflective of the constrained environment within which the department has found itself". "Municipal debts are increasing at an average rate of R1bn y/y and with a declining fiscal allocation from the fiscus to the department. The department however is committed to eradicate the overdraft over the next financial year and similarly to increase its debt recovery methods". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sappi concludes Cham Paper acquisition - Anine Kilian

SAPPI has completed the acquisition of CHAM PAPER GROUP, it announced yesterday. The deal includes the acquisition of CPG's Carmignano and Condino mills, in Italy, as well as its digital imaging business in Cham, Switzerland. "I am very pleased that we have been able to finalise this acquisition so quickly. We are now able to move with speed to combine CHAM's strong brands, employees and assets with SAPPI's global presence", SAPPI CEO STEVE BINNIE said. He added that the deal would add €183m of sales and would strengthen SAPPI Europe specialities and packaging paper business' footprint and skills. "It also adds 160 000t of speciality paper to our capacity and increases SAPPI's relevance in specialities and packaging papers, opening up new customers and markets to SAPPI's existing products". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICASA chair to be removed after conviction - News24Wire

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications this week announced it would institute a process to remove RUBBEN MOHLALOGA as a member and chairperson of ICASA. MOHLALOGA, who was appointed chair of the regulator in Dec., was found guilty of fraud and money laundering in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Jan. The court found that he defrauded the LAND BANK of around R6m in 2008. He acted with at least three other accomplices to transfer the money from the LAND BANK to an attorney's trust account. MOHLALOGA and his co-accused are expected to be sentenced on Apr. 3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Las Iguanas to open restaurant in Centurion - Megan van Wyngaardt

UK restaurant chain LAS IGUANAS will open its first restaurant in SA in Irene Mall, Centurion, on Jun. 7, fanchisor GOLD BRANDS said yesterday. The chain specialises in authentic Mexican, Brazilian and other South American food and cocktails. The restaurant will seat 200. "LAS IGUANAS will bring new flavours and exciting new Latin American dishes, along with their own unique Brazilian bottled Las Iguanas Magnifica Cachaça", GOLD BRANDS said. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, with specials added daily. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale says Samarco should resume operations by year-end or early 2019 - Reuters

Executives at VALE yesterday said the Samarco mine may resume operations around the end of 2018 or in early 2019, but cautioned that he process depends on obtaining environmental licenses. Work at the mine was halted after a tailings dam burst in Nov. 2015, killing 19 people. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mongolian court sides with govt in copper mine ownership row - Reuters

Mongolia's Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that MONGOLIAN COPPER CORPORATION never had the right to 49% of one of Asia's biggest copper mines, supporting an earlier resolution by the government to buy back the stake. RIO TINTO is among the biggest players in Mongolia, operating the Oyu Tolgoi mine, but smaller explorers have also been attracted by the nation's potential as a significant copper producer. Constitutional Court Judge DULAM SUGAR said that MCC did not have a claim to ownership because of "violations of Mongolian law". His ruling reinforces a government resolution to buy back the stake, which would give it full control of the Erdenet mine, which produces 530 000t of copper concentrate annually. The decision, however, runs counter to a Supreme Court ruling in Dec. MCC purchased the mine from Russia in 2016. Judge SUGAR said the government then in power had no right to allow the sale without parliamentary discussion and permission. MCC has said it will challenge the government's attempts to reclaim the stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to tighten controls on gold exports - Reuters

Ghana will certify the value of gold exports as part of efforts to tighten controls on the sector to ensure the state receives the revenues it is due, Vice President MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA said yesterday. Ghana earned $5.78bn from exports of the yellow metal last year, up 17.6% y/y. BAWUMIA said the country's previous administration had allowed companies to assay gold produced from their mines themselves. However, Ghanaian law required that the State-run Precious Minerals Marketing Company test and validate mineral production before export. "We have now begun conversations about the process of making sure every single bar of gold leaving our shores is properly weighed, tested, valued and accounted for", he said. The government was also considering passing legislation stating that at least 50% of Ghana's gold output would be refined locally within five years. BAWUMIA did not accuse any mining firms of wrongdoing and did not suggest past exports had been undervalued. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Jan. credit demand growth slows to 5.54% - Mfuneko Toyan

Growth in SA's private-sector credit demand fell to 5.54% in Jan., from 6.72% in Dec., SARB data showed yesterday. Expansion in the M3 measure of money supply slowed to 5.83% in Jan., from 6.42% in the prior month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to impose tax on platinum miners who don't refine locally - Alfonce Mbizwo

Zimbabwean Vice President CONSTANTINO CHIWENGA yesterday told a conference in Harare that the country will impose a 15% penalty tax from Jan. 1 2019 on exports of platinum producers who do not build refining facilities in the country. The tax has been mooted since 2013 and has been delayed a number of times to provide producers with time to comply. CHIWENGA's presentation showed the tax would eventually fall to 5% without giving a specific timeframe, while companies could also qualify for a lower tax depending on how much product they were refining domestically. ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM in Dec. said it was nearing completion of a PGMs smelter at its Unki mine. IMPALA PLATINUM last year said that "neither the smelter not the export levy is affordable" and could result in the closure of its Mimosa mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola oil production declines slightly in 2017 - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola averaged 1.632m bpd in 2017, down from 1.72m bpd the prior year, the chairman of SONANGOL said yesterday. Angola is a member of OPEC and must limit output in line with the cartel's commitment to cut production by around 1.2m bpd as part of a deal with Russia and other producers. SONANGOL chair CARLOS SATURNINO also said that net profit for the company was $224m in 2017, up from $81m y/y when oil prices were lower. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim has potential to meet 20% of global lithium demand - Alfonce Mbizwo

Zimbabwe has the potential to supply 20% of the world's lithium, Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said yesterday. The country is keen to attract capital to its mining sector after the ousting last year of former president ROBERT MUGABE after almost four decades in power. "We believe we have the potential to actually account for 20% of global demand when all known lithium resources are being exploited", CHITANDO said. Zimbabwe is a top 10 lithium producer but currently produces only a fraction of the global total. It aims to supply 10% of the world's lithium in four years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R's interim profits more than double - Tanisha Heiberg

MURRAY & ROBERTS said interim profits more than doubled on higher earnings from its underground mining activities and reduced loss from the sale of its Middle East business. HEPS rose to 55cps for the HY to end-Dec., up from 27cps y/y. M&R disposed of its loss making Middle East business last year after selling its infrastructure and building unit to FIREFLY INVESTMENTS. The company said it would consider paying an annual dividend with ac over of three to four times earnings as per their dividend policy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bharti Airtel wants to exit towers, committed to Africa - Douglas Busvine

India's BHARTI AIRTEL is exploring merger and sale options for its mobile towers businesses as chair SUNIL BHARTI MITTAL seeks to get out of the infrastructure game and focus on connectivity. AIRTEL also wants to float a minority stake in its AFrican operations and sees the LSE as a potentially attractive venue. MITTAL, briefing reporters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, backed the lead set by US companies for specialists to roll up and run mobile tower assets. "Our position is very clear: towers are steel and concrete. They are not the domain of mobile companies", MITTAL said. BHARTI AIRTEL controls BHARTI INFRATEL LTD, and also owns a 42% stake in INDUS TOWERS LTD, India's largest mobile infrastructure company with nearly 123 000 towers. BHARTI AIRTEL last month said it was exploring an IPO for BHARTI AIRTEL INTERNATIONAL (NETHERLANDS), the holding company that owns its African interests. A listing, if it does happen, would only be of a minority stake, MITTAL said. "It will remain a BHARTI subsidiary. That means we are staying (in Africa)". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tradehold abandons planned listing for Namibian business - Tanisha Heiberg

TRADEHOLD has abandoned listing plans for its Namibian business, it said yesterday. The company had said in Nov. 2017 that it was in discussions that could lead to the listing of its Namibian assets by the end of the 2018 FY. "Shareholders are advised that he company has resolved to not proceed with such listing", it said, without providing further detail. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom hit with S&P downgrade - Ed Stoddard

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday downgraded the credit rating for ESKOM to CCC+ from B-, citing liquidity concerns and insufficient government support that could trigger a default. "ESKOM remains at risk of facing a distressed exchange situation or default in the next six months despite securing R30bn in short-term funding from local and international funders so far this year", S&P said. "We now believe there is a lower likelihood that ESKOM would receive extraordinary support from the government, reflecting our view that government support for the utility over the past few months has been insufficient given that the utility's liquidity concerns persist", it added. S&P's outlook is "negative". ESKOM is now rated seven notches below investment grade by S&P. Interim ESKOM CEO PHAKAMANI HADEBE said: "We are comfortable that government has provided ESKOM with tangible support to ensure that ESKOM's governance related and liquidity challenges are expediently resolved". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's mining charter to be finalised in three months - Mantashe - Nqobile Dludla

New Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE yesterday said he will finalise the latest version of the Mining Charter in the next three months. Uncertainty around the charter has deterred investment into a sector that accounts for 8% of GDP. "We will finish it within three months, I am putting that timeframe for myself", MANTASHE told eNCA when asked about finalising the charter. The Chamber of Mines this week described MANTASHE as "a man of integrity and dignity, and who brings with him a sound and fundamental knowledge of the industry he will lead and enable". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF expects Mozambique to default on external debt until 2023 - Rishika Chatterjee

The IMF expects that Mozambique will not make payments for at least five more years on around $2bn of loans which led to a default last year, Bloomberg reported yesterday. An Article IV report and an associated Debt Sustainability Analysis show that the government has amassed $710m of arrears on the debt, most of which it previously hid from the IMF. "Arrears are expected to accumulate until 2023, when Mozambique will start producing gas from large offshore deposits", the Fund said. Mozambique has been in turmoil since the 2016 discovery of previously hidden loans granted to three SOEs, which led the IMF and Western donors to halt budget support, triggering a currency collapse and debt defaults. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF says Nigeria will "muddle through" with economic policies in medium term - Paul Carsten

The IMF projects that Nigeria will "muddle through" with its economic policies in the medium term, according to a report seen by Reuters yesterday. The Fund warned that "comprehensive and coherent" economic polices "remain urgent and must not be delayed by approaching elections and recovering oil prices". It added that while the broader economy is slowly exiting recession, real GDP per capita is falling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Jan. trade balance swings to largest deficit in over a decade - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's much bigger-than-expected trade deficit in Jan. wiped out 12 consecutive months of surpluses, as exports of major commodities and machinery fell sharply. The trade balance in Jan. swung to a R27.66bn deficit, far beyond market expectations of a R5bn shortfall, from a revised R15.3bn surplus in Dec., SARS said yesterday. The deficit was the country's biggest for over a decade, but analysts said while it was a surprise it was not entirely negative as the surge in imports was a sign of an economic rebound. Exports fell by 22.6% to R80.5bn on a m/m basis in Jan., while imports rose 21.9% to R108.2bn, SARS said. Exports of vehicles and transport equipment plummeted by 47%, precious metals were down 34%, while mineral sales fell 21% in the month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff's Q1 revenue falls, scandal hits working capital - Tanisha Heiberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL yesterday said its Q1 retail revenue had fallen and its working capital had "dried up" since its accounting scandal broke. The retailer said revenue for the period to end-Dec. fell by 5% to €4.86bn. "The group's essential working capital, especially in its businesses outside of South Africa, largely dried up as the access of our operating businesses to their banking facilities and other credit lines was severely constrained", STEINHOFF acting chair HEATHER SONN said. She said the company was "working hard to uncover the truth and to prosecute wrongdoing", and was also cooperating with regulators. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom signs short-term loan with 7 lenders - Nqobile Dludla

ESKOM yesterday said it has signed a R20bn short-term credit facility with a consortium of seven local and international banks. "The funding provides ESKOM with sufficient liquidity to allow the company time to continue resolving its governance related issues and enables ESKOM to recommence with its normal funding programme required to execute the FY2018/19 funding plans", acting CFO CALID CASSIM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 01/03/2018

At 07:30 on 01 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.79 Rand/Sterling 16.20 Rand/Euro 14.37 Gold 1315.32 Platinum 974.00 Oil 64.73 All-Share Index 58325.09

US consumer confidence gauge hits highest point since 2000 - Jessica Dye

US consumer confidence reached its highest point since 2000 in Feb., according to a closely watched gauge. The consumer confidence index, tracked by the Conference Board, rose to 130.8 in Feb., from a revised 124.3 in Jan. (previously 125.4). Economists had been expecting a smaller gain to 126.6 from last month's modest increase. February's reading is the highest since Nov. 2000, according to the Conference Board, thanks in part to consumers' rosy view on employment prospects, with unemployment holding steady at 4.1% at the start of 2018 with hiring expanding across multiple sectors and wages growing in Jan. at their fastest y/y pace since 2009. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bayer warns of delays to Monsanto deal approval - Tobias Buck

BAYER says it is ready to make additional concessions to win regulatory approval for its $66bn deal to take over MONSANTO, but cautioned that it could take slightly lower than expected to receive final clearance from antitrust authorities. BAYER had originally forecast that its landmark acquisition would clear all regulatory hurdles in the beginning of the year. "Our goal now is to be able to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2018", BAYER CEO WERNER BAUMANN said yesterday. "This does not affect our expectation of a successful conclusion to the regulatory review, nor our conviction that this is the right step". The news came as BAYER unveiled a drop in Q4 sales, which fell from €8.8bn in 2016 6o €8.6bn last year. For the FY, group sales were unchanged at €35bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US durable goods orders drop most in 6 months - Pan Kwan Yuk

Durable goods orders fell by the most in six months in Jan., as demand for defence capital goods and transportation equipment slumped. Orders for durable goods dropped 3.7% to $239.7bn last month from Dec., the Commerce Department said. That's the biggest decline in six months and was far worse than the 2% decline economists had forecast. The biggest drag came from defence capital goods, which recorded a 26.3% drop in new orders. Demand for civilian and military aircraft were down 28.4% and 45.6% m/m respectively. Even with the transportation orders stripped out, orders were down 0.3%, also missing the 0.4% gain the market was looking for. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 0.2% against expectations for a 0.5% increase. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan industrial output pulls back in Jan. - Alice Woodhouse

Japanese industrial output fell at a faster rate than forecast in Jan., recording the sharpest fall since the 2011 earthquake. Industrial production fell by 6.6% m/m in Jan., dropping at a faster pace than the 4.2% decrease forecast by analysts. That was down from 2.9% growth recorded in Dec. Transport equipment and general-purpose, production and business-oriented machinery contributed to the decrease. The government said production is expected to pick up in Feb. and decrease in March. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China manufacturing gauge sees sharpest drop in 6 years - Hudson Lockett

China's official manufacturing PMI came on at the lowest level in 20 months in Feb. thanks to a m/m slowdown that was unusually sharp. The PMI fell to 50.3 in Feb., down a full point from January and marking the largest contraction in more than six years. China's National Bureau of Statistics said in an explanatory note that the adjustment was typical of a slow season for manufacturing early in the calendar year centred on the shifting lunar new year holiday. In 2017, the holiday stretched from the end of Jan. through early Feb., while this year's holiday fell entirely in Feb. A variety of measures pointed to slower expansion, with as sub-index for growth in manufacturing output down 2.8 points to 50.7 in Feb., while that for new orders fell 1.6 points to 51. The sub-index for export orders fell half a point at 49, signaling intensified contraction in external demand. The pace at which companies shed workers also sharpened as an employment sub-index inched own 0.2 points from January's level to 48.1. The official services PMI was also down in Feb., dropping 0.9% to 54.4, a four-month low. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

President of Tencent-backed Sea sacked as losses double - Louise Lucas

SEA's group president, NICK NASH, who helped take the TENCENT-backed company public last year, is to step down, the company said today after unveiling a more than doubling of net losses to $561.17m in the FY to end-Dec. SEA, which operates a TENCENT-like model encompassing gaming, ecommerce and payments across Southeast Asia and Taiwan, raised more than $1bn when it listed on the NYSE in Oct. But it has failed to match its backer when it comes to profitability, and shares have fallen by almost a fifth since then to $12.26. In the FY to end-Dec., SEA's revenues rose 20% to $414.19m, half the rate at which the cost of sales rose. Net loss for Q4 was $263.14m, ballooning from $72.24m in the same period in 2016. SEA said NASH plans to retire at the end of this year and will continue to advise CEO FORREST LI on the company's "long term strategic priorities" until then. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comcast makes £22.1bn proposal to buy Sky - Adam Samson

US cable operator COMCAST has swooped in with a £22.1bn proposal for the UK's SKY, in a move that challenges 21ST CENTURY FOX's planned takeover of the company. The possible all-cash offer would value SKY at £12.50/share, which would represent a 16% premium to FOX's offer. COMCAST CEO BRIAN ROBERTS said "we would like to own the whole of SKY and we will be looking to acquire over 50% of the SKY shares". He added that he is confident that the pact would win regulatory approval. ROBERTS said COMCAST plans to use SKY as a launch pad to expand its European presence. The company said the deal, if agreed, would boost its international revenues to 25% from 9% at present. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Money manager tired of 'ridiculous' rules for SA bonds - Renee Bonorchis

FUTUREGROWTH ASSET MANAGEMENT is fed up with state-owned companies' lack of disclosure. "There's no obligation for the companies to report" changes to their structure or management, Chief Investment Officer ANDREW CANTER said this week, adding that "it's just ridiculous". By way of example, CANTER referred to governance lapses at KZN's Umgeni Water which provides drinking water to around 6m consumers. It didn't tell its bondholders in Jun. 2017 when the entire board was sacked, CANTER noted. The lack of information from SOEs "is a classic, visibly Hollywood-style good versus evil situation". To fix it "we need other asset managers to read what we're writing, to listen to us, to start asking the same questions". FUTUREGROWTH in 2016 announced it will stop buying bonds of six SOEs because of concerns over governance. It last month said it wasn't ready to start lending again to ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WBHO sees 67% jump in profit - Irma Venter

Despite the challenging political landscape in SA, the construction industry will not immediately experience a change in fortunes, WBHO CEO LOUWTJIE NEL said yesterday. "Government has lots of obligations. We won't see any big projects soon". However, a rise in fixed investment arising from renewed business and investor confidence, coupled with added public spending should the economy improve, could only serve to benefit the construction industry in the long run. WBHO yesterday reported a 67.6% rise in operating profit, to R485m, for the HY to end-Dec. Revenue improved by 17.3% to R18.1bn, and consisted of 29% growth in Australia following the award of a number of large-scale projects, 64% growth from the rest of Africa owing to increased activity in Botswana and progress on mining infrastructure projects in the rest of Africa, and a 6% drop in revenue from SA. WBHO's group margin declined from 3.1% to 2.8%. The order book at Dec. 31 increased by 17% to R52bn, up from R45bn at end-Jun. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Attacq lifts interim NAV, says transition to REIT on track - Anine Kilian

ATTACQ reported a 10.1% rise in its NAV to R23.51bn for the HY to end-Dec. It generated distributable EPS of 38.9cps, while its gearing ratio improved from 41.4% to 36.2%. "As we transition to a real estate investment trust, we remain focused on our four value drivers, namely our South African portfolio, strategic investment in MAS, the Waterfall development pipeline and our retail investments in the rest of Africa, while ensuring that we deliver sustainable growth and unlock shareholder value", CEO MELT HAMMAN said. Rental income rose by 6.9% to R980m, while net rental income fell by 2.2% and was negatively impacted on by straight-line lease income adjustments. Developments completed during the past HY added 100 676 m2 of PGLA, bringing ATTACQ's total PGLA to 807 467m2. During the past HY, ATTACQ successfully refinanced R3.2bn of debt via its ATTACQ RETAIL FUND PROPRIETARY and LYNNWOOD BRIDGE OFFICE PARK PROPRIETARY portfolios. "As part of our risk mitigation strategy, about R11.3bn, or 98%, of total committed facilities of R11.5bn were hedged by way of fixed interest rate loans and interest rate swaps as at December 31", HAMMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aveng posts H1 loss - Anine Kilian

AVENG yesterday posted a headline loss of R335m for the HY to end-Dec., and outlined details of the outcome of its strategic review. The review was aimed at identifying the businesses and assets that are core to the group and which support the overall long-term strategy, determining the most appropriate operating structure, as well as identifying a sustainable future capital and funding model. AVENG chair and acting CEO ERIC DIACK said the review has highlighted that the AVENG business has reached a critical juncture and that decisive action is now required to create a sustainable future. A six-pillar plan is focused on simplifying, reshaping, growing, disposing of certain assets, deleveraging and unblocking shareholder value within the business. "The plan will reduce complexity by optimising the group's portfolio and focusing on growing core operations with the group's strong management teams and unique value offerings in infrastructure companies MCCONNELL DOWELL and MOOLMANS", DIACK said. He added that the outcomes of the review have reaffirmed management's intention to ensure that both AVENG TRIDENT STEEL and AVENG GRINAKER-LTA are acquired by new shareholders that are better positioned to compete successfully in the local marketplace. AVENG's basic LPS during the period was 87.4cps compared with a 98.8cps loss y/y. Revenue rose by 13% to R16.1bn, driven by strong operational performance at MCCONNELL DOWELL, which achieved a 35% y/y growth in revenue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blue Label raises R900m in bookbuild - Creamer Media Reporter

BLUE LABEL has raised gross proceeds of R900m, before expenses, following the completion of an accelerated bookbuild offering of new ordinary shares. A maximum of 72m new BLUE LABEL shares will be issued at a price of R12.50/share, representing 7.6% of the ordinary issued share capital of BLUE LABEL. It said there was strong demand for the bookbuild, which was considerably oversubscribed. The proceeds of the bookbuild will fund a portion of the balance payment of wholly-owned subsidiary THE PREPAID COMPANY's R1.9bn acquisition of 3G MOBILE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MAS records 89% rise in H1 distributable earnings - Anine Kilian

MAS REAL ESTATE increased its distributable earnings by 98% y/y to €17.1m for the HY to end-Dec. "The improvement in distributable earnings was driven by the full period effect of accretive acquisitions, the completion of developments and the deployment of capital into property development company PKM DEVELOPMENTS", CEO MORNE WILKEN said on Monday. Further, MAS's acquisition pipeline under due diligence totals more than €400m, with substantial acquisitions to be completed within the next 6-12 months. WILKEN said mitigating the group's future funding obligations in relation to PKM DEVELOPMENTS has been a strategic priority. "MAS has a strong balance sheet and, with gearing at 25.8%, excluding the cash on hand, we have good headroom for growth. Our aims is to gear the overall portfolio to approximately 40% and deploy our balance sheet to develop and acquire dominant assets in strong locations within CEE, as well as undertake opportunistic developments and investments in Western Europe", CFO MALCOLM LEVY said. MAS has proposed a distribution of 3.58cps in respect of the first half of the current FY, representing an increase of 34.6% over the comparative period in the previous FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin posts loss as costs increase - Mariaan Webb

PALADIN ENERGY posted a net loss for the HY to end-Dec., as sales revenue fell on higher production costs and lower uranium prices. PALADIN produced 1.71m lb of uranium oxide in the HY to end-Dec., down 31% from the y/y period's 2.5m lb. But the cost of that production is exceeding the price that the company can obtain for the product. C1 cash cost of production rose sharply from a record-low of $16.25/lb in Dec. 2016, to $23.11/lb in Dec. 2017, owing to lower production and higher reagent usage. The average realised uranium sales price of the HY period was $21.82/lb. Total sales revenue for the HY fell 33% from $55.17m in 2016 to $36.89m in the Dec. half-year, as a result of a 16% drop in the realised sales price and a 20% drop in sales volume. PALADIN posted a net loss of $17.41m, while underlying EBITDA deteriorated by $5.67m, from an underlying EBITDA of $5.61m in the 2016 HY to a loss of $46m. At end-Dec., PALADIN had $26.9m cash and cash equivalents. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale Q4 profit rises but misses estimates on costs, forex - Reuters

VALE SA's quarterly net income rose by 47% but still badly missed analysts, depressed by rising costs and forex related losses. The company said net income totaled $771m in the quarter, well below a consensus estimate of $2.54bn but still above the $525m in profit during the y/y period. Costs rose 11% to $6.26bn, while net operating revenue fell by 1% to $9.167bn. VALE said a loss of $1.287bn from its financial operations was due to non-cash exchange rate variations, losses on currency derivatives and other instruments, mainly stemming from a 4.2% depreciation in the real currency in the quarter. That compares with the financial loss of $603m in Q4 2016. Cash flow increased to $2.744bn in the quarter, helping VALE to cut net debt by 14% on a sequential basis to $18.14bn. VALE has said it expects to slash debt to $10bn by mid-2018. Adjusted EBITDA fell 13% to $4.109bn, still exceeding a consensus estimate of $3.86bn compiled by Reuters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agnico Eagle reviewing cobalt assets - Bloomberg

AGNICO EAGLE MINES is dusting off cobalt assets in Ontario for potential sale as a global search for the rechargeable-battery ingredient expands amid surging demand. The company is doing an analysis of its Canadian cobalt holdings after receiving five or six inquiries, CEO SEAN BOYD said on Monday. The move comes at a time when manufacturers are seeking to secure cobalt on behalf of battery makers as demand heats up from the EV and mobile phone industries. AGNICO would be open to a deal with a "speciality player", in which it retained a royalty "in case someone gets really lucky", BOYD said. In the interim, AGNICO is still focused on its core business of building and running gold mines. It hasn't considered merging with rivals such as GOLDCORP, to better compete with industry heavyweights BARRICK GOLD and NEWMONT MINING. "We're not looking at big M&A at all. The best strategy for us [is to] identify things early stage and build them", BOYD added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AECI mining division reports improved operating profit - Megan van Wyngaardt

AECI's mining solutions segment's revenue fell by 2.2% to R9.7bn in the FY to end-Dec., due to lower ammonia prices and a stronger rand/dollar exchange rate. Profit from operations improved significantly to R1.09bn - 20.4% ahead of the prior year's R911m. The operating margin also improved from 9.2% to 11.3%. Volume growth of 5.5% and am ore favourable product mix were key drivers. The mining sector accounted for 52% of AECI's revenue and 69% of profits in FY17. AEL MINING SERVICES MD EDWIN LUDICK said the company was closely monitoring the consolidation of platinum mines in SA, which could lead to the closure of some shafts. "We will be affected, but there are other markets we can go into", LUDICK noted. In the rest of Africa, AECI saw volumes up 5.2% while Asia Pacific experienced a "massive" volume increase of 12.5% on the back of its Mount Pleasant thermal coal contract, in New South Wales. On the mining chemicals side, AECI experienced a drop in volume to 1.3%, although local results were robust and AECI's xanthates expansion project was on track. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARM expects to swing back into the black in H1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS expects its EPS for the HY to end-Dec. to improve to between 912cps and 930cps, from the basic LPS of 134cps reported y/y. The prior period's loss included a R711m attributable impairment of the Nkomati assets; a R734m attributable impairment of the Modikwa assets, and a R422m impairment loss within the ASSMANG JV. ARM expected HEPS to rise by 10%-16% to between 986cps and 1 037cps. Interim results will be published on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo to raise £750 000 - Creamer Media Reporter

KIBO MINING has received commitments to raise £750 000 through the placing of 17.65m shares at a price of 4.25pps. The company said the funds raised enables it to build on its strategy to create a strategic regional electricity supplier. "Our portfolio of power projects, including our flagship 300MW Mbeya coal-to-power project, is rapidly advancing and I look forward to updating both new and existing shareholders on progress soon", CEO LOUIS COETZEE said. The placing was arranged by KIBO's UK broker, BEAUFORT SECURITIES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold seeks Tanzania talks to break impasse on mine laws - Bloomberg

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI is seeking talks with the Tanzanian government to break a deadlock over changes to mining laws that the firm has said it will challenge through arbitration. "We have reached out to the government for negotiations", ANGLOGOLD CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN said, adding that the parties "are agreeing the logistics on when we meet with the government". Tanzania last year approved laws that enable it to renegotiate contracts with mining companies as well as other measures such as higher royalty payments. ANGLOGOLD has since lodged an appeal with the UN Commission of International Trade Law to have a mine development agreement it signed with the country in 1999 upheld. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal quest for value to dent Glencore's aluminium clout - Reuters

GLENCORE's deal to buy aluminium from RUSAL will be renewed from 2019, but the tonnage is likely to be much lower as the Russian group taps into growing demand for value-added products. Unless it sources from additional suppliers, the reduction in volume will weaken the leading position held for years by GLENCORE in the global aluminium market. RUSAL is expected to cut the volume in any new deal by 25%-50% from the 14.5mt that covers the seven years from 2012 to 2018. The deal was valued at $47bn in 2012. The new arrangement is likely to last a number of years, although the exact duration is not yet clear. GLENCORE owns 8.75% of RUSAL. RUSAL's output of value-added products has climbed in recent years, reaching 47% of its overall output last year from below 40% in 2012. The company plans to boost he value-added product component to 50%-52% of aluminium sales this year and 60% by 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AECI posts record FY HEPS - Megan van Wyngaardt

AECI yesterday reported its highest recorded HEPS to date, at 959cps, for the FY to end-Dec. HEPS were up 17% y/y, while EPS increased by 22% y/y to 900cps. The company attributed the increases to a strong performance in Q4, which boosted FY profit by 18% to R15.7bn. EBITDA also increased by 11% to R2.17bn. AECI declared a final gross cash dividend of 340cps, up 13% y/y, bringing the total dividend for FY17 to 478cps, up 10% y/y. In the water and process segment, revenue of R1.45bn was 3.2% higher y/y and profit from operations grew by 14.5% to R182m. In plant and animal health, revenue was flat at R2.54bn and profit from operations fell by 22.9% to R133m. The food and beverage division recorded a 6.5% rise in revenue to R1.19bn. In chemicals, revenue was flat at R3.56bn and profit from operations of R365m declined by 7.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammerson confident of acquiring Intu properties - Roy Cokayne

HAMMERSON has expressed confidence in getting both shareholder and regulatory approval for its planned acquisition of INTU PROPERTIES. If approved, the planned transaction would create a £21bn pan-European portfolio of high-quality retail and leisure destinations. HAMMERSON CEO DAVID ATKINS said that both INTU and HAMMERSON had published their financial results and they were now in a position to seek shareholder approval. "We anticipate publishing our shareholder documentation in the coming weeks, with the extraordinary general meeting scheduled for April". Should all approvals be obtained, the deal is expected to complete in Q4 2018. At least 50% of HAMMERSON shareholders and 75% of INTU shareholders would have to vote in favour of the deal for it to proceed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA's property fund enters Resilient fray - Roy Cokayne

ABSA PROPERTY EQUITY FUND has entered the debate over allegations levelled at RESILIENT REIT and its associate companies, which in recent weeks has resulted in a significant slump in the share price of these companies and billions wiped off their value. FAYYAZ MOTTIAR, portfolio manager of ABSA PROPERTY FRANCHISE, said the property sector as aw hole had de-rated over the past few weeks, with the bulk of the downward pressure focused on RESILIENT REIT and its associated companies. This followed a report released by a hedge fund that levelled several allegations at the RESILIENT group of companies, including concerns of manipulation in the form of over-valuations, complex transactions and unclear governance structures. MOTTIAR said that, if any of the allegations proved to be true, it would put the entire listed property sector under pressure. This would create concerns about he property sector as a whole, the benchmarks ABSA PROPERTY FRANCHISE used and the vulnerability of index funds subject to these benchmarks. MOTTIAR said ABSA PROPERTY EQUITY FUND independently investigated and estimated the level of risk inherent in the entities in which they invested and had looked at the main allegations made against RESILIENT REIT and its associated companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nene to meet credit rating agencies - Alex Winning

Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE yesterday said his department has lined up meetings with ratings agencies. Speaking to Reuters immediately after being sworn in to parliament, NENE said it was too early to say if SA will be downgraded by MOODY's, which rates the country one notch above junk and is due to make a decision at the end of next month. "There are meetings already lined up with the ratings agencies, because after the budget there is a programme to do just that", NENE said. He said it was too early to say whether he though MOODY's would downgrade SA's credit rating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria in final talks with firms to overhaul refineries - Julia Payne

The NIGERIA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION is in the final stages of talks with two consortia that include top traders, energy majors and oil services companies, to revamp its refineries. The move is aimed at helping the country save billions of dollars on fuel imports. Nigeria's refineries operate far below their combined capacity of 445 000 bpd due to years of neglect, as well as theft from pipelines and sabotage. Private firms largely stopped importing gasoline after the government scrapped subsidy payments to help them sell at the capped price, leaving NNPC to import 90% or more of the country's needs. The first group comprised VITOL, SAIPEM, GENERAL ELECTRIC and Nigerian traders SAHARA GROUP and MRS OIL NIGERIA PLC and would refurbish the Warri refinery in the Delta state and the refinery in the Kaduna state. A second consortium included TRAFIGURA, ENI, CEPSA and OANDO. This group would carry out repairs at Port Harcourt, which consists of two refining plants. Further details of the deals being discusses were not immediately clear. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AECI sees growth in water treatment - Tanisha Heiberg

AECI could increase revenue from its desalination and water treatment business by up to 80% over the next five years after a severe drought hit Africa, CEO MARK DYTOR said yesterday. The company sees revenue growth coming from its ImproChem subsidiary, a water, air and energy management company. "We have to manage our water a lot better as a continent and I think ImproChem can play a big role in that and that will boost sales on those opportunities", DYTOR said. Revenue from AECI's water treatment unit rose 3% in 2017 to R1.409bn, and DYTOR expects them to rise by 50%-80% over the next five years. Since the current drought in the Western Cape, ImproChem has sold some desalination plants in Cape Town to private sector operators, DYTOR said. AECI said HEPS rose 17% for FY2017 to 959cps, thanks to a global recovery in the resources sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's economy seen expanding 1.4% in 2018 - Nyasa Nyaungwa

The Namibian economy is expected to grow by 1.4% in 2018, the central bank said yesterday, citing a recovery in the country's construction sector. The weak showing in the building sector is expected to have caused the economy to contract 0.6% in 2017, the Bank of Namibia said. The central bank said growth in 2019 was expected to rise to 2.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite seizes opportunity in Kenya to ramp up Africa expansion - Nqobile Dludla

SHOPRITE HOLDINGS will take advantage of disarray in Kenya's grocery sector to open its first stores in the country by the end of this year. Two of Kenya's three top retailers - UCHUMI SUPERMARKETS and NAKUMATT - are failing, opening the doors to international chains. SHOPRITE CEO PIETER ENGELBRECHT said the company had never considered Kenya before because of the dominance of local players. Six of its seven new stores will be in Nairobi. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IRBA refers KPMG to disciplinary hearing - Wendell Roelf

SA's Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors has referred KPMG to a disciplinary hearing following a probe of its work for LINKWAY TRADING, a project management firm owned by the GUPTAS. LINKWAY was a project management firm in OAKBAY GROUP. KPMG has previously refuted allegations that it was involved in, or condoned, any alleged money laundering activities linked to LINKWAY TRADING. "The disciplinary advisory committee resolved that the registered auditor must be referred to a disciplinary hearing", IRBA CEO BERNARD AGULHAS said. He said hearing preparations were underway and that possible dates would be set down in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia urges mines to start moving 30% of cargo by rail - Chris Mfula

Mining companies in Zambia should immediately start transporting 30% of their cargo by rail despite their concerns about inadequate capacity, the government said yesterday. Zambia last month introduced a new law compelling mining companies and other bulk cargo handlers to transport at least 30% of their freight by rail as it looks to bolster the sector. But the Zambia Chamber of Mines said the country was not ready to handle that amount of cargo and the potential impact on the mining industry had not been properly considered. Zambia's rail lines have a market share of only around 5% and the remainder is handled by road transport. Transport Minister BRIAN MUSHIMBA said the country's two state-owned railway companies were already moving cargo such as copper as third parties through logistics firms. SA's TRANSNET will lease locomotives and wagons to ZAMBIA RAILWAYS to boost its capacity to handle bulk cargo. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Choppies sees up to 30% H1 profit jump - Nqobile Dludla

CHOPPIES ENTERPRISES flagged up to a 30% jump in H1 profit on Monday, buoyed by an improved performance at its South African operations. The retailer expects HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to rise by 20%-30% to between 5.42 and 5.88 thebe per share. CHOPPIES, which has 82 stores in SA, has in the past suffered losses in mining towns in the North West province which have been hit hard by retrenchments. But the company has geographically diversified after opening new stores in KwaZulu-Natal province. It will report interim results on Mar. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FirstRand CEO to retire, names insider as successor - Nqobile Dludla

FIRSTRAND yesterday announced that group CEO JOHAN BURGER will retire at the end of March, and be succeeded by group deputy CEO ALAN PULLINGER. PULLINGER will take over at the helm from Apr. 1, the financial services provider said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ugandan affiliate of Vodafone gets creditor protection - Elias Biryabarema

A Ugandan ISP that uses VODAFONE's brand under license has obtained court protection against creditors after high operational costs pushed it into financial difficulties, an official said. AFRIMAX UGANDA LTD, owned by AFRIMAX GROUP, launched its 4G broadband internet service in the country in 2014. It has a small slice of a market dominated by units of MTN GROUP and India's BHARTI AIRTEL. Court-appointed provisional administrator DONALD NYAKAIRU said the company had obtained a three-month "interim protective order". This order would bar a run on its assets by creditors while allowing him and the shareholders to explore viable options to salvage the business. Trading as VODAFONE UGANDA, the firm's 40 000 fixed and mobile users gave it a tiny share of Uganda's estimated 16m internet users. NYAKAIRU said some investors had expressed interest in buying the distressed firm, adding that talks were at an advanced stage. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian economy grew 1.92% in Q4 - Alexis Akwagyiram

Nigeria's GDP grew 1.92% in the final quarter of 2017 compared with a 1.73% contraction in the same period the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics said. GDP grew by 0.83% in 2017 as a whole after shrinking by 1.58% in 2016, its first annual contraction in 25 years. Oil production rose to 1.91m bpd in the last quarter of 2017, compared with 1.76m bpd y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA seeks price-fixing fines against 28 media firms - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

The Competition Commission yesterday said it had recommended fines against 28 media companies that include a unit of NASPERS for fixing prices to advertising agencies. The Commission has referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication, it said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's state airline facing collapse as banks, govt refuse bailout pleas - Nyasha Nyaungwa

AIR NAMIBIA, that country's state-owned airline, faces collapse with banks refusing to grant it credit to fund day-to-day operations after it failed to publish annual reports for over 10 years. Acting MD MANDI SAMSON said the carrier was suffering severe cash shortages, exacerbated by the recent decline in government funding. "We're looking for financing from other countries such as South Africa, which brings the complication of currency exposure. It is not ideal, but if the entire country says they cannot assist us... we have to look elsewhere", SAMSON said. AIR NAMIBIA is one of a host of state firms dependent on government bailouts for survival, and has received 6bn Namibian dollars since 2000. AIR NAMIBIA spokesperson PAUL NAKAWA said it was difficult to say how much the carrier owes or the amount of funds it needs as the company has not published financial statements in years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 28/02/2018

At 07:50 on 28 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.72 Rand/Sterling 16.29 Rand/Euro 14.33 Gold 1317.38 Platinum 978.00 Oil 66.31 All-Share Index 59027.22

StanChart restarts dividend after return to profit - Don Weinland

STANDARD CHARTERED has restarted its dividend after leaving shareholders empty-handed for two years, as the bank returned to profit in 2017. The bank today announced a final pay-out for 2017 of 11cps - what some analysts have called a symbolic offering to shareholders. The move came as STANCHART said its loan book grew by around 11.6% last year. Operating income rose around 2.6% in the period to $14.4bn, breaking four years of consecutive top-line declines. Impairments for bad loans fell by more than 50% in the year, boosting the bottom line. Net profits were $774m, against a loss of $478m y/y. Return on equity was 3.5%, up from 0.3% in 2016 but still along way off the 8% underlying return to profit targeted by the bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US steel stocks rally on Trump steel tariff comments - Mamta Badkar

US steel stocks were rallying yesterday following reports that President DONALD TRUMP wants to impose the harshest tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. TRUMP wants to impose a 24% tariff on imports of steel, Bloomberg reported last week. The remarks helped spark a rally in shares of US steelmakers before the market open yesterday. Shares in UNITED STATES STEEL were up 4% in pre-market trade, while ALCOA shares rose 2% to $47.60. TRUMP appeared to reinforce the recommendations of US Commerce Secretary WILBUR ROSS who had recommended options to the president, including imposing a global tariff of "at least" 24% on imports of steel and 7.7% on aluminium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba in talks to acquire China takeout app - Emily Feng

ALIBABA is in talks to acquire ELE.ME in a deal that would value the online food delivery start-up at up to $9.5bn. ALIBABA and affiliate ANT FINACNIAL already own 40% of ELE.ME but are looking to buy the remaining 60% from existing investors including BAIDU, according to sources. ALIBABA and BAIDU declined to comment. ELE.ME has emerged as one of the biggest food delivery players within China since being founded in 2008. Should the deal proceed, ALIBAB would become one of the country's largest players in food delivery, rivaled only by online-to-offline services platform MEITUAN DIANPING, which is backed by TENCENT. China's food delivery market was valued at Rmb204.6bn in 2017, according to the China Cuisine Association. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fed's Quarles says US economy may shift to higher growth trajectory - Sam Fleming

There is a genuine possibility that the US economy will shift to a higher growth trajectory, lifting the level of the interest rate needed to sustain stable prices and full employment, RANDAL QUARLES, the vice-chair for financial supervision at the Federal Reserve's board of governors, said yesterday. QUARLES told a conference that there were "upside risks" to central bankers' growth forecasts as post-crisis drags abate, even if it was too soon to call a turning point. The upshot of a sustained rise in growth would be a rise in the natural rate of interest. "There is a real possibility that some of the factors that have been holding back growth in recent years could shift, moving the economy on to a higher growth trajectory", QUARLES said. He said such a shift "could mean a higher natural interest rate, which would increase the amount of accommodation provided at a given level of the Federal Reserve's policy interest rate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil prosecutors decide to end plea deal with JBS ex-CEO - Andres Schipani

Brazilian federal prosecutors yesterday terminated their plea bargain agreement with WESLEY BATISTA, the former CEO of JBS. Last year he and his brother JOESLEY - who was chair of JBS and whose plea bargain deal has already been cancelled - were charged with insider trading. The brothers, who are already under arrest, signed a plea deal alleging they discussed bribes with President MICHEL TEMER. But prosecutors allege the brothers knowingly sold JBS shares and avoided losses before the alleged conversation with TEMER was leaked to the media in May. Prosecutors yesterday added that WESLEY BATISTA traded in foreign currency then, making R$100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Belgium joins ranks of green bond issuing countries - Kate Allen

Belgium has become the third European country to issue a green bond, as the pace of environmentally-labelled finance-raising picks up speed. The $4.5bn, 15-year debt is the second-largest sovereign green bond to come to the market o date, and follows on from Indonesia's $1.25bn debut green offering last week. Poland was the first sovereign to issue green debt in Dec. 2016, raising $750m. It tapped the market for a second $1bn deal last month. France followed suit in early 2017, raising a total of $7bn. The Belgian bond carries a coupon of 1.25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom calls latest Qualcomm offer a 'disingenuous process' - Eric Platt

BROADCOM hit back against an offer by rival QUALCOMM yesterday to open its books and begin due diligence that could lead to a potential deal between the two, calling it a "disingenuous process", and saying it did not believe it was "designed to lead to a prompt agreement". The Singapore-based group said at a meeting on Friday, QUALCOMM refused to confirm that it would hold its annual meeting as previously scheduled for Mar. 6. BROADCOM has proposed a slate of nominees for QUALCOMM's board as it has sought to win support for its $142bn takeover. "BROADCOM's proposal has never been conditioned on due diligence and BROADCOM continues to be prepared to move forward immediately, without diligence... If the current QUALCOMM board remains unwilling to genuinely engage - and continues with 'engagement theater' on this basis - BROADCOM looks forward to negotiating in good faith with the newly-elected QUALCOMM board following the QUALCOMM annual meeting on March 6". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Life Aberdeen picks Dublin for EU hub - Attracta Mooney

STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN is setting up an investment and distribution business in Dublin in a sign of how British asset managers are ramping up their efforts to Brexit-proof their businesses. SLA's investment arm, ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS, said the new entity would become one of its key EU business hubs, overseeing investment management services in Europe and the company's network of offices across the continent. ASI manages more than €70bn on behalf of customers and clients based in Europe ex-UK. ASI EMEA head GARY MARSHALL said the establishment of the new investment and distribution business in Dublin was part of a "global strategy of deepening our local footprint in the regions around the world in which we operate". SLA said VICTORIA BROWN has been appointed MD of the new entity, which is subject to regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Power grab strengthens Xi's influence on China economic reforms - Lucy Hornby

China's Communist party has cleared the way for President XI JINPING to rule for life, and in the process strengthened the state's command and control power over that economy. XI's unparalleled power theoretically allows him to push through painful reforms in the face or recalcitrant vested interests. "XI believes that he is ideally suited to keep China politically and economically strong in coming decades and he is trying to make sure his power is equal to the task', ORIENT CAPITAL RESEARCH MD ANDREW COLLIER says. XI's advisers are aware the country faces the end of its demographic boom and a growing debt problem, he adds. Scrapping term limits could translate into longer-term consistency in policy, argues SINA FINANCE chief economist AI TANGMING. What will likely fade is the cyclical spending surge at the start of each five-year term, as newly appointed local cadres splashed out on pet projects. Future policies are likely to favour SOEs and a more top-down role for Beijing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cargill, ADM to forge Egypt soyabean JV - Emiko Terazono

CARGILL and ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND have agreed to launch a 50-50 JV to provide soyabean meal and oil in Egypt. The agreement comes as large international agricultural traders have been facing tough operating conditions amid a global glut in grains and oilseeds. The move places both companies to capture the growing demand for soyabean meal and soyabean oil, for the animal feed and food manufacturing industries in Egypt. CARGILL already has a majority shareholding in a soyabean processing plant - The National Vegetable Oils Company - in Borg Al-Arab, near Alexandria. The new JV would own and operate that company with related commercial operations, including a separate Switzerland-based merchandising operation that would supply soyabeans to the crush plan. CARGILL said it was currently expanding the plant from 3 000 metric tonnes to 6 000t of daily crush capacity. The new company's assets will not include CARGILL's grain business and port terminal in Dekheila, or the ADM-MEDSOFTS JV at the Port of Alexandria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK consumer credit drops for first time since 2013 - Nicholas Megaw

British households and businesses both cut their borrowing on an annual basis in Jan. for the first time in more than four years, as an uncertain economic outlook discourages major spending and investments. Unsecured consumer borrowing from the UK's largest banks slipped by 0.2% in the 12 months to Jan., according to figures from industry body UK Finance. The reduction is not necessarily all encouraging - data on consumer savings suggest the reduction in borrowing may also be influenced by the wider squeeze on household incomes, while business borrowing figures also point to caution. Total personal deposits at the high street banks increased just 2.2% y/y, a slight improvement on the previous month but still well below the 3.6% average achieved over the previous two years. Deposits in tax-efficient individual savings accounts fell for a ninth straight month, contracting by more than £1bn over the month. Companies built up cash reserves with deposits growing 7% over the past 12 months, while borrowing contracted by 1.4% - the sharpest contraction since Feb. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Weinstein Company plans to file for bankruptcy - John Murray Brown

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY is planning to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell the film studio broke down in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder HARVEY WEINSTEIN. The company had failed to strike a deal with an investor group headed by MARIA CONTRERAS-SWEET and RON BURKLE, according to US media, adding that this left it with "little choice". "Over the coming days, the company will prepare its bankruptcy filing with the goal of achieving maximum value in court", the studio said. The New York Times reported that the investor group had offered to pay roughly $275m for TWC while assuming $225m of debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VTB logs 133% profit rise in 2017 - Max Seddon

Russian state-run bank VTB beat anlaysts' forecasts to post a Rbs44.8bn net profit for Q4 2017, while more than doubling its earnings y/y. Net profit for the FY grew 133% y/y to Rbs120.1bn, thanks to an 11% rise in net interest income to Rbs460.2bn and a16.5% rise in net fee and commission income to Rbs95.3bn. Provision charges for the quarter went down 16.7% to Rbs53.7bn. Staff costs grew 11.5% to Rbs260.9bn, but cost efficiently slightly improved - the ratio of costs to operating income before provisions for the FY was 44%, down from 45.8% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK retailers face rent rises from Hammerson - Aime Williams

HAMMERSON pushed up rents from retailers in 2017 despite pressure on the sector from the rise of online shopping. Net rental income across the group rose 7% to £370.4m in the FY to end-Dec., powered mainly by rental growth in the group's Irish shopping centres. Net rental income at its UK assets grew by 1.8%, despite falling sales by retailers in the group's UK shopping centre portfolio, which came in 2.7% lower y/y. However, for the group's UK retail parks, net rental income fell by 2.5%. Like-for-like rental income across the portfolio was up 1.7%, slightly below the group's 2% target. Pre-tax profit at HAMMERSON was up 28% to £413m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia cannot afford more bailouts for state firms - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia can on longer afford to bail out loss-making state companies, Public Enterprises Minister LEON JOOSTE said yesterday. The country allocated more than 4bn Namibian dollars to some of its more than 300 SOEs. Some of those firms racked up combined losses of around N$150m/year. The economy plunged deeper into recession in Q3 2017, as declines in construction and trade eclipsed growth in manufacturing and mining. "Unfortunately our current economic status cannot allow for things to remain the same... All of us need to realise it is no longer business as usual and days of commercial (public enterprises) receiving government subsidies are numbered", JOOSTE said. He added that he government needed to intervene to increase accountability in SOEs. "Although we believe in paying market-related remuneration packages, the total wage bill which stands at about 6.1bn Namibian dollars is not sustainable at the current level of performance". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mozambique cuts key lending rate by 150 bps - Manuel Mucari

Mozambique's central bank reduced its benchmark lending rate by 150 basis points to 19% on Monday. The central bank also said its monetary policy committee had decided to reduce the monetary policy interest rate, or MIMO, by the same margin to 18%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite benefits from strategy to head upmarket - Nqobile Dludla

SHOPRITE defied a struggling domestic economy with double-digit profit growth yesterday as its new strategy to sell ready-made gourmet products began to pay off. The discount retailer's new boss PIETER ENGELBRECHT is driving hard into higher-margin, upmarket products dominated by rival WOOLWORTHS. It has added upscale ready-to-eat meals at its CHECKERS stores to appeal to SA's nearly 2m more affluent consumers, such as lamb shanks and oxtail stew. "The performance by the South African operations, boosted by the continued success of CHECKERS' sharpened focus on high income group customers, helped offset the effect of a challenging year for non-South African operations", SHOPRITE said. It said supermarkets in SA reported a 7.8% growth in sales, or 3.5% on a like-for-like basis. Supermarkets outside SA reported a fall in sales of 0.4%, with a like-for-like decline of 6.4%. SHOPRITE posted a 14.2% rise in diluted HEPS of 525.2cps for the HY to end-Dec., from 460cps y/y. Total turnover grew 6.3% from R71.2bn to R75.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SizweNtsalubaGobodo integrating with Grant Thornton SA - Fin24

Audit and advisory firm GRANT THORNTON yesterday announced that SIZWENTSALUBAGOBODO is joining its global network as a member firm in SA. GRANT THORNTON member firms operate in over 135 countries, generating combined global revenues of $5bn. The firms said they have begun a process to fully integrate as one representative national professional services firm under the brand name SIZWENTSALUBAGOBODO GRANT THORNTON. The integration is expected to be completed by mid-2018. SIZWENTSALUBAGOBODO GRANT THORNTON will then be sole member firm in SA. PETER BODIN, CEO of GRANT THORNTON INTERNATIONAL, said the deal is aimed at strengthening capability and capacity in key strategic markets by attracting leading professional firms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nene back as finmin - Jan Cronje

NHLANHLA NEE will be SA's new finance minister. President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA last night announced that NEE would be reappointed to the post, once he had been sworn in. RAMPHOSA said NENE and other newly-appointed ministers would be sworn in later today. MALUSI GIGABA has been moved to Home Affairs. LYNNE BROWN and MOSEBENZI ZWANE have both been removed from the departments of public enterprises, and mineral resources, respectively. BROWN will be replaced by PRAVIN GORDHAN and ZWANE by GWEDE MANTASHE. After his appointment, NENE told Fin24 that it would take a great deal of work to stabilise the economy, but added that he was "quite confident" that it can be done. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan takes the helm at Public Enterprises - Tehillah Niselow

PRAVIN GORDHAN is set to become SA's new Minister of Public Enterprises, taking over from LYNNE BROWN. GORDHAN will oversee SOEs including ESKOM, TRANSENT, DENEL and others. The announcement was made by President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as part of a major Cabinet reshuffle last night. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sylvania lowers FY output guidance, lifts H1 profit - Megan van Wyngaardt

Lower PGM grades across its Millsell and Mooinooi dumps during the HY to end-Dec. have prompted SYLVANIA PLATINUm to revise its Fy guidance downwards to 71 000oz-75 000oz. A delayed water use licence authorisation by authorities for Millsell resulted in the delayed commissioning of a new tailings dam which impacted negatively on the available dump resource grade and remining strategy, SYLVANIA said. To avoid halting production at the operation, the current tailings dump being remined had to be abandoned and used as an emergency tailings deposition facility during the three-month delay. This meant that coarser, lower-grade dump resources had to be treated during the interim period, resulting in significantly lower-than-planned ounces at the operation. SYLVANIA remained positive, noting that production would increase to around 78 000oz from 2019 onwards. SYLVANIA reported group EBITDA of $10.3m, up 12% y/y, while net profit improved 19% due to an improved gross basket price of $1 057/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport says no plans to sell Congo cobalt asset - Reuters

Several parties are interested in buying FREEPORT-MCMORAN's cobalt project in the DRC but not at a price that would interest the company and so it is not planning a sale, FREEPORT CEO RICHARD ADKERSON said yesterday. As a result, the company is looking at other options for the asset, including possibly a JV to develop the large cobalt project. FREEPORT last year tried to sell its cobalt assets to CHINA MOLYBDENUM, as part of its sale of a stake in it Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the DRC. But the discussions on the cobalt assets ended without a deal in June. Speaking at a mining conference in Florida, ADKERSON also said talks between FREEPORT's JV partner at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia, RIO TINTO, and the Indonesian government about a purchase of the latter's stake are expected to occur "in the very near term". FREEPORT would not be involved in those talks, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basil Read shares rise as it successfully completes rights offer - Megan van Wyngaardt

BASIL READ's shares rose 4.17% yesterday after it reported that its rights offer, aimed at raising R300m, received full support. The company issued 1.36bn shares at 22c apiece, a discount to the 65c apiece closing price on Jan. 26. The proceeds would be used to recapitalise BASIL READ's balance sheet to position it for the current environment, following a sustained downturn in the construction sector, which was further affected by cash drains on its balance sheet, cost overruns, bad debts and penalties. A few legacy cash-depleting projects over the past years have further negatively impacted on the cash reserves of the company, resulting in cash flow being constrained and BASIL READ being unable to meet future cash requirements without recapitalisation. The first phase of the recapitalisation involved seeking a bridge facility from the IDC of R150m. The first tranche of R61m of the R150m bridge funding was approved in Aug. 2017 and drawn down in Sep. The second tranche of R89m was approved in Oct. and the remaining R43m was drawn down in Dec. to meet existing commitments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 27/02/2018

At 05:23 on 27 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.56 Rand/Sterling 16.14 Rand/Euro 14.23 Gold 1333.35 Platinum 997.00 Oil 67.01 All-Share Index 58868.93

UPS sues EU for blocking TNT Express deal - Rochelle Toplensky

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE has sued Brussels for compensation over the regulator's 2013 decision to block its €5bn takeover of TNT EXPRESS. The US-headquartered company flied a case with the European general court in Dec. to recover €1.7bn plus interest and tax in "compensation for the losses suffered as a result of the acquisition being unfairly prohibited by the European Commission", according to court documents and a UPS spokesperson. In Mar. 2017, the EU's general court overturned the European Commission's Jan. 2013 decision to block UPS's takeover of its Dutch rival. It was the first time in more than a decade that the court found that the EU regulator had wrongly blocked a deal. The general court found that he Commission "infringed on UPS'rights of defence" by basing its final decision on an econometric analysis that had changed from that discussed with UPS during the process. The Commission vetoed UPS' plans to buy TNT citing concerns the deal would drastically reduce choice and increase prices for small-parcel delivery in the EU. TNT was subsequently bought by UPS's arch-rival FEDEX for €4bn in a deal unconditionally approved in Jan. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank lines up float of asset management unit - Olaf Storbeck

DEUTSCHE BANK has launched its plan to float a minority stake in asset management unit DWS in Mar. Detailed terms for the long-awaited listing of Germany's leading fund manager are scheduled to be published in around two weeks, with the first day of trading in DWS slated for the week starting Mar. 19. DEUTSCHE BANK wants to sell a stake of around 15%, aiming to raise up to €2bn. With some €700bn of assets under management, DWS is a top-five European asset manager. A market share of 26% makes it the market leader in Germany's retail market. "The planned IPO will give us the opportunity to unlock the full potential of DWS for clients and employees, while targeting attractive returns for our shareholders", DWS CEO NICOLAS MOREAU said. DEUTSCHE BANK yesterday confirmed it will not issue new shares but sell only existing shares in DWS. The firm will be listed as partnership limited by shares, or KGaA, a legal structure that gives shareholders less control rights than in a normal stock company. DEUTSCHE BANK will still be able to name DWS' top management without the consent of external shareholder representatives. DWS yesterday confirmed its ambitious medium-term targets outlined in Dec., promising to increase assets under management by 3% to 5%, compared with a rise of 2.8% in the first nine months of 2017 and a 5.5% drop in 2016. It wants to bring its cost income ratio below 65% and targets a dividend payout of 65%-75% of net income. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Plan to rescue Gupta businesses revealed - Jean le Roux

Business rescue practitioners appointed to oversee several embattled GUPTA-linked companies have outlined their plans for the assets or the companies involved. This includes securing funds from existing debtors and the disposal of assets. It was yesterday announced that JOHAN LOUIS KLOPPER and KURT RUPERT KNOOP have been appointed as the BRPs. GUPTA-linked companies that have filed for business rescue include TEGETA RESOURCES, OPTIMUM COAL, SHIVA URANIUM, CONFIDENT CONCEPTS and ISLANDSITE INVESTMENTS. CONFIDENT CONCEPTS and ISLANDSITE own the majority of the GUPTAS' property, including their "Saxonwold-lite" Constantia home, and the now-abandoned SAHARA offices in Midrand. KLOPPER and KNOOP said their primary objective is to keep the companies while simultaneously securing jobs of the affected employees. They confirmed that OPTIMUM has a potential penalty liability to the tune of R104m, after it failed to meet its contractual coal delivery targets to ESKOM. This prompted the utility to withhold another R54m owed to OPTIMUM, crippling its cash flow and jeopardising salary and creditor payments. The BRPs indicated they have since secured alternative funding from other debtors, alleviating cash flow issues. Payments to employees and creditors should be finalised by Feb. 28. From Mar. 5 the intend engaging with stakeholders in a transparent manner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petrol could cost 38c/l less in Mar. - AA - Fin24

Petrol prices could drop by as much as 38c/litre next month, according to the Automobile Association. Commenting on unaudited month-end fuel data published by the Central Energy Fund, the AA said South Africans will likely benefit from a stable exchange rate and lower international fuel prices. It expects the price of diesel to go down by 47c and illuminating paraffin by 26c. If the rand maintains its current stable trend against the dollar, the AA expects international petroleum prices to be the main driver of fuel price changes in the near future. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol expects to realise $1bn from noncore asset disposals - Terence Creamer

SASOL expects to realise more than $1bn from the disposal of noncore assets in the coming few years. However, besides its Canadian shale-gas assets, which have been formally put up for sale, the company is yet to announce which other assets will be sold. Joint CEO STEPHEN CORNELL yesterday reported that the process of identifying noncore assets was about 70% complete and that further announcements would be made during the course of the year. "We have gone through a very rigorous process of dividing up the company into about 100 selected assets and evaluating, in each of those 100 assets, whether they are returning the kind of return on investment that we would prefer to see", CORNELL said. The group had no intention of selling "large parts of the company", and remained committed to both SA and Mozambique. SASOL announced that he returns associated with its $11.13bn Lake Charles Chemicals Project being built in the US were set to improve by around 0.5 of a percentage point, owing to recently announced tax reforms. SASOL was still in the process of verifying the impacts, owing to the fact it involved around 24 different pieces of tax legislation. However, CFO PAUL VICTOR described the reforms as "positive" for SASOL, as well as the cash flows associated with the LCCP project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS reaches R1tn collection milestone - ANA

SARS yesterday announced it has crossed the psychological threshold of the R1tn mark in its revenue collection efforts, making it the third year in a row that SARS reached this milestone. SARS Commissioner TOM MOYANE said this was testament to the organisation's commitment to reaching the increased revenue target of R1.217tn, which was announced by Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA in his budget speech last week. "We are focused on closing all revenue leakages through non-compliance and our staff will spare no effort in reaching the revenue target by 29 March, even though the economy is not performing to our expectations", MOYANE said. "We believe that our efforts will provide government with the requisite fiscal space to free up resources for its developmental objectives while allowing it to better manage the levels of debt we are facing". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hulamin delivers strong FY2017 sales - Megan van Wyngaardt

The proposed aluminum import tariffs that are currently being considered by the TRUMP administration could have a positive impact on HULAMIN's operations, CEO RICHARD JACOB said yesterday. JACOB pointed out that if aluminium supply from China was curtailed, it would create a global supply and demand imbalance that would push prices up. "HULAMIN could benefit", JACOB said. The company already enjoys the benefits of duty-free access to the US as a result of both AGOA and General System of Preferences legislation. Although there is a proposed 24% tariff on aluminium imports to the US, SA is not no the list of countries on which this proposed tariff is to be imposed, JACOB highlighted. The US is also considering as much as 10% duty on all aluminium entering the US, which would be more than 2.5 percentage points higher than the harshest of Commerce Secretary WILBUR ROSS's recommendations. JACOB noted that, should TRUMP choose to limit the volume, or apply a tax on South African material, it could be negative, as the company currently has a 20% sales exposure to the US. However, JACOB remained positive, stating that HULAMIN had maintained a flexible production strategy "[so] that we can change between products and markets quite quickly". HULAMIN's rolled products section delivered another year of record sales in the FY to end-Dec., but extrusion sales were flat. In total, it sold 233 000t of product, of which 215 000t were rolled products. HULAMIN reported a 33% y/y rise in comparable earnings, in constant currency terms, on a strong operational performance, but noted that due to the stronger rand, HEPS fell by 13% to 104cps. Turnover increased to R10.2bn, driven by higher sales volumes, flat dollar rolling margins and the higher average LONDON METAL EXCHANGE aluminium price, at $1 968/t. EBIT declined by 13% to r538m, and decreased by 16% to R517m on a comparable basis after adjusting for a R25m insurance receipt in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original articl

Goldplat reports £1.58m H1 operating profit - Simone Liedtke

GOLDPLAT yesterday reported an operating profit of £1.58m for the HY to end-Dec., with its Goldplat Recovery operations in SA performing "exceptionally well" and Kilimapesa Gold, in Kenya, showing huge improvements. However, Gold Recovery Ghana reported lower profits in line with forecasts. GOLDPLAT continues to deliver on its stated strategic objectives at its various operating subsidiaries, GOLDPLAT chair MATTHEW ROBINSON said. Revenue of £18.27m for the period represent a 27% y/y rise, in line with higher gold production and sales for the period. Gold and gold equivalent production for the HY was 20 246oz. Total gold and gold equivalent sold and transferred for the period was 21 783oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara buys digital sales platform - Megan van Wyngaardt

LUCARA DIAMOND has acquired CLARA DIAMOND SOLUTIONS, a company whose primary asset is a secure, digital sales platform aimed at transforming how rough diamonds are sold. LUCARA said the platform would unlock value for diamond producers and manufactures alike. "CLARA uses proprietary analytics, together with cloud and blockchain technologies, to modernise the existing diamond supply chain, driving efficiencies and ensuring diamond provenance from mine to finger", LUCARA said in a statement. The $29m acquisition would be settled via the issue of 13.1m LUCARA shares upfront, resulting in a 3.7% dilution to the diamond miner's existing share capital. Further staged equity payments totalling 13.4m shares are payable upon the achievement of performance milestones related to revenues generated via the platform. LUCARA intends to commercialise the CLARA platform in the coming months using a selection of the diamond production from the company's flagship Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana. Thereafter, CLAR will be scaled to accommodate diamond uptake from a variety of sources across the supply chain. Separately, LUCARA yesterday announced that CEO WILLIAM LAMB would step down from the company's board to retire and would be succeeded by EIRA THOMAS, a founder and director of the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hydro bids for Rio Tinto's Icelandic aluminuim plant - Simone Liedtke

Norway's NORSK HYDRO has made a binding offer to acquire RIO TINTO's ISAL aluminium plant, in Iceland. The offer also includes RIO TINTO's 53% stake in Dutch anode facility Aluchemie and 50% of its shares in Swedish aluminium fluoride plant Alufluor for $345m, subject to post-closing adjustments. Brining the ISAL plant into HYDRO's fold will increase the company's total primary aluminium production to 2.4mt in 2018. The renewable energy-based plant produces 210 000t/y of liquid primary aluminium and 230 000t/y of extrusion ingot. HYDRO sees synergies with respect to technology creep, optimisation and anode portfolio and freight and handling. In accordance with French and Dutch law, HYDRO's offer triggers a statutory consultation with RIO TINTO employees and other stakeholders. HYDRO said that it expected the transaction to be finalised in Q2 2018, given successful consultations and approval from the EU competition authorities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo completes sale of Drayton coal mine - Mariaan Webb

ANGLO AMERICAN has completed the sale of its 88.17% stake in the Drayton thermal coal mine and Drayton South project tO MALABAR COAL. The assets are located in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, and have been sold to unlisted MALABAR for an undisclosed sum, ANGLO said yesterday. The Drayton South project has been the subject of a heated battle between ANGLO and horse stud owners. In Dec., the New South Wales government announced that it would ban opencut mining in the Hunter Valley, but would allow underground mining at Drayton South. MALABAR said its plans for Drayton South, now known as Project Maxwell, were vastly different than previous proposals. "An underground approach will make a dramatic difference in terms of impacts associated with dust, light, blasting, and noise. It will also mean the mine cannot be seen or heard from the local horse studs, which will be at least 5km away from the mine entry, and 15km away from the existing coal processing and rail infrastructure", MALABAR COAL chair WAYNE SEABROOK said in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia reports fatality at Blanket mine - Simone Liedtke

An employee was killed in a mining-related accident at CALEDONIA MINING CORPORATION's Blanket mine on Friday. The accident occurred in the Blanket Quartz Reef are of the mine. Production in the section has stopped pending a probe. CALEDONIA yesterday said management had notified the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and the Inspector of Mines and will provide all the necessary assistance to the Ministry and the Inspectorate Department in its inquiry into the accident. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE to launch project bonds in Mar. - Wendell Roelf

The JOHANNESBURG STOCK EXCHANGE will begin listing "project bonds" from mid-March, giving institutional investors a window to invest in infrastructure projects. The bonds will provide private firms a chance to get a foothold in infrastructure projects in SA, where project financing has traditionally come from banks and the government. "We launch Project Bonds in the second week of March", spokesperson PHELISWA MAYEKISO said, adding that details of the listing would be made public closer to the launch. "Government and banks alone cannot fund South Africa's infrastructure programme", the Treasury said last week. "These bonds will be underpinned by the cash flows of a ring-fenced project, such as infrastructure or energy projects", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidvest Group names insider as CFO - Nqobile Dludla

BIDVEST GROUP yesterday named MARK STEYN, the financial head of its freight business, as the next group CFO after the trading, services and distribution firm posted a 12.5% rise in H1 earnings. STEYN will replace PETER MEIJER, who is retiring on Wednesday after 28 years with the company. STEYN joined BIDVEST in May 1997 and has held various financial positions within BIDVEST FREIGHT. BIDVEST said HEPS in the HY to end-Dec. rose to 574cps from 510.3cps y/y. The services, freight and office and print divisions were the outstanding performances, with trading profit climbing 24.3%, 18% and 12.7%, respectively. BIDVEST declared an interim gross cash dividend of 255cps, up 12.3% from 227cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RCL Foods H1 profit jumps 55% - Tanisha Heiberg

RCL FOODS said its H1 profit jumped 55% on the back of improved earnings in the chicken business unit. Diluted HEPS rose 55% to 73.4cps for the HY to end-Dec., compared with 47.4cps y/y. RCL said a drop in feed input costs and higher chicken prices following lower levels of unprotected imports and the impact of bird flu on supply boosted trading conditions. Headline earnings for the HY under review rose 56.9% to R644.7m "largely due to an improved result in the chicken business unit", RCL said. However, the group said a recovery in production volumes in its sugar business as drought conditions abated was offset by lower industry prices due to the impact of higher import volumes during the period. EBITDA for the unit fell 27% to R210.7m y/y. An interim dividend of 15cps was declared, up 50% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol H1 earnings up 17% - Tanisha Heiberg

SASOL's H1 profits rose 17% on the back of higher crude oil prices and increased demand for its speciality chemical products, the company said yesterday. HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. rose to 1 767cps from 1512cps y/y. "The recent recovery in global oil and product prices positively impacted our results, however this was offset by operational challenges at our Natref and mining operations, currency effects and poor economic conditions in South Africa, joint president and CEO BONGANI NQWABABA said. SASOL said it would settle debt from its INZALO BEE scheme of around R4.6bn in June via existing cash and credit facilities. This will allow the company to repurchase up to 9.5m preferred ordinary shares and fund any residual shortfall, which it estimates to be around R1.1bn. The SASOL board said it had changed its dividend policy to pay dividends with a cover range based on core HEPS, which the firm believes reflects the sustainable business operations and is a measure of its business and finance performance. It declared a gross dividend of 500cps, up from 480cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol says Moody's has decoupled firm from SA sovereign rating - Tanisha Heiberg

SASOL yesterday announced that MOODY's has decoupled the company from the sovereign rating, which would allow it to have higher ratings and borrow more cheaply than the government. SASOL CFO PAUL VICTOR made the announcement during a presentation of the company's interim results, which showed a 17% rise in earnings, boosted by higher oil prices. MOODY's is currently the only major ratings agency that ranks South African debt as investment grade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye says clears most illegal miners from gold shafts - Ed Stoddard

SIBANYE-STILLWATER arrested nearly 1400 illegal miners at its South African gold shafts last year in a blitz the company says has mostly ended the practice at its mines. CEO NEAL FRONEMAN vowed last year to take the war to illegal miners and clear them from its shafts by Jan. 2018 under the battle cry "Zero Zama". According to data provided by the company, it made 79 arrests in 2017 linked to illegal mining at its Cooke operations and 1 383 overall. The blitz peaked in June with more than 500 arrests, above the 443 arrests in 2016 as a whole. While SIBANYE fell short of its goal of stamping out illegal mining altogether, SIBANYE's head of security NASH LUTCHMAN said based on available intelligence, "there are only about 40 to 50 illegal miners operating now, scattered across our Kloof and Driefontein operations". SIBANYE spent R300m last year and will spend another R300m this year on access and biometric controls at the entry points to its gold mines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dropbox files for IPO - Mamta Badkar

US cloud storage firm DROPBOX filed for an IPO on Friday. The company, founded in 2007, listed an initial offering size of $500m - a figure that is typically considered a place holder and that could change during the roadshow - in a public filing with the US SEC. The company had already filed confidentially back in Jan. DROPBOX has seen its revenue grow to $1.1bn last year and says it serves more than 500m registered users across 180 countries. It reported a net loss of $111.7m last year, narrower than the $201.2m loss the prior year. It said it plans to use proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capex and possibly to acquire business services of technologies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tusk dismisses UK Brexit plan as 'pure illusion' - Mehreen Khan

European Council president DONALD TUSK on Friday said the British cabinet's agreement on the EU future relationship is based on "pure illusion", in the strongest indicator yet that the bloc will not agree to a UK plan to have "managed regulatory" divergence after Brexit. "If the media reports are correct, I am afraid that the UK position on the debate is based on pure illusion. It looks like the cape philosophy is still alive", TUSK said on Friday. He will visit UK PM THERESA MAY in London this week before MAY makes a vital speech on her government's ideas for its future relationship at the end of the week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Geely acquires 9.69% stake in Daimler - Peter Campbell

GEELY has acquired close to 10% of the shares of MERCEDES-BENZ owner DAIMLER, becoming its largest shareholder. The Chinese owner of the VOLVO CARS and LOTUS brands built up a 9.69% stake, worth around $9bn, DAIMLER said late on Friday. LI SHUFU, chair of ZHEJIANG GEELY HOLDING GROUP, will travel to Germany this week following the disclosure to begin talks with DAIMLER, according to as source. GEELY is keen to strike a deal with DAIMLER over sharing battery technology, according to people familiar with the company's thinking. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch downgrades Brazil after pension climbdown - Jessica Dye

FITCH has lowered its rating on Brazil following a government decision to shelve an overhaul of the country's generous pension system, sending the country deeper into junk territory. FITCH dropped its rating on the country's sovereign debt by one notch to BB-, from BB, with a stable outlook. FITCH analysts pointed in particular to the news that the government had called off a congressional vote on the pension reforms, which ratings agencies had warned could prove a blow to its creditworthiness. The analysts called it "an important setback in the reform agenda that undermines confidence in the medium-term trajectory of public finances and the political commitment to address the issue". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VW nearly doubled operating profit in 2017 - Patrick McGee

Operating profits at VOLKSWAGEN nearly doubled in 2017, but it booked a €3.2bn provision for continuing legal challenges. The VW GROUP said operating profit before special items rose 16.5% to €17bn, with margins rising from 6.7% y/y to 7.4%. Margins did not meet forecasts of 7.6%, but have climbed from 6% in 2015 and 6.7% in 2016. Taking into account provisions in both years, operating profits were up 95% to €13.8bn. The VW group sold 10.74m cars last year, up 4.3% y/y, led by recoveries in South America and eastern Europe. VW recorded a €3.2bn provision for special items, namely for the diesel scandal including "higher expenses for buy-back and retrofit programs" and "higher legal risk". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US announces largest sanctions package targeting N Korea - Katrina Manson

The TRUMP administration on Friday issued its largest sanctions package targeting North Korea's maritime industry as it struggles to pressure the regime to give up its nuclear weapons. The US Treasury issued sanctions against 28 vessels, 27 companies and one individual across nine jurisdictions, including China, Singapore and Tanzania. US officials said those sanctioned had exported coal or made ship-to-ship transfers in violation of existing US Security Council sanctions and often via deception. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/02/2018

At 11:17 on 26 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.56 Rand/Sterling 16.23 Rand/Euro 14.25 Gold 1337.94 Platinum 1000.50 Oil 67.01 All-Share Index 58940.36

Sales stumble at Primark - Naomi Rovnick

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS has reported a sales slowdown at its PRIMARK budget clothing chain, which it has blamed on warm weather last autumn. For the 24 weeks to Mar., ABF said PRIMARK's same-store sales would show a decline of 1% y/y. Sales on this measure rose 1% in the year to Sep. and 2% in the HY to Mar. 2017. In an update to shareholders, ABF characterised the slowdown at PRIMARK as temporary. It noted that on a more recent measure of the 16 weeks to Mar. 3, same-store sales were running 1% ahead on a y/y basis. ABF reassured shareholders that its management did not expect to change their forecast for FY profits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Warren Buffett to step down from Kraft Heinz board - Mamta Badkar

KRAFT HEINZ on Friday announced that WARREN BUFFETT will retire from the company's board as he decreases his travel commitments. BUFFETT will step down following the end of his term at the upcoming AGM in April. His BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY investment vehicle is the largest shareholder in KRAFT HEINZ with a 26.7% stake. The company said it will nominate ALEDANDRE VAN DAMME, a board member of ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV, to stand for election in BUFFETT's stead. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P upgrades Russia - Jessica Dye

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS on Friday raised its sovereign credit rating for Russia by one notch pushing it into investment-grade territory. The rating agency attributed the hoped-for upgrade to Russia's "prudent policy response" that has put the economy on more stable footing in the face of lower commodity prices and international sanctions. S&P said it was raising its foreign currency long-term sovereign credit rating on Russia to BBB- from BB+ with a stable outlook. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pearson hits brighter profit forecasts - Katie Martin

PEARSON has delivered FY profits at the upper end of its forecasts following a revamp that it says has left it "leaner and more agile". The publisher said it expects long-running problems in its US education business to remain a drag in 2018, but it also expects that weight to be "offset by improving conditions in other businesses". It has put US courseware business K TO 12 up for sale. PEARSON said it made a statutory operating profit of £451m in 2017, from a loss of £2.5bn y/y. Adjusted operating profit of £576m was at the upper end of the upgraded range it suggested in Oct. 2017. For this year, PEARSON expects to deliver an operating profit of £520m to £560m, with savings still to come from a technology revamp as well as job cuts and a reduction in the number of its offices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Life Aberdeen to quit insurance business in £3.2bn deal - Attracta Mooney

STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN is to sell its insurance business to PHOENIX GROUP in a £3.2bn deal that the company said was part of its strategy of "building a world-class investment company". The company said PHOENIX will pay £2.28bn in cash, while SLA will also take a 19.99% stake in PHOENIX GROUP as part of the deal. The sale will mark SLA's exit from its insurance roots. The company was formed through the merger of STANDARD LIFE and ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT last year. SLA chair Sir GERRY GRIMSTONE said: "This transaction represents excellent value for our shareholders, including a comprehensive and mutually beneficial strategic relationship entered into with PHOENIX GROUP, a longstanding partner of the firm". SLA reported that assets under management and administration had increased by 1% over the year to £654.9bn, after outflows slowed in its asset management arm. ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS reported outflows of £22.1bn over the year, down from £26.1bn y/y. SLA declared a dividend of 21.30pps, slightly behind analysts' forecasts of 21.39p. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBS returns to profit after nine years of losses - Laura Noonan

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND has ended a nine-year streak of annual losses. The £752m attributable profit for 2017 was better than the £592m loss expected by analysts, but only because the lender had been expected to take a financial hit from settling a mortgage mis-selling suit with the US Department of Justice. CEO ROSS MCEWAN hailed the profit as a "symbolic moment" and unveiled plans to invest an additional £1.5bn in the next two years, including £800m on innovation and digital. RBS made another £764m of conduct and litigation provision in Q4 2017. That included £442m toward US mortgage litigation suits from the DOJ and various other investigations, and £175m towards the UK's Payment Protection Insurance mis-selling scandal. Total revenues for 2017 came in at £13.1bn versus £12.59bn a year earlier, while operating expenses were £10.4bn, down from £16.2bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ConCourt rules CPS can bid for SASSA tenders - Lameez Omarjee

NET1 subsidiary CASH PAYMASTER SYTSEMS may participate in SASSA's future tender process, the Constitutional Court has ruled. According to a notice issued to shareholders this morning, the ConCourt ruling was made on Friday. CPS filed an application at the Court on Feb. 6 2018 to request a declaration that it is not prohibited from participating in the tender. The ruling clarified that CPS's eligibility to take part in future tender processes was not in issue in the judgment handed down on Mar. 17, 2017. Last year the Court ruled that the contract between CPS and SASSA was illegal and invalid. CPS was also ordered to continue paying grants until another entity was found to distribute the payments. The ConCourt has scheduled a hearing on Mar. 6 to consider SASSA's application for a six-month extension of its contract with CPS. The current contract expires on Mar. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cathay Pacific launches direct flight to CT - Fin24

CATHAY PACIFIC will launch a seasonal non-stop service to Cape Town later this year, directly linking with Hong Kong for the first time. The thrice-weekly service, from Nov. 13 to Feb. 18, will complement the carrier's existing daily non-stop flights to Johannesburg and will be operated by state-of-the-art AIRBUS A350-900 aircraft. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission claims Airlink, Safair deal would prevent competition - Carin Smith

The Competition Commission has prohibited the proposed acquisition of SAFAIR by SA AIRLINK as this would likely result in "a substantial prevention of competition", it said on Friday. The Commission is of the view that the merger is likely to result in the removal of an effective competitor to SA AIRLINK on the routes it currently operates on. It said SAFAIR offers competitive prices and has been growing in the market both in terms of its existing routes as well as new routes it recently entered. The Commission found there are significant price differences between SAFAIR and SA AIRLINK and that if the merger were to be approved, there is a likelihood of significant price increases. AIRLINK and SAFAIR on Friday said they were disappointed that the Commission had not approved the proposed deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Planning commission outlines case for Eskom split - Terence Creamer

The National Planning Commission has released a new discussion document on the energy sector, which reinforces the National Development Plan's "explicit" requirement for the system operations, planning, power procurement, purchasing and contracting functions within ESKOM to be separated into an independent institution. Commissioner JARRAD WRIGHT says the paper was one of a series of documents that the commission will release as part of a process of reinforcing and/or refreshing the NDP, which was first published in 2012. The document comes amid growing concern about the financial position of ESKOM, which recently required an emergency R5bn loan from the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION, together with support from commercial banks, to stave off a default on its debt obligations. Noting ESKOM's current precarious state, the NPC paper also called for the "vision and end-state" for the local electricity sector, which took account of the technological disruption under way, to be finalised as a priority. Such certainty was required to create long-term certainty that would reduce electricity prices, further promote investment in various parts of the electricity supply chain, drive sustainable economic growth, meet he demands of the poor and move SA towards a low-carbon economy. "A key reform driver which deserves additional explanation concerns the fair treatment of planning, grid connection and operation of independent power producers relative to ESKOM-owned generation into the future", the document asserts. The paper also highlighted inadequacies in electricity planning and governance, noting that SA was arguably procuring new generation capacity on the basis of "outdated information", owing to the failure of government to regularly update the Integrated Resource Plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Northam to create 6 500 new jobs - Martin Creamer

NORTHAM will be generating 6 500 new mining jobs in the next four to five years. The company is in the midst of spending R5.5bn capital on strategically timed, on-track growth projects, which are combining with acquisitive growth to reposition the company as a 1moz supplier of PGMs. CEO PAUL DUNNE last week said the company would definitely be employing more people at all of its operations, with the possible exception of Booysendal North. Preparation to access the newly acquired Tumela Block has already created an additional 357 jobs and more job creation is on the way as the Zondereinde mine ramps up to 350 000oz/year. A combination of 3 000 new permanent and project jobs are also on the way at the Booysendal South mine. If NORTHAM does choose to restart the recently acquired Eland mine in the Brits area, another 3 000 people stand to be employed. In its FY to end-Jun. 2018, the company will be spending R3.8bn capital in a combination of acquisition and project development outlay. In FY2019, NORTHAM is planning to spend R1.9bn in capex, R1.5bn in 202 and beyond that sustaining capex of R1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM says members not paid at Optimum mine - Reuters

The NUM on Friday said its members had not been paid on time at the GUPTA-owned Optimum Coal mine, and would not return to work at the operation which has started business rescue proceedings. "The guys were not paid and they want a meeting with the CEO because they are concerned about the business rescue proceedings which they were not informed about", NUM spokesperson LIVHUWANI MAMMBURU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spur expands despite subdued sales - Sandile Mchunu

SPUR CORPORATION has grown its total footprint to 613 restaurants with 22 units opened in SA despite subdued sales in the HY to end-Dec. The company also opened outlets in Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya and Namibia. It said that while its expansion would be focused mainly on Africa, it was planning to open two units in Saudi Arabia and one in Australia. SPUR CEO PIERRE VAN TONDER said the company planned to open more restaurants across all brands in SA in H2FY2018 as the financial and political sentiment improved. SPUR recorded a2.6% drop in total franchised restaurant sales from continuing operations to R3.7bn. South African sales eased 3% against a 3.2% rise in international sales at constant currencies. Group revenue fell 0.9% to R334.6m, while headline earnings from continuing operations declined by 11.8% to R96.6m. Diluted HEPS from continuing operations declined by 11.7% to 100.9cps. SPUR declared an interim dividend of 63cps, 11.3% lower y/y. RocoMamas experienced continued strong growth and increased sales by 37.5%. Panarottis and Casa Bella grew sales by 6.6% in a very competitive pizza market, while John Dory's increased sales by 1.8% and The Hussar Grill by 24.1%. Sales at Captain DoRegos contracted by 12.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Accéntuate aims for recovery as political power changes hands - Irma Venter

ACCENTUATE experienced a difficult HY to end-Dec., moving from a R3.5m profit y/y to a loss of R1.78m. The company on Friday said its business had suffered on the back of depressed macroeconomic conditions, political uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the country. ACCENTUATE CEO FRED PLATT noted, however, that the past few weeks "hopefully signalled the nd of ten years of decline" in government infrastructure spend. "At the end of last year we were forced to ask ourselves if we should continue to manufacture in South Africa". PLATT said he was positive that new President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA would bring about a change in government expenditure. But he warned that this confidence would not have an "enormous impact on ACCENTUATE over the next six months. We will remain under pressure for the next year". Revenue for the HY under review fell by 1.3% to R157.3m, owing mainly to lower sales volumes in the FloorworX business. The group's Environmental Solutions Business reported flat revenue at R34.9m. Increasing costs resulted in an operating loss of R2.1m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania internet users hit 23m - Reuters

The number of internet users in Tanzania rose by 16% at end-2017 to 23m, with the majority of those using their handsets to go online, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority said on Friday. Around 19m internet users in Tanzania accessed the internet via their mobile phones, up from 18m in 2016, the regulator said. Internet penetration in the nation of around 52m people ticked up to 45% in 2017 from 40% y/y. The country had 40.08m mobile phone subscribers last year, down slightly from 40.17m a year earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jasco acquires Ramm Technologies stake to bolster tech offering - Natasha Odendaal

JASCO ELECTRONICS has acquired a 51% stake in RAMM TECHNOLOGIES for R30.6m in a deal that will allow it entry into asset-tracking markets via Internet of Things platforms. RAMM operates its own national operations centre and has operations across Gauteng and the Western Cape. JASCO CEO PETE DA SILVA said the acquisition "is another step in the group's strategy of measured acquisitions that either bulk up existing business units or fill gaps in our portfolio to supplement organic growth". It also further moved JASCO up the value chain towards a higher-margin professional service and annuity-based offering. RAMM's management team and founder will stay in place, with three-year retention agreements. The deal is effective Mar. 1, with all suspensive conditions required to be met by no later than Apr. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest eyes Ecuador gold project - Mariaan Webb

NEWCREST MINING is buying a 27.1% stake for $250m in Canada-listed LUNDIN GOLD, which is building the Fruta del Norte gold mine in Ecuador. The investment is part of a $400m equity private placement by LUNDIN for the development of Fruta del Norte, which will start production by the end of 2019. NEWCREST MD and CEO SANDEEP BISWAS said the deal aligned with the company's aspiration to be exposed to five tier-one orebodies by 2020. "Fruta del Norte epithermal orebody has many similarities with our Gosowong operation and we look forward to sharing our experience with LUNDIN GOLD to further develop this high-quality deposit", BISWAS said. The other subscribers of the $400m equity raising of LUNDIN include ORION MINE FINANCE GROUP, ZEBRA HOLDINGS AND INVESTMENTS and LIRITO HOLDINGS (LUNDIN family trust). ORION will invest $100m at a price of C$5.25/share, increasing its stake in the gold miner to 22.3%, and the LUNDIN family trust will invest $50m at C$5.50/share to increase its stake to 27.1%. Fruta del Norte has probable mineral reserves of 4.82moz of gold and 6.34moz of silver. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat expects lower FY HEPS - Creamer Media Reporter

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM expects to report HEPS of 51cps-60cps for the FY to end-Dec., a 30.8%-41.2% decrease on the 86.7cps reported y/y. Normalised HEPS are expected to be 2.7%-15.6% higher y/y, at between 64cps and 72cps, compared with normalised HEPS of 62.3cps reported for 2016. "Given the apparent structural strengthening of the rand against the dollar, it was agreed that it would be prudent to impair the remaining R863m goodwill still reflected on the balance sheet of the company", RBPLAT said on Friday. This will likely result in an LPS of 387cps-397cps, compared with EPS of 87.6cps y/y. The company noted it had delivered a "solid" operational performance in 2017, with production up 8.2% y/y. Results will be published on Mar. 6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Finland takes top spot for mining-friendly investment - Henry Lazenby

Finland has ousted Saskatchewan as the top international jurisdiction for mining investment, Canada's Fraser Institute announced last week. The Institute administers its Annual Survey of Mining Companies and ranks jurisdictions around the world based on a combination of their geological attractiveness for minerals and metals and their policy attractiveness. "Rich mineral reserves, competitive taxes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty around environmental regulations will still attract significant investment - even with slumping commodity prices", said senior director of energy and natural resource studies KENNETH GREEN. The 2016 index showed that Canada had both the best (Saskatchewan) and second-best (Manitoba) mining jurisdictions in the world, but this changed in 2017, with Finland jumping from 5th position in the 2016 survey to the top in the most recent list. Saskatchewan dropped to second place, followed by Nevada - up from 4th place in 2016. The Republic of Ireland ranked 4th this year, with Western Australia ranked 5th. Rounding out the top ten were Quebec, Ontario, Chile, Arizona and Alaska. Guatemala ranked as the least attractive jurisdiction, replacing the Argentinian province of Jujuy as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world. Also in the bottom ten were Kenya, Mendoza, Chubut, Mozambique, Bolivia, Venezuela, Romania, China and Nicaragua. SA moved up to the 48th position for investment attractiveness, from 74th in the 2016 survey. Respondents cited perceived government corruption and incapacity as significant drawbacks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxon, BHP axe lengthy sales of 50-year-old Australia oil fields - Bloomberg

Energy giants EXXONMOBIL and BHP have abandoned the sale of some of Australia's oldest oil fields after running a 20-month sales process. EXXON and BHP will retain ownership and operation of fields, licenses and associated infrastructure held in the Gippsland Basin JV after concluding a sale process, EXXON's ESSO AUSTRALIA unit said on Friday. The parties reached a joint decision not to progress with the sale of offshore assets owned by the JV, a BHP spokesperson said. BHP and ESSO AUSTRALIA each hold a 50% share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Industry blames red tape for Australia's slip in mining survey - Creamer Media Reporter

Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria fell in mineral investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute's Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2017. WA fell for the third year, dropping from first in 2015 to third in 2016 and now fifth place on the investment attractiveness index. Over the last year, South Australia fell back by one place to 14th, Queensland fell to 12th and the Northern Territory fell seven places to 27th. Victoria dropped 14 places to 71st globally. New South Wales and Tasmania improved their rankings, and are considered the 46th and 50th most attractive jurisdictions. Analysts said the declines were driven by policy uncertainty, increased concern over political stability, socioeconomic agreements/ community development conditions, and the taxation/royalty regime. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AEEI appoints Abdul Salie as CIO - Sizwe Dlamini

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS last week announced the appointment of ABDUL MALICK SALIE as an executive director to the company's board, in the capacity of chief investment officer, with immediate effect. SALIE has more than 15 years' experience holding various directorships in the financial and IT sectors. Having previously served in various operational and financial roles in multinational companies, he also has experience in audit and regulatory environments both locally and internationally. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Truworths posts flat H1 retail sales growth - Radhika Rukmangadhan

TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL last week reported flat retail sales growth in H1, which it blamed on a challenging trading period marred by political uncertainty in SA. TRUWORTHS said retail sales for the 26 weeks to Dec. 31 rose to R10.3bn, from R10.2bn y/y. Diluted HEPS fell by 3% to 379.3cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Distell H1 sales rise 9.3% - Nqobile Dludla

DISTELL GROUP on Friday reported a 9.3% rise in H1 revenue, supported by higher volumes in the company's spirits and ready-to-drink businesses. DISTELL said group revenue for the HY to end-Dec. rose to R13.4bn from R12.3bn y/y. HEPS fell by 5.1% to 509.2cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's 2018 maize crop expected to be 33% lower than previous season - Tanisha Heiberg

SA is expected to harvest 33% less maize in 2018 y/y after a decrease in plantings and low rainfall in the western part of the maize belt, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee, which will provide its first production forecast for 2018 this week, is seen pegging the harvest at 11.301mt, down 33% from the record harvest of 16.82mt for the 2016/17 season. The 2017 harvest was the largest on record surpassing the previous record of 14.656mt set in 1981 after favourable weather conditions boosted yields. The 2018 harvest is expected to consist of 5.725mt of white maize and 5.575mt of the yellow variety. The expected smaller crop will still be above SA's annual maize consumption of around 10mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Google starts taking payments for apps via M-Pesa service - Duncan Miriri

GOOGLE PLAY apps and games store has started accepting payments in Kenya via SAFARICOM's M-PESA service to boost downloads in a market where many people do not have a credit card. M-PESA has 27.8m users in the nation of 45m people where GOOGLE's Android platform dominates. M-PESA has been mimicked across Africa and in other markets. "This is very important to the developer ecosystem in markets where credit card penetration is low", said MAHIR SAIN, head of AFRICA ANDROID partnerships at GOOGLE. SAFARICOM has 13m smartphones on its network, most of them using the Android platform. It partnered with UK-based global payments platform provider, DOCOMO DIGITAL, to enable users to pay via M-PESA, both firms said last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz to propose debt restructuring plan to creditors on Mar. 20 - Karin Strohecker

Mozambique will present to its creditors the key elements of a debt restructuring proposal and give an update on its fiscal and macroeconomic situation at a meeting in London on Mar. 20, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said last week. "The government remains committed to finding a consensual and collaborative resolution to the current debt situation through dialogue with the holders of the Republic's direct and guaranteed external commercial obligations", the Ministry said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch says Budget partly reverses fiscal deterioration - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's budget reverses some of last year's fiscal deterioration but poor finances of SOEs remain a major risk to fiscal targets, FITCH RATINGS said on Friday. In the 2018/19 Budget, Treasury said VAT would be raised for the first time in 25 years, part of efforts to trim the deficit and stabilise debt. "This would represent a partial reversal of recent fiscal deterioration", FITCH said. "Nevertheless, fiscal targets are subject to substantial risks, the largest of which stems from state-owned enterprises, notably the electricity company ESKOM, whose medium-term finances are under pressure", FITCH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM says 1 722 jobs to go at Evander Gold Mine - Tanisha Heiberg

The NUM yesterday said that PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES would cut 1 722 jobs at its Evander Gold Mine in Mpumalanga. The union said the company informed it that he job cuts were due to deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure at the mine, high operating costs and a low gold price. PANAF could not immediately be reached for comment. HARMONY GOLD sold Evander to PANAF in 2012 for R1.5bn in abid to double the latter's gold output to 200 000oz/year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IRBA probing Steinhoff auditors to continue investigation - Tanisha Heiberg

SA's Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors yesterday said that following its initial review of STEINHOFF's auditors, DELOITTE SA, it would pursue further lines of inquiry. The IRBA in Dec. said it would investigate STEINHOFF's auditor following the group's disclosure of accounting irregularities. "The STEINHOFF case is a multifaceted one which will require significant investigation. Nevertheless, our initial review of the audit files has identified some lines of further investigation which we are pursuing", the regulator said in a statement. It did not give further details. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/02/2018

At 07:16 on 26 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.54 Rand/Sterling 16.16 Rand/Euro 14.21 Gold 1337.02 Platinum 1002.00 Oil 67.01 All-Share Index 58715.46

Wilmar profits jump on strong grain, soyabean performance - Emiko Terazono

WILMAR INTERNATIONAL shrugged off weak performances in its palm oil and sugar business, reporting a 25% rise in net profits. The company said its numbers were supported by strong results in its soyabeans and grains operations and JVs in China, India and Africa. Net profits for 2017 were at $1.2bn compared to $972m the year before despite a 24$ drop in the last three months of the year. CEO KUOK KHOON HONG said he expected the group to achieve "sustained growth", adding that barring unforeseen circumstances the 2018 performance "is expected to be satisfactory". WILMAR's palm oil division was hit by lower prices and a fall in production yields, with annual pre-tax profits down 38% from 2016 to $426m. Its grains and oil seeds pre-tax profits tripled to $735m on rising margins, while its sugar division posted a pre-tax loss of $24.6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Women in Barclays International unit make half of what men earn - Marin Arnold

Women working in BARCLAYS' investment banking operation are paid on average only half what their male colleagues are paid, according to figures published by the bank on Thursday. The 48% gap between the mean hourly pay of men and women in its BARCLAYS INTERNATIONAL unit underlines how the upper echelons of the City trading rooms remain male-dominated. BARCLAYS said there were more than four men to every woman in the highest 25% of earners in its international division, but there were almost two women for every man in the lowest 25% of earners in the unit. In Jun. 2017, women made up 47% of all staff at BARCLAYS but only 15% of its MDs, the most senior grade below executive committee level, which was up from 14% y/y. The lender said it aimed to increase the percentage of female MDs and directors from 23% at end-2016 to 26% by end-2017. It also aims to have women represent a third of its board of directors and executive committee by 2020, up from 21% and 25% at the end of 2017, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HP lifts forecast after strong earnings - Jessica Dye

HP INC shares rose in after-hour trading after it lifted its FY forecast following quarterly earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The company said revenue for the quarter to end-Jan. rose 14% y/y to $14.5bn, thanks to broad-based growth across its divisions. Analysts had been looking for $13.7bn. HP's earnings were boosted by a bevy of benefits, with a $1.1bn after-tax adjustment reflecting charges related to restructuring, acquisition and US tax reform. As a result, net earnings for the quarter were up 217% y/y to $1.9bn, or $1.16/share. Analysts had been looking for $729m in income, or 44cps. Stripping out special items, adjusted EPS of 48c came in ahead of the 40-43 cents per share it had guided for. HP also raised its guidance for diluted net EPS to be in the range of $2.53-$2.63, versus its previous expectations for diluted EPS of $1.70-$1.80. HP INC shares were up almost 8% in after-hours trading to $23.05. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HP Enterprise shares up 19% on upbeat results - Mamta Badkar

HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE shares soared yesterday after the company announced upbeat quarterly results, the first under new CEO ANTONIO NERI. Shares in HPE rose as much as 19% in extended trade before trimming those gains to trade 14% higher at $18.74. HPE reported net revenue of $7.7bn in Q4, up 11% y/y. The results showed a 24% y/y rise in storage revenue and a 27% y/y increase in DC NETWORKING revenue, both part of HPE's largest division. Net earnings more than quintupled to $1.4bn in the quarter to end-Jan., compared with a profit of $267m y/y. That translated into earnings of 89cps, compared with earnings of 16cps y/y. The results reflected a $935m gain from the recently enacted US tax overhaul. Adjusted earnings or 34cps topped analysts' forecasts of 22cps. Looking ahead, HPE expects adjusted earnings in the range of $1.35-$1.45/share, ahead of Wall Street's forecasts of $1.18/share. In Q2 HPE expects adjusted earnings of 29c-33c/share, compared with analysts estimates for earnings of 26cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal core earnings rise in Q4 - Henry Foy

RUSAL's core earnings rose 42% in Q4 on rising aluminium demand and prices, amid investor concerns about the impact of its battle to control NORILSK NICKEL. RUSAL also announced it would appoint CFO ALEXANDRA BOURIKO as CEo. The move is part of a management shake-up by owner OLEG DERIPASKA at his metals and energy group. DERIPASKA is currently locked in a legal battle for control of NORILSK with fellow oligarchs VLADIMIR POTANIN and ROMAN ABRAMOVICH, after the expiration of a peace deal struck in 2012 to end a bitter fight over the company. RUSAL owns 27.8% of NORILSK, and the stake is one of its most valuable assets. POTANIN, also NORILSK's CEO, controls 30% of the company, and has struck a deal with ABRAMOVICH to buy a part of his 6% stake - a deal DERIPASKA has challenged in a London court. RUSAL said adjusted EBIRDA in Q4 were $586m, up 42.2% y/y and just shy of estimates of $598m. Net profit $440m, down 31.8% due to a one-off windfall from an asset sale in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter stood at $2.75bn, up an annual 35.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US blocks Chinese takeover of semiconductor equipment company - Alice Woodhouse

US regulators have blocked the $580m acquisition of a semiconductor test equipment maker by a state-backed Chinese fund. Massachusetts-based XCERRA yesterday said it had agreed with HUBEI XINYAN EQUITY INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP to terminate the merger agreement. "Despite our best efforts to secure approval, it has become evident that CFIUS will not clear this transaction and we and XINYAN have mutually decided to terminate our merger agreement", XCERRA CEO DAVE TACELLI said. A growing number of Chinese investments targeting US companies have stalled owing to a slowdown in Washington's national security review process and as trade tensions bubble between Beijing and the White House. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indonesia issues world's first green sukuk - Emma Dunkley

Indonesia has become the first country in the world to sell a sovereign green sukuk bond. The country has borrowed $1.25bn with the issuance of a five-year sukuk, which is designed to comply with Islamic law. One banker working on the deal said that due to "remarkable demand", pricing was tightened by 30 bps, reducing the yield to 3.75%. Alongside the green bond, Indonesia has issued $1.75bn of 10-year sukuk bonds offering with a yield that has also been tightened, to 4.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil demand 'fairly strong' for 2018, says Vitol - Anjli Raval

VITOL sees "fairly strong" demand for crude this year, leading to a further drawdown in global stockpiles later in 2018. VITOL executive committee member CHRIS BAKE said robust consumption and production cuts led by OPEC countries had led to a "visible track down in oil inventories." Stockpiles at important oil storage hubs have been "emptied" and crude stores on tankers at sea is "all gone", BAKE said. Should demand remain strong and OPEC production stay disciplined, oil inventories should fall further this year. But 2019, he said, is more difficult to predict. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio considers moving UK support staff to global hubs - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO has started a consultation with UK employees as part of a wider restructuring that will see support staff moved to one of three global hubs or Singapore. Unlike UNILEVER, RIO has no plan to shift its headquarters from the UK. "RIO TINTO's headquarters remains in London. It is where our chairman, chief executive, chief financial officer and two product groups are located as well as a number of head office roles", the group said. "Due to changes to RIO TINTO's global operating model, some roles will move from London to other locations. As a result, we have launched a consultation with our UK employees". The miner said its operating model is not changing "but we are adjusting where work is done by creating three global hubs, where people carrying out global support roles will be located, and the creation of a commercial and marketing hub in Singapore. This will free the people at our operations to concentrate on running those assets in the safest and most productive way". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chesapeake earnings beat estimates - Peter Wells

Higher oil and gas prices and production helped CHESAPEAKE ENERGY swing to a profit in Q4. The company reported net income to common shareholders of $309m in the quarter to end-Dec,. compared to a loss of $740m y/y. That came to 33cps, ahead of the 25cps forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters. FY income came in at $813m. For 2017, CHESAPEAKE achieved average daily production of 547 800 barrels of oil equivalent, a drop of 13.8% y/y, but noted its production rate in Q4 was 15% higher y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Annual net migration of EU citizens to UK falls below 100 000 - Robert Wright

More citizens from outside the EU than those in the bloc moved to the UK in the year to Sep., the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. The figures confirm trends already emerging from a surge in applications from outside the EU for Tier 2 visas for skilled non-EU migrants, which many observers believe show employers are seeking non-EU employees as EU migrants become less willing to work in Britain. The figures also showed annual net migration from the EU - 90 000 for the year - was below 100 000 for the first time since 2013. A net 205 000 non-EU citizens arrived. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK Q4 growth rate revised down to 0.4% - Gavin Jackson

UK economic growth has been revised down to 0.4% for the final quarter of 2017, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Slight revisions to the output of growth in both the production and services industries were enough for growth to go from being rounded up to 0.5% to instead being down. During 2017 as a whole, the British economy grew by 1.7%, down from 1.8% in the previous estimate - the slowest rate of growth since 2017 and likely to be the lowest of any G7 country. The figures also showed that the UK's vast services sector experienced its slowest pace of growth since 2011 during 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAT expects non-traditional cigarette sales to hit £1bn in 2018 - John Murray Brown

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO expects to double sales from vapour and other non conventional smoking products in 2018 as the company reported profits up 39% for 2017. BAT said earnings were boosted by the acquisition of REYNOLDS AMERICAN, announced in July. BAT is now the world's largest e-cigarette maker. Sales from next generation products contributed £397m last year - or around £500m based on an FY contribution from RAI. BAT's operating profit for the FY to end-Dec. rose to £6.5bn from £4.6bn y/y, boosted by a six month contribution from RAI and helped by the sterling weakness. Sales rose 38% to £20.3bn from £14.7bn y/y, or by 2.9% on an organic basiS. Profits, stripping out the effects of RAI, were up 3.7%. Adjusted EPS were up 9.9%. Volumes of cigarettes and tobacco heating products were up 3.2%. Stripping out RAI, volumes fell by 2.6%, but less than the overall market, which BAT estimates fell by 3.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Intu records 20% profit rise - Aime Williams

INTU PROPERTIES reported rising profits but slowing rental growth as UK retailers struggle with falling sales in its stores. INTU's pre-tax profit grew 20% to £227m for the year to end-Dec., driven partly by arise in the value of its growing property portfolio compared to a year ago. INTU said it had increased like-for-like net rental income by 0.5% compared to a 3.6% rise y/y. It estimated sales from retailers in its centres had fallen by just over 2% y/y. Net rental income rose by 3% to £460m, helping to push underlying earnings up by 0.5% to £201m. Net rental income margin fell slightly, with the group blaming higher costs on empty storefronts from former BHS stores. INTU said occupancy rates across its UK centres had remained broadly flat at 96% over the year, with footfall increasing by 0.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays swings to net loss in 2017 - Martin Arnold

BARCLAYS has announced an FY net loss of almost £2bn, hit by one-off tax and goodwill charges. The British lender said revenues fell 2% and pre-tax profits rose 10%, but its bottom line sank back into the red after taking big hits from selling its African operation and to cover the one-off cost of US corporate tax reform. The net loss was £1.9bn, from a profit of £1.6bn in 2016. Q4 results fell below expectations, after the US tax charge dragged the bank to a net loss of £1bn, against a profit of £380m y/y. Quarterly revenues inched up to £5bn. The corporate and investment bank sank to a quarterly loss of £25m after revenues in the unit slumped 11%. Fixed income, currency and commodity trading revenues were down 21% in the quarter. It kept its 2017 dividend flat at 3pps, having cut it more than a half two years ago, but said the payout would rise to 6.5p in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcock surprises with share earnings - Sandile Mchunu

ADCOCK INGRAM this week reported results that were ahead of market expectations. Both headline earnings from continuing operations and HEPS rose by 33% for the HY to end-Dec. to R320m and 192.6cps, respectively. ADCOCK said it expected to report an increase of 27%-30% in headline earnings and HEPS. The company said it remained positioned for growth, despite operating in an environment dominated by political uncertainty and high levels of unemployment. Group turnover rose by 7.4% to R3.2bn, up from R2.98bn y/y, and said that this was mainly driven by a realised average price increase of 5.2% while volume growth and new product launches contributed the balance. The gross margin improvement from 36.1% to 38% was realised from the improvement in the exchange rate, increased ARV throughput and an improved sales mix. Operating expenses were well controlled and rose in line with sales by 7.4%, resulting in a 25% improvement in trading profit to R428m, up from R342m. ADCOCK declared an interim dividend of 86cps and said this was an improvement of 37% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Optimum Coal mine in business rescue - Business Report

Workers at the GUPTA-owned Optimum Coal mine this week downed tools, demanding answers from management over the mine's future with its shareholders on the run. Optimum mine COO GEORGE VAN DER MERWE yesterday spoke with workers at the mine, telling them that legal courses are in motion to keep the bank accounts open. Meanwhile, AmaBhungane revealed yesterday that Optimum Coal Mine, Koornfontein Mines and Optimum Coal Terminal was placed into business rescue. According to VAN DER MERWE, the mine has filed papers to force the departing BANK OF BARODA to continue doing business with the firm. The mine supplies coal to ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba delays SAA results - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

SAA's financial woes are not over with Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA asking Parliament to delay the tabling of its results. This is despite the fact the results are overdue by more than five months after GIAGBA initially asked for the deadline to be extended from Sep. 2017 to Jan. 28. In a letter to Speaker BALEKA MBETE yesterday, GIGABA said they still needed to resolve technical issues with the Auditor-General before tabling the financial statements in Parliament. GIGABA asked for another extension until the end of April. Before he tables the results in Parliament they have to be presented and approved at the AGM. SAA is required by law to hold its AGM within 15 months of the previous AGM. Its last AGM was in Oct. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market cheers Massmart profit rise as online sales shine - Yolandi Groenewald

MASSMART HOLDINGS yesterday posted a rise in FY profit on the back of operational cut costs and solid growth in its online division. The group said it was pleased that it could still turn a profit, despite consumers' low confidence in the South African economy. MASSMART pointed out that its 2017 FY complicated meaningful comparisons with the prior year's 52-week period. Group operating profit, excluding forex movements and interests, rose by 4.8% to R2.8bn while headline earnings rose by 14% to R1.5bn. Total sales for its 52-week period in 2017 grew 1% to R92.1bn, while comparable store sales fell 0.8%. Production inflation was 2%. But for the 53 weeks to Dec. 31, MASSMART's total sales performed even better, rising to R93.7bn, representing 2.7% growth compared to the 52 weeks to Dec. 25 2016. The online division saw sales up 47% y/y, with well-managed expense control helping it beat the tough economic times. MASSMART said its expense management only had total expense growth of 1.2% for the 52-week period while comparable expenses were 1.3% lower y/y. Total sales outside SA grew 3.5%, with comparable store sales growth in the market of 0.8%. Shares in MASSMART were up 5.15% on the JSE, trading at R149.79 at around 09:10 yesterday morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrox achieves strong FY2017 results - Megan van Wyngaardt

AFRICAN OXYGEN yesterday reported yet another year of strong results, with revenue for the FY to end-Dec. up 6% to R5.69bn. HEPS rose by 32.3% y/y to 201cps and basic EPS by 30.7% to 203.6cps. Due to a 2016 litigation settlement with ARCELORMITTAL SA, AFROX had to adjust its revenue, which then only rose by 2.8% y/y to R5.53bn for the year. AFROX CEO SCHALK VENTER said the company was pleased with the volume and revenue growth. It declared a 31.6% increase in its 2017 dividend to 100cps, after adjusting for the nonrecurring R165m settlement, which mainly affected its atmospheric gas division. The group's benchmark return on capital employed fell by 90 bps to 23.7% adjusting for the impact of the settlement as well. However, had it been a normal year, the ROCE would have improved by 370 bps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal approves sale of Genrec to Southern Palace - Anine Kilian

The Competition Tribunal has unconditionally approved SOUTHERN PALACE GROUP's acquisition of GENREC from MURRAY & ROBERTS. M&R in Oct. agreed to sell the business to SPG for R185m. SPG last year also acquired M&R's Southern African infrastructure and building businesses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS vows to collect on R2.6bn additional revenue target - ANA

SARS Commissioner TOM MOYANE yesterday committed the revenue service to achieving an increased revenue target for the 2017/18 FY. This comes after Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA on Wednesday increased the anticipated revenue that has to be collected for the fiscus by end-Mar., from R1, 214.7bn to R1,217.3bn. This is a marginal increase of R2.6bn and stems from improved company and trade taxes collected since the last quarter of 2017. SARS has a R48.2bn revenue shortfall this FY, revised own from R50.2bn, and GIGABA raised some taxes to generate an additional R36bn for the fiscus. "We have put in place the necessary regional revenue management structures to track taxpayer compliance down to granular level and the results are proving to be positive. We are working much smarter with greater intensity to close any revenue gaps and leakages", MOYANE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Altron says independent investigation finds no DTT collusion - Natasha Odendaal

An ALLIED ELECTRONICS-commissioned independent investigation has cleared the group's subsidiaries of alleged collusion in the 2015 set-top box tender for government's digital terrestrial television project. ALTECH UEC had failed in its bid for the DTT tender in 2014; however, allegations of collusion emerged late in 2017, which subsequently led to the launch of a Competition Commission probe into three ALTRON subsidiaries and 12 other businesses. ALTRON appointed law firm Bowmans to conduct an independent probe into the allegations following the Nov. raids by the Commission on its subsidiaries and the other businesses. Bowmans' investigation concluded that there was no anticompetitive conduct on the part of these entities, particularly with regard to tender collusion or price fixing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blue Label posts higher earnings on acquisitions - Natasha Odendaal

BLUE LABEL TELECOMS yesterday posted a surge in earnings for the HY to end-Nov., following the acquisition of 45% of CELL C and 47.37% of 3G MOBILE. The group's EPS and HEPS rose by 110% and 109% respectively to 166.68cps. During the period under review, BLUE LABEL's core headline earnings rose by 146% to R1.36bn, while its core HEPS rose 108% to 168.42cps. The earnings included the group's share of profits in CELL C of R928m, of which R865m pertained to the recognition in a deferred tax asset, and its share of profits of R36m in 3G MOBILE. Stripping out those acquisitions, nonrecurring costs, the forfeiture of income, as well as the accounting treatment of OXIGEN SERVICES INDIA and 2DFINE in the y/y period, adjusted core headline earnings and HEPS both rose by 21% to R505.3m and 75.59cps, respectively. EBITDA rose 9% to R778m during the HY. BLUE LABEL also reported a 52% narrowing in the share of losses from BLUE LABEL MEXICO from R22.1m in H1 FY17 to R10.5m in H1 FY18. Group revenue rose by 2% to R13.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop subsidiary acquires 90% stake in Croatian shopping centres - Simone Liedtke

HYSTEAD, a UK company owned by HYPROP INVESTMENTS and PDI INVESTMENT HOLDINGS, has acquired a 90% stake in two Croatian shopping centres from WKB 3 for €129.1m. When completed, HYSTEAD will own six shopping centres in five countries, with a gross asset value exceeding €740m. The two malls are located in Zagreb, Croatia, and form part of HYPROP's South-Eastern Europe strategy to acquire dominant shopping centres through HYSTEAD. Meanwhile, HYPROP, which owns 60% of HYSTEAD, said it plans to separately list HYSTEAD on the Euro MTF market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and on the main board of the JSE within the next six months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newmont beats Q4 earnings forecast - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONT MINING yesterday reported market-beating earnings for the quarter to end-Dec., reporting production that is on par with that of rival BARRICK GOLD. NEWMONT reported headline earnings of $216m, or $0.40/share, which was higher than average Wall Street analyst forecasts calling for earnings of 38cps, on expected revenues of $1.91bn. The performance was a 60% improvement on the adjusted earnings of $133m, or 25cps in the prior quarter. The net loss came in at $534m, or 99cps, compared with a loss of $391m, or 73cps y/y. Revenue in the quarter rose 8% y/y to $1.94bn on increased sales volumes and higher average realised gold prices. NEWMONT's attributable gold output rose 1% in the quarter to 1.34moz. The average realised price for gold was 6% higher for the quarter at $1 270/oz, compared with the prior year. The average realised price for copper was 29% higher for the quarter at $3.20/lb. NEWMONT guided for FY 2018 and 2019 gold production of between 4.9m-5.4moz of gold, building on the 5.3moz produced in 2017. It expects output to grow to between 4.6m and 5.1m oz a year through to 2022. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barrick guides for lower output for longer - Henry Lazenby

BARRICK GOLD has outlined a lower production profile in the coming years as it focuses on developing four major new project that are expected to lift output by around 1moz from 2021 onwards. The miner expects to produce between 4.2moz and 4.6moz of gold between 2019 and 202, at an average cost of sales of $850-$980/oz, and average all-in sustaining costs of $750-$875/oz. BARRICK has approved an initial investment of $300m-$325m to build a third shaft at its 75%-owned Turquoise Ridge mine, which, when combined with expanded processing capacity, would roughly double annual output at the mine to more than 500 000oz/y, at average AISC of around $630/oz. Initial production from the new shaft is expected to start in 2022. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers sets higher output target for 2018 - Simone Liedtke

DE BEERS has set a production target of as high as 38m ct for 2018. In its FY2017 results, the diamond miner posted a production guidance of 34m-36m ct, which compares with 33.45m ct produced in 2017. It reported a 2% improvement in its underlying EBITDA to $1.44bn in 2017, despite a lower revenue of $5.8bn following the one-off industry midstream restocking in 2016. It noted that this performance was driven by improved margins, which benefited from lower unit costs, which were supported by higher production and efficiency drives across the business. However, this was partly offset by unfavourable exchange rates and a rising portion of waste mining costs being expensed rather than capitalised. Total revenue fell by 4% to $5.8bn, with the average realised rough diamond price down 13% to $162/ct mainly due to a lower value mix. This was partly offset by an 8% rise in consolidated sales volumes to 32.5m ct. Capex fell by 48% to $273m, mainly due to the completion of major projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Restructured Anglo American reaps benefits, posts solid results - Simone Liedtke

After an extensive restructuring, ANGLO AMERICAN raised its dividend for FY2017 to $1.02/share, its highest in nearly a decade. The "fundamentally different business" nearly halved its debt to $4.5bn and doubled free cash flow by 93% to $4.9bn in the FY to end-Dec. ANGLO doubled its attributable profit to $3.2bn for the year. Operating profit grew to $5.5bn from $1.7bn y/y. Underlying EBITDA of $8.8bn was up by 45% y/y, with the company having achieved a return on capital employed of 19%. Looking forward, the company remains focussed on restructuring the business, while further improving efficiency and its capability to get the best out of its assets, which have an average life of 30 years. In 2017, ANGLO benefited from strong price improvements of 57% and 29% for metallurgical coal and copper, respectively, while palladium prices rose 44%. Diamond prices fell by 13%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldplat reaches final settlement in Rand Refinery dispute - Schalk Burger

GOLDPLAT yesterday said RAND REFINERY would pay it an undisclosed amount as a final settlement of the dispute between the two parties. "By agreeing on a settlement, we have averted further costs and risks involved in the legal process, as well as put an end to the extensive management time taken up by the process to date. We look forward to the resumption of business with RAND REFINERY on the basis of a fresh start with renewed energy and focus in areas beneficial to both parties", GOLDPLAT CEO GERARD KISBEY-GREEN said. The dispute was centred on fees owing and payable to GOLDPLAT RECOVERY by RAND REFINERY. At the time, GOLDPLAT said the ultimate recovery amount was in the vicinity of R13.5m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adani may sell stake in Carmichael coal mine amid funding delay - Bloomberg

The battle to build the Carmichael coal mine in Australia has suffered a fresh setback after ADANI ENTERPRISES conceded it would fail to meet a Mar. deadline to arrange A$3bn in financing for the project. The Dec. decision by the Queensland government to veto ADANI's A$900m funding bid for a rail line meant financing would require more time to be secured, a spokesperson for the company said. The Indian conglomerate said it will also consider selling a minority stake in Carmichael without providing further details. In addition to the state government opposing a federal loan for the project, major lenders have pre-emptively excluded themselves from financing the development because they oppose polluting fossil-fuel projects. There have also been changes to the development of the mine and connecting rail line. ADANI in Dec. decided to build Australia's largest coal project by itself after canceling a A$2bn deal with DOWNER EDI. A back-up rail option being developed by an Australian operator was also canned earlier in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Woolworths' H1 profit falls on David Jones write-down - Nqobile Dludla

WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS posted a 15% drop in HY profit yesterday, hurt by a hefty write-down charge on the value of its DAVID JONES business in Australia and tough trading conditions in its home market and Australia. "A challenging market, along with some mistakes in the implementation of new systems and ranges, has had an impact on our clothing businesses both in South Africa and Australia", CEO IAN MOIR said. WOOLWORTHS said HEPS fell to 206.3cps in the HY to Dec. 24, from 24.6cps y/y, while EPS turned into a loss of 505.9cps on the DAVID JONES impairment. WOOLWORTHS booked a non-cash impairment charge of A$712.5m against the carrying value of DAVID JONES as a result of the cyclical downturn and structural changes that have hurt performance across the Australian retail sector. The retailer, which paid R21.4bn for DAVID JONES in 2014, said the impact of these changes have been exacerbated by poor or delayed execution in certain key initiatives in DAVID JONES. DAVID JONES sales were 3.3% lower on a comparable basis, while comparable store sales were 3.4% lower in WOOLWORTHS SA, hurt by underperformance in the Fashion, Beauty and Home divisions. An interim cash dividend of 108.5cps was declared, down 18.4% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye CEO says may be one more year before firm pays dividends - Ed Stoddard

SIBANYE-STILLWATER CEO NEAL FRONEMAN yesterday said it might take one more year before the miner resumes dividend payouts. The company on Thursday reported an attributable loss for 2017 and in ab id to preserve cash turned off the dividend flow that has made it a darling of investors. The group's operations delivered solid results, with the loss stemming from impairments, provisions for occupational healthcare claims, and restructuring and transaction costs among other factors. SIBANYE-STILLWATER reported an attributable loss of R4.437bn for the FY to end-Dec., compared with earnings of R3.473bn y/y. The company said its labour-intensive Rustenburg platinum operations west of Johannesburg contributed R1.6bn or 18% to group adjusted EBITDA. "The Rustenburg operations have consistently delivered solid production and improved financial results, with approximately R1bn in cost savings and synergies realised in the first year of incorporation, well ahead of initial expectations of R800m over three or four years". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's finmin says to continue engaging IMF on debt management - Chris Mfula

Zambia will continue to engage the IMF on debt management after the international lender dismissed the nation's latest debt management plans, Finance Minister MARGARET MWANAKATWE said yesterday. The Fund last week said it had rejected Zambia's latest borrowing plans as they risk making it harder for the country to sustain its debt load. It was the second time the IMF had rejected a Zambian proposal. MWANAKATWE said the government was developing a financing profile addressing development aspirations without compromising debt sustainability. "Once our new strategy has been completed, I will be engaging the IMF to obtain their concurrence", she said. The minister added that the government would continue to implement its economic stabilisation and growth programme, whose pillars include debt management. "In this regard, we will continue to engage the IMF on a similar basis with respect to debt management". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA had no option but o raise VAT rate - Gigaba - Mfuneko Toyana

SA should have hiked VAT two years ago to plug widening gaps in government revenue and cap rising debt, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. "We had run out of options", GIGABA told a business breakfast in Cape Town yesterday morning, adding that poor households would be cushioned against the VAT rate rise via a zero-rating on basic food items such as maize meal and beans, coupled with welfare payments increases. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Djibouti ends Dubai's DP World contract - Abdourahim Arteh

Djibouti has ended a contract with Dubai's DP WORLD to run its Doraleh Container Terminal, President ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH's office said in a statement yesterday. In Feb. 2017, the London Court of International Arbitration cleared DP WORLD of all charges of misconduct over a concession to operate the terminal, Dubai's government said at the time. In 2014, the government of Djibouti lodged claims accusing DP WORLD of illegal payments to secure a 50-year concession for the Doraleh Container Terminal. The president's office said the contract was ended after the failure to resolve a long-running dispute between the two parties that started in 2012. It gave no further details on the nature of the dispute, but said it took the decision to protect its "national sovereignty and economic independence". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jabu Moleketi nominated as PPC chair - Nqobile Dludla

PPC said JABU MOLEKETI has been nominated for the position of chairman of the board to succeed current chair PETER NELSON. MOLEKETI is currently chair of VODACOM GROUP and has served on numerous boards such as the DEVELOPMENT BANK OF SOUTHERN AFRICA, BRAIT SE, REMGRO and NEDBANK. "The company wishes to inform shareholders that it is in discussions with its largest shareholders with regard to aligning the composition of the board with its strategic priorities", PPC said. Shares in the cement maker rose 1.27% to R8 yesterday afternoon following the announcement. PPC said nominations will be evaluated and appointments made soon. Bloomberg earlier reported that PRUDENTIAL INVESTMENT MANAGERS SA, PPC's second largest shareholder, had sent a formal request to PPC demanding NELSON's removal. "Under the leadership of PETER NELSON, the PPC Board of directors has successfully led the Company through a period of significant headwinds", PPC said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Budget casts hopeful light on Moody's review - Mfuneko Toyana

South African bonds stayed in demand yesterday as markets priced in expectations that government efforts to trim the country's debt pile will enable it to hang on to its last investment grade rating in a MOODY's review due next month. In this week's Budget, the country raised VAT for the first time in 25 years, a measure that S&P GLOBAL said was welcome. "It is good to see that the debt trajectory is getting back on track", S&P director RAVI BHATIA said. "The question is around the implementation of consolidation and whether they can pull it off". Economists have estimated that a third cut to 'junk' could trigger up to R100bn of investment outflows, but some said that was no longer the central scenario following the Budget. "I think it is fair to say the market is now pricing out a downgrade", said UBP's emerging market strategist KOON CHOW. In a note, NKC AFRICAN ECONOMICS analysts said they also believed MOODY's would not downgrade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 23/02/2018

At 05:35 on 23 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.67 Rand/Sterling 16.28 Rand/Euro 14.38 Gold 1330.70 Platinum 995.00 Oil 64.72 All-Share Index 58155.09

Avis Budget shares jump on upbeat outlook - Peter Wells

Shares in AVIS BUDGET rose in after-hours trading after the company issued an upbeat outlook for the year ahead. An increase in rental days helped boost the group's revenue by 7% y/y during its fiscal Q4 to $2bn, and took FY revenue to $8.8bn. For the Dec. quarter, net profit came in at $220m, including a one-off benefit of $213m related to recent tax reform. Net profit for the FY came in at $361m, while adjusted EPS came to $2.85, ahead of analysts' forecasts for $2.64. For 2018, AVIS BUDGET said it expected revenue of $9.2bn-$9.45bn. Rental days were forecast to rise by 1% to 3% in the Americas and by 5%-7% in its international markets. Shares wee up 10.1% in after-hours trading, with AVIS BUDGET having closed 2.5% lower to $38.96 during normal hours. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford president out due to 'inappropriate behaviour' - Mamta Badkar

FORD yesterday said that RAJ NAIR, its president for North America, was leaving the company with immediate effect following an internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behaviour. The carmaker said "the review determined certain behaviour by NAIR was inconsistent with the company's code of conduct". CEO JIM HACKETT said FORD is "deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values". NAIR had served as president of North America since Jun. 2017 and was considered one of the company's rising stars. The automaker did not immediately name NAIR's successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Almost 800m Tencent users send digital hongbao for lunar new year - Louise Lucas

Nearly 800m people went online to send money to family and friends over the Chinese New Year. TENCENT said 768m people sent and received hongbao over WEIXIN PAY, its third party payments business, during the six day holiday period. Typically, people will hand out scores or even hundreds of the red packets stuffed with cash. According to TENCENT, one man sent 2 723 hongbao, while another received 3 429. The mass migration to digital hongbao highlights the explosion of making payments with the swipe of a phone in China, were even beggars accept alms by offering a QR code to passers-by. The market was estimated to be worth $15.5tn last year, utterly dwarfing those in the US and other countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK jobless rate ticks up to 4.4% - Gavin Jackson

More people joined the UK's unemployment rolls in the final quarter of 2017 than at any time since 2011, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. The unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points q/q to stand at 4.4% at end-Dec. Wage growth and productivity growth also rose during the period, suggesting the UK economy may be starting to shift away from its job rich and productivity light recovery following the financial crisis. Average weekly earnings grew by 2.5% excluding bonuses, up from 2.3% in the quarter ending in Nov. In real terms, pay fell by 0.3% during 2017, according to the ONS, as inflation increased faster than wage growth during the year. Workers' output per hour rose by 0.8% compared to the previous quarter. This is the second highest rate since 2011 and follows on from a 0.9% increase in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore says hasn't paid royalties to Gertler since US sanctions - Henry Sanderson

GLENCORE says it has not paid any royalties to Israeli billionaire DAN GERTLER after he was sanctioned by the US government, but has yet to work out how to fulfil its remaining contractual obligations. GLENCORE owes an estimated $200m in royalties from its mines in the DRC to GERTLER-affiliated companies over the next two years. The royalties were agreed before the application of sanctions by the US Treasury in Dec., which said GERTLER's "opaque and corrupt mining and oil" deals in the DRC had cost that country $1.3bn. GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG said the company was working on its obligations to GERTLER and would follow the correct procedures. Last Feb., GLENCORE paid $960m to buy out GERTLER's stakes in its two copper and cobalt mines in the DRC. GERTLER is still due royalties from the operations under previous contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK seeks flexibility on Brexit transition period - Alex Barker

Britain is on a collision course with the EU over fundamental elements of the Brexit transition, as London seeks to potentially extend the period while giving itself the power to reject new union laws. A UK position paper, shared with Brussels this week, contains no end date for the transition, although British officials insist it is their intention to set one. The document contradicts some key EU negotiating principles and raises the risk of failing to reach a transition deal before a Mar. summit of EU leaders. The most problematic UK request relates to vetting EU laws it is obliged to follow during the transition, even though it has lost its voice in the EU policymaking process. Although the UK says its "implementation period" would likely last around two years, its position paper calls for a potentially longer period to allow for preparations to be made for a future UK-EU trade relationship. The EU had proposed that the transition end on Dec. 31, 2020, and included no renewal clause. British officials have urged the EU side allow for that date to be extended, if needed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

May braced for Unilever to pick Netherlands over UK for HQ - George Parker

British PM THERESA MAY is bracing for UNILEVER to choose the Netherlands over the UK for its new unified headquarters, after months of political pressure from both sides and in an "emotional" atmosphere supercharged by Brexit. British officials have held talks with UNILEVER amid fears at the top of government that the company is about to decide to have its main base in Rotterdam, rather than London. A final decision has not been taken, though the issue is expected to be decided at the next scheduled board meeting in the second week of March. UNILEVER CEO PAUL POLMAN in Nov. said he wanted to pause temporarily an HQ decision because of "political turbulence", adding: "The emotions of the moment are really the issue". UNILEVER employs 169 000 people, with 7 500 in the UK and 3 000 in the Netherlands. The choice of the Netherlands for the company's base would be highly sensitive politically and would inevitably be drawn into the debate about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citi creates new role for commodities banking across EMEA - Neil Hume

CITIGROUP has created a new position to oversee its corporate banking activities in natural resources across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CITI said MARIE-CHRISTINE OLIVE would be taking on the role, which will cover everything from miners to commodity traders. She will work closely with each of the Natural Resources sub-sector Corporate Banking teams across Power, Energy, Commodity Traders and Metals & Mining. "We are also pleased to announce the appointment of WILLIAM HUSBAND as EMEA Head of Metals & Mining Corporate Banking reporting to MARIE-CHRISTINE", CITI added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LNG price to fluctuate in line with Chinese seasonal demand - Vitol - Emiko Terazono

The price of LNG is expected to fluctuate in line with seasonal demand in China, with that buyer increasingly playing a role in determining the value of the fuel, according to VITOL. "We expect weaker summers and stronger winters", VITOL head of LNG PABLO ESCOBAR said, adding that seasonality will be more "accentuated". Limited gas storage capacity means China cannot buy and store LNG when it is cheap in warmer months like other buyers. ESCOBAR said this means the market will continue to respond to Chinese purchasing trends. Asian LNG prices hit a three-year high of more than $11/million BTUs at the end of 2017. Speaking at the International Petroleum Week conference in London, ESCOBAR, however, warned that Chinese buying would not be as robust in the winter of 2018 compared with a very strong 2017. He also said new supplies from around the world were coming online. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Qualcomm says Broadcom 'made an inadequate offer even worse' - Jessica Dye

QUALCOMM has fired back at BROADCOM's latest proposal, saying the rival chipmaker's reduced bid "makes an inadequate offer even worse" in the wake of QUALCOMM's new deal for Dutch firm NXP SEMICONDUCTORS. "The QUALCOMM Board is committed to maximising value for QUALCOMM stockholders, whether that be through executing its growth strategy or selling the company. BROADCOM's revised $79.00 per share proposal materially undervalues QUALCOMM, fails to take into account the strategic and financial benefits of acquiring NXP, and continues to face a long and highly uncertain path to regulatory approvals", QUALCOMM said. Earlier in the day, BROADCOM cut its offer for QUALCOMM by $4.5bn in a bid to win support ahead of a shareholder vote on Mar. 6 that would pave the way for the acquisition. BROADCOM had said it remained fully committed to purchasing QUALCOMM but that the latter's $44bn deal for NXP would transfer more than $6bn to shareholders of the Dutch entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya raises $2bn in long-dated debt despite IMF row - Kate Allen

Kenya has raised $2bn of long-dated bonds, including 30-year debt, despite an ongoing wrangle with the IMF over a standby credit facility. Yesterday's $1bn, 10-year bond was priced at 7.25%, while the $1bn, 30-year debt was priced at 8.25%. Both were slightly below the initial guidance set by bankers working on the deal of 7.625% and 8.625%, respectively. The bond issuance came despite MOODY's downgrading Kenya to B2 from B1 last week. MOODY's said it expected Kenya's government debt to increase due to public spending plans and difficulties in raising revenues. Kenya's rising debt level is of increasing concern in the markets. The finance ministry is currently expecting to spend 45% of tax revenue on paying off loans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, Chad agree to restructure terms of loan - David Sheppard

GLENCORE and Chad have agreed to restructure a more than $1bn cash-for-crude loan, in a move that should free up borrowing from the IMF for the African country. The agreement will extend the term of the loan beyond 10 years and slash the margin from 7.5% above LIBOR to 2%. GLENCORE lent Chad $1.4bn in 2014 through a cash-for-crude deal, but the oil price crash later that year left the country struggling to meet payments. Chad already restructured the deal once in 2015 but under pressure from the IMF has looked to again extend the tenure of the loan and lower the interest tied to the repayments. The IMF has warned Chad's external commercial debt was absorbing most of the country's oil revenues, and last year delayed releasing part of $300m in credit until the deal could be restructured. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

COSATU rejects budget as anti-poor - Mike Cohen, Bloomberg

COSATU criticised Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA's Budget, saying plans to raise VAT and curb expenditure in a bid to contain debt would hurt the poor. "The Congress of South African Trade Unions sympathises with government on the need to stabilise and fix its budget crisis. However, we are deeply disappointed that it is doing this upon the backs of the struggling working and middle classes". GIGABA proposed raising the VAT rate to 15% from 14%, and increasing other levies in a bid to raise an additional R36bn in the next FY. He also announced plans to trim expenditure by R85m over the next three years. COSATU noted that the budget contained no plans to address widespread unemployment, recoup billions of rand in funds that had been looted from the state or improve the management of dysfunctional SOEs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US confirms anti-dumping duties for Argentina, Indonesia biodiesel - Hudson Lockett

The US Department of Commerce yesterday confirmed its preliminary finding that Argentina and Indonesia engaged in dumping of biodiesel and imposed dumping duties ranging from around 60% to nearly 277%. An initial finding from the department in Oct. said exporters from Argentina had sold biodiesel at dumping margins of 54.4%-70.5%, while exporters from Indonesia sold at a margin of 50.7%. The final determination raised those ranges to 60.4%-86.4% for Argentina, and 92.5%-276.7% for Indonesia. The department said it would instruct US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of biodiesel from the two countries based on those final rates. The US imported just under 2mt of plant-based biodiesel fuel from Argentina and Indonesia in 2016, about 80% of total imports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Budget 2018 could be enough to avoid downgrade - Carin Smith

Budget 2018 has made SA's projected government finances more palatable to ratings agencies and could be enough to avoid a MOODY's downgrade, according to INVESTEC chief economist ANNABEL BISHOP. MOODY's is expected to deliver judgment on or before Mar. 23. BISHOP says certain components of the budget are credit positive, especially the marked decline in projected borrowings. She noted that the rand gained yesterday on the perceived reasonable outcome of Budget 2018, "sufficient on its own not to necessarily precipitate a credit rating downgrade from MOODY's, or any of the other two key credit rating agencies". Looking ahead, the expected cabinet reshuffle "is the next event which could provide further support to investor sentiment and the rand", she added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sugary drinks tax a go, plastic bag levy up - Jan Cronje

South Africans will be paying more for sugary drinks from Apr. 1. The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages amounts to 2.1c/gram of sugar per 100ml, above 4g per 100ml. The new tax is expected to contribute R1.9bn in additional revenue. This is much less than some initial estimates, which said the tax could bring in as much as R10bn. Meanwhile, SA is expected to pass its long-awaited Carbon Tax Bill this year and implement the tax in Jan. 2019. The bill will be the subject of parliamentary hearings this year. To reduce littering and discourage customers from buying plastic bags, the state is also upping the plastic bag levy by 50% to 12c/bag. This will take effect on Apr. 1. The environmental levy on incandescent light bulbs will be boosted from R6 to R8 per bulb to incentivise South Africans to use more energy-efficient bulbs. The vehicle emission tax will also be boosted. In addition, government is considering an acid mine drainage levy, which would make polluters pay for the cost of environmental damages. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Motorists hit hard by double digit tax increases - Fin24

Motorists will have to fork out more when filling up their petrol tanks owing to increases in both the fuel and Road Accident Fund levies, which were announced in yesterday's Budget speech. The general fuel levy will rise by 22c/litre while the RAF levy increases by 30c/l with effect from Apr. 4, resulting in a combined 52c/litre increase. Motorists will also be impacted by a higher VAT rate, which Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA raised to 15% from 14%, on new vehicle purchases as well as tyres, parts and other vehicle accessories. The Automobile Association expressed "great concern" at the levies, saying the increases amount to a total increase of 11% on the current levies from R4.78 to R5.30 and will come into effect on Apr. 1, along with other increases, such as the increase of VAT from 14% to 15%. "Coupled with the increase in VAT, the increase to the fuel levies means South Africans, especially the poor, will, in our opinion, be faced with substantial hikes in their day-to-day living expenses. Many of these people will simply not be able to absorb them", the AA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court finds Gigaba lied under oath - Paul Vecchiatto, Bloomberg

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA lied under oath when he testified during his tenure as home affairs minister in a case filed by a company that wanted to open a private immigration terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. "The minister deliberately told untruths under oath", Judge NEIL TUCHTEN said, adding that he "has committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation". FIREBLADE AVIATION, which is controlled by the OPPENHEIMER family, filed a lawsuit against GIGABA alleging that he had reneged on a pledge to delegate officials to staff their immigration and customs facility that was to be developed at OR Tambo on land rented from DENEL. GIGABA denied ever approving the terminal. The court ruled in FIREBLADE's favour. GIGABA said he stood by his testimony and was consulting with his lawyer about the ruling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sharp drop in consumer inflation - Fin24

SA's CPI came in at 4.4% in Jan. 2018, in line with expectations and down from 4.7% in Dec. 2017. This is mainly due to a drop in the fuel price. The CPI increased by 0.3% m/m in Jan. 2018. Transport decreased from 0.9 of a percentage point in Dec. to 0.6 of a percentage point in Jan. The index rose by 4.4% y/y. Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 0.2 of a percentage point in Jan. The index rose by 1.3% m/m. In Jan., the CPI for goods increased by 3.7% y/y, down from 4.1% in Dec. The CPI for services rose by 5.1%, down from 5.3% in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Optimum Coal risks suspension as workers protest - Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg

The GUPTA-owned Optimum Coal Mine will be suspended if managers fail to comply with the site's social and labour plan. Workers protested last week over the uncertainty at the operations. The Department of Mineral Resources conducted a site inspection on Feb. 8 and the mine must take measures to reach compliance within 60 days of a pending order, the ministry said. The NUM said it went on strike because key questions have yet to be answered at the mine. "What our members want to know is are they going to sell the mine or not", NUM spokesperson LIVHUWANI MAMMBURU said. "They also want to know if they're going to be paid this coming Friday". OAKBAY INVESTMENTS and DUDUZANE ZUMA bought Optimum via TEGETA EXPLORATION & RESOURCES for R2.15bn from GLENCORE in Dec. 2015. Reports that the GUPTAS have left the country have raised anxiety among workers at Optimum. OAKBAY in Aug. said it agreed to sell TEGETA for R2.97bn to CHARLES KING SA. The disposal was expected to be concluded in 12 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE reports revenue, earnings drops - Schalk Burger

The JSE LTD yesterday reported a 5% drop in revenue to R2.2bn for FY2017 and an earnings decline of 99% to R836m, but a strong balance sheet and good cash generation led it to declare a dividend of 605cps, which was up 8% y/y. EPS were down 9% to 977.4cps, and HEPS down 6% to 996.6cps. Management also took steps to reduce the JSE's cost base, which was down 1% to R1.4bn. The bourse generated cash of R977m, and has a robust balance sheet of R2.4bn. The Primary Market of the JSE recorded a 10% rise in revenue to R181m, as a result of increased additional capital raising activity. There were 21 new listings in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Assore H1 profit rises 12% - Tanisha Heiberg

ASSORE LTD yesterday said its interim profit rose 12% y/y, underpinned by improved volumes and a favourable dollar price. HEPS for the HY rose to 2 355cps, up from 2 105cps y/y. "Improved volumes across our range of products and better USD prices for all commodities in our basket, except chrome ore, were enough to overcome a 6% strengthening of the rand", CEO CHARLES WALTERS said. Based on the level of earnings for the period, the company declared an interim dividend of 1 000cps, compared with 600cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Illovo's economic value-add in Africa reported at R23.8bn - Schalk Burger

ILLOVO SUGAR AFRICA has estimated its positive economic impact across the six countries in which it operates at R23.8bn, which includes a R5bn direct positive economic impact. This is a 29% rise in the company's total contribution to the economies over a period of only four years, a report by consultancy Corporate Citizenship found. ILLOVO SUGAR AFRICA MD GAVIN DALGLEISH attributed the figure to its shared-value mandate, which supported agriculture's role in job creation, economic transformation and governments' social and economic development agendas. Total direct taxes paid in 2016/17 amounted to R311m, while indirect taxes totalling R1.1bn were collected on behalf of the governments. Renewable soures, primarily bagasse, provided 86% of ILLOVO SUGAR AFRICA's energy and 66% of all water used is cleaned and returned to its source. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Land, asset sales on cards as govt seeks revenue neutral support for SOEs - Terence Creamer

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA used his maiden Budget to reinforce President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's recent announcement that stakes in embattled SOEs could be sold to reduce their reliance on bail-outs and debt. GIGABA said that, during the coming year, government might be required to provide financial support to several State-owned Companies. This would be done through a combination of disposing of noncore assets, securing strategic equity partners, or through direct capital injections. The National Treasury stressed that it would be seeking revenue neutral mechanisms to support the SOCs, some of which had already been mandated to pursue noncore asset disposals. Government guarantees to public entities stood at R466bn, while government's exposure, defined as the total amount of borrowing and accrued interest made against the guarantees, stood at R300bn. "To respond to unanticipated economic and fiscal developments, a R26bn contingency reserve has been set aside over the medium term", Treasury reported in its Budget review, with R8bn allocated for 2018/19. In parallel, government would finalise a framework on guarantees aimed at both reducing the exposure and improving the quality of the guarantee portfolio. In addition, government would pursue noncore asset sales, the proceeds of which could be used to support, in a revenue-neutral way, those SOCs in need of recapitalisation. Government had already identified 195 000 State-owned properties, valued at R40bn, which it could begin disposing of in earnest in the months ahead. It could also sell a further stake in TELKOM, in which it retained a 39% interest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury allocates R57bn to fund fee-free higher education - Megan van Wyngaardt

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said R57bn would be allocated over the coming three years to fund the fee-free higher education policy announced by former president JACOB ZUMA in Dec. Noting that this was the largest reallocation of resources to fulfil government's priorities, GIGABA added that this was also the fastest-growing spending category, with annual average growth of 13.7% to R351.1bn. He stated that as government was still faced with a revenue gap of R48.2bn, a number of significant changes had to be made to meet this increased allocation, with new tax measures being implemented to raise an additional R36bn in 2018/19. This would be achieved mainly via a one percentage point hike in VAT, to 15%, and below-inflation adjustments to personal income tax brackets. The expenditure ceiling has also been revised down marginally from what was presented in the medium-term budget in Oct. 2017. GIGABA said government would phase in fee-free higher education to students from poor and working-class families. "This means that all new first-year students with a family income below R350 000 a year at universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges in the 2018 academic year will be funded for the full cost of study". This would be rolled out in subsequent years until all years of study are covered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Social grants set to increase faster than inflation as taxes rise - Megan van Wyngaardt

The government has committed R259.4bn towards social development in the 2018 Budget, with social grant payments set to rise faster than inflation to offset the effect of higher taxes on poor households. Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA noted that government had taken deliberate steps to adjust social grant values, adding R2.6bn since the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement to social grants to enable these changes. This included the old age, disability and care dependency grants, which will increase from R1 600 to R1 690 on Apr. 1, and by a further R10 to R1 700 on Oct. 1 - the total being R92.6bn. The child support grant will rise from the baseline of R380 to R400 on Apr. 1 and to R410 on Oct. 1. This is a 6.6% annual increase to R60.6bn. Meanwhile, the number of beneficiaries who receive the child support grant is expected to increase from 12.2m in 2017/18 to 12.8m in 2020/21. Treasury noted that the SA POST OFFICE's POSTBANK was still in talks with SASSA to distribute social grants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury makes budget cuts to assure more frugal spending - Megan van Wyngaardt

Departmental budgets have been reduced by R85.7bn over the medium term, the Treasury said yesterday, noting that cuts at the provincial level would affect conditional infrastructure grants. The cuts were announced as part of a package that included several tax increases, most notably through an increase in the value-added tax rate from 14% to 15%. This translated to a R26.4bn cut this year, R28.8bn in 2019/20 and R30.5bn in 2020/21. The cuts would fall on large programmes and transfers to government entities, including the special defence account; incarceration; air defence; and trade and industry's incentive development and administration. In addition, all national and provincial departments were required to reduce their spending on administration. However, employee compensation was not reduced. Transfers to SANRAL, SARS, PRASA and four water boards were cut, while large provincial conditional grants such as the school infrastructure backlogs grant, the education infrastructure grant, the human settlements development grant and the provincial roads maintenance grant were reduced. Similar cuts were made to local government grants, including the municipal infrastructure grant, the integrated national electrification programme grant, the urban settlements development grant and the public transport network grant. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury allocates R6bn for drought relief - Megan van Wyngaardt

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday outlined that a provisional allocation of R6bn has been set aside in 2018/19 for drought relief measures and to augment public infrastructure investment. To provide short-term assistance, disaster relief grants worth R473m would be granted for provinces and municipalities in 2018/19, along with other conditional grants which would be reprioritised to respond to disasters, if necessary. GIGABA said government would continue to work with municipalities to respond effectively to the water crisis, as it was concerned by the potential job losses in vulnerable farming communities as a result of the drought. Further allocation for drought response funds for water infrastructure projects and Expanded Public Works Programmes woudl be made in the Adjustment Budget. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Slow start to year to impact on Tiger Brands' FY18 performance - Creamer Media Reporter

TIGER BRANDS' shares fell by 9% yesterday after the company said its revenue for the four months to Jan. 31 had decreased by 5% y/y, driven by price deflation of 1% and volume declines of 4%. The company said trading during the period under review had been characterised by intense competition in a low-growth, value-driven consumer environment. It further said that the decrease in revenue had been aggravated by price deflation in some soft commodities and higher levels of discounting in the domestic business as the group seeks to manage its competitiveness on the shelf. The overall volume decline had been driven mainly by the home and personal care, and export categories. TIGER BRANDS warned that its performance for the FY was likely to be impacted by the slow start to the year, with any meaningful recovery dependent on an improved consumer environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NNPC spent $5.8bn on fuel imports since late 2017 - Reuters

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION this week said it has spent $5.8bn on fuel imports since late 2017, as it combats a fuel shortage that has left motorists queuing for hours at filling station. "The corporation's intervention became necessary following the inability of the major and independent marketers to import the product because of the high landing cost which made recovery and profitability difficult", the NNPC said. The relatively cheaper cost of Nigerian fuel combined with crude oil price rises in the last few months mean smugglers can make more money selling fuel intended for the Nigerian market across borders, creating shortages in the West African nation. Nigeria's refining system means it is almost wholly reliant on imports for the 40m litres per day of gasoline it consumes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Parliament to launch inquiry into Zwane - Reuters

Parliament will launch an investigation into allegations of influence-peddling against Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE, the oversight committee on mineral resources said yesterday. The committee did not give specific reasons why it wanted to open an investigation into ZWANE, who it had interviewed last Oct. The committee said its decision to probe ZWANE was taken after it had concluded a question-and-answer session with him in Oct., and then requested that he return at a later date. "The Committee could no longer entertain further postponements from the Minister and took a decision to institute an inquiry", committee chair SAHLULELE LUZIPO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP won't move Singapore marketing hub even if Australia cuts tax - Reuters

BHP will not move its low tax-paying Singapore marketing hub even if Australia goes ahead with plans to cut corporate taxes, CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said today. BHP's Singapore office is the focus of a long-running fight with Australia's tax office, which argues the company is shifting profit to Singapore on the sales of its mostly Australian products to minimise tax. MACKENZIE said the company has to base its marketing operations in Singapore to be close to its customers, most of whom are in Asia, and would not move it to AustraliA. "If we weren't in Asia, doing that job would be much harder for our people", he added. The Australian government wants to cut the company tax rate to 25% from 30% to make the country more competitive. MACKENZIE said a lower tax rate would spur BHP to invest in more projects in Australia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newmont maintains steady reserve base as resources grow - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONT MINING has replaced all the gold reserves it unearthed in 2017 and manged to grow its global resource base too, it said yesterday. Gold reserves now total 68.5moz for 2017, unchanged y/y as additions and revisions fully replaced depletion. NEWMONT added 6.4moz of gold reserves in 2017, including 4.4m via exploration and projects and 2m through revisions and acquisitions. NEWMONT reported 2017 output of 5.3moz, resulting in 6.4m contained ounces of reserve depletion. Gold resources increased to 48.2moz, up 1% y/y and offsetting the conversion of resource ounces to reserves. Resource grades improved 7% to 0.92g/t gold. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara's FY17 profit dips 8% on lower sales - Henry Lazenby

LUCARA DIAMOND CORP has reported an 8% drop in FY profit as lower production and fewer 'special' sales weighed on the bottom line. The company reported earnings of $65.1m, or 17cps, down from $70.7m or 19cps y/y. Revenue for 2017 fell 25% to $220.8m, as the volume of rough stones sold fell 27% to 260 526ct. The average realised price diamonds sold rose 3% y/y to $847/ct, which was boosted by the sale of the 1 109ct Lesedi La Rona, which was sold to GRAFF DIAMONDS for $53m earlier in 2016. LUCARA reported an average price of $31 005/ct from selling 1 766ct worth of special diamonds. It reported FY2017 output of 249 767ct, which was lower than expected, after the company's mining contractor experienced reduced availability of equipment, which prompted the operation to shift to lower-grade stockpiles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt to fast-track finalisation of outstanding mining policy - Megan van Wyngaardt

To take advantage of the upturn in the mining sector and improved investor sentiment to boost economic growth, government needs to finalise outstanding policy and administrative reforms. During his Budget speech yesterday, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA noted that President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's intervention this week to restore dialogue on mining policy raised hope that a solution would be found to unlock growth and transformation in this critical sector. The Chamber of Mines has indicated that should SA succeed in returning to the top 25% of mining jurisdictions in terms of regulatory attractiveness as outlined by the Fraser Institute, the country was likely to see an almost doubling of investment in the sector over the next four years. This would have profound positive economic consequences, including the creation of 150 000 new direct and indirect jobs. The CoM welcomed the 2018/19 Budget changes, noting that it was "tough, but necessary" to reinforce RAMAPHOSA's drive to stabilise the economy and get crucial sectors of the economy back on track. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye expects to report R4.44bn attributable loss for 2017 - Creamer Media Reporter

SIBANYE-STILLWATER expects to report an attributablde loss of R4.44bn, or $333m, for the FY to end-Dec., compared with attributable earnings of R3.47bn or $237m y/y. It attributed the loss to impairments, the provision for occupational healthcare claims, restructuring and transaction costs and "significant" y/y differences in commodity prices and the average rand/dollar exchange rate. SIBANYE-STILLWATER further expects to post a normalised loss of R480m, or $36m, compared with normalised earnings of R3.68bn in 2016, as the R1.01bn or $76m normalised loss for H1 2017 had been offset by normalised earnings of R522m or $39m in H2. The group expects to report an LPS of 229cps for the year, compared with EPS of 225cps y/y. The HLPS is expected to be 12c, compared with HEPS of 162cps y/y. Results will be published later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda to issue mining licences to boost investment by a fifth - Bloomberg

Rwanda will issue 50 new licences to mine metals including gold, tin and tantalum this year that may help boost investment in the nation by a fifth, the Rwanda Development Board said. The board expects to attract $2bn of investment in 2018, compared with $1.67bn last year, CEO CLARE AKAMANZI said. It's also seeking $200m for a new innovation centre in the city, and is planning a project known as Kivu Belt to boost tourism. Rwanda is expanding its mining industry as it seeks to accelerate growth to 7% this year form around 6% in 2017. It is the world's second-biggest producer of tantalum, a mineral extracted from coltan, an ore, that's used to make components in smartphones. Rwanda is also Africa's third-largest tin miner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania's new mining rules impose restrictions on foreign banks, insurers - Reuters

Foreign-owned banks, insurance companies and law firms could be locked out of Tanzania's mining sector as part of tough new regulations that aim to limit foreign ownership of mining-related activity. Under new rules the mining ministry passed last month, Tanzania will now make it compulsory fore foreign-owned mining groups to offer shares to the government and local companies. The regulations came into force in Jan. after President JOHM MAGUFULI ordered authorities to take action to put hem into effect. "A contractor, sub-contractor, licensee or other allied entity shall maintain a bank account with an indigenous Tanzanian bank and transact business through banks in the country", according to the Mining Regulations of 2018. It defines an indigenous Tanzanian bank as a bank that has 100% Tanzanian or a majority Tanzanian shareholding. "The insurable risks relating to mining activity in the country shall be insured through an indigenous brokerage firm or where applicable an indigenous re-insurance broker". The new rules also require "indigenous Tanzanian companies" to have at least 5% equity participation in a mining company, in addition to a 16% government free carried interest under the Mining Act passed in June. The local content regulation imposes a fine of at least $5m for mining companies that fail to implement the new requirements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's $1.5bn standby credit in place, but not accessible - IMF - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's $1.5bn standby credit facility remains in place until the end of Mar. 2018 but the country cannot access it because conditions have not been met, the IMF said yesterday, clarifying comments given a day earlier. "The precautionary... arrangement remains in place until end-March 2018", the Fund said. "Kenya continues to have access to resources since June subject to policy understandings to complete the outstanding reviews". Earlier this week, IMF Kenya representative JAN MIKKELSEN said that access to the precautionary facility was lost in June because a review had not been completed due to Kenya's extended election season. The two-year precautionary facility was put in place in case of unforeseen external shocks that could put pressure on the country's balance of payments. The IMF has expressed concern over Kenya's fiscal deficit, but government officials have said borrowing is necessary to fund the government's ambitious infrastructure plans, which were a key plank of President UHURU KENYATTA's successful re-election campaign last year. Total debt has risen to around 50% of GDP, from 42% in 2013, as it borrowed locally and abroad to build infrastructure like a new railway line from Nairobi to Mombasa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anadarko agrees Moz LNG sale, banks discuss finace terms - Oleg Vukmanovic

ANADARKO PETROLEUM's plan to export LNG from Mozambique moved a step closer to completion this week after it agreed a 15-year LNG sales and purchase agreement with ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE. The French utility will take 1.2mt of LNG annually from the Mozambique Area 1 marketing venture led by ANADARKO and consisting of MITSUI, ONGC VIDESH and Thailand's PTT, among others. In all, ANADARKO has agreed commercial terms including volume and price for 5.1mt/y of LNG off-take deals from Mozambique, closing in on its 8.1mtpa target needed to trigger a final investment decision. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidcorp weighs offer for majority of UK logistics unit - Nqobile Dludla

BID CORPORATION is considering an offer for its UK transport business as it looks to focus on its core operations. The company has been buying small firms it can bolt on since listing in 2016, as part of CEO BERNARD BERSON's ambitions to reshape the group. BIDCORP is at the same time pulling back from low-margin, high-volume logistics activities, and rebranding as BIDFOOD to reinforce its image as a food service group that vies with the likes of SYSCO CORPORATION. "We have received a credible and realistic commercial offer for the UK Contract Distribution business which we are actively pursuing", BERSON said, adding that the company will be able to update the market in the next few months on the outcome. He gave no indication of the price. The CD business accounts for the bulk of the underperforming UK Logistics business which buys, warehouses, picks and delivers a range of products. In the HY to end-Dec, BIDCORP spent R588.2m on acquisitions which include a 70% stake in a Munich-based foodservice business and smaller bolt-on acquisitions in Australia, Spain, New Zealand and Turkey. BIDCORP posted HEPS from continuing operations of 640cps for the HY to end-Dec., up from 589.3cps y/y. It declared an interim cash dividend of 280cps, up 12% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 22/02/2018

At 05.26 on 22 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.66 Rand/Sterling 16.24 Rand/Euro 14.34 Gold 1324.08 Platinum 987.00 Oil 64.75 All-Share Index 58605.97

Venezuela says petro cryptocurrency raises $735m in first day - Alice Woodhouse

Venezuela says it has raised $735m in the first day of the pre-sale of its cryptocurrency, the petro. President NICOLAS MADURO tweeted late yesterday that the cryptocurrency reaffirmed the country's economic sovereignty and celebrated the petro as a "big solution" to Venezuela's ills. The petro is backed by Venezuela's vast oil reserves and a white paper on the cryptocurrency said 100m petro coins will be issued. Of that, 38.4m will be sold via a pre-sale at the reference price of $60. The pre-sale runs until Mar. 2019. A further 44m coins will be sold via an initial offer starting on Mar. 20 with the same reference price, while the Superintendency of Currency and Related Activities will retain 17.6m tokens. Venezuela will accept the petro as payment for taxes, fees and public services, according ot the white paper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore issues bumper payout after 44% profit jump - Neil Hume

GLENCORE has announced a bumper payout to shareholders after annual EBITDA rose 44% to $14.7bn in the FY to end-Dec. The result was in line with market expectations and allowed the company to declare a dividend of $0.20/share, $700m more than required by its new dividend policy. Net debt fell 31% to $10.7bn, the bottom of the group's $10bn-$16bn target range, giving it the flexibility to pursue deals or return more cash to shareholders. GLENCORE's marketing business saw earnings before interest exceed $3bn for the first time since 2008. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lloyds Bank profits miss forecasts - Nicholas Megaw

LLOYDS BANK said it will invest more than £3bn in efforts to improve it digital banking services and improve its pension and business lending arms over the next three years. CEO ANTONIO HORTA-OSORIO announced the plans as part of a three-year strategic review, presented alongside the lender's FY results. LLOYDS' statutory pre-tax profit rose 24% to £5.3bn, below the FactSet consensus of £5.9bn due to a further £600m provision for dealing with payment protection insurance in Q4. The PPI affair has already cost LLOYDS more than £18bn. However, the bank was optimistic about its underlying performance, with a combination of lower costs and higher income boosting its profit by 8% to £8.5bn after exceptional items are stripped out. LLOYDS raised its FY dividend by 20% to 3.05pps, and confirmed the launch of a share buyback of up to £1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AT&T request for communications between White House and DOJ denied - Shannon Bond

A federal judge denied AT&T's request for communications between the White House and the Department of Justice about its pending $85.4bn bid for TIME WARNER, dealing a blow to the company's efforts to argue that the government's opposition to the deal is politically motivated. Judge RICHARD LEON yesterday ruled that AT&T "[had] not made a 'credible showing' that they have been 'especially singled out' by" the DOJ's antitrust division. The DOJ has sued to block the takeover on antitrust grounds, arguing it would concentrate too much control of media properties in a single entity. AT&T has pointed to President DONALD TRUMP's criticisms of its attempts to buy TIME WARNER, which owns CNN, the cable news network that is a frequent target of TRUMP's ire. The trial is set to begin on Mar. 19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Borse posts upbeat quarterly results - Olaf Storbeck

DEUTSCHE BORSE yesterday reported a 3% y/y rise in net revenue to €639m, compared to an average of €619m expected by 15 analysts polled by Vara Research. At €338m, the group's EBITDA excluding one-off items was up 9%, also beating analysts' forecasts of €326m. CEO THEODOR WEIMER is targeting net revenue growth of 5% or more and wants to grow net income by at least 10%. "We do not expect any further overall cyclical headwinds", he said in a statement. In 2017, net revenue rose 3% while adjusted net profit rose by 6%. DEUTSCHE BORSE proposed to raise its dividend for the year to €2.45/share, up 4% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spain raises first 30-yr debt in two years - Kate Allen

Spain has issued its first 30-year bond for two years as investors' appetite for eurozone periphery debt continues. Spain has raised €6bn priced at a yield of 2.726%, in the latest of a flurry of debt-raising that has brought €29bn into its treasury coffers since the start of 2018. Last month a €10bn Spanish 10-year benchmark attracted €43bn of orders, while shortly before that Italy saw €31bn of demand for a €9bn deal. Order books for yesterday's bond topped €25bn. Nearly 20% of the paper was bought by German investors, with Spanish investors buying 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP's investors may balk at unification if FTSE 100 membership jeopardised - Neil Hume

BHP could be removed from the FTSE 100 if it bows to pressure from ELLIOTT ADVISORS and ends its dual-listed company structure. CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE yesterday said it was unlikely the company would qualify for inclusion in the blue-chip index if its UK-listed PLC was folded into its Australia-listed LTD company. "How do you keep up your listing without being a PLC", MACKENZIE asked during a media briefing in London. "We did try and see with SOUTH32 if, as a LTD stock, we could get indexation in the UK and that was denied", he added. ELLIOTT has called on BHP to ditch its DLC structure, and last month published a report which claimed the miner could generate $22bn of value through a unification. Given the precedent set by SOUTH32, it was not clear UK investors would vote for unification. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US forges ahead on oil, gas exports pledge - Anjli Raval

The US is forging ahead with a plan to boost oil and gas exports as part of a push by President DONALD TRUMP's administration for "energy dominance", deputy energy secretary DAN BROUILLETTE said yesterday. "We are going to seek every export opportunity that we could possibly have for American businesses", BROUILLETTE said. Shale companies are experiencing a second wave of growth after a three-year industry downturn, helped by a rebound in oil prices as OPEC and allies outside of the cartel cut production to bolster the market. "We are certainly going to seek markets for these products", BROUILLETTE said, adding that the US was pushing consumer nations to diversify their import mix. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Walmart slips after profits miss estimates - Anna Nicolaou

WALMART missed forecasts for earnings and reported slower ecommerce sales growth in Q4, sending shares in the retailer lower yesterday. WALMART said its US ecommerce sales grew 23% in the quarter to end-Jan., a slowdown after reporting growth of more than 50% in the previous three quarters. On an adjusted basis, the group made $1.33/share in Q4, lower than consensus forecasts of $1.37, and up from $1.22/share y/y. Total revenue in the quarter was $136.3bn, beating expectations for $134.9bn, from $130.9bn y/y. Sales at stores open for at least a year in the US rose 2.6% in the quarter, with traffic to tores up 1.6%. WALMART shares fell nearly 9% to $95.50 at the open of the market yesterday, wiping more than $28bn off the retailer's market cap. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Qualcomm agrees new $44bn NXP Semiconductors deal - James Fontanella-Khan

QUALCOMM has agreed to raise its bid for NXP SEMICONDUCTORS to $44bn, as it looks to seal a longstanding deal to buy the Dutch company while also defending itself from a hostile takeover bid from BROADCOM. QUALLCOM has increased its offer to $127.50/share, up 16% from the initial $110 arrangement agreed between the parties in Oct. 2016, which faced resistance from NXP investors including a unit of US hedge fund ELLIOTT. QUALCOMM said it had entered into a binding agreement with nine NXP shareholders, including ELLIOTT, who collectively hold more than 28% of the group's shares and who have agreed to tender their shares at the new price. It also reduced the acceptance threshold for its bid to just 70% of NXP's investor base. The move to boost the NXP offer also aims to derail BROADCOM's hostile $146bn takeover attempt of QUALCOMM. BROADCOM has stated that it would not follow through on a deal with NXP if it was successful in securing a deal to buy QUALCOMM at a price of more than $110/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP says copper best way to play EV revolution - Henry Sanderson

Copper is the best way to benefit from growth in electric cars and renewable energy, according to BHP. The miner will concentrate on boosting its copper output rather than venture into smaller markets such as lithium and cobalt, CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said yesterday. "We have a strong growth plan for copper. The copper market is an order of magnitude greater even when you allow for electric vehicles than we would expect the cobalt market or lithium market to be", MACKENZIE said. EVs will require a "global infrastructure revolution" that will drive an increase in global copper demand, according to consultancy CRU. They forecast that by 2035, demand for the red metal in charging and distribution upgrades will reach 1.2mt. BHP is spending $2.5bn to extend the life of its Spence copper mine in Chile and is also exploring for new deposits in Chile, Peru and Ecuador. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Davis dismisses fears of 'Mad Max-style' post-Brexit dystopia - John Murray Brown

Brexit secretary DAVID DAVIS has dismissed fears that quitting the EU will plunge the country into a "Mad Max-style world" of deregulation, and said a race to the bottom on standards were against the country's history, intentions and national interest. While he acknowledged that some feared an "Anglo Saxon race to the bottom, a Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction", DAVIS said the competitive challenge for UK and the EU would not be met by a reduction in standards. "We'll never be cheaper than China or have more resources than Brazil. This challenge can only be met by an increase in quality, an increase in service levels, an increase in intellectual content. By leading from the front and setting standards you can drive innovation and enable new technology to thrive". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German economic confidence eases off record high - ZEW - Cat Rutter Pooley

Finance professionals' view of the German economy moderated slightly in Feb. as the ZEW indicator eased from a record high. The index slipped more than expected this month to 92.3, although the latest assessment of Germany's performance is still the second-highest reading on record. The forward-looking expectations metric has trailed behind financiers' rosier assessment of the current situation for some time, but the prolonged boom through 2017 has delayed a convergence between the two measures. The overall measure of economic sentiment has remained below the long-term average of 23.7 points despite the strength of the German economy. In Feb., the headline index also fell, but not as much as analysts had expected. It came in at 17.8, beating estimates of a drop from 20.4 last month to 16.0. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HSBC loan loss rise said to be tied to Steinhoff, Carillion - Stephen Morris, Bloomberg

HSBC is the latest bank to take hits from the fallout of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL and CARILLION. The European lender said loan-impairment charges were around $188m higher in Q4 y/y, "largely driven by two individual corporate exposures in Europe", according to a filing yesterday. The companies in question were STEINHOFF and CARILLION, the UK construction company that imploded earlier this year, according to a source. Without the two loans going bad, impairments would have dropped in the quarter, according to the filing. The losses contributed to HSBC missing its estimated profit in STUART GULLIVER's final earnings report as CEO. CARILLION's collapse last month left behind debts of around $2.24bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to tackle tax avoidance - Ramaphosa - Jan Gerber

SA will continue to play a leading role in international efforts to stem the tide of tax avoidance, President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said yesterday. He reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption when he replied to the debate on his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday. "It is time that we implement our resolutions on the conduct of lifestyle audits of all people who occupy position of responsibility, starting with members of the executive", RAMAPHOSA told MPs. He added that institutions like SARS, the SARB, the Financial Intelligence Centre and law enforcement agencies work together to detect and prosecute tax evasion. "South Africa will continue to play a leading role in international efforts - through structures like the OECD and G20 - to tackle the various forms of tax avoidance", RAMAPHOSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown orders Transnet to report alleged wrongdoing, despite 'inconclusive' report - Yolandi Groenewald

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has instructed TRANSNET to report alleged irregularities identified in an investigative report to law enforcement authorities, even though the utility labelled them incomplete and inconclusive. The report by Werksmans probed alleged wrongdoing in the R54bn procurement process of 1 064 locomotives from four original equipment suppliers in 2014, including GENERAL ELECTRIC, BOMBARDIER, CHINA SOUTH REAL and CHINA NORTH RAIL. BROWN said ESKOM has been down "this road of commissioning investigations, only to claim they are indecisive or incomplete. It is an unsustainable strategy which adds to the weight of suspicion and negative sentiment about the company". Werksmans was commissioned by TRANSNET in 2017 to investigate allegations that alleged locomotive deals inside the utility had involved kickbacks that could be traced to the GUPTA family. But last week the utility declared that "at this stage" there was no need for disciplinary action or suspensions of any of its officials. The board had resolved that the report was incomplete and inconclusive, based on the terms of reference provided to it. Werksmans questioned this stance, saying the board's resolution to absolve the officials involved in wasteful and irregular expenditure was surprising. It added that law enforcement agencies should be brought in to investigate the matters identified in the report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICASA to hold public hearings on end-user, subscriber service charter regulations - Natasha Odendaal

ICASA has announced that Mar. 1 and 2 have been earmarked for public hearings into the second draft of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations. Following the receipt of 13 written submissions, the regulator will undertake oral representations at its Sandton headquarters to unpack the general concern around the perceived high cost of data, in addition to the expiry of data bundles and out-of-bundle business rules applied by service providers. The schedule of the public hearings will be published in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial reports solid H1 results, delves into unbundling plans - Megan van Wyngaardt

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS' plans for unbundling its Logistics and Motus entities, and listing them separately, are still in the works bur are dependent on various internal and external factors, CEO MARK LAMBERTI said yesterday. IMPERIAL LOGISTICS has assets mainly in SA, the rest of Africa and Europe. MOTUS encompasses IMPERIAL's vehicle import and distribution, vehicle retail and rental, after-market parts and motor-related financial services operations. "Internally, the thing that is of absolute importance is that both of these businesses are properly geared, because when we unbundle, IMPERIAL LOGISTICS will effectively be a separately listed company and, at that stage, both of these businesses will have to have a balance sheet that enables them to grow", LAMBERTI said. IMPERIAL reported a 5% rise in operating profit to R3.09bn for the HY to end-Dec., supported by a 16% increase in HEPS to 717cps and a 9% increase in EPS to 671cps. This was split between IMPERIAL LOGISTICS reporting R1.39bn in operating profit, up 7%, and MOTUS adding R1.71bn to the balance sheet, up 5%. IMPERIAL plans in disposing of properties valued at R606m and interests in smaller entities amounting to around R55m. It also planned to invest some R1.3bn this year to maintain the quality of its assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atterbury starts construction at Midrand industrial park - Megan van Wyngaardt

Property developer ATTERBURY has started construction on Old Mint Park, a prime industrial development neighbouring the SA Mint and fronting the N1 highway, centrally located between Midrand and Centurion. The R800m project entails the development of a new 65 000m2 industrial park and is a JV between ATTERBURY and OLD MUTUAL PROPERTIES. One of the development's biggest drawcards is its location - positioned centrally between Johannesburg and Pretoria, where Midrand meets Centurion. Old Mint Park is also located directly opposite the future Samrand Gautrain station, and adjacent to the future K220 road, which is incorporated into its master plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SNC-Lavalin secures Shell SA maintenance contract - Schalk Burger

SNC-LAVALIN has been awarded a four-year maintenance service and support contract for ten fuel storage facilities for SHELL DOWNSTREAM SA. The scope of work includes mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and piping maintenance related services for 10 SHELL terminal depots in Alberton, Durban, Kimberley, Kroonstad, Ladysmith, Mossel Bay, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Rockiesdrift and Witbank. The work includes the management and coordination of all relevant subcontractors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU warns it will retaliate if hit by US trade curbs - Reuters

The European Commission yesterday said it had expressed its concern to Washington about possible measures to curb imports of steel and aluminium and warned it was ready to react if its industry was hit. "We have made it clear to the US administration at the highest level that we would be deeply concerned about measures that affect the EU industry", Commission spokesperson MARGARITIS SCHINAS said. "We would be taking appropriate measures to defend EU industry and we stand ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive measures by the United States", SCHINAS added. The US Commerce Department has recommended that President DONALD TRUMP impose curbs on steel and aluminium imports from China and other countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB expresses strong support for new Eskom leadership - Terence Creamer

The African Development Bank yesterday expressed confidence that the new leadership at ESKOM would restore the utility's governance and creditworthiness. Speaking at the Africa Energy Indaba, AfDB VP for power AMADOU HOTT revealed that the bank had recently held "very good discussions" with ESKOM. The AfDB was willing to continue supporting ESKOM, holding the view that "things will be drastically different" at the utility going forward. HOTT's statement came against the backdrop of a severe liquidity crunch at ESKOM, which resulted in the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION advancing an emergency one-month loan of R5bn to help the utility avoid a default. ESKOM had been forecasting negative cash flow of R10bn for the first week of Feb. and the PIC argued there was a risk that the utility would default on its commitments. The PIC said such an event would have posed a threat to the economy, SA's fiscal balance, as well as the PIC's own R95bn exposure to ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA falls to small percentage of AngloGold output - Martin Creamer

South African gold mines now represent around 13% of the ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI portfolio, CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN said yesterday. This follows the sale of Moab Khotsong and Kopanang and the closure of the Tau Tona gold mine, which leaves ANGLOGOLD with only two remaining South African gold operations - Mponeng and Mine Waste Solutions. However, significant investment is continuing, with $66m going into Mponeng, of which $11m is on extension project work and $55m on nominal reserve development. The extension provides access to a 12.5moz gold reserve within the 50moz Mponeng resource. The feasibility study for Mponeng's Below 120 life-of-mine extension project is scheduled for completion during the latter part of this year. During 2017 the SA region produced 903 000oz of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $1 245/oz, well up on the AISC of $1 080/oz in 2016. Meanwhile, MWS lifted production by 19% in the FY to end-Dec. on higher grades and better gold recovery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

There is relevance for nuclear power in SA - Group Five exec - Anine Kilian

SA needs to be prepared for the nuclear build programme, according to DES MULLER, nuclear construction services director at GROUP FIVE. Speaking at the Africa Energy Indaba, MULLER said there was definitely relevance for nuclear energy in the country. SA plans to built at least 9 600MW of nuclear power capacity, but the build programme has been a contentious issue, with many arguing the country simply cannot afford it. "South Africa has a well-established nuclear industry, with two operating assets. The nuclear build programme could potentially move very fast, because a lot of work has been done through various procurement programmes within government and the private sector", MULLER said. He added that nuclear energy could deliver some sustainability objectives, such as desalination, and the preservation of water, transmission losses, and being able to generate energy at the perimeters of the grid. SA currently averages 16% transmission losses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transpaco under pressure in H1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

TRANSPACO reported a 4.7% drop in operating profits to R78.5m in the HY to end-Dec. While in line with forecasts, the company said its performance remained under pressure from the continued challenging economic environment, leading to a 5.4% contraction in HEPS to 168.2cps. The drop in sales and continued margin pressure was partially offset by stringent, well-managed expenses, resulting in the operating margin remaining on par y/y. Headline earning fell by 5.3% to R55.3m, while NAV/share increased by 7.9% to R18.03. All divisions traded favourably, notwithstanding a decline in the plastics division, which was impacted on by price deflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CT's Day Zero delayed until July - Natasha Odendaal

Day Zero has again been pushed back by another month as daily water use in the Western Cape drops by 3m litres, with the average daily consumption averaging 523m litres a day. While still short of the 450m litre a day target, DA leader MMUSI MAIMANE yesterday said this contributed to extending Day Zero from Jun. 4 to July 9. Further, the Groenland farmers association provided further private water transfers, joining others in the agricultural sector and many businesses in curbing water use and contributing to the continual push-back of Day Zero. Day Zero had initially been expected to occur in Apr., but was later pushed out to May due to the drop in agricultural water use. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Volvo Trucks grows 6% in 2017, aims for another 5% this year - Irma Venter

VOLVO TRUCKS SOUTHERN AFRICA has increased VOLVO truck sales by 6% in 2017, from 1 957 units in 2016, to 2 074 units in 2017. Part of VOLVO TRUCKS' success in the local new-truck market last year was driven by a renewed focus on customer satisfaction. VTSA concluded 2017 as the commercial vehicle brand with the top commercial satisfaction rating in the industry-wide Scott Beyers survey. The brand moved up from a combined third position, with a rating of 97.87% in 2015, to the top spot in 2017 with a 98.51% rating. "Over the past two years, we have made a concerted effort to make our customers our top priority", says VGSA president TORBJORN CHRISTENSSON. Looking ahead, the company aims to increase truck sales by 5% in SA and other African countries this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cell C FY2017 rallies on Blue Label recapitalisation - Natasha Odendaal

CELL C yesterday posted strong results for the FY to end-Dec., bolstered by the R5.5bn recapitalisation programme led by BLUE LABEL last year. The recapitalisation involved several companies, an employee and management shareholding scheme and a further subscription from NET1 for R2bn, and reduced CELL C's debt from nearly R18bn to R6.8bn. The transaction had generated a healthy and sustainable balance sheet for the business, boosting CELL C's years-long turnaround strategy. CELL C's net profit surged 660% to R4.1bn during FY2017, a significant turnaround on the profit of R541m reported y/y. The company achieved EBITDA of R7.8bn, benefiting form a one-off gain of R4.1bn arising from the recapitalisation transaction and representing a 151% rise on the EBITDA of R3.1bn posted in 2016. EBITDA in the period Jan. to July 2017 reached R1.96bn, rising to R5.83bn in the final five months of FY2017. CELL C increased its total revenue to R15.7bn in 2017, a 7% rise on the R14.6bn achieved in 2016. Wholesale revenue rose by 79% to R717m during the FY under review. Service revenue rose by 12% to R13.2bn, attributed to a 29% increase in data revenue to R5.2bn and a 90% rise in data use y/y. Total active subscribers increased 6% to 16.3m, with active data consumers increasing to 12.6m. CELL C plans to inject R3bn into the business this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's iron ore discounts hit Fortescue revenue - Mariaan Webb

Chinese steelmakers' demand for better-quality ore has had a huge impact on FORTESCUE METALS' HY financial performance, with revenue contracting by 18% and net profit falling sharply. The Australian iron ore miner reported revenue of $3.68bn in the HY to end-Dec., compared with $4.49bn y/y. It generated underlying EBITDA of $1.83bn, which was 31% lower than the first half of the 2017 FY due to the lower revenue. Net profit after tax slumped 44% y/y to $681m, with basic EPS down 44% y/y to 21.9cps. FORTESCUE said it sold iron ore at a 32% discount to the 62% CFR Platts index, compared with a 14% discount y/y. The weaker financial performance resulted in the board trimming the interim dividend to A$0.11/share, which equates to a payout ratio of 40% of net profit after tax, but is well short of the A$0.20/share that FORTESCUE paid out in H1 2017. Total iron ore shipments in the period under review were 84.5mt with C1 cash costs of $12.11/wet metric tonne. FORTESCUE achieved a record low C1 cash cost of $12.08/wmt in the Dec. quarter. It maintained its FY guidance of 170mt at a C1 cash cost of $11-$12/wmt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moab Khotsong deal concluded - Megan van Wyngaardt

HARMONY GOLD yesterday said all conditions precedent to its acquisition of Moab Khotsong from ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI had been met and the deal would become effective on Mar. 1. HARMONY CEO PETER STEENKAMP said the integration of the asset will enhance the quality of the company's portfolio and boost its cash flows. The Department of Mineral Resources last week granted the transfer of the Moab Khotsong mining right to HARMONY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kabila yet to sign new minign code as deadline nears - Reuters

DRC President JOSEPH KABILA has not yet signed into law a new mining code, a senior aide said yesterday, as international mining companies wage a last-ditch lobbying effort against the measure. The comments by JEAN-PIERRE KABILA, the president's deputy chief of staff, come amid uncertainty about whether the president intends to sign the new code, which raises taxes on miners, or whether he might let the bill become law without his signature. Under the constitution, the president has 15 days from the time Parliament sends him the bill to either sign it into law or return it to parliament for further deliberation. If he takes no action, it automatically becomes law. The code could see royalties on cobalt increase five-fold to 10% and it removes a stability clause in the current law protecting miners from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP CEO says to meet Elliott this week - Reuters

BHP BILLITON CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said he will be meeting with ELLIOTT ADVISORS this week, among others, and will be discussing their call for BHP to scrap its dual listing in the UK. MACKENZIE said he wants to hear all investors' views on the dual listed structure and is open to any ideas, even after the company reiterated yesterday that the costs of collapsing the dual listed structure currently outweighed the benefits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mongolia says can build power plant to supply Oyu Tolgoi - Reuters

Mongolia can build a power plant at its Tavan Tolgoi coal mine by 2021 to supply the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, energy officials said yesterday, as the government seeks to hold RIO TINTO to an agreement to use Mongolian power. Tensions have mounted between the government and its fellow shareholders in Oyu Tolgoi, where RIO TINTO is operating a huge underground extension. RIO last week said it was working with its partners to find a solution after the government announced the cancellation of a contract, with the company interpreted as meaning the Tavan Tolgoi power project was no longer viable. Energy Minister TSERENPIL DAVAASUREN yesterday said a cooperation agreement with a party called South Gobi Energy had been cancelled, but a plant at the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine was still in development. Oyu Tolgoi had "the responsibility to choose total energy demand for Oyu Tolgoi from Mongolia within four years", DAAVASUREN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP to open data rooms for US shale fields, deals may be announced before year-end - Mariaan Webb

BHP will open the data rooms for its onshore US assets next month, the company said yesterday, as it confirmed that deals may be announced before the end of 2018. Under pressure from activist investors to get out of the shale business, BHP reported that it had started marketing each of the fields and that the data room for the Fayetteville field had been opened. Data rooms for the remaining fields would be opened in Mar. BHP also said it continued to explore the potential for asset swap opportunities or existing the business via a demerger or IPO. Its current timeline is to receive trade sale bids during the Jun. 2018 quarter, evaluate and negotiate those bids in the Sep. 2018 quarter and to announce completed transactions in H1 FY2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US steel import tariff could hurt SA steel sector - Tanisha Heiberg

A tariff on steel imports to the US could hurt the South African sector which has battled against cheap imports and slow economic growth, an industry body said this week. The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA said it is concerned the implementation of the tariff could decrease local production. The US Commerce Department has recommended steep curbs on steel and aluminium imports ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas, including a tariff of at least 53% on all steel imports from 12 countries, including SA. SA imposed a three-year emergency safeguard tariff on imports of certain flat hot-rolled steel products last year to protect the local industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta seeks to expand zinc output after price rally - Barbara Lewis

VEDANTA RESOURCES may accelerate expansion of its African zinc operations to take advantage of higher prices, Zinc International head DESHNEE NAIDOO said this week. The rally in zinc prices to their highest since 2007 has helped to boost the overall profits of VEDANTA, which has zinc projects in India, SA and Namibia. It also has licences in Ireland and is discussing possible JVs to develop them following the closure in 2015 of the Lisheen mine it operated in that country. NAIDOO said she was bullish on zinc prices and bullish about SA after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA replaced JACOB ZUMA as president last week. "Some of the aged mines are starting to close, demand is growing. The market is in deficit for both zinc concentrate and metal", NAIDOO said. VEDANTA is already bringing on new production at Gamsberg in the Northern Cape, where output should start around the middle of this year, ramping up to full production of 250 000t/year in around a year's time. In view of the strengthened zinc price, NAIDOO said a second phase to bring production to around 400 000t/year could be accelerated. A decision would be taken "over the coming months". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo Republic seeks relief talks with oil traders over debt - Julia Payne

Congo Republic is set to become the latest African nation to start debt relief talks with trading houses after borrowing $2bn from merchants such as TRAFIGURA and GLENCORE but now finding its debt levels unsustainable. Trading houses regularly lend money to resource-rich clients in financial distress when other lenders walk away. But traders often charge heavy interest on loans and require access to resources. Congo has recently appointed LAZARD as an advisor to help it renegotiate debts with the traders, sources said. LAZARD declined to comment. Congo was forced to seek a restructuring because it had to channel most oil revenue towards debt repayments instead of its own budget when oil prices fell. Negotiations to restructure the loan for a second time have been on-going since mid-2017, and became fraught after Chad said it would cut off some of the oil going to GLENCORE when the two sides clashed over the terms. GLENCORE and TRAFIGURA declined to comment. TRAFIGURA has lent the country around $1bn together with banks. In the case that Congo defaults, the trading house is fully responsible for the debt, although it has insured it with re-insurers. GLENCORE lent Brazzaville around $850m between 2015 and 2016, according to its accounts, to be repaid with future oil deliveries over five years. At the end of 2016, GLENCORE was directly owed $336m, while the banks were still owed around $500m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF says it stopped Kenya's access to standby credit - Duncan Miriri

The IMF stopped Kenya's access to a $1.5bn standby credit facility last June after failing to agree with the government on a reduction of the fiscal deficit, the fund said yesterday. The two-year precautionary facility, set to expire next month, was put in place for Kenya in case of unforeseen external shocks that could put pressure on the balance of payments. The country has not yet tapped the facility, which was preceded by a smaller standby one-year credit line in 2015. "The programme has not been discontinued but access was lost in mid-June because a review had not been completed... There was no agreement on the fiscal adjustment at the time", JAN MIKKELSEN, IMF representative in Kenya, said. The IMF wanted to see "substantial fiscal consolidation" to lower the deficit and put the country's debt onto a sustainable path. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA has until 2019 elections to cash-in on global windfall - Citi - Mfuneko Toyana

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA must quickly show international investors his government can implement reforms to take advantage of a weak dollar and growth in China, according to DAVID LUBIN, CITIGROUP's head of emerging markets. The crucial period starts with today's annual budget and runs until next year's elections, LUBIN said. LUBIN said that while RAMAPHOSA was respected by international markets, moving fast on economic reforms was key to turning optimism into long term investment. "There's been a very dramatic reassessment of South Africa's fundamentals in the last three weeks", LUBIN said. Once the dust settles after the budget, urgent implementation of fiscal and structural reforms was needed to retain investor support, he added. "What the president chooses to tackle first and when he's able to do that will become big questions", LUBIN said. "A lot depends on Wednesday. If South Africa delivers a budget that maintains confidence in its ability to stabilise debt, that would go a long way. Building up some credibility and buying some time in what remains a transition going into election requires a high degree of credibility", LUBIN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 21/02/2018

At 07:15 on 21 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.76 Rand/Sterling 16.45 Rand/Euro 14.50 Gold 1326.34 Platinum 994.00 Oil 64.75 All-Share Index 57928.78

AngloGold posts lower FY earnings on lay-off costs, silicosis provision - Ed Stoddard

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI posted lower annual earnings this morning, hit by restructuring costs and $46m in provisions for an expected settlement in a class-action suit related to silicosis. Adjusted headline earnings came in at $9m, down from $143m y/y. This included the impact of retrenchment provisions in the SA region of $71m post-tax. ANGLOGOLD noted that it had signed an agreement with the Ghanaian government to "provide a framework for the redevelopment of the Obuasi Gold mine into a modern, productive mining operation. The redevelopment will establish Obuasi as a mechanised underground mining operation. The approach to redeveloping the Obuasi mine is a fundamental departure from how the mine was operated in the past". ANGLOGOLD last year lifted a force majeure on Obuasi after the removal of thousands of illegal miners. The company declared a final dividend of 70 South African cents per share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial HY profit jumps on acquisitions, vehicle sales - Nqobile Dludla

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS LTD today reported a 16% rise in HY profit, buoyed by acquisitions, increased vehicle sales in MOTUS and a strong performance from its IMPERIAL LOGISTICS unit, particularly in SA. IMPERIAL's basic HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. rose to 717cps, from 618cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 20/02/2018

At 11:39 on 20 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.75 Rand/Sterling 16.39 Rand/Euro 14.51 Gold 1337.47 Platinum 998.50 Oil 65.18 All-Share Index 57933.03

German producer prices hold strong in Jan. - Cat Rutter Pooley

German producer prices rose faster than expected in Jan., with broad-based price growth across all categories of industrial products underlying the continued strength of the eurozone's largest economy. Data from Destatis showed the index of producer prices for industrial products rose 2.1% in Jan. y/y, beating analysts' forecasts for a y/y rise of 1.9%. The annual pace of growth slowed from Dec., when producer prices rose by 2.3% from the prior year. On a m/m basis, price rises accelerated - up 0.5% in Jan. from 0.2% the previous month, and 0.1% in December. Energy prices were up 2.2% overall y/y, with a 4.9% rise in the cost of electricity offsetting a slight decline in the cost of naturla gas distribution. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HSBC annual revenues up as pre-tax profits near $21bn in 2017 - Don Weinland

Bucking a years-long drop in annual revenue, HSBC today said it bought in $51.5bn in adjusted revenues, a 5% increase y/y but still below analysts' estimates. The bank posted $2.3bn in adjusted pre-tax profit for the last quarter of 2017 after reporting a loss for the same period a year ago. Pre-tax profit for the FY came in at $20.99bn, up 11% bot coming in below forecasts. The bank said it would pay out an annual dividend of 51c for 2017, flat y/y. HSBC has succeeded in cutting out more than $6bn in costs. It also cut $338bn in risk-weighted assets since 2015, surpassing the original target. Return on equity, at 5.9% in 2017, is still far below the 10% the bank originally marked out as a target. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP announces best HY profits since 2014 - Neil Hume

Rising commodity prices have helped BHP post its best HY profits since 2014 and declare a bumper dividend. The miner said underlying attributable profit rose 25% to just over $4bn for the HY to end-Dec. Copper and oil were the main drivers of the increase, while earnings from the iron ore business were flat. "Higher commodity prices and a solid operating performance delivered free cash flow of $4.9bn", CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said. "We used this cash to further reduce net debt and increase returns to shareholders through higher dividends". The company declared a dividend of 55cps, up from 40cps y/y. That represented a payout ratio of 72%, which was above market forecasts. Net debt fell 23% to $15.4bn. Including a $2bn exceptional charge triggered mainly by changes to US corporate tax rates, BHP recorded a profit of $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cutting data costs a govt priority - Patel - Lameez Omarjee

Government will prioritise bringing down data costs as part of developing an economy in line with the fourth industrial revolution, Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL said yesterday. "Technology is changing economies and society in a deep and fundamental way. The digital economy is a key driver of the fourth industrial revolution. Thus bringing down data costs is a priority for the year ahead", PATEL said, adding that govenrment will focus on the matter by finalising the release of a new spectrum. Government will also invest in R&D to develop the intellectual property base for the economy. It will provide funding for venture capital projects involved in technology as well. Meanwhile, the government also plans to complete the process of digital migration. It will work with the digital industrial revolution commission and arrange a session to brief Parliament on the progress made in the work done related to the fourth industrial revolution, PATEL added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff ex-partner wins case against retailer - Wout Vergauwen, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL has lost a case against a former business partner related to how it reported financials for 2016. STEINHOFF should amend its accounts for that year, the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber ruled yesterday in a case brought by ANDREAS SEIFERT's OM HANDELS and MW HANDELS businesses. The lawsuit pre-dates the reporting by STEINHOFF of financial wrongdoing in Dec. OM had accused the retailer of committing false accounting by not acknowledging its stake in POCO EINRICHTUNGSMARKTE GMBH, a German furniture retailer. It is one of three European cases SEIFERT's businesses have brought against STEINHOFF. The Dutch Enterprise chamber ruled that STEINHOFF must account properly for the correct ownership structure of POCO, and pay OM HANDELS's legal costs of €3 398. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank to lay off up to 500 at investment bank - Laura Noonan

DEUTSCHE BANK is laying off up to 500 employees at its investment bank ahead of its 2017 bonus round, a source said yesterday. Some senior and mid-ranking bankers have already been given their notices as part of another round of cost cuts at the German lender. The tally of lay-offs comes to 250 and 500, the source said. DEUTSCHE has cut around 3 500 staff across its operations since 2015, as part of a plan to save €3.8bn in gross costs from 2015-2018. At its 2017 FY results, the bank admitted it would not make this year's cost targets, triggering a 6% fall in its share price on the day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Morgan Stanley cuts dollar forecasts - Adam Samson

MORGAN STANLEY has taken an axe to its year-end forecast for the US dollar, with the investment bank expecting a the sell-off to accelerate in H2 2018. Strategist HANS REDEKER yesterday downgraded many of his forecasts of how the greenback will perform against major developed and EM currencies. "We are long-term dollar bears; nothing has changed there. However, we believe that the dollar downtrend is likely to intensify once we have passed a potential second quarter 2018 hiccup to European politics and Japan leaning against yen strength". REDEKKER's remarks come as the dollar index has slid more than 3% this year, following a nearly 10% sell-off in 2017. "Because the dollar is the global reserve currency and its capital markets are ample, it should trade inversely to demand for capital, which in turn is a function of risk sentiment. Demand for capital globally is rising due to strong capital spending demand, fiscal policy becoming more expansionary and private demand staying strong. We expect the strong growth momentum to continue. As a result, this robust demand for capital should continue, if not strengthen, leading to further dollar weakness", REDEKKER added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chicken shortage shuts majority of KFC branches in UK - Cat Rutter Pooley

Almost two-thirds of the UK branches of KFC remained closed yesterday due to a chicken shortage, after "operational issues" less than a week into a new distribution contract with DHL left deliveries "incomplete or delayed". KFC restaurants have either been closed, operating a limited menu or with shorter opening hours since Saturday. In a statement, the chicken restaurant said its new delivery partner had experienced "a couple of teething problems", adding that "getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex". KFC overhauled its British supply chain in Nov. 2017, ending its relationship with BIDVEST and entering into a three-way partnership with DHL and previous partner QUICK SERVICE LOGISTICS, which has supplied the chain in Europe since 2011. KFC was unable to tell fans when British restaurants would return to normal service. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US oil price rises after OPEC chief optimistic on market rebalance - Edward White

US oil prices rose today after OPEC secretary general MOHAMMED BARKINDO signalled the cartel would continue to work towards cutting stocks. WTI was up 1.4% in early Asia trading at $62.57/barrel. That is still 6% below the three-year high touched in late Jan. Brent was off 0.4% at $65.43/barrel after adding 1.2% on Monday. The latest price moves came after BARKINDO told a conference in Nigeria that the effort by OPEC to curb production was being supported by high levels of conformity among its members and had gained "massive momentum". He also indicated that formal cooperation among producers would continue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strong calls for Ramaphosa to fix SOEs - Lameez Omarjee

MPs yesterday called on President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA to clean up state-owned enterprises and to have those implicated charged and removed. ANC Chief Whip JACKSON MTHEMBU said the integrity of SOEs and government departments must result in a well-functioning and capable state. In his maiden SONA, RAMAPHOSA announced structural changes to SOEs in terms of their funding models and boards. DA leader MMUSI MAIMANE lauded the President's plans to end cadre deployments and appoint competent and experienced people on boards, but said that changing boards is not enough. He said SOEs like SAA can no longer be bailed out with public funds, but should be privatised instead. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

COSATU warns against VAT hikes, austerity measures ahead of Budget - Jan Cronje

COSATU has argued against raising the VAT rate and increasing income tax rates for working and middle class people ahead of tomorrow's Budget Speech. "COSATU expects government not to throw the working and middle classes under the bus with VAT and income tax hikes", the trade union federation said yesterday. "COSATU will not support any attempt by government to balance budget shortfalls and deficits upon the backs of struggling workers. Workers are not the ones who have looted ESKOM, SAA and the state". It said the government should first eliminate billions of rands in wasteful expenditure, and the National Prosecuting Authority recover "stolen" assets. COSATU also said the state should increase taxes on imported and luxury goods, and "the many millionaires who find sophisticated ways to avoid paying taxes". It called on President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA to cut the size of national and provincial cabinets, trim the perks of politicians, and halt the provision of bodyguards to all mayors and municipal speakers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining communities on board with hold on charter court bid - Yolandi Groenewald

A full bench of judges yesterday ordered that the Mining Charter must be postpone "without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing", after the Presidency and Chamber of Mines said they would start fresh negotiations on the fate of the document. The application was set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court, starting on Monday. Costs have been reserved. But seven other applicants were not part of the discussions. The legal representatives for mining affected community networks said they were only notified of the agreement to postpone the hearing late on Sunday afternoon, and felt they had been excluded from the consultation process yet again. However, the groups were encouraged that the court order recognised the communities as stakeholders who should be consulted on future Mining Charter talks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual chair to take up new position in UK - Yolandi Groenewald

OLD MUTUAL PLC chair PATRICK O'SULLIVAN will take up a new position at British insurer SAGA, as OLD MUTUAL plans to wrap up its managed separation process. SAGA is an insurance company focused on serving the needs of those aged 50 and over, with 2.7m customers. O'SULLIVAN will step down from OLD MUTUAL after the completion of its managed separation process. Newly incorporated OLD MUTUAL LTD will acquire currently London-based OLD MUTUAL PLC. The new vehicle was established to facilitate the internal reorganisation and managed separation of the OLD MUTUAL GROUP, which will see the company's emerging market activities residing in SA. The company will also cut its stake in NEDBANK. OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS will be based in SA. O'SULLIVAN is set to take up the role at SAGA on May 1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Speculators reverse bearish bets on agricultural commodities - Emiko Terazono

Drought in Argentina has been on hedge funds' minds as they rushed to shut down bearish bets on agricultural commodities. The positions on agricultural raw materials turned net long for the first time this year, as speculators reversed course, according to CFTC data for the week to Feb. 13. Concerns about a prolonged drought in Argentina have boosted prices of maize and soyabeans, while wheat prices have also rallied on the back of dryness in the US. Net bullish positions held by money managers of agri commodities compiled by RABOBANK were at a net long of 87.463 contracts. This represented a dramatic swing from three weeks previously when net shorts were at a record 393.914 lots. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Guindos heads for ECB VP post after Lane is withdrawn - Jim Brunsden

Spain's LUIS DE GUINDOS is in line to become the new VP of the ECB after Ireland withdrew its candidate, PHILIP LANE. Irish Finance Minister PASCHAL DONOHOE said the country had decided to withdraw its candidate so that a decision could be made in favour of DE GUINDO "by consensus". This means DE GUINDOS is the only remaining candidate to replace VITOR CONSTANCIO, whose term as VP ends in May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Orion reveals encouraging results from drilling at Prieska project - Simone Liedtke

ORION MINERALS yesterday announced further encouraging results from drilling at the company's Prieska zinc/copper project. Drill hole OCOD087_D2 intersected 14 m of mineralised massive sulphide and contained mixed, fine to coarse grained cumulates and veinlets of metal sulphide minerals typically of composition pyrite, pyrrotite, sphalerite and chalcopyrite with a combined content of more than 40%. "We continue to be pleased with the drilling and exploration results at the Prieska project. While the area initially targeted has yielded greater tonnages than anticipated, our drilling continues to discover significant extensions of thick massive sulphide mineralisation, which remains open down dip", ORION MD and CEO ERROL SMART said. ORION has also completed 56 intersections from 24 mother holes into the Deep Sulphide Target. All completed intersections are now reported, while five holes are currently in progress testing up-dip extensions, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metair expands lithium-ion capabilities iN Romania - Irma Venter

METAIR has acquired 35% in Romania's PRIMEMOTORS via wholly-owned subsidiary ROMBAT, in a bid to accelerate its production of lithium-ion batteries for the growing European market. METAIR recently launched a programme to partner with universities and industry agencies for the production and certification of li-ion batteries. A key programme milestone has already been achieved, with METAIR delivering its first li-ion electric vehicle conversion to a vehicle manufacturer in Turkey. In a deal worth €1m, PRIME will become METAIR's incubator and R&D centre for li-ion battery development in Europe. The acquisition of PRIME will also see METAIR partner with the University Politechnica of Bucharest on an AI project relating to autonomous driving. The relationship should ensure that the testing and validation of METAIR's li-ion technology is undertaken according to strict academically driven standards. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission recommends tribunal approve Southern Palace Group's Genrec buy - Simone Liedtke

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that SOUTHERN PALACE GROUP's proposed acquisition of GENREC ENGINEERING, from MURRAY & ROBERTS, be approved without conditions. SPG is a black-managed investment holding company with diverse interests in various industries. GENREC is a manufacturer of steel fabrication solutions and undertakes high, medium and heavy structural steel fabrication, project services, steel erections and site services for construction companies. The Commission found that the proposed deal is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention of lessening of competition in the relevant market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats expects to narrow H1 losses - Creamer Media Reporter

IMPALA PLATINUM expects to narrow its HLPS for the HY to end-Dec. to between 17c and 26c, compared with the headline loss of 71cps reported y/y. Its LPS is expected to improve to a loss of between 19c and 28c per share, from an LPS of 52cps reported y/y. IMPLATS attributed the improvement in HEPS to achieving a gross profit in the HY under review, compared with a gross loss in the y/y period. Interim results will be published on Mar. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Colombia coal output down slightly in 2017 - Reuters

Colombia produced 89.4mt of coal in 2017, down 1.2% y/y, the Energy and Mining Ministry said yesterday. The country produced 90.5mt in 2016. "Our goal for coal was 89m tonnes", Mining Minister GERMAN ARCE said, adding that companies in the sector responded in a positive way to the challenges that faced the industry in 2017. The biggest players in Colombia's coal industry are DRUMMOND CO, GLENCORE, MURRAY ENERGY CORP's COLOMBIA NATURAL RESOURCES, and CERREJON, which is jointly owned by BHP, ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA, UK political uncertainty dampens trading conditions, says Super Group - Irma Venter

Challenging trading conditions and political uncertainty continued to depress trading conditions at SUPER GROUP. The company yesterday reported a 27.5% rise in revenue for the HY to end-Dec., compared with the same period in 2016, to R18bn. Operating profit grew by 11% to R1.14bn. "We continue to experience challenging trading conditions with high levels of competition across most of our operations, globally and locally", CEO PETER MOUNTFORD said. He noted that political uncertainty regarding the outcome of Brexit and the lead-up to the 2019 South African elections have influenced some of the company's operations. Offshore operations contributed 46% of revenue and 62% of operating profit during the period under review. Looking ahead, MOUNTFORD said the European and UK markets seemed to be stabilising, despite the continuing uncertainty regarding the potential Brexit outcome. "The South African socio-political landscape continues to be challenging, although there is some positive sentiment given the current political changes... Nevertheless, the group remains cautiously optimistic". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPPs key for gas infrastructure development in SADC region - Anine Kilian

Public-private partnerships are key to developing gas supply in the SADC, Nepad Business Foundation Africa infrastructure programme manager PETER VARNDELL said yesterday. Speaking at the Africa Gas Forum, VARNDELL said there was strong gas supply potential in the region, but a weak market to deliver to within the region's borders. He noted that a multi-stakeholder platform for public-private sector dialogue would enable and support the monetisation of natural gas resources in the region. VARNDELL noted that if SADC were to develop a natural gas master plan, it would assist in shifting market dynamics to attract investment and develop natural gas resources. "With the exception of South Africa, opportunities for the industrialisation of the domestic market are limited, owing to insufficient demand. It is imperative to look beyond national borders and identify potential demand and uses for natural gas throughout Africa". VARNDELL noted that NBF was setting up an SADC gas task force to provide a forum for public-private sector dialogue and to support the development of the regional nascent gas sector by bringing gas demand and supply on stream at the same time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom board called on to prove utility not trading recklessly - Terence Creamer

The Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa has written to ESKOM chair JABU MABUZA requesting a detailed written explanation as to why the current board believes that the utility can be rescued from its current financial distress, cautioning that it may currently be trading "recklessly" in terms of the legislation governing companies in SA. Campaigning as Accountability Now, the institute asserts that ESKOM is both insolvent and illiquid, making it unlikely that it will be able to meet operational costs and long-term debt obligations. Therefore, by continuing to trade, ESKOM could be in breach of Section 22 of the Companies Act, which states that a company must not carry on its business recklessly, with gross negligence, with intent to defraud any person or for any fraudulent purpose, or trade under insolvent circumstances. Accountability Now director advocate PAUL HOFFMAN argued that ESKOM was "undoubtedly" financially distressed and was, or was about to become, both insolvent and illiquid. But the ESKOM board has to date failed to pass a resolution placing ESKOM under voluntary business rescue, nor had it delivered written notice setting out why it was reasonably unlikely to be able to pay its debts as they became due. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

L2D posts maiden FY results - Dylan Slater

LIBERTY TWO DEGREES yesterday posted a distribution of 59.22cpu in its maiden FY results. Its net asset value per unit rose to R9.86, while it also managed to decrease its arrears to 4.6%, despite challenging trading conditions. L2D manages an R8.71bn portfolio of predominantly retail-focused assets. During the FY under review, its portfolio grew by R2.65bn as a result of the conclusion of a Jul. 1 2017 acquisition of a further 9% of the LIBERTY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO for R2.5bn. Following the decision by LIBERTY GROUP to exercise the put option in Jun. 2017, L2D's shareholding in the co-owned LIBERTY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO rose from 22% to 31%. Retail vacancies at end-Dec. were 4.3%, while office vacancies stood at 10.3%. L2D's overall vacancy rate is 6.4%. The company was on track to deliver net property income growth of 7%-9% this year, supported by the emergence of an improved trading environment in H2 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Legacy issues, poor Q1 hurt Rolfes - Simone Liedtke

ROLFES'financial results for the HY to end-Dec. were negatively impacted by legacy issues and a poor Q1, resulting in headline earnings halving to R23.62m, from R48.23m y/y. Revenue from continuing operations fell by 7.8% to R734m, compared with revenue of R796.4m y/y. Revenue translation to gross profit across all business units remained solid, despite the tough trading environment, and resulted in a gross margin of 22.7% reflecting an improvement on the comparative period of 21.6%. ROLFES'food division's revenue was negatively impacted on by stock shortages, resulting in a 15.2% y/y drop in revenue to R336.8m. The company notes that these issues have been resolved. The agricultural division's revenue rose by 3.1% y/y to R160.9m, while the chemicals division performed well with revenue up 2.3% to R167.6m. The colour divison's revenue fell by 17.5% to R47.4m. ROLFES expects the business environment across Southern Africa to remain challenging in the months ahead. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal approves Barnes Southern Palace's acquisition of Scaw - Simone Liedtke

The Competition Tribunal has conditionally approved the transaction, in terms of which BARNES SOUTHERN PALACE plans to acquire SCAW SA from the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The transaction was approved subject to a condition that, for so long as the IDC is able to appoint directors to the respective boards of CWI and SCAW, the IDC will ensure that its representatives on the board of SCAW are not the same persons serving, nominated and/or appointed on any board or management committees of subcommittees of CWI. Employment conditions have also been put in place, as well as conditions to ensure the merged entity will supply small steel mills with direct reduced iron which will enable them to produce better quality steel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye's gold, platinum reserves decrease - Dylan Slater

SIBANYE-STILLWATER yesterday reported that its South African gold reserves had decreased by 10% y/y to 25.74moz as at Dec. 31, while its total 4E PGM reserves had contracted by 4% y/y to 22.36moz. The decrease in gold reserves is due to the depletion of 1.4moz mined during 2017, among many factors. This volume was mitigated by the addition of 1.8moz of gold from exploration of secondary reefs and white areas. Local gold reserves were also reduced following the cessation of underground mining at the Cooke 1, 2 and 3 shafts, accounting for 752 000oz. Owing to a revised mine plan and increase in pay limit at the Beatrix 4 shaft, 1.6moz was excluded from the overall reserves. A further reduction of 971 000oz resulted from technical factors. The decrease in 4E PGM reserves was mainly the result of 1.5moz having been mined in 2017. Reserves were also affected by a revision in the methodology for determining geological losses by calibrating against actual historical losses, which resulted in a decrease in the overall estimated losses applied to the SA PGM operations. This resulted in an increase of 2moz in reserves. The total reserves volumes was impacted by mineral reserves at the Siphumelele mine, which fell by 691 000oz due to the deferral of the UG2 expansion project. An additional 752 000oz of PGMs were also factored in owing to the removal of subeconomic ounces at the end of the life-of-mine. Attributable PGM mineral reserves at Mimosa rose by 20% to 2moz, following a successful technical and economic valuation of a part of the South Hill orebody. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian captive coal mines to achieve 105mt output by 2021 - Ajoy K Das

Indian coal production from captive blocks allocated to thermal power plants has been estimated at 105mt/year by 2021/22, up from around 37mt/y at present, according to perspective planning on coal availability by the Power Ministry. To date, 29 coal blocks have been auctioned for captive mining by thermal power producers and 11 to state governments. In terms of planning for the 2018/19 FY, total dry fuel demand for thermal power plants has been pegged at 603mt, of which 513mt was expected to come from COAL INDIA LIMITED. The Ministry noted that, for optimal and efficient movement of 603mt of coal from mines to power plant locations, INDIAN RAILWAYS will have to make available a minimum of 288 rakes. While assuring maximum availability of rakes, INDIAN RAILWAYS communicated the need for faster turnaround of rakes which could only be achieved by cutting down on loading time by CIL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats restores dividend, productivity soars - Martin Creamer

Six employees died in a year in which ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM chalked up R2.4bn in free cash flow generated from its operations, doubled return on capital employed to 18% and reintroduced a cash dividend for the first time in seven years. PGM production was 5moz in the 12 months to end-Dec., up from the 4.97moz of 2016. Net debt was cut to R1.8bn from R7.3bn y/y, and a dividend of 349cps was declared, compared with none since 2011. CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH said platinum would likely be in a small surplus this year, but that forecasts suggested that the three major PGMs - platinum, palladium and rhodium - should collectively be in deficit again in 2018. PGMs production guidance for 2018 is between 4.75moz and 5moz and for platinum between 2.3moz and 2.4moz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bauba launches Moeijelijk underground chrome development - Anine Kilian

BAUBA PLATINUM officially launched the underground development phase of its Moeijelijk chrome mine on Friday. CEO NICK VAN DER HOVEN said the mine has already started to produce saleable chrome ore. "Generally, with underground chrome mines, it can take up to four years to extract saleable chrome, because the first few years are generally used for mine development. We anticipate that by December this year, we will almost be in full production, extracting roughly 30 000t/m of chrome ore", VAN DER HOVEN said. He added that the company's goal was to develop the mine at a pace of around 25 m a month, using multiple blasting techniques. He noted that the underground project will be powered by diesel generators, and is still able to produce RoM chrome at a very competitive price. A hybrid power system will supply the chrome washing plant, which will be commissioned in July. The R18.4m plant will upgrade Moeijelijk's current RoM chrome ore saleable product into lumpy chrome ore and then into foundry, chemical and metallurgical grade concentrates. The crushing circuit ill have a 41 000t/m capacity. The spiral wash plant will have a planned feed capacity of 35 000t/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, Randgold form group to challenge DRC law changes - Bloomberg

GLENCORE and RANDGOLD RESOURCES are among major mining firms in the DRC clubbing together in a bid to stop sweeping legal reforms, claiming their interests were poorly served by the existing industry body. In a letter sent to President JOSEPH KABILA on Feb. 8, investors requested a meeting "to once again put forward our positions" about changes to the mining code approved by MPs in Jan. The new code will overhaul the country's most important economic sector if KABILA signs it, raising the cost of doing business while boosting the state's share of mining revenue. Investors want the new body to replace the Chamber of Mines, which is part of the DRC's main private sector lobby group, after it "was unable to satisfactorily consolidate and communicate our wishes during the re-visitation of the Mining Code", according to the letter. CHINA MOLYBDENUM, IVANHOE MINES, MMG, ZIJIN MINING GROUP and ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI also signed the letter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim, Botswana set to sign diamond deal - News24Wire

Zimbabwe is reportedly set to sign a diamond processing deal with Botswana within the next three months, after President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA met with his counterpart, President IAN KHAMA, this week in Gaborone. The Herald reported that the Zimbabwean leader was in Botswana on a state visit. He toured the world renowned DIAMOND TRADING COMPANY that would assist Zimbabwe in polishing, cutting and valuing its gems. The DTC is regarded as the world's most sophisticated diamond sorting and valuing hub. Its arrangement with Zimbabwe would likely see the latter sending its stones to Botswana for processing, cleaning and polishing before being sold. The move would see Zimbabwe's diamonds make better returns than their current price of $50/ct. Zimbabwe lost more than $15bn in diamond revenue over a 10-year period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KenGen says to add extra 1 745MW to grid by 2025 - George Obulutsa

KENYA ELECTRICITY GENERATING COMPANY plans to add 1 745MW of electricity from geothermal sources by 2025, part of a government push to end power generation from fossil fuels. Kenya has an installed generating capacity of 2 370MW and peak demand of about 1 770MW. Of this, KENGEN has an installed capacity of 1 631MW, with 533MW from geothermal. Demand for electricity is growing at around 8%/year until 202, and will rise to 9% in 2021, after which it will stabilise at 7%. Kenya relies heavily on renewables such as geothermal and hydro power. It is ranked at no. 37 worldwide by ERNST & YOUNG's latest Renewable energy country attractiveness index, issued in Oct. The Geothermal Resources Council ranks Kenya at no. 8 worldwide in terms of installed capacity from geothermal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New S African leadership credit positive for gold miners - Moody's - Marc Jones

SA's new leadership headed by President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA is a credit positive for many of the country's top gold and platinum miners, MOODY's said yesterday. The ratings agency added that a resolution of issues around the country's revised mining charter and finalisation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act amendment bill would be credit positive for ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI, GOLD FIELDS and SIBANYE GOLD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 20/02/2018

At 07:28 on 20 February 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.69 Rand/Sterling 16.33 Rand/Euro 14.48 Gold 1341.08 Platinum 1001.50 Oil 65.18 All-Share Index 58701.37

Deere lifts equipment sales outlook after revenues jump - Mamta Badkar

DEERE & CO on Friday boosted its equipment sales outlook and reported upbeat quarterly revenues citing strengthening conditions in the world's agricultural and construction equipment markets. The company boosted its 2018 sales outlook, now projecting an increase of around 29%, up from the 22% growth it had forecast in Nov. Equipment sales are projected to soar 30%-40% in Q2. That came alongside a 23% rise in worldwide net sales in the fiscal Q1 to $6.9bn, ahead of forecasts for $6.4bn. However, the company swung to a net loss as a result of the enactment of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. DEERE reported a net loss of $535.1m or $1.66/share in the three months ended Jan. 28, compared with a profit of $199m or 62cps y/y. Those figures reflected a writedown of net deferred tax assets of $715.6m and $216.6m in repatriation taxes following the passage of the tax reform package. Stripping those out, DEERE reported profits of $430m or adjusted EPS of $1.31, ahead of estimates of $1.20/share. Looking ahead, the company expects net income of $2.1bn this year, including an unfavourable impact of $750m from tax reform. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AZ wins FDA approval for key cancer drug - Nicholas Megaw

ASTRAZENECA's turnaround efforts received a boost today as US authorities approved the use of one of its key new lung cancer drugs. The FDA has approved Imfinzi for treating stage three lung cancer patients who have already received chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment, and whose disease has not spread to other parts of the body. Imfinzi is expected to play a key role in AZ's efforts to reverse falling revenues from its older products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petra warns again on earnings - Cat Rutter Pooley

PETRA DIAMONDS has again warned that its FY earnings will be lower, following an estimate reset just three weeks ago. The company said adjusted EBITDA would be around 5% below the revised consensus level of $244.9m, although revenues would be in line with current expectations. PETRA is suffering from a stronger rand and weaker demand for mined diamonds. In the HY to end-Dec., revenues were roughly stable y/y at $225m, compared with $229m. But the company swung to a post-tax loss of $118m from a $13m profit in H1 FY2017. Adjusted EBITDA was $80m, down from $87m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Reckitt vows change after flat sales in 2017 - Naomi Rovnick

RECKITT BENCKISER has reported flat sales growth for 2017 but vowed that its sluggish performance would not continue. Like-for-like revenues at the company were unchanged on 2016, but it also reported a 2% revenue growth on this underlying basis for the final quarter of the year, with performance boosted by its takeover in Jun. of MEAD JOHNSON. RECKITT has been restructured into two business units - one focused on health and the other on home and hygiene. On Monday, CEO RAKESH KAPOOR forecast that like-for-like sales would grow again in 2018, at the rate of 2%-3%. For 2017, RECKITT made pre-tax profits of £2.5bn, up from £2.3bn y/y. It plans to pay a final dividend of 97.7pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deripaska to give up direct control of EN+ and Rusal - Henry Foy

Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA will step down as president of both EN+ GROUP and RUSAL amid a brewing battle between the tycoon and two other Russian oligarchs for control of NORILSK NICKEL. DERIPASKA will relinquish direct control over the companies, in which he owns controlling stakes, in order to focus on GAZ, an autombile manufacturer he also controls. Two internal deputies will take control of EN+ and RUSAL, including handling the group's holding in NORILSK, which is subject to a renewed battle for control between DERIPASKA, ROMAN ABRAMOVICH and VLADIMIR POTANIN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coca-Cola holding up better than expected amid strategic overhaul - Anna Nicolaou

COCA-COLA sales and profits held up better than expected in Q4 207 as broad-based growth in revenues generated from its core business helped offset the impact of the group's strategic move away from the bottling and distribution of the drinks it develops and markets. The company reported adjusted earnings of 39cps in Q4, higher than the 38cps expected and up from 37cps y/y. Sales were 20% lower at $7.5bn, while organic sales grew 6% in the quarter, again better than the 3.7% Wall Street anticipated. COCA-COLA aims to save $3bn by next year as part of a cost-cutting plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kraft Heinz sales miss on weak US demand - Mamta Badkar

KRAFT HEINZ on Friday reported a drop in Q4 organic sales as demand weakened in the US. Net sales rose 0.3% y/y to $6.88bn. Stripping out the impact of currency fluctuations and other items, organic sales fell 0.6% compared to a year ago in Q4. Organic sales were down 1.1% in the US, where prices increased but the company saw lower shipments across several categories. Organic sales fell 8.6% in Canada and were up 0.9% in Europe and 7% in the rest of the world. Net income rose to $8bn or $6.52/share reflecting a benefit from the US tax overhaul. Adjusted earnings fell 1.1% to 90cps and missed analysts' estimates of 95cps. KRAFT HEINZ also said it had met its target of reducing costs by $1.7bn by the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citigroup CEO receives 48% pay rise - Alistair Gray

CITIGROUP has handed CEO MICHAEL CORBAT a 48% rise in his pay package to $23m for 2017, a year in which the bank increased operating profits but fell short of previously set financial goals. On top of an annual cash bonus of $6.5m and a base salary of $1.5m, CORBAT was also given two batches of deferred incentives of $7.5m each, one in stock awards and the other in performance share units. The deferred part of his package vests subject to performance over the next four years. CITIGROUP produced a net loss of $6.7bn in 2017, although this was triggered by a non-cash accounting charge related to the US corporate tax cut. Excluding that, EPS rose 13%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble expects annual loss of almost $5bn in 2017 - Hudson Lockett

NOBLE GROUP has revealed it expects to post a total net loss of close to $5bn for 2017, in addition to having reached an in-principle agreement with its creditors for $700m in financing on the completion of restructuring of the commodity trader's debt. NOBLE said it expected a total net loss in Q4 of between about $1.7bn and $1.9bn, bringing total net losses for the year to end-Dec. to between $4.78bn and $4.98bn. NOBLE reported a net profit of $8.7m in 2016. It also said it had reached an agreement in principle with its creditors for provision of a three-year committed trade finance facility of $700m. In late Jan., the company revealed a proposed debt restructuring plan that would see creditors take control of NOBLE and existing shareholders virtually wiped out in a deal that would halve its $3.4bn in senior debt. NOBLE today said the $700m facility was to be made available upon the effective date of its restructuring to support its commodities trading business, subject to agreeing a fronting structure and fronting econmoics acceptable to the Fronting Banks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADM, Syngenta settle litigation over biotech maize - Gregory Meyer

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND and SYNGENTA have settled lawsuits over the release of anew biotech maize strain that upended US grain exports to China. ADM had accused the Swiss group of negligence when it introduced two new varieties of GM maize to US farmers. The strains had not yet been approved by authorities in China and in 2013 were turned away by inspectors in Beijing, costing the industry tens of millions of dollars. An annual report filed by ADM on Friday revealed it reached confidential settlements with SYNGENTA in Dec. SYNGENTA also confirmed the settlement with ADM. SYNGENTA also confirmed the settlement. "SYNGENTA is continuing to defend against the claims of other exporters, and continues to believe that American farmers should have access to the latest US-approved technologies to help them increase their productivity and crop yield", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US indicts 13 Russians for allegedly meddling in 2016 election - Jessica Dye

US prosecutors have brought charges agaisnt more than a dozen Russian individuals and entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 US presidential election. Friday's indictment names 13 individuals and three entities, accusing them of conspiring to defraud the US "by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016". The alleged interference ran from 2014 until the present, according to the court document. The defendants are accused of concealing their identities and using various methods to interfere with the election, "primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about HILLARY CLINTON, to denigrate other candidates such as TED CRUZ and MARCO RUBIO, and to support BERNIE SANDERS and then-candidate DONALD TRUMP". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market jitters fail to rattle US consumer sentiment gauge - Jessica Dye

The University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers has reached its second highest point since 2004 in Feb., bucking concerns about the recent and dramatic stock sell-off thanks to higher wages, job growth and a warm reception for tax reform. The survey's prelimniary results for Feb. came in at 99.9. Analysts had been expecting on average a reading of 95.5, according to a Reuters poll. The largest share of respondents since 2000 said they expected higher interest rates coming, and slightly higher inflation. But even if that rises, consumer spending is likely to be supported by expectations of higher wages and better job security. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norilsk Nickel tumbles on prospect of battle for control - Henry Foy

The threat of a renewed power struggle over control of NORILSK NICKEL knocked more than $2.5bn off the company's market cap on Friday as investors balked at the prospect of a legal battle between three of Russia's most powerful oligarchs. NORILSK is jointly owned by VLADIMIR POTANIN and OLEG DERIPASKA, who agreed to drop their fued over control of the company in 2012 in a deal brokered by the Kremlin, which involved ROMAN ABRAMOVICH becoming a minority shareholder and peacemaker. That truce appeared to have broken last week, after POTANIN approached ABRAMOVICH about buying his 6% stake. ABRAMOVICH agreed to the sale, according to a source. DERIPASKA responded by appealing to a London court to seek an injunction that could block the deal. Shares in NORILSK closed down 8.3% in Moscow on Friday as investors digested the news. POTANIN owns 30.4% in NORILSK through INTERROS, his holding company, while DERIPASKA's RUSAL owns 27.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.