Market News

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StanChart shares climb after bank nearly doubles profits - Martin Arnold

STANDARD CHARTERED has posted an almost doubling of Q1 profits, raising hopes among investors about how soon the bank can be turned round. STANCHART posted a statutory pre-tax profit of $990m, compared with a profit of $500m y/y, excluding its private equity arm which is being wound down. Operating expenses rose 3% to $2.1bn. Revenues were up 8% to $3.6bn, while loan impairments shrank 58% to $198m. STANCHART suffered a tough few years after being fined by US regulators for sanctions breaches in 2012 and incurring heavy losses on risky loans to some large Asian clients that turned bad. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eli Lilly posts earnings beat - David Crow

ELI LILLY yesterday published Q1 earnings that were slightly ahead of forecasts as it announced that its experimental breast cancer drug had succeeded in a late-stage clinical trial. LILLY posted adjusted earnings of 98cps, two cents ahead of analysts' forecasts, on revenue lin line with expectations of $5.2bn. LILLY said it would seek regulatory approval this year for abemaciclib, its breast cancer drug, after the medicine extended the amount of time that a patient survived without their disease progressing in a Phase III study. LILLY confirmed its FY guidance for adjusted EPS between 405cps and 415cps, on revenues of $21.8bn-$22.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar shares jump despite earnings guidance cut - Patti Waldmeir

CATERPILLAR yesterday cut its forecast for FY EPS due to higher restructuring costs, even as it forecast stronger than expected sales and revenues for 2017. The company said it expects EPS of around 210cps for 2017, down from a previous FY forecast of 230cps. But the company raised its forecast of FY sales and revenues to a range of $38bn-$41bn, up from $36bn-$39bn previously. It also reported Q1 sales and revenues of $9.8bn, compared with $9.5bn y/y. Q1 EPS fell to 32cps for the quarter to end-Mar., from 46cps y/y. CATERPILLAR said it expects to incur about $1.25bn in restructuring costs this year, up from $750m y/y. Shares rose 4.9% in premarket trading after the Q1 results were released. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Akzo Nobel rejects Elliott request for EGM to oust chair - Michael Pooler

AKZO NOBEl has rejected a request by activist investor ELLIOTT for an EGM aimed at ousting the company's chairperson on the ground it has "no legal basis". The hedge fund led a band of shareholders who called for an EGM to remove ANTONY BURGMANS as part of its campaign to force the Dutch group into takeover talks with larger US rival PPG INDUSTRIES. ELLIOTT has previously threatened recourse to the Dutch courts if the EGM request were turned down. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport cuts copper output targets after Indonesia spat - Neil Hume

FREEPORT-MCMORAN has cut its output forecasts following a stand-off with the Indonesian government halted exports from its Grasberg mine. The company had previously expected to sell 4.1bn lbs of copper this year, a figure it has now revised to 3.9bn after Jakarta banned shipments from Grasberg. The new guidance was announced in a trading update that saw FREEPORT report adjusted net income of $220m for the quarter to end-Mar., against a loss of $196m y/y. Adjusted EPS of 15cps were in line with market forecasts. Copper sales from Indonesia fell 30% during Q1 to 125m lbs y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US considers extending laptop ban to Europe, UK flights - Demetri Sevastopulo

The US Department of Homeland Security is considering applying a ban on passengers bringing laptop computers onto airplanes to flights from Europe, including the UK, but has not taken a final decision. "UK and Europe are certainly under consideration but nothing is imminent", a TRUMP administration official said. The DHS said it would "continue to evaluate the threat environment and make determinations based on that assessment", but added that it had "not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions against large electronic devices in aircraft cabins from selected airports". The US Transportation Security Administration last month barred passengers travelling to the US from several Middle Eastern and north African countries from carrying large electronic devices into the main cabin under new counter-terrorism measures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basel puts new banking policy initiatives on hold until 2019 - Caroline Binham

Global banking standard-setters have promised to pause new policy initiatives until 2019 so they can assess the impact of post-crisis reforms. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision yesterday said its priorities for the next two years would include finalising a long-awaited overhaul of existing rules. It will, however, hold off embarking on any major new projects until it completed its assessment of the slew of banking reforms introduced over the last eight years in in the wake of the financial crisis. The committee's to-do list still includes finishing existing projects, such as examining how regulators in different countries assess banks' exposures to sovereign debt. It will also try to stamp out inconsistencies in how regulators in different countries apply the rules, particularly around so-called Pillar 2, which gives them discretion in topping up individual banks' capital requirements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece won't implement tax reforms without debt deal in place - Tsipras - Kerin Hope

PM ALEXIS TSIPRAS yesterday insisted that Greece planned to legislate additional tax and pension reforms demanded by bailout creditors but would not implement them unless a deal on debt relief was in place. His warning came as bailout monitors resumed talks in Athens on final details of a reform package designed to ensure the IMF would join the country's €84bn current rescue package as a financial partner. Sounding an optimistic note, TSIPRAS said he expected a deal to be wrapped up by May 22. Greece this month agreed to adopt measures that would improve its primary budget surplus - before paying debt servicing costs - by 2% of GDP. TSIPRAS said the extra measures would be included in a package of bailout reforms due to be approved by parliament next month. "But a sovereign country can reverse something that it legislated if the [debt] agreement isn't adhered to", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/04/2017

At 11h54 on 26 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.17 ZAR/EUR 14.35 ZAR/GBP 16.87 Gold 1266.00 Platinum 955.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.96 All Share 53325.80

Embattled homeowners turn to loans to pay bonds - Adiel Ismail

Hard-pressed South Africans are so worried about losing their homes they are turning to unsecured debt at increasing costs to service home loan payments. Consumers are R1.66tn in debt, according to the National Credit Regulator. The latest data also notes that a big amount of this debt is in the form of mortgages, vehicle repayments, clothing accounts as well as secured and unsecured credit facilities. Although national home loan 'non performing loans' are at cyclical lows, DEBTBUSTERS CEO IAN WASON is of the view that this is due to about 30% of homeowners borrowing short-term unsecured debt to keep these artificially high. "When our clients come to us they have surprisingly good credit scores. This is due to them 'borrowing from Peter to pay Paul' and hence keeping their debt repayments up to date, but they are borrowing more debt", WASON said. He cautioned that this financial burden is often passed down from parents to their children, and urged bond-holders to get their debt under control. This new

Kganyago says SA to keep targeting low CPI for lower rates - Kevin Crowley

CPI is under control and the SARB will maintain a policy to keep it low to protect the poor, SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said yesterday. He said pursuing other priorities, such as reducing unemployment, has been shown in other countries to cause "widespread economic damage". "The best way to get permanently lower interest rates is to bring down inflation - and then keep it low and predictable". The Monetary Policy Committee has kept the benchmark repo rate unchanged since Mar. 2016 after raising it to 7% to try and bring CPI back to within its target 3-6% band. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court sets aside nuclear deals with Russia, other countries - Liesl Peyper

Judge LEE BOZALEK today set aside with costs government's nuclear agreements signed with vendor countries, declaring them unlawful and unconstitutional. The court case was first launched in Oct. 2015 with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute challenging government's decision to buy 9.6GW of nuclear power without debating it first in Parliament. Earthlife and SAFCEI further argued that the Department of Energy acted unlawfully when it decided in Dec. 2016 to move the procurement of nuclear energy to ESKOM as former energy minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON had not followed any public participation or consultative process before making the decision. JOEMAT-PETTERSSON in a responding affidavit said she was not aware of any rule or court order that would prevent her from handing over the procurement process to ESKOM. MARIUS OOSTHUIZEN SC, for government, said in counter arguments that the deal inked with Russia does not tantamount to a commercial agreeme

Implats warns of 'large-scale' job losses at SA mine - John Bowker

IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDINGS said protests at its Marula mine and low metal prices had led the company to start a reorganisation process that may lead to "large-scale" job losses. "This is something the business and economy can ill afford, but remains imperative if we are to protect the financial viability of our business and preserve jobs as far as possible", CEO GERHARD POTGIETER said today. IMPLATS did not say how many jobs may be lost. Marula employs 4 400 workers and contractors. The company reduced its annual output forecast for the mine in Feb. due to community protests. IMPLATS said Q3 refined platinum output dropped to 331 000oz from 353 000oz a year earlier, while FY output guidance was maintained at 1.5m refined platinum ounces. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Labat slides despite trading update - Sandile Mchunu

Shares in LABAT fell more than 8% to 41c on the JSE despite the company releasing a positive trading update. The company said it expected to report improved results for the HY to end-Feb. LABAT expected an improvement of more than 100% y/y, moving from a loss to a profit, but said the range could not yet be stipulated. A further trading statement will be issued in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun Intl launches new corporate golf tournament - ANA

SUN INTERNATIONAL has expanded its already existing gold offering with the introduction of a major new corporate team golf tournament that will make its debut at Sun City this year. SUN INTERNATIONAL and SEACOM will present the inaugural Corporate Masters in partnership with IAN SMITH, who is well-known in local sporting circles. SMITH was the driving force behind the 2003 Cricket World Cut which was hosted by SA. The Corporate Masters will tee off at Sun City from Aug. 28 to 30 and aims to become the premier corporate golf tournament in SA. Companies will be represented by teams of two golfers competing in a 36-hole Stableford competition at Sun City's Gary Player Golf Club and the Lost City Golf Course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CSG wraps up deal to buy Revert Risk - Kabelo Khumalo

CSG HOLDINGS yesterday said it had concluded a deal with the RTT GROUP for 100% of subsidiary REVERT RISK MANAGEMENT PROPRIETARY, for a cash consideration of R100m including certain moveable assets. All outstanding matters had been resolved and the deal would commence at the start of May. REVERT offers guarding, access-control systems and technical installations, closed-circuit television on-site and off-site monitoring, security risk-assessments, investigations and consulting, vehicle authentication, personnel and business vetting, as well as high-risk freight protection. The deal included individual client and commercial contracts, the services provided on an outsources basis on behalf of two other security companies and specific assets and employees, but excluded the domestic guarding and closed-circuit TV-monitoring divisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Talks on the cards over paternity leave - Liesl Peyper

The Department of Labour yesterday said future amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Fund may include extending benefits to employees who have resigned from their workplaces, irrespective of the reasons. Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT said SA's labour legislation are in line with international best practice and the constitution. Asked if there will be any future amendments to the act - over and above the recent additional provisions in the Act that were signed into law in Jan. 2017 - OLIPHANT said there has been an agreement to consult with NEDLAC in two years' time about future changes, such as extending paternity leave to fathers and including employees who resign from their workplaces "for whatever reasons". As part of the DoL's workers month initiative, OLIPHANT said inspectors will conduct blitz visits to certain sectors of the economy where employees have been found to be "perpetual offenders" of labour legislation across the country. The inspections will commence on May 3 when inspectors will

SA re-enters FDI confidence index, places last - Lameez Omarjee

SA re-entered a global foreign direct investment confidence index since 2014 but placed last out of 25 countries. SA scored 1.42 points on the KEARNEY FDI Confidence Index. Last year UNCTAD reported an increase in FDI to the country by 38%. However, FDI was still relatively low at $2.4bn. There is a mixed outlook for SA's ability to attract FDI going forward, mainly due to challenges linked to governance, exchange rate volatility and a "decreased trust" in political leaders, the report stated. Overall, the report showed that FDI to EMs had increased from 20% in 2016 to 28% due to a growing intention to diversify and greater appetites for risk. Both India and China were placed in the top 10 of the index, while investors are also spotting frontier markets. Developed economies continue to dominate the index with 72% of the positions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LNG-focused energy aspirant plans Jun. listing on AltX - Terence Creamer

AFRICAN ENERGY PARTNERS, a black-empowered energy company with a specific focus on LNG, intends listing as a special purpose acquisition company on the AltX in June. The company will seek to raise up to R500m to help fund its first "viable acquisition", which must take place within two years of listing. CEO EDWIN KIKONYOGO says the intention is to acquire mostly controlling stakes in a portfolio of operations across Africa and that potential acquisition targets have already been identified. AEP is focusing on power plants; cogeneration facilities; pipelines; and fuel storage terminals. "Our target operations offer a mix of medium- and long-term offtake agreements and a contracted cost base, which makes for good long-term earnings visibility", KOKONYOGO said. The company is undertaking a roadshow from May 2 to 12, with the offer period scheduled to take place from May 15-26. The targeted listing date is Jun. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB's leading business cycle indicator up in Feb. - ANA

The SARB yesterday said its composite leading business cycle indicator rose by 1.1% on a m/m basis in Feb. 2017. Six of the 10 component time series that were available for Feb. increased, while four decreased. The largest positive contributions to the movement resulted from an increase in the South African produced export commodity price index, followed by an acceleration in the number of residential building plans passed. The SARB listed the biggest negative contributions to the indicator in Feb. as a slowdown in the six-month smoothed growth rate in the real M1 money supply, as well as a decrease in the average number of hours worked in the manufacturing sectors and a drop in new car sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ekurhuleni sets aside R12bn to assist youth-owned businesses, SMMEs - ANA

MZWANDILE MASINA, the mayor of Ekurhuleni, yesterday said the city has set aside R12bn to ensure youth-owned business and SMMEs position themselves as capable and preferred service providers to government. MASINA said the money will be "ring-fenced to create procurement opportunities for local entrepreneurs, service providers and enterprises, especially businesses run by young people, people with disability and women". The City has made a commitment to ensure that not less than R1bn/year will be spent on 500 youth-owned enterprises, R500m/y on 100 emerging construction companies and over R500m on Black Industrialists. The remaining R10bn will be used for general strategic procurement from emerging black businesses and community enterprises. MASINA added that the municipality systems were being upgraded to ensure payments to SMMEs are done within 15 days from the day all documentation has been submitted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsogo Sun invests R220m in new Maputo hotel - Creamer Media Reporter

Construction has started on TSOGO SUN's new R220m, 125-room StayEasy Maputo Hotel in Mozambique. The hotel, which will be completed by Apr. 2018, is being built as part of a mixed-use development and will be located above the new Baia Mall that is currently under construction. "The time is right to increase our footprint in this prime tourist destination, which attracts both international and local travellers", CEO MARCEL VON AULOCK said, adding: "We believe this hotel will hold extra appeal for its exciting location above a lively new mall - and we look forward to seeing it become a hotel destination of choice for travellers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrimat expects higher FY earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

AFRIMAT yesterday said it expects EPS to rise by 22%-27% to between 190.6cps and 198.4cps for the FY to end-Feb. HEPS are expected to rise by 22%-27% to between 191.1cps and 198.9cps. Results will be published on May 18. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Six new prospecting licences awarded to Botswana Diamonds - Martin Creamer

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS yesterday announced that its JV with ALROSA had been awarded six new prospecting licences in Botswana. Four ar in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and two in the Orapa kimberlite province, and they extend to the end of Mar. 2020. The CKGR licences cover 3 135km² while those in the Orapa area cover 482km². ALROSA geologists and mineralogists have arrived in Botswana to begin the 2017 field exploration programme, which will focus on sampling and geophysical studies at prospect licence 260 in the Orapa area and prospect licences 135, 235 and 234 in the Gope area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC to table amended land claims bill in May - Reuters

The ANC will introduce an amended land rights bill in parliament next month after the Constitutional Court declared invalid a law that re-opened a process for blacks to make claims on land taken from then during white-minority rule. The Restitution of Land Rights Bill, allowing state expropriations of land to redress racial disparities, was among the first laws passed by SA's first democratic government in 1994. But many failed to lodge claims within the 1995-1998 window, and most land remains in white hands. President JACOB ZUMA signed an amended act in Jun. 2014 to allow those who had missed out on making claims to do so. However, the ConCourt last year declared the law invalid, saying Parliament had failed to allow for proper consultation before passing the law, and gave it 24 months to re-enact it. The ANC said the draft bill, which will be open for public comment until May 19, sought to extend the date for lodging a land claim to 30 Jun. 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Sibanye's Stillwater buy wins strong shareholder support - Martin Creamer

Shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of SIBANYE acquiring US PGMs miner STILLWATER. The number of shares that voted in favour of the proposed deal made up 83% of SIBANYE's total issued share capital. CEO NEAL FRONEMAN thanked shareholders for supporting what he described as a "unique and transformative opportunity to acquire world class, low-cost international PGM assets". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP cuts coking coal, copper guidance, narrows iron ore range - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON today lowered its coking coal and copper output targets, narrowed its iron ore guidance and said it plans to sell some noncore US shale gas acreage. The company trimmed its metallurgical coal output guidance for the FY to end-Jun. to 39mt-41mt, from a previous guidance of 44mt. It produced 10.13mt of coking coal in the Mar. quarter, which is a 2% increase on the Mar. 2016 quarter but a 5% drop on the prior quarter. Energy coal output was up 9% y/y to 7.4mt, and BHP expects to produce 30mt of energy coal in FY2017. The company reported a 20% drop in copper output in the nine months to end-Mar, which reached 939 000t. In Q3, the company reported copper output of 227 000t, down 44% y/y. BHP expects to produce 1.33mt-1.36mt of copper, compared with the prior guidance of 1.62mt. The iron ore production guidance was narrowed to 231mt-234mt, compared with a previous range of 228mt-237mt. Petroleum production for the year-to-date was down 15% to 157m boe, with quarterly output also down 15% y/y t

Barrick earmarks funds for Argentina mine after spill - Reuters

BARRICK GOLD has earmarked $500m over five years for upgrades and expansions to its Veladero mine in Argentina, four weeks after a third cyanide solution spill at the facility. BARRICK said improvements to the mine's processing facility, where the spills occurred, would include adding containment barriers, reinforcing and moving pipes, and installing new high-definition cameras to monitor the site. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold replaces 2016 Loulo-Gounkoto complex output, updates Morila reclamation plan - Henry Lazenby

RANDGOLD RESOURCES yesterday said it had replaced 100% of the 707 116oz gold it produced in 2016 at the Mali-based Loulo-Gounkoto complex via ongoing exploration, placing the operation on track to meet 2017 output guidance of 690 000oz gold. The complex's resource profile was bolstered by extensions at Gara, within the Loulo lease, and the approval of the Gounkoto superpit, CEO MARK BRISTOW said. "The focus now is on finding additional resources to extend the operation's life, but as things stand it is well placed to sustain an annual production rate in excess of 600 000oz for at least the next ten years", BRISTOW said. The combined quarterly bullion output for the complex was 206 124oz, up 30% q/q as more tonnes treated, improved grade and recovery boosted performance. For 2016, gold output rose 12% to 707 116oz, against 630 167oz y/y, beating the FY guidance by more than 37 000oz. Meanwhile, RANDGOLD said while the Morila mine continued to deliver value in its post-mining phase the company was progress

Newmont Q1 results surprise to the upside as output, prices rise - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONG MINING has surprised investors by beating average consensus estimates during Q1 to end-Mar, as it reported improved output and prices, which were slightly offset by higher costs. The company posted net income from continuing operations of $69m, or 13cps, from a net loss of $12m or 2cps y/y. Excluding special items, adjusted earnings came in at 25cps. Revenues of $1.7bn increased by 13.5% from $1.5bn y/y, boosted by higher gold output and improved realised process for gold - this missed analysts' estimates for $1.73bn for the quarter. The average net realised price for gold improved by $29/oz to $1 221/oz in the period, with the average net realised copper price also improving by $0.65/lb to $2.68/lb. Attributable gold output rose 9% y/y to 1.23moz i nthe quarter as the Merian and Long Canyon mines recorded strong output during the period. These mines offset geotechnical issues at Carlin. All-in sustaining costs of $900/oz for gold rose roughly 1% y/y. NEWMONT expects attributable gold output i

KIO to begin mediation talks with N Cape community - News24Wire

KUMBA IRON ORE representatives are expected to enter into mediation talks with the Dingleton community this week in a bid to resolve a dispute over land in the area. KUMBA wants to relocate the entire town of Dingleton to a town 25km away. Only 25 families remain and are refusing to move on KUMBA's terms. "We are hoping the mediation will assist us in the interpretation of the International Finance Corporate Guidelines. These are the guidelines that KUMBA must comply to", said RICHARD SPOOR, attorney for the residents. KUMBA has denied this claim. It says the residents are "disrupting the process of rehabilitating" a site near the railway where blue asbestos was spilled years ago. The company needs to rehabilitate the site in order to expand the Sishen iron ore mine near Dingleton. The company is demanding over R1.6m from residents who refused to relocate. The mediation would be facilitated by human rights attorney BRIAN CURRIN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners told to move DRC HQs as provinces compete for revenue - Bloomberg

The DRC told local units of GLENCORE, CHINA MOLYBDENUM, IVANHOE MINES and four other mining entities to relocate their head offices as newly demarcated provinces fight over tax revenue and control of mineral projects. The companies, all headquartered in Lubumbashi in the Haut-Katanga province, must move to Kolwezi town in Lualaba, where their mines are based, Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU said in a letter dated Apr. 14. "The objective is to move the administration of these companies closer to where they mine and consolidate the decentralisation process by building stronger relationships between the mining companies and the relevant provincial authorities", KABWELULU's chief of staff, VALERY MUKASA, said. The DRC was divided into 26 administrative regions from 11 in Jul. 2015 as part of a decentralisation drive stipulated in the 2006 constitution to strengthen local government across the country. The Katanga province was divided into four new regions, including Lualaba province, where most of the country

Israeli firm looking to buy into Zambia's mining investment arm - Chris Mfula

Zambia is talking to an Israeli company that wants to buy a stake in state mining investment arm ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENT HOLDINGS, a source said yesterday. Israel's SAPIR CAPITAL had expressed interest in buying a stake worth more than $100m in ZCCM-IH, the person said. The Zambian firm has diversified interests in mining, energy and other sectors of the country's economy. The company, which holds a minority stake in foreign mining firms in Zambia, has more than 4 000 shareholders and its market cap is over $657m. Officials at SAPIR CAPITAL could not be reached for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Debswana starts processing Cut 8 ore - Nqobile Dludla

Botswana's DEBSWANA DIAMOND COMPANY has started processing ore from the $3bn expansion of its Jwaneng diamond mine, popularly known as Cut 8, the company said yesterday. The project is meant to uncover 100m ct of diamonds and extend the life of the Jwaneng mine to 2024. DEBSWANA MD BALISI BONYONGO said 88% of an estimated 500mt of waste above diamond bearing ore had been stripped away by the end of Mar. BONYONGO said DEBSWANA would produce around 20.5m ct this year, or slightly more as the company continues with its strategy of producing to demand. The company will also close its 42-year-old Letlhakane diamond mine this year, replacing it with a tailings plant which is expected to be commissioned before June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rossing Uranium hikes output to turn profit - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia's ROSSING URANIUM, a subsidiary of RIO TINTO, yesterday said it managed to navigate "the worst year of the past decade" for the uranium industry, turning a 2015 loss into a net profit of N$107m in 2016. ROSSING said a combination of favourable exchange rates and a 48% jump in output had helped counter the effects of depressed uranium spot prices. The mine reported a net profit of N$107m for the FY to end-Dec. 2016, from a net loss of N$385m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA maize output seen rising 87% in 2017 - Olwethu Boso

Local farmers will likely harvest 14.54mt of maize in 2017, up 87% y/y after favourable weather conditions lifted yields, the Crop Estimates Committee said yesterday. The third production forecast for the season, which is higher than market expectations of 14.175mt, will be the largest yield since 1981 when 14.656m tonnes were reaped, the CEC said. The crop will comprise around 8.618mt of white maize and 5.917mt of the yellow variety. The white maize contract ending Jul. ended up 1.72% at R1 836/t on SAFEX yesterday - it scaled record highs over R5 000/t 15 months ago due to drought. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank reports muted Q1 net interest income - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

STANDARD BANK yesterday reported a "low single digit" rise in quaterly net interest income, weighed down by weak credit demand at home and lower appetite for risk elsewhere in Africa. The lender said subdued credit demand in SA, coupled with tighter risk appetite across the continent "translated into muted year to date growth in gross loans and advances across all categories". That resulted in net interest income increasing by a "low single digit" in the quarter to end-Mar. The bank reiterated that it was well capitalised to withstand the impact of SA's sovereign credit rating downgrade to junk status. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 26/04/2017

At 07h41 on 26 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.08 ZAR/EUR 14.31 ZAR/GBP 16.78 Gold 1264.01 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.04 All Share 53257.44

PRASA wants to meet unions over wage dispute - ANA Reporter

PRASA yesterday requested to meet with unions after they asked the parastatal's board to review its mandate for wage hikes, the United National Transport Union said. PRASA's management requested an urgent meeting for today. UNTU said it hoped the company makes an "acceptable salary offer" to employees, adding that it did not believe a national strike would be in the best interest of the country. UNTU general secretary STEVE HARRIS said "there will be hell to pay if PRASA continues with its unjustified threats of job losses to follow a 7% wage increase, after the management of the passenger rail operator admitted to parliament that they cannot account for R14bn". UNTU declared a wage dispute in Feb. and the CCMA issued a certificate of non-resolution after it could not resolve the dispute. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 25/04/2017

At 09h37 on 25 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.99 ZAR/EUR 14.14 ZAR/GBP 16.65 Gold 1272.43 Platinum 959.00 Brent Crude Oil 51.70 All Share 53023.47

SAP profit slips but cloud business on the rise - Patrick McGee

Profits at SAP fell y/y but the company said its "soaring growth" in new cloud bookings gained momentum. The German enterprise software giant said profit after tax fell 7% y/y to €530m, while operating profit fell 17% to €673m. However, top-line growth was strong as SAP shifts from on-premise services to cloud-based offerings. New cloud bookings soared 49% to €215m. Cloud subscription and support revenue rose 34% to €905m, ahead of estimates of €893m. Total revenue was up 12% to €5.285bn, ahead of forecasts at €5.16bn. The S/4 HANA flagship suite of business software added 400 customers in the quarter, placing the total at 5 800. SAP said 2017 cloud subscriptions and support revenue is on track to reach €3.8bn to €4.0bn, representing a growth rate of up to 34% at constant currencies. In Jan., the company lifted its 2020 total revenue estimate to a range of €28bn-€29bn, with cloud subscriptions and support revenue accounting for €8bn-€8.5bn. This news brief represents a sum

Goldman expects gold sell-off to continue - Alice Woodhouse

Gold is expected to remain under pressure in the near term, according to GOLDMAN SACHS as the bank holds its three-month target at $1 200/oz. The yellow metal is down $10.94oz from Friday's close ahead of the French election. Bullion is currently trading at $1 273.52/oz after EMMANUEL MACRON made it into the run-off for the French presidency, sending a wave of relief across markets. MACRON will compete against populist MARINE LE PEN in the 2nd round of voting on May 7. "This week is likely to continue to be volatile but should provide further catalysts to the downside in our base case scenario, as we may see a rally in real rates following the expected unveiling of President [DONALD] TRUMP's tax policies on Wednesday (or shortly thereafter), and as our US economists do not expect a US government shutdown on April 29", GOLDMAN analysts said. It added that increased military tensions in North Korea or slower-than-expected US and global growth could see prices challenge their outlook. GOLDMAN's 12-month ta

AfDB warns US cuts risk stoking extremism - Shawn Donnan

President DONALD TRUMP risks stoking extremism in Africa and provoking a further exodus of migrants heading for Europe as he goes ahead with plans to cut funding to the continent, according to African Development Bank head AKINWUMI ADESINA. The AfDB president told the FT that Africa was facing a "triangle of disaster" in high youth unemployment, extreme poverty and environmental degradation related to climate change. His warning comes after TRUMP proposed a budget last month that would slash foreign aid and cut the US contribution to the World Bank and other multinational development banks, including the AfDB, by $650m annually. "We need more resources to do more as a bank... Everywhere you find this triangle of disaster you always find terrorism", ADESINA said. Al-Shabaab has a strong foothold in drought-stricken Somalia, while Boko Haram militants have wreaked havoc in north-east Nigeria. The proposed cut to US funding comes at a time when some multilateral institutions are running up against capital l

SK Hynix delivers record operating profit - Peter Wells

Shares in SK HYNIX have eased after the chipmaker's president said robust demand may ease in H2 2017. The South Korean company booked an operating profit of Won2.468tn - a record - in Q1 to end-Mar., a 61% rise q/q and a 339% lift y/y. Net profit of Won1.899tn was up 17% from Q4. The steep price increase for DRAM and NAND memory chips since H2 2016 pushed revenue up to a quarterly record high of Won6.29tn. That represented a 17% increase q/q and 72% rise y/y. In a call with analysts, SK HYNIX president KIM JOON-HO said demand for DRAM may "ease somewhat" in H2 as supply conditions loosen. SK HYNIX is among the preferred bidders vying for TOSHIBA's prized memory chip division. Shares in the company were down 0.6%, compared to a 0.5% gain for Korea's Kospi. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kweichow Moutai rises after Q1 profit jumps - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese alcohol brand KWEICHOW MOUTAI rose as much as 2.5% this morning after the company reported a 25% rise in net profit for Q1. The company posted Q1 net profit at Rmb6.1bn, coming in above the company's forecast of 15.9% growth in net profit. Demand for grain liquor baijiu looks to be returning with LI BAOFANG, MOUTAI party secretary and GM, saying in March the company would begin producing baijiu year-round to maintain price stability amid surging demand. Earlier this month, MOUTAI overtook DIAGEO as the world's most valuable liquor company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports - Demetri Sevastopulo

The TRUMP administration will impose tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the US after concluding that Canada subsidizes the industry in a way that is detrimental to the US. US commerce secretary WILBUR ROSS said the US would impose tariffs ranging from 3% to 24% on five Canadian lumber exporters - CANFOR, JD IRVING, RESOLUTE FP CANADA, TOLKO MARKETING AND SALES and WEST FRASER MILLS. The administration has already notified Canada of its intent to impose the tariffs, which will be retroactively applied to cover the past 90 days. "It is around $5bn a year worth of lumber that comes in this way. And the Canadians have roughly a 31.5% market share of the whole US softwood lumber (market)", ROSS noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo's living will approved after 'deficiencies' fixed - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO directors yesterday got a boost ahead of what could be a stormy meeting with shareholders as regulators waved through the lender's "living will" four month after they hit it with sanctions for failing to comply. The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said WELLS had "remediated the deficiencies" in its plan for how it would avoid a bailout and wind down if it were hit by a crisis. The bank will no longer be subject to the restrictions after the Fed and FDIC gave the green light to its latest living will. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece to sell stake in port operator to German-led consortium - Kerin Hope

A German-led consortium is the highest bidder for a two-thirds stake in OLTH, operator of the port of Thessaloniki, in a deal valued at €1.1bn, Greece's privatisation agency HRADF said yesterday. The disposal of the country's second-largest port was agreed under terms of its current bailout by the EU and IMF. Private equity firm DEUTSCHE INVEST EQUITY PARTNERS, France's TERMINAL LINK and Greece's BELTERRA INVESTMENTS offered €231.9m for 67% of OLTH shares. The price represents a 70% premium over the shares' market value. The consortium will also take over operation of the port for 34 years under a separate concession agreement, projected to bring in more than €170m in additional revenues. It will invest €180m over seven years to upgrade the container terminal and other facilities, with another €500m of investments and divident payments projected over the concession period. The sale must be approved by state auditors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar says retail sales rise for first time since 2012 - Pan Kwan Yuk

Shares in CATERPILLAR rose by the most in 10 weeks yesterday after the group reported its first rinse in three-month rolling machine sales in four-and-a-half years. Worldwide machine sales reported by dealers rose 1% for the quarter to end-Mar. y/y, the first such rise since Nov. 2012. CATERPILLAR has cautioned in its recent quarterly earnings that the rebound in commodity prices over the past 12 months has yet to translate into an increase in equipment purchases. Mining companies have remained cautious and opted to trim costs by renting or buying used equipment. Demand from the resource sector remains weak, with rolling three-month sales down 19% in Mar. Demand has been coming instead from the construction sector in Asia, where sales are up 56% y/y during the period. Sales of engines, motors and pumps used in oil wells were up 15% y/y. CATERPILLAR is due to report its Q1 earnings later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New LME CEO prepares for transition - Henry Sanderson

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE will plan for an overhaul of its trading structure to attract more financial investors as it faces competition from futures exchanges such as the CME GROUP. Newly appointed CEO MATT CHAMBERLAIN yesterday launched a 56-page discussion paper that aimed to open a path forward for reform. The document suggested a move towards a monthly cash settled futures contract targeted at financial investors. The LME said it would "plan for a potential industry-led managed transition to a more monthly market structure", from its current three-month trading structure used by the global mining and metals industry. The LME provides contracts for metal traded daily up to three months. Financial investors, however, generally prefer trading a standard monthly futures contract that allows for easier buying and selling. CHAMBERLAIN said the exchange wanted to ask whether it could make its market more attractive to other users, apart from its physical metal users. "We definitely want to drive volumes

Kimberly-Clark cuts lower end of sales guidance - Pan Kwan Yuk

Shares in KIMBERLY-CLARK, the company behind Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissue, fell 1.8% in pre-market trading yesterday after it lowered the bottom end of its FY organic and net sales forecasts. The company said it now expects organic and net sales growth between 1% and 2% this year, compared to a previous assumption of about 2% growth. "The update reflects modestly higher assumptions on average for several raw materials, including pulp, recycled fibre and polypropylene resin", the company said. The revision comes as KIMBERLY-CLARK posted Q1 net sales that were little changed y/y at $4.48bn. Within this, organic sales fell 1% during the quarter. Huggies nappies volumes in North America fell by mid-single digits during Q1 "reflecting category softness, competitive activity and less promotion shipments". Sales at the consumer tissue products unit fell 3% to $1.5bn during the period amid a 7% slump in North American sales volumes. Net income came in ahead of forecasts, rising 3% to $563m, or $1.57/shar

Halliburton sees rapid increase in North American oilfield activity in Q1 - Adam Samson

Oilfield activity in North America "increased rapidly" in Q1 2017, HALLIBURTON said yesterday in the latest sign of a rebound in the shale revolution. The oilfield servicing comp;any said its North American revenues soared 24% q/q to $2.2bn, led by "increased pricing and utilisation" in the US land sector. Land revenue rose almost 30%. In international markets, revenues fell 8% sequentially to $2bn. Revenues fell 11% and 12% in the Europe and Africa and Middle East and Asia regions, respectively. Overall, HALLIBURTON's Q1 net loss narrowed to $32m, from $153m q/q and $2.4bn y/y. Revenues rose 6.4% y/y to $4.3bn, matching estimates. Adjusted profits, excluding certain items, of 4cps beat expectations by a penny. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPG sweetens offer for Akzo Nobel - Michael Pooler

US paintmaker PPG has made what it called its "last" friendly invitation to buy AKZO NOBEL, by tabling a third bid to take over the Dutch company for €24.6bn. PPG made the new cash-and-stock offer for the Dutch group, consisting of €61.50 in cash and 0.357 shares of PPG's common stock. The figure includes a dividend payment that AKZO NOBEL's shareholders would be due should the company remain independent. The revised proposal valued each share in the Dutch group at €96.75 apiece. PPG said the offer valued AKZO NOBEL's equity at €24.6bn. The company's previous bid was at €90/ordinary share. AKZO NOBEL has refused two prior offers on the grounds they undervalued the company, would lead to job cuts and result in significant disposals to appease antitrust regulators. The Dutch group said it would review the offer "in accordance with its fiduciary duties". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Whirlpool cuts profit guidance over European integration challenges - Jessica Dye

WHIRLPOOL cut its FY earnings outlook yesterday, placing the primary blame with "temporary integration challenges" in the European, Middle Eastern and Africa market following its 2014 purchase of Italy's INDESIT. The US group said it now expects FY EPS to come in at $12.65-$13.40, versus its previous estimate of $13.25-$14.25, due in part to the integration issues. WHIRLPOOL said it has been experiencing "peak complexity" in the EMEA region related to the INDESIT integration, which it said led to a temporary disruption in its supply-chain network and product availability. Earnings for the quarter to end-Mar. fell short of analysts' forecasts, with net income coming in at $153m for the quarter, translating to $2.01/diluted share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected net income of $163.2m and EPS of $2.11. Revenue came in at $4.78bn for the quarter, in line with analysts' estimates and a slight improvement over the $4.6bn reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alcoa earnings top estimates, but revenue disappoints - Mamta Badkar

ALCOA yesterday reported weaker-than-expected revenue growth but upbeat earnings for Q1 and said it expects aluminium demand to rise in 2017. The company swung to a profit of $225m, or $1.21/share in the quarter to end-Mar. That compares with a loss of $210m or $1.15/share y/y. That included $108m of special items largely due to gains from the sale of the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of 63cps topped analysts' forecasts of 48cps. Revenues rose 5% y/y to $2.7bn, driven by higher aluminium and alumina prices but were shy of forecasts of $2.96bn. ALCOA predicted that global aluminum demand will rise between 4.5% and 5% in 2017 y/y. It expects the bauxite and alumina markets to be "relatively balanced", while it estimates a surplus of 300 000t-700 000t in the aluminium market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CEF mum on fate of PetroSA board members - Liesl Peyper

The Central Energy Fund yesterday declined to comment on a report that LUVO MAKASI, who was appointed CEO, allegedly asked board members of PETROSA to step down with immediate effect. BusinessLive yesterday reported that MAKASI asked the SOE's board to provide reasons as to why they should not be dismissed following PETROSA's dismal state of financial affairs. "We wish to put it on record that the CEF would not comment on an internal matter at this stage", CEO spokesperson JACKY MASHAPU said. The Sunday Times in Dec. reported that executives at PETROSA benefited from a legal opinion that said "affordability" should not qualify as a justifiable reason not to pay bonuses. The bonus payouts to executives took place amid large-scale retrenchments at the SOE to curb costs and amid financial losses that amounted to billions of rands over the past two financial years. Between Jan. and Jun. 2016, 250 employees were dismissed. Despite this, bonuses were paid to 11 executives in Oct. and Nov., while the last paym

Aspen in CompCom price-fixing probe - Fin24

ASPEN PHARMACARE, which is under preliminary investigation for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, said it welcomes the process and the opportunity to set these allegations aside. The company said it is committed to full and constructive engagement with the Competition Commission. But it noted that pharmaceutical prices were approved by the Department of Health in terms of the Single Exit Price regulatory framework. "ASPEN has not increased pricing of its products outside of this regulatory framework", the company noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&A to feel impact of downgrade - Lameez Omarjee

The damage of the credit downgrade extends beyond foreign direct investment inflows and will also impact potential mergers and acquisitions going forward, according to KEVIN CRON, head of corporate M&A at Norton Rose Fulbright. This was because foreign investors are likely to be more cautious now that SA is rated sub-investment grade. Following the recent Cabinet reshuffle BMI RESEARCH looked at the impact on the economic outlook. Among the concerns raised was the consequence for investment. The research showed that less investor-friendly regulation such as the Mining Charter Amendment and the proposed Expropriations Bill would be negative. CRON said the downgrade would likely cause fewer transactions than there would have been. However, CRON said there are opportunities that could still arise. Investors with a "bigger risk appetite" might see an opportunity to get assets in SA more cheaply. "Domestically we may see more activity emanating from South African companies due to domestic factors like new

Hummingbird's Yanfolila gearing up for production - Anine Kilian

The development of HUMMIINGBIRD RESOURCES' Mali-based Yanfolila mine is progressing on time and within budget. The company yesterday said structural, mechanical, plate work and piping work have been under way for over three months, with the plant foundations largely complete. The ball mill is complete and due for delivery to site next month, while work on the carbon-in-leach tanks is expected to be finished then too. "With the overall project now 60% complete, we are happy with how the Yanfolila construction is shaping up so far", HUMMINGBIRD CEO DAN BETTS said. HUMMINGBIRD also signed a fuel supply contract with ZEN PETROLEUM MALI. The government of Mali will pay the company $11m for an additional 10% stake in Yanfolila. The company also received the first tranche of $25m post quarter-end from CORIS BANK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo nears Eskom power supply contract - Bloomberg

The DRC signed a provisional agreement to import power from SA that could boost copper production this year by as much as 20%, the country's chamber of mines said. State-owned power company SNEL proposed importing 200MW from ESKOM at meetings in Johannesburg held earlier this month, said BEN MUNANGA, chair of the energy commission at the chamber. ESKOM has 1 000MW available for export for as long as 10 years but only 200MW can be delivered to the DRC because of grid constraints in the transmission network between the two countries. Still, that could help to boost the country's copper production by as much as 200 000 metric tonnes, MUNANGA said. SNEL estimates that demand from copper mines outstrip supply by 750MW, a shortfall that has been one of the biggest constraints on output growth in the past three years. ESKOM will sell the power to SNEL, which will add mark-up and transit fees before redistributing to the miners. This could increase the unit cost to mining companies by as much as 27%, but it's s

Amplats Q1 output up 1% y/y - Anine Kilian

A strong performance by its Mogalakwena mine has contributed to a 1% y/y rise in ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM's production to 571 900oz for the quarter to end-Mar. The mine's output rose 3% y/y to 111 900oz, with strong plant recoveries and increased throughput. Output at Amandelbult fell 12% y/y to 97 100oz due to unusually heavy rainfall which resulted in flooding, as well as industrial action. Output at Unki rose 2% to 18 900oz, while improved crew efficiencies and mining ground closer to the access shafts resulted in a 10% increase in production at the Union mine, which is being sold to SIYANDA RESOURCES, to 37 700oz. JV production was down marginally to 182 700oz, mainly due to a two-day illegal strike and lower grades impacting Kroondal, lower grades in the current mining area at Mototolo, and a fatality and Section 54 stoppage that impacted output at Bokoni. Refined platinum production increased by 121% y/y to 576 900oz. Sales volumes of 518 800oz for the quarter were up 26% y/y due to the increase in

Chevron's A$340m tax bill appeal in Australia dismissed - Esmarie Swanepoel

The federal government has welcomed a Full Federal Court decision to dismiss CHEVRON's appeal of a A$340m Australian Taxation Office bill. The court dismissed CHEVRON's appeal against an ATO ruling that the oil major had used an intra-company loan as a means to shift profits abroad, and thus avoided paying income taxes in Australia. CHEVRON said it was disappointed with the court ruling, and would review the decision to determine its next steps, which could include an appeal to the High Court of Australia. "As recognised by the trial court in the dispute, the financing is a legitimate business arrangement and the parties differ only in their assessments of the appropriate interest rate to apply", CHEVRON said. Federal Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON said the case was an example of why the government had provided additional funding to the ATO to enable the tax office to take the fight to major taxpayers and challenge aggressive tax structures in place. This news brief represents a summary of the original artic

CompCom approves buyout of ASA Metals' ferrochrome production assets - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal approve the proposed buyout by K2015356066 (NEWCO) of the ferrochrome production assets of ASA METALS. NEWCO is a newly created JV between SINOSTEEL and SAMANCOR. SINOSTEEL operates globally in the production, supply and procurement of a range of commodity products, mainly focused on the production and supply of steel. The Commission said the proposed deal "is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in the market for the production and supply of ferrochrome". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel production reaches 410mt in Q1 - Megan van Wyngaardt

SA produced an estimated 1.56mt of steel in Q1 2017, worldsteel said yesterday. This was roughly the same as the 1.54mt produced y/y and came on the back of flat y/y output in Mar. of 539 000t. Total global steel production for the 67 countries reporting to worldsteel reached 145mt during Mar., a 4.6% rise y/y, while Q1 production totalled 410.5mt, up 5.7% y/y. Asia produced 280.6mt of steel, up 5.4% y/y. The EU produced 42.5mt in Q1, up 3.8% y/y, while North America's crude steel output reached 29.3mt, up 7.1% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB welcomes Zambia, Ghana to bond index - Megan van Wyngaardt

The African Development Bank has added Zambia and Ghana to its African Bond Index, expanding the index to the eight most liquid sovereign bond markets in Africa. The ABI provides investors with a tool with which to measure and track the performance of Africa's bond markets. The composite index now comprises SA, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia local currency sovereign indices, with Ghana and Zambia joining this month. The ABI is managed in collaboration with the African Financial Markets Initiative, which works to deepen the continent's local currency bond markets, while creating an environment where African countries can access financing at variable terms. Meanwhile in Dec., the AfDB approved the creation of the first African multijurisdictional fixed-income enhanced ETF - the African Domestic Bond Fund - which will track the performance of the ABI. The ADBF is expected to launch in Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acquisitions add value to Rebosis's interim results - Megan van Wyngaardt

Despite a tough domestic economic environment, REBOSIS declared a dividend of 60.80cps for the HY to end-Feb. This amounted to a 7.1% y/y growth, within the company's 7%-9% guidance for the FY. Meanwhile, REBOSIS reported 40.3% y/y growth in its portfolio to R18.18bn as a result of its R4.9bn acquisition of BILLION PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS in Sep. 2016. This contributed revenue of R188m and profit after tax of R62.3m for the HY under review. Group profit for the HY increased to R1.42bn, up from the R1.38bn reported y/y. Property expenses also rose y/y, with the net cost-to-income ratio rising from 13% to 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Syrah awards logistics contract to Grindrod - Esmarie Swanepoel

SYRAH RESOURCES has awarded the graphite distribution and logistics services supply contract at its Balama project in Mozambique, to GRINDROD MAURITIUS. The contract includes the provision of long-haul trucking services for graphite concentrate from the Balama site to the Port of Nacala, as well as the purpose-built cross docu product storage and shipment containerisation some 4.7km from the port. The facility will be built and operated by GRINDROD and will be for the exclusive use of SYRAH over the term of the contract. The Balama operation is expected to produce an average of 365 000t/y of graphite concentrate during its first 10 years of production, to deliver free cash flow of $160m/year. The project is expected to be commissioned in Q2 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jan Nelson heading up copper explorer - Mariaan Webb

Former XTRACT RESOURCES and PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES CEO JAN NELSON has joined HANDA COPPER, a TSX-V-listed company focusing on prospects in Africa, as CEO. NELSON, who quit as XTRACT CEO in Sep. 2016, will head up HANDA's new management team, which will be based in Johannesburg. HANDA's main focus is a copper project in the Republic of Congo, which it believes is a "highly significant" discovery. HANDA states that geological parallels between the West Congolian belt and the Central African Copperbelt (CACB) have been recognised since the 1930s, but sustained modern exploration has never been carried out on the West Congolian belt. Archival records show the potential for CACB-style copper deposits on the company's exploration licences in the RoC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nutritional expects deeper FY loss - Sens

NUTRITIONAL HOLDINGS yesterday advised that its basic LPS and HLPS attributable to ordinary shareholders for the FY to end-Feb. are expected to increase by more than 20% y/y. During the period under review, trading conditions in the staple dry food environment remained challenging with LSM3-6 customers bearing the brunt of the higher maize price as well as other bulk raw materials used in the manufacture of these products. Furthermore, the disposal of the registered dossiers owned by IMPILO DRUGS in Sep. 2016 triggered a write-down of the intangible assets in the company of R11.7m. A more detailed trading statement will be published in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AEEI expects jump in interim earnings - Sens

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS yesterday said it expects EPS and HEPS for the HY to end-Feb. to be at least 50% higher y/y. The company expects EPS to be at least 7.02cps higher than the 14.04cps reported y/y. HEPS is expected to be at least 7.02cps higher than the 14.02cps reported y/y. A further trading statement will be issued as soon as there is a reasonable degree of certainty as to the likely range within which the company's EPS and HEPS are expected to increase. Interim results will be published on May 11. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial's sale of Regent to Hollard gets green light - Robert Laing

The sale of IMPERIAL's REGENT insurance business to HOLLARD received approval on Monday following the withdrawal of MOTOVANTAGE. In Oct., the Competition Commission said it objected to the deal because via MOTOVANTAGE - a partnership between HOLLARD and FIRSTRAND - two large industry players would be able to exchange competitively sensitive nonpublic information. IMPERIAL said under the new agreement, which excluded MOTOVANTAGE, it would receive around R1.8bn from HOLLARD. When IMPERIAL initially announced the deal in Sep. 2015, it said it expected to receive around R1.6bn for REGENT, of which R319m would be attributable profit. Although the final selling price was R200m higher, attributable profit was cut to R170m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Purple Group reports interim loss - Robert Laing

The share price of PURPLE GROUP shed 4.4% in morning trade yesterday to 44c after the company reported it fell into a loss of R48m for the HY to end-Feb., from R11m profit y/y. Interim revenue came in at R37m, down 43% on the R65m reported y/y. "Of course I'm disappointed in the result, but I know how well PURPLE GROUP is positioned for the changing, informed retail environment", CEO MARK BARNES said. PURPLE segments itself into four businesses - online stockbroker Easy Equities; its OTC derivative trading business and GT Private Broking; Emperor Asset Management; and investments which contributed 67% of the net loss. The investment loss was mainly due to a total write-down of R42.9bn before tax and R33.3m after tax for PURPLE's stake in REAL PEOPLE INVESTMENT HOLDINGS. The group's derivatives trading arm suffered a 45% decline in revenue to R33m and a 94% plunge in aftertax profit to R1.1m. Easy Equities managed to more than double its accounts to 43 710, with client assets totalling R912m an

CIG disappoints market with lower profit - Robert Laing

CONSOLIDATED INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP yesterday reported 29% revenue growth to R2.7bn but a 3% drop in after-tax profit to R203m for the HY to end-Feb. The figures sent shares down as much as 7% to R17.70 before recovering later. CIG generated 65% of its profit outside of SA, CEO RAOUL GAMSU said. "Despite a backlog of R39bn in the South African transmission market and ESKOM's build programme of R165bn, uncertainty remains to the timing of the roll-out of these projects and the resultant impact on the power division", CIG said. On the rest of the continent, $740M worth of renewable energy contracts have been proposed. CIG "is dynamically involved in developing, building and owning clean energy projects in industrial rooftop solar installations and utility scale solar projects. These projects are taking place across the continent". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 25/04/2017

At 05h18 on 25 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.01 ZAR/EUR 14.14 ZAR/GBP 16.65 Gold 1275.51 Platinum 961.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.56 All Share 52921.41

Petra, Tanzanian govt in talks over Williamson mine - Brendan Ryan

PETRA DIAMONDS yesterday said it was in talks with the government of Tanzania regarding requirements that a 30% stake of the company's Williamsom diamond mine be offered to Tanzanian interests and the mine be listed on the Dar es Salaam stock exchange. CEO JOHAN DIPPENAAR declined to provide further details and commented he did not want to "get ahead" of the outcome of the discussions with the government. The new regulations have been introduced in Tanzania to promote local ownership and build the country's capital markets with a deadline of Aug. 23 this year set for mining companies operating in the country to comply. PETRA reported flat output for Q3 to end-Mar., mining 999 768ct as output from tailings and open pit volumes at the Williamson mine as well as the Kimberley operations were hit by "unseasonably high rainfall". DIPPENAAR said PETRA remained on track to hit its production forecast for the FY to end-Jun. of 4.4m ct. Rough diamond prices during the quarter were up about 2% on a like-for-like b

S African banks threatened by delay in FICA Bill, global body says - Wendell Roelf

The Financial Action Task Force, a global group that monitors money laundering worldwide, has expressed concern that a bill to fight the crime in SA faces "significant ongoing delays" and warned the country's banks risked being exposed to illicit money flows that could hurt investor sentiment. FATF executive secretary DAVID LEWIS said SA also risked being struck off its membership if it failed to pass the law in time for FATF's next meeting in June. "Effective action to mitigate the risk of corruption by politically exposed persons, as set out by the FATF Standards, is extremely important, particularly in the context of Africa, where corruption has been recognised as a problem", LEWIS said. The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill has still not been signed into law, although it was first passed by the National Assembly in May 2016. President JACOB ZUMA sent the bill back to parliament over concern about its constitutionality and its allowing searches without having a court-approved warrant. "Time

IMF says surrogate currency will not solve Zim's economic woes - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's "bond note" surrogate currency will not solve its economic problems, the IMF said this week, adding that only comprehensive reform would address a fiscal crisis. Zimbabwe last year introduced bond notes, which officially trade at par with the US dollar and are backed by a $200m bond from the AFRICAN EXPORT AND IMPORT BANK. ABEBE AEMRO SELASSIE, director of the IMF's Africa department, said limited forex inflows and a lack of monetary policy tools since Zimbabwe's adoption of the greenback in 2009 had worsened cash shortages. "We think that, going down this one (bond) note route, in and of itself, will not address the challenges that the country has", SELASSIE said. "So, it's very important to have a more comprehensive policy package which also addresses a lot of the fiscal challenges that the country faces, a lot of the structural reforms that have to be done". The central bank says it has thus far printed $121m in bond notes but a high demand for cash has meant the surrogate currency is also

Nigerian stocks rise on new forex window - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigerian stocks rose by more than 2% yesterday after the central bank introduced a new policy to allow foreign investors to engage in forex trading at rates the buyers and sellers set. The market all share index rose 2.37% in early trade, lifted by DANGOTE CEMENT, which accounts for a third of the market cap. A notice from the central bank also said all people or businesses, local of foreign, who need dollars to repay loans, pay dividends, repatriate capital or settle trade-related obligations will be eligible for the new trading system. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom wants LPG supply deals capped at 10 years - TJ Strydom

The Competition Commission yesterday said LPG producers should cap supply agreements at 10 years as deals lasting longer favoured big wholesalers and deterred new competitors entering the market. The Commission launched an inquiry in 2014 into the LPG sector, where 90% of the wholesale market is shared between AFROX, EASIGAS, TOTALGAS nad ORYX ENERGIES. "The Commission found the long-term supply agreements offered by the refineries to large wholesalers have resulted in some degree of competitive advantage", the Commission said in a report. It noted that some LPG deals with wholesalers had been renewed for more than 25 years while others had unlimited renewal clauses, adding that such terms helped large wholesalers maintain their position "regardless of new entries". The Commission recommended a cap of 10 years on contracts and the scrapping of automatic renewal clauses. It said the new measures should be implemented between 2017 and 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Distell to buy 75% stake in Cruz Vodka brand - Nqobile Dludla

DISTELL GROUP yesterday said it would buy a 75% stake in the Cruz Vodka brand from BLUE SKY BRAND COMPANY. DISTELL said BLUE SKY would retain 265% of the brand and remain involved in it. "The transaction strengthens DISTELL's portfolio in the premium vodka category, one of the fastest growing spirits categories in South Africa and which is expected to continue exhibiting strong growth in the future", the company said. The financial details of the transaction were not provided. BLUE SKY's brands include Cruz Vodka, Pravda vodka, Magnum cream liqueur and Glendronach whisky. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Sudan says talks over oil blocks end; seeks new partners - Wendell Roelf

South Sudan yesterday said that Blocks B1 and B2 were open for direct negotiation after talks with TOTAL, TULLOW OIL and the KUWAIT FOREIGN PETROLEUM EXPLORATION COMPANY broken down over "irreconcilable differences". Petroleum Minister EZEKIEL LOL GATKUOTH at the weekend said: "We have decided... to open opportunities to other potential investors". Blocks B1 and B2 were once part of the 120 000km² area known as Block B, which was divided into three licenses in 2012 and is thought to be rich in hydrocarbons, although very little drilling has been done. The main oil firms involved in South Sudan are CHINA NATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY, PETRONAS and India's ONGC VIDESH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jimmy Choo puts itself up for sale - Conor Sullivan

Fashion brand JIMMY CHOO has put itself up for sale as part of a "strategic review of the company". The company said "it has decided to conduct a review of the various strategic options open to the Company to maximise value for its shareholders and it is seeking offers for the Company". JIMMY CHOO said JAB LUXURY, a private company based in Germany that owns 70% of the shares, "has confirmed that it is supportive of the [sale] process". The company's staff own a further 3% of shares and the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore and Kuwait own 2.7% and 2.5%, respectively. JIMMY CHOO said it had not yet received any approaches fro people potentially interested in buying the business. Last month JIMMY CHOO said sales rose 1.6% in 2016 once currency effects were excluded, with growth in China being offset by tough trading in the US and Europe. Excluding the effects of the strong pound, sales were £364m, up 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German business confidence rises further than expected - Nicholas Megaw

Stronger than expected current trading conditions helped a key index of German business confidence reach a new six-year high in Apr., as the country's economy continues to power ahead. The Institute for Economic Research's overall business climate index rose to 112.9, from 112.3 last month. Economists had expected the measure to only inch up to 112.4. Instead, it beat expectations for t he second month in a row, driven by the sub-index of current trading assessments, which jumped from 119.3 to 121.1. Expectations of future growth slipped slightly from 105.7 to 105.2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LafargeHolcim chief steps down after Syria controversy - Ralph Atkins

LAFARGEHOLCIM has confirmed its CEO will step down after an internal probe into the plant the company operated in Syria until Sep. 2014. ERIC OLSEN said he was quitting to help relieve the pressure LAFARGEHOLCIM has faced over a LAFARGE cement plant that the company continued operating as Syria descended into civil war. But in a statement this morning he denied any direct responsibility in the affair. "While I was absolutely not involved in, nor even aware of, any wrongdoing I believe my departure will contribute to bringing back serenity to a company that has been exposed for months on this case", OLSEN said. The company said he would leave on Jul. 15. Chair BEAT HESS will take over as CEO until a successor is found. Paris prosecutors have opened a preliminary inquiry into alleged dealings between LAFARGE and sanctioned groups in Syria following a complaint by the French finance ministry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba to split in-house units into wholly-owned subsidiaries - Peter Wells

TOSHIBA has confirmed a reorganisation of its business structure, laying out plans to split off its four in-house companies into wholly-owned subsidiaries that will include its nuclear energy unit being combined with its energy business. Effective from Jul. 1, TOSHIBA's Infrastructure Systems, Storage and Devices, and Industrial Information and Communication Technology units will stand as three of the four planned independent business entities. From Oct. 1, the company will transfer its Energy Systems and Nuclear Energy Systems - both of which are currently in-house companies - into a newly established independent entity. Following the splits, TOSHIBA said it will "further enhance collaboration between the split-off companies and, at the same time, aim to maximise the value of each business". The reshuffle will also establish an "optimised structure for ensuring business continuity in respect of maintaining special construction business licences required to do business in Japan". The company also pledged

US Treasury rejects Exxon request for waiver on Russian sanctions - David J Lynch

US Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN on Friday said the TRUMP administration had decided not to grant EXXONMOBIL's request for a waiver from US sanctions on Russia. The company's request would have permitted it to resume drilling in the Black Sea together with ROSNEFT. MNUCHIN's announcement came in a one-sentence news release, which said the decision had been reached in consultation with TRUMP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 24/04/2017

At 11h04 on 24 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.89 ZAR/EUR 14.00 ZAR/GBP 16.52 Gold 1271.93 Platinum 967.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.37 All Share 52479.92

US private-sector growth hits 7-month low - Jessica Dye

US private-sector growth hit the brakes in Apr. with preliminary data pointing to the weakest rate of expansion in seven months. A preliminary reading of the manufacturing sector PMI, produced by IHS MARKIT, hit 52.8, below March's reading of 53.3 and under the 53.8 expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The drop comes despite a rise in export orders. The services sector PMI also slipped to 52.5 versus 52.8 in Mar., and below the expected 53.2. Both figures represent a seven-month low, despite staying on the positive side of the 50 mark. Nevertheless, the MARKIT report said that service providers "remain upbeat" about their growth prospects in the year ahead, with positive sentiments at its strongest in three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP signals it could lift force majeure on coking coal - Neil Hume

The price of coking coal fell 9% on Friday to $263.4/t after BHP BILLITON said it might lift the force majeure on coal sales in Australia. Speaking on Friday, RAG UDD, CEO of BHP BILLITON MITSUBISHI ALLIANCE, said shipments of coking coal would quickly increase when the Goonyella rail network reopens this week. Trains have been unable to use the line due to a mudslide caused by Cyclone Debbie. That, UDD said, would allow the JV to lift a force majeure provision on coking coal shipments. His comments came after BMA said it would invest $200m on a new conveyor system to link two of its mines in Queensland. By taking advantage of excess handling capacity at one mine, BMA says the new link will boost its coking coal output by 4mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Schlumberger returns to revenue growth - Pan Kwan Yuk

The North American shale oil revival helped SCHLUMBERGER return to revenue growth for the first time in over two years, but the figure fell short of analysts' forecasts amid a sharp drop-off in demand for its services in Latin America. The company saw revenue for q1 rise 6% to $6.89bn y/y as North American sales surged nearly 28% to $1.87bn on a y/y basis. The revenue figure was weaker than the $6.97bn the market was expecting as gains in North America were offset by a slump in demand from Latin America, where sales fell 25% y/y to $952m. Despite the rise in revenue, net income during Q1 fell to $279m, or 20cps, compared to the $501m or 40cps recorded y/y. Adjusted earnings were 25cps, in line with forecasts. On a q/q basis, SCHLUMBERGER said international sales fell 7% "driven by a greater than expected seasonal decline in activity and sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GE revenues slip, but still beat Wall St estimates - Adam Samson

GENERAL ELECTRIC on Friday disclosed quarterly sales that topped analysts' expectations, as its aviation unit beat Wall Street forecasts and the decline in its oil and gas business eased. The company said its Q1 revenues fell 1% to $27.66bn, exceeding estimates of $26.4bn. The oil and gas division posted a 9% drop in revenues, much better than the 22% slump suffered q/q. GE's aviation business also had a better than expected quarter, posting revenue growth of 9% to $6.8bn. The power division logged a slimmer than expected 17% rise in sales to $6.09bn. Overall, industrial operating and verticals EPS was little changed at 21cps, better than the 17cps expected. Net earnings attributable to shareholders were $619m, from a loss of $61m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Honeywell raises low end of FY guidance - Pan Kwan Yuk

Industrial conglomerate HONEYWELL raised its lower end of its FY earnings guidance on Friday as it delivered a stronger-than-expected set of Q1 results. The company said robust demand for its home and building technologies and growth in its safety and productivity solutions unit have helped offset the continued sluggishness in its aerospace division during Q1 2017. Like-for-like growth rose more than 2% during the period, but revenue fell 0.3% to $9.49bn as the strong dollar weighed on overseas earnings. Net income rose nearly 9% to $1.32bn as better cost controls helped fatten margins across all four divisions. On an adjusted basis, EPS was $1.66, well ahead of analysts' estimates of $1.625. Due to the strong Q1 performance, HONEYWELL said it was raising the low end of its FY guidance by 5c. It now sees 2017 EPS of $6.90-$7.10, excluding divestitures, any pension mark-to-market adjustments, and 2016 debt refinancing charges. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent takes stake in Seasun Group - Peter Wells

TENCENT will pay $142m for a 9.9% stake in game developer SEASUN. IMAGE FRAME INVESTMENT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TENCENT, last week agreed to pay $62.2m for 4.3% of the total issued shares of SEASON from its parent company KINGSOFT. In addition to this, IMAGE FRAME has also proposed paying an additional $80m for a combined 5.6% of SEASUN shares from other shareholders. SEASON makes mobile games including Brave Cross and Ships of Fury, as well as the multiplayer online role-playing game JX Online 3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek budget surplus beats creditor targets at 3.9% - Mehreen Khan

Greece's primary budget surplus soared to 3.9% last year, smashing through its creditor targets and emboldening the government's claims that it has turned around the country's economic fortunes. The primary budget surplus - a measure of spending and revenue that strips out debt repayments - has become a key battleground between EU and IMF creditors deciding on the terms of Athens' €86bn bailout programme. The 2016 budget swung dramatically into a primary surplus of €6.9bn from a deficit of €4.2bn (2.3% of GDP) in 2015. The overall budget is also back in surplus at 0.7% from a deficit of 5.9% in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Value Group expects higher FY earnings - Sens

VALUE GROUP expects basic and headline EPS for the FY to end-Feb. to be 55%-75% higher than that achieved y/y. This translates to basic EPS ranging from 54.9cps to 60cps, from 35.4cps y/y, and HEPS of 57.cps-65.1cps compared with the 37.2cps reported y/y. Results will be published on May 11. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diamonds add shine to Anglo's Q1 results - Allan Seccombe

ANGLO AMERICAN reported sharply higher Q1 diamond sales from DE BEERS along with improved production performances from all of its divisions, save copper and nickel. DE BEERS increases sales in q1 to 14.1m ct, from 8.1m ct y/y. DE BEERS increased diamond output by 8% to 7.4m ct, with its new 51%-owned Gahcho Kue mine in Canada coming into production. FY guidance remained at 31m-33m ct. Platinum production was flat y/y, rising 1% to 572 000oz. Refined output shot up 121% to 577 000oz y/y. Copper output was 3% lower y/y, coming in at 142 600t. A 13% increase at the 44%-owned Collahuasi mine was offset by 11% falls in output at Los Bronces and El Soldado. ANGLO's metallurgical coal mines in Australia generated 5.2mt in Q1, up 28% y/y. The company's South African coal mines improved output of export and local coal sales by 9% to 5mt. Coal for use by ESKOM was flat at 6.37mt. FY nickel production was lowered to between 43 000t and 45 000t from 45 000t previously because of a 12% fall in Q1 production to

Oceana issues earnings warning - Robert Laing

OCEANA's share price fell on Friday after it warned investors it expected to post an up to 18% drop in interim earnings. The company said results for the HY to end-Mar. were expected to show HEPS fell between 15% and 18% from the 230.8cps reported y/y. Betting the wrong way on the rand accounted for 14% of the drop in HEPS, but the company also suffered from a drop in canned fish sales blamed on "timing of buy-in effects ahead of price increases". Meanwhile, the Commercial Cold Storage Logistics business experienced a decline in Gauteng business. OCEANA will report interim results on May 18. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba's Q1 sales up - Allan Seccombe

KUMBA IRON ORE reported increased Q1 sales as production increased at both its mines in the Northern Cape. KUMBA's total March quarter output from its Sishen and Kolomela mines increased by 17% to 10.47mt compared with the sale period a year earlier, but was 12% lower when compared with the final quarter of 2016. The FY guidance remained unchanged at 40mt-42mt. Total sales for the quarter were up 3% to 10.89mt y/y, but 3% lower q/q. The 7% rise in export sales of 10.05mt was offset by a 29% reduction in domestic sales to 833 000t, compared with Q1 2016, which included 717 000t of ore sold from the now-closed Thabazimbi mine. On a q/q basis, export sales were 5% lower, while domestic sales rose by 36%. Sishen increased Mar. quarter output by 31% to 7.7mt y/y. Kolomela's output of 2.8mt was 3% higher y/y but 19% lower q/q, mainly due to rain. Waste mining jumped 32% to 10mt as the mine was set up to increase output. FY waste mining was set at between 50mt and 55mt. KUMBA had 3.2mt of stockpiled ore, co

Standard Bank execs get paid R209m - Kabelo Khumalo

STANDARD BANK last year paid its top six executives a combined R209m in salaries, bonuses and other benefits, with group head of corporate and investment banking DAVID MUNRO netting more than the lender's joint co-CEOs in the 2016 FY. The bank's annual report on Friday showed that MUNRO took home R45.2m in total earnings for the year, a big jump from the R31.8m he earned in 2014. In 2016, the six executives were paid R190m. Joint CEO's SIM TSHABALALA and BEN KRUGER each received R44.4m for the year, followed by group head of personal and business banking PETER SCHLEBUSCH, who scored a total package of R41.8m during the period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net1's CPS denies dodgy practices - Siseko Njobeni

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES on Friday moved to refute accusations of unethical lending practices to millions of social welfare beneficiaries in SA. NET1's lending practices last week prompted shareholder ALLAN GRAY to express its discomfort over the controversy. Under pressure from some investors, NET1 earlier this month hired KPMG "to address certain frequently asked questions asked by the various stakeholders". In a statement after it made the KPMG report public, NET1 said it had noted with concern "ongoing, repetitive and false accusations" regarding its business practices. Citing the KPMG report, NET1 dismissed the allegations against it. NET1 said it had brought KPMG on board to review its business practices "and to provide us with a factual findings report that addressed the accusations against us". NET1 said, in line with a Constitutional Court order, the addendum to the contract between CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES and SASSA contained provisions to ensure that personal data obtained in the payment process

Minister rejects 'golden handshake' for Molefe - ANA Reporter

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has rejected ESKOM's proposal to pay former CEO BRIAN MOLEFE a R30m pension pay-out and strongly criticised the board for leaving her in the dark about the matter. "I have considered the ESKOM board's reasoning in formulating the proposed pension payout and cannot support it", brown SAID YESTERDAY. "I found the argument presented by the board on why the pension arrangement was conceived lacking in legal rationale and it cannot be substantiated as a performance reward because Mr MOLEFE has already been granted a performance bonus for his contribution to the turnaround of ESKOM. Nor is the proposed pension payout justifiable in light of the current financial challenges faced not only by state-owned companies, but by the country as a whole... It is unfortunate that such a sensitive and private matter was handled so recklessly. Finally, I have asked the board to investigate how its proposal got into the public domain prior to my having had the opportunity to consider it

Eskom 'ourtaged' by leak of draft report on Tegeta - Liesl Peyper

ESKOM expressed shock and outrage over a leaded draft report about irregularities in its coal-supply contract with TEGETA EXPLORATION AND RESOURCES in a statement last week. The utility said it seems convenient and coincidental that Treasury's draft report on ESKOM's appointment of TEGETA was leaked to the media a day before its comments were due. TEGETA scored coal-supply contracts from ESKOM to the value of R4bn. BusinessLive on Friday reported that the Treasury wants ESKOM to convert the payment of R659m to TEGETA into a loan with interest, as there is no evidence that the company used the funds to finance equipment for its mining operations. According to BusinessLive, Treasury said in the draft report that the R659m prepayment to TEGETA should be declared irregular expenditure and that ESKOM should be investigated for failure to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The interest payable on the amount should be determined by an auditing firm appointed by Treasury, to be recovered from

Ramaphosa: 'Rot has set in' at ANC - Renee Bonorchis

A crisis has emerged in SA and "the rot has set in" within the ruling ANC, Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said on Sunday. "Corruption must be rooted out" and anyone found guilty must be dealt with severely, RAMAPHOSA said at a memorial service for CHRIS HANI in the Eastern Cape. He said allegations of families and people unduly influencing government appointments and contracts should be "of great concern" to the ruling party, adding that he supports a judicial commission of inquiry into charges of state capture. The politics of patronage have become widespread and ZUMA's recent Cabinet reshuffle heightened tensions within the ANC, RAMAPHOSA said. Instead of speaking out "recklessly", the ANC's members must unite ahead of the Dec. conference to settle questions on policy and make sure it doesn't lose more support in elections, he said. While the ANC is currently "riddled with factions", there is hope. "We must honestly own up to the problem. Strange practices must be brought to an end". This news b

TNPA appoints new port managers - Megan van Wyngaardt

The TRANSNET NATIONAL PORTS AUTHORITY has appointed the Port of Cape Town's first female port manager, MPUMI DWEBA, who most recently served as port manager at the Port of Ngqura. DWEBA succeeds SIPHO NZUZA, who recently resigned to take up a role in the eThekwini municipality. TNPA has also appointed Captain VERNAL JONES as the Saldanha port manager, succeeding WILLEM ROUX, who resigned earlier this year. Former Mossel Bay port manager TANDI LEBAKENG has been transferred to the Port of Ngqura to succeed DWEBA. TNPA also appointed JACQUELINE BROWN, the former port manager for East London, as executive manager for capacity development and enablement. These changes temporarily leave the ports of East London and Mossel Bay with vacant port manager positions, but the roles will be fulfilled in an acting capacity by port engineer ALVIN SINGAMA in East London, and senior operations manager SHADRACK TSHIKALANGE in Mossel Bay. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steel demand to grow in 2017/18 as recession risk decreases - Megan van Wyngaardt

Global steel demand will rise by 1.3% to 1.53bn tonnes this year, and by a further 0.9% to 1.55bn tonnes in 2018 following growth of 1% in 2016, worldsteel said on Friday. Worldsteel economics committee chair TV NARENDRAN said steel demand recovery had been stronger than expected in 2016, with the upside mostly coming from China. "We believe in 2017 and 2018, we will see a cyclical upturn in steel demand with a continuing recovery in the developed economies and an accelerating growth momentum in the emerging and developing economies". Steel demand in developed markets is expected to rise by 0.7% this year and 1.2% in 2018. EMs excluding China are expected to record increases in steel demand of 4% and 4.9% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom confirms it wants exemption from 'areas' of national procurement regulations for nuclear - Megan van Wyngaardt

ESKOM on Friday confirmed it had raised concerns with the Treasury about "areas" of the current procurement regulations, specifically mentioning waivers of certain evaluation criteria that would be required to facilitate the "proposed nuclear new build procurement (NNBP) process". The criteria concerned include gate 4 of the Standard Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Manual (SPIDM), which "relates to budget and funding", and the extension of bid validity from 12 weeks to two years. Further, the proposed waivers also include elements of localisation and the requirement for self-designation under the Department of Trade & Industry's local content regulations. "The need for the waiver on the SIPDM gate 4 was to align the process with the Cabinet decision for the vendors' responses to be requests for proposals to form the basis of the funding model that had to be submitted to Cabinet by the Department of Energy", ESKOM chief nuclear officer DAVE NICHOLLS said. The DA said it would oppose any exemption f

Freeport collects export permit after Pence visit - Reuters

FREEPORT MCMORAN on Friday collected a permit to resume copper exports from Indonesia after a hiatus of more than three months, hours after a state visit by US VP MIKE PENCE, who discussed the company's dispute with the Indonesian government. The country's Trade Ministry issued FREEPORT the permit to export 1.1mt of copper concentrate up to Feb. 2018, although it was unclear how long shipments would last. The parties are still at loggerheads over rights to the Grasberg mine, while tensions with workers threaten to disrupt FREEPORT's operations further. Indonesia halted FREEPORT's copper concentrate exports in Jan. under new rules that require the company to adopt a special licence, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51% stake in its operations and relinquish arbitration rights. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal posts record sales - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL on Friday reported record sales and operating cash flows during the quarter to end-Mar., despite an 11% drop in output. RoM coal production for the quarter fell to 905 000t, from 1.02mt in the Dec. quarter, with UNIVERSAL telling shareholders on Friday that output at its Kangala colliery was affected by the Jan. holiday period and above-average rainfall. Coal output at Kangala fell by 20% during the quarter to 713 948t, while output from the newly opened New Clydesdale Colliery rose by 51% to 191 396t as steady-state underground production was achieved. UNIVERSAL said domestic sales rose 6% to 607 000t, while export sales were up 13% to 121 000t. Total coal sales for the quarter rose by 7% to 729 000t. For the year-to-date, total sales volumes were up 39% y/y to 1.98mt. Looking ahead at the Jun. quarter, UNIVERSAL is aiming to achieve coal sales of over 1mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chamberlain chosen as LME chief - Reuters

MATT CHAMBERLAIN was named LONDON METAL EXCHANGE CEO on Friday with a mandate from its owner to reform the world's largest and oldest metals market. CHAMBERLAIN, 35, had been acting CEO since Jan., when a combination of falling trading volumes and perceived lack of strategy at the bourse led to the resignation of GARRY JONES. CHAMBERLAIN must now decide whether to change the LME's complex trading structure to open it up to more fund investors in a move that would alienate many traditional members. Sources say the bourse may offer a move toward monthly futures contracts in a discussion paper to be published by early next month, cutting costs for speculative investors but eroding fees for traditional brokers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina mulls $500m safety plan for Barrick's Veladero mine - Reuters

BARRICK GOLD and its new Chinese partner presented a $500m plan on Friday to make safety and environmental improvements to the Veladero gold mine, in Argentina, after a third cyanide spill in 18 months. Argentina told BARRICK earlier this month it had to overhaul environmental and operating processes at the mine following the latest spill on Mar. 28. "We've got a plan over two years to invest half a billion dollars to develop Veladero operations", BARRICK COO RICHARD WILLIAMS said. Authorities say the company needs to make improvements in pipelines and in its control and monitoring systems as well as expand its leach processing facility. BARRICK will submit the technical plan next week, WILLIAMS said. "The leach pad is going to be extended and developed and improved. So it's going to be re-engineered". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell seeks move to TSX-V listing - Megan van Wyngaardt

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS on Friday said it would seek to move its listing from the TSX to the TSX-V, owing to its current market capitalisation. The company said its shares on the TSX and JSE would remain halted while there remains uncertainty over the outcome of the hearing on the merits of the liquidation application against three of its subsidiaries. It further noted that its urgent request to bring the date forward to consider the merits of the liquidation case brought by C ROCK MINING has been moved to Apr. 26. At the time the interim liquidation order was issued, the date for the final hearing was originally scheduled for Jun. 22. ROCKWELL will be filing a rebuttal affidavit to C ROCK MINING's latest filing before Apr. 26. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta's BMM sets up 7-yr ESOP - Megan van Wyngaardt

BLACK MOUNTAIN MINING, a subsidiary of VEDANTA's ZINC INTERNATIONAL business, has established a seven-year employee share ownership plan (ESOP), with 6% of BMM's shares issued to an employee-held trust on Apr. 1. The scheme was established following negotiations with the NUM. The Voorspoed Trust comprises three union-appointed trustees, one BMM representative trustee and an independent trustee. Half of the shares were acquired by the trust via a contribution froM BMM and at no cost to employees. The acquisition of the other half of the shares was funded via a three-year interest-free notional loan provided by BMM. After the three years, the loan will be subject to a notional interest charge of 9.25% until the expiry of the ESOP. A yearly guaranteed dividend payment of R3 500 will be made to the beneficiaries of the trust for the duration of the plan. In year five, half of the BMM shares held by the trust may vest and a payout may be due to beneficiaries. However, the trustees and the company may, in c

Kal Tire buys Tyre Corporation's South African ops - Megan van Wyngaardt

North American companY KAL TIRE's MINING TIRE GROUP has acquired TYRE CORPORATION, expanding its footprint in SA with 800 team members across 80 mine sites. "TYRE CORPORATION is a recognised market leader in underground mining tyre services and sales and we are excited to bring their capabilities and strengths to KAL TIRE", said KAL VP DAN ALLAN. TYRE CORPORATION has been operating in SA for 12 years with fully equipped branches throughout the country. It is confident that KAL TIRE is the right organisation to acquire its South African operations and continue to build on the strong reputation it has developed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Las Bambas proves winner for MMG - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Las Bambas copper min e in Peru has set a new production record for base metals miner MMG, with output in the Mar. quarter reaching 111 314t. Q1 output was 6% higher q/q and the mine has delivered its third consecutive quarter of production above nameplate capacity since achieving commercial production in Jun. 2016. Total copper production for the Mar. quarter rose by 5% q/q to 111 684t, with the Rosebery mine in Tasmania also contributing 343t during the quarter under review. Copper-in-cathode production for the quarter to end-Mar. was down 16% q/q to 36 199t as production from the Sepon project suffered declining grades and more complex ore. MMG on Friday reported that zinc output for the quarter was down 3% q/q to 19 146t, while lead production rose by 6% to 6 253t. Looking at the FY, MMG expected to produce between 560 000t and 615 000t of copper and between 65 000t and 72 000t of zinc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP announces Queensland coal investment - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON and JV partner MITSUBISHI have approved a $204m investment in the Caval Ridge Southern Circuit project in Queensland. The project will create up to 400 new construction jobs and require 200 ongoing operational roles. CRSC, an 11km overland conveyor system that will transport coal from the Peak Downs mine to the coal handling and preparation plant at the Caval Ridge mine, will result in plant throughput increasing to its full 10mt/year. MIKE HENRY, BHP president of operations, Minerals Australia, said the project formed the missing link between the Caval Ridge and Peak Downs mines, and would accelerate growth and productivity. Construction is slated to start in mid-2017, and will take 18 months to complete. In addition to the new conveyor and associated tie-ins, the project woudl also mean a new stockpile pad and run-of-mine station at Peak Downs and Caval Ridge, while the existing CHPP and stockyard will be upgraded. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye declares war on illegal gold miners - Ed Stoddard

SIBANYE GOLD has declared war on illegal gold miners, saying it will clear all illegal miners from its shafts by the end of Jan. 2018. CEO NEAL FRONEMAN's campaign slogan is "Zero Zama", after the Zulu for illegal miners, zama zamas. SIBANYE is the first company to set itself a deadline to stop the practice and has laid out 200m rand to make it happen. The challenge is immense - SIBANYE may win most of the battles but will lose the war in a country beset by unemployment, crime and porous borders, experts say. "SIBANYE can get it down by 90%, but they will never eradicate it completely", security consultant LOUIS NELL said, adding that "you must never underestimate the ability of an illegal miner." Illegal gold mining costs the government and industry more than R20bn/year in lost sales, taxes and royalties, the Chamber of Mines estimates. The operational security budget in SIBANYE's gold division alone is R400m in 2017, equal to almost 20% of its headline earnings for 2016. SIBANYE's strategy for eradic

Ghana will not finance budget deficit - governor - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's central bank will not finance the government's budget, its new governor, ERNEST ADDISON, said on Friday as the regulator seeks to keep fiscal consolidation on track. Ghanaian lawmakers last year passed a law allowing the central bank to finance the deficit up to 5% of the previous year's tax revenues, breaching terms of a $918m aid deal with the IMF which demanded that such funding be eliminated. ADDISON said the central bank did not finance the deficit last year, although the current law allows limited funding. ADDISON, who assumed office this month, said he would pursue price stability and ensure the alignment of the central bank's policy rate with interbank rates by adopting a better transmission system. He expects the cedi to sustain its recent stability against the dollar, supported by the government fiscal policy, improvement in export earnings and reduction in import bills. He said Bank of Ghana had written to some troubled commercial lenders that defaulted on loans from the central bank a

Kenya offers textile firms tax incentives to create jobs - Duncan Miriri

Kenya has started offering tax incentives to clothing companies to create jobs and provide affordable new clothes for shoppers. Executives in the textiles industry said the changes included allowing them to sell 20% of their annual output locally without sales taxes and without paying import duties on the materials and equipment used to produce the garments. Formal manufacturing accounted for 9% of Kenya's $70bn economic output last year, but it employed just 0.3m people out of 45m, official data showed last week. The advent of cheap, second-hand clothes imports from the US and Europe, locally known as mitumba, in the 1980s, put local apparel firms out of business and killed production of raw materials like cotton. Apart from the job creation potential of boosting textile firms via the initiative, officials said it could help dislodge mitumbas from their dominant position. They estimated that 70% of Kenyans cannot afford new clothes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ratings downgrades stymie Pioneer Food deal talks - Martinne Geller

PIONEER FOOD GROUP on Friday said a large potential deal it was exploring had fallen apart due to downgrades to SA's sovereign credit rating. PIONEER on Mar. 7 said it had been approached to explore a "material transaction" that could impact its share price. It did not name the party involved. On Friday, the company said the talks had ended. "Due to the recent sovereign debt rating downgrades in South Africa and the potential for additional downgrades, the parties have decided to discontinue negotiations at this time", PIONEER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mauritius trade deficit widens in Feb. - Jean Paul Arouff

Mauritius' trade deficit widened 15.6% to 5.64bn rupees in Feb. y/y due to a fall in exports of manufactured goods, Statistics Mauritius said on Friday. Export revenue fell 9.8% to 6.29bn rupees, with manufactured goods dropping to 1.83bn rupees in Feb. 2016. Imports rose 0.7% to 11.94bn rupees, the statistics office said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 24/04/2017

At 08h00 on 24 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.00 ZAR/EUR 14.11 ZAR/GBP 16.63 Gold 1273.81 Platinum 970.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.24 All Share 52194.59

ANZ to sell Vietnam retail business to Shinhan Bank - Hudson Lockett

ANZ has agreed to sell its retail business in Vietnam to South Korea's SHINHAN BANK VIETNAM as part of a broader retreat from Asia retail banking. ANZ said the retail business served 125 000 customers in Vietnam and included A$320m in lending assets and A$800m in deposits. It did not disclose the terms of the deal, stating that "premium took book value for the sale of the retail business in Vietnam is not material to the ANZ GROUP". The deal follows ANZ's sale of a 20% stake in SHANGHAI RURAL COMMERCIAL BANK in Jan. and comes as it seeks to divest from similar stakes or JVs in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank to pay $156.6m penalty over forex, Volcker Rule controls - Jessica Dye

DEUTSCHE BANK will pay a combined $156.6m in civil penalties in two separate enforcement actions brought by the Federal Reserve, one of which deals with its oversight of forex traders and another with its compliance programme for the Volcker Rule. Fed enforcers said they found deficiencies in DEUTSCHE BANK's oversight and internal controls regarding forex traders buying and selling US dollars and foreign currencies both for the bank's own accounts and on customers' behalf. The central bank said that DB failed to detect and address its traders' use of electronic chatrooms to discuss their positions with rivals. As part of the order, the bank will be required to improve its senior management oversight and controls relating to forex trading. It will also require the bank to cooperate in investigations of individuals involved in the forex trading conduct and forbids it from re-hiring individuals fired as a result. The second enforcement action deals with "gaps in key aspects" of its compliance programme for

Visa climbs after posting quarterly beat - Adam Samson

VISA yesterday revealed upbeat quarterly profit and sales figures, as the company saw transaction volume rise. The company's operating revenues rose 23% y/y to $4.5bn in the quarter to end-Mar., helped by the inclusion of VISA EUROPE, which it acquired last June, as well as growth in payments and transactions volume. Net earnings fell 75% to $430m, or 18cps, due to charges from reorganising the VISA EUROPE unit to align the company's overall corporate structure. Excluding special items, earnings rose 27% to $2.1bn, or 86cps. Analysts had forecast profits of 79cps on revenues of $4.28bn. Payments volume growth, on a constant dollar basis, was up 37% y/y to $1.7tn, while total processed transactions rose 42% to 26.3bn. If VISA EUROPE were included in the prior year's results, transactions would have been up 12%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump inks order directing investigation of steel imports - Jessica Dye

President DONALD TRUMP yesterday signed an executive memorandum directing Commerce Secretary WILBUR ROSS to launch a probe and report back on whether the US should impose restrictions on steel imports for national security reasons. TRUMP called the signing a "historic day for American steel", adding that his administration would "fight for American workers and American-made steel, and that's beginning immediately". The review could be completed in as little as 50 days, TRUMP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Philip Morris earnings miss forecasts - Pan Kwan Yuk

PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL saw more than $6.5bn sliced off its market cap yesterday after it posted Q1 sales and earnings that missed analysts' forecasts. Shares fell as much as 4.4% in early trading before recovering slightly to trade 3.7% lower as investors questioned whether the company's go-to strategy of raising cigarette prices to offset volume decline has run its course. PMI reported an 11.5% slump in cigarette shipment volumes for the quarter. This, coupled with a strong dollar prompted net revenues, excluding excise taxes, to fall 0.3% to $6.06bn during the period, confounding forecasts for a rise to $6.47bn. Excluding sales gains generated by new tobacco technology products, the drop in revenue excluding excise tax generated by traditional cigarette products is even steeper at 6.6%. Net income was up 3.9% at $1.59bn, but on an adjusted basis, diluted earnings of 98cps missed estimates for 102cps. The results overshadowed a move by PMI to raise its FY guidance. The company is now forecasting

Blackstone earnings beat forecasts - Javier Espinoza

BLACKSTONE extended its assets under management to a new record of $368.2bn via fundraising, organic growth and strong fund appreciation. The gains come as the company said it had doubled its revenues in Q1 2017 y/y. Revenue jumped to $6.1bn during the quarter compared to $3.01bn y/y thanks to the sale of assets. Economic net income rose to $986m, or 82cps, representing a 166% y/y increase. BLACKSTONE also posted its second best quarterly distribution ever, at $0.87/common unit. In total, the company will have distributed nearly $14/common unit of value since its IPO, including $2.50 a year on average over the past three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 21/04/2017

At 11h26 on 21 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.14 ZAR/EUR 14.09 ZAR/GBP 16.81 Gold 1281.54 Platinum 977.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.96 All Share 52421.40

FIC Bill delay: Presidency mum as clock ticks - Liesl Peyper

There has been no word from President JACOB ZUMA's office on why he still hasn't signed the Financial Intelligence Centre Bill into law, close to two months after it was passed by Parliament. Time is running out for SA as the Financial Action Task Force - the body that monitors compliance with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations - has given the country until June to enact the legislation. "Pressure is mounting on South Africa to enact the bill before the June 017 meeting", said KIRSTEN SERRURIER, Banking and Financial Services Regulatory lawyer at Bowmans. "As the task force has already raised concerns about enacting the FIC Bill there is some pressure to expedite the enactment of the bill before that meeting", she said, adding that "failure to do so could erode the credibility of South Africa's financial regulatory system and result in increased transaction costs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammerson inks £360m credit refinancing deal - Mehreen Khan

HAMMERSON has agreed a £360m credit facility as it seeks to reduce its debt financing costs and lock in historically low borrowing costs. The company said it had signed a five-year revolving credit facility deal with a syndicate of 14 banks that could be extended to seven years. The credit facility has a margin of 90 bps over LIBOR and marks a 60 bps reduction over an existing £175m credit facility. HAMMERSON suffered a profit drop of over a half last year on the back of a falling value of its shopping centres and retail parks. Last year, the company inked a £420m credit deal which also helped reduce its borrowing costs. CFO TIMON DRAKESMITH said the new credit facility "is the latest milestone in our journey to reduce HAMMERSON's cost of debt by refinancing in an attractive funding environment". Japanese bank MUFG is coordinator of the loan facility with DEUTSCHE BANK as the facility's agent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Reckitt Benckiser sales growth flat in Q1 - Mehreen Khan

RECKITT BENCKISER sales fell flat in Q1 after the company warned of "challenging" economic conditions. The company said like-for-like sales were stagnant at £2.64bn, with reported sales up 15% in the quarter to end-Mar. The company kept its FY guidance of a 3% rise in like-for-like sales unchanged and said its $16.7bn deal to buy MEAD JOHNSON was on course for completion by end-Sep. Within the Q1 figures, RECKITT's hygiene division grew 3% but was offset by falls in its home and food brands. Earlier this month the company said it was looking at disposing its food business which is made up of source brands such as French mustard and accounts for just 4% of overall sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese steel companies mixed after Trump moves to impose tariffs - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese steel companies had a mixed reaction today after President DONALD TRUMP launched a national security investigation that could lead to tariffs on steel imports. The US will use a 1962 law allowing the government to limit imports that threaten its security readiness as TRUMP seeks to deliver on his campaign promises to support American steel production. He insisted the move "had nothing to do with China", the world's largest steel producer. Shares in BAOSHAN IRON AND STEEL CO were flat after rising as much as 1% in early trading. HESTEEL was down 1.3% after recovering from a 4.1% dip. ANGANG STEEL's Hong Kong-listed shares were up 0.8%, while its shares in Shanghai rose as much as 1.5% before easing to be up 0.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

State set to review aviation sector - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN has announced that the government is undertaking a review of the state aviation sector and would also soon make public a strategic equity partner for SAA and SOUTH AFRICAN EXPRESS, following the merger of the two carriers. In a written reply in Parliament this week, BROWN said the merger of SAA and SAX would still take place, but added that the government was also busy with the overhaul of the state airline sector. BROWN declined to give deadlines on the finalisation of this process, or to name the possible equity partners that have been identified. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan axing will drag down economic growth - Lameez Omarjee

The removal of PRAVIN GORDHAN as finance minister has prompted fears of cronyism and corruption and is expected to drag down economic growth further, according to research conducted by BMI RESEARCH. The FITCH unit looked at the impact of the recent Cabinet reshuffle on SA's economic outlook, which saw the appointment of MALUSI GIGABA to head the Treasury. BMI noted that populist rhetoric and less investor-friendly regulation such as the Mining Charter Amendment and the proposed Expropriation Bill could also impact investor confidence. The appointment of CHRIS MALIKANE as an advisor to GIGABA is one such example. MALIKANE recently authored an opinion piece promoting nationalisation. The research warned that failure to improve the business environment and SOEs may further drag down economic growth. BMI forecasts that the rand may rebound in the months ahead and will end the year at R13.25/$. However, risks to emerging market currencies and a downgrade of local debt may impact investor confidence. Politic

Pioneer shares fall as it calls off Zeder deal - Robert Laing

Shares in PIONEER FOODS fell 7% this morning to R164 after it announced that a possible deal with ZEDER, announced last month, had been called off. The share recovered to trade 3.8% lower at R170 at 09:30. PIONEER said the decision was made "due to the recent sovereign debt rating downgrades in SA and the potential for additional downgrades". Details of the proposed deal between the parties were not provided in their respective statements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hospital front shops help Clicks grow footprint - Robert Laing

Taking over the front shops in NETCARE hospitals helped CLICKS grow its flagship brand to 600 stores at end-Feb., the company said this morning. A net 89 CLICKS stores were opened during the HY to end-Feb., of which 41 were front shops in NETCARE hospitals. The group's pharmacy network grew to 459, of which 59 were new pharmacies added during the period. CLICKS has budgeted R577m capital investment for FY2017. It grew overall interim income 11% to R13.5bn and aftertax profit 14.5% to R582.8m. A 232cps interim dividend was declared, up 15.8% y/y. The group's retail health and beauty division grew sales by 13.1%, with selling price inflation contained to 4.8%. Pharmaceutical wholesaler UPD grew turnover by 9.6%. For the FY to end-Aug., CLICKS forecasts diluted HEPS will grow by 11%-16%. Diluted HEPS grew 13.5% to 232cps during the HY under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

International betting offsets Phumelela's racing losses - Robert Laing

PHUMELELA GAMING AND LEISURE managed to offset losses from its local horse racing business with profits from its international online sports betting ventures. The overall interim revenue grew 4% to R819m and aftertax profit 5% to R68m in the HY to end-Jan. y/y. The interim dividend was maintained at 34cps. The international arm grew revenue 37% to R174m, while pre-tax profit grew 7% to R39m. The net loss from the traditional South African horse racing business widened to R22.74m, from R6.87m y/y. Revenue declined 2% to R645m. Part of the reason for the widening loss was an increase in prize money paid out. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trencor expects swing into FY loss - BDpro

TRENCOR expects to report an HLPS of between 400cps and 460cps for the FY to end-Dec., from HEPS of 513cps y/y. It attributed the expected loss to poor conditions in the global container industry and the bankruptcy of HANJIN SHIPPING CO. The trading statement comes three months after the company announced the retirement of CEO JIMMY MCQUEEN, after 40 years with the group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Revised ratings outlook for African Bank - Sandile Mchunu

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS has revised the outlook for AFRICAN BANK from "negative" to "stable" and affirmed the B+/B global scale rating. The national scale rating was raised to zaBB from zaBB-. S&P said the bank's capitalisation has improved, combined with better earnings than expected. S&P said the stable outlook "balances the bank's very strong capital levels and limited medium-term refinancing risks against the weak economic environment that could negatively impact its earnings and business stability, and the longer term risk that the bank's funding is susceptible to investor confidence". AFRICAN BANK will publish interim results for the HY to end-Mar. on May 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Discovery to get new office in W Cape - Joseph Booysen

Construction is under way on DISCOVERY's new R460m regional office at Century City, set to provide employment opportunities for up to 300 people. The development, comprising 16 300m² of premium grade offices, will include new regional offices for DISCOVERY, being developed by the RABIE PROPERTY GROUP. The development will comprise two four-storey buildings of 8 000m² and 8 300m² respectively, each with two levels of underground parking. DISCOVERY's Cape Town staff, who will be relocating from elsewhere at Century City, will be occupying the larger of the two buildings. Construction is scheduled for completion by Jun. 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Worry grows over Net1's business practice - Kevin Crowley

Money manager ALLAN GRAY said it is "increasingly concerned" over the running of NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES. The second-biggest shareholder in NET1, with a 15.6% stake, said its research into the company shows that the business doesn't always answer its phones when called by clients. NET1 has the contract to distribute welfare payments to more than 17m South Africans and has been accused of illegally using information it gleans to help its subsidiaries sell those people services such as mobile phone airtime and loans. "It's not illegal not to answer your phone but it's not good business practice", ALLAN GRAY chief investment officer ANDREW LAPPING said yesterday. "We've been trying to find out exactly how beneficiaries are treated. If you have a problem, how easy is it to get hold of them? How easy is it to cancel debit orders?... We're increasingly concerned. Our concerns have not been alleviated", LAPPING said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cashbuild publishes operational update - Fin24

CASHBUILD LIMITED yesterday said its revenue for Q3 was down 1% y/y. Twenty stores opened since Jul. 2015 and contributed a 4% increase, while the 219 existing stores decreased by 5% when compared with Q3 FY2016. This, coupled with the growth reported in H1, equates to an increase in revenue for the year to date of 2%. Revenue for the group, including P&L HARDWARE trading equates to growth of 13% for Q3 and revenue growth of 15% for the year to date y/y. During Q3 one store was refurbished, no stores relocated and one DIY store closed at the expiration of its lease term, bringing the total number of stores trading at the end of the quarter to 294. Selling inflation was at 2% at end-Mar. y/y, while the gross profit percentage margins remained at similar levels to those reported at end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stefanutti forecasts FY loss - Fin24

STEFANUTTI STOCKS yesterday said it expects to report an LPS of 70cps-90cps for the FY to end-Feb., while HEPS will be between 0cps and 20cps. That compares with HEPS of 104.31cps and EPS of 89.62cps reported y/y. The key aspects contributing to the drop in earnings include the recording of a once-off present value charge of R138.8m relating ot the settlement agreement concluded with the SA government. Should this charge be eliminated then the adjusted HEPS would be between 80cps and 100cps. Results will be published on May 18. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Going with Gigaba would have been futile - FEDUSA - Tshidi Madia

Joining Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA on his investor roadshow to the US would have been an exercise in futility, the Federation of Unions of SA said yesterday. It lacked credibility and labour was struggling to trust government, FEDUSA general secretary DENNIS GEORGE said. "FEDUSA decided to suspend its participation in team SA because it's a futile exercise, speaking to investors when the elephant in the room is President [JACOB] ZUMA". GIGABA was in the US to attend the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings and to meet investors in Boston and New York, as well as ratings agency MOODY's. "To us it's clear that the president does not have the economic welfare of South Africa in mind and he is now clearly demonstrating that to everyone", GEORGE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Why consumers are most satisfied with Woolworths - Lameez Omarjee

WOOLWORTHS has succeeded in providing high quality products, convenience and fast service, and its growing presence at petrol stations has helped, according to the South African Consumer Satisfaction Index. Among the driving factors for this was WOOLWORTHS' ability to provide quality products. The survey looks at the combined results of the Consumer Expectations Index, Perceived Quality Index and the Perceived Value Index, all of which have a score out of 100. The survey compares WOOLWORTHS, SHOPRITE, PICK N PAY, SPAR and CHECKERS. The industry average was at 76.2, up from 75.7 in 2015. WOOLWORTHS scored 82.1, up from 80.7 y/y. CHECKERS came in 2nd with a score of 77.2, followed by PNP (76.5), SHOPRITE (75.5) and SPAR (75.2). The research showed that loyalty declined across all supermarket brands. Customers believe they receive great value from WOOLWORTHS. Its perceived quality score is at 87 and its perceived value score at 80.6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New ETF aims to boost investment in Africa - Lameez Omarjee

A new ETF aims to increase investment growth in Africa. The ETF provides a diversified investment in 50 companies across the continent, excluding SA. Big50 Ex-SA ETF listed on the JSE on Thursday, and is offered by CLOUD ATLAS INVESTING, a Johannesburg-based Collective Investment Scheme. It operates via 15 African exchanges and offers "an easy, safe way to invest in African markets and supports the continent's growth journey", said DONNA NEMER, director of capital markets at the JSE. "Because the Big50 ex-SA ETF is suitable for individual investors as well as institutional investors, it offers a wider opportunity to participate in Africa's growth", NEMER said, adding that it offers local investors rand-hedging opportunities. Besides giving individuals an opportunity to invest in diverse African shares, the ETF also allows institutional investors to invest up to 5% of a fund's capital in African investments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WeChat abolishes tipping feature on iPhones - Lulu Yilun Chen

TENCENT HOLDINGS is shutting down a popular feature on WeChat that allows iPhone users to tip emoji and content creators to comply with APPLE's policy on in-app purchases. After months of negotiations, TENCENT said it "regrettably" had to abolish the feature on WeChat to comply with new terms APPLE laid down in Jun. TENCENT claimed APPLE said developers would be barred from including buttons or links that direct customers to purchasing systems outside of its iOS ecosystem. Tipping encouraged WeChat users to deposit more money within the app's wallet, while motivating writers and emoji designers to compete for tips, enhancing the overall quality of content. APPLE said that WeChat could still allow users to tip as long as it used APPLE's own in-app purchase system. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAPOA says comments were ignored in new property Bill - Megan van Wyngaardt

The SA Property Owners Association says that while it supports the aims of the Property Practitioners Draft Bill, published for comment on Mar. 31, the current version of the draft Bill does not take any of SAPOA's previous recommendations into account. The Bill will ensure the continuation of the Estate Agency Affairs Board as the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority, provide for the continuation of the Estate Agents Fidelity Fund as the Property Practitioners Fidelity Fund and provide for consumer protection and related matters. "As a member-driven organisation, SAPOA has dedicated a great deal of time, effort and resources in assisting the EAAB with redrafting and providing comments to all previous versions of the ill. This was done at the request of the EAAB. It is unfortunate and regrettable that none of the recommendations made by SAPOA... have been taken into consideration in the current version of the Bill", SAPOA CEO NEIL GOPAL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original

MasterCard tests biometric cards in SA - Megan van Wyngaardt

SA is the first market to test MASTERCARD's next-generation biometric card, which combines chip technology with fingerprints to conveniently and safely store a cardholder's identity for in-store purchases. Two separate trials with PICK N PAY and ABSA were recently concluded. The new card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments and can be used at EUROPAY, MASTERCARD and VISA (EMV) terminals worldwide. A cardholder enrolls their card by registering with their financial institution. Upon registration, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. The card is then ready to be used at any EMV terminal globally. When shopping and paying in-store, the card works like any other chip card. The cardholder simply dips the card into the retailer's terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template and, if the biometrics match, the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the tra

Tanzania export ban weighs on Acacia - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Tanzanian government's decision to introduce a general ban on the export of metallic mineral concentrates has had a $33m negative impact on ACACIA MINING's cash flow for Q1 to end-Mar. The Ministry of Energy and Minerals announced the ban on Mar. 3 following a directive from President JOHN MAGUFULI. The ban resulted in ACACIA's gold sales for the quarter being 34 926oz lower than production. ACACIA yesterday said $22m in advanced payments for concentrate produced in Jan. and Feb. was being held up in the Dar es Salaam port and was awaiting export prior to the ban being announced. These advanced payments may need to be refunded during Q2 if the ban is not lifted. ACACIA's all-in sustaining cost was impacted on a unit cost basis at $934/oz, the company said. Had it sold all ounces produced, AISC for the quarter would have been around $852/oz. ACACIA said it continued to operate its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines as normal during the quarter, stockpiling concentrate and now had some 30 000oz of gold in

Newmont reveals Ahafo underground mine, mill expansion plans to lift output 50% - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONT MINING has announced investment plans to the value of $380m for a new underground mine and 50% plant expansion at the Ahafo mine, in Ghana. The Subika underground mine is projected to produce 1.8moz of gold over an 11-year mine life, and features ore grades of 4.7g/t. The mill expansion is expected to improve margins and support profitable production at Ahafo through to at least 2029. NEWMONT yesterday advised that the projects have been optimised to improve internal rates of return to more than 20% at a $1 200 gold price. In the period 2020 through 2024, they are forecast to add steady gold output of 200 000oz-300 000oz per year at Ahafo, for total production of 550 000oz-650 000oz/year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale reports Q1 iron ore record - Henry Lazenby

VALE has lifted iron ore production to a new record high in Q1 to end-Mar., touching 86.2mt despite inclement weather. The miner boosted iron ore output by 11.2% y/y despite production falling 6.7% q/q, resulting in 6.2mt lower output over the prior quarter as "usual weather-related seasonality" in Q1 impacted on the performance of the northern system. The y/y improvement was mainly attributable to the ramp-up of the S11D and Itabiritos projects. Blended volumes in Asia totalled 12.4mt in Q1, 10.3mt higher y/y and up 6.5mt q/q as a result of the ongoing strategy to bring more flexibility to the integrated supply chain by increasing offshore blending capacity. VALE believes this strategy will enable rapid responses to change in market conditions. Nickel production reached 71 400t in Q1, 14% and 2.9% lower q/q and y/y, while finished nickel products from VNC reached a record 10 200t in the period. Copper output totalled 109 000t in Q1, 11% and 2.6% lower q/q and y/y, mainly due to the lower production fro

CRG awaits 2nd funding tranche from investor - Megan van Wyngaardt

A second tranche of $500 000 in funding, which forms part of CENTRAL RAND GOLD's $1m loan agreement with investor JIA BANG WANG, has been delayed, the company said yesterday. CRG said certain exchange restrictions had led to the delay, but that efforts were being made to expedite the transfer process. Meanwhile, the company continued to work on executing the strategy of installing centrifugal concentrators at its operations in Johannesburg, with the anticipated date of commissioning in Q3. The equipment has been manufactured with delivery to SA from China expected to occur mid-June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo signs supply MoU with Mbeya Cement - Megan van Wyngaardt

KIBO MINING has signed a strategic MoU with LAFARGE TANZANIA subsidiary MBEYA CEMENT, to develop regional collaboration and to allow for reciprocal supply of materials. The MoU includes discussions with regional development partners to allow socioeconomic and related development programmes and projects in the Mbeya and Songwe regions; an exclusive coal supply agreement between the Mbeya coal mine and MBEYA CEMENT; a limestone mining and supply agreement; and a fly ash supply agreement. The MoU would further focus on a definitive electricity supply agreement, whereby the Mbeya power plant will electrify MBEYA CEMENT, as well as a definitive cement supply agreement for the construction of the Mbeya coal-to-power plant. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resolute tweaks output forecast - Esmarie Swanepoel

RESOLUTE MINING has upgraded its FY production expectations from 300 000oz to 325 000oz on the back of another strong quarter of production. The company reported that during the quarter to Mar., gold output reached 88 622oz, down slightly from the 91 224oz produced q/q. All-in sustaining costs for the quarter were A$1 091/oz, while FY AISC are now estimated to be A$1 150/oz, around A$130/oz less than previously expected. During the quarter under review, the Syama operation, in Mali, delivered 62 294oz of gold, while the Ravenswood mine in Queensland delivered 19 328oz. "RESOLUTE's excellent operational performance was supported by more exciting drilling results from Nafolo at Syama, and Bibiani, in Ghana. With cash, bullion and listed investments now totalling A$291m, we continue to be in a strong position to support our investments in development and exploration", RESOLUTE MD and CEO JOHN WELBORN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto iron ore, coal output hit by heavy rains - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has seen output decline across its asset portfolio as the Western Australia and Queensland operations were impacted by wet weather conditions during the quarter to end-Mar. Iron ore output from the Pilbara declined by 10% q/q, reaching 77.2mt during Q1, while iron ore shipments were down 13% in the same period to 76.7mt. Ship loading at the Pilbara operations was impacted by cyclone activity during the quarter, and sections of the rail network were affected by flooding. Despite these disruptions, the company said its shipment guidance for 2017 remained unchanged at 330m-340m tonnes. Hard coking coal production was affected by the timing of the longwall changeover at the Kestrel mine, as well as processing rates at Hail Creek. RIO kept its guidance for coking coal at 7.8mt-8.4mt and its semi-soft coking coal guidance at 3.3mt-3.9mt. The company expects to produce between 17mt and 18mt of thermal coal this year. Mined copper output for the quarter was down 37% to 84 200t, due to a 43-day labour

Supply disruption hits Vedanta plant in India - Reuters

VEDANTA yesterday said its 500 000t aluminium smelter in eastern India was hit by a power outage this week that damaged over a third of its processing capacity. The company said 228 out of a total of 608 pots that process molten aluminium were damaged by the outage. "The impacted pots will require to be repaired over the next few months, and put back into production. Timelines will be announced in due course." The per day output of each pot is around 2.5t, a source said. The incident could result in a loss of roughly 30 000t of output in the next three months. That would equate to around 25% of the plant's quarterly output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian finmin says country needs to tap non-oil revenues - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria plans to get out of recession by boosting government revenues and cracking down on corruption, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday, and will also issue more international debt to pay for infrastructure projects. ADEOSUN said her aim was to get the non-oil sector, which accounts for around 90% of GDP, to contribute to government revenues. "Improving non-oil revenues is something we are working hard on. We are rolling out measures to get more people into the tax net", she said. ADEOSUN said liquidity on currency markets has been improving as the central bank has boosted dollar supply, thanks to recent rising oil prices. She added that the country plans to issue long-term debt on the international markets more regularly for infrastructure projects, taking advantage of the rise in Nigeria's debt to GDP ratio of 13%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ZIMRA beats Q1 revenue target - Nelson Banya

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority yesterday said it had collected $862m in Q1 2017, exceeding its target by 6%, helped by automated operations and improved compliance among businesses. The country expects to collect $3.7bn this year. ZIMRA chair WILLIAM BONYONGWE said gross revenue collections for Q1 were 10% higher than figures for the same period a year ago. "This upward trend is a result of a battery of revenue enhancement measures... which include automation, greater enforcement and the fight against corruption", BANYONGWE said. VAT on local sales, at 22.42%, weighed in with the biggest contribution towards the revenue, followed by individual tax at 20.05%. Company tax made up 11.2%, while mineral royalties, at $16.39m, exceeded the quarterly target by 21.42% on the back of improved output and commodity prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 21/04/2017

At 07h43 on 21 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.16 ZAR/EUR 14.10 ZAR/GBP 16.84 Gold 1280.00 Platinum 975.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.98 All Share 52496.62

Updated market indicators for 20/04/2017

At 11h33 on 20 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.18 ZAR/EUR 14.20 ZAR/GBP 16.92 Gold 1279.22 Platinum 970.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.40 All Share 52389.56

Google considers ad-blocking tool for Chrome - Richard Waters

GOOGLE is considering introducing an ad-blocking tool to Chrome in a crackdown on certain types of commercial messages that would raise questions about how it exercises power over rivals in the online advertising world. The review of whether to introduce an ad-blocker in Chrome, which was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the company's deliberations, comes as ad-blocking tools have become more popular with many internet users, particularly on smartphones. Chrome has nearly 60% of the internet browing market, according to NetMarketShare. That puts GOOGLE in a strong position to determine the types of ads that are able to get through to users. Chrome can already be used to block pop-up ads, limiting the ability of other ad companies to make money from users of the GOOGLE browser. But an ad-blocker would extend this for the first time to certain types of adverts that appear on websites. To lessen any backlash, GOOGLE is understood to be considering applying its ab-blocker on equal terms against its o

Amazon planning retail launch Down Under - Alice Woodhouse

AMAZON has confirmed it is planning to launch its retail services in Australia, although when exactly remains unclear. The company said retail was its next step for the country following launches of a Kindle Store for the Australian market in 2013 and of its cloud computing business Amazon Web Services in the region in 2013. It also said it will open up its third-party marketplace to small Australian businesses. NATIONAL AUSTRALIAN BANK recently found that Australian consumers spent an estimated A$20bn buying goods and services online in the 12 months to June., up 13.5% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan import growth hits 3-yr high as exports continue to rise - Hudson Lockett

Japan's export and import growth improved in Mar., with the former marking a 4th consecutive month of expansion and a stronger yen yelping the latter notch its fastest rise in more than three years. The value of Japan's exports grew 12% y/y in Mar., the Ministry of Finance said today, coming in far above analysts' forecasts of 6.7% and beating the 11.3% recorded in Feb. The value of exports to China rose 16.4% y/y after jumping 28.2% in Feb. Shipments to the US saw a marked improvement with growth of 3.4% after barely existing contraction in Feb. with a rise of 0.4%. The value of Japan's imports rose 15.8% y/y in Mar. after expanding only 1.2% in Feb. Inbound shipments from Asia rose 10.5% after falling 8% in Feb. Imports from the US jumped to growth of 16.3% after contracting 0.7% in Feb. Those flows shook out a trade surplus of Y614.7bn, down from February's level but coming in above a median forecast of Y575bn to mark a second month in the black after January's deficit snapped a five-month streak of

US tax reform by end-2017 will be 'challenging' - Goldman Sachs - Adam Samson

US tax reform is "more likely" to be enacted in Q1 2018 as opposed to Q4 2017, GOLDMAN SACHS said yesterday, marking the latest headwind to the "reflation trade". The downbeat view from GOLDMAN represents a setback from late Mar., when economist ALEC PHILLIPS noted that despite the TRUMP administration's failure to push through measures to repeal and replace Obamacare, "enactment of tax legislation this year still looks likely". PHILLIPS said the tax reform legislation is "not much further along than where it was a few months ago", adding that "the timing does appear to be slipping once again... At this point, we expect that enactment is more likely in [first quarter] 2018 than [fourth quarter] 2017". BANK OF AMERICA analysts yesterday noted that parts of the bond market are now "pricing in the death of tax reform and not merely a delay". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US oil stocks post back-to-back drops - Mamta Badkar

Inventories of US crude slid for the second straight week - the longest streak of draws since Dec. - even as gasoline stocks unexpectedly rose. Inventories of US crude fell by 1.03m barrels in the week to Apr. 14, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. At 532.3m barrels, US crude stocks have come off record highs. Stocks at the Cushings delivery hub fell by 778 000 barrels, compared with estimates for a build of 162 500 barrels. That came as imports averaged over 7.8m bpd last week, down by 68 000 bpd from the prior week. Gasoline stocks unexpectedly rose by 1.5m barrels, compared with forecasts of a drop of 1.6m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK has 'no say' over location of EU agencies after Brexit - Commission - Mehreen Khan

The UK government will have no say on the location of key EU agencies such as the bloc's banking regulator or medicines agency after Brexit, the European Commission said yesterday. Following hopes that London could retain the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency in the capital, the Commission has insisted the bodies will move to the continent as part of the UK's divorce settlement. "The UK is leaving the EU and it will have no say in the location of EU agencies. A matter for the negotiations will be a duty for the UK to facilitate the transfer of these agencies", a spokesperson for EC president JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER said. With cities such as Dublin, Amsterdam, Milan and Barcelona all fighting for relocation rights, the Commission called on the UK to help staff at the institutions as they move to the continent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sky profits hurt by Premier League costs - David Bond

SKY announced a new $250m production partnership witH HBO as the European broadcaster announced operating profits down 11% in the nine months to end-Mar. Although revenues rose by 5% in constant currencies to £9.64bn in the period, a £494m rise in the costs of screening live Premier League football caused profits to drop to £1.013bn, down from £1.142bn y/y. The new deal with HBO is a partnership to jointly commission and produce high quality drama series, SKY said, adding that the first programmes will air in 2018. SKY already has a rights deal to show HBO's shows on its Sky Atlantic channel until 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian alcohol curb spoils party for Pernod Ricard -Mehreen Khan

PERNOD RICARD reported a 3% rise in Q3 sales but warned the introduction of a curb on alcohol sales in India this month would hit its growth in that market. The company revealed a slowdown in its Indian market, with sales contracting 4% y/y in Q1 017 following a shock decision by the government to remove 96% of the country's currency from circulation and ban alcohol sales within 500 m of national highways. The sales curb came into force at the start of Apr. and will weigh on PERNOD's fourth quarter Indian performance and spill over into its first half of 2018. Still, the company managed to notch up an 8% rise in sales in its Americas market and a 7% rise in Europe in the quarter under review. It repeated its overall guidance for the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unilever confident as revenues rise - Katie Martin

UNILEVER's Q1 trading statement revealed a comfortable rise in revenues. Turnover rose by 6% y/y, reaching €13.3bn, with a tailwind from currency movements. Sales growth stood at 6% for emerging markets. The company recently announced plans to offload its spreads business, which has been holding back broader sales growth. It is also buying back €5bn of shares in a broad revamp. "The actions we are taking keep us on track for another year of underlying sales growth ahead of our markets, in the 3-5% range. We also expect an improvement in underlying operating margin this year... and strong cash flow. We are raising the dividend by 12%, reflecting the confidence in our outlook", CEO PAUL POLMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nestlé reports solid sales growth, confirms FY guidance - Peter Wells

NESTLE enjoyed solid sales growth in Q1 2017 and confirmed its guidance for the year. The Swiss food giant said sales rose by 0.4% on a reported basis to SFr21bn in the quarter to end-Mar., with the best growth coming from prepared dishes and cooking aids, powdered and liquid beverages, and water. Organic sales growth rose by 2.3% in the quarter, driven by Asia. This was better than the 2% analysts had pencilled in and also fell within the company's guidance range. NESTLE noted that sales took a 0.4% hit due to forex conversions, as well as the sale of assets. It confirmed its FY guidance, tipping organic growth to come in between 2% and 4% in 2017. In order to drive future profitability, the company planned to increase restructuring costs "considerably" this year, which would mean that operating profit margin in constant currency is expected to be stable. The group's Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa markets saw organic sales growth of 4.5%, much stronger than what was achieved in the Americas and

ABB sees Q1 orders fall 3% - Ralph Atkins

ABB blamed a fall in big projects for a 3% decline in orders in the first quarter of 2017 as the Swiss engineering group battles to return to sustained growth. CEO ULRICH SPIESSHOFER is under pressure to boost performance at the conglomerate. However, orders fell to $8.4bn in the quarter to end-Mar. That was 9% lower in dollar terms y/y, or 3% on a comparable basis. ABB said orders fell 17% in its power grids division, but orders in the comparable quarter y/y had been boosted by a large order from CHina. Q1 revenues were up 3% to $7.85bn on a comparable basis. Adjusted operating profits before tax rose 2% to $943m. SPIESSHOFER expected 2017 to be a "transitional year" for ABB. ABB returned to the acquisition trail earlier this month by acquiring BERNECKER & RAINER, an Austrian specialist in factory computer operating systems, for a price estimated at up to $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba jumps on reports Amazon, Dell could join Hon Hai bid - Peter Wells

TOSHIBA shares rose sharply today following reports one of the leading bidders for the group's memory chip business is considering a plan that may help alleviate concerns about foreign ownership. Taiwan's HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY is said to be considering a plan where it would acquire a 20% stake of TOSHIBA's NAND spin-off, with the remainder to be split among Japanese and US companies that could include AMAZON and DELL. Under the plant, SHARP would take a 10% stake, with another Japanese company picking up an equivalent stake. HON HAI had approached APPLE about a potential joint bid for NAND. Japanese media report that the Taiwanese group may ask its main client to take a circa 20% stake in TOSHIBA's memory business, and for AMAZON and DELL to take a 10% holding each. TOSHIBA's shares were up 5.1% this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia tightens citizenship requirements - Peter Wells

Australia has tightened requirements for its citizenship test, including a four-year probation period, competence in English and proven acceptance of "Australian values". The move comes says after the federal government scrapped its temporary foreign skilled worker visa scheme. PM MALCOLM TURNBULL today announced his government would strengthen the national citizenship test "by putting Australian values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements". New applicants will need to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for four years, up from one year at present. During this period, applicants will need to show the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community. This might include proof of employment, membership of community organisations and enrolment of eligible children in a school. They will need to pass a stand-alone English test, encompassing reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The government would also tighten the citizenship test i

Saudi oil minister raises hopes of OPEC deal extension - Simeon Kerr

Saudi Oil Minister KHALED AL-FALIH said consensus is building towards agreement to extend an OPEC deal to limit output by three to six months as the cartel seeks to achieve its goal to bring down inventory stocks. "Consensus is building, but it is not done yet", he said today on the sidelines of an industry event in Abu Dhabi. FALIH earlier said OPEC will watch oil inventories in April and May "and our colleagues will be keen to take the right measures in this regard". He said preliminary agreement to extend the deal had been reached by most - but not all - producers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NEHAWU to defy call for wage restraint - Reuters

NEHAWU yesterday vowed to seek wage hikes above the inflation rate in coming negotiations, defying Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA's demands for restraint to avoid further credit downgrades. The public sector wage bill accounts for nearly half of government revenue and has risen more than 80% over the past decade, with annual increases averaging more than 6% above CPI. The Treasury may struggle to borrow the extra money it needs to plug the wide budget and capital deficits, as well as meet wage demands from public servants after recent downgrades to junk status by S&P and FITCH. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Instability doesn't bode well for trading - Massmart - Sandile Mchunu

MASSMART yesterday warned that increasing policy uncertainty in SA would have negative consequences for the economy. In its trading statement for the 13-week period to end-Mar., MASSMART warned that retailers would struggle to provide any useful short- to medium-term performance outlook due to uncertainties. The retailer said it achieved a 0.5% total sales growth during the period, adding that the Easter holidays hampered its performance, falling in comparison to the corresponding period last year. "For the 13 weeks to end March 26, MASSMART's total sales growth was 0.5% over the previous year's period and comparable store sales decreased by 1.7%", the company said. It added that the sales performance outside SA remained weak with its rand total growth of -17.4% and comparable sales growth of -19.4%, while in constant currencies these figures are negative 1.9% and negative 2.1%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DA wants probe into Aspen allegations - ANA

The DA yesterday said it would write to the Competition Commission and the Medicines Control Council to request that they investigate the market conduct of ASPEN PHARMACARE. This comes after reports in the UK and SA detailing how staff at ASPEN allegedly plotted to dispose of life-saving cancer drugs in order to drive up the price across Europe. The London-based Times reported allegations that this campaign has seen prices of some cancer treatments inflated by more than 1 000%. DA health spokesperson WILMOT JAMES said the World Bank had already highlighted that the local pharmaceutical industry was controlled by cartels and operated in an uncompetitive manner. "Given the reports about how the cost of cancer drugs in Europe have been inflated, an investigation by the Competition Commission and the Medicines Control Council must, therefore, look into whether the same tactics are being used in our own country". JAMES said the DA would seek clarity from the Commission as to whether it is currently investigat

Transformation of economy non-negotiable - Ramaphosa - Tshidi Madia

The transformation of SA's economy is inevitable, Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said yesterday in a speech to the Black Business Council. "I would say to those who are dismissing this term, sit down, listen, smell the coffee... realise that the transformation of our economy is non-negotiable", RAMAPHOSA said. He added that government hoped to create more sustainable growth, higher investment, increased employment, reduced inequality and to deradicalise the economy. "It is in the end about building a more equal society, drawing one third of the working age South Africans into the mainstream", RAMAPHOSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PnP's Zim partner shows strong earnings growth - Malcom Sharara

TM SUPERMARKETS, PICK N PAY's Zimbabwean associate, posted strong results for the 52 weeks to Feb. 26. PNP yesterday said its share from TM's profits were 74.7%, driven by successful collaboration between TM and PNP, and strong trade from rebranded PNP stores. PNP's share of TM's earnings came to R80.2m for FY2017, representing growth in local currency terms of 71.8%. The results were achieved in a tough macroeconomic climate characterised by liquidity constraints, rising unemployment and falling consumer confidence. TM has 56 stores in Zimbabwe, 16 of which trade under the PNP banner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSG results pleasing - CEO - Fin24

PSG GROUP's results for the FY to end-Feb. are pleasing considering prevailing uncertain market conditions, CEO PIET MOUTON said yesterday. The company's sumo-of-the-parts value per share and recurring HEPS rose by 29% and 18%, respectively. The SOTP value amounted to R240.87 per PSG share at end-Feb., up from R186.67 y/y. Consolidated recurring headline earnings rose to 927cps, up from 788cps y/y. A final dividend of 250cps was declared, taking the total for the year to 375cps, up 25% y/y. MOUTON said PSG was well positioned with low gearing at all of its companies and a significant portion of the interest rate exposure fixed. This is against the backdrop of SA's recent credit downgrade which could see debt becoming more expensive and with a rise in interest rates. "With R1.3bn in cash at PSG GROUP level, we rather look to new investment opportunities that might present itself", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore cobalt supplies in DRC face hold-up over mine row - Bloomberg

A dispute between state-owned GECAMINES and JV partner GLENCORE threatens to halt the supply of as much as 4% of cobalt within two months. GTL, a JV between GECAMINES and GROUPE FORREST INTERNATIONAL, has processed the hill of mine waste that looms over the town of Lubumbashi since 2001, producing as much as 5 000 metric tonnes of cobalt annually. GECAMINES has blocked GTL's access to the site since Mar. 23, according to GROUPE FORREST CEO MALTA FORREST. "GECAMINES has blocked our access stating that it believes we have exceeded the limits set in our contract. It's simply not true", FORREST said. The company petitioned the commercial court in Brussels, which has jurisdiction over GTL's purchasing agreement from GECAMINES, to reopen access to the site and appoint an independent expert to adjudicate the dispute. The case will be heard later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

El Salvador freezes OceanaGold bank accounts, assets over $8m payment - Reuters

El Salvador froze bank accounts and assets belonging to OCEANAGOLD after the latter refused to pay the country $8m as mandated by an international court, the Attorney General's Office said this week. The country last year won an arbitration at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlements of Investment Disputes against OCEANAGOLD, which sought $250m from the country for revoking an extraction permit. In its ruling, the ICSID ordered OCEANAGOLD to pay $8m to El Salvador for legal fees. The company refused. The asset freeze was authorised by the Supreme Court to ensure payment compliance, the AG's Office said. It includes three bank accounts valued at nearly $200 000, seven vehicles and nine properties located in the San Isidro Cabanas municipality. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba slams Eskom's 'mistake' of contradicting govt policy on renewables - Terence Creamer

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday said ESKOM made a "mistake" by raising its corporate difficulties in relation to the signing of power purchase agreements with renewable energy generators in a way that undermined government's policy position. GIGABA stressed that government policy with regard to the integration of IPPs into the country's electricity network "remains unchanged" and that there should be no "uncertainty as to our commitment to the energy mix and the renewable-energy programme". The 37 outstanding contracts arising from the most recent bid window of the REIPPPP were scheduled to be signed on Apr. 11, but the signing was postponed to give new Energy Minister MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI time to become fully informed on the process made under REIPPPP and to ensure "concurrence" between herself and Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Recruitment process for new Eskom CEO to be concluded by end-May - Megan van Wyngaardt

Public Enterprise Minister LYNNE BROWN expects the recruitment process for a new CEO at ESKOM to be concluded by the end of next month. In a written reply to a Parliamentary question, BROWN revealed that ESKOM had, on Mar. 5 published an advert for the position. She further revealed that other SOEs falling under the DPE umbrella had vacancies in executive positions. This included diamond miner ALEXKOR, with vacancies for CEO and CFO; DENEL with vacancies for CEO and CFO; SOUTH AFRICAN EXPRESS AIRWAYS currently only having an acting CEO, and the SOUTH AFRICAN FORESTRY COMPANY with vacancies for a CEO and COO. TRANSNET was the only SOE that did not have any vacancies in senior executive positions, BROWN noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICASA enters into technical agreement with Moz regulator - Anine Kilian

ICASA has signed an agreement of cooperation and coordination with communications authority of Mozambique, Autoridade Reguladora Das Communicações, in respect of spectrum management for telecoms and broadcasting services. The agreement will see the establishment of a technical committee to deal with matters of common interest between the parties on radio frequency coordination. The technical agreement is the culmination of the memorandum of agreement entered into by the two governments in Jun. 2015, aimed at finding new approaches and strategies for consolidating, expanding and deepening areas of economic development, industrial and trade cooperation between the two countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CMH achieves good results but worries about political turmoil - Megan van Wyngaardt

Despite a difficult year, COMBINED MOTOR HOLDINGS yesterday said it still achieved "commendable results", posting a 17.8% rise in basic EPS, a 14.8% rise in HEPS and a 25.6% improvement in dividends a share for the FY to end-Feb. CMH said tough trading conditions continued to place pressure on consumer spending, with gross profit down 3.2% to R1.68bn. The y/y decline in GDP, coupled with the volatile economic environment added to the financial strain on households, and resulted in an 11.4% drop in national new car sales. The closure of two BMW and Mini operations in 2015 and a third in Jun. 2016 led to group revenue falling 7%. CMH further noted that despite the investment of R251m last year in the repurchase of shares, its net finance cost remained almost unchanged. Group new vehicle sales fell 8.3%, CMH said. The company said signs of a potential mild recovery in the "fragile economy" were thrown into doubt and confusion by "a few days of political mayhem", leading to a reversal of the rand's gains, a

Siemens enters into local manufacturing agreement with black industrialist firm - Anine Kilian

SIEMENS has entered into a local manufacturing agreement with ELECTRO INDUCTIVE INDUSTRIES, a black industrialist company based in Cape Town. EII will benefit from internationally recognised skills and knowledge transfer, while SIEMENS will benefit from having its own branded transformers that are mainly locally manufactured. The investment will create jobs and bring new technology capabilities to local industry. The manufacturing facility is currently being developed and upgraded in Cape Town to cater for a new line of SIEMENS transformers as part of its growth and job creation strategy. Downstream benefits of this localisation project will be felt across the entire supply chain via SIEMENS' global procurement and enterprise development programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US announces probe into imports of steel wire rod - Reuters

The US Department of Commerce on Tuesday announced it was launching investigations into whether imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from certain countries are being dumped/subsidised. The dumping probe affects imports from Belarus, Italy, South Korea, Russia, SA, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE and the UK, and the subsidisation probe covers those from Turkey and Italy, the department said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal's NCC produces first opencast coal - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL has produced the first run-of-mine coal from its New Clydesdale Colliery opencast development. The company said opencast mining would ramp up over the next quarter, reaching steady state in H2 2017 and complementing the underground coal currently being mined from three underground sections at the Adjacent Diepspruit shaft. Opencast operations at NCC started in Jan. as the second phase of the project's planned 3.3mt/year RoM development programme, following the start of underground operations in Sep. 2016. The third section of the coal handling and preparation plant, totalling an additional 100t/h capacity, has been fully rebuilt and is currently being commissioned, bringing the net throughput capacity to 3.3mt/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin output falls in line with reduced mining plan - Esmarie Swanepoel

Uranium oxide production from the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia fell by 26% during the quarter to end-Mar. as output was impacted by the first full quarter of a reduced mining plan. PALADIN ENERGY yesterday reported that output from Langer Heinrich reached 896 070lb during the quarter, while C1 cash costs at $21.02/lb exceeded the guidance of $17-$19/lb. Production compares with the Dec. quarter's output of 1.21m lb and the 1.30m lb produced y/y. No mining was carried out at the mine during the quarter, with RoM feed supplemented by high-grade ore until early Mar. Subsequent RoM feed was reclaimed from medium-grade stockpiles. Meanwhile, sales volumes for the Mar. quarter were also lowered at 730 642lb U3O8, generating gross sales revenues of $14.3m. Looking ahead, PALADIN expected uranium production to reach 750 000lb-850 000lb in the Jun. quarter, while sales were expected to reach between 1.1m and 1.3m lb of U3O8. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Application filed for winding-up of Eastplats - Martin Creamer

ALPHAGLOBAL CAPITAL has applied to the North Gauteng High Court for the winding-up of EASTERN PLATINUM, which is said to be unable to pay its debts. ALPHAGLOBAL CAPITAL is seeking an order for EASTPLATS to be placed under final winding-up in the hands of the Master of the High Court. The application states that the platinum miner had terminated its mining and construction operations and describes the group's corporate profile claim of having a strong balance sheet as being outdated and no longer accurate. It says EASTPLATS' capital preservation endeavours has not been successful and that its share price is currently a fraction of what it traded at in the late 2013 period, illustrating diminished shareholder sentiments. The application contends that unless the company is placed in the hands of a liquidator empowered to dispute of assets for the benefit of creditors and shareholders, the continued actions of opportunistic operators will squander and deplete assets to the prejudice of all interested parties.

Randgold's Kibali on track to increase output, but DRC policies a concern - Megan van Wyngaardt

The underground operation at RANDGOLD RESOURCES' Kibali mine is on track for commissioning to start in Q3 2017, which will significantly increase output. The DRC-based mine is forecast to deliver around 610 000oz of gold this year, up from 585 000oz in 2016, with output scheduled to rise to around 750 000oz/y from 2018. CEO MARK BRISTOW this week noted that Kibali ended 2016 with a creditable performance after having to contend with various operational challenges, as well as the constraints imposed by limited openpit mining flexibility. "Kibali has stayed on course to become one of the world's great gold mines despite the challenges of last year and the volatile political climate in the DRC at present. RANDGOLD remains committed to the DRC and is confident that its government, politicians and civil society have the will, as well as the capacity to work together to ensure the country's future", BRISTOW said. However, it was a source of concern that the government had once again indicated its intention of

Turquoise Hill output falls - Henry Lazenby

RIO TINTO subsidiary TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES yesterday posted a 23% drop in concentrate output at the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia as it processed lower grades from Phase 6 and early 4A of the openpit, as well as stockpile material during the quarter to end-Mar. Concentrate output slumped to 176 000t in the period, offset by the concentrator recording record throughput on the back of benefit from earlier productivity improvements, CEO JEFF TYGESEN said. Ore treated increased 2.7% over the prior period, and average daily throughput of 112 100t for Q1 increased by 5.1% over the Dec. quarter. Copper output for the period dropped 16.3% q/q to 38 100t and gold output fell 49% to 25 000oz due to lower grades, with recoveries at the lower end of the grade recovery curve. Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 130 000t-160 000t of copper and 100 000oz-140 000oz of gold in concentrates for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

eXtract to restructure amid slump in contract mining sector - Anine Kilian

Despite a recent improvement in commodity prices the long-term outlook for the contract mining sector remains poor. ENX and EXTRACT yesterday said there was an oversupply of contract mining services in the market. The EXTRACT board doesn't believe the pricing power of contractors will improve sufficiently in the medium term to provide an acceptable return on capital. The current and future capex required by EXTRACT to maintain its fleet on key contracts exceeded the cash being generated from those contracts, resulting in net cash outflows. The board has decided to reposition the company and plans to exit its suboptimal mining contracts over time, reduce overhead costs and restructure and repay, within 18 months, a R665m lending facility. EXTRACT plans to convert its debt into equity, with ENX to unbundle its shares in EXTRACT. To ensure the company's sustainability, EXTRACT plans to bring on board new, experienced mining executives and establish a new funding model for future resource investment via the

SA could suffer further downgrades if political uncertainty stalls growth - S&P - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's credit rating could get cut deeper into junk status if political uncertainty triggered by the recent firing of of the finance minister stalls reforms needed to grow the economy, S&P lead SA analyst GARDNER RUSIKE said yesterday. New Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has said Treasury is committed to fiscal consolidation plans outlined in the 2017 budget after S&P and FITCH downgraded the country to sub-investment grade. RUSIKE said political jostling ahead of the ANC's electoral conference in Dec. was likely to distract government from implementing economic reforms. "You are probably looking at a much longer time line when you are talking about the path of economic growth that can help to stabilise debt", RUSIKE said. SA's net debt currently sits just below 50% of GDP, at around R2.2tn, and in recent budgets the Treasury has said the cost of servicing that debt has been one of the fastest growing items. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank sees SSA GDP growth up in 2017 - George Obulutsa

GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa is seen rising between 2017 and 2019, helped by improved commodity prices and global conditions, the World Bank said yesterday. The institution's latest "Africa's Pulse" report said growth was seen expanding to 2.6% this year and further to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019. Growth was an estimated 1.3% in 2016, the World Bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria needs reforms to hedge against future forex crisis - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria needs to reform its finances to ensure it can hedge against any future currency crisis, World Bank chief economist ALBERT ZEUFACK said yesterday. ZEUFACK said currency adjustments could lead to higher inflation but continued monetary policy tightening would cause price pressures, adding that making fiscal adjustments in the country, now in its second year of recession, would be "extremely challenging". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's economy grew 5.8% in 2016 - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's economy grew 5.8% in 2016, up from 5.7% in 2015 but short of forecasts of 5.9%. A recovery in tourism boosted the number but other sectors, including agriculture and construction, grew at a slower pace, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said. Most experts expect growth to slow this year due to drought and sluggish private sector credit growth. The World Bank last week said the economy is likely to expand by 5.5% in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CPI slows to 6.1% in Mar. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's headline CPI slowed more than expected to 6.1% y/y in Mar. from 6.3% in Feb., Statistics SA said today. On a m/m basis inflation fell to 0.6%, from 1.1% previously. Core inflation fell to 4.9% y/y in Mar. from 5.2% in Feb., and rose 0.7% on a m/m basis, from 1.1% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yahoo results offer little surprise ahead of sale to Verizon - Richard Waters

YAHOO yesterday reported that its net revenues had slipped 3% in t he latest quarter. YAHOO said revenues for the quarter to end-Mar. had grown by 22% to $1.37bn, thanks to a change in accounting that took effect over the last year. That was higher than the $1.23bn that analysts had expected. YAHOO changed its accounting to reflect a change in its search partnership with MICROSOFT. This led to it including more of search advertising in its revenue line, while also reporting higher traffic acquisition costs. On a like-for-like basis, net revenue fell to $822m in the quarter, from $859m y/y. The latest decline was still a considerable improvement after 2016, when the company's net revenue fell by 14%. YAHOO bowed out with pro-forma earnings of 18cps in the period, ahead of the 14cps that had been expected. Based on formal accounting principles, it reported net income of $99m, or 10cps, compared to a $99m loss y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IBM sales underwhelm Wall St once again - Richard Waters

IBM's revenues fell another 3% in the latest quarter, falling short of Wall Street's expectations as a decline in the group's core business continued to outweigh the newer markets on which it has pinned its future. IBM said it expects to return to sustainable single-digit revenue growth once its so-called" strategic imperatives" tip the balance after a period of retrenchments. It has not predicted when that moment will come. For the latest period, IBM reported revenues of $18.2bn, below the $18.4bn analysts had been expecting. Its pro-forma EPS came in at $2.38, ahead of the forecast $2.35. Growth in the "strategic imperatives" unit reached 12%, and at $7.8bn these businesses now account for 43% of overall revenue. The core business saw a continued erosion, with revenue down 12% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Luxury brands fuel L'Oréal Q1 sales growth - Harriet Agnew

Strong demand for L'OREAL's luxury brands countered a slow start to the year for mass-market and professional products and helped the group deliver 4.2% sales growth in Q1. The company posted revenues of €7.04bn in Q1 2017. Helped by currency movements, this amounts to reported growth of 7.5% in Q1. Geographically, like-for-like sales were up 2.8% in Western Europe, up 3.8% in North America, and up 5.6% in the new markets division, which includes Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ecommerce grew 27% in the quarter and accounted for 6.8% of total sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verizon strikes fibre-optic cable deal with Corning - Jessica Dye

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS yesterday said it had reached a deal to buy at least $1.05bn worth of fibre-optic cable and associated hardware from CORNING over three years as the US telecoms giant moves to expand coverage and capacity on its high-speed wireless broadband network. The deal calls for CORNING to provide, and VERIZON to buy, 20m km of optical fibre from 2018 through 2020. VERIZON chief supply chain officer VIJU MENON said securing the required volume of optical fibre and hardware solutions with CORNING "will ensure we meet our planned rollout schedules". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VW posts 'significantly' higher operating profit - Patrick McGee

VOLKSWAGEN posted an operating profit of €4.4bn for Q1 2017, a "significantly" higher figure than expected. The carmaker said operating profit was up 28% y/y thanks to "improvements" in its core passenger VW brand. The group will publish full quarterly results on May 3, but it released the main figure early because of disclosure rules regarding earnings that are significantly different than expectations. Margins at the broader VW GROUP, which includes PORSCHE and AUDI, were 8.4%, according to calculations by Evercore. But VW remains conservative - it said it would hold its 2017 forecast of an operating margin between 6% and 7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 19/04/2017

At 11h49 on 19 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.32 ZAR/EUR 14.27 ZAR/GBP 17.07 Gold 1282.52 Platinum 977.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.99 All Share 52810.01

Goldman Sachs profits miss Wall St forecasts - Ben McLannahan

GOLDMAN SACHS posted an 80% rise in profits but lagged its Wall Street peers in Q1, failing to capitalise on a revival in risk appetite that saw rivals post double-digit increases in trading revenues. GOLDMAN said revenues from the core debt-trading business were essentially flat, at $1.69bn, while the M&A unit saw revenues down 2% to $756m. Net revenues came to $8.03bn for the quarter, 27% higher y/y, while net income rose 80% to $2.16bn. EPS were $5.15 on a diluted basis, well below the consensus analyst forecast of $5.34. GOLDMAN chair and CEO LLOYD BLANKFEIN said the operating environment was "mixed, with client activity challenged in certain market-making businesses and a more attractive backdrop for underwriting in our investment banking franchise". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BofA profits rise 40% - Alistair Gray

BANK OF AMERICA yesterday posted its third straight rise in quarterly profits. The lender generated $4.86bn worth of net income in Q1 2017 - up 40% y/y. "The US economy continues to show consumer and business optimism, and our results reflect that", BOFA chair and CEO BRIAN MOYNIHAN said. BOFA benefited from the trend sin investment banking that also boosted its rivals. Fixed income sales and trading revenues jumped 29% to $2.93bn y/y, while equities revenues also improved, up 7% to $1.1bn. Investment banking fees strengthened from $1.2bn to $1.6bn. Net interest income rose 5% to $11.1bn, a sign the bank is benefiting from the Federal Reserve's tightening of monetary policy. Net interest margins improved from 2.33% to 2.39%. Total loans and leases rose by only 0.6% in the period under review. EPS came in at $0.43/share, up from $0.29 y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

J&J posts mixed quarterly results - Adam Samson

JOHNSON & JOHNSON yesterday said it achieved a lower than expected rise in quarterly sales, but posted profits that topped analysts' estimates. The company said revenues rose 1.6% y/y in the quarter to end-Mar. to $17.77bn, missing forecasts of $18bn. Consumer sales rose by 1% to $3.2bn, as strong growth in the group's domestic business offset a fall in international sales. Pharmaceutical sales rose 0.8% to $8.2bn, helped by a steep rise in the company's international division. J&J said net profits fell to $4.42bn from $4.46bn, while adjusted EPS of $1.83 topped Wall Street forecasts of $1.77/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

May calls snap UK election - Henry Mance

British PM THERESA MAY yesterday called a snap election to give her a direct mandate to take the country through Brexit. The decision stunned many British politicians as they returned from their Easter break. The vote is set to be held on Jun. 8. "It is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to steer us through Brexit", MAY said as she called on the House of Commons to back the snap election. MAY had previously said categorically that the next general election would be held as scheduled in 2020. Two polls over the Easter weekend put the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour, a lead that is likely to greatly increase its existing working Commons majority of 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Heineken beer volumes flat - Jennifer Thompson

HEINEKEN reported sluggish volume growth in Q1 2017 despite continued high demand from the Asia Pacific region. The Dutch brewer said net income in the quarter to end-Mar. was €293m, up from €265m y/y. The volume of beer sold in Africa, the Middle East and Europe fell 0.4% y/y on a like-for-like basis, and was down 0.7% in the Americas. Volumes grew 5.4% in Asia-Pacific. Overall, the volume of beer sold was up 0.6% y/y. Chair and CEO JEAN-FRANCOIS VAN BOXMEER noted that market conditions remain challenging in various markets, adding that the group's FY expectations remain "unchanged". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Burberry gets boost from leather - Mehreen Khan

BURBERRY managed a 3% rise in comparable sales in H1, led by an exceptional performance in the UK and a return to growth in China. The group said revenues were up 3% to £1.268bn in the HY to end-Mar. at constant currencies, and 19% when reported at currency exchange rates. Total revenues slipped 1%, or 19% at currency exchange rates on the back of a shrinking US market and BURBERRY's "destocking" in its beauty range. The group said its H1 sales were buoyed by its accessories range including a double digit rise in leather goods. Growth in the US and Americas fell on the back of a stronger dollar. China sales rose in the high single digits but fell in New York and South Korea to deliver single-digit growth for Asia as a whole. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NZ tightens work visa requirements - Alice Woodhouse

New Zealand has introduced tougher visa requirements for skilled workers and reaffirmed its "Kiwis first" stance on immigration, following similar moves made yesterday by Australia and the US. Immigration Minister MICHAEL WOODHOUSE said the government had "a Kiwis first approach" with the changes designed to better manage immigration and to fill genuine skills shortages to contribute to the economy. Australian PM MALCOM TURNBULL yesterday scrapped its skilled worker 457 visa scheme, while US President DONALD TRUMP inked an executive order aimed at cracking down on the abuse of the H-1B visa programme for skilled workers. Changes to the policy include introducing a minimum annual salary of NZ48 859 - which is New Zealand's median income - for those applying under the Skilled Migrant Category. A separate threshold of NZ$73 299 will apply to jobs that are not classed as skilled but are well paid, WOODHOUSE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Akzo Nobel foresees core earnings €100m higher in 2017 - Michael Pooler

AKZO NOBEL today said it expects core earnings to be €100m higher in 2017, as the company posted record profitability in Q1 of the year. The Dutch group posted a 13% rise in EBIT - excluding one-off items - to €376m in the quarter to end-Mar. It attributed this to "volume growth, continuous improvement and cost discipline". AKZO NOBEL added that this measure of earnings should be €100m greater than the €1.5bn posted in 2016, barring any substantial changes in market conditions. This would represent a 6.7% increase. During Q1, revenue rose 7% to €3.6bn on higher volumes and acquisitions. Return on sales hit 10.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Akzo Nobel offers dividend sweetener to fend off takeover - Michael Pooler

AKZO NOBEL will give its shareholders a total of €1.6bn worth of dividends this year as part of efforts to thwart a €22.4bn takeover bid by US rival PPG INDUSTRIES. The Dutch group has come under pressure from various investors - led by ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT - to enter talks with PPG, from whom it has rejected two bids since Mar. In a bid to placate investors, the company said it will return €1bn via a one-off special dividend in Nov., while its regular payout is to be hiked by 50% to €2.50/share, resulting in a total €1.6bn payout. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABF bumps up sales, boasts excellent progress - Katie Martin

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS is trumpeting "excellent progress on all fronts" after a near doubling of profits in the HY to end-Mar., but warns that the pace of growth is unlikely to last. The company said overall pre-tax profit for the HY were £867m, up 92% y/y. That was boosted by the sale of some businesses, but adjusted profits were also up by 36%, flattered somewhat by exchange rate movements. Revenues were up by nearly a fifth at £7.3bn. ABF subsidiary PRIMARK has been stung by a drop in the pound since the UK's vote to leave the EU. PRIMARK buys most of its products in dollars, but makes more than half of its sales in the UK. Like-for-like sales in the UK were up by 2%, with overall sales up 7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US industrial production rebounds in Mar. - Pan Kwan Yuk

US industrial production rose by the most in three months in Mar. as a bounce in consumer goods and utilities output helped offset continued weakness in construction and manufacturing. Industrial output rose 0.5% last month from Feb., when it rose by 0.1%, data from the Federal Reserve showed yesterday. The gain was in line with analysts' forecasts. Utilities production rallied 8.6% during the period, snapping two months of declines. Consumer goods output also rose for the first time in two months, up 1.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Refurbishments disrupt PnP's revenue growth - Robert Laing

PICK N PAY blamed its 7% revenue growth to R79bn on "disruption to trade" due to refurbishing 62 stores and closing 12 underperformers during the 52 weeks to Feb. 26. After-tax profit grew a more impressive 17% to R1.2bn, and the group declared a final dividend of 146.4cps, taking its total payout for the year to 176.3cps, up 18% on the previous year's 149.4cps. The group grew profit faster than sales despite restricting its selling price inflation to 6.1% for the year, well below published food inflation of 11%, CEO RICHARD BRASHER said. Franchise fee income grew 10.5% to R349.8m, reflecting the 70 new franchise stores opened during FY2017. PNP opened 12 new supermarkets outside SA during the year, three in Namibia, six in Zambia, one in Zimbabwe and two in Botswana. It plans to open its first stores in Ghana and Nigeria over the next two years. The retailer's loyalty programme grew to 7m active members. BRASHER said this translated to 20 spies at tills every second. This news brief represents a su

Atlantic Leaf grows UK portfolio by 51% - Sandile Mchunu

ATLANTIC LEAF PROPERTIES has managed to grow its portfolio in the UK by 51% for the FY to end-Feb., despite the threat posed by Brexit. "The market in which the company operates has been strong and to date largely unaffected by the uncertainty caused by Brexit", the company said. Going forward, ATLANTIC LEAF remains confident that there are good acquisition opportunities and it will continue to seek out transactions that meet the group's overall objectives. The company enjoyed a successful year in which assets under management had increased by 55.1% to £304m for the FY to end-Feb., up from £196m y/y. The company more than doubled its revenue for the year, increasing it by 131.52% to £21.3m, up from £9.2m y/y, while operating profit jumped by 174.24% to £18.1m, up from £6.6m y/y. Profit grew to £9.1m, up from £5.4m y/y. HEPS were higher at 9.58% as compared to 6.19pps y/y. An annual dividend of 8.5pps was declared, up 21% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R9bn to fund Life Healthcare purchases - Sandile Mchunu

LIFE HEALTHCARE has managed to raise R9bn through its rights offer to fund the acquisition of the ALLIANCE MEDICAL GROUP in the UK. The deal consisted of an offer of 367m new LIFE ordinary shares at a subscription price of R24.50/rights offer share. The rights offer, which LIFE said was partially underwritten by RAND MERCHANT BANK and ABSA, closed last Thursday. It said the rights offer was 97.6% subscribed and said the underwriters would not be required to subscribe for any rights offer shares. The fully underwritten offer will cut LIFE HEALTHCARE's debt to the appropriate level of gearing for the company to restore its investment grade credit rating and to maintain sufficient financial flexibility to pursue its planned capital investment programme as well as to continue paying dividends. The acquisition of ALLIANCE MEDICAL would give LIFE access to the UK, Italy and Ireland. LIFE HEALTHCARE also operates in Poland and India. Shares in LIFE closed up 0.19% at R26.05 on the JSE yesterday. This news b

Nedbank shares decline after Ecobank loss - Reuters

NEDBANK's share price closed down 3.45% yesterday at R224.56 after ECOBANK posted an FY loss. The pan-African lender said a recession in Nigeria and a strong US dollar led to the loss, sending its shared down 5%. ECOBANK said its loss before tax narrowed to $131.3m in 2016, from a loss of $205.2m y/y. The stock fell 39% last year and is down 20% in 2017 to date. ECOBANK's losses prompted NEDBANK in Feb. to write down the value of its 20% stake by R1.1bn. NEDBANK bought the stake for $500m in 2014. After the write-down, it is worth R2.9bn on NEDBANK's books. The stake had been worth R7.8bn in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Joemat-Pettersson left hurdles to thwart nuclear - Matthew le Cordeur

Former energy minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON created nuclear hurdles that will help opponents of the procurement programme. That is according to DA MP GORDON MACKAY. MACKAY said the recent Cabinet reshuffle was all about "facilitating and accelerating the nuclear deal", with the appointment of MALUSI GIGABA as Finance Minister and MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI as Energy Minister central to this. MACKAY said JOEMAT-PETTERSSON, who resigned as an MP shortly after being sacked, did not push nuclear despite what people thought. "There has been this huge misconception that Ms JOEMAT-PETTERSSON was ZUMA's woman driving nuclear... It actually became clear early on that she was not actually pushing the nuclear agenda", MACKAY said. "In actual fact, if anything, I think she pushed the renewables agenda. Part of the reason she pushed that so hard was very much to build new capacity into the electricity market from renewables so that the case for nuclear would be less and less". While pushing for renewable energy, it appears

SA in crisis, warns BLSA in ad fingering Guptas - Fin24

Business Leadership SA stopped short of naming, in an advert, the GUPTAS as the family benefiting from state capture, but deputy chair BONANG MOHALE didn't hold back when he was asked who the group was referring to. BLSA yesterday published an advert on its website that featured in Sunday newspapers. It took out full page advertisements in several Sunday publications, making an urgent appeal to all elected leaders to help reverse corruption and state capture and to restore confidence in the economy. "As corporate leaders BLSA makes and urgent appeal to all our elected representatives in parliament, and the ruling party and alliance partners in particular, to exercise their conscience in taking whatever immediate steps are needed to reverse corruption and state capture and to restore confidence in our country's leadership, our economy and the future of South Africa", the advert reads. It added that the private sector is under constant attack, despite providing employment for 86% of the country's working po

Vodacom Tanzania gets go ahead to extend IPO by three weeks - Omar Mohammed, Bloomberg

VODACOM TANZANIA received regulatory approval to extend the deadline of its share sale for three weeks, allowing investors more time to take part in the country's biggest IPO to date. The offer will now expire on May 11, MD IAN FERRAO said yesterday, adding that the extension will give retail and institutional investors more time to take part. VODACOM is offering $213m of shares in the company after the Tanzanian government ordered all telecoms providers to sell at least a 25% stake on the Dar es Salaam exchange to boost domestic ownership. Once completed, the sale will boost the bourse's capitalisation by at least 2.4% to around 20.7tn shillings. The final listing is now expected by Jun. 6, FERRAO said. On Apr. 14, FORTIUS RUTABINGWA, head of market research at adviser ORBIT SECURITIES, said the IPO is undersubscribed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission seeks no relief from Barclays in banks case - Fin24

The Competition Commission has filed a supplementary affidavit in its application against 18 banks. The supplementary affidavit is by MFUNDO NGOBESE, an inspector appointed by the Commissioner of the Competition Commission and employed in the Cartels Division. NGOBESE says in his supplementary affidavit that in his founding affidavit he erroneously ommitted to cite BARCLAYS PLC as one of the respondents against whom the Commission seeks no relief. He has now requested that this be rectified. In a second supplementary affidavit, NGOBESE sets out why the Competition Tribunal would have jurisdiction over all 18 banks named by the Commission in its application, including BANK OF AMERICA and STANDARD NEW YORK. The Commission has been investigating a case of price-fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the rand since Apr. 2015. It recently referred the case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mugabe impatient over pace of mining reform - Reuters

Zimbabwe's mining industry needs to be "reorganised" so that it contributes more towards the country's economy, President ROBERT MUGABE said yesterday. "There is a lot of work which is going on in that sector, not least the reorganisation whose completion we impatiently await", MUGABE told an independence anniversary rally in Harare. Mining has overtaken agriculture as the leading provider of employment after the government started seizing white-owned farms in 2000. Harare has also leaned on producers to invest in local refinery facilities. While the government has signalled plans to relax the ownership rules for existing mines, it has shifted its focus to seizing land owned by foreign mines, which it claims to be idle. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW SA to start X3 production in H1 2018 - Irma Venter

Production of the new X3 at the BMW plant in Rosslyn for local and export markets will start in H1 2018, says BMW SA GROUP and sub-Saharan Africa CEO TIM ABBOTT. The plant currently produces the 3 Series sedan, also for the local and export markets. Around R6bn is being spent on the facility to gear up for X3 production, ABBOTT said. "With the new X3, the plant will, technically, be designed for a potential maximum capacity of 71 000 units [a year]". Having focused exclusively on 3 Series sedan production since 1990, gearing up for X3 assembly has led to "the biggest infrastructure change in the history of plant Rosslyn", notes ABBOTT. Around R500m of the R6bn capex budget for the X3 was spent over an eight-week shutdown period in Dec. 2016 and Jan. 2017. The X3 project sees BMW GROUP SA make use of a new body shop, and upgraded paint shop, a new combined vehicle body stacker and a refreshed assembly line. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DAWN appoints new CFO - Megan van Wyngaardt

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK has appointed CHRIS BOOYSENS as its CFO and FD with effect from May 1. BOOYSENS, a qualified chartered accountant, has several years' experience in the building industry as FD of ILIAD AFRICA. He also previously served as financial executive and executive director at TIGER BRANDS for more than a decade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nationalisation of banks not govt policy - Treasury - ANA

The Treasury yesterday distanced itself from an opinion piece penned by Prof. CHRIS MALIKANE, an economic adviser to Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA, saying the nationalisation of banks is not government policy. This comes after MALIKANE wrote a piece which called for nationalisation of banks, mines and insurers in a bid to achieve "radical economic transformation". He called for the "expropriation of white monopoly capitalist establishments such as banks, insurance companies, mines and other monopoly industries to industralise the economy". Treasury said the views expressed in MALIKANE's opinion piece were not necessarily government policy, adding that he was within his rights as an academic and an activist to contribute ideas to national discourse on any subject. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM secures $20m bought deal financing - Henry Lazenby

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has reached agreement with BMO CAPITAL MARKETS to buy on a bought deal basis 15.39m common shares of the company at $1.30 apiece for gross proceeds of around $20m. PTM said it would use the net proceeds for underground development and production ramp-up of the Maseve mine; for working capital during start-up; for repayment of the $2.5m outstanding amount of a previous advance under the company's credit agreement with a syndicate of lenders; and for general corporate purposes. The company has granted BMO an option, exercisable at the offering price for a period of 30 days following the closing of the offering, to buy up to a further 15% of the offering to cover over-allotments, if any, and for market stabilisation purposes. The offering is expected to close on Apr. 26 and is subject to customary closing conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport Indonesia has initial approval to resume exports - Reuters

FREEPORT MCMORAN has received preliminary approval to resume copper concentrate exports from its Indonesian operation and hopes to lodge an application for an export permit this week, a spokesperson for the group said. Indonesia halted FREEPORT's copper concentrate exports in Jan. under new rules requiring the company to adopt a special licence, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51% stake in its operations and relinquish arbitration rights. An earlier recommendation for FREEPORT to export up to 1.1mt of concentrate would still apply, but the company still needs an export permit from the Trade Ministry, DG of Coal and Minerals BAMBANG GATOT said at that time. The latest agreement is expected to allow FREEPORT to export copper concentrate for six months, while working to reach agreement with the government on the other disputed issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem Diamonds appoints new chair - Mia Breytenbach

GEM DIAMONDS has appointed HARRY KENYON-SLANEY as its chair and independent nonexecutive director with effect from Jun. 6, succeeding ROGER DAVIS, who will be stepping down. "I am delighted to be handing the chairmanship on to KENYON-SLANEY whose experience, knowledge and contacts in the diamond minign world are perfectly suited to lead GEM DIAMONDS forward to what I am sure will be an exciting future. It has been a great privilege to be [chair] of GEM DIAMONDS and I wish him and the whole company every success in the future", DAVIS said in a statement. KENYON-SLANEY is currently a senior adviser to business management consultant MCKINSEY & CO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM declares dispute with Evander Gold Mines - Anine Kilian

The NUM has declared a dispute with Evander Gold Mines, a subsidiary of PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES, saying the company refused to implement both the voluntary separation package and retrenchment agreements. "During our engagements with the company, the number of affected employees was reduced from 976 to 650. With regard to a VSP agreement, there are 656 employees who have applied for VSP but the employer has only approved 154 and denied the rest. The employer's reasons are not justifiable", the NUM said. Further, the union said Evander is refusing to apply avoidance measures as per the retrenchment agreement. The union has now declared a dispute with the CCMA. PAN AFRICAN, meanwhile, said it is adhering strictly to the collective agreement, which was facilitated by the CCMA. "Evander has the final decision in terms of accepting or rejecting any employee request for a VSP", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSG Konsult: Investment in IT key in strategy - Sandile Mchunu

Despite having to operate in a challenging economic environment, PSG KONSULT is confident it will continue to grow its client base in the year ahead. CEO FRANCOIS GOUWS said a number of initiatives were in place to ensure this happened. "The group's focus on products, platforms and client service excellence through the quality of its advice is proving to be a resilient strategy", GOUWS said. "We have invested heavily in technology as the financial services sector requires companies to keep on improving in that regard. The business will reap rewards in the long-term because of this investment in our IT." PSG KONSULT operates three divisions - PSG WEALTH, PSG ASSET MANAGEMENT and PSG INSURE. It reported 16% growth in recurring HEPS to 37.2cps while recurring HEPS increased by 19% to R486m for the FY to end-Feb. The group also achieved 25% return on equity. PSG INSURE achieved recurring headline earnings growth of 70%, while PSG ASSET MANAGEMENT's recurring HEPS grew by 57%. PSG WEALTh achieved a modera

New executives for Neotel - Business Report

LIQUID TELECOM, a subsidiary of ECONET GLOBAL, has added two new members to NEOTEL's leadership team in SA. This follows its R6.5bn buyout of NEOTEL in themiddle of the last year. RAJ JANDU has been appointed CFO of the company, while MICHAEL ALLSCHWANG has been appointed Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, LIQUID said yesterday. They form part of a new leadership team that will oversee major investment in NEOTEL's networks and services after the company officially joined the LIQUID TELECOM GROUP in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell applies for business rescue - David McKay

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS has applied for business rescue in a bid to keep an interim liquidation at bay whilst it waits for a hearing in the Kimberley High Court regarding the order, currently scheduled for Apr. 19. The liquidation order was brought by a former contractor to the company, C-ROCK MINING, and was granted on Mar. 23, although ROCKWELL said its argument was not heard by the court. ROCKWELL has, in the meantime, been able to keep its assets out of the hands of liquidators following certain filings it made which included evidence of a business plan supported by 96% of the company's dollar creditors. The plan involves using an $8m loan - approved in Nov. - to commission its Wouterspan plant as well as a cost reduction drive, efficiency improvements, the sale of redundant assets, and the pay down of creditors to whom the company owes less than R50 000 each. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ecobank shares fall after lender posts FY loss - Chijioke Ohuocha

Shares in ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL fell 5% yesterday after the pan-African lender reported a loss for 2016, blaming the recession in Nigeria and a strong US dollar. The bank also proposed raising $400m via a convertible bond issue from shareholders at 6.46% above LIBOR. ECOBANK said it had received subscriptions from existing shareholders for around $300m. The lender reported a loss before tax of $131.3m for FY2016, compared with a loss of $205.2m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom not pursuing pricing complaint against MTN, Vodacom - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

The Competition Commission has decided against pursuing a complaint of unfair pricing lodged against MTN GROUP and VODACOM by smaller unlisted rival CELL C. CELL C made the complaint with the Competition Commission in 2013, accusing MTN and VODACOM of discriminatory pricing because its larger rivals made it cheaper for users to call customers on the same network but charged a premium for calls to other networks. "The Commission found that it would be unlikely to succeed in a prosecution of the specific conduct subject to CELL C's complaint", it said. However, the Commission did mention that VODACOM and MTN's pricing strategies made it difficult for late entrants like CELL C to compete effectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 19/04/2017

At 07h24 on 19 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.31 ZAR/EUR 14.27 ZAR/GBP 17.07 Gold 1287.04 Platinum 979.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.79 All Share 52672.75

Sibanye to raise $1bn in equity for Stillwater deal - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

SIBANYE GOLD plans to tap shareholders for around $1bn to partly fund a takeover of STILLWATER MINING CO, it said today after the deal secured US regulatory approval. "SIBANYE management and board has determined that a US$1bn equity capital raise, through the rights offer, is optimal given current market conditions", the company said. The company also said it would raise a further $1bn in debt, most likely in the bond market, to fund the deal. It expects the two tranches of capital to be raised by the end of June. The deal is still subject to shareholder votes of both companies. STILLWATER and SIBANYE have scheduled shareholders' meetings on Apr. 25 to vote on the proposed merger. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Motorists face pain at the pumps - Fin24

The Automobile Association's mid-month data is forecasting petro to increase by up to 55c/l in May, diesel by around 39c/l and illuminating paraffin by an estimated 41c/l. The AA said fuel price hikes will be the first major expense to hit South Africans in the wake of the depreciation of the rand against the US dollar, which has affected buying prices for international petroleum. The AA said the rand's weakness contributed three-quarters of the expected fuel price increases at the end of the month, with hikes in international petroleum prices accounting for the balance. "The loss of confidence by investors and the sovereign ratings downgrades by ratings agencies FITCH and S&P have led to the rand slipping heavily against the US dollar, down from around R12.35 at the beginning of the month to its current position of around R13.40", the AA noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netflix nears 100m subscribers - Shannon Bond

NETFLIX will reach 100m subscribers by this weekend, the company said yesterday, even as it posted slower-than-expected subscriber growth in Q1 2017. Shares fell 3% in after-hours trading in New York. The company added 4.95m members in Q1 2017, fewer than the 5.2m it had forecast. Additions were slower than expected in both the US and internationally. This was in part due to the mix of new shows in the quarter, CEO REED HASTINGS said. For example, House of Cards, which last year debuted in Q1, has been pushed into Q2 this year. In H1 2017, the company plans to add 8.15m net new subscribers, compared with 8.42m y/y. Revenue rose to $2.63bn from $1.96bn y/y, in line with analysts' expectations of $2.9bn, according to estimates from S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE. Net income rose to $178.2m, or 40cps, from $27.7m or 6cps y/y. NETFLIX had forecast earnings of 37cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mistry suffers setback as tribunal declines to hear Tata Sons case - Simon Mundy

CYRUS MISTRY, ousted chair of TATA SONS, has suffered a blow in his legal campaign against the company after a Mumbai tribunal declined to hear his case. MISTRY had brought the suit against TATA SONS following his dismissal in Oct., seeking the replacement of the entire board on grounds of alleged mismanagement and oppression of minority shareholders. But Mumbai's National Company Law Tribunal yesterday refused to hear the complaint, saying it could hear petitions only from shareholders who control at least 10% of the company's stock of all classes. MISTRY's family controls 18% of the common stock in TATA SONS, but when preference shares are taken into account, that stake falls short of the 10% threshold. FN SUBEDAR, TATA SONS' COO, said the company hoped the NCLT's decision would bring to an end a "vexatious campaign" based on "ill-advised and groundless allegations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IEA: Oil market 'very close' to balance - David Sheppard

The global oil market is "very close" to coming into balance, the International Energy Agency said last week, but cautioned that weaker demand growth and strong US production mean OPEC's attempts to curb supplies remains challenging. In its monthly update, the IEA said global oil stocks will decline this year if OPEC maintains its output cuts with allies like Russia beyond May, potentially supporting prices. "The market is already very close to balance... [but] although the oil market will likely tighten throughout the year overall non-OPEC production, not just in the US, will soon be on the rise again", the IEA said. It said oil inventories had declined in Feb. and Mar. but that it saw weaker demand than earlier anticipated, lowering its consumption growth forecast by around 100 000 bpd to 1.3m bpd. Total demand is seen reaching 97.9m bpd over 2017. It forecast supplies outside OPEC will grow by 485 000 bpd this year, partly as a result of the recovery in prices, with US output seen 680 000 bpd higher y

Japanese govt-backed fund eyes Toshiba's chip unit - Kana Inagaki

The government-backed INNOVATION NETWORK CORPORATION OF JAPAN officially expressed its interest in TOSHIBA's chip division that is being put on sale for more than $18bn to boost the latter's severely damaged balance sheet. "Since this is such a significant deal, we are of course paying close attention as an investment fund", said INCJ chair TOSHIYUKI SHIGA, adding that the fund has set up an internal team "to study the deal". Japanese government officials and business leaders have previously expressed concerns about TOSHIBA's NAND flash memory technology falling into Chinese hands, but efforts to find a consortium of Japanese buyers has thus far made little progress. SHIGA said the fund, which has an investment capacity of around Y1tn, did not participate in the first round of bidding and has yet to find partners to join the second bidding round. Sources have said TOSHIBA has narrowed its preferred bidders to US chipmaker BROADCOM, which partnered with SILVER LAKE; Taiwan's HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY, whi

Bright Food confirms sale of Weetabix to Post - Tom Hancock

China's BRIGHT FOOD GROUP has agreed to sell cereal brand Weetabix to US cereal company POST HOLDINGS for $1.76bn, a spokesperson for the Chinese conglomerate said today. BRIGHT FOODS has boosted sales of Weetabix in China since buying the brand five years ago and said it would continue to work with POST to market the brand in the country. Weetabix's revenues of £346m in 2015 were 2% lower than in 2012, while its pre-tax profits were down 1% to £94.3m over the same period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ashmore gets boost from EM 'overperformance' - Mehreen Khan

Emerging markets-focused fund manager ASHMORE reported a 7% rise in assets under management in Q3 as developing world assets recovered following last year's US election. ASHMORE said total assets climbed by $3.7bn in the quarter to end-Mar., to $55.9bn, helped along by a $1.4bn rise in net inflows in the period. The performance comes after ASHMORE suffered $700m of outflows in the last quarter of 2016, as investors turned cool on EM assets in the wake of the US elections. ASHMORE CEO MARK COOMBS said the fund was now reaping the rewards of the "overperformance" since the start of 2017. "The outperformance of emerging markets reflects accelearing economic growth and attractive absolute and relative valuations across EM equity and fixed income markets", COOMBS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore hits lowest level in five months - Hudson Lockett

The price of iron ore in China has dropped to a level not seen since Nov., continuing a two-month slide. The futures contract price for a tonne of ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was own 4.3% at Rmb478.5 ($69.45) this morning, an intraday low not seen since Nov. 22. Price growth for new housing in China slowed to a y/y rise of 11.3% in Mar., down further from a peak of 12.6% in Nov. While short-term price trends actually rebounded, that may not be sufficient to convince Chinese commodities investors the steelmaking ingredient is worth the gamble. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia scraps foreign skilled worker visa scheme - Peter Wells

Australia will introduce a new temporary visa and a new national training fund after PM MALCOLM TURNBULL announced the scrapping of the incumbent foreign skilled worker visa programme and a greater focus on giving Australian workers priority for domestic jobs. The move comes amid the increased global attention the country's immigration system has attracted. Australia's 457 visas are those that allow temporary foreign skilled workers into the country. "We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs", TURNBULL said in a video message posted on Facebook. Because businesses still needed access to foreign talent, the 457 visa would be replaced by a new temporary visa "to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest" and that will also "better target genuine skill shortages", TURNBULL added. The new visas will come with stricter requirements, including previous work experience, better English language skills and labour market testing.

Updated market indicators for 18/04/2017

At 10h53 on 18 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.33 ZAR/EUR 14.19 ZAR/GBP 16.79 Gold 1284.76 Platinum 984.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.00 All Share 53179.89

Agarwal completes purchase of 11.4% stake in Anglo - Henry Sanderson

India's ANIL AGARWAL completed his purchase of ANGLO AMERICAN shares, buying 11.44% of the mining giant, it said last week. The announcement comes after AGARWAL in Mar. said he would buy as much as 12% of ANGLO, worth £2bn. AGARWAL's family vehicle, VOLCAN HOLDINGS, bought 11.44% of the shares, ANGLO said. AGARWAL last month said he had no intention to seek a seat on the ANGLO board and believed in its management. He also offered to help the company expand in India. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo profit slips as sales scandal weighs - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO missed out on the upbeat start to the year enjoyed by rivals JPMORGAN and CITI as the bogus customer account crisis weighs on the bank's financial performance. Disruption caused by the sales scandal and higher personnel-related costs pushed net income applicable to common shareholders to $5.06bn in Q1 2017, down 1% y/y. Revenues also slipped by 1% to $22bn. "We have taken significant actions throughout the company to date and we are committed to building a better bank", CEO TIM SLOAN said of the bogus accounts scandal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citigroup earnings jump 17%, top estimates - Adam Samson

CITIGROUP on Thursday posted a better-than-expected 17% rise in quarterly profits, propelled by revenue growth in the US bank's institutional business. Net earnings rose to $4.09bn in Q1 2017, from $3.5bn y/y. The figure exceeded Wall Street expectations of $3.41bn. Revenues rose 3% on the same basis to $18.12bn, also exceeding Wall Street's forecast of $17.44bn. CITI's Wall Street business shined, with revenues from the institutional clients division up 16% to $9.13bn. Investment banking revenues rose 39% to $1.21bn. CITI's large fixed income trading unit notched a 19% rise in revenues to $3.62bn, compared with forecasts for $3.52bn. Growth in consumer banking was more subdued, up 1% to $7.82bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan profits rise 17% - Ben McLannahan

JPMORGAN CHASE on Thursday reported a 17% rise in net income for Q1 despite signs of a marked slowdown in the retail banking unit. EPS came to $1.65, ahead of analysts' forecasts of $1.52/share. Net revenues for the period were $24.68bn, lighter than estimates of $25.15bn. Net income was $6.45bn, almost one-fifth better than estimates, and 17% higher than a volatility-hit period a year earlier. The standout performer was the investment banking unit, which saw revenues climb 2017 to $9.5bn. The retail unit was more subdued, seeing a 39% drop in mortgage fees amid a sharp pick-up in interest rates. Overall, revenues from the consumer and community banking unit dropped 1% to just shy of $11bn. Return on equity for the period was 11%, flat from Q4 but better than the 9% ROE a year earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen's drug pricing faces EU, UK probes - Ann Crotty

ASPEN PHARMACEUTICALS' failure to disclose its 2016 €5.2m Italian competition authorities fine for price gouging has backfired. The story made headlines in the UK and on social media, and with speculation mounting that British and European authorities will launch their own probes into the allegations, local shareholders are querying why the company has never issued a statement on the fine, which had been handed down in Oct. 2016. After a damaging front-page report by The Times of London last week had been picked up by media outlets across the globe, ASPEN finally issued a statement at the weekend saying that the contents of the report concerned matters that were sub judice. "Out of respect for the integrity of ongoing legal processes with regulators as well as the court, in Italy and Spain, ASPEN will not comment on these public allegations", the statement said. The Times report detailed how ASPEN began a Europe-wide effort to drive up the price of five cancer drugs after buying the rights from GLAXOSMI

Two more senior managers leave SARS, DA claims - Matthew le Cordeur

The resignation of two SARS executives last week is further evidence of a brain drain at the tax entity, with 41 senior skilled staff having now left since TOM MOYANE was appointed SARS Commissioner in 2014. DA MP ALF LEES reveaked the resignation of head of strategic portfolio management GEORGE FROST and head of enterprise quality management JAMES MATTHEWS. LEES said the DA will submit parliamentary questions to Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA to establish the full extent of the exodus of senior staff members at SARS. LEES wants GIGABA to account for the losses at SARS and answer exactly how many staff members SARS have lost, what their responsibilities were, their SARS length of service, how many new employees have been appointed to replace those who left, their work experience prior to SARS, and their qualifications. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom mum on alleged R30m payout to Molefe - Carin Smith

Taxpayers would have to wait until June to find out how much former ESKOM CEO BRIAN MOLEFE was paid when he resigned in Nov. 2016 after 18 months at the helm. Despite maintaining his innocence, MOLEFE resigned from the utility after being named in the State of Capture report. Now it is alleged he received a R30.1m "golden handshake" from ESKOM last month, the Sunday Times reported. The paper claims to have seen documents mentioning this amount listed under "separation/severance cost" and "ESKOM pension fund" payment. MOLEFE earned around R8m/year as ESKOM CEO and was also allocated shares. ESKOM board spokesperson KHULANI QOMA said whatever MOLEFE received was due to him, and emphasised that such payments were made at the end of 2016. MOLEFE has not received anything this year. "In terms of governance we have to follow a stipulated protocol. That is why we cannot make any information known ahead of the release of the annual reports", QOMA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original a

Gigaba berates govt leaders over reckless downgrade statements - Liesl Peyper

Government leaders should not make reckless statements but rather show empathy towards South Africans, following recent credit ratings downgrades, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said on Thursday. GIGABA admitted that comments from fellow Cabinet ministers who had made light of the credit ratings downgrades were not helpful. The Sunday Times quoted Water and Sanitation Minister NOMVULA MOKONYANE as saying that SA's junk status was an opportunity for the country to restructure its debt repayments. "It's actually better... Western investors will pull back and we have an opportunity to bring them back in our own terms, after we have consolidated our relations with Africa and Brics", MOKONYANE allegedly said in a WhatsApp message. SAA chair DUDU MYENI agreed with the minister, adding: "Let the rand fall and rise and emerge with the masses". GIGABA said government needs to not only show "an understanding of the downgrade" but also show "empathy" with the many people who will be affected by the ratings downgrad

Gigaba aide advocates nationalisation - Rene Vollgraaff

CHRISTOPHER MALIKANE, an adviser to Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA advocated a state takeover of banks, mines and insurers in a Sunday Times editorial at the weekend. In an opinion piece titled "Our chance to complete the revolution", MALIKANE, an economics professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, also proposed the establishment of a state bank that would combine all government-owned financial institutions, the nationalisation of the SARB and the expropriation of land without compensation to the owners. The Sunday Times said MALIKANE, who has advised COSATU, is an adviser to GIGABA, citing spokesperson MAYIHLOME TSHWETE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New law to compel Zim banks to accept cows as collateral - Desmond Kumbuka

Commercial banks in Zimbabwe could soon be compelled to accept livestock as collateral for cash loans to informal businesses under a new law presented to parliament last week. Under the movable property security interests bill, tabled for debate by Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA in the House of Assembly, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will compile and administer a collateral-security register in which small-business operators and individuals can register their movable assets as security for credit. Vehicles, TV sets, refrigerators, computers and other household appliances will become acceptable as collateral once they are evaluated and registered in the central bank's registry, according to CHINAMASA. He claimed banks are "stuck in the old ways of doing things and failing to respond to the needs of our highly informalised economy". The Zimbabwean economy is expected to shrink 2.5% this year after contracting an estimated 0.3% in 2016, according to the IMF. This news brief represents a summary of the

PTM reviews strategic alternatives as Maseve's underperformance leaves hole in pocket - Henry Lazenby

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has cut its 2017 guidance from 100 000oz of 4E PGMs to 85 000oz, saying it is working with BMO CAPITAL MARKETS and MACQUARIE CAPITAL to review and assess corporate and asset-level strategic alternatives. As at end-Feb., the company held $25m in cash, but to achieve positive cash flow and maintain its working capital covenants in 2017 under existing loan facilities, it will need to source $10m to $15m of further funding through refinancing its existing debt, issuing new debt, private or public equity offerings or the sale of project or property interests. Despite continuing productivity issues at PTM's flagship Maseve mine, the operation has reported record output in Mar. of 2 598oz 4E for Q2 to end-Feb., reflecting improved stoping and the positive effects of Block 11 production coming online. The company yesterday reported that despite more tonnes being mines from Block 11 m/m since Dec., the tonnes mined and delivered have been less than planned. Meanwhile, PTM reported that ongoin

Mining production up 4.6% y/y in Feb. - Anine Kilian

The recovery in mining output gathered some pace in Feb., with production up 2.9% m/m and 4.6% y/y after growing by 1.4% y/y in Jan. The consensus market forecast was for a y/y rise of 2%, NEDBANK said on Thursday. The main boost came from PGMs and iron ore where output rose sharply off a low base. Stronger global growth and firmer international commodity prices should support higher production and export sales. However, the general operating environment is likely to remain challenging, NEDBANK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Keaton delivers 'pleasing' FY2017 output - Natasha Odendaal

KEATON ENERGY delivered "pleasing" production volumes for the FY to end-Mar., despite seeing a 4% drop in sales. Around 2.1mt of washed two- and four-seam thermal coal from the company's Vanggatfontein were sold to ESKOM during the period, down 4% y/y. KEATON also reported 35 961t of five-seam metallurgical coal sales in FY2017, down from 98 252t in 2016, reflecting the decision to use the plan for toll washing, where a total of 206 334t were toll washed, compared with zero y/y. "Although production was slightly off record levels owing to the extremely wet weather during the last quarter, it was a pleasing result", KEATON CEO MANDI GLAD said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile to produce less than 5.6mt of copper in 2017 - Reuters

State copper commission COCHILCO last week forecast that Chile would produce slightly less than 5.6mt of copper in 2017, down from a previous forecast of 5.79mt, due largely to a strike at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine. The strike at Escondida chopped 180 000t off the commission's previous estimate in Jan. COCHILCO's estimate for 2017 output represents a 0.8% increase over 2016. The commission estimated copper prices would average $2.60 in 2017, up from a previous forecast of $2.40/lb due to tighter supply. For 2018 COCHILCO estimated that global copper prices would level out at $$2.60/lb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom seeking Tegeta 'consent' to disclose value of Optimum settlement - Terence Creamer

Public Enterprises DG MOGOKARE SELEKE last week revealed that ESKOM's legal team had approached TEGETA RESOURCES, owner of the Optimum coal mine, to obtain "consent" in making details of a recent arbitration settlement relating to a R2.2bn penalty claim against Optimum public. SELEKE also reported that he had "requested a briefing from ESKOM on the arbitration award in the Optimum Mine matter to satisfy [my]self that ESKOM's interests are secure". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

L2D refurbishments contribute to lower vacancies, higher turnover - Megan van Wyngaardt

LIBERTY TWO DEGREES has signed a binding offer to lease the Nelson Mandela Square offices, comprising 6 350m² to an international tenant for five years. The rental obligation date of the lease agreement is from Oct. 1 and will reduce the complex's office space vacancy, from 4 599m² at end-Feb. to zero. It will also result in some existing tenants relocating to the Atrium on 5th and Sandton Office Tower, further reducing vacancies in those offices. This, together with other leasing activities in Atrium on 5th in Sandton, reduces the overall office vacancy in L2D to 4.5%. Meanwhile, L2D noted that, since undergoing refurbishment in 2015, the Nelson Mandela Square turnover had increased by 26% y/y, with trade exceeding R110m turnover for the month of Dec. 2015. Trading density of R65 043/m² for the year was achieved, with the accessories, jewellery and watches category outperforming MSCI indices with an annual trading density of R253 052/m², contributing 5.6% to the overall asset gross lettable area and

South American flavour coming to SA through Las Iguanas - Megan van Wyngaardt

Las Iguanas, a new restaurant chain specialising in Mexican, Brazilian and other South American food and cocktails, is coming to Johannesburg in June with GOLD BRANDS bringing the UK midmarket restaurant brand to the local market. GOLD BRANDS COO STELIO NATHANAEL said South Africans "are always hungry for new places to dine, and Las Iguanas will fill the gap with this fantastic, well established concept". Las Iguanas will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, with specials added daily. Its food menu draws inspiration from exciting flavours across Latin America, featuring a large range of tacos, alongside a selection of Mexican classics and tapas-style small plates. Its Buenos Aires burger also won the UK Casual Dining Magazine National Burger Award in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 scraps Aussie coal acquisition from Peabody - Reuters

SOUTH32 this morning scrapped a $200m deal to buy PEABODY ENERGY's Metropolitan coal mine in Australia after running into competition concerns. SOUTH32 said it was unwilling to take the steps required to appease Australian steel makers to get the deal over the line. "To proceed with the acquisition, in light of the anticipated concessions, would have compromised the merits of the transaction and this is not something we are prepared to do", CEO GRAHAM KERR said. PEABODY said it was surprised that SOUTH32 and Australia's competition watchdog had reached an impasse over the acquisition. "On the other hand, we see continuing opportunities given Metropolitan's quality coking coal and port location, and our objective will be to operate the mine while maximising returns in the international marketplace", PEABODY president GLENN KELLOW said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue maintains FY guidance despite lower Mar. quarter output - Esmarie Swanepoel

Significant wet weather in the quarter to end-Mar. has seen FORTESCUE METALS' tonnage slip, while C1 cash costs rose by 4%. FORTESCUE last week reported that total ore shipped for the quarter reached 39.6mt, compared with 42.2mt q/q. C1 costs for the quarter increased from the $12.54/t in Q2 to $13.06/t in the quarter under review. The C1 cost increase reflected the lower production volume associated with the weather impacts, and was in line with the cost reported for H1 2017. "Our teams continued to deliver excellent results with improved safety performance and operating margins compared to our first half results", CEO NEV POWER said. Despite the lower output, FORTESCUE remained on track to meet its production guidance of 165m-170m tonnes for the FY, at a C1 cost of $12/t-$13/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FIRB clears Yancoal/Rio deal - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board has approved YANCOAL's $2.45bn acquisition of RIO TINTO subsidiary COAL & ALLIED. The two companies in Jan. struck a deal that will allow for an initial $1.95bn cash payment upon the completion of the deal in H2 2017, followed by $500m in deferred cash payments to be settled in five yearly installments of $100m. YANCOAL CEO REINHOLD SCHMIDT said the approval "is a positive step forward for YANCOAL, its shareholders and the Hunter Valley, demonstrating the Australian government's support for continued investment into the local resources sector". The deal was still subject to other conditions, including shareholder approvals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US approves Sibanye $2.2bn bid for Stillwater Mining - David McKay

SIBANYE GOLD's $2.2bn bid to acquire STILLWATER MINING received a boost yesterday after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US approved the proposal, Bloomberg reported. The parties received notice from CFIUS that the combination of the two companies posed no unresolved national security issues. Bloomberg said the approval was an indication that the administration of President DONALD TRUMP would not necessarily stand in the way of conducting deals associated with Chinese entities. SIBANYE is 20% owned by Chinese consortium GOLD ONE GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Senegal to issue eurobond - finmin - Ange Aboa

Senegal will issue a eurobond this month in order to finance a series of infrastructure and power production projects that it hopes will push economic growth above 7% from 2018, Finance Minister AMADOU BA said on Friday. He declined to give the amount of the issuance or its maturity. Senegal is rated B1 by MOODY's and B+ by S&P. Senegal, a member of the eight-nation CFA currency bloc which maintains a fixed rate against the euro, issued its first $200m five-year eurobond in Dec. 2009 at a yield of 9.25%. It followed that with a $500m 10-year issue in 2011 bearing a coupon of 8.75%. More recently it returned to the market in 2014 with a $500m, 10-year eurobond with a coupon of 6.25%, which was several times oversubscribed. BA said the country is revising the basis upon which it calculates its GDP, which he said is outdated, and expects the changes to show the economy is at least 30% larger than currently believed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba pledges to stave off 3rd downgrade, meet with Moody's - Wendell Roelf

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA last week pledged to do what he can to keep SA from a third credit downgrade to junk status, saying he would meet MOODY's to persuade it he will stay on the path of fiscal discipline. GIGABA told investors he would clarify the Treasury's policy positions to MOODY's during an upcoming investor roadshow abroad. GIGABA later told the SABC he would tell investors attending an IMF meeting in the US this week that the economy was showing signs of recovery and the government would not spend money it did not have "whatever the social pressures may be". GIGABA said he had briefed President JACOB ZUMA on the implications of the downgrades which could hit the poor hard, as higher debt costs could lead to less money for service delivery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian interbank rate jumps on cash shortage - Oludare Mayowa

Nigerian interbank lending rates rose sharply on Thursday by around 100 percentage points as commercial lenders scrambled for cash to pay for bond purchases and cover their positions, traders said. Overnight lending rates rose to around 300% from 200% at the end of Wednesday, as naira liquidity dried up in the banking system and some banks were forced to borrow from the central bank. Nigeria raised 105.32bn naira from bond sales last week, and payment for the debt was due on Thursday, draining liquidity in the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's lower house committee to probe oil licence deal - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's lower house of parliament has set up a committee to probe the circumstances surrounding the award of oil prospecting licence 245, committee chair RAZAK ATUNWA said last week. Courts in Nigeria and Italy are investigating the purchase of the offshore block which was initially awarded in 1998 to MALABU OIL AND GAS, in a disputed deal, before ROYAL DUTCH SHELL and ENI were awarded the rights in 2011. ATUNWA said the House of Representatives mandated the committee to "conduct a thorough examination of the process and circumstances surrounding OPL 245 and identify culpability of any persons, groups or organisations". ATUNWA said the committee "is aware of recent information that has come to light... indicating that former President GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN may have been complicit in the controversial OPL245 deal". The committee was "considering inviting him to give evidence" on the grounds that he "may well be in a position to assist it with its inquiries". This news brief represents a summary of t

Nigeria cbank offers $250m forwards to airlines, fuel importers - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's central bank last week said it offered $250m in currency forwards - to be settled within 30 days - to airlines, fuel importers and agriculture businesses. It also offered $100m on the spot market for foreign travel, school and medical fees as part of efforts to boost dollar liquidity and prop up the ailing naira. The central bank said forex purchases will be paid for immediately in naira after the release of bid rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Some Nigerian banks have breached forex borrowing limit - cbank - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's central bank last week said some commercial lenders have breached its regulatory limit of foreign currency borrowings due to the recent fallin the value of the naira. In a remedial action, the central bank increased the forex borrowing limit for lenders to 125% of their respective shareholders' funds from 75% previously, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 18/04/2017

At 07h41 on 18 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.40 ZAR/EUR 14.24 ZAR/GBP 16.81 Gold 1290.01 Platinum 978.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.42 All Share 53510.22

Lagarde demands Greek debt relief detail from eurozone - Jim Brunsden

IMF MD CHRISTINE LAGARDE said that eurozone creditors must provide considerably more detail on debt relief for Greece before the fund will take a decision to join the country's bailout programme. Recent talks on Athens' aid programme are "heading in the right direction", LAGARDE said in Brussels, citing a deal struck between Greece and its creditors last week on tax and pension reforms. At the same time, she said difficult talks on debt relief are still to come. "We cannot be in the generality of having a range of things. We need to have a specificity of techniques and the modalities of how they would apply", LAGARDE said. She said a May 2016 agreement addressed debt relief in "a sort of broad brushed" way with a "multiplicity" of options that mean it is still not clear what EU creditors intend to do. LAGARDE insisted that there could be no special treatment of Greece when it comes to any fund decision on joining the bailout. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Siemens, Bombardier discuss merger of train units - Patrick McGee

SIEMENS and BOMBARDIER are in early talks about merging their train operations, according to sources. SIEMENS' trains operations make up the bulk of its mobility unit, which recorded €7.8bn in revenue last year. BOMBARDIER's rail operations are the core of its transportation unit, which took in $7.6bn last year. A potential combination of the two would face strong anti-trust scrutiny. BOMBARDIER is already the biggest supplier of passenger trains in the industrialised world, while SIEMENS, which focuses on high-speed trains, is number three, and a merger of JV would likely lead to redundancy plans in Europe during a politically sensitive time ahead of Germany's national elections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC cuts oil output in Mar. - David Sheppard

OPEC's oil output fell in Mar. to sit below the level where the cartel estimates demand for its crude this year. In its monthly market report, OPEC said the group's production dropped 152 700 bpd to 31.9m bpd in Mar., led by declines in Libya, Nigeria, the UAE and Iran. The group's in-house analysts peg demand for the group's crude at 32.2m bpd in 2017, suggesting bulging global inventories should start to tighten this year if their assessment is correct and output levels are maintained, even as a recovery in prices has spurred a jump in production from the US shale patch. Saudi Arabia cut output by 111 000 bpd last month to 9.9m bpd. The secondary sources used by OPEC said Saudi Arabia's production rose marginally in Mar. but was still below 10m bpd. The threat from US shale was laid bare in the report, however, with OPEC's analysts increasing their forecast for US output growth by 200 000 bpd to 540 000 bpd this year - making up the bulk of all supply growth outside the cartel globally. Total non-OPEC

CME Group to shut London exchange, clearing house - Philip Stafford

CME GROUP is to shut its loss-making London bourse and clearing house after it failed to gain traction among European customers. The business will close by the end of the year, CME said yesterday, although it would not close its London office or its technology centre in Belfast. The US group added that the decision was not connected to the UK's decision to leave the EU. The five-year old CME EUROPE and CME CLEARING were set up as a regulatory hedge and offered forex and energy trading, as well as OTC interest rate swaps clearing. However, most customers in Europe preferred to trade and clear the CME's most actively-traded products in the US, which is where they are based. Its future had been under review by new CEO TERRY DUFFY, who took over from PHUPINDER GILL in Nov. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ChemChina's purchase of Syngenta garners Chinese regulatory approval - Adam Samson

CHEMCHINA's $43bn purchase of SYNGENTA has own approval from China's competition regulator, echoing moves by the US and EU and further bolstering expectations that the pact to create an agrichem and seeds heavyweight will close this summer. SYNGENTA yesterday said the approval by China's ministry of commerce boosts expectations that the deal will close in the current quarter. The move was broadly expected since CHEMCHINA is a state-owned enterprise and the deal will represent a major boost to China's agrichem/seeds industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude stocks fall by most this year - Mamta Badkar

US crude stockpiles fell by the most this year. Inventories of US crude fell by 2.2m barrels in the week ended Apr. 7, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. That compared with expectations for a smaller draw of 772 220 barrels and represented the first drop in four weeks. At 533.4m barrels US crude stocks inched lower from record levels. US crude oil imports averaged 7.9m bpd last week, up by 28 000 bpd from the previous week. Stocks at the Cushings delivery hub rose by 276 000 barrels, compared with forecasts for a build of 399 930 barrels. Inventories of gasoline fell for the eight consecutive week, sliding by nearly 3m barrels against estimates for a draw of 1.27m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tillerson says US-Russia relations at a low point - Jessica Dye

Fresh from hours of talks with Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN and foreign minister SERGEI LAVROV, US secretary of state REX TILLERSON said that while US-Russia relations are at a "low point", both countries had committed to trying to improve their ties and communication on a range of issues to avoid raising tensions between the two countries. TILLERSON said he believed there is a "low level of trust" between the nations, adding: "The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this relationship". LAVROV echoed those sentiments, saying that while it had been a "long day", negotiations between the countries have to be "open" and "substantial" as well as "frank". A working group will be established to help improve communications on multiple issues between the two countries, the leaders said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil slashes interest rates to spur growth - Joe Leahy

Brazil's central bank slashed interest rates by 100 bps in a decision that analysts said would help spur a recovery from the worst recession on record. The central bank said it had cut the benchmark Selic rate from 12.25% to 11.25%, stepping up an easing cycle which began with a 25 bps cut in Oct. and has gradually gained steam. The decision comes as inflation has fallen rapidly towards the centre of the central bank's target band of 4.5%, plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China exports bounce back in Mar. - Hudson Lockett

The dollar value of China's exports grew faster than expected in Mar. as import growth moderated from a Feb. spike, restoring a trade surplus after the previous month saw the first deficit since early 2014. Exports grew 16.4% y/y in dollar terms in Mar., China's General Administration of Customs said today. That was well above a median estimate predicting a rise of 4.3% from economists surveyed by Bloomberg, and appeared to represent a robust recovery from February's fall of 1.3% in outbound shipments. Imports rose 20.3% y/y in dollar terms, a far cry from February's 38.1% but still higher than a median forecast of 15.5% growth. Those flows produced a trade surplus of $23.9bn after Feb. saw the first deficit in three years, coming close to double the forecast calling for a surplus of $12.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrefour gets boost from rising Brazilian real - Mehreen Khan

Sales at CARREFOUR rose 6.2% in Q1, helped along by rising petrol prices and beneficial exchange rate movements. The French retailer posted a 1.4% rise in total like-for-like sales, with international sales up 2.1% and a 0.5% climb in its home business in France. Overall group sales were up over 6% to €21.2bn in the quarter to end-Mar., just above a €21.2bm average forecast compiled by Reuters. International sales, which climbed 10.9%, were boosted by a strengthening in the Brazilian real which provided a near 4% boost. The Brazil business continued its robust growth, expanding 7.4% in the quarter and helping to offset declines in CARREFOUR's Asian market. The real is up nearly 5% against the dollar this year, helping contain inflation in Brazil. Asian sales contracted 4%, led by a 5.5% contraction in China. In Europe, like-for-like sales in Italy rose 1.6% and 0.3% in Spain, while France grew 0.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mediclinic's Middle East arm still struggling, but margins better than expected - Nicholas Megaw

Things still aren't looking great for MEDICLINIC's recently-acquired AL NOOR business, but they're not quite as bad as the company thought. MEDICLINIC in Feb. warned that FY revenues and profit margins at AL NOOR would be lower than previously forecast. In a trading update today, however, it said FY revenues from the Middle East unit fell in line with February's guidance, but said its underlying profit margin was not quite as low as expected, at between 10.5% and 11.5%. The company also expects the performance to improve in the new FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/04/2017

At 11h13 on 13 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.50 ZAR/EUR 14.37 ZAR/GBP 16.94 Gold 1285.71 Platinum 975.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.83 All Share 53474.86

M&R shares rise after subsidiary wins gold mine contract - Robert Laing

Shares in MURRAY & ROBERTS rose 1.8% to R15.30 this morning after it said its Australian subsidiary had won a contract to develop a new gold mine. The value of the contract was not disclosed, but M&R described it as a major milestone in its Australian unit's "transformation from mid-level to being recognised as a top-tier mining contractor". RUC CEMENTATION MINING CONTRACTORS won a three-year contract to develop a new underground mine, Mount Morgans, for DACIAN GOLD. DACIAN said it intends to spend A$220m developing the Mount Morgan project. The contract may be extended after the initial three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vunani sees 300% jump in earnings - Sandile Mchunu

VUNANI's share price sore more than 27% on the JSE yesterday after it said it expected basic EPS and HEPS to be up at least 300% and 150%, respectively, for the FY to end-Feb. Shares rose to R2.30 at the close, up 50c on the previous day's close. VUNANI said basic EPS would increase to a minimum of 24.8cps, up from 6.2cps y/y. HEPS would increase by at least 150% - a minimum of 14.5cps - compared to the 5.8cps reported y/y. VUNANI expects to release its FY results on Apr. 26. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Downgrade a slow death for SA's grain farmers - Reuters

SA's drought-stricken farmers could come under extra pressure after the rand weakened in the fallout from the credit ratings downgrades to junk status, which could also push up food prices, industry experts said. The price of Jul. contract white maize rose to R2 008/t yesterday, from R1 700 on Mar. 27 when former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN was recalled from an investor roadshow. The rand has dropped more than 10% since then. Rand weakness will squeeze farmers who have borrowed following the 2015 drought. Farmers' debts looked to have risen more than 10% to R160bn annually in 2016, experts say. "If the exchange rate blows out on us then definitely there will be a further increase in prices", FNB economist PAUL MAKUBE said. Input costs such as fertilisers and agrochemicals will rise after the downgrade, denting farmers' profit margins. "The downgrade is like a slow death. You are not going to see it immediately but over time it kills you and makes you weaker and less competitive", Grain SA CEO JANN

PSG expects rise in earnings - Sandile Mchunu

PSG GROUP has said that the sum-of-the-parts value per share for the FY to end-Feb. would be 29% higher y/y. PSG's SOTP value at the end of Feb. was R240.87 - considerably higher than the R186.67 reported in Feb. 2016. The firm said it had decided to continue to use the SOTP value and recurring HEPS as benchmarks to provide management and investors with a realistic and transparent way of evaluating its performance. The SOTP value was calculated using the quoted market prices for all JSE-listed investments, and market-related valuations for unlisted investments. PSG said it expected recurring HEPS to rise to 920cps-930cps, a 16.8%-18% increase on the 788cps reported y/y. The company said it expected HEPS to grow to between 995cps and 1 005cps, up from 666cps y/y. PSG also anticipated impressive attributable EPS of 1 005cps-1 015cps, 40.8% higher than the 721cps posted y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Novus cautions about lower earnings - Fin24

NOVUS HOLDINGS yesterday warned that it expects its basic EPS and HEPS for the FY to end-Mar. to be at least 42% and 20% lower, respectively. Factors that negatively impacted its HEPS include the continuation of tough trading conditions, as well as losses incurred at the tissue operation while in the process of commissioning additional milling capacity. The decrease in EPS was exacerbated by impairments to be recognised on unutilised production capacity and related equipment. NOVUS will publish FY results on Jun. 9. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC takes control of stake in Distell - Fin24

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV has completed the sale of its entire indirect stake in DISTELL GROUP to the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION, it announced yesterday. The sale was required as a condition of the Competition Tribunals' approval of the merger between AB INBEV and SABMILLER. The PIC stake comprises 26.4% of DISTELL's issued share capital. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Retail sector to be hit by downgrades - Lameez Omarjee

Local retailers saw the weakest growth in seven years in 2016, mainly due to poor economic growth and recent political evens may make it harder to achieve projected economic growth of 1.2%, research by EY revealed. According to EY's report on SA's retail sector for 2016, the retail environment was also hit by regulatory and political pressures, low credit growth, low investment levels and the drought which impacted economic growth. The EY analysis surveys the 12 largest retailers in SA. ROE for speciality retailers were at 51.6%. Clothing retailers averaged at 41.1% and grocery retailers at 22.3%, despite having the majority (62%) of spend. Speciality retailers have a 23% share in spend, and clothing retailers 15%. Subsequently, grocery retailers have a 66% stake in profits, followed by speciality with 18% and clothing at 16%. The food and pharmacy sectors appear to have rising margins, but that of clothing seems to be struggling due to the saturated nature of the sector. Headline earnings for grocers

Bell Pottinger cuts ties with Oakbay - Fin24

UK PR agency BELL POTTINGER cut ties with GUPTA-owned OAKBAY last week, the Financial Times reported yesterday. OAKBAY "agreed the termination of the contract just over a week ago", the FT reported. BELL POTTINGER said it was ending the relationship after becoming "the target of a politically driven smear campaign in South Africa over the last few months, with a number of totally false and damaging accusations levelled at it". BELL POTTINGER CEO JAMES HENDERSON said the move "is totally linked to the attacks on us". This follows allegations that the company overstepped its market in helping the GUPTAS change the narrative that they had captured President JACOB ZUMA for corrupt purposes. Pressure against the PR firm heightened after ZUMA removed PRAVIN GORDHAN as finance minister on Mar. 30. Recently, a document that appears to have been compiled with the assistance of former BELL POTTINGER employees, alleges that the firm played a major role in portraying the GUPTA family as victims of a conspiracy that

AB InBev sees Africa as two-way street for boosting beer brands - Janice Kew

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV will export African beer brands to its markets around the world as it seeks to maximise the potential of the continent. "There are so many very unique African brands and I think it is time to sell African beers to the greater market", said RICARDO TADEU, who heads up AB INBEV's African operations. "There is huge potential for these brands to be exported". The company plans to sell packs of eight African beer brnads outside the continent, including Castle, Kilimanjaro and Hero. Within the next 12 months, AB INBEV plans to invest between $150m and $200m on two new production lines in SA. The company agreed to create a R1bn fund to support the local beer industry and protect jobs to win government approval for the SABMILLER deal, one of many concessions it made around the world to secure the takeover. In Nigeria, the brewer could spend as much as $400m to build a new plant, TADEU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade expectations hit low point in Mar., will decline further - SACCI - Megan van Wyngaardt

SACCI's seasonally adjusted six-month trade expectations index fell from 61 in Feb. to 51 in Mar. - the weakest level since Apr. 2016. The non-seasonally adjusted TEI weakened even more and fell to 51 from 63 m/m. The TEI had been on a strong path of recovery from May 2016 up from Feb., but, due to extraneous events, all components of trade expectations were severely and negatively impacted in Mar. Fourty-four percent of responses for the Mar. survey were received before the recall of former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN. "The survey may, therefore, not reflect the full short-term impact of the political developments of the last few days of March. The subsequent downgrade to junk status by STANDARD & POOR's and FITCH will also have longer-term repercussions for trade conditions", SACCI said. The seasonally trade activity index also weakened in Mar. to 43 from 46 in Feb. The sales volumes index fell from 56 in Feb. to 52 in Mar., while new orders dipped by one point to 43. The inventory index stalled

DRC aims to import S African electricity amid shortfall - Reuters

The Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to import electricity from SA, an espensive measure aimed at reducing a gaping power shortfall that has dented mining output in the country. Delegates from the country's public power utility and chamber of commerce will negotiate imports from ESKOM on Thursday and Friday, said ERIC MONGA, the president of Congo's chamber of commerce in the mining region. The export would involve transporting power thousands of kilometers via grids in Zimbabwe and Zambia, raising costs. "It's clearly more expensive... but the economic interest is so great that we are obliged to go hear them out", MONGA said. He said each mining company would be free to eventually negotiate with ESkom for the power it requires. Congo is meant to construct a new 4 800MW, $14bn dam on the Congo River by 2020 - with 2 500MW earmarked for SA - but progress has stalled with the government yet to select a developer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Giyani to start exploration of new 'proof of concept' Botswana manganese mine - Henry Lazenby

GIYANI GOLD will immediately undertake a field exploration campaign on its newly acquired brownfields Kgwakgwe Hill manganese mine, located in Botswana, to test its thesis that manganese deposits exist in Botswana. The company has acquired six new prospecting licences that cover the past producing mine after entering binding agreements with vendors EVERBROAD INVESTMENTS and MARCELLE HOLDINGS to acquire an 88% stake in PL322/2016, and 100% stake in PL336/2016 to PL340/2016 by making cash payments totalling $75 000. GIYANI says the Kgwakgwe Hill project covers a supergene system containing high-grade manganese nodules. The deposit lies within the Kanye basin, which is underlain by rocks of the Transvaal Supergroup. This group hosts roughly 80% of the world's manganese reserves and has been identified in Botswana both under cover beneath Kalahari sands and in local outcrop within the project are. The deposit is of particular interest to GIYANI as it is roof of concept that manganese deposits exist in Botsw

Codelco says output at Chuqui unaffected by labour action - Reuters

Access to the Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile was blocked yesterday by workers from one of its unions, in what the union said was a "warning" over company plans to alter the mine's occupational structure. Mine owner CODELCO said that output had been unaffected so far as workers from previous shifts were continuing to keep operations going. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat lifts Q1 output while expansion projects advance - David Oliveira

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM achieved a 6.5% y/y rise in 4E PGMs in concentrate production to 72 300oz for the quarter to end-Mar. Platinum ounces were up 6.2% y/y to 46 300oz. Total tonnes delivered to concentrators increased by 17.1% to 721 000t, with the Bafokeng Rasimone platinum mine having contributed 597 000t and Styldrift 124 000t. Total tonnes milled during the period rose 13.7% to 690 000t, while the average 4E grade reduced by 6.2% y/y to 3.79g/t. RBPLAT attributed this reduction to "higher-than-planned on-reef dilution at Styldrift associated with the negotiation of a known fault structure to the south and west of the shaft infrastructure on 600 level". For the quarter under review, cash operating costs rose by 12.2% to R701m due to higher production volumes and labour cost related inflation. RBPLAT raised its capex by 56.6% y/y to R370.6m during the quarter. Expansion capex had increased by 87.5% to R346.1m in line with mining and construction activities geared towards achieving the 150 000t/m

BHP says DLC restructure to destroy $1.3bn in value - Megan van Wyngaardt

The proposal by ELLIOTT ADVISORS that BHP BILLITON scrap its dual-listed company (DLC) structure in favour of a primary listing in London and a secondary listing in Sydney could destroy at least $1.3bn in value, to save less than $2.5m a year, the company said yesterday. It added that this would be for no identifiable material or strategic benefit. ELLIOTT earlier this week said the changes in the listing structure would add $1.50 of value per BHP share for the holders of London-listed shares but take away $1 in value from the holders of the ASX-listed shares. The bulk of ELLIOTT's BHP shareholding is in the UK-listed arm, in which it holds a stake of 4.1%. It has rights to acquire an interest of up to 0.4% in the ASX-listed arm. BHP said petroleum remained core to its strategy and has the potential to create significant long-term value at high returns. BHP CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said the company had been engaging with ELLIOTT for around eight months. "Early on, I was really excited about entering into t

Rio ponders future in Grasberg - Reuters

RIO TINTO yesterday said it was continuing talks on the long-term future of its stake in Indonesia's Grasberg copper mine, and one of its top executives would visit the country for talks over the coming weeks. Mine operator FREEPORT-MCMORAN's exports of copper concentrate from the mine have been at a standstill since mid-Jan., when the government introduced rules intended to improve revenues from its resources and create jobs. "There is no doubt that Grasberg is a world-class resource. However, there's a difference between a world-class resource and a world-class business", RIO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said this week. "Depending on what will happen in the coming months and years in terms of negotiations with the government, the extension beyond 2021, RIO will have to come to a conclusion whether we want to stay or not", he said, adding talks involving all parties would continue over the next six months. RIO has a JV with FREEPORT for Grasberg, with rights to 40% of output above specific levels until 20

Indonesia eyes truce with Freeport as losses mount - Reuters

Losses amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars seem to be pushing the Indonesian government and FREEPORT-MCMORAN to resolve a row that has crippled operations at the Grasberg copper mine for three months. FREEPORT says it has lost around $1bn in revenue since export of copper concentrate from the mine was halted on Jan. 12 under new rules issued by the government. The state, meanwhile, has lost millions of dollars in royalties and is worried about layoffs and a slowing economy in the region where the mine is located. Indonesia halted FREEPORT's copper concentrate exports under rules that require the company to adopt a special licence, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51% stake in its operations and relinquish arbitration rights. The company threatened in Feb. to take the dispute to arbitration, saying the rules were "in effect a form of expropriation". But now, the country has promised to allow FREEPORT to export its copper concentrate once more, while negotiations continue over the next six mo

Rio to proceed with Antipa's Citadel farm-in - Megan van Wyngaardt

RIO TINTO, through subsidiary RIO TINTO EXPLORATION, has elected to proceed to the second stage of a farm-in agreement for ASX-listed ANTIPA's Citadel project in Western Australia. The second stage of the farm-in will see the miner invest $8m of exploration expenditure in the next three years, to earn a 51% JV stake in the project. RIO has already invested $3m in the first stage of the farm-in agreement. The Citadel project hosts the Calibre gold/copper/silver/tungsten deposit and the Magnum gold/copper/silver deposit with combined mineral resources of 1.2moz of gold, 139 000t of copper and 1.4moz of silver. RIO TINTO has also elected to become operator of the project, with further st5ages of the agreement including ongoing investment by RIO of up to a total of $60m for a 75% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African R705m book-build 'materially oversubscribed' - David McKay

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES yesterday completed a R705m book-build programme after placing 291.5m shares, which CEO COBUS LOOTS said had been "materially oversubscribed". The proceeds will be used to help finance its R1.65bn Elikhulu surface tailings development with the balance funded from a R1bn, seven-year loan agreement with RAND MERCHANT BANK, the details of which still have to be negotiated. The shares were placed at R2.42/share which was a 10% discount to the closing price of PAN AFRICAN on Apr. 11. Shares in the company closed about 3% down on the JSe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite looks beyond Africa to Eastern Europe - TJ Strydom

SHOPRITE is considering a push into Eastern Europe, where it hopes ot use knowledge gleaned from former suitor STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL, CEO PIETER ENGELBRECHT said this week. The move signals a change in strategy for the company as credit rating downgrades and a weak economy cloud prospects at home. ENGELBRECHT said the company wants to enter markets in Eastern Europe that either "have low competition or high economic growth". "We will look at other developing countries. That is also something that came out with our STEINHOFF discussions and they've got good presence there, so we would like to leverage off that knowledge and definitely have a look at the East Bloc countries". STEINHOFF in Feb. called off a plan to merge its African clothing and furniture assets with SHOPRITE's stores. ENGELBRECHT said the group is also pondering a move into the Latin American market. He said the company had a strong balance sheet to help weather the volatile rand and was talking to banks to raise between R10bn and R15b

SA's retail sales fall, interest rate cuts unlikely - Olwethu Boso

South African retail sales slumped for a second consecutive month in Feb., data showed yesterday, as consumers cut back on large purchases. Statistics SA yesterday said retail sales fell by 1.7% y/y in Feb. after a 2.3% contraction in Jan., with general retailers, particularly clothing and furniture sellers recording diminished activity. "The downgrade of the credit rating is going to put downward pressure on the rand and inflation", said NEDBANK economist JOHANNES KHOSA. "As a result, we might see an increase in interest rates. The cost of living is also expected to increase and that is going to be negative for consumer spending". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's credit downgrades rule out repo rate cuts - Vuyani Ndaba

SA's debt downgrade to junk status and the finance minister's recent dismissal mean interest rates will be on hold until 2020 at least, a Reuters poll found this week. Economists in the poll pushed out rate cuts, ruled them out altogether or considered the possibility of hikes. But the medians from the poll suggest rates will be on hold at 7% until at least 2020, the end of the forecast horizon. In last month's poll a 25 bps cut was expected early next year. Inflation, which slowed to 6.3% in Feb., is expected to be within the SARB's 3-6% comfort zone at 5.8% this year and then dip to 5.5% in 2018, unchanged from last month's projections. The SARB this week said it was too early to tell whether the downgrades would push the economy into a recession. Only one of the 27 economists polled predicted more than one quarter of contraction, and the economy is expected to grow 1.0% this year and 1.5% in 2018. Last month's forecasts were 1.1% and 1.7% respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the

Angola's inflation slows to 36.52% y/y in Mar. - Mfuneko Toyana

Angola's inflation slowed to 36.52% y/y in March, from 38.32% in February, data from the national statistics agency showed yesterday. Price increases on a m/m basis slowed 1.91% in Mar., compared to a 2.3% pace previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unilever Nigeria to seek approval next month for $200m share sale - Oludare Mayowa

UNILEVER NIGERIA yesterday said it will seek shareholder approval next week to raise 63bn naira via a rights issue. The company also said it would seek approval to increase its authorised share capital to 5bn naira by creating an additional 3.95bn new ordinary shares of 0.50 naira each. UNILEVER NIGERIA plans to seek a vote at a shareholder meeting on May 11, it said, adding that it would also ask for approval to convert shareholder loans to stock as part of the share sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors want ANC to explain 'radical economic transformation' - Mfuneko Toyana

Investors want the ANC to explain in detail what the "radical economic transformation" it has pledged in recent speeches means, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. "The sense from the investors is we need to explain in detail what we mean by radical economic transformation... we don't want to create a disjucture between growth and development", GIGABA said. He added that the Treasury is committed to fiscal consolidation plans outlined in the 2017 budget by his predecessor, PRAVIN GORDHAN. GIGABA said Treasury aims to stabilise the government's net debt over the next three years at 50% of GDP. It now stands at 45.5% and is projected to reach 48.1% in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 13/04/2017

At 07h48 on 13 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.42 ZAR/EUR 14.32 ZAR/GBP 16.86 Gold 1285.76 Platinum 975.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.87 All Share 53551.31

Gigaba committed to fiscal consolidation after downgrades - Mfuneko Toyana

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA today said Treasury is committed to fiscal consolidation plans outlined in the 2017 budget after S&P and FITCH downgraded the country to junk status. Speaking to local investors at the Development Bank of SA, GIGABA said the Treasury aims to stabilise the government's net debt over the next three years at 50% of GDP. "To accomplish this we are tightly controlling expenditure", GIGABA said. He reiterated that the country's nuclear build programme will be implemented "at a pace and scale that the country can afford" in brief remarks to reporters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank cuts Kenya's 2017 growth forecast - Duncan Miriri

The World Bank cut Kenya's economic growth forecast for this year by half a percentage point to 5.5%, citing drought, sluggish private sector credit growth and rising prices of oil. The economy is estimated to have expanded by 5.9% last year. In its latest report on the Kenyan economy, the World Bank said growth would pick up after this year, driven by the expected normalisation of rainfall, a firmer global economy, a rebound in tourism, and the resolution of challenges curbing credit growth. "GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 5.8% and 6.1 in 2018 and 2019, respectively", the World Bank said. It urged the government to stick to its fiscal consolidation path and to review last year's changes to the banking law, which capped commercial lending rates at four percentage points above the central bank rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott struggles to understand 'dismissive and premature' BHP response - Mamta Badkar

ELLIOTT ADVISORS yesterday criticised the management of BHP BILLITON for the "dismissive and premature nature of their response" to the US-based fund manager's calls for strategy changes and a plan to spin off its oil business. ELLIOTT on Monday accused BHP of failing to deliver"optimal" value for shareholders and in a 10-page letter proposed that the company scrap its dual listing in London and Sydney, instead having one company with headquarters in Australia. But BHP said the costs and risks associated with the proposal outweighed the benefits. ELLIOTT said it struggled to understand the nature of BHP's response given the detail it provided on its plan. "Given the plan's potential to unlock up to $46bn in value, we and no doubt other shareholders of BHP look forward to management providing a more thorough and reasoned assessment of the plan", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK banks face 6-month wait for EU relocation licenses after Brexit - Mehreen Khan

UK banks looking to move their operations to Europe after Brexit face a six-month wait before being granted a licence to operate on the continent, the European Central Bank has said. In a "frequently asked questions" update on its website, the ECB said an application to operate in the eurozone would take around six months to process. The criteria for approval includes measures such as the correct governance procedures and capital and liquidity levels. "In any event, a decision must be taken within 12 months of the date of the application", the central bank said. The loss of the City's prized "passport" that allows it to operate in the single market is expected to affect around 40 British-based banking groups. In response to requests over possible relocation after the Brexit vote, the ECB will be holding a "technical workshop" to provide information to lenders considering the move on May 4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Italy approves budget meeting EU demands - James Politi

Italy has moved to avoid punishment from Brussels over its public finances, as the government led by PAULO GENTILONI approved €3.4bn in extra budget-deficit cuts in a bid to meet EU demands. The announcement came after a two-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday, during which Italy also approved its annual economic planning document, forecasting a small rise in the growth rate from 0.9% this year to 1.1% in 2018. Italy runs a budget deficit that is well below the 3% upper limit set by the EU, and Finance Minister PIER CARLO PADOAN said it was expected to be 2.1% of GDP. But Italy has a history of flouting other EU rules related to countries with high debt levels. Italy's currently sits at about 133% of GDP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba drops again on viability concerns - Hudson Lockett

Stock in TOSHIBA took another dip at the open today after the company warned of "substantial doubt" about its ability to stay in business. Shares fell as much as 3.6% in early trading to Y215.4. The company issued a warning on Tuesday about its ability to continue as a going concern after failing to convince its auditor to sign off on Q3 earnings. The group is still reeling from its worst-ever financial crisis due to far-reaching problems at its US unit WESTINGHOUSE, and its failure to obtain auditor accounts sign-off increases the risk it could lose its status as a listed company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung delays launch of voice assistant - Tim Bradshaw

SAMSUNG is delaying the launch of its Bixby voice assistant until after its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone goes on sale later this month. The company yesterday said that while some features of its rival to APPLE's Siri and others would be in place at launch on Apr. 21, voice activation will not be available in the US until "later this spring". No explanation was given for the delay, which mars SAMSUNG's attempt to bounce back from last year's Note 7 fiasco. Bixby was a headline feature of the Galaxy S8 when it was unveiled last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott calls for ousting of AkzoNobel chair - Michael Pooler

ELLIOTT ADVISORS has led calls from a number of shareholders for a special meeting to remove AKZONOBEL's chairperson. The Dutch group said it would consider the proposal to hold an EGM to dismiss ANTONY BURGMANS within the statutory 14 days, but that it "strongly" supported the chair. The company has been locked in a war of words with ELLIOTT over its decision to reject two takeover bids from US rival PPG INDUSTRIES since early Mar., the latest for €22.4bn. In a sign of the tensions between the sides, AKZONOBEL said it had reported ELLIOTT to Dutch financial regulators over its handling of the EGM request. It said it became aware on Tuesday that "ELLIOTT ADVISORS intended to privately share potentially price sensitive information with PPG about its decision to request an EMG". The company said it had shared this information with the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets and called on ELLIOTT and PPG to "clarify their relationship and the history of the communications between the two companies".

Tesco reports first sales growth in seven years - Nicholas Megaw

TESCO made further strides in its turnaround efforts in 2016, reporting its first FY increase in UK like-for-like sales in seven years. Revenues in the year to Feb. 25 were at the top end of analyst forecasts, rising 3.7% y/y to £55.9bn. Same-store sales in the core UK business rose 0.9%, with food up 1.3%, the first FY growth since the 2009/2010 FY. Adjusted oprating profit was better than expected at the start of the year, up 30% to £1.28bn. However, statutory pre-tax profit was far below forecasts, thanks to £235m of exceptional charges to cover payments to the Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office. Pre-tax profit dropped 39% to £145m. Last month, TESCO's UK arm agreed to pay a £129m penalty to avoid prosecution for an accounting scandal that emerged that year. CEO DAVE LEWIS has been looking to draw a line under the scandal, focusing on securing future growth with a £3.7bn bid for wholesaler BOOKER. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays ditched planned whistleblowing service last month - Emma Dunkley

BARCLAYS cut ties with a company set to provide the lender with anonymous whistleblowing services weeks before it revealed CEO JES STALEY had attempted to uncover the identity of an informant. The British bank last month withdrew from an agreement with ENDINEL, a firm that offers financial services groups anonymous internal chat services for whistleblowing and other issues such as bullying, according to sources. BARCLAYS began working with ENDINEL in early 2016 but the project was cancelled last month, even though it was expected to go live in Apr. BARCLAYS currently allows employees to disclose information on possible wrongdoing by phone, email, letter, via an online form internally or a website run by a third party. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 12/04/2017

At 11h39 on 12 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.75 ZAR/EUR 14.60 ZAR/GBP 17.19 Gold 1274.44 Platinum 966.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.56 All Share 54002.95

Hospitality in purchase deal with Savana Property - Sandile Mchunu

HOSPITALITY PROPERTY FUND has announced that it has entered into a purchase agreement with SAVANA PROPERTY to acquire various sections and exclusive use areas of the SAndton Eye sectional title scheme. HOSPITALITY has also entered into an agreement with SANDTON ISLE INVESTMENTS to acquire an existing real right of extension in the scheme. The group said it would pay R301.55m for both acquisitions. HOSPITALITY said the SANDTON EYE acquisition would include the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel. The aggregate purchase consideration of R301.55m will be settled via R271.4m in cash on the transfer date, and R30.16m by way of the issue of HOSPITALITY shares at the 30-day volume-weighted average price on Jun. 22 2017. HOSPITALITY said the two acquisitoins were subject to Competition Commission approval and HOSPITALITY obtaining JSE approval for the listing of the consideration shares by no later than Jul. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African to raise R1.7bn in share issue and debt funding for Elikhulu - Allan Seccombe

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES will issue R705m worth of discounted shares and raise R1bn in a seven-year debt facility to build its Elikhulu tailings treatment project at the Evander gold mine. PAN AFRICAN will place 291.5m shares at 14pps, or R2.42 apiece to raise R705m. The share placement will be run via an accelerated bookbuilding process run by STANDARD BANK and RAND MERCHANT BANK in SA, and by NUMIS SECURITIES, HANNAM & PARTNERS and PEEL HUNT in the UK. The R1bn underwritten debt facility was agreed to in principle with RMB. The capital will be repaid in equal quarterly repayments after a two-year grace period "at a competitive prevailing interest rate". The debt facility had credit approval but remained subject to finalisation of definitive legal agreements, and the fulfilment of conditions precedent including licensing approvals. Elikhulu will deliver 56 000oz of gold a year for eight years starting at the end of 2018 and then 45 000oz of gold for five years. It is forecast to have an all-in sustaining

Sirius makes acquisitions worth €103m, moves to JSE main board - Alistair Anderson

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE enjoyed a highly successful FY to end-Mar. The company yesterday said it made acquisitions worth €103m and moved to the main board of the JSE. The company's annualised rental income also rose beyond €70m. SIRIUS successfully began its recycling programme on a significant scale with €103m of disposals agreed or completed at values materially above book value, CEO ANDREW COOMBS noted. CHRIS SEGAR of IVY ASSET MANAGEMENT said the trading statement was positive. "Should SIRIUS achieve the consensus dividend per share of 2.9 euro cents, as published on their website, this will be a significant improvement over March 2016", SEGAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trematon expects jump in interim earnings - Sens

TREMATON CAPITAL INVESTMENTS yesterday said it expects EPS for the HY to end-Feb. will increase by around 421%, while HEPS will increase by around 179% y/y. EPS are expected to be around 46.4cps and HEPS 1.8cps, compared to EPS of 8.9cps and an HLPS of 2.3cps y/y. The increase in earnings y/y is mainly a result of the disposal of TREMATON's stake in the Mykonos Casino, as announced in Nov. last year. TREMATON's NAV is expected to increase by around 24% to 299cps, from 241cps y/y. The intrinsic NAV is expected to decrease by around 2% to 361cps from 367cps y/y, mainly due to changes in the directors' valuation of certain property assets. Interim results will be published on Apr. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA in dire straits with R1.8bn deficit - ANA

PRASA yesterday said it was in dire straits and had a R1.8bn deficit that would be carried over to the next FY. It warned that the situation could lead to non-payment of current salaries. The United National Transport Union said it had no other option but to ask members to embark on an indefinite strike to the detriment of commuters after PRASA refused to increase its final wage offer of 6%. "PRASA's final offer is an insult to its employees. There has been no movement from PRASA's management since the start of the salary negotiations in February, when the employer put a 3% salary increase on the table. PRASA is also not prepared to increase any of the allowances labour demanded. These allowances have not been increased in years", UNTO general secretary STEVE HARRIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Altron restructures exco - Sandile Mchunu

ALLIED ELECTRONICS CORPORATION has announced the restructuring of its executive committee to create a leaner group structure that is aligned to its ICT ambitions. The restructured executive will be headed by CEL MTETO NYATI and will include other board members such as CFO ALEX SMITH and COO ANDREW HOLDEN. NYATI said the company's priorities were to drive cost efficiencies; recruit, develop and retain top talent; build a trusted ICT brand and accelerate growth. ALTRON has also made redundant a number of previous positions, including group executives for corporate finance, strategy and technology, and corporate affairs, as well as the operations executive for telecoms, multimedia and electronics, and operations executive for technology. The new structure would be operational by the end of the month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual Life long-term rating hit by downgrade - Sandile Mchunu

International ratings agencies have lowered OLD MUTUAL LIFE ASSURANCE's long-term rating to zaAA- from zAAA, while its short-term rating was affirmed at zaA-1. At the same time, its long-term SA national scale issue rating on the subordinated deferrable debt was cut to zaA from zaAA-. The rating actions on the OLD MUTUAL subsidiary follow S&P and FITCH's recent rating action on SA. OLD MUTUAL said the risk of further downgrade below investment grade status remained for 2017 as a result of constrained growth and political risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Banks, SOEs, MTN cut to junk - Matthew le Cordeur

FITCH downgraded ABSA, NEDBANK, FIRSTRAND, STANDARD BANK, INVESTEC, ESKOM, TRANSNET and MTN to BB+ of junk status, while S&P continued its downgrade of local firms with four more cuts yesterday. FITCH said its downgrade of MTN's rating "reflects the weakness of the macroeconomic and operating environments of MTN's main operating subsidiaries in South Africa and Nigeria." It added that the forex mismatch between net debt and cash flow could lead to higher leverage if the US dollar strengthens. Meanwhile, S&P downgraded SANTAM to BBB- from BBB; SANLAM from zaAAA to zaAA-, and OLD MUTUAL to from zAAA to zaAA-. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Remgro to sell stake in Dark Fibre Africa - Loni Prinsloo

REMGRO is in talks to sell DARK FIBRE AFRICA to a company owned by NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. of Japan, according to sources. REMGRO, which owns 51.9% of the business, and investment partner NEW GX CAPITAL are seeking as much as R10bn for the asset, the sources said. The potential buyer is INTERNET SOLUTIONS, a unit of NIPPON-owned DIMENSION DATA HOLDINGS. The acquisition of REMGRO's stake would give IS access to as much as 10 000km of fibre networks, which will help it extend broadband access in South African cities including Johannesburg and Cape Town. DARK FIBRE is SA's second-largest fibre network company behind NEOTEL, which was itself taken over by ECONET WIRELESS GLOBAL affiliate LIQUID TELECOM last year for R6.55bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ratings downgrade will impact a 'generation' of employees - CEO - Liesl Peyper

South Africans who are planning to retire within the next 20 years will have to work longer following the country's recent sovereign credit ratings downgrade to junk status, said DAWIE DE VILLIERS, CEO of SANLAM EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. "The ratings downgrades are unchartered territory. South Africa won't snap out of it immediately. My guess is that it will take at least five to seven years before the country will return to investment grade and it's going to have an impact on an entire generation of people", DE VILLIERS said. He noted that companies that employ people will have less access to growth opportunities and capital. "Some will have to retrench people and those who keep their jobs will most likely have to work for lower remuneration. This means employees will save less towards their retirement, as many will rather opt to take home more money. From a retirement savings perspective this is very bad news", DE VILLIERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Junk rating blow may be too much to deal with - Nzimande - Kaveel Singh

Minister of Higher Education BLADE NZIMANDE yesterday said the junk status rating could potentially wreak havoc on the lives of workers and the poor unless South Africans work together. "The consequences may actually be too big to deal with", NZIMANDE said at a graduation ceremony and the launch of the Education, Training and Development Practices Seta at the Umgungundlovu TVET College. "We are worried it will hit the workers and the poor in particular. We can only hope that as South Africans we will work together to try to minimise any negative effects of it", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM welcomes Seriti's purchase of Anglo coal mines - Fin24

The NUM hopes the sale of ANGLO AMERICAN's ESKOM-tied coal operations to SERITI RESOURCES will help create jobs in the ailing mining industry. ANGLO on Monday announced it intends to sell its New Denmark, New Vaal and Kriel coal mines to SERITI for R2.3bn. NUM said it was "happy" about the deal as it includes four closed collieries that will lead to "massive job opportunities" in communities where mining operations take place. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers pumps R960m into Takealot - Fin24

TAKEALOT yesterday announced it has received a R960m investment from NASPERS. "This latest investment follows earlier investments from both TIGER GLOBAL and NASPERS in 2015, and underlines the continued commitment to TAKEALOT and confidence in the potential of South Africa's ecommerce sector", the company said. "NASPERS has been a wonderful supporter of our business and we are grateful for their ongoing commitment and show of confidence in both the business and the market", TAKEALOT founder and CEO KIM REID said. OLIVER RIPPEL, CEO of B2C ECOMMERCE at NASPERS, said the TAKEALOT team continues to drive growth in a market expected to go from strength to strength. TAKEALOT has filed a larger merger notification with the Competition Commission in anticipation of finalising the investment from NASPERS, which would make NASPERS the majority shareholder in the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol finalises currency hedges worth $4bn - Terence Creamer

SASOL yesterday reported it had finalised currency hedges with a total notional amount of $4bn for its 2018 financial year. The hedges represent some 70% of its expected net rand/US dollar exposure for the period, which runs until Jun. 30 2018. The programme is based on zero-cost collar instruments, using an annual average floor of R13.46/$ and an annual average cap of R15.51. SASOL noted that the ongoing R/$ volatility poses earnings risks, with a 10c move in the exchange rate having a R740m impact on annualised earnings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi, Constantia Afripack reach 1bn sack-kraft-paper-made cement bag milestone - Natasha Odendaal

In a partnership spanning decades, more than 1bn bags have been made from MONDI's sack kraft paper by bags producer CONSTANTIA AFRIPACK. MONDI SACK KRAFT PAPER, CONSTANTIA AFRIPACK's principal supplier, supplies strong, quality sack kraft paper grades for the production of cement bags suitable for rough handling. CONSTANTIA AFRIPACK chair ARNOLD VERMAAK said that with four mills, seven paper machines producing a full range of high-quality sack kraft paper and a well-established international logistics chain, the partnership ensures security of supply with value-added benefits. The partnership was the evolution of the production of cement bags in 2011, when the duo migrated from three-ply to two-ply Advantage Select porous cement bag production, triggering additional material and cost economies without compromising quality of strength. The move to Advantage Select sack kraft paper allowed CONSTANTIA AFRIPACK to use only two plies and dispense with perforation, which significantly reduced paper consumption

New online system allows transporters to bid directly on loads - Irma Venter

LINEBOOKER, a spinoff from the innovation arm of CCS LOGISTICS (part of the OCEANA GROUP), has launched an online-bidding platform that allows customers to seek the least expensive truck transport for their goods. "LINEBOOKER was born from our discomfort with the transport broker business model", CCS MD NAUDE RADEMAN said, adding that it found the pricing model "rather murky". LINEBOOKER is an online platform, explains supply chain manager NICK HOFFMAN, where customers log on, stating detail such as the pallet count, pallet height, loading point, delivery point and temperature range of the goods to be transported. Transport companies than have a two-hour window to bid on the load, with bids to move in R200 increments. The customer selects a winning bid after the two-hour period, only then learning the identity of the company that will provide the service. LINEBOOKER charges a booking fee of no more than R450, dependent on the value of the successful bid. A LINEBOOKER phone app allows the driver responsi

Merafe Q1 ferrochrome output up 10% - Martin Creamer

MERAFE RESOURCES' attributable production of ferrochrome rose by 10% in Q1 2017 to 113 000t, up from 103 000t y/y. The increase in the attributable ferrochrome output from the GLENCORE-MERAFE JV is mainly due to improved performances and efficiencies across the venture's furnaces, coupled with the restarting of Rustenburg furnace 5 in H2 2016, MERAFE said. The Q1 European benchmark ferrochrome price was $1.65/lb, applicable for the quarter to end-Mar., was 6.7% higher than the current Q2 price of $1.54/lb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom says Tegeta settles fine in arbitration - Bloomberg

TEGETA EXPLORATION & RESOURCES reached an arbitrated settlement over a fine levied on its Optimum coal mine by ESKOM. The R2bn penalty was originally issued to the mine's previous owner, ESKOM, which put OPTIMUM into bankruptcy protection in Aug. 2015 after ESKOM refused to amend an unprofitable coal-supply contract with GLENCORE and fined the company as the fuel didn't meet specifications. TEGETA completed the purchase of OPTIMUM last year. "We are not at liberty to disclose the contents of the agreement but at least we can say that the matter is now resolved", ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual sticks with S Sudan unit - Okech Francis

OLD MUTUAL will continue to back its businesses in South Sudan even after profit plunged last year because the economy shrank and customers scaled back operations. "Though we're not expanding as fast as we would like to, we continue to maintain and increase our presence" in the country, PATRICK WAWERU, head of business development and marketing of OLD MUTUAL's UAP INSURANCE SOUTH SUDAN said. South Sudan's economy will likely contract 10.5% this year, after shrinking as much as 6.9% in 2016, according to IMF estimates. The insurer's gross premiums in the country declined to $16.8m in 2016, from $21m y/y, while earnings slumped to $4m from $11m y/y. OLD MUTUAL has a 60% share of the South Sudanese insurance market. The company's directors have supported the business and remain positive about the outlook for the country, WAWERU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro suffers S&P downgrade - David McKay

The recent Cabinet reshuffle took its first direct toll on SA's mining sector. EXXARO RESOURCES yesterday announced a credit downgrade following an appraisal by S&P which judged its long-term South African debt riskier as it was a coal supplier to ESKOM. S&P had on Apr. 6 downgraded ESKOM to B+ from BB- and to zaBB from zaBB+ following an earlier downgrade of SA's sovereign credit rating a week after the reshuffle. It consequently lowered EXXARO's long-term South African national scale rating to zaBB- from zaBB+ and affirmed its short-term national scale rating at zaB. The meaning of the downgrade is mainly on EXXARO's unsecured bonds although the company said this debt comprised less than 15% of its current loan facilities. "Despite the ratings downgrade, EXXARO continues to have a strong balance sheet with low gearing and sufficient sources of short term and long term liquidity", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South African tumult hinders Barclays' exit from continent - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

BARCLAYS' plan to sell its African business and pull out of the continent are being hindered by SA's political unpeaval and credit-rating downgrades, according to sources. The British lender gave itself 2-3 years to sell its controlling stake in BARCLAYS AFRICA when it announced the plan in early 2016, and sold 12% in May 2016 in an accelerated bookbuild. It had been planning another such exercise in the last two weeks but pushed it back due to concerns over investor appetite due to political and economic uncertainty in SA, sources said. The recent downgrades by S&P and FITCH have heightened the risk of a prolonged economic stagnation and rattled investor confidence in banks, whose performance is closely linked to the economy, wiping out more than R132bn from their market cap in two weeks. The pool of potential buyers to which BARCLAYS can sell shares in BAG to is also shrinking, according to bankers, because the mandates of some institutional investors do not allow them to hold an asset that's sliding on

Tanzania's economic growth slowed by policy uncertainty, credit squeeze - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Uncertainty over government policies and a slowdown in the private sector cut Tanzania's GDP growth to an estimated 6.9% in 2016 from 7.2% the previous year, the World Bank said yesterday. Investors have been unnerved by unpredictable policies from the government of President JOHN MAGUFULI. A steep drop in money supply and a spike in non-performing loans have also hampered private sector credit growth. "Policy adjustments, if the occur frequently, could cause uncertainty for the private sector, and this uncertainty could dampen private sector investment decisions", the World Bank said in its latest economic update for the country. "The government should pay more attention to, and be more explicit about, the potential unintended consequences of government policies on the private sector." It said Tanzania's GDP growth in 2016 likely slowed to 6.9%, slightly below the government forecast of 7.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's manufacturing output contracts in Feb. as recession looms - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's manufacturing output plunged in Feb. as a sustained slump in consumer and business confidence hit the economy's second biggest sector. Continued signs of weak growth could strangle economic activity and trigger further credit downgrades after last week's moves by S&P and FITCH. Growth shrunk 0.3% in the final quarter of 2016 and a second consecutive contraction in Q1 2017 could see the economy slip into technical recession for the first time since the financial crisis. Q1 growth data is due in early June. Statistics SA yesterday said manufacturing output contracted 3.6% y/y in Feb. and 0.4% on a monthly basis. The largest contractions were seen in the petroleum and furniture categories, which fell 4.4% and 4.2%, respectively. Last month the SARB estimated growth of 1.2% in 2017, but this week said it would likely revise its estimates downwards on the back of political wrangling and credit downgrades. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell says it knew some payments for Nigeria oilfield would go to Malabu - Libby George

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL said it knew that some of the payments it made in Nigeria for the rights to an oilfield would go to MALABU OIL AND GAS, a company associated with former oil minister DAN ETETE. SHELL spokesperson ANDY NORMAN said the company had known the Nigerian government "would compensate MALABU to settle its claim on the block". SHELL previously had said only that its payments for the 2011 deal went to the Nigerian government. NORMAN said that while SHELL knew that ETETE was "involved" with MALABU, it had not confirmed that he controlled the company. ETETE was conficted of money laundering in a separate case in France in 2007. "Over time it became clear to us that ETETE was involved in MALABU and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with ETETE and MALABU, whether we liked it or not", NORMAN said. He added that the company believes the settlement was a fully legal transaction with the Nigerian government. The statement comes amid mounting pressure

Kenya's CBA Bank to offer liquidity for mobile phone bond - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's CBA GROUP has agreed to make a market for the country's debut mobile phone-based bond, guaranteeing investors an exit whenever they need it. Kenya raised 150m shillings with the three-year bond, called M-Akiba, becoming the first in the world to issue a government bond exclusively via mobile phone. CBA "will be the buyer to every seller and a seller to every buyer", said NAIROBI SECURITIES EXCHANGE CEO GEOFFREY ODUNDO. CBA's status as a market maker for the new bond followed talks with the government. Neither party disclosed the costs of the provision of liquidity for the three-year life of the bond. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 12/04/2017

At 07h43 on 12 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.81 ZAR/EUR 14.64 ZAR/GBP 17.24 Gold 1275.83 Platinum 966.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.39 All Share 53535.16

Vedanta's Skorpion, BMM ops report solid FY=2017 results - Anine Kilian

Production at VEDANTA RESOURCES' Zinc International business fell by 31% y/y to 156 000t for the FY to end-Mar. This was mainly the result of the ramp down of the Ireland-based Lisheen mine, which was closed in Nov. 2015 following 17 years of operation. Excluding Lisheen, FY production rose by 8%. Metal production at the Skorpion mine in Namibia was 4% higher y/y at 85 000t, despite the impact of lower feed grade and recoveries. Output at Black Mountain Mining rose 11% y/y as a result of better recoveries and grades. Meanwhile, first production at VEDANTA's Gamsberg project remains on track for mid-2018. VEDANTA yesterday said about 15.5mt of waste rock had been excavated to date, that all major orders had been placed and that major contractors had been mobilised to site. The first phase will include a 4mt/y opencast mine and a 250 000t/y processing plant. The Zambia copper operations produced 94 000t of mined metal in FY2017, down 24% y/y. Production in Q4 was 48% lower y/y as a result of lower trac

Eurozone industrial output slumps - Nicholas Megaw

Industrial production in the eurozone fell back in Feb. and output was lower than previously thought at the start of the year, according to data from Eurostat. On a seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production fell by 0.3% in Feb., in contrast to economic forecasts of a 0.1% expansion. Revised data also showed production grew by only 0.3% in Jan., in contrast to earlier estimates of a 0.9% expansion. Production in Feb. was 1.2% higher y/y, an improvement on January's 0.6% expansion but lower than the 1.9% predicted by economists. The monthly contraction was driven by falling energy and non-durable consumer goods production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toyota makes $1.33bn investment in Kentucky plant - Sruthi Shankar

TOYOTA MOTOR CORP is spending $1.33bn in its Kentucky plant as part of a plan to invest $10bn in the US over the next five years. The investment in the plant comes amid uncertainty over President DONALD TRUMP's trade policies that could affect certain Japanese firms' capex plans. "TOYOTA's decision to invest $1.3bn in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration", TRUMP said in a statement issued by TOYOTA. The carmaker said the investment would help in its new production process that would allow for a more flexible production environment, helping it build better cars and respond quicker to customers. The Kentucky plant employs around 8 200 workers and TOYOTA recently boosted the count by more than 700 ahead of the launch of the new Camry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China-backed fund to acquire Xcerra - Liana B. Baker

A unit of a large China-based semiconductor investment fund has agreed to acquire US semiconductor testing company XCERRA CORP for $580m in cash, the companies said yesterday. The move comes after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US has cracked down on tech deals related to the semiconductor industry. The buyer is UNIC CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, a subsidiary of SINO IC CAPITAL that was founded last year. SINO IC CAPITAL was established in Aug. 2014 and has around Rmb138.7bn in funds under management to invest in the semiconductor space. The deal is subject to CFIUS approval and is expected to close by the end of the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondelez lays groundwork to replace CEO - John McCrank

MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL is preparing to look for a successor to CEO IRENE ROSENFELD as the company faces shareholder pressure and a broad shift to healthier eating habits, the Wall Street Journal reported. MONDELEZ has hired recruiter HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES INTERNATIONAL, and its board recently discussed outside candidates to potentially replace ROSENFELD. The timing of the succession is up to ROSENFELD, who is also chairperson, and H&S has not yet been asked to interview prospects, the WSJ said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

W Africa economic bloc rules out devaluation of CFA franc - Ange Aboa

The West African Economic and Monetary Union has ruled out devaluation for the CFA franc and said it has five months of foreign reserves, sufficient to support the currency, Ivory Coast President ALASSANE OUATTARA said yesterday. OUATTARA, the bloc's current president, was speaking at the end of an extraordinary summit of its seven heads of state in Abidjan called to address economic and security concerns in the region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 11/04/2017

At 11h26 on 11 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.88 ZAR/EUR 14.72 ZAR/GBP 17.26 Gold 1256.61 Platinum 944.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.89 All Share 53450.22

Toshiba files earnings - without approval of auditors - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA has filed its Q3 earnings accounts without a proper sign-off from its auditor as the company warned of "material uncertainty" about its ability to continue as a going concern. The repeated failure to produce auditor-approved results for the Oct.-Dec. quarter comes amid lingering questions about the accounts of US unit WESTINGHOUSE. Analysts say the latest development will add further pressure on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is examining whether TOSHIBA has improved its internal controls after the company was placed on "stock on alert" status in the wake of its $1.3bn accounting scandal in 2015. If the bourse deems its internal controls as inadequate, TOSHIBA's shares will be delisted. For the Apr. to Sep. period, TOSHIBA booked a net loss of Y532.5bn compared to a y/y loss of Y479.4bn. The company has already warned that its net loss could expand to Y1tn for the full FY that ended in Mar., which would be the largest loss for a Japanese manufacturer. The loss stems from TOSHIBA's guarantees on

Australia says any changes to BHP structure would need to be consistent with national interest - Jamie Smyth

Australia has leapt to the defence of BHP BILLITON, insisting that any major changes to the corporate structure of the company would need to be consistent with the country's "national interest". The intervention follows a proposal by ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT to replace BHP's current dual listed company with a single UK domiciled entity, with a primary listing in London and a secondary listing in Sydney. Under Australian law any significant change to the corporate structure of BHP would need approval from the country's foreign investment board and the country's treasurer. "A change in the corporate structure and listing arrangement would need to be carefully considered against the provisions of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act. If the changes were significant they would need to be consistent with Australia's national interest test under that Act", a Treasury spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mastercard wins approval for £700m Vocalink deal - Nicholas Megaw

The UK's competition authority has approved MASTERCARD's £700m acquisition of payments technology company VOCALINK, after MASTERCARD allayed competition concerns by agreeing to open up some of VOCALINK's network to rivals. VOCALINK was previously owned by a group of 18 UK banks and building societies. MASTERCARD initially announced the takeover last Jul., but the Competition and Markets Authority raised concerns that it could stifle competition among companies that run the UK's cash machine network. In response, the parties have agreed to open up VOCALINK's existing network to a new services supplier, and to contribute to the costs of Link ATM system members which wish to change to a new supplier. VOCALINK will also transfer certain intellectual property rights related to messaging on the network to Link. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP retreats on ASX in wake of Elliott proposal - Peter Wells

BHP BILLITON has rebuffed a proposal from ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT to deliver "optimal" value for shareholders and spin off its US oil business, saying the costs of the activist fund's proposal would outweigh any potential benefits. The company said in a statement on the ASX today that it noted the publication of a letter from ELLIOTT, which arrived late yesterday and caused shares to spike and close 4.6% higher. BHP concluded that the costs and associated risks of ELLIOTT's proposal "would significantly outweigh any potential benefits". BHP stock was down 1.5% this morning, one of the worst performers on the S&P/ASX200. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels clears Maersk Line, Hamburg Sud tie-up - Rochelle Toplensky

Brussels approved MAERSK LINE's purchase of HAMBURG SUD on Monday after it promised to withdraw from five trading routes, in a deal that will shore up its position as the world's largest container shipping company. Competition commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER said the commitments offered by the parties "will maintain a healthy level of competition to the benefit of the very many EU companies that depend on these container shipping services". HSDG is the ninth largest container shipping company globally. European regulators worried the deal would leave insufficient competition on five trade routes. To mitigate those concerns, MAERSH has promised HAMBURG SUD will withdraw from five alliances. HSDG will continue as part of the five alliances during the contractual notice period, which will be overseen by a monitoring trustee. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LFMH Q1 sales jump but retailer signals slower growth in rest of 2017 - Harriet Agnew

LVMH has reported organic revenue growth of 13% in the first quarter of 2017 but the group warned that this rate of performance should not be extrapolated for the FY. Organic revenues grew 13% to €9.9bn during Q1, LVMH said yesterday. It "benefited from a favourable comparison base, particularly in Europe, where activity was affected last year by the impact of the November 2015 attacks in Paris." All the group's five main divisions posted double-digit organic returns, led by fashion and leather goods (+15%) and wine and spirits (+13%). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AT&T to buy Straight Path - Nic Fildes

AT&T has continued its acquisition spree with a $1.6bn takeover of STRAIGHT PATH COMMUNICATIONS. The deal - a fraction of the $85bn it paid for TIME WARNER - is pitched at a hefty 162% premium, with AT&T paying $95.63/share in its own stock for the smaller business which closed on Friday at $36.28. The deal values STRAIGHT PATH's equity at $1.25bn. The company specialises in millimeter wave communications that will potentially become valuable in the push for 5G networks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign investors pile into SA bonds - Nicholas Megaw

Government bonds and the rand might be pulling back in SA, but some investors are still counting on a rebound, judging by activity in bond markets. According to CITI, foreign investors have purchased more than R20bn worth of SA government bonds since former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN was ordered back from an overseas investor trip last month. That includes a net R9.84bn of local government bonds last week, when not one but two rating agencies cut the government's credit rating. On Friday, demand for SA's benchmark 10-yr paper was still high enough to send the yield down 0.55 percentage points. CITI said the flows suggest "a consensus view that these political ructions are temporary, with an expectation that the global hunt for value in emerging markets will lead to a relatively quick snap back". Many analysts are sceptical that South African assets will be able to rebound as quickly from the current dip, suggesting that the latest upheaval will have wider consequences. This news brief represents a

SARB: Please don't hoard commemorative coins - Adam Samson

The SARB has asked that consumers don't hoard commemorative R5 coins. The central bank yesterday said it has received "numerous enquiries" regarding the value of coinage, like the Griqua Town coin. The confusion appears to stem from the fact that the SOUTH AFRICAN MINT also produces other coinage that is meant specifically for the domestic and international collectors' market, which typically assigns those coins a higher price than its face value. This is not one of those situations, the SARB stressed. "If you receive one of these coins as change, please do not hold on to it. Use it to make a purchase so that the next person can also experience the beauty of the coin". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Flipkart wins $1.4bn in funding round - Simon Mundy

FLIPKART has announced a $1.4bn capital injection from TENCENT, EBAY and MICROSOFT, with the Indian company accepting a reduced valuation in order to boost its firepower for the intensifying battle with AMAZON. The funding round valued FLIPKART at $11.6bn, it said yesterday - significantly down from the $15bn valuation it enjoyed when it raised funds in Sep. 2015. EBAY's equity stake in FLIPKART will come partly in exchange for its Indian business, which will be folded into FLIPKART while continuing to operate as a separate entity. FLIPKART said TENCENT would become a strategic partner, with the latter's president MARTIN LAU saying the deal would enable it "to participate in the exciting opportunities in ecommerce and payments in India". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa says production targets will be met - Sandile Mchunu

THARISA yesterday said it was meeting its output target after it reported improved results for the quarter to Mar. During the period, mined reef of 12mt continued to exceed the required run rate of 4.8mt/y on an annualised basis. The average per ounce PGM basket price for the quarter was $783, which was $43/oz higher than the $740 achieved in the quarter to end-Dec. THARISA said PGM recoveries at 76.2% and chrome recoveries at 62.5% were expected to be marginally lower than the recoveries of the previous quarter, mainly due to the weathered ore delivered to the processing plants from the open pit extension in the central pit and new areas mined within the West pit. Recoveries were planned to return to previous levels in Q3 and this improvement was evidenced last month. It added that contracted metallurgical grade chrome concentrate prices increased by 35.2% as compared with the prior quarter with an average contract price of $338/t achieved during the quarter. HY results will be published on May 16.

Dangor breaks silence on Dlamini's role in SASSA crisis - Antony Sguazzin

Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI bypassed officials and helped create a crisis that would ensure that NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES would continue to distribute social grants on behalf of the government, said her former DG ZANE DANGOR. In a court affidavit, DANGOR said DLAMINI created a parallel structure where so-called work streams headed by officials other than executives at the department advised her on how to comply with a 2014 Constitutional Court Order that a new distributor be found after NET1's contract was declared invalid. "The parallel decision-making structures in the form of the work streams may have been deliberate to ensure a continued relationship with (CASH PAYMASTER SYSTEMS) under conditions favourable to CPS, through a self-created emergency", DANGOR wrote. The affidavit was filed in response to a submission by DLAMINI that she was not liable to personally pay legal costs because the welfare department and its CEO, THOKOZANI MAGWAZA, had been to blame for the crisis. DANGOR inclu

PnP expects improved performance - Fin24

PICK N PAY yesterday advised that it is in the process of finalising results for the FY ended 26 Feb., which will be published on Apr. 19. HEPS will increase by 15%-20% y/y, continuing the forward momentum achieved by the company over each of the last four years. The company said the result will demonstrate its progress in delivering a balanced and sustainable recovery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verimark expects improved profits - Fin24

VERIMARK yesterday said that despite a tough retail environment, higher interest rates and negligible economic growth in SA, the group expects improved profits for the FY to end-Feb. 2017. Shareholders are advised that the company expects to record a profit before taxation of R33.7m-R41.2m for the FY to end-Feb., an increase of 157%-214% on the R13.1m reported y/y. HEPS are expected to be in the range of 22.1cps and 27cps, being an increase of 176% and 238% compared to the 8cps reported y/y. Results will be published on May 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cyclicality, drought causes sideways movement at Zeder - Carin Smith

Despite cyclicality, investing in the food and agribusiness industry should offer good long-term returns, according to ZEDER CEO NORMAL CELLIERS. The company yesterday reported results for the FY to end-Feb. CELLIERS said the operational environment is tough, especially because of the impact of the recent drought. Under these conditions he therefore regards the company's increase of 0.5% to 42.6cps in recurring HEPS as acceptable. The sum-of-the-parts value per share of ZEDER's key benchmark rose by 23.1% to R8.53/share on a like-for-like basis as at Feb. 28 2017. The total underlying investment portfolio amounted to R15.2bn, up from R12.4bn y/y. A final dividend of 11cps was declared, up 22.2% y/y. CELLIERS pointed out that, of importance for the future is KAAP AGRI's intention to list on the main board of the JSE during the year. Despite a challenging macro environment, the company continued to deliver strong results for its FY to end-Sep. 2016, with HEPS having increased by 15.1%. This news brie

Renewables contracts will not be signed - Terence Creamer

The signing of power purchase agreements for the projects procured under the fourth bid window of the REIPPPP will not take place today as initially envisaged. The date had been set by former Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON following the announcement by President JACOB ZUMA in his Feb. 9 SONA that "ESKOM will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds". JOEMAT-PETTERSSON was replaced during the recent Cabinet reshuffle by MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI, who subsequently requested a postponement of the PPA signing to enable her to consult with stakeholders. The delay would affect 37 projects that are said to carry a combined investment value of R58bn and the potential to create 13 000 construction jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo/Seriti deal may hit Eskom ownership snag - Martin Creamer

SERITI RESOURCES, the company ANGLO AMERICAN named as the proposed buyer of three ESKOM-tied coal mines and four closed coal assets, is a new 79% black-owned company, which easily ticks the transformation boxes demanded by both ESKOM and the Department of Mineral Resources. ANGLO yesterday announced it has signed a binding sale and purchase agreement with SERITI in a deal that has been two years in the making. However, ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said the question of the ownership of the mines remained a "sticking point" and that the utility would be seeking an urgent meeting with ANGLO to understand how the issue could be resolved. ESKOM interim CEO MATSHELA KOKO recently said the utility had received an asset register from ANGLO confirming that ESKOM owned assets at the mines in question, but that these assets were not reflected on its balance sheet. The utility had also conducted an audit of all its mining assets, but had not yet disclosed the value or nature of the assets. "However, we definitel

PV providers partner to form new solar rooftop company - Anine Kilian

Solar rooftop providers ALL POWER SYSTEMS and FUSION ENERGY have formed a new company, SYNTHESIS POWER HOLDINGS, to take advantage of the growth in SA's solar rooftop energy market. "SYNTHESIS was created to provide the ultimate solar rooftop proposition to its clients, one which sets the bar high in every aspect; be it, the funding offerings, design, integration, installation, project management, after-sales support, operations and maintenance and ongoing management and reporting services", SYNTHESIS CEO JAY NAIDOO said. The company has targeted equity of R200m for its initial installations. NAIDOO believes that commercial rooftop installations within its current model offer an excellent return to equity investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's junk status will increase costs in auto production chain - Irma Venter

The effects of S&P and FITCH having downgraded SA to junk status will was through the entire value chain of automotive production, FROST & SULLIVAN Mobility Africa programme manager CRAIG PARKER warns. Firstly, the price of imported components will have a negative impact on vehicle manufacturers from a cost perspective, often not mitigated by the export of the finished product at a weaker rand value. Secondly, local component producers feeding into the value chain are impacted by the higher cost of imported input into their components. The current local content contribution into vehicles rolling from local assembly lines is, on average, 38%. PARKER says it will be difficult to grow this number, despite goals to the contrary. Higher living costs as a result of the downgrades will also impact employees in the local automotive value chain, as well as at original equipment manufacturers. This will result in a loss of disposable income to employees owing to higher inflation. Finally, the investment potentia

Axing of PRASA board set aside - News24Wire

Former transport minister DIPUO PETERS acted irrationally in removing PRASA's board, the North Gauteng High Court ruled yesterday. Judge PETER MABUSE said in a scathing judgment that her decision was unreasonable and disproportionate, and set it aside. He also set aside her appointment of an interim board, chaired by former SANRAL CEO NAZIR ALLI, and ordered the previous board be reinstated. PETERS was ordered to pay the former board's legal costs. The Transport Department said it respected the judgment, would study it and respond in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa lifts Mar. diamond sales 1% y/y - Henry Lazemby

Russia's ALROSA has increased total diamond sales for Mar. by 1% y/y to $566.6m, as stable demand in most rough diamond categories buoys prices. Rough diamond sales by ALROSA in Mar. amounted to $554.2m, with polished diamond sales for the same period totalling $12.4m. The company plans to increase diamond output to 39.2m carats in 2017 from 37.4m ct in 2016, with output expected to hit 40.4m ct in 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Costs, risks outweigh benefits of changes proposed by Elliott - BHP - Natasha Odendaal

BHP BILLITON yesterday said any potential benefits of implementing a proposal tabled by ELLIOTT ASSOCIATES and ELLIOTT INTERNATIONAL would be significantly overshadowed by the costs and associated risks of the suggested changes. ELLIOTT earlier on Monday presented a proposal outlining changes to the diversified miner's dual-listed company structure, asset portfolio and capital management, which BHP believed could put at risk the foundations already laid for substantial growth within the base value of its operations. BHP said a review of the elements of ELLIOTT's proposal revealed that the risks far outweighed the benefits. While BHP kept its dual-listed company structure under review, no sufficient benefits have been identified to warrant its costly replacement with a single UK-domiciled company with a primary listing in London and with chess depository instruments quoted in Australia, as suggested by ELLIOTT. Defending its shareholder returns policies and buybacks, BHP cited returns of $23bn in stock buy

South32 pursues copper opportunity in Alaska - Anine Kilian

SOUTH32 has entered into an option agreement with TRILOGY METALs in respect of its Upper Kobuk Mineral Project. UKMP is located in the Ambler mining district in Alaska, and includes the Bornite and Arctic deposits. SOUTH32 will provide TRILOGY with $30m over three years, with the funds to be used to test the extension of the high-grade copper resource at UKMP's Bornite deposit. "This is another step in our strategy to identify opportunities to add value to our portfolio by investing through the drill bit", CEO GRAHAM KERR said. The initial funding will be paid in tranches of $10m/year, with the decision to proceed in years two and three of the agreement subject to exploration results. At any time during the three-year period, SOUTH32 may exercise the option to form a JV by contributing $150m, plus any amounts TRILOGY spends on the Arctic project, to a maximum of $5m/year less the initial funding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia mining sector set for growth to 2021 - Anine Kilian

Zambia's mining sector will see solid growth between 2017 and 2021 following proposed changes to the country's regulatory environment, BMI says. Favourable global copper prices and rising cobalt demand will attract foreign investment; however, the country will face ongoing challenges related to power shortages and policy uncertainty. A recovery i copper prices and a positive global demand outlook for cobalt will provide further incentives for foreign miners looking to enter the country, leading to an increase in the number of mining projects. "We forecast the Zambian mining industry will grow by a yearly average of 5.5% between 2017 and 2021, significantly faster than the average decline of 5.4% experienced between 2012 and 2016. Amendments to reduce royalties and taxes for mining companies operating in the country are likely to further boost growth in the mining sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African's Evander on schedule for mid-Apr. restart - Megan van Wyngaardt

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES yesterday said the refurbishment of the 7 and 8 Shaft complex at its Evander mines was progressing on time and within the R40m budget. The company expects the refurbishment programme to be completed on Apr. 15. The programme entailed the replacement of the 7 Shaft pump columns support infrastructure; the replacement of a damaged section of the main pump column at the 7 shaft; the replacement of the water reticulation system between the 7 and 8 shafts; the removal of redundant shaft steelworks at the 7A and 8 shafts; and repairs to the 7 and 7A shaft bottoms. The programme also includes an assessmnt of all other underground infrastructure that is critical to maintaining and sustaining production. Meanwhile, PAN AFRICAN expects to complete the retrenchment of about 976 employees within the next month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32, GE ink 3-yr digital transformation deal - Esmarie Swanepoel

SOUTH32 has struck a three-year strategic partnership with GENERAL ELECTRIC to assist in the company's digital transformation. SOUTH32 yesterday said it will use GE's Predix platform, designed to connect industrial equipment, data analysis and instant insights, to enable the company to make fast, informed decisions, and to provide the opportunity to optimise entire operations rather than individual assets and equipment. "Mines collect terabytes of data today, but do not have the platform or solutions to provide real-time insights to deliver operational productivity", GE MINING CEO SCOTT PHILLIPS said. "Together, GE MINING and SOUTH32 have the opportunity to help solve these challenges in the mining sector. This is a very exciting time to be in mining", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio's taxes, royalties reached $4bn in 2016 - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has revealed that it paid around $4bn in taxes and royalties globally in 2016 and contributed more than $35bn directly to economies in host communities. Around $2.9bn of the taxes and royalties were paid in Australia, with a further $249m paid in Canada, $215m in Mongolia, $205m in Chile, $102m in the US and $100m in SA. CFO CHRIS LYNCH noted that corporate income tax remained the largest component of RIO's tax payments around the world, followed by government royalties, employment payroll taxes and other taxes. The company was recently issued with a A$447m tax bill from the Australian Commissioner of Taxation for the calendar years 2010-2013, following an amended assessment. The miner has vowed to challenge the assessment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest firms up Alice Queen plans - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST has firmed up plans to hunt for gold in New South Wales, replacing a previous heads of agreement with ASX-listed ALICE QUEEN, with a formal option and farm-in agreement. Subject to conditions, NEWCREST will have the option to obtain the right to an interest in the Mendooran project tenements by spending around A$2m on exploration within the first two years of the agreement. Subject to meeting the minimum expenditure, NEWCREST can earn the right to a 51% stake in the project by spending a further A$3m over the next 24 months. Subject to completing the first earn-in, NEWCREST will then have the right to earn a further 29% stake in the project by spending a further A$5m during the 60 months immediately following the Stage 1 earn-in. The deal is conditional upon the partners agreeing on the terms and scope of a minimum commitment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dawn raises R358m - Business Report

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK has raised R358m via a rights offer. The company yesterday said its offer of 358m shares, at a ratio of 147.8 shares for every 100 ordinary shares held - had been offered at R1/share. The rights offer closed on Friday at noon. DAWN said shareholders subscribed for 71.9% of the shares offered, while the rest were underwritten by RECM AND CALIBRE. The company now has 600.4m shares in issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eni, Shell deny wrongdoing in Nigeria - Libby George

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL and ENI yesterday reiterated that neither they nor their personnel had been involved in any wrongdoing in Nigeria, including improper payments to Nigerian officials. The comments follow media reports alleging how hundreds of millions of dollars from the two companies were used for illicit payments. A joint probe by BuzzFeed News and Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday claims to show transactions worth $1.3bn made in 2010-2011 that SHELL and ENI paid to acquire an exploration licence for an offshore oil block known as OPL 245. The money was paid to the Nigerian government, but BuzzFeed and Il Sole said documents showed SHELL's top executives at the time knew those sums would go to MALABU OIL AND GAS, a front company connected to former Nigerian oil minister DAN ETETE. ENI said the allegations in the reports were not supported by the facts, the underlying agreements or the independent probes conducted to date, while SHELL said it did "not believe that there is a basis to prosecute S

SARB says downgrades, weakening rand pose risk - Mfuneko Toyana

The SARB yesterday warned that the recent Cabinet reshuffle that saw the country's credit rating cut to junk could pressure the rand and accelerate inflation as investors sold off local assets. The rand has lost nearly 12% since Mar. 27. "Rising uncertainty about the future of economic policy could prompt capital outflows in anticipation of such downgrades", the central bank said in its annual Monetary Policy Review. It added that the biggest risk to its policy aim of keeping CPI below 6% was the weakening exchange rate. The central bank kept its benchmark repo rate unchanged at 7% last month, citing re-emerging risks to the exchange rate. It added then that it had reached the end of its tightening cycle which has seen it hike rates by a cumulative 200 bps since 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Etisalat Nigeria yet to agree debt deal with lenders - Stanley Carvalho

The Nigerian arm of ETISALAT is yet to agree a deal on restructuring a $1.2bn loan with local banks after it missed a payment, a company source said. The source said ETISALAT and a group of 13 Nigerian lenders were yet to agree on a debt restructuring proposal. Nigerian regulators agreed with local banks in Mar. to pursue a default deal rather than a receivership for ETISALAT NIGERIA so as not to deter investors and to avoid a wider debt crisis. Sources have said the company would consider selling its stake in the Nigerian entity after the debt deal is agreed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 11/04/2017

At 07h48 on 11 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.92 ZAR/EUR 14.73 ZAR/GBP 17.28 Gold 1255.70 Platinum 943.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.95 All Share 53139.96

Rand heading for R14/$ on second downgrade - Liesl Peyper

The rand is heading for R14/$ following FITCH's decision on Friday to cut SA's sovereign credit rating to junk. By 11:00 this morning the local currency was trading at R13.92/$ and although market reaction has been muted, warning signs are clear, according to TREASURYONE trader ANDRE BOTHA. "The scenario that South Africa is faced with at the moment is one where any negative news might be over-reacted upon, such as any political rumblings or bad economic data... The effect of the downgrade will probably only be seen in the medium term and should not be a factor now." BOTHA said the current sentiment could result in the rand losing some ground during the week. "A test of R14.00/$ is on the cards, but losses seem to be constrained and should trade in narrow bands, bar any negative news". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE probing securities surge linked to Gordhan's UK recall - Matthew le Cordeur

The JSE said it is reviewing the significant moves in "numerous listed securities including currency futures" that occurred when former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN was recalled form his investor roadshow in London two weeks ago. JSE director of market regulation SHAUN DAVIES said that the JSE "is reviewing trading in affected securities prior to the news of the recall of the minister of finance from the roadshow, as that news precipitated material moves in the value of numerous listed securities including currency futures. Once the JSE has finalised its review it will forward its findings to the FSB (Financial Services Board)." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine in R719m deal - Sandile Mchunu

REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL on Friday announced it had reached a conditional agreement with REDEFINE GLOBAL to acquire control of the GERMAN LEOPARD PORTFOLIO JV, in which it holds an existing 50% stake for €49.4m. The company said the proposed acquisition included transaction costs, adding that it was going to seek shareholder approval at an EGM convened later this month. RIN CEO MIKE WATTERS said the deal was in line with the group's growth strategy. The LEOPARD portfolio comprises 66 German retail properties generating gross rental income of €13.9m, of which 99.2% is indexed to between 60-70% of German CPI subject to indexation reaching a cumulative hurdle of 10%. The portfolio is independently valued at €175.5m reflecting a net initial yield of 7.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/04/2017

At 11h17 on 10 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.93 ZAR/EUR 14.73 ZAR/GBP 17.27 Gold 1253.33 Platinum 952.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.67 All Share 53187.12

Anglo agrees to sell South African coal business - Mehreen Khan

ANGLO AMERICAN has agreed to sell its SA-based thermal coal business for R2.3bn as part of its divestment plans in the country. The company announced the sale of its ESKOM coal operations to a subsidiary of SERITI RESOURCES. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, means SERITI will become the second largest thermal coal provider to ESKOM. CEO MARK CUTIFANI said the transaction "forms part of our ongoing commitment to reshape and upgrade our global asset portfolio, recognising appropriate value and further demonstrating ANGLO AMERICAN's longstanding support for the development and sustainability of South Africa's mining industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott urges BHP to spin off US petroleum assets - Peter Wells

BHP BILLITON has come under pressure from activist investor ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT, which is calling for the resources giant to unlock shareholder value by spinning off its US petroleum assets. The company's shares spiked in late Australian trade after ELLIOTT said it had sent a letter to the company's directors outlining a plan to "unlock value and improve capital returns to shareholders" by around 50%. ELLIOTT said BHP had a "first-class portfolio of assets which are failing to deliver optimal value to shareholders". It also revealed it had a 4.1% stake in the miner's London-listed shares. The hedge fund outlined three main steps that could boost shareholder value, including: Unifying BHP's dual-listed company structure into a single Australia-headquartered and Australian tax resident company; spinning off and separately listing the company's US petroleum business on the NYSE; adopting a consistent capital return policy that would allow it to take advantage of its substantial franking credit balance via off

Gunvor attracts suitors for stake - Neil Hume

GUNVOR has received approaches from investors interested in buying a stake or partnering with the Swiss-based company. No deal is imminent and GUNVOR's billionaire founder TORBJORN TORNQVIST has no plans to sell the trading house at the moment, sources said. The oil trader declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that GUVNOR has discussed a possible sale of the entire company with at least two competitors. While TORNQVIST wants to remain the company's dominant shareholder, he has not ruled out selling more shares either to staff or a strategic partner. GUNVOR currently trades around 2.5m barrels of oil per day and recently reported an increase in underlying profits for 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SoftBank pushes for merger of India's Snapdeal and Flipkart - Kiran Stacey

SOFTBANK is attempting to engineer a merger of SNAPDEAL and FLIPKART, India's two biggest homegrown e-commerce groups, in a bid to take on AMAZON, which has pledged to spend $5bn to become that country's dominant internet retailer. SOFTBANK, which owns a 35% stake in JASPER INFOTECH, SNAPDEAL's parent company, is in advanced talks with investors in FLIPKART to sell SNAPDEAL for around $1bn, sources said. "SOFTBANK is keen to merge the two companies, but some of the minority shareholders are not happy with the valuation that is being talked about", one source said. SNAPDEAL, FLIPKART and SOFTBANK declined to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US jobs growth slows sharply in Mar. - Adam Samson

The pace of US job growth slowed more than expected in Mar., but the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 2007, further muddying the outlook for the economy's performance in Q1. Employers added 98 000 jobs in Mar., far below the 180 000 economists forecast. March's rate of job growth was the weakest since May 2016 and compared with Feb., when employers added 219 000 jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5% from 4.7%. Wage growth slowed to a y/y pace of 2.7%, from 2.8%. "The slowdown in payroll growth is exactly what you would expect when the economy closes in on full-employment. So yes the data was a little weaker, but it won't change the outlook on monetary policy", noted LUKE BARTHOLOMEW, investment strategist at ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norway's oil fund takes tougher stance on tax transparency - Richard Milne

Norway's $915bn oil fund will push the companies it invests in to be more transparent about tax through disclosure on a country-by-country basis as it responds to a growing outcry around tax havens. YNGVE SLYNGSTAD, CEO of the fund, said it expected boards, not finance directors, to take responsibility for tax policy. This came as the fund also presented plans to radically change how CEOs are paid. The plans call for companies to scrap long-term incentive plans that have become an increasing part of executive salaries and instead make CEOs receive a significant chunk of their pay in shares they have to hold for 5-10 years. The oil fund will press big companies to publish country-by-country breakdowns of where they generate value, there that value is taxed, and the amount of tax paid. Businesses should also be prepared to justify publicly why they locate subsidiaries in so-called closed jurisdictions or lower-tax countries. The moves came as the fund reported results for Q1 2017 in which it recorded its

Greece strikes deal with EU creditors over reforms - Jim Brunsden

Greece has struck a deal with its creditors on reforms the country must carry out in exchange for continuing to receive money from its €86bn bailout programme. The deal, which encompasses pension cuts, a widening of the tax base and other reforms, was closed during intensive talks last week. The agreement eases the pressure ahead of looming deadlines in July for Greece to repay over €6bn of debt, something that threatens to economically cripple the country unless it receives another tranche of bailout aid. The deal, which requires Greece to legislate now on reforms that it will roll out in 2018 and 2019, is a key stepping stone in bringing the IMF into the bailout as a full financial partner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fox bid for Sky given green light by Brussels - Nic Fildes

The European Commission on Friday unconditionally approved the £11.7bn takeover of SKY by 21ST CENTURY FOX, saying it would raise no competition concerns in Europe. Regulators ruled that for markets including Germany, Italy, Ireland and Austria, the takeover would lead to a limited increase in SKY's ability to acquire TV content. It added that the deal would unlikely diminish SKY's appetite to acquire shows from other content providers. The clearance was widely anticipated and was a smaller hurdle than the UK probe into the takeover being carried out by media regulator Ofcom. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US Senate confirms Gorsuch for Supreme Court - Jessica Dye

On Friday, a day after Republicans pushed through a rule change to thwart a Democrat-led filibuster, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm DONALD TRUMP's nominee to the Supreme Court, NEIL GORSUCH, in the first major political victory for TRUMP since he took office earlier this year. As soon as he is sworn in - which is expected to happen today - GORSUCH will fill the lifetime-tenured seat on the nine-judge bench vacated last year by the death of ANTONIN SCALIA. The Supreme Court's next oral argument session is set to begin Apr. 17, where it will consider a slate of cases involving debt collection, religious institutions, securities class actions and patents, among other issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US Q1 growth pace may be slowest since 2014 - Adam Samson

Down seems to be the general direction of the Atlanta Federal Reserve's running forecast for US economic growth in Q1, which is now pointing to the weakest growth pace in three years. The regional Fed branch now reckons the economy grew at an annualised pace of just 0.6% in Q1 2017, down from its previous forecast on Wednesday of 0.8%. That would compare with 2.1% in the final quarter of 2016 and mark the slowest rate of growth since Q1 2014, according to Commerce Department data. Numerous investment banks have noted recently that there has been a growing divergence between survey data and more tempered hard data that have painted a mixed picture. Wall Street banks offer differing views on the topic. The consensus forecast in a Bloomberg survey is still pointing to a 2.5% growth rate in Q1. GOLDMAN SACHS economists last month said that part of the disconnect is probably driven by differences in the interpretation of "temporary factors, such as Chinese New Year timing and delayed tax refunds". This ne

US oil rig count rises for 12th consecutive week - Pan Kwan Yuk

US drillers added oil rigs for the 12th straight week, taking the number of active oil rigs to 672 - a 90% increase y/y and the highest level since Aug. 2015. US oil producers brought 10 oil rigs back online in the week to Mar. 31, BAKER HUGHES said on Friday. Drillers have now added oil rigs every week this year, barring one. Crude oil prices - which have been rallying recently on supply disruption fears after the US launched a missile strike against Syria - held onto their gains following the report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China economists temper growth expectations after Q1 - Hudson Lockett

With China's GDP widely pegged to maintain growth of 6.8% in Q1 2017, some economists and state-backed think tanks are already predicting growth will slow markedly in Q2. ZHANG BAOLIANG, a researcher at the State Information Centre, was cited by the state-run Securities Times as predicting growth could slow in Q2 in the face of low external demand, a rising tide of "de-globalisation" and protectionism, uncertain policy outlook from the US, persistent economic imbalances in China and likely reductoin in domestic sales of vehicles and housing. The paper cited ZHANG and others as predicting growth of 6.8% in Q1. It also pointed to a forecast from the Institute of Finance and Economics that foresaw growth slowing to 6.7% in H1 2017, and which described FY growth of 6.5% as "no problem". Meanwhile, Peking University's Economic Policy Research Group has forecast GDP growth gradually slowing to 6.5% over the next three quarters, bringing the annual rate to around 6.6%. This news brief represents a summary of

Aussie coal producers climb as prices continue post-cyclone surge - Peter Wells

The price of coking coal has been on the rise after Cyclone Debbie hit Australia's north-east coast, an area that produces about half of the world's supply of the steelmaking ingredient. Hard coking coal almost doubled last week to $282.10/t, according to Steel Index, which is the highest price since Dec. 9. Shares in WHITEHAVEN COAL were leading the charge this morning, up 2.4%. SOUTH32, which was not affected by the cyclone, was up 2.2%. The company sells its coal on the spot market and should therefore benefit more from the rise in prices. BHP BILLITON last week declared force majeure for all coal products from two of its massive JVs. Shares were up 0.9% this morning in Australia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iron ore wipes out 'Trump trade' gains in China after report forecasts price fall - Hudson Lockett

Iron ore prices in China have given up all the gains added on since DONALD TRUMP was elected US president. Prices are around their lowest in five months following a forecast published last week predicting the commodity could fall to $65/t by the end of 2017. The futures contract for iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped as much as 2.3% to Rmb522.5 this morning, following on from Friday's close down 5.4%. Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science last week predicted that average prices in China would fall to $65/t this year before declining further to $51, "weighed down by the combined impact of ongoing growth in low-cost supply and soft demand". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's Moutai overtakes Diageo to become most-valuable liquor company - Tom Hancock

China's KWEICHOW MOUTAI has overtaken DIAGEO to become the world's most valuable liquor company. MOUTAI's market cap reached $71.5bn on the Shanghai bourse on Friday, while DIAGEO's London capitalisation is $71.1bn. The Chinese firm's share price has soared in the past year as it has seen rising sales form Chinese consumers upgrading to premium brands, and as a culture of business banqueting and gifting has recovered after a crackdown on lavish spending in officialdom. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FCA, BOE probe Barclays CEO over whistleblowing - Nicholas Megaw

BARCLAYS has issued a formal reprimand and promised a "very significant" adjustment to the compensation awarded to CEO JES STALEY after he broke rules surrounding the treatment of internal whistleblowers. The Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority are investigating STALEY and BARLCAYS, after the CEO attempted to identify the author of a letter that was treated by the bank as a whistleblow in 2016. BARCLAYS' board informed the FCA and PRA after concerns were raised by an employee about the company's whistleblowing programme earlier this year. BARCLAYS said an independent probe by law firm Simmons & Simmons found that STALEY "honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter". BARCLAYS said it will "be issuing a formal written reprimand to Mr STALEY and has decided that a very significant compensation adjustment will be made" to his variable compensation award. It added that he continues to have the board's "unanimous

52 phone calls expose Koko's lie - Fin24

Phone records show that acting ESKOM CEO MATSHELA KOKO lied about speaking with his stepdaughter's business partner, according to the Sunday Times. The paper reported that KOKO was in contact with PRAGASEN PATHER around the time that ESKOM awarded multimillion-rand contracts to IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL. The two men initially denied that they knew each other, but later changed their tunes. The calls are believed to be part of a probe into the possible conflict of interest over lucrative contracts from ESKOM when KOKO's stepdaughter was a director at IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL. A report last month alleged that IMPULSE scored R1.8bn in contracts from a division of ESKOM that KOKO headed until he was appointed acting CEO in Dec., when KOKETSO CHOMA was in the employ of the company. Shortly after the allegations were published, ESKOM said when KOKO became aware of his stepdaughter's involvement in IMPULSE, he asked her to resign as a director and shareholder. "This was duly done by Ms CHOMA in September and October 2

ANC: SA to re-think nuclear deal after junk status - Fin24

The ANC yesterday said the government will have to re-think the nuclear expansion programme following last week's relegation of the country's creditworthiness to junk.. S&P and FITCH both downgraded local sovereign debt to junk after President JACOB ZUMA reshuffled the Cabinet, axing finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN in the process. Yesterday, two newspapers cited a confidential document that stated that ESKOM would in Jun. invite bids for the construction of four nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 9 600MW. The successful bidder would e named in Mar. 2018, City Press and the Sunday Times reported. But ANC head of economics ENOCH GODONGWANA told reporters that "conditions have changed... Surely in the light of the junk status we will have to... revise our expenditure patterns as government". GODONGWANA did not rule out a slide into recession for the local economy. When FITCH cut the country's ratings on Friday, it cited "recent political events, including a major cabinet reshuffle" that would

SA bonds begin trading as junk for first time since 2000 - Filipe Pacheco

South African bonds will trade today carrying junk grades from two ratings agencies for the first time since 2000, while Russian assets may come under pressure as tensions between the PUTIN government and the US escalates after an American missile strike in Syria. JPMORGAN will cut SA from its investment-grade-only EMBIG indices, which are tracked by $49bn of funds, on Apr. 28. It will also exclude the country's debt from its GBI-EM GD and ELMI+ investment-grade-only indices tracked by $10bn of funds on May 31. "Another downgrade in just one week is a major blow", RABOBANK analyst PIOTR MATYS said. "It means that even those foreign investors that are still relatively optimistic about the long-term outlook for South Africa may have to trim their exposure. In the coming weeks, we will probably witness a wave of capital outflows". Meanwhile, Russian assets will continue to weaken over worries about rising tension with the US, BLUEBAY ASSET MANAGEMENT's TIMOTHY ASH said. The rouble was the worst performer

Eskom plans first biomass plant - Sizwe Sama Yende

ESKOM is planning to build its first biomass plant in Mpumalanga. The planning of the project, which ESKOM will undertake with the SA FORESTRY COMPANY LIMITED and the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, is at an advanced stage. ESKOM will develop the IDC's Zebrapellets in Sabie into a torrefied pellet plant. This is where wood produced in SAFCOL's forests will be torrefied - heated without oxygen, breaking its fibrous structure and removing moisture and some volatiles that give it coal-like properties. The pellets will then be transported to Arnot Power Station to be used in electricity generation. The pellets will be burnt together with coal - a process called biomass co-firing. The plant is expected to produce some 80 000t of pellets per year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom mum on 'invalid' Gupta-linked deal - Fin24

ESKOM bent over backwards to award the GUPTAS a R4bn coal supply contract, the Sunday Times reported yesterday. The newspaper revealed that former ESKOM CEO BRIAN MOLEFE and chair BEN NGUBANE remained mum on a report that was commissioned by the utility, which highlighted breaches in TEGETA EXPLORATION AND RESOURCES' contract. The duo is accused of withholding this information from the National Treasury and Parliament for almost a year. ESKOM vehemently denied that MOLEFE or NGUBANE misled or lied to Parliament, adding that this allegation was not founded on the truth. "[T]he contract between ESKOM and TEGETA was negotiated before the appointment of Mr BRIAN MOLEFE and the current ESKOM BOARD. Therefore, neither MOLEFE, nor Dr NGUBANE we involved in the approval of this contract". The PwC report is believed to have been made available to ESKOM in Nov. 2015. Despite MOLEFE and NGUBANE telling parliament that ESKOM was satisfied with the TEGETA contract, the PwC report raised several issues that would ha

Capitec appoints new execs - Fin24

CAPITEC BANK has appointed LINDIWE ANGELA DLAMINI and KABELO MAKWANE as independent non-executive directors, the lender said on Friday. DLAMINI holds a BA LLB, LLM degree and is the group executive of human resources at PPS. MAKWANE holds a B. Com degree and is the MD of TECHNOLOGY ACCENTURE SA. The appointments took effect on Apr. 6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet says well-positioned to withstand downgrade - Megan van Wyngaardt

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS last week downgraded TRANSNET's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating from BBB- to BB+, in line with its assessment of the sovereign rating. It maintained TRANSNET's standalone credit profile at bbb, which the utility said reflected its strong financial metrics and adequate liquidity. About 26% of TRANSNET's debt portfolio had a credit rating clause with a trigger below subinvestment grade. Between May and Nov. 2016, management negotiated with its lenders to lower and relax the credit rating default triggers to below subinvestment grade. TRANSNET CFO GARRY PITA noted that the utility had secured more than R16bn in unused short-term credit facilities that were available within 24 hours, as well as long-term specific committed funding in excess of R15bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Joffe lists Long4Life on JSE - Natasha Odendaal

BRIAN JOFFE on Friday listed his latest venture, LONG4LIFE, on the main board of the JSE. JOFFE had subscribed for 25m shares at R4 apiece, while anchor investors subscribed for 100m shares at R5 apiece, equating to R500m. Undisclosed committed investors subscribed for an aggregate 280m shares, also at R5/share, netting gains of R1.4bn. With no additional capital needed, the company will focus on medium- to long-term investments in companies within the lifestyle sectors, with eyes on beauty therapy hub group SORBET at the outset. LONG4LIFE is currently in talks with the shareholders of SORBET to acquire the entire issued share capital for a consideration not exceeding R130m, settled in cash and shares at the issue price of R5/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina tells Barrick to overhaul Veladero gold mine ops - Reuters

Argentina mining officials last week told BARRICK GOLD it must overhaul environmental and operating processes at its Veladero mine following last week's cyanide solution spill, while the country's environment ministry asked for a total suspension of operations. National and provincial mining ministries told the company that its ongoing business in the country hinges on a new working plan for the openpit mine. The meeting came as BARRICk confirmed a Reuters report on a deal with China's SHANDONG GOLD MINING, which bought a 50% stake in Veladero for $960m. A pipe carrying cyanide solution ruptured at the mine on Mar. 28, the third incident at the mine in 18 months involving cyanide-bearing solution. BARRICK has been temporarily restricted from adding cyanide to the mine's gold processing facility. The company said no material impact was expected on the mine's projected 2017 production. Separately on Friday, Argentina's environmental ministry asked a federal court to halt activities at Veladero "until ther

Codelco unit seeks value in copper impurities, arsenic - Reuters

ECOMETALES, a unit of Chile's state-run CODELCO, is in talks with smelters in China and Europe to share its technology for stabilising arsenic while processing lower-quality copper ore, an executive said on Friday. The company was hit hard by the commodity price crash of 2015 and early 2016 and Chile as a whole must find creative solutions as its mature mining industry has used up much of the best ore. ECOMETALES has a plant to process smelter residue dust in Calama, northern Chile, where ores have one of the highest concentrations worldwide of arsenic. To stabilise the impurity, the company has been using a method of arsenic and antimony abatement since 2012. It is now talking to smelters across the world as they seek to meet increasingly stringent regulatory standards. "We are working with one European smelter and are piloting our technology", Development and Business Manager CARLOS REBOLLEDO IBACACHE said last week. He could not name the smelter because of a non-disclosure agreement. This news bri

Bauba secures 20-yr water-use licence for Moeijelijk - Creamer Media Reporter

BAUBA on Friday announced that the Department of Water and Sanitation has granted a 20-year water-use licence, effective Mar. 30, for the farm Moeijelijk 412. This is an upgrade from the general authorisation for water use, which limited the extent of BAUBA's chrome mining operations at Moeijelijk. The WUL allows for additional water uses and enables the company to more readily conduct its opencast and underground chrome ore mining operations. BAUBA CEO NICK VAN DER HOVEN said the granting of the licence "is the next important milestone in the development of our Moeijelijk chrome mine and will help ensure our underground production timeline and targets are achieved". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye wins four NSA awards - Anine Kilian

SIBANYE GOLD won four awards at this year's National Skills Authority awards. The company won three gold awards for the Best Adult Education and Training programme, the Best Skills Programme and Best University Placement programme categories, and a bronze award for the Best Artisan Development programme. SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said the awards were an important recognition of the contribution SIBANYE continues to make towards socioeconomic development in SA. The company spent more than R650m on such programmes last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem recovers 114ct diamond - Megan van Wyngaardt

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered a 114ct D colour type II diamond of exceptional quality from its Letseng mine in Lesotho. The mine is known for producing large, top colour diamonds, making it the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. Since GEM's acquisition of Letseng in 2006, the mine has produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BASA says impact of Fitch downgrade will be 'dire' - Mfuneko Toyana

The Banking Association of SA on Friday said FITCH's decision to downgrade SA's credit rating to junk would make it more difficult for banks to attract foreign investment, adding that the recent Cabinet reshuffle was to blame. "The fact that FITCH has directly attributed this downgrade to the actions of the president demonstrates in no uncertain terms the broad assertion that the cabinet reshuffle... was not in the national interest", BASA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Warri oil refinery back online - Alexis Akwagyiram

Nigeria's Warri oil refinery is up and running after a period of maintenance, and operating at 60% of its installed capacity, a spokesperson for the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION said on Friday. In early Mar., the refinery stopped operations due to power issues, which GENERAL ELECTRIC had been brought in to fix, the NNPC said at the time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naira slides past 400/$ on black market - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's naira slid past 400 on the black market on Friday amid tight dollar supply, despite a series of currency forwards sold by the central bank this month to clear demand for the greenback on the official market. The naira was quoted at 405/$ on the black market on Friday. It traded at 306.15 on the official market. The central bank has sold more than $1bn on the forward market since Feb. It auctioned $250m in forward sales last week to boost liquidity and also intervened on the spot market. Traders said the forward sales have improved liquidity but left the spot market inactive, leaving importers that want hard currency for immediate use reliant on the black market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch downgrades SA to junk status - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

FITCH on Friday downgraded SA's credit rating to sub-investment grade, saying a recent cabinet reshuffle will likely result in a change in economic policy direction. The ratings agency changed its outlook for SA to stable from negative. The downgrade to BB+ from BB- on both foreign and local currency debt follows that of S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, which also cut SA's foreign debt to junk status. FITCH's move will lead to a rise in government debt-servicing costs, which will mean less money for critical services, which could in turn incite even more protests over service delivery in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's nuclear project to move in Jun. - report - Nqobile Dludla

SA's tender for the estimated R1tn expansion of its nuclear power plants will begin in Jun. when ESKOM requests proposals from companies bidding for the project, City Press reported yesterday. Rebutting the report, Treasury spokesperson YOLISA TYANTSI said a meeting or presentation with ESKOM on Mar. 28 "was not on the state of readiness to procure" additional nuclear power. "National Treasury is not in a position to publicly disclose the discussions", TYANTSHI added. City Press reported that an internal ESKOM document indicates that the utility will issue requests for proposals in June, set the deadline for bids in Sep. and for evaluation in Dec. The winning bidder will be decided in Mar. 2018, with the contract to be signed between Dec. 2018 and Mar. 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 10/04/2017

At 07h08 on 10 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.82 ZAR/EUR 14.63 ZAR/GBP 17.12 Gold 1253.06 Platinum 951.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.32 All Share 52853.36

SA's net forex reserves fall in Mar. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's net foreign reserves fell to $41.419bn in Mar. from $41.506bn in Feb., the Reserve Bank said today. Gross reserves edged down to $46.588bn from $46.722bn, SARB data showed. The forward position fell to $2.867bn in Mar. from $2.97bn in the previous month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China forex reserves inch up in Mar. - Mehreen Khan

China's forex reserves rose again in March but by less than expected as authorities in the country fight with halting capital outflows and have seen a stabilisation in the renminbi this year. Total forex reserves hit $3.009.1tn last month, up from $3.005.1tn and just below a forecast of $3.01tn, according to central bank data. The renminbi has broadly stabilised this year following a record 65% slump against the dollar last year that prompted the central bank to sell dollars to support the exchange rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German factory orders bounce back from slumping start to the year - Mehreen Khan

Germany's factories bounced back from their worst monthly performance since 2008 in Feb., reporting a 3.4% rise in orders. The expansion partially erases the steep and unexpected 6.8% contraction reported at the start of the year but came in below a forecast of around 3.5% growth. On a y/y basis orders were still comfortably in expansionary territory, up 4.6%. Destatis said the Feb. growth was driven almost exclusively by domestic demand which accelerated 8.1%, with orders from eurozone countries still contracting 2.4% and wider international orders stagnant. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unilever restructures after failed Kraft bid - Conor Sullivan

UNILEVER yesterday unveiled a broad strategic revamp in a bid to shore up investor support in the wake of a failed takeover approach from KRAFT HEINZ. UNILEVER said it would buy back €5bn of its shares, bump up dividends by 12%, combine its foods and refreshments businesses, and dispose of its underperforming spreads business, which encompasses Flora and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. UNILEVER said combining its food and refreshment division would unlock "future growth and faster margin progression". The company also announced an acceleration of its "zero based budgeting" and other efficiency programmes with the goal of adding 80 bps to its operating profit margin. Zero based budgeting is where managers have to justify every expense every year from zero and puts them under permanent pressure to cut costs. The company further said its corporate structure - being listed in both Amsterdam and London - made it more complicated to buy or sell businesses. This had become apparent as it looked into disposi

Updated market indicators for 07/04/2017

At 10h52 on 07 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.73 ZAR/EUR 14.61 ZAR/GBP 17.11 Gold 1264.21 Platinum 962.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.72 All Share 52646.83

Datatec soars as deal worth $800m is announced - Robert Laing

DATATEC's share price jumped 18% to R63 this morning after it said it was in talks to sell a "major share" of its WESTCON-COMSTOR subsidiary for more than $800m. The company said this was the deal referred to in a cautionary announcement on Jan. 25. The share price jumped despite DATATEC warning shareholders it expected to report its HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. more than halved from the prior year's 19.4 US cents. It said the y/y expected decline in earnings "is as a result of a worse than expected result in WESTCON-COMSTOR". The division experienced disruption to the business as a result of final stages of SAP implementation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "WESTCON-COMSTOR has made adjustments to the operating model and DATATEC expects this to support a rapid recovery". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Union Bank to raise $164m to bolster capital buffers - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's UNION BANK plans to raise 50bn naira by the end of Q2 via a rights issue to boost its capital adequacy and tap opportunities to lend to agribusinesses, CEO EMEKA EMUWA said yesterday. EMUWA said the lender targeted a capital ratio higher than 18% after the fund raising, compared to 13.4% as of Q3 2016. "We see opportunities to leverage our capital not just to be in regulatory compliance but to be able to tap opportunities that we see in the medium term". EMUWA said the total value of UNION BANK's loans rose 40% last year, but that was largely due to Nigeria's currency devaluation which affected dollar loans to the upstream oil and gas sector. Without the devaluation loans grew 13%, he said. UNION BANK reported a pretax profit of 16bn naira for 2016 last week, down from 18.5bn naira y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBI holds in Apr. as inflation picks up - Amy Kazmin

India's monetary policy committee has decided to hold the central bank's key policy rate steady at 6.25%, saying the economy appears to be on course to meet its inflation target. Rate-setters voted unanimously for no change for the third consecutive month and in line with market expectations. After falling steadily for six months, India's inflation ticked upwards in Feb. to 3.7%, driven partly by rising food prices and higher international fuel prices. The central bank targets price growth of 4% within a 2% band. The MPC said inflation would average 4.5% in H1 of the current FY - which began on Apr. 1, and would rise to 5% in H2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoE to explore options for shariah banking - Mehreen Khan

The Bank of England has launched a consultation with the UK's Islamic banks on offering shariah-compliant deposit facilities for the country's retail lenders. "We recognise that Islamic banks are currently unable to use our existing facilities because they involve interest, which is not deemed shariah compliant", the BoE said. A shariah compliant deposit facility has been prioritised as it is "currently the greatest area of demand", the central banks said. It does not expect the facility to be established before 2018. The BoE may also expand its efforts to look at Islamic-friendly insurance tools. The consultation with UK Islamic banks will close on May 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Euro is cheap, pound should keep falling - UBS - Nicholas Megaw

Political worries have left the euro looking cheap but still haven't had enough impact on the pound, according to UBS, which thinks sterling could drop another 9% against the dollar this year. In a report out yesterday, the Swiss lender said fears around the French election had weighed on the euro, but "we do not expect politics to weigh meaningfully on the euro beyond H1 and especially past the French presidential vote". UBS expects the euro to appreciate to $1.13 by year-end, with gradual further strengthening to follow. On the pound, in contrast, UBS is staying bearish. Sterling has strengthened slightly since the start of 2017, but the bank says "we are yet to see tangible signs of the rebalancing of the UK economy while political risk persists as Brexit negotiations get under way". "We expect the BoE to revert to a more accommodative policy stance towards year-end as economic activity gradually softens, which would provide an additional headwind for sterling", UBS analysts wrote. The lender is keep

US jobless claims fall back towards 44-yr low - Adam Samson

The number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week dropped back down to a near 44-year low, in the latest sign of strength in the labour market. Weekly jobless claims fell last week to 234 000, from 259 000 the previous week, the Labour Department said. Analysts had estimated a slimmer fall to 250 000. In Feb., claims had fallen as low as 227 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Constellation Brands shares up on upbeat results - Mamta Badkar

CONSTELLATION BRANDS shares looked fizzy yesterday after the company behind Corona and Modelo beers posted upbeat Q4 results helped by beer sales and a better-than-expected earnings outlook. Shares in the company rallied 5.3% to $170 in early trading after it said profits rose to $452m or $2.26/share, compared ith $243.4m or $1.19/share y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of $1.48/share topped estimates of $1.36. Sales rose 5% y/y to $1.63bn as an 11% rise in beer sales helped boost the company's top line, even as sales of wine and spirits were flat. The company declared a quarterly cash dividend up 30% to 52cps of Class A common stock and 47c/share of its class B common stock. Looking ahead, CONSTELLATION expects to report fiscal 2018 earnings in the range of $7.65-$7.95/share and on a comparable basis, it projected earnings in the range of $7.70-$8.00/share, above analysts' estimates of $7.51/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US inflation expectations hit lowest point of 2017 as 'Trump trade' falters - Joe Rennison

US inflation expectations hit their lowest level of the year on Thursday in a further sign that the so-called Trump trade is on pause. Benchmark 10-year breakeven rates fell to 1.95%, their lowest level since the end of Dec. Other indicators have also dipped lower, including 5-year breakeven rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung Electronics profit hits multi-year high - Song Jung-a

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS on Friday estimated its Q1 operating profit reached the highest level in three and a half years on the back of solid component sales. Operating profit for the quarter to end-Mar. was estimated at Won9.9tn, up 48% from Won6.68tn y/y. This was higher than the Won9.4tn average of a Thomson Reuters poll. Sales were estimated to have risen 0.4% to Won50tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German industrial output, trade surplus brat in Feb. - Mehreen Khan

Industrial production in Germany rose 2.2% in Feb., defying expectations of a contraction following a strong start to 2017. Industrial output also expanded 2.2% in Jan., according to Destatis, while factory orders rebounded from a soggy start to the year in Feb., with m/m growth of 3.4%. Separate official trade figures also out today showed another rise in the country's overall trade balance which is €19.9bn in surplus on the back of climbing exports. The trade balance grew from €14.9bn. Goods exports rose 3.1% in Feb. y/y at a value of €102.4bn, while imports also climbed 3.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China iron ore drops nearly 8% on forecast of price fall in 2017 - Hudson Lockett

The cost of iron ore in China has fallen to the lowest level since Nov. after a report from Australia's government forecast prices in the former could fall to $65/t by end-2017. The futures contract price for 1t of iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped as much as 7.8% to Rmb521 - the lowest level since Nov. 9. That followed a new quarterly report from Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science predicting average prices in China to drop to $65/t this year before ultimately declining further to $51, "weighed down by the combined impact of ongoing growth in low-cost supply and soft demand". It noted that while iron ore port stocks had reached the highest level on record in recent quarters, anecdotal evidence suggested that much of that was comprised of low-grade iron ore, whereas demand is currently highest for higher-grade ore. But it added that "the supply of high grade iron ore should increase and persistently high rising stocks will eventually place downward pressure on the pr

Scramble to bid for Coca-Cola majority stake - Bloomberg, Reuters

HEINEKEN, COCA-COLA HBC and CASTEL GROUP are among companies that have bid for a majority stake in COCA-COLA BEVERAGES AFRICA, according to sources. Bids for the unit came in last week. COCA-COLA COMPANY agreed to buy a 54.5% stake in the Africa venture from AB INBEV for $3.15bn in Dec., as part of asset sales linked to the latter's takeover of SABMILLER. "While we are currently having exploratory discussions with potential partners, including existing partners who are highly qualified and interested in these bottling territories, we cannot comment on any potential partners while this process is under way", said COCA-COLA spokesperson KENT LANDERS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alex Forbes in Sapiens tie-up - Sandile Mchunu

ALEXANDER FORBES GROUP yesterday announced it had concluded a contractual agreement with SAPIENS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. ALEX FORBES said the agreement would enhance the delivery for its clients and provide solutions. It declined to disclose the value of the contract. CEO ANDREW DARFOOR said ALEX FORBES was looking for a strategic partner that could provide it with modern technology and a digital platform in order to deliver innovative and best-in-class solutions to its client base. SAPIENS has a track record of more than 30 years in delivering superior software solutions to more than 400 financial services organisations. The company has operations in North America, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba's suspicious gifts from Guptas, Russian ambassador - Liesl Peyper

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has received various gifts from GUPTA-owned SAHARA and the Russian ambassador, dating back from the time that he was an ANC MP. In 2006 and 2007, GIGABA received a bouquet of snacks from SAHARA and in 2008 a "royal crystal rock bowl" from the same company "in celebration of Diwali". In 2006, 2007 and 2014 (when GIGABA was appointed public enterprises minister) he was given a bottle of vodka from the Russian ambassador and in 2016, he received wine from the ambassador. DA MP DAVID MAYNIER said there is "something suspicious" in GIGABA's declarations, as far as gifts from SAHARA are concerned. "The minister is open about the fact that he has met the GUPTAS. But strangely, the GUPTA gifts come to an end before he becomes a minister. Something just doesn't add up here", MAYNIER told Fin24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P downgrades Eskom - Fin24

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday lowered the ratings of ESKOM, with a negative outlook. ESKOM's long-term foreign and local currency corporate credit ratings was scaled down to B+ from BB-. S&P also lowered ESKOM's long-term SA national scale rating to zaBB- from zaBB+. The ratings agency affirmed the short-term national scale rating at ZaB. "We believe that the downgrade of the sovereign signals a weakening of the government's ability to provide support to ESKOM if needed", S&P said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net1 board reduces Belamant's power after SASSA saga - Matthew le Cordeur, with Bloomberg

The NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES board today announced a decision to split the chairperson and CEO roles, with SERGE BELAMANT resigning from his role as chair while remaining CEO. NET1 said the move is in "recognition of the growing practice of US public companies, as well as the customary practice of South Africa public companies, to have the chairman be an independent director". SABVEST CEO CHRISTOPHER SEABROOKE, who has been a director of NET1 since 2005, was appointed chairperson. He currently chairs its audit committee, as well as its nominating and corporate governance committee. The board also intends to review NET1's business strategy and management structure following the outcome of its proposed investments in BLUE LABEL TELECOM, CELL C and DNI-4PL Contracts (as announced on Mar. 1, 2017). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lungisa Fuzile's departure for Treasury a 'radical blow' - Liesl Peyper

Members of Parliament who serve on the finance committee expressed deep regret over the decision by Treasury DG LUNGISA FUZILE to resign. "It's deeply, deeply regrettable that he's leaving", YUNUS CARRIM, chair of the standing committee on finance, said. "Whatever his reasons, I was hoping he would stay on, at leas for a year or so. He was very astute, technically sound, quite experienced, extremely hardworking. He will be sorely missed, but we wish him well in his new pursuits". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA plans to raise R3.5bn in debt - Loni Prinsloo

ARCELORMITTAL SA is in talks to borrow R3.5bn as part of a capital raising plan, the steelmaker said yesterday. The company didn't specify what the funds would be used for, but has said previously it wants to refurbish existing facilities including its Saldanha works in the Western Cape, and that an environmental clean-up will require investment. The company lowered its net debt to R290m at the end of 2016 after raising R4.5bn in a rights issue. AMSA "is in the process of raising funds via a borrowing based facility to the value of R3.5bn as part of a capital raising for the entire business", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba assures banks of policy stability - BASA - Fin24

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has assured the Banking Association of SA that there will be no shift in policy, BASA MD CAS COOVADIA said yesterday. GIGABA said he was committed to addressing the economic environment the country finds itself in after the recent credit ratings downgrade. The leaders of SA's banks met with Treasury this week. "The banking delegation emphasised its view that the manner in which recent appointments had been handled was unfortunate. The delegation also pointed out that institutional stability as well as the need to convey certainty of commitment to the established macro-economic framwework was critical", COOVADIA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB lends Tanzania $29.8m for natural gas developments - Megan van Wyngaardt

The African Development Bank has approved a $29.8m loan to Tanzania to help the country mobilise domestic resources and unlock the potential of its natural gas resources via leveraging domestic markets and local content initiatives. The project will help Tanzania "capture the best value from its natural gas resources through a sound regulatory framework to manage natural gas reserves and to attract investment, as well as support the government negotiations teams to ensure the country gets the best deals and [that] local content policies [are designed] to create jobs in the gas sector", the AfDB said. The project will also contribute to designing strategies for domestication of natural gas, so that the gas resources can be used locally and regionally to develop the energy and industry sectors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Echo Polska raises R2.2bn in bookbuild - Megan van Wyngaardt

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES yesterday raised around R2.2bn in an accelerated bookbuild via the placing of 118m new shares at a price of R18.50 apiece. The capital will be used for previously announced acquisitions and for further acquisition opportunities in the retail segment within Poland. Following the issue of the new EPP shares, the company will have a total of 704m shares in issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel market to fall into deficit by 2020 - BMI - Anine Kilian

The global steel market will tighten in coming years and go into a deficit in 2020, according to research firm BMI. Despite the slowing in both global output and consumption growth, larger increases in absolute consumption, compared with production, will lead to a tightening of the market. The global steel market will see the surplus shrink to 7.6mt in 2017 from a surplus of 10.5mt in 2016 owing to a larger increase in absolute consumption compared with production. The market will reach a deficit of 4.2mt in 2021 as output growth fails to keep up with consumption growth. China will remain the driving force behind global steel output. BMI estimates the country will account for 50.5% of global steel output this year, but that its share of global steel production will drop to 47.8% by 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 halts mining at Cannington after fire - Esmarie Swanepoel

An underground fire has affected operations at SOUTH32's Cannington silver, lead and zinc mine in Queensland. The company yesterday said the fire had damaged the load-out and shaft haulage infrastructure. Remedial work will be undertaken over a four-week period, meaning the extraction of the higher-grade stope 60L will be delayed. SOUTH32 said based on an initial assessment, silver production from Cannington for the FY was now expected to decline from the previous guidance of 19moz, to 16.5moz, while lead production is expected to decline from 163 000t to 135 000t and zinc production from 80 000t to 70 000t. Mill throughput at Cannington has also been downwardly revised from 3.3mt to 3.1mt for the FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petra announces pricing of notes issue - Anine Kilian

PETRA DIAMONDS yesterday announced the pricing of its offering of senior secured second lien notes, due 2022, at $650m. Interest on the notes will accrue at a rate of 7.25% a year, payable semi-yearly in arrears. Closing is expected to take place on Apr. 12, subject to customary conditions precedent for such deals. The net proceeds from the notes will be used to refinance the company's existing $300m 8.25% senior secured second lien notes due 2020, to repay amounts outstanding under certain of the existing senior facilities and for general corporate purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana Diamonds completes Phase 1 drilling at Vutomi

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS has completed the first phase of drilling at its flagship Vutomi project in SA, where 34 percussion and nine diamond drill holes were drilled on the kimberlite dyke. The company yesterday said samples have been submitted for microdiamond analysis, with results expected within two months. Another round of drilling will be completed in Apr. or May to identify the area for bulk sampling. "To date, we have discovered two blows on the kimberlite dyke system and we are moving to delineate the size of each one. The drilling samples contain high quantities of diamond indicator minerals of similar profile to the highly profitable Marsfontein mine some 20 km away", BOTSWANA DIAMONDS chair JOHN TEELING said. In previous work, 467 diamonds, yielding 247ct were recovered from the processing of surface material. The largest diamond was 3.66ct, with the parcel having an average size of 0.53ct. The sale of these diamonds achieved a rough diamond value of $180/ct and a modelled value of $259/ct at a b

Old Mutual puts China insurance JV stake on block - Sumeet Chatterjee

OLD MUTUAL has put up for sale its 50% stake in a Chinese JV as part of a revamp of the group and amid a tough market for foreign insurers in China. OLD MUTUAL could sell its stake in the 13-year-old live insurance JV with GUODIAN CORP to one or more local firms, sources said. The move is part of a broader OLD MUTUAL group restructuring exercise to exit non-core and smaller operations. Despite being the world's second-largest insurance market, restrictive ownership limits, capped at 50% for foreign life insurers, and tough local competition have weighed on foreign firms' operations and market share in China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch may be next to slap SA with junk rating - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

FITCH is likely to follow rival S&P to cut SA's sovereign credit rating to junk, analysts said - an outcome that would underscore worries about political uncertainty and prompt a further sell-off in assets. "FITCH is likely to be the next agency to downgrade in the next 7-10 days, to align with S&P at BB+, which means that two out of the three major ratings agencies will have South Africa's foreign currency rating at 'junk'", BNP PARIBAS SECURITIES SA economist JEFFREY SCHULTZ said yesterday. Downgrades to junk from at least two agencies would see SA drop out of some widely used global bond indices and force international funds which track them or which are prohibited from holding sub-investment grade securities to sell. "FITCH tends to be aligned with S&P, and so could also provide a sub-investment country credit rating for South Africa this year", INVESTEC chief economist ANNABEL BISHOP said. MOODY's has said it is reviewing the rating, a process that could take 30-90 days. This news brief represents

Local banks can deal with junk rating impact - SARB - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

South African banks are adequately capitalised to deal with effects of a sub-investment credit rating, the SARB said yesterday after S&P downgraded several major lenders to junk status. "The resilience of the banks stems from the high capital buffers that prevail in the South African banking system... Overall, the South African financial system remains healthy, robust and resilient despite some headwinds caused by elevated levels of domestic economic, financial and political events, as well as global financial market volatility", the SARB said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Banks raise objections in SA's forex rigging case - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Some of the banks South African regulators have alleged rigged the rand say the case against them lacks specific detail about anti-competitive conduct and its impact, sources said yesterday. The lenders have also questioned whether the country's Competition Commission can penalise banks which do not have subsidiaries or branches on SA. The Commission is seeking to impose fines on more than a dozen local and foreign banks that it alleges colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and the US dollar. The Commission recently referred the case to the Competition Tribunal, recommending that it impose fines amounting to 10% of the bank's South African revenues. At a closed preliminary Tribunal hearing in Mar., some of the banks raised objections about the lack of specific detail in the case to allow their lawyers to present a defence. The Tribunal will meet again in Jul. to consider the banks' objections if the Commission has done enough to fine-tune its case. This news brief represents a summary of the orig

Strike ends at Harmony's Kusasalethu mine - Tanisha Heiberg

Workers at HARMONY GOLD's Kusasalethu mine have returned to work, ending an illegal strike that started more than two weeks ago, the company said yesterday. "Unprotected industrial action affects the mine's viability, its employees and their families", CEO PETER STEENKAMP said. Workers downed tools on Mar. 23 after AMCU encouraged the strike in response to disciplinary procedures against 40 employees following an illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu in Jan. AMCU was not immediately available to comment. HARMONY GOLD said it had lost between 10 and 15 days of output but was unable to estimate the amount of ounces lost due to the strike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 07/04/2017

At 07h40 on 07 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.81 ZAR/EUR 14.70 ZAR/GBP 17.22 Gold 1264.80 Platinum 964.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.72 All Share 52918.42

Anglo closer to new copper mine project in Peru - Bloomberg

ANGLO AMERICAN is not ready to start building new mines just yet, but it's getting closer. The company will continue strengthening its finances with a view to reinstating dividends before evaluating project options by the end of the year, head of copper HENNIE FAUL said this week. A possible new mine in Peru is high on the list of priorities. Quellaveco, in southern Peru, would require a $5bn-$6bn spend over 4-5 years, a burden ANGLO is looking to share. Permitting is in place and the feasibility study should be ready by year-end. Pulling the trigger on a new copper mine would mark the culmination of ANGLO's turnaround. A year ago its shares had slumped to a record low and its credit rating was cut to junk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADM to close SA trading desk - Jonathan Saul

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND plans to close its South African trading desk, the company said yesterday, in a further shake-up as the commodities trader grapples with volatile grain markets. ADM said it had informed staff it was "proposing discontinuing our South African merchandising operations, following the legally required employee consultation process". It said this related to its global trade desk operations in Johannesburg, adding it would continue activities related to its Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts food business in SA. Sources said the SA desk was winding down trading positions, which are expected to be wrapped up by mid-Jul. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Junk-rated debt could cost SA more than $10bn in lost funds - Karin Strohecker

If SA loses two of its prized investment grade credit ratings for foreign and local currency borrowing in the turmoil triggered by the recent sacking of the finance minister, the country could lose more than $10bn in investment funds. S&P has already cut the sovereign rating for external debt to junk, citing the impact of the divisions in government that led to PRAVIN GORDHAN's removal from the Treasury. MOODY's has placed SA on review for a downgrade, while FITCH warned that President JACOB ZUMA's cabinet reshuffle intensified political risk and signalled policy changes could undermine its credit score. Being cut to junk by at least two agencies will see SA drop out of some widely used global bond indices that rely on investment grades only and force international funds who track these or who are prohibited from holding sub-investment grade securities to sell. A bigger impact on SA's access to funds could come if two of the three agencies also rate rand-denominated government debt as sub-investment grade

S&P downgrades SA banks to junk - Matthew le Cordeur

S&P has downgraded SA's banks to junk (BB+) status to fall in line with its country rating. NEDBANK, ABSA, FIRTSRAND and INVESTEC were downgraded by S&P after markets closed in SA yesterday evening. NEDBANK said SA bank ratings "were placed under ratings review by MOODY's and lowered in line with the sovereign rating by STANDARD & POOR's." It said banks cannot be rated higher than the country's foreign currency sovereign credit rating, which S&P downgraded to junk earlier this week. "SA banks' ratings are constrained by the SA sovereign credit rating and any changes to the SA sovereign credit ratings are automatically reflected in the credit ratings of SA banks", NEDBANK added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent edges past Wells Fargo to enter top 10 largest companies - Alice Woodhouse

TENCENT has become the world's tenth-largest company in terms of market cap, joining a tech-heavy list currently headed by the likes of APPLE and ALPHABET. The Chinese tech giant's market cap now exceeds that of US lender WELLS FARGO, pushing it into the ranks of the world's 10 largest public companies. It is the only Chinese company among the otherwise US-dominated list. A 1.6% gain in TENCENT's stock price yesterday gave it the final push ahead of WELLS, taking its market cap to $279bn. TENCENT's stock was down 0.7% this morning, valuing the group at $277bn - still enough to retain its 10th-place spot. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPG chief says most top AkzoNobel investors support takeover talks - Michael Pooler

Almost all of the top-20 shareholders in Dutch group AKZONOBEL want the company to engage in €22.4bn takeover talks with US rival PPG INDUSTRIES. PPG's CEO MICHAEL MCGARRY said the company had been in contact with nearly all of AKZONOBEL's top-20 shareholders, who were "virtually unanimous" in their support for the parties getting together. "[They were] absolutely dismayed that shareholders are being prioritised last in this conversation", MCGARRY added. He stressed that all options were on the table, including a hostile takeover if his counterpart at AKZO refused to engage with PPG. AKZONOBEL has vehemently rejected two takeover offers from PPG over the past month, the most recent for €22.4bn. The Dutch group says the proposals undervalued the company and its prospects, would result in significant job losses and necessitate substantial sell-offs on competition grounds. But the Dutch group has faced a chorus of investor dissent, with hedge fund ELLIOTT leading calls from a number of large shareholde

US crude stocks unexpectedly rise for third week - Mamta Badkar

Inventories of US crude unexpectedly rose for the third consecutive week and have climbed in every week bar one this year. Stocks of US crude rose by 1.6m barrels to 535.5m barrels in the week ended Mar., according to the Energy Information Administration. That compared with expectations for a draw of 70 000 barrels and at 535.5m barrels inventories of US crude are at a record high. At the Cushing delivery hub in Oklahoma, oil stocks rose by 1.4m barrels last week, compared with estimates for a build of 12 500 barrels. US crude oil imports averaged around 7.9m bpd last week, down by 374 000 bpd from the previous week. The report further showed that inventories of gasoline fell by 618 000 barrels, against expectations for a draw of 1.5m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US service sector growth falls to lowest since Oct. - Adam Samson

The pace of growth in the US services sector cooled more than expected last month, hitting its weakest pace since Oct. The Institute for Supply Management's services PMI fell to 55.2 in Mar., from 57.6 in Feb.. Wall Street expected a slimmer fall to 57. "The majority of respondents' comments indicate a positive outlook on business conditions and the overall economy. There were several comments about the uncertainty of future government policies on health care, trade and immigration, and the potential impact on business", the report said. While the reading remains above 50, it marks the latest piece of data that suggests the pace of growth may be leveling off after climbing sharply over the past few months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinalco to ramp up investment in Peru copper mine - Henry Sanderson

CHINALCO yesterday said it would step up investment at its flagship project in Peru, as the country becomes an increasingly important supplier of copper to China. CHINALCO CHINA COPPER president WU JIANGQIANG said the company's Toromocho mine would produce around 180 000t-190 000t of the red metal this year, up 13%. Last year the company failed to meet its copper output target of 182 000t, with output reaching 168 376t. CHINALCO in Nov. signed a preliminary agreement with Peru's government to expand production of its Toromocho project and invest $1.3bn. Analysts at CITI estiamte the expansion will add an additional 70 000t/y to the project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Monsanto shares up as earnings top estimates - Mamta Badkar

MONSANTO this week said that fiscal Q2 earnings topped analyst estimates and said its results were boosted in part by strong profit growth from its maize and soyabean business and the sale of its seed treating business. The US group said profits rose to $1.4bn of 309cps, compared with $1.1bn or 241cps y/y. Ongoing EPS of 319cps topped analyst estimates of 279cps. The company also said sales jumped nearly 12% to $5.1bn, topping Wall Street expectations of $4.7bn. Results were lifted by profit growth from its maize and soyabean businesses, the absence of impact from the Argentine peso devaluation, and from the sale of its Latitude wheat fungicide business to MITSUI for $140m, with an expected EBIT benefit of about $85m. MONSANTO said it expects earnings in the current fiscal year to be at the high end of the range of 450cps-490cps, compared with analysts' estimates of 475cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector adds 263 000 jobs in Mar. - Adam Samson

The US private sector tacked on 263 000 jobs last month, easily beating estimates of a 185 000 increase. The figures reported by payroll processor ADP also showed that the job gains in Feb. were revised lower to 245 000, from 298 000 previously. Yesterday's report comes ahead of the more closely watched monthly jobs data that are issued by the government at the end of this week. Economists are looking to see whether the labour market continues to tighten, something that could prod the Federal Reserve to continue to tighten monetary policy after its Mar. rate hike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brussels clears ChemChina/Syngenta deal - Rochelle Toplensky

The EU has cleared CHEMCHINA's $43bn purchase of SYNGENTA, bringing the deal one step closer to completion. MARGRETHE VESTAGER, Europe's competition commissioner, approved the sale of the Swiss group to CHEMCHINA after it promised to sell "significant parts" of its European pesticide and plant growth regulator business to mitigate competition concerns. The European Commission said it was worried about higher prices or less choice for crop protection products as CHEMCHINA would own both SYNGENTA and ADAMA, a Tel Aviv-based generic competitor, after the deal closed. ADAMA is the world's biggest producer of generic pesticides and is a "close and important generic competitor of SYNGENTA in many markets", the EC said. ADAMA will sell a significant part of its existing pesticide business and 29 generic pesticides under development, along with intangible assets and relevant personnel. SYNGENTA will sell some specific fungicides and herbicides products. American antitrust regulators approved the deal on Tuesday

Distell secures majority stake in Kenya's KWAL - BDpro

DISTELL has secured a majority stake in Kenya-based KWAL, a manufacturer of spirits and wine, for an undisclosed sum. DISTELL on Tuesday said it had raised its stake in KWAL from 26.43% to 52.43% in a deal that would spread its wings in that country. Kenya is widely expected to be one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa over the next decade, driven by rapid urbanisation and strong income per capita growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transformation in automotive industry non-negotiable - Davies - Fin24

Imports of automotive components have surged to historical levels at R50bn, while local content in vehicles have declined below 49%, affecting employment in the sector, Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES said yesterday. "Through the 2035 SA Automotive Masterplan process government seeks to arrest some of the drawbacks in the sector, while also ensuring industry growth over the long term. This Masterplan process is also making us realise that to ensure the long term sustainability of the automotive assembly and component industry, all the partners which include government, industry and labour have to make sacrifices", DAVIES told the inaugural National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers Show and Localisation Indaba. The minister noted that transformation of the automotive industry is non-negotiable. Talks are continually taking place on developing and growing the domestic automotive component industry towards higher levels of localisation, employment creation, and improved compe

Rand tumbles as Zuma stays put - Fin24: EasyEquities

SA bonds and the rand fell further yesterday after the announcement by ANC secretary general GWEDE MANTASHE that the ruling party would not recall President JACOB ZUMA. The decision further entrenches ZUMA's position and increases the probability of him surviving an opposition-led vote of no confidence in parliament. The news of ZUMA's survival saw the rand tumble 2.8% to R13.86, from the intraday high of R13.47/$. Should there be no change to the current ANC set up with ZUMA at the helm, the remaining investor confidence in local business may be squeezed out of the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's places Bidvest, Growthpoint on downgrade review - Lameez Omarjee

THE BIDVEST GROUP and GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES have been placed on review for a downgrade following MOODY's decision to review the sovereign credit rating. MOODY's this week said it considers the potential weakening of the government's credit profile and its institutional, economic and fiscal strength as risks. SA's sovereign rating is currently at Baa2, two notches above junk status with a negative outlook. Besides BIDVEST and GROWTHPOINT, MOODY's has also placed 13 sub-sovereigns on downgrade review. These include the City of Cape Town, the CIty of Johannesburg and SANRAL. The ratings review is attributed to BIDVEST's operational concentration in SA, which makes it highly exposed to the risks of the economic environment, MOODY's said. BIDVEST is currently rated Baa2, two notches above junk. MOODY's placed GROWTHPOINT's Baa2 rating on review for downgrade because of its exposure to the South African market. GROWTHPOINT has 75% property exposure and 84% of its distributable income is generated from its o

CoM in the dark over delay in Mining Charter - Liesl Peyper

The Chamber of Mines has no insight into what is causing the delay in the publication of a revised Mining Charter, which was due at the end of Mar. Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE said the reviewed charter will be published by the end of Mar., but in a statement issued on Friday, the DMR offered no explanation for the delay, saying that it was "in the process of being finalised". The DMR gazetted the reviewed charter in Apr. 2016 for public comment, but the contents thereof were criticised by the CoM, mining analysts and companies alike for its onerous ownership and procurement targets, among other things. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

All other ratings agencies likely to downgrade SA - Carin Smith

Even with MOODY's saying they will review SA only in the next month or two instead of on Friday, the country is still likely to be downgraded by all ratings agencies, economist MIKE SCHUSSLER said yesterday. "The economic pressure is starting to show in, not only elections, but in the ruling party as politicians feel the pressure from lower growth and lots or broken promises", SCHUSSLER said. He said the broken promises "are going to hurt government at the polls, but the rise of the ultra-left and 'nonsensical populists' is worrying not only ratings agencies, but fund managers and business already in the country". Declining growth and the fact that in the last few years SA has seen its income per capita drop below that of the world average, are among the reasons SCHUSSLER gives for his prediction of a likely downgrade by the other ratings agencies as well. He added that the "politics of greed are such that they alone could have caused a downgrade on their own". This news brief represents a summary of t

L2D appoints interim chair - BDpro

LIBERTY TWO DEGREES has appointed MICHAEL ILSLEY as interim chair until such time as a new chairperson is appointed. ILSLEY currently serves on the trust's board as an independent non-executive director. "As previously announced, the management of LIBERTY TWO DEGREES is still in the process of appointing additional, independent non-executive directors to its board, subject to regulatory approval, and will make further announcements when finalised", L2D said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Echo Polska seeks to raise R1.65bn in new share issue - BDpro

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES yesterday said it planned to raise R1.65bn via the issue of new ordinary shares. The equity raised will be offered to qualifying investors via an accelerated book-build process conducted on the JSE and Luxembourg Stock Exchange. ECHO POLSKA believes it can grow to own €3.5bn in assets by 2022. CEO HADLEY DEAN has said the company would make three acquisitions a year in Poland until 2022. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life Healthcare expects H1 HEPS to drop up to 60% - BDpro

LIFE HEALTHCARE yesterday said it expected an up to 60% drop in H1 HEPS due to the acquisition of ALLIANCE MEDICAL and one-off items related to an investment in Poland. LIFE acquired UK-based ALLIANCE for about R10.4bn in Nov. last year. Normalised EBITDA were expected to rise by 11%-15% in the HY to end-Mar. y/y. Revenue for the period is estimated to increase by 20%-25% y/y, mainly due to the inclusion of the results of ALLIANCE MEDICAL from Nov. 21. ALLIANCE is estimated to increase its revenue by 5.5%-6.0% over the comparable period in 2016. Interim results will be published on May 12. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Taste to focus on food in future - BDpro

TASTE HOLDINGS this week announced a strategic restructuring which will result in the company focusing in future on food, and probably selling its luxury goods unit during 2017. TASTE said a recent strategic review by the board had concluded that the company should concentrate future investments and management efforts on rapidly growing the food business, where returns were higher and opportunities abounded. TASTE said the food business "looks much like a start-up and therefore requires more equity than debt to grow, while the luxury goods division, a mature and established business, requires the opposite to capitalise on its growth prospects.". The board has therefore concluded that these businesses will best be served by having separate shareholders and management teams and be allowed to reach their full potential independently. It is envisaged that after this strategic restructure, TASTE would be a focused foods business, both owning and licensing leading global brands. "Appropriate to a start-up, it

Bell announces 30% black-woman-owned empowerment deal - BDpro

BELL EQUIPMENT yesterday announced it had entered into a BBBEE agreement with SIBI CAPITAL, an entity entirely owned and managed by black women. SIBI CAPITAL and BELL EQUIPMENT FOUNDATION will acquire 22.5% and 7.5%, respectively, of the issued share capital of BELL EQUIPMENT's wholly owned subsidiary BELL EQUIPMENT SALES SA, which will qualify as a 30% black-woman-owned entity. BELL GROUP CEO GARY BELL said the deal had been structured to pursue real transformation via the economic empowerment of black women. SIBI CAPITAL was represented by BHARTI HARIE and SINDI MABASO-KOYANA, who each owned 50% of the entity. The amount payable by SIBI for the 22.5% stake in the ordinary shares of BESSA was R2.08m. This was funded in the form of loans by BESSA to HARIE and MABASO-KOYANA, for R1 038 750 each. The loans were interest-free and payable over 12 months. The 7.5% stake in BESSA, which would be held by the newly formed BELL EQUIPMENT FOUNDATION, will have black women as its beneficiaries. BELL EQUIPMENT wi

WhatsApp getting into digital payments in India - Saritha Rai

FACEBOOK's WHATSAPP is getting into digital payments in India, a first for a global messaging service that's only just begun to explore ways to generate revenue. It's chosen to kick off that maiden effort in India, a market dominated by ALIBABA-backed digital payments leader PAYTM but where WHATSAPP's 200m users outnumber any other country. Rival services in Asia, most notably TENCENT's WeChat, have successfully opened up their platforms so businesses can interact with customers. It's a strategy FACEBOOK has also been taking with its own communications app, Messenger. A WHATSAPP official declined to elaborate on the initiative when contacted. India is seeking unprecedented activity in digital payments, particularly since the government banned high-value currency notes in Nov. and took a series of steps to incentivise digital payments in that country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook adds WiFi hotspots to sustain African growth - Loni Prinsloo

FACEBOOK has increased the number of its African users to 170m and plans to expand further by adding WiFi hotspots and laying fibre-optic cables in a bid to spread its reach outside of developed markets. The figure is 42% higher than when the company first opened an African office in 2015. The rollout of WiFi in Nigeria and Kenya will be done via partnerships with international wireless carriers such as ETISALAT and SURF, FACEBOOK VP of global marketing CAROLYN EVERSON said. The company also announced the construction of 770km of fibre-optic cables in Uganda alongside BHARTI AIRTEL earlier this year. The plants are part of a long-term investment push by FACEBOOK in Africa, the group's least developed market with less than 10% of its 1.86bn users worldwide. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank pushes Net1 to finish responsibility assessment - Anthony Sguazzin

The World Bank's International Finance Corp. is pressing NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES to complete an assessment of its lending practices this year as human rights organisations allege that the company's subsidiaries are improperly marketing goods and services to the more than 17m South Africans on welfare. The IFC last year bought a 17% stake in NET1 for $107m, making it the largest shareholder in the company. Second-biggest shareholder ALLAN GRAY recently expressed its concern about the company's communication with investors about loan charges and deductions. NET1, which has denied behaving improperly, holds stake in a range of companies that sell services and goods such as loans and mobile phone airtime to welfare recipients in SA. "We pushed the company to look again at their processes and have a third certify them as a responsible lender. We started a process in September last year", said ANDI DERVISHI, global head of financial technology investments at the IFC. "In the light of what we have seen and what

Sappi launches second trial demonstration plant to advance biomaterials, bio-energy strategy - Anine Kilian

SAPPI has launched its second trial generation renewable sugar extraction demonstration plant at its Ngodwana mill in Mpumalanga. The demonstration plant, launched yesterday in partnership with Finnish firm VALMET, will explore and improve the extraction of biorenewable chemicals. SAPPI tech head ANDREA ROSSI said the plant would accelerate SAPPI's move into new business fields based on renewable raw materials. "SAPPI's strategy include seeking growth opportunities by extracting further value from existing production processes", ROSSI said. He added that the feedstock for the plant was supplied from the Ngodwana mill's dissolving wood pulp plant, adding that the demonstration plant was the precursor for SAPPI to consider construction of commercial plants at its dissolving wood pulp mills at Ngodwana and the US-based Cloquet mill. The demonstration plant continues SAPPI's strategic move into the biomaterials and bio-energy business fields by extracting more value from the pulp production process and is in

SA faces 'severe and very grave' situation - BUSA - Megan van Wyngaardt

Business Unity SA yesterday said it regarded the current political and economic situation as "severe and very grave". BUSA CEO TANYA COHEN said the country was now facing a fundamental crisis. "Notwithstanding the remarks by President JACOB ZUMA that he was aiming to make Cabinet more ambitious and suited to economic transformation, the crux of it is that the consequences have been immediate; it damages our reputation as an investment destination and damages our joint prosperity". COHEN said organised business needed to exert as much pressure as it could to prevent SA from becoming a failed state. "The currently reality affects ever single citizen. It's not just about business, it will affect the poorest of the poor. With less money available for social services, it will affect our ability to create jobs, to grow our economy and our ability to transform", she said. BUSA was calling on the ANC to meet with them and to act in the best interest of the country, while it would also meet with new Finance Min

Bushveld's Lemur, Sinohydro to build coal-fired power plant in Madagascar - Mia Breytenbach

BUSHVELD MINERALS' LEMUR RESOURCES subsidiary has signed an MoU with China's SINOHYDRO CORPORATION to co-develop an initial 60MW independent power producer coal-fired power plant and an associated 200km transmission line in southern Madagascar. It is anticipated that the coal for the power station will be provided from LEMUR's coal mining permit area in Madagascar. Under the terms of the MoU, SINOHYDRO's objective is to develop a bankable feasibility study and a project implementation proposal for the project, at SINOHYDRO's cost, within 12 months of signing the MoU. Under the terms of the deal, the parties will jointly prepare an environmental-impact assessment for the project, as well as engineering, procurement and construction and operations and maintenance contracts for the IPP plant and an EPC contract for the transmission line within 18 months. LEMUR will continue the development of its mine to supply coal to the Imaloto IPP. The company is developing a JORC-compliant 135mt coal resource, of which

ANC stands by their man - Reuters

The ANC yesterday closed ranks around President JACOB ZUMA after two key allies of the ruling party called for his resignation following last week's shock cabinet reshuffle. The rand fell more than 1% and bonds weakened after ANC secretary general GWEDE MANTASHE told media the ANC would not support removing ZUMA, whose party leadership role ends in Dec. Last week's dismissal of PRAVIN GORDHAN as finance minister was criticised by unions, civil society groups and the opposition, and has revived pressure on ZUMA to stand don. MANTASHE said the ruling party had accepted the "irretrievable breakdown of the relationship" between ZUMA and GORDHAN as the reason for the latter's sacking. The SACP and COSATU have both called on ZUMA to step down following the sacking. MANTASHE had also openly criticised ZUMA's action but yesterday painted a different picture, saying the ANC would "close ranks" around the president and that it would iron out its differences with the SACP and COSATU. This news brief represents a

CoAL buys Uitkomst colliery while Makhado development advances - Creamer Media Reporter

COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED has entered into a R275m deal to acquire PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES COAL HOLDINGS, a subsidiary of PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES, which holds a 91% stake in the Uitkomst colliery in KZN. COAL also entered into a loan agreement with the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to advance funding of up to R240m to COAL subsidiary BAOBAB MINING AND EXPLORATION to progress the operations of COAL's flagship Makhado project. These actions would propel the company forward, COAL CEO DAVID BROWN said yesterday, noting the company's narrowed focus on restructuring its balance sheet and aligning its project pipeline to be better positioned to provide a platform for growth in the junior coal sector. The Uitkomst colliery had processed 236 001t of coal, sold 327 202t of metallurgical quality coal and generated revenues of R225m during the HY to end-Dec. The acquisition will be settled via cash and shares, with R125m paid in cash and a further R25m under a deferred consideration, which can be repaid by COAL at any

Freeport awaits permit to end costly Indonesia export ban - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN is awaiting final details on a temporary export permit in Indonesia, which would end a 12-week ban that has cost the copper company nearly $1bn in lost revenues, CFO KATHLEEN QUIRK said yesterday. "With the short-term arrangements, we'll start ramping production back up to feed our mill 100%", QUIRK said, referring to FREEPORT's Grasberg mine in the region. "It shouldn't take very long, we're talking weeks', she added. Indonesia banned miners from exporting copper concentrate on Jan. 12 under new rules aimed at boosting the Southeast Asian nation's domestic smelting industry. FREEPORT has lost revenues approaching $1bn under the export stoppage, mitigated by cost and capital spending cuts. It is unlikely deferred capital spending will resume until a long-term mining agreement is reached. Under a temporary permit, extending to Oct., FREEPORT could resume copper concentrate exports from Grasberg while negotiating contentious issues that have prevented a longer-term agreement, including di

Glencore declares force majeure in Australia - Reuters

GLENCORE yesterday declared force majeure on coal shipments from the cyclone-hit Bowen Basin in Australia, after the storm damaged railway lines, disrupting delivery to ports. GLENCORE is the fifth miner to declare force majeure in the region, leaving rivals in the US to cash in on a surge in prices as Chinese steelmakers scramble for supplies. A critical mountain pass on the railway connecting the Bowen Basin to ports has been hit by landslides and buckled tracks after Cyclone Debbie pounded Queensland. The line's operator, AURIZON HOLDINGS, said it would take some five weeks to repair the worst-hit parts of the network and alternative routes were being considered. Queensland accounts for more than 50% of global seaborne coking coal supplies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio asked to pay an additional A$447m in tax - Natasha Odendaal

RIO TINTO is preparing to challenge amended assessments issued by the Australian Commissioner of Taxation outlining additional taxes due of A$447m for the calendar years from 2010 to 2013. This is in addition to the A$25.5bn of taxes and royalties the company paid in Australia during that period. "The issue in dispute is the pricing of certain transactions between RIO TINTO entities based in Australia and the group's commercial centre in Singapore. RIO voluntarily approached the Australian Tax Office more than a decade ago seeking to confirm its pricing arrangements, which RIO believed were in accordance with the internationally recognised OECD guidelines and Australian domestic law. The transfer price in dispute is in line with an outcome agreed by the ATO for years prior to 2010, the company said, stating that it will challenge the assessments. In the interim, RIO planned to pay 50% of the total amount to ATO this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat to list R1.2bn unsecured convertible bond - Mia Breytenbach

The JSE has granted ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM approval for the listing of R1.2bn 7% senior unsecured convertible bonds. The bonds will be listed on the main board of the JSE with effect from the start of business on Apr. 20. RBPLAT intends to use the net proceeds from the issue to fund the next phase of the ramp-up of the Styldrift I expansion project from 50 000t/m to 150 000t/m by the end of 2018. The bonds listed will include 120 000 units of R10 000 each, which will be traded on the JSE's equity trading platform. The maturity date for the bonds is Mar. 16, 2022. The convertible bonds may be traded by or through members of the JSE in accordance with the rules and operating procedures on the JSE. Final positions for transfer will be determined on the record date, which is Apr. 13. The convertible bonds are currently cash-settled instruments. For RBPLAT to settle the bonds through the issue of new RBPLAT ordinary shares, the company is seeking authority from shareholders for the issue of a maximum of 3

Eastplats misses filings deadline as investigations into deals by former board continue - Natasha Odendaal

EASTERN PLATINUM has missed the Mar. 31 deadline to file its financial statements for the FY to end-Dec., as investigations into transactions entered into by the former management team continue. Applying for and receiving a management cease trade order, EASTPLATS yesterday explained the company was unable to deliver its audit report until the probe into "certain transactions entered into by former management" was further advanced. The probe was initiated after the removal of the entire former EASTPLATS board with new directors in Jul. 2016. In December, HEBEI ZHONGHENG TIANDA PLATINUM hit EASTPLATS and its subsidiaries with a notice of civil claim in the British Colombia Supreme Court over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement entered into between EASTPLATS' former management and HZT in Jun. 2016. EASTPLATS said it was continuing to review and investigate its rights and obligations and attending to the satisfaction of its covenants under the agreement, which had not been complete

IMF says naira over-valued by around 10%-20% - Alexis Akwagyiram

Nigeria' naira is over-valued by around 10%-20%, the IMF said yesterday when it released a critical report on government efforts to boost growth in that country. "We do find there to be some over-valuation at this point of the naira, of the official currency, somewhere to the tune of 10 to 20 percent", IMF mission chief GENE LEON said. In the report, the Fund urged Nigeria to introduce immediate changes to its exchange rate policy - characterised by central bank curbs, multiple exchange rates and an artificially high naira valuation - or risk "a disorderly exchange rate depreciation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria cabinet approves $1.3bn loan for Development Bank of Nigeria - finmin - Felix Onuah

Nigeria's cabinet has approved $1.3bn of loans from international lenders to fund the newly licensed DEVELOPMENT BANK OF NIGERIA, finance minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday. The money is made up of $500m from the World Bank, $450m from the African Development Bank, $200m from German state bank KfW and $130m from France's state development agency. The loan facility is still subject to approval by the National Assembly, ADEOSUN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA business confidence falls, outlook gloomy - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Business confidence in SA fell in Mar. from Feb. and was likely to decline further due to rising political uncertainty, SACCI said yesterday. SACCI's monthly business confidence index fell to 93.8 in Mar. from 95.5 in Feb. "Towards the end of March, developments extraneous to the economy abruptly upset the momentum of further improving business confidence... The March BCI, however, does not yet capture the full impact of uncertainty that was created as these developments commenced when the minister of finance was recalled from an overseas investment roadshow before being relieved of responsibilities on the last day of March". SACCI warned that, should the rand continue to weaken, the BCI could shed another 0.6 index points in Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury says exit of DG imminent - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

The Treasury on Wednesday said the departure of DG LUNGISA FUZILE, whose contract was due to end in May 2018, was no imminent. The Treasury said FUZILE had been indicating his desire to leave the department for some time, and in the past few days he has been focusing on ensuring a smooth hand-over to Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA. FUZILE's departure would follow that of his former boss PRAVIN GORDHAN, who was sacked last week and replaced by GIGABA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidcorp buys Spanigh foodservice group - TJ Strydom

BIDCORP has bought a 90% stake in Spanish foodservice group GUZMAN GASTRONOMIA AND CUTTINGS, it said yesterday without disclosing the value. BIDCORP in Feb. said it could tap $1.2bn for acquisitions to extend its push outside its home market. GUZMAN is a foodservice company supplying hotels, restaurants, industrial caterers and other institutions throughout Spain. The Spanish firm's revenue is expected to be about €100m this year, BIDCORP said, adding that the Spanish foodservice market had potential to grow as the economy picked up and the tourism industry expanded. BIDCORP acquired the stake from MIURA PRIVATE EQUITY and GUZMAN's management, who retain a 10% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's debut mobile phone bond offer sells out in 13 days - Duncan Miriri

Kenya has fully sold its debut mobile phone-based bond worth 150m shillings, with investor demand forcing the issue to be closed ahead of time, the Treasury said yesterday. The country started selling the three-year bond, dubbed M-Akiba, on Mar. 23, becoming the first to issue a mobile phone-based bond in the world. The 150m shillings raises is the first tranche of the bond; the balance of 4.85bn shillings goes on sale in June. Some 102 000 people registered on their phones to invest in the bond, but only 5 000 of those made actual purchases, the Finance Ministry said, adding that the average investment in M-Akiba was around 20 000 shillings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom signs power export deal with Botswana - Joe Brock

ESKOM yesterday said it had inked a new three-year deal to export electricity to Botswana. The utility has excess capacity of 4 000MW after new generation units were brought online and maintenance was carried out on power plants. The utility last month signed a similar power supply deal with Namibia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 06/04/2017

At 05h08 on 06 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.80 ZAR/EUR 14.73 ZAR/GBP 17.24 Gold 1256.02 Platinum 961.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.06 All Share 52990.08

US ETFs maintain record growth pace in Q1 - Joe Rennison

US exchange-traded funds continued to grow at record pace in Q1, pulling in $132bn in investor cash and exceeding the previous record set in Q4 2016, according to STATE STREET GLOBAL ADVISORS. Fixed-income ETFs also set a new record with $35.5bn of inflows, marking their best quarter ever and surpassing the prior record set in Q1 2016. For US equity ETFs it was the third-best quarter, with $96bn of inflows. BLACKROCK iShares and VANGUARD surpassed SSGA, attracting 40% and 30%, respectively, compared to SSGA's 8.6%. BLACKROCK iShares investment-grade corporate bond ETF (LQD) has had the biggest year-to-date inflow at $3.5bn, closely followed by three shorter0dated VANGUARD bond ETFs. A number of floating-rate bond and loan ETFs also feature in the top 10. For equities, iShares core MSCI EM ETF (IEMG) led the pack with $6.63bn of inflows. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P upgrades Argentina as outlook improves - Pan Kwan Yuk

STANDARD & POOR's provided Argentine President MAURICIO MACRI a fillip yesterday after it raised the country's long-term credit rating by a notch from B- to B. While the upgrade still leaves Argentina's rating firmly in junk territory, it nonetheless represents a vote of confidence in the reforms MACRI has undertaken since taking over from the previous government. "Argentina is making progress in resolving several macroeconomic imbalances in the country while gradually rebuilding the country's credibility and improving the overall weakened institutional framework", S&P analysts said. After contracting around 2.3% in 2016, the country's economy is expected by S&P to grow by 3% on average over the next three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump vows 'major haircut' to Dodd-Frank - Jessica Dye

Rolling back Dodd-Frank is still very much on DONALD TRUMP's to-do list. The US president yesterday said his administration is planning to do a "major haircut" on the legislation, a massive overhaul of financial regulations in the wake of the 2008 crisis. "The regulators are running the banks", TRUMP added. Weeks after entering office, TRUMP signed an executive order directing the review of Dodd-Frank rules, which include prohibitions on financial institutions trading for their own benefit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greek budget surplus will exceed 3% in 2016 - Mehreen Khan

The Greek government is on course to significantly exceed its creditor budget targets, EU economics chief PIERRE MOSCOVICI said yesterday as he warned Athens' stuttering economic recovery was at risk of derailing from a long-running delay over its bailout. Addressing MEPs in Brussels, MOSCOVICI said the government would exceed a 3% primary budget surplus for 2016 when official figures are released later this month. The EU wants Greece to maintain a 3% surplus for up to a decade after 2018 as part of its €86bn bailout. MOSCOVICI praised Athens' attempts to cut back spending and raise taxes to boost its public finances. He said the surplus would likely fall to 1.75% in 2017 before overshooting its target at 3.5% in 2018. He warned that Greece's economic momentum was at risk of reversing all the gains made last year if the bailout continues to stall. As part of the latest round of bailout wrangling, creditors are divided over the policy measures Athens must undertake to unlock €6bn in bailout cash it n

US posts narrowest trade deficit since Oct. - Mamta Badkar

The US international trade deficit narrowed in Feb. to its lowest level since Oct. The trade gap decreased by $4.6bn to $43.6bn in Feb., Commerce Department data showed yesterday. That compared to a deficit of $44.6bn economists had forecast. Imports fell by $4.3bn to $236.4bn in Feb. as exports inched up to $192.9bn. President DONALD TRUMP last month signed an executive order calling for a 90-day country-by-country and product-by-product study of the US's $500bn annual trade deficit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar shares up as Goldman sees 30% upside - Mamta Badkar

CATERPILLAR shares rose yesterday after GOLDMAN SACHS analysts added the company to its "conviction buy list" and said they see a 30% upside. Shares in the group rose more than 2% to $94.34 as the analysts reiterated their buy rating and said their $120 price target implied a 30% premium to where the stock is currently trading. The view comes as GOLDMAN analyst JERRY REVICH said demand for machinery is at an inflection and added that "we now believe the global reduction in mining capex is over as 35% of mining companies have introduced higher capex guidance for 2017 for the first time in four years". He added that demand for construction machinery is in the early stages of a recovery. The average mutual fund is underweight CATERPILLAR by around 20% and on the sell-side 36% of analysts currently have buy ratings on the company, below the historical average of 45% and a peak of 71%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Venezuelan bond sell-off accelerates as payment looms - Pan Kwan Yuk

The sell-off in dollar bonds issued by VENEZUELA and state-owned oil company PDVSA picked up steam yesterday as the crisis in the country triggered fresh fears of a default ahead of a multi-billion bond payment due next week. The country's benchmark 2027 bond fell 3% to a 10-month low of 44.6c on the dollar. Bonds issued by PDVSA also took a leg lower, with the note due in 2035 down 2.7% at 43.1c/$. The cost of insuring Venezuelan debt against a default has risen sharply since last week after the country's Supreme Court kicked off the latest chapter in Venezuela's descent by moving to take over the opposition-dominated Natinoal Assembly. Although the decision was reversed on Saturday, the pushback against President NICOLAS MADURO's creeping authoritarianism has done little to soothe market nerves. The sell-off in Venezuelan bonds comes as PDVSA faces a $2.05bn bond repayment on Apr. 12 and a further $3.5bn in payments in Oct. and Nov. By contrast, the country's foreign reserves stand at just $10.4bn, wh

Wells Fargo shareholders urged to vote against 6 board members - Stephen Foley

WELLS FARGO shareholders should sweep away almost half the board of directors at the forthcoming annual meeting, in protest at the fake accounts scandal, according to the GLASS LEWIS advisory group. GLASS LEWIS has recommended against the re-election of four long-standing members of the WELLS board's governance committee, whose responsibilities include protecting the bank's reputation and making sure it does right by customers. Another two of the 15 directors up for election should also be rejected, GLASS LEWIS said, as they are on too many other boards. The candidates it wants replaced are JOHN BAKER, JOHN CHEN, LLOYD DEAN, ENRIQUE HERNANDEZ, CYNTHIA MILLIGAN and SUSAN SWENSON. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US approves ChemChina's Syngenta takeover - Pan Kwan Yuk

CHEMCHINA is one step closer to closing China's biggest overseas takeover after US regulators gave conditional approval for its $43bn acquisition of SYNGENTA. The Federal Trade Commission said the parties have agreed to divest three types of pesticides as a condition to receive approval for the deal. "The proposed settlement requires CHEMCHINA to sell all rights and assets of ADAM's U.S. paraquat, abamectin and chlorothalonin crop protection businesses to California-based agrochemical company AMVAC", the FTC said. The EU has until Apr. 18 to issue its decision on the takeover. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba rises on reports Hon Hai offers more than $18bn for Nand - Peter Wells

Shares in TOSHIBA have jumped in morning trade following reports Taiwan's HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY is offering more than Y2tn for the conglomerate's NAND memory chip business. TOSHIBA was up 2.8% in morning trade in Tokyo. HON HAI, as well as South Korea's SK HYNIC, private equity fund SILVER LAKE and at least three other groups are thought to have made bids for a minority stake in NAND. TV Asahi this morning reported that HON HAI was offering more than Y2tn for the chip unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South Korean group considering Body Shop bid - Alice Woodhouse

South Korean conglomerate CJ GROUP has said it is considering a bid for L'OREAL subsidiary THE BODY SHOP. The retail-focused conglomerate said in a regulatory filing details of the bid, such as whether it would enter a bid of which unit might launch a potential bid, had not been decided. L'OREAL recently said it is "exploring all strategic options" regarding the ownership of THE BODY SHOP, and is said to want €1bn for the British brand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cyclone damage pushes coal price up, BHP declares force majeure - Peter Wells

The cost of coking coal has shot up nearly 9% on expectations supply will be crimped in the wake of a cyclone that struck Australia's north-east cost last week. The futures price for one tonne of coking coal on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 8.9% to Rmb1 323.5 this morning. The price of thermal coal rose as much as 1.9% to Rmb645/t on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. BHP BILLITON is reported to have declared force majeure for all coal products from its JV projects with MITSUBISHI (BMA) and MITSUI (BMC), in response to damage sustained by the rail network that ships coal from the projects in northern Queensland. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier Oil to sell Pakistan ops to cut debt - Conor Sullivan

PREMIER OIL will sell its operations in Pakistan for $66m in cash as the company tries to cut its debt. The business is to be sold to AL-HAJ GROUP, a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in logistics, energy, carmaking and textiles. PREMIER said the move was part of its strategy to dispose of non-core assets and the proceeds would be used to cut its debt. The group had net debt of £2.2bn, compared with EBITDA in 2016 of £475m. It expected to record a book gain on disposal of $40m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 05/04/2017

At 10h58 on 05 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.62 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 16.94 Gold 1256.16 Platinum 966.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.68 All Share 52904.88

Implats wins $16m claim in US recycler default fraud case - Martin Creamer

IMPLATS has won a $16m claim for constructive fraudulent transfer during the insonvency in the US of a former recycler of autocatalyst materials, which had a long-standing association with IMPALA REFINING SERVICES. IMPLATS yesterday said an Eastern District of Pennsylvania jury had rendered a verdict in its favour in the case involving the collection of $200m-plus from A-1 SPECIALISED SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT COMPANY INC, which until a few years ago had supplied platinum scrap to IRS on a regular basis. A-1 went into default after the financial crisis of 2008, leaving its refining contract with MPLATS to lapse. Earlier in the case IMPLATS successfully sought to wind down A-1's business and to liquidate its assets, from which it expects to receive additional recovery. IMPLATS said it was pleased to recover some of the money, which is alleged to have been unlawfully transferred out of A-1, ahead of the claims lodged by IMPLATS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WG Wearne sells 60% of noncore sand quarry - Megan van Wyngaardt

WG WEARNE has entered into an agreement with ELCU PUMPS to sell a 60% stake in its noncore Brandvlei sand quarry and ancillary business for R7m. Upon completion, the asset will be 40% owned by WG WEARNE and 60% by DENNIS HUMA and other investors, including a staff member of WG WEARNE's designated adviser Exchange Sponsors, under a contract mining agreement. WEARNE will then enter a supply agreement in terms of which the buyer will supply the total requirement of plaster sand to some of the listed group's ready-mix plants. WEARNE will use proceeds to reduce debt and improve the liquidity position of the group in general. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom chair to step down in Jul. - Megan van Wyngaardt

VODACOM chairperson PETER MOYO will step down from the board at the company's AGM on Jul. 18. MOYO will join OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS as CEO in June. The company is still in the process of identifying a successor to MOYO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kusasalethu worker turnout thin despite court order - Megan van Wyngaardt

Very few workers at HARMONY GOLD's Kusasalethu mine reported for work yesterday morning, company spokesperson MARIAN VAN DER WALT said. The company on Monday issued an ultimatum, calling for striking employees to return to work by last night or face disciplinary action. VAN DER WALT said the company would continue to communicate with miners to return to work. "We are also urging the families of the employees to speak to them, as their livelihoods are being threatened", she added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldplat, Rand Refinery to take contract dispute to court - David Oliveira

GOLDPLAT yesterday said it would take immediate legal action against RAND REFINERY. This follows after an independent expert's report concerning the ongoing contractual dispute between the parties supported GOLDPLAT's assertions that it has fulfilled its obligations, acted in good faith and taken due care according to the obligations of a silver sulphide contract entered into by the companies. RAND REFINERY CEO PRAVEEN BAIJNATH said the company is "satisfied that it has incurred a demonstrable loss resulting from GOLDPLAT's breach of contract and failure to perform". On Jul. 11 2016, GOLDPLAT announced the dispute with RAND REFINERY over a binding MoU entered into with the refinery to process a batch of silver sulphide material. Last month, the final report from the independent expert was released. However, the two parties have not been able to reach a settlement. RAND REFINERY subsequently proposed that GOLDPLAT's 74%-owned GOLDPLAT RECOVERY subsidiary owes it a "net amount", which GOLDPLAT found to be

De Beers' third sales cycle delivers $580m - Megan van Wyngaardt

DE BEERS achieved a marginal increase in sales in its third sales cycle of 2017 to $580m, from the $545m in sales in the second sales cycle. "We saw the continuation o f good rough diamond demand in the third cycle across the product range. This reflected positive sentiment from our customers following the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show in March", CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said. However, it was still markedly lower than the $729m achieved in the first sales cycle of 2017 as well as the $666m the company raked in in the third sales cycle last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bushveld Minerals to proceed with Uis in acquisition - David Oliveira

BUSHVELD MINERALS will pursue the acquisition of the Uis tin project in Namibia following the successful completion of a due diligence. Accordingly, wholly-owned subsidiary GREENHILLS RESOURCES has signed a sale of shares and claims agreement to acquire a 49.5% stake in Namibian tin explorer DAWNMIN AFRICA INVESTMENTS from a consortium of Namibian shareholders for £650 000, payable via the issue of 41m ordinary shares of 1p each in BUSHVELD. Consideration shares comprise 29m ordinary shares for the DAWNMIN shareholding and 12m ordinary shares to assume a $1.2m loan from one of the consortium sellers to DAWNMIN. The consideration shares will be issued on completion of the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals from the Namibian government among other considerations. Namibian explorer ERONGO TIN holds the remaining 51.5% of DAWNMIN. BUSHVELD CEO FORTUNE MOJAPELO noted that the company is under no obligation to spend cash on the project until ERONGO meets its requirement to produce a scoping

Angola eyes return of dollar clearing by 2018 - Herculano Coroado

Angola hopes to make its financial system compliant with international standards by the start of 2018, the head of its central bank said, allowing commercial banks to resume dollar clearing operations in the country. All such operations stopped in 2016 in response to the risk of financial crime and inadequate supervisory safeguards. Angolan authorities were two thirds of the way to meeting compliance criteria for their resumption, central bank governor VALTER FILIPE DA SILVA said this week. Angola was seeking technical assistance from the US government and Federal Reserve to help resolve remaining issues. "That is going to be completed by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year", he said. The Financial Action Task Force last year removed Angola from the blacklist of non-compliant nations it had been on since 2010. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM lowers FY guidance at Maseve

PLATINUM GROUP METALS' Maseve mine produced 2 477oz of 4E PGMs during Mar. - the best level achieved since completion of commissioning in 2016, the company said yesterday. This was up slightly from the 1 193oz 4E produced at the mine in Feb., showing a positive trend. However, the company noted that production ramp-up was behind schedule, with further improvements needed. PTM said delays in underground development, stoping rates and planned tonnages have resulted in output delays, which have had, and will continue to have, a negative impact on working capital requirements until sufficient stoped material is produced to allow mine operations to generate positive cash flow. As a result, PTM adjusted its guidance for FY production from 100 000oz of 4E to 85 000oz of 4E. Produciton levels in Jan. and into Feb. were hampered by the process of changing the primary underground mining contractor, senior management changes, equipment operator performance and slowly improving equipment availability. This news b

Wescoal Mining appoints CEO - Megan van Wyngaardt

THIVHA TSHITHAVHANE has been appointed CEO of WESCOAL MINING, effective Apr. 1. TSHITHAVHANE headed up parent WESCOAL HOLDINGS' mining strategy and business development portfolio for the past 12 months, and has over 13 years experience in the mineral processing industry. He remains an executive director of WESCOAL HOLDINGS. Outgoing WESCOAL MINING CEO DUTCH BOTES will continue with the company heading up identified growth projects. He will continue to add considerable experience to the planning and implementation of the company's expansion initiatives. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia proposes flat electricity mining tariff from Jan. 2017 - Reuters

Zambia plans to introduce a flat electricity tariff of $0.093/kWh for mining companies from an average $0.06/kWh backdated to Jan. 2017, ZESCO MD VICTOR MUNDENDE said yesterday. MUNDENDE said the state power firm also aims to increase the cost of electricity for retail consumers by 75% in two phases by Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indonesia allows exports from Freeport mine in stop-gap deal - Bloomberg

Indonesia has issued a temporary mining licence to FREEPORT-MCMORAN's local unit that will allow the company to resume concentrate exports from the Grasberg copper mine after a gap of about 12 weeks. The permit is valid for eight months from the time that the producer was first offered a special mining licence of IUPK in Feb., TEGUH PAMUDJI, secretary-general at Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said, adding that the government will continue talks with the company on a long-term financial stability pact. FREEPORT expects to resume exports soon and will continue discussions with the government on other issues, spokesperson RIZA PRATAMA said. FREEPORT will be able to switch back to its Contract of Work from the temporary mining licence if a long-term deal is not reached by Oct. 10, but its right to export would be rescinded, PAMUDJI said. FREEPORT can restart exports based on a recommendation in Feb. which allowed the company to ship 1.1mt of concentrates over a period of 12 months, Mineral

Trading in Rockwell stock halted - Henry Lazenby

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS yesterday announced it has applied to the JSE to voluntarily halt trading in its equity after the TSX suspended trading in its stock, pending a delisting review. The TSX has advised ROCKWELL that it will only consider the delisting review following the outcome of the final hearing for a liquidation application, which has been set down for Apr. 12. "The company is of the view that it is prudent to suspend trading of its shares on the JSE, until such time as the TSX has provided feedback on its delisting review", ROCKWELL said. The JSE has agreed to the voluntary suspension on the basis that the suspension will be lifted as soon as the company provides the bourse with confirmation that the suspension on the TSX has been lifted. Last month a judge in Kimberley issued an interim liquidation order against three subsidiaries of ROCKWELL DIAMONDS. The interim order stems from ROCKWELL's former contractor C-ROCK MINING's launch of a liquidation application against the three subsidiaries. Thi

BHP's Escondida producing, but not at full capacity - Reuters

The Escondida copper mine has restarted production but is still some way from a return to full capacity after a strike that ended in late Mar., a senior executive from owner BHP BILLITON said yesterday. Relations with the union were being rebuilt, but it was too soon to give an estimate as to the cost of the six-week long stoppage", DANNY MALCHUK, president of operations at BHP MINERALS AMERICAS, said on the sidelines of the CRU World Copper Conference. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Collahuasi copper mine sees output rise this year - Reuters

The Collahuasi copper mine in Chile expects output this year to beat last year's, and could ramp up output that was frozen in 2015 if the copper price keeps rising, mine CEO JORGE GOMEZ said yesterday. Collahuasi, a JV between ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE, is also expecting to begin maintenance on a milling plant in Apr. that should last around two months, GOMEZ said on the sidelines of the CRU World Copper Conference in Santiago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa switching to in-house mining - Martin Creamer

THARISA is transitioning from contract mining to owner mining at its Tharisa operation, taking over the employees and equipment of contractor MCC. The company yesterday said it had been evaluating the benefits of switching from contract mining to owner mining and, with MCC parent company EXTRACT changing its strategy, the decision had been taken to buy a portion of the fleet as a going concern. With the 180year life of the openpit and an estimated 40-year underground mine life potential thereafter, the taking over of the mining task is seen as a logical progression towards cost and operational benefits. THARISA will release a production update for H1 on Apr. 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China offers Nigeria $4.5bn loan for farm machinery - Alexis Akwagyiram

China has offered Nigeria a $4.5bn loan for agricultural machinery and infrastructure, a Nigerian state governor said yesterday. Zamfara state governor ABDULAZIZ YARI said the loan had a 20-year repayment period at an interest rate of 1%. YARI said the loan offer would be presented to cabinet colleagues later today and considered by lawmakers for final approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Big jump in FDI in Mauritius - Jean Paul Arouff

Foreign direct investment in Mauritius grew 41% in 2016 to 13.64bn rupees, thanks to investment in real estate, financial and insurance activities, official data showed yesterday. Foreign investment in real estate led with a total of 9.94bn rupees followed by financial and insurance activities with 2.15bn rupees, the central bank said. "About a third of the direct investment inflows originated froM France (4.49bn rupees), while those from China (2.44bn) represented 17.9% of the total", the central bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand gains as Moody's delays SA's credit rating - Fin24

MOODY's INVESTOR SERVICES yesterday confirmed it decided to defer its decision on SA's sovereign credit rating, giving the rand a slight reprieve. MOODY's placed SA on downgrade review on Monday evening. It initially planned to review the country's credit rating, with an announcement expected this coming Friday. "To be clear, MOODY's announced a rating action for the Government of South Africa on Monday evening. The potential calendar date on Friday, April 7, will now not go ahead", a MOODY's representative said. A further announcement will follow the conclusion of the review, which typically takes between 30 and 90 days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB says junk status major setback for SA - Fin24

The decision by S&P GLOBAL RATINGS to cut SA's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to junk, with a continuing negative outlook, is a serious setback for the country, SARB deputy governor DANIEL MMINELE said yesterday. "We will now need to redouble our efforts in providing assurance and communicating continued commitment to sound macro-economic policies and their consistent and predictable implementation, so as to reverse the current ratings trajectory". MMINELE said this will require a continued collaborative effort between the government, business and labour to boost domestic and international investor confidence. He noted that financial markets will likely need more time to fully process recent political events and their economic consequences. MMINELE said the Monetary Policy Committee stands ready to respond appropriately in line with its mandate, should the need arise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BATSA records 54.4% drop in water usage - Fin24

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO SOUTHERN AFRICA had decreased its water usage at its factory in Heidelberg by 54.4% since 2011 following a programme of internal review and investment. As part of its water conservation initiative BAT has reduced reliance on municipal water supply via interrogating each stage of the manufacturing process. To introduce the recycling of water which would have otherwise been disposed of, the facility has installed an advanced technology reverse osmosis and ultra filtration plant, combined with an activated carbon filtration system. This has allowed certain streams of used water to be completely recycled, representing a fundamental change in the way the factory operates and heralding factory designs of the future. Beyond recycling of commercial waste streams, the facility has also worked to incorporate rain water and "grey water" into its water systems, reducing pressure on the municipal water supply and making full use of the resources available. This news brief represents a summa

SA's agri, food security threatened by downgrade - Carin Smith

SA's rating downgrade by S&P will adversely impact agricultural production in the country and potentially food security, AGRI SA executive director OMRI VAN ZYL said this week. The organisation pointed out that over a period of 19 years, S&P had downgraded 23 countries to junk status. Of those, only six recovered, with the shortest recovery time being 5 years. "Recovering from a downgrade takes considerable effort from both the political and economic sectors of society. The president now needs to explain what he is going to do to get SA out of the junk status. If the president cannot explain his actions, he must step down", AGRI SA president JOHANNES MOLLER said. Agricultural economist FANIE BRINK said the consequences of the downgrade will be even worse "as long as the government is trying to stay in power through its social legislation, while it deliberately ignores the basic economic laws and principles which is the only way to solve the many serious problems facing the country". BRINK said the down

Nuclear still on track, despite S&P warning on Eskom - Lameez Omarjee

Plans for a nuclear build programme are still on track and the question of affordability is yet to be determined, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. Among concerns raised by ratings agency S&P was SA's contingent liabilities when it downgraded the country's credit rating to junk. SOEs will continue to need government support, S&P said. ESKOM is expected to require guarantees of R350bn - 7% of SA's 2017 GDP. "We estimate ESKOM will have used up to R300bn of this framework by 2020", S&P added. GIGABA said the nuclear build programme will be implemented at a scale and pace the country can afford. He also said the programme is part of government's attempts to diversify the energy mix and make it environmentally friendly in the light of climate change. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Distell ramps up African investment - Fin24

DISTELL continues to ramp up its investment on the African continent with the acquisition of a further 26.43% in KWA HOLDING EAST AFRICA, Kenya's foremost spirits, wine and RTD manufacturer and distributor, from CENTUM INVESTMENT COMPANY. DISTELL effectively now owns a majority shareholding of 52.43%, having previously acquired a 26% stake from INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION in 2014 via a Kenya government privatisation process. DISTELL said the deal increases its exposure to Kenya's highly attractive economy and alcoholic beverage industry. "We believe the strength of KWAL's platform and key brands align with DISTELL's strategic intent". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba brings controversial advisers to Treasury - Matthew le Cordur

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA's new advisers at Treasury have shady backgrounds, with one having alleged links to the GUPTAS. GIGABA's spokesperson yesterday tweeted that the minister's advisers are THAMSANQA MSOMI, who will focus on political issues, and KHOLEKA GCALEKA, who will focus on legal issues. MSOMI is a DENEL board member who was "implicated by two highly placed sources as being... close to the GUPTA family", according to a report in the Mail & Guardian in Mar. 2016. The 2015/16 annual report lists MSOMI as a board member of DENEL, which took Treasury to court last month to legalise its pending venture between DENEL and GUPTA-linked VR LASER. The paper reported that GORDHAN and officials at Treasury were the only stumbling block to the venture being approved. The other adviser, GCALEKA, was embroiled in controversy in 2010 when she claimed that the Society of State Advocates of SA unequivocally supported the "courageous transformation agenda" of MENZI SEMILANE, who was appointed head of the N

Gigaba celebrated Diwali with Guptas - Lameez Omarjee

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA has met with the GUPTA family, but insists they have no influence on the decisions he takes. Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, GIGABA said he has no relationship with the influential family. "Meeting someone does not mean they have an impact on your decisions. Ultimately I take my own decisions", he said. GIGABA admitted he has visited the family, and celebrated Diwali with them, and he has celebrated other religious events hosted by other people at their homes. The South African Communist Party believes GIGABA was selected solely to do the GUPTA family's bidding at the Treasury. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 05/04/2017

At 06h45 on 05 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.63 ZAR/EUR 14.56 ZAR/GBP 16.97 Gold 1255.28 Platinum 961.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.41 All Share 52660.74

Zuma's 'damaging' Cabinet reshuffle to blame for downgrade - CoM - Fin24

The Chamber of Mines has placed the blame for SA's downgrade to junk status firmly at the door of President JACOB ZUMA, and called for him to be held accountable by the ANC and the people of this country. "Given that, in exercising his prerogative to appoint the country's Cabinet, the state president must place the national interest first, the chamber believes that the ANC and the people of South Africa should hold President ZUMA to account", it said. The CoM said the firing of a "competent, dedicated and globally well respected" finance minister, along with other Cabinet changes, "have materially negatively impacted the key institution of Treasury and ultimately the creditworthiness of South Africa's government". The Chamber added that it is the poor who will be hardest hit by higher inflation, fewer resources available for social grants, low investment, limited growth in employment opportunities and rising poverty levels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South African bond prices, bank stocks suffer after ratings cut - Nicholas Megaw

South African government bonds and bank stocks joined the rand in falling this morning after S&P cut the country's credit rating to junk status and MOODY's warned of another likely downgrade later this week. Yields on SA's benchmark 10-year bonds rose 11.9 bps this morning to 9.106%, their highest level since the aftermath of the US election. The JSE bank index was down 3.15% at publication time to its lowest level since Oct. The index has fallen 13% since President JACOB ZUMA initially prompted fears of a Cabinet reshuffle by recalling former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN from an investor trip last Monday. OLD MUTUAL also sank to the bottom of the FTSE100, with shares down 2.8% to 193p in London trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vitol profits jump by quarter in 2016 - Neil Hume

VITOL recorded a 25% jump in profits last year, boosted by a robust trading performance and the sale of a pipeline and terminal in Texas. The company posted net income of $2bn in the year to Dec., up from just over $1.6bn in 2015. Stripping out $500m of gains from asset sales and $100m tax bill, underlying profits were $1.6bn, roughly the same as in 2015. The figures show how VITOL was able to adapt to more challenging market conditions and take advantage of rapidly rising prices for assets in the hottest region of the US shale industry. VITOL carefully guards its financial results, releasing only a handful of numbers to the media. These typically include trading volumes and turnover. The company earlier said it had shipped a record amount of crude oil, petrol and diesel last year, handling more than 7m bpd of fuel as demand in key markets surged. It said turnover was $152bn, down from $168bn y/y due to a lower average oil price over 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article

Gunvor builds up underlying profits after shedding terminals and metals unit - David Sheppard

GUNVOR GROUP reported a net profit of $315m for 2016, with underlying profits rising after the company successfully replaced volumes following the sale of two large oil terminals and shuttering its metals business. The company said it grew oil, natural gas and coal volumes to 187mt in 2016 from 180mt the prior year, despite the sale of the Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk oil terminals in Russia, which once made up a large proportion of its business. Net profit was down 75% from the prior year's $1.25bn that included the proceeds from the terminal sales. Revenue, which is heavily influenced for commodity traders by moves in energy prices, fell to $47bn in 2016 from $64bn y/y due to weak prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Louis Dreyfus 2016 sales fall - Emiko Terazono

Strong supplies of agricultural commodities and price volatility led to a fall in 2016 sales at commodities trader LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY, although net profits rose on tax gains. LDC said earnings rose 45% to $305m on an 11% decline in net sales to 449.8bn and 12% drop in pre-tax profits to $365m. "Oversupply, market shocks, geopolitical dynamics and adverse weather conditions were some of the difficulties that the agribusiness industry had to face during 2016", CEO GONZALO RAMIREZ MARTIARENA said. LDC's value chain unit "posted decent logistics and processing margins", while its "merchandising" segment benefited from a robust contribution from its metals business. LDC is seeking to sell a stake in its metals unit as part of a wider strategic shift at the patent company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US manufacturing gauge edges off highest level since 2014 - Adam Samson

US manufacturing growth cooled slightly last month, but remained close ot its highest level since 2014 as factory prices and employment revved up. The Institute for Supply Management's PMI slipped to 57.2 in Mar. from 57.7 m/m, leaving it well above the 50 mark that separates expansion and contraction. Prices paid by manufacturers climbed at the quickest pace since 2011, the latest sign of rebounding inflation across the US economy. Employment in the industry also ticked up sharply. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil trade surplus hits record high despite meat woes - Pan Kwan Yuk

Brazil's economy may be in tatters but there is a silver lining to be found in every crisis. The country logged a trade surplus of $7.14bn in Mar. - the biggest monthly gain recorded since records began in 1980 - as a weaker real helped power agricultural exports and a two-year recession continues to weigh on local demand for foreign goods and imports. The record surplus comes despite a number of countries briefly banning Brazilian meat imports amid ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption between health inspectors and the operators of regional plants. Imports edged up to $12.9bn in Mar. from $10.9bn the month before. That gain is dwarfed, however, by the surge in exports, which totalled $20.1bn in Mar., compared to the $15.47bn recorded in Feb. and up from $16bn posted y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba drops again amid reports it may need further aid - Peter Wells

TOSHIBA shares lost around a tenth of their value today amid reports the troubled conglomerate may require further financial aid. Shares were down 9.3% but fell as much as 10.3%, bringing the decline so far this week to 15%. The company is said to hold a meeting of its lenders and ask for additional financial support to cover a temporary rise in losses in the wake of its WESTINGHOUSE division filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. Assistance might take the form of increasing the company's credit line. Yesterday, shares ended 5.5% lower on reports the company would likely miss another deadline for its quarterly earnings. TOSHIBA last week put WESTINGHOUSE into bankruptcy protection, a move that could lead to Japan's biggest industrial loss. Shares rose for three consecutive days following that news as traders covered short positions and investors hoped the company could secure a good price for its prized NAND flash memory unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China P2P industry lending nears Rmb1tn despite crackdown, new regulations - Hudson Lockett

Growth in China's peer-to-peer lending sector has proven resilient in the face of new regulations and a year-long crackdown by authorities on online financing, with total PSP loans blowing past the Rmb900bn mark last month. Outstanding P2P loans came to Rmb920bn at end-Mar., according to new figures released today by lending platform WANGDAIZHIJIA. That puts borrowing on a course to breach the Rmb1tn mark soon, despite rules imposed by China's banking regulator in Aug. that capped borrowing across multiple platforms at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies. Lending on a single platform was also capped at Rmb200 000 for individuals and Rmb1m for companies. The rise comes despite protracted consolidation in the industry after total P2P lending platforms peaked in Nov. 2015. Since then, the number of platforms engaged in normal operations has fallen by 331 to 2 281. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyundai, Kia shares drop on report of cuts to China production - Hudson Lockett

Shares in HYUNDAI MOTOR and KIA MOTORS are down following a report that the South Korean carmakers have cut China output amid tensions over Seoul's deployment of a US anti-ballistic missile system. HYUNDAI shares were down as much as 2.9% in Seoul this morning, while KIA shares shed as much as 1.1%. The drop follows a report from Reuters that cites unnamed sources as saying both companies have cut production shifts at their China factories in the face of local competition and escalating tensions between Beijing and Seoul over deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield. South Korean officials argue that THAAD is essential to their country's defence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADvTECH sees great future in Africa - Sandile Mchunu

ADVTECH said the continued growth of the middle class had provided it with more expansion opportunities in the continent. The group said middle class parents wanted quality education for their children, meaning that there would always be a need for private education over and above the services provided by the government. ADVTECH has made some acquisitions to try to keep up with the demand in both school level and tertiary space. It acquired a stake in a private tertiary institution, the Unversity of Africa, in Zambia in 2016 and locally a 51% stake in OXBRIDGE ACADEMY, adding 21 000 registered distance learning students in the process. In the schools division, ADVTECH acquired the SUMMIT COLLEGE. A possible strategic acquisition of GLENWOOD HOUSE in George and ELKANAH HOUSE in Cape Town is still on the cards, subject to due diligence and Competition Commission approval. During the FY to end-Dec., ADVTECH reported revenue growth of 24% to R3.35bn while HEPS came in 39% higher at 71.1cps. This news bri

Ecsponent buys 10% stake in MyBucks - Sandile Mchunu

ECSPONENT has acquired a 10% stake in MYBUCKS for about R263m. It said the acquisition would give it an opportunity to derive some of its income in foreign currencies as MYBUCKS was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. ECSPONENT CEO TERENCE GREGORY said the company was confident that the investment would return excellent results in the future. "We see our 10% investment in MYBUCKS as an opportunity to hedge ourselves against the rand as the company is based offshore", GREGORY said. MYBUCKS provides state of the art virtual banking solutions to customers around the world. ECSPONENT last week reported an increase of 81.5% in revenue from continuing operations to R245m for the HY to end-Dec., while operating profits from continuing operations jumped by 198.3% to R129.3m. The group has grown from an asset base of under R9m to more than R1bn through a combination of acquisitive and organic growth over the past six years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrimat rebuts CompCom's referral - Mark Allix

AFRIMAT says its subsidiary CLINKER SUPPLIES does not consider there to be any merit in a Competition Commission complaint alleging abuse of dominance for excessive pricing. The commission has referred the company for prosecution by the Competition Tribunal. It wants an order from the Tribunal declaring that AFRIMAT must pay the maximum fine allowable - 10% of annual turnover in SA, including from exports. AFRIMAT says its subsidiary has been cooperating fully with the Commission since 2015. "CLINKER SUPPLIES will vigorously defend itself before the Tribunal", AFRIMAT CEO ANDRIES VAN HEERDEN said yesterday. "AFRIMAT's view is that there is no merit in the excessive pricing allegations and it is with this in mind that we continued to engage with the Commission", VAN HEERDEN said. He added that CLINKER SUPPLIES would continue to price clinker competitively against various substitute aggregates, which were widely available. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verimark earnings expected to be sharply higher - BDpro

VERIMARK yesterday said HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. are expected to be between 176% and 238% higher y/y, which it attributes to a combination of sales price increases and the strengthening of the rand. HEPS are expected to be between 22.1cps and 27cps compared with 8cps y/y. "The company will record a profit before taxation of between R33.7m and R41.2m, an increase of between 157% and 214% on the R13.1m for the comparative period". The company said a major focus on reduction and containment of costs had helped to produce favourable results. This was achieved through a renewed cost benefit analysis and elimination of wasteful expenditure. The continuing improvement had resulted in cost increase being contained to below inflationary levels, VERIMARK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral's earnings to be lower, but better than expected - BDpro

ASTRAL FOODS yesterday said HEPS for the HY to end-Mar. will be 50%-60% lower y/y, but better than what the group expected in an earlier trading statement. HEPS are expected to be between 310cps and 387cps compared with 774cps y/y. ASTRAL in Feb. said HEPS were expected to be more than 75% lower. In a revised trading update yesterday, it said the improvement on the previous estimate was the result of planned poultry production cutbacks during Q2 as well as due to the adjustment in selling prices to offset the effects of the newly legislated brining levels of individually quick frozen products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 04/04/2017

At 09h36 on 04 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.84 ZAR/EUR 14.75 ZAR/GBP 17.21 Gold 1257.69 Platinum 957.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.99 All Share 52739.32

Hulisani inks agreement to earn stake in Rustmo1 Solar Farm - Megan van Wyngaardt

HULISANI has entered into a R26.5m share sale agreement with PRAVIN SEMNARAYAN and GARETH WARNER to acquire 100% of the issued ordinary shares in MOMENTOUS TECHNOLOGIES. MOMENTOUS is currently a 15% shareholder of RUSTMO1 SOLAR FARM, a 7MW solar photovoltaic plant in the North West province. RUSTMO1, operated by JUWI RENEWABLE ENERGIES, was the first IPP to be connected to the grid under government's REIPPPP and has been operating since Nov. 2013. MOMENTOUS in Feb. triggered its preemptive right to acquire an additional 51% of the issued share capital of RUSTMO1 from existing RUSTMO1 shareholders for R88.5m, plus interest. HULISANI will fund the deal from cash reserves. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Medupi Unit 5 reaches commercial operation - Natasha Odendaal

ESKOM yesterday announced that Unit 5 at Medupi has reached commercial operation. Commercial operation status ensures technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements. "This signatory milestone marks the contractual handover of the unit from the primary contractors to ESKOM, which means that Medupi Unit 5 is now part of the ESKOM generation fleet", acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO said. Unit 5 achieved successful synchronisation on Sep. 8 and, following further testing and optimising, its full power of 800MW was attained on Dec. 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R Water, partner offer emergency desalinated water solutions in SA - Anine Kilian

MURRAY & ROBERTS WATER and Australian-based OSMOFLO have concluded a memorandum of agreement to offer emergency desalination plants in SA. Through its agreement with OSMOFLO, M&R WATER has four 7 000 m3/day sea water desalination plants that are immediately available to SA's drought-stricken areas. Each plant can provide potable water to more than 40 000 people daily. OSMOFLO has one of the largest fleets of emergency water treatment equipment, ranging from sea water and brackish water desalination plants, filtration, wastewater and chemical dosing plants, as well as other ancillary plant to complement any emergency water requirement. M&R WATER and OSMOFLO will be offering similar solutions to the local mining sector that will include the latter's patented brine squeezer technology, which offers high-recovery mine water treatment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS collects R1.1tn in tax revenue - ANA

SARS yesterday announced a R1.144tn preliminary outcome for revenue collection for the 2016/17 tax year. The revenue agency said this outcome was fractionally above the revised estimate as announced in the 2017 budget. For 2016/17, net revenue grew by 7.0% contrasted with a growth in refunds of 9.5% y/y. Personal income tax, corporate income tax, and VAT along with Customs and Excise, in aggregate remained the largest sources of tax revenue and represented about 94.5% of total tax revenue collections. Personal income tax collections of R426.0bn were 9.4% higher against the previous year by R36.7bn mainly due to PAYE payments. In aggregate, SARS paid out R222.4bn in refunds. The preliminary result would be subjected to detailed financial reconciliation which, in the past, was of the order of approximately R150m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA new vehicle exports into Africa plummet 73% since 2013 - Irma Venter

New vehicle exports from SA to the rest of Africa continued its steep decline in 2016, NAAMSA said in its newest quarterly business review. Export sales of new vehicles have declined from 78 787 units in 2013 to 61 839 units in 2014, 42 234 units in 2015 and 21 564 units in 2016. In contrast, exports to Europe continue to grow, increasing from 79 819 units in 2013 to 195 764 units in 2016. Exports to Asia have also jumped, from 36 482 units in 2013 to 47 616 units in 2015. The decline in vehicle exports to Africa have been spurred on by various factors, including ad-hoc duty increases in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, regulatory restrictions in Algeria and continued weak economic conditions in most African countries. NAAMSA expects total domestic production to reach 640 200 units in 2017, up from last year's 599 004 units. Exports are expected to grow from 344 859 units in 2016 to 375 200 units in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Group Five exco member resigns - Anine Kilian

GROUP FIVE group executive committee member and head of the Investments and Concessions cluser JON HILLARY has resigned. The company noted that HILLARY will leave an experienced senior management team in place in the property and transport businesses of the Investments and Concessions cluster when he steps down in June. The board thanked him and for his contribution to the company for some 13 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale says 260 000t iron ore on sunken ship was insured - Reuters

VALE yesterday said that 260 000t of fine iron ore on a South Korean ship that sank in the South Atlantic had been insured. VALE said the cargo, which belonged to the Brazilian company, was bound for China for storage and blending when the Stellar Daisy, operated by South Korea's PLOARIS SHIPPING, sank off Uruguay's coast. VALE said the cargo had been stowed in accordance with international norms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony tells striking Kusasalethu workers to return to work or face disciplinary action - Creamer Media Reporter

HARMONY GOLD has issued an ultimatum, calling for striking workers at its Kusasalethu mine to return to work by Tuesday night or face disciplinary action. The Labour Court on Friday granted an interdict declaring the strike unprotected and ordering employees to return to work. HARMONY yesterday said it and recognised unions, including AMCU, have entered into various labour agreements since 2013. "Despite reaching these agreements, AMCU and its members have, since the start of 2017, continued to disrupt operations, threatening the safety of HARMONY's employees and impacting negatively on production." HARMONY noted that it had lost 7-10 days of production at the mine since Mar. 21. "Given the history of this mine and the serious impact that continued production interruptions could have on the lives of our employees and their families, we call on AMCU to show responsible leadership. We urge employees at Kusasalethu to return to work", CEO PETER STEENKAMP said. This news brief represents a summary of the

PTM starts drilling for Waterberg feasibility study - Megan van Wyngaardt

PLATINUM GROUP METALS is advancing its Waterberg platinum and palladium project to feasibility stage along with partner JAPAN OIL, GAS AND METALS NATIONAL CORPORATION. The FS is currently out to tender with several well-known specialist engineering firms. Under a current commitment, JOGMEC, which holds 28.35% in the project, will fund $5.3m towards the completion of the FS. PTM CEO R MICHAEL JONES noted that a prefeasibility study has already modelled the project in a strong, globally competitive position as one of the very few large-scale, primary palladium mines at a time when the market for palladium is very strong. Last year's PFS modelled a 744 000oz/y 4E mine with an 18-year life. Drilling targeted at the conversion of indicated resources into measured resources will restart this month, with geotechnical drilling for assessing the locations for foundations and mine excavations also being planned along with further metallurgical drilling to refine recovery curves and plant designs. Detailed mine pla

DiamondCorp to retrench Lace employees - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIAMONDCORP yesterday started retrenching employees at its Lace diamond mine near Kroonstad. Talks between its business rescue practitioners and AMCU have terminated without a settlement being reached on a collective agreement to allow care and maintenance at the miner's operations to start. As a further consequence of the start of retrenchments, the senior secured status necessary for the effectiveness of post commencement financing pursuant to an agreement with the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION is no longer available. "Unless there is an accelerated plan and route for funding in place which can be completed by mid-May 2017, including a significant restructuring of all debt, and successful exit from the business rescue process, then it is likely that the group would need to be placed into administration", DIAMONDCORP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo makes bond market return - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN is set to sell its first public bond since it was stripped of its investment-grade status in Feb. 2016 following the capitulation of global commodity prices. The company yesterday started marketing a US dollar-denominated benchmark five-year deal at a yield of 4.25% to 4.375% and a US dollar-denominated benchmark ten-year deal at 5.125% to 5.25%. "It was a matter of time before they came back to the market, but they wanted to wait until sentiment had recovered from last week's volatility", a lead banker said. ANGLO's euro bonds lost up to 48 points when its relegation to junk 14 months ago initiated a bout of forced selling from investment-grade accounts. But its credit profile is looking brighter again. The company was upgraded by MOODY's to Ba1 with a positive outlook earlier last month, from Ba2, to reflect its improving credit profile and accelerated debt reduction. S&P also has a positive outlook on its BB+ rating. ANGLO paper has subsequently recovered strongly. Its €750m 3.25%

Economist slams Treasury response to downgrade - Matthew le Cordeur

National Treasury's response yesterday to the rating downgrade to junk status by S&P has been highly criticised by economist DAWIE ROODT. The Treasury's response to last night's ratings downgrade was to reassure the market and other rating agencies, saying they are "committed to a predictable and consistent policy framework, which responds to changing circumstances in a measured and transparent fashion". It went on to express a desire to move away from a reliance on foreign debt, to escape the conservative eyes of Western ratings agencies, which seeks political, economic and social stability. "Reducing reliance on foreign savings to fund investment and relying less on debt to finance public expenditure will secure South Africa's fiscal sovereignty and economic independence", the Treasury said. ROODT said the above statement means we have to spend less on current expenditure and cut back on expenditure. "Most of the expenditure goes to salaries on civil servants. We would need to cut back on civil servan

Treasury says committed to stable fiscal policy after S&P downgrade - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's Treasury is committed to a responsible fiscal path following S&P's decision to cut the country's sovereign credit rating to junk. "South Africa is committed to a predictable and consistent policy framework which responds to changing circumstances in a measured and transparent fashion", the Treasury said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's economy rebounds in final quarter of 2016 - Mfuneko Toyana

Botswana's economy expanded 0.1% q/q in the last three months of 2016 versus a revised 1.1% contraction in Q3, data from Statistics Botswana showed yesterday. On a y/y basis, GDP growth was at 4.2% in Q4 after expanding by 6.9% in Q3. The statistics agency said the increase in growth in the quarter was due to expansions in the trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communications sectors, while mining production continued to decline due to the closure of the country's copper and nickel mines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwandan brewer Bralirwa pretax profit falls 68% in 2016 - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwandan brewer BRALIRWA yesterday said its pretax profit fell 68% to 2.67bn francs, down from 8.25bn francs in 2015, as its cost of sales rose. The brewer said total revenue rose 6% to 88.8bn francs, while cost of sales went up to 63.1bn francs from 57.91bn francs previously. EPS fell to 1.36 francs in 2016, from 6.91 francs y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Mar. new vehicle sales up 2.1% y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's new vehicle sales rose 2.1% y/y to 48 534 units in Mar., data from the Department of Trade & Industry showed yesterday. Exports inched down 9.7% to 25 020 units compared with the same month a year ago, the DTI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcock to acquire Virtual Logistics - Fin24

ADCOCK INGRAM yesterday announced the acquisition of distribution company VIRTUAL LOGISTICS in a deal to take effect in Apr. 2017. "This acquisition brings us closer to realising our strategic vision of owning a fully compliant network", ADCOCK MD of distribution TOBIE KRIGE said. KRIGE noted that VL has an extensive national footprint across SA which "will complement our operational reach and capacity, allowing for improved service levels to customers, especially pharmacies". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commission recommends Media24 divest majority stake in Novus - Fin24

The Competition Commission yesterday recommended that MEDIA24 divest its majority stake in NOVUS HOLDINGS to NASPERS shareholders and retain a non-controlling 19% stake in the company. "The Competition Commission has decided to recommend the merger filing for approval to the Competition Tribunal subject to the condition that MEDIA24 divest itself of the majority of its shareholding in NOVUS; permitting MEDIA24 to retain a non-controlling minority stake in NOVUS of 19%", the statement read. "The merger condition, including the proposed 19%, remains subject to the final approval of the Competition Tribunal." Despite the proposed unbundling, MEDIA24 said it remains committed to its print media operations. "We are excited about the future of MEDIA24, and the conclusion of this process enables us to focus on our objective of enriching the lives of our consumers through our strong portfolio of digital and print media products, efashion, ecommerce and online job classifieds", it said. Former NOVUS chair LAMBERT

JSE probes Oakbay trades - Carin Smith

When routinely monitoring trades during the morning of Mar. 31, the JSE's market regulation team identified trades in OAKBAY RESOURCES & ENERGY shares that appeared to be evidence of market abuse. These trades were, therefore, cancelled by the bourse. According to PETER REDMAN, senior technical adviser in Market Regulation at the JSE, a report has been prepared and will be handed to the Directorate of Market Abuse at the Financial Services Board. "There is nothing to suggest that the company is in any way connected to the trades in question", REDMAN added. NILAN MORAR, head of trading at PURPLE GROUP, pointed out that on Mar. 30 only five OAKBAY shares were traded and the share price closed at R7.11. The physical trade prior to that was on Mar. 23 for 777 shares at R10.317 - a big move in percentage terms and on very light volume. The physical trade prior to that was on Mar. 20 when 200 shares were traded at R15.50. On Friday Mar. 31 the share price closed at R9.15 after 30 shares were traded. Busines

Someone knew, profited from Gordhan roadshow recall - analyst - Carin Smith

There is evidence that if someone was front running President JACOB ZUMA's recall of former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN from his investor roadshow, someone knew about it and made money from it, according to analyst STUART THEOBALD of INTELLIDEX. Front running is defined as the practice by market-makers of dealing on advance information provided by their brokers and investment analysts, before their clients have been given the information. At about 10:30 on Mar. 27 the news broke that ZUMA had "recalled" GORDHAN from an investor roadshow - that led to an immediate and sharp fall in the rand. THEOBALD's research showed there was a clear leap on the day GORDHAN was recalled in two forex futures contracts open on teh JSE, namely that of Jun. 2017 and Dec. 2017. There was a 15% increase in the number of June contracts and a 167% rise in the number of Dec. contracts on that Monday. "For one thing, the volume in the June contract, where most of the action was, spiked early on Monday morning. There is also

Pace of S&P downgrade the big surprise - Carin Smith

The big surprise of last night's downgrade of SA's foreign currency debt by S&P was not that it happened, but the pace at which the ratings agency had sped up its decision, according to NILAN MORAR, head of trading at PURPLE GROUP. In MORAR's view, S&P's decision is obviously in response to the recent Cabinet reshuffle by President JACOB ZUMA as the ratings agency was initially meant ot report on this only on Jun. 2. "So, effectively they downgraded SA's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating", morar SAID. He added that there is an important distinction to be made. "Of our total outstanding government debt, only about 10% is issued in foreign currency while the rest is issued in domestic currency and this carries and investment grade rating. Of the 90% that is issued in domestic currency, about 35% is held by foreigners... Ratings play a critical role when it comes to the maturing and subsequent requirement to roll this debt over... as it simply just gets more expensive. As with any investme

Cloud of doubt hangs over Gigaba's capabilities - Liesl Peyper

Opposition party members who serve in Parliament's financial committee are sceptical of Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA's credibility as the steward of SA's public finances and his ability to steer a prudent fiscal ship. The DA's DAVID MAYNIER said the impression that GIGABA was appointed with the GUPTA family's stamp of approval was reinforced on Saturday when the minister, during his first press conference, declined to answer questions about his perceived ties to the family. MAYNIER called on GIGABA to issue a public statement, setting out all the facts, including the details of every meeting, every decision, and every gift ever received from or relating ot the GUPTAS. "He also needs to reassure the public that he is committed to serving the public interest rather than the private interests of the GUPTAS". IFP MP MKHULEKO HLENGWA said the party "is concerned about stability in National Treasury". HLENGWA said there are evidently two groupings within the ANC - one group which is in favour of reckless spe

Moody's places SA on downgrade review as S&P takes action - Fin24

MOODY's last night said SA's credit rating is under review for a downgrade. The ratings agency said it has placed the Baa2 long-term issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings of the South African government on review for downgrade, a move the agency said was prompted by the abrupt change in leadership of key government institutions. Earlier in the day, STANDARD & POOR's cut SA's foreign-currency rating to BB+, the highest junk rating, and warned that a deterioration in the country's fiscal and macroeconomic performance could lead to further downgrades. The local-currency rating was reduced to BBB-, still investment grade, from BBB. The rand plummeted to R13.74 on the S&P announcement before settling to close at R13.68 in New York, just to weaken again by midnight to R13.70 on the MOODY's announcement. MOODY's said it will assess any announced or likely changes in the government's plans and the implications for potential growth and hence for the reversal of the rising debt burden. It will also assess any

Market indicators for 04/04/2017

At 07h10 on 04 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.79 ZAR/EUR 14.72 ZAR/GBP 17.21 Gold 1256.27 Platinum 957.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.12 All Share 52457.76

Hwange to confront liquidity issues - Sandile Mchunu

HWANGE COLLIERY COMPANY said it was engaging with creditors to convert its short-term debt into medium or long-term following liquidity problems in 2016. The company said part of its problems emanated from the fact some financial institutions and creditors were unwilling to extend its credit lines. HWANGE chair WINSTON CHITANDO said with an expected increase in output from both open pit and underground mining in line with the five-year strategic and turnaround, a break-even result is forecast in 2017 and profitability will be achieved in 2018, increasing year by year to 2021. CHITANDO said the five-year plan included coal production from the new mining concessions at Western Areas and Lubimbi West. He said it also took into account HWANGE Power Station Stage 3 Expansion, the refurbishment of the small thermal power stations at Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare and the commissioning of new IPP thermal power plants. In the FY to end-Dec., HWANGE reported a 41% drop in revenue to $39.9m, down from $67.5m y/y. T

Tiger Brands still wants to invest in Nigeria - Reuters

TIGER BRANDS is still interested in investing in Nigeria despite pulling out of a flour milling business it acquired that never turned a profit, says Nigerian conglomerate UAC. UAC CEO LARRY ETTAH on Friday said its partnership with TIGER was paying dividends and that in recent conversations the company had said Nigeria remained important as it looked to expand abroad. TIGER acquired 49% of UAC's food business in 2010 but since then it has had to sell its 65.7% stake in the flour division for $1 to DANGOTE INDUSTRIES, having bought it for $200m in 2012. The JV company UAC FOODS LIMITED posted a pretax profit of 1.14bn naira last year, down from 1.43bn naira, though ETTAH said the company "was still paying dividends". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net1 inks addendum with SASSA - Kabelo Khumalo

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES on Friday said it had signed an addendum with SASSA giving effect to the Constitutional Court's ruling that it must continue paying social grants for a period of a year. NET1 said the payment of Apr. grants to recipients was on track and affirmed its commitment to uninterrupted service delivery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sentula finally settles long-term debt - Sandile Mchunu

SENTULA has managed to settle its long-term debt by paying the R33.5m outstanding amount. The loan dates back to 2007 when the company borrowed R1.5bn from STANDARD BANK, HSBC and SANLAM CAPITAL MARKETS. The original agreement, entered into in 2007, was for an amount of R1.5bn and the balance outstanding at Jun. 30 2016 was R33.5m, SENTULA said. The company has made it a priority to settle long-term debt and restructure in order to return to profitability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Silver Lake, Broadcom eye $18bn Toshiba chip unit - James Fontanella-Khan

Private equity group SILVER LAKE has teamed up with US chipmaker BROADCOM in a bid to acquire TOSHIBA's semiconductor business for nearly $18bn, sources said at the weekend. TOSHIBA is in talks with several other potential suitors for its chipmaking unit and hopes the sale will help it meet any financial shortfalls related to last week's bankruptcy filing for its WESTINGHOUSE business in the US. The Japanese conglomerate's decision to sell NAND comes after shareholders approved a plan to split it from the rest of the business. TOSHIBA president SATOSHI TSUNAKAWA said the business will be sold for no less than Y2tn. Sources said other interested bidders include WESTERN DIGITAL, MICRON TECHNOLOGY, SK HYNIX and private equity groups. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Linde bosses confident of merger with Praxair - Patrick McGee

Both the CEO and chairperson of LINDE insist the planned $65bn merger with US rival PAXAIR is on track to be signed before the company's shareholder meeting next month. Despite some opposition from workers, both CEO ALDO BELLONI and chair WOLFGANG REITZLE have expressed confidence the deal will go ahead before the May 10 meeting. In the event that the workers' side oppose the deal, REITZLE has said he is willing to push it through by casting his double vote in favour of it. The prospect of the deal going through was called into question last week when LINDE's European works council called the planned tie-up "a demolition which will destroy LINDE's brand essence". The council said it worried about "a significant number of job losses" and the fact that the new operational headquarters would be in Connecticut, where PRAXAIR is based. The merger must be approved by LINDE's supervisory board, which by German law is split equally between shareholder and worker representatives. BELLONI has previously said that

Facebook launches $14m collaborative news literacy project - Madhumita Murgia

FACEBOOK has launched the News Integrity Initiative, a $14m collaborative project to advance the public's news literacy, in the wake of strong criticism about the social network's role in the spreading of misinformation online. Grants from the research pot will be administered by The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, as well as academic institutions such as the London School of Economics in the UK, Sciences Po in France and others in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. FACEBOOK said the goal is to help the public make informed judgments about the news they read and share online. The fund will spur applied research and projects, and convene meetings with industry experts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

C.banks cut euro exposure in favour of sterling - Claire Jones

Central banks are dumping euros amid concerns over political instability, weak growth and the ECB's negative interest rate policy - and favour sterling as a long-term, stable alternative. Despite uncertainty over Brexit, central bankers from around the world see the UK as a safer prospect for their reserve investments than the eurozone, a new poll shows. A survey of reserve managers at 80 central banks, published today, shows that the stability of the monetary union is their greatest fear for 2017. The results, compiled by trade publication Central Banking Publication and HSBC, show some respondents have cut their entire exposure to the euro, while others have reduced their holdings of investments denominated in euros to the bare minimum. More than two-thirds of the 80 central banks had changed their portfolio allocation, while roughly the same amount had changed the duration of their investments. Developing and EM central banks were more likely than those from advanced economies to have shifted out of t

Updated market indicators for 03/04/2017

At 11h23 on 03 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.68 ZAR/EUR 14.59 ZAR/GBP 17.11 Gold 1246.18 Platinum 952.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.39 All Share 52387.03

Euronext, ICE sign clearing services pact - Philip Stafford

EURONEXT has moved swiftly from missing out on the €510m purchase of LCH's French unit by agreeing to move its derivatives and commodities clearing operations to rival INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE. EURONEXT has agreed a 10-year deal to use the clearing services of ICE's Dutch business from H2 2018, and end a long-standing relationship with LCH. EURONEXT accounts for nearly half of LCH France's business and has a contract with the clearing house that expires at the end of 2018. It had hoped to pick up LCH SA, which was offered by the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP as a concession to European antitrust regulators to bless its merger with DEUTSCHE BORSE. Brussels last week blocked that deal and the LSE's provisional agreement with EURONEXT was subsequently unwound. EURONEXT will contribute a €10m upfront investment in ICE CLEAR NETHERLANDS. Clearing operations will be run from Amsterdam and a new business for asset financing, inventory management and physical delivery for commodities will be built by EURONEX

Reckitt launches 'strategic review' of food business - Mehreen Khan

RECKITT BENCKISER has started a "strategic review" of its non-core food business. The company today issued a statement in response to media reports, saying its French food brand was a "truly fantastic business with great brands, people and a history of outperformance. It is nevertheless non-core to RB. We have therefore decided to initiate a strategic review of Food where we will explore all options for this great business". The Sunday Times yesterday reported that RB was mulling the disposal, worth £2bn, which could help reduce its debt. In Feb. RECKITT announced a $17.9bn deal to take over baby milk manufacturer MEAD JOHNSON, putting it in direct competition with NESTLE and DANONE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple to end use of Imagination Technologies chips - Mehreen Khan

UK chip designer IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES has said APPLE, its largest customer, will no longer use its intellectual property in its new products launching in less than two years' time, causing shares to crash nearly 70%. APPLE told IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES that it was "working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on IMAGINATION's technology", the company said. IMAGINATION relies on APPLE for around half of its revenues. At the start of today's trading, shares were down as much as 69% to 85p - their lowest level since the financial crisis. IMAGINATION however said it disputed whether APPLE would be able to develop its own chip designs without infringing on the company's IP rights, adding that the tech giant "has not presented any evidence to substantiate is assertion that it will no longer require IMAGINATION's technology, without violating IMAGINATION's patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence

BP signals deal to sell Forties pipelines - Katie Martin

BP has wrapped up a deal with INEOS to sell its FORTIES PIPELINE SYSTEM, which it opened in 1975 as one of the most strategically important parts of the North Sea oil infrastructure. The pipeline system is made up of about 100 miles of pipelines and transports some 450 000 boe/day - the equivalent of 40% of UK output from the North Sea. It employs around 300 people. Under the deal, INEOS will pay up to $250m for the asset, spread over several years. The transaction is still subject to some approvals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish inflation surges to highest in 14 years - Mehreen Khan

Turkey's annual consumer prices rose by 11.29% in Mar., the worst reading since 2003 and accelerating from 10% in Feb. as the economy battles with a plunging lira and rising global energy prices. Inflation hit double digits for the first time since Mar. 2012 last month, heaping pressure on policymakers who have been trying to steady the weakening lira and support growth since the start of the year. Core inflation also climbed to 9.46%. Food and alcohol were the biggest single drivers of higher prices last month, Turkstat said - up nearly 22%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK 2016 GDP growth confirmed at 1.8% - Nicholas Megaw

The UK economy grew by 1.8% in 2016, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed, despite slightly lower than expected y/y growth in Q4. Economic output in Q4 was 1.9% greater than the same quarter last year, down from earlier estimates of 2%. The country's quarter q/q growth rate and annual growth rage for the whole of 2016 remained in line with previous forecasts, at 0.7% and 1.8%, respectively. Growth over the year was driven by strong consumer spending, while business investment declined. DARREN MORGAN, head of GDP at the ONS, said the "long term picture is still one of robust growth" despite a slight slowdown in services since the start of 2017, though the ONS release stressed that rising inflation is "putting downward pressure on real wages and incomes". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse faces tax probes in multiple countries - fastFT

CREDIT SUISSE on Friday confirmed it is the subject of tax probes launched in the UK, France and the Netherlands, setting back Switzerland's attempts to clean up its image as a haven for tax evaders. The Swiss lender said it was cooperating with authorities after its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam were contacted by local officials "concerning client tax matters". The UK's HMRC tax authority said the "first phase" of its investigation focused on "senior employees within the institution along with a number of its customers". Meanwhile, the Swiss attorney general's offices said it was "astonished at the way this operation has been organised with the deliberate exclusion of Switzerland. The normal customs and rules of international cooperation and legal assistance procedures have apparently not been observed. The federal public prosecutor expects a written explanation from the relevant leading Dutch authorities, and is considering further steps". This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Fitch warns Gordhan sacking could hit SA debt ratings - Nicholas Megaw

FITCH RATINGS has weighed in on the recent political turmoil in SA and, while it stopped short of taking any immediate action, highlighted the increased likelihood of negative developments for the government's sovereign credit rating. FITCH currently rates SA's government debt at BBB-, one notch above junk. The sacking of former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN on Friday prompted the ratings agency to say it believes that both weaker growth and further political uncertainty are now more likely. "We believe fiscal consolidation is likely to become less of a priority and the move to improve transparency and governance of state-owned enterprises will be halted. State-owned entities' liabilities, and therefore contingent liabilities to the government, will probably grow more rapidly, particularly if a plan to postpone the commissioning of new nuclear power stations to 2037 is reversed", FITCH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore sells 51% stake in oil products storage business for $775m - David Sheppard

GLENCORE has sold a 51% stake in its oil products storage business to China's HNA INNOVATION FINANCE GROUP, the company said on Friday. The deal, subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions, will see the parties form HG STORAGE INTERNATIONAL, which will operate oil storage assets across Europe, Africa and the Americas. The agreement will have a three-year lock-up period, reflecting "a mutual agreement to a long-term partnership". The transaction is expected to close in H2 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DuPont CEO expects US approval 'shortly' for Dow merger - Ed Crooks

DUPONT expects to receive approval from the US authorities "shortly" for its proposed $147bn merger with DOW CHEMICAL, CEO EDWARD BREEN said last week. BREEN said he did not know the exact schedule for the US Department of Justice to make a decision on the deal, but expected the remaining regulatory approvals the company needs to be secured "rather quickly". He was speaking at DUPONT's announcement of a deal to sell a portion of its crop protection business to FMC, the US chemicals manufacturer, to meet requirements raised by the European Commission to allow the deal to proceed. The merged entity is intended to be broken up into three more focused companies - one in seeds and crop protection, one in materials such as plastics, and one in speciality products and chemicals. The plan is to complete that break-up within 18 months of the merger closing. DUPONT and DOW on Friday said the materials company was scheduled to be the first business to be spun off. This news brief represents a summary of the orig

SA records trade surplus for Feb. - BDpro

SA recorded a R5.22bn trade surplus in Feb. after a revised deficit of R11.22bn in Jan., SARS said on Friday. That beat a Bloomberg consensus for a R1bn surplus. STANLIB chief economist KEVIN LINGS said it was difficult to forecast trade data as it was not seasonally adjusted and was "prone to revisions". January's deficit was revised upwards by R0.41bn to R11.22bn. SARS attributed the Feb. surplus to exports of R87.79bn compared to imports of R82.57bn. Exports rose by R7.57bn from Jan. to Feb. while imports decreased by R8.86bn. The year-to-date trade balance deficit of R6bn for the first two months of 2017 was a R23.62bn improvement on the deficit for the first two months of 2016, SARS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fuel prices to drop this month - ANA

The price of 95 octane ULP and LRP petrol will drop by 24c/l in Gauteng and by 25c/l at the coast from Wednesday, the Central Energy Fund said at the weekend. The price of 93 octane petrol will drop by 22c/l in Gauteng and 23c/l at the coast. The wholesale price of diesel will drop by 10.5c/l in Gauteng and 10.8c/l at the coast, while the cost of illuminating paraffin will drop by 65c/l and the maximum retail price of LP Gas by R1.01/kg. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

1 900 jobs lost in vehicle industry - Roy Cokayne

A total of 1 900 jobs were lost in the vehicle manufacturing industry in Q4 2016. This represented a decline of 6% in total employment by the industry to 29 489 jobs on Dec. 31, from 31 389 jobs at end-Sep. NAAMSA director NICO VERMEULEN said this was because of the lay-off of temporary workers at three major industry plants after stable industry employment over the past four years. The latest quarterly review of business conditions in the new vehicle manufacturing industry, published on Friday, showed that an average of 30 953 people were employed by the industry last year compared with an average of 31 260 in 2015. Capacity utilisation levels for cars fell last year to 76% from 80.4% in 2015 while light commercial vehicle capacity utilisation dropped to 77.9% from 80.6% in the same period. Capex by the industry this year was expected to reach R8.17bn compared with R6.4bn last year and the record R6.9bn in 2014. Total new vehicle sales declined by 11.4% last year. VERMEULEN said barring unforeseen pol

Joffe to list investment firm this week - Reuters

BRIAN JOFFE will list a R2bn investment firm, LONG4LIFE, on the JSE this week, the firm said in a prelisting statement on Friday. JOFFE will provide R100m of the capital himself and unidentified investors will subscribe for the balance before listing the firm on Apr. 7. The firm will not raise any more capital on its listing date. LONG4LIFE aims to be more nimble than traditional private equity funds and plans to attract public market investors with a diversified portfolio of both listed and unlisted assets. LONG4LIFE said it will "pursue investments predominantly with a lifestyle focus. These could include businesses in the beauty, outdoor, sport, retirement villages, and restaurants, among other sectors". The firm will have the share code L4L on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME imposes $1.4m fine on Glencore warehouse unit - Reuters

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE imposed a $1.4m fine on the metals warehouse unit of GLENCORE on Friday, for falsifying documents detailing zinc movements from New Orleans. The LME said GLENCORE's ACCESS WORLD agreed to pay the fine without admitting any breaches. The allegations surfaced in Jun. 2016 when a complaint filed by zinc purchasers in the US Federal Court alleged that GLENCORE's warehouse executives ordered workers to falsify documents in New Orleans to manipulate the zinc market. The complaint was made public after a US judge in Manhattan allowed a private antitrust lawsuit to go ahead against two units of GLENCORE, accusing them of trying to monopolise the market for special high-grade zinc, driving up its price. The LME statement did not allege that GLENCORE was seeking to manipulate the zinc market. "The exchange understands that the primary rationale for the falsified records was to address logistical issues", the statement said. The LME said its investigation alleged that from 2010 to 2014 "e

Market shocks, technical recession await SA post-Gordhan - Liesl Peyper

Last week's surprise cabinet reshuffle was a clever and calculated strategy by President JACOB ZUMA, but one which will result in a profound economic and market shock in the months ahead, according to NOMURA emerging market economist PETER ATTARD MONTALTO. The rand shed over 8% over the course of last week, and dipped as low as R13.62 on Friday. "There's no way to come back from this", MONTALTO said in a note to clients. He opined that ZUMA's cabinet reshuffle was "designed" to ultimately help the ZUMA faction win this coming December's elective conference. "[It] will meet strong resistance, but will not be overcome, given the maths of the ANC National Executive Committee and in Parliament", MONTALTO said. The ZUMA camp requires access to the Treasury and other ministries to move its agenda forward, ultimately to win the elective conference and maintain the integrity and cohesiveness of the ZUMA camp's "patronage machine". "There has been very little real resistance to the reshuffle and the removal of P

Tribunal to prosecute bricks firm with Eskom links - Fin24

The Competition Commission has referred a company, which has an exclusive contract with ESKOM, for prosecution to the Competition Tribunal for abusing its dominance by charging excessive prices, it said yesterday. AFRIMAT - the supplier of a main ingredient in clinker bricks largely used in the construction of RDP houses via wholly owned subsidiary CLINKER SUPPLIES - has exclusive rights from ESKOm to source waste ash from dumps at three disused coal-fired power stations in Gauteng and the Free State. AFRIMAT also has royalty and indefinite land rental agreements with ESKOM until the ash dumps are exhausted. The company is therefore the only supplier of clinker ash within a 100km radius of each respective ash dump site. "This means it is dominant in the relevant geographic markets for the production and supply of the clinker ash aggregate. Clinker brick manufacturers in these areas, who use the clinker ash aggregate, are dependent on AFRIMAT", the Commission said. AFRIMAT acquired CLINKER in 2002, follo

Vardospan loses 11th-hour court bid to buy Habib Bank - Lameez Omarjee

North Gauteng High Court Judge RONEL TOLMAY on Friday threw out VARDOSPAN's urgent court application. The company, headed by GUPTA associates HAMZA FAROOQUI and SALIM ESSA, filed the urgent application on Monday to review and set aside the alleged failure by registrar of banks and SARB deputy governor KUBEN NAIDOO and former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN to determine its application and grant it permission to buy a majority stake in HABIB OVERSEAS BANK and be registered as the controlling company. The agreement VARDOSPAN made with PITCAIRNS FINANCE on Aug. 31 2016 to purchase a majority stake was based on condition that they receive regulatory approval by Jan. 31, extended to Mar. 31. TOLMAY said there was still room for VARDOSPAN to negotiate an extension, concluding that the urgency was "self-created". The application was dismissed with costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South African firm plans to build 235MW power plant in Zambia - Reuters

A South African company plans to build a dam and 235MW hydroelectric power station costing some $1.26bn in Zambia to help plug a power shortage. MDH SOUTH AFRICA has proposed being an anchor developer for the Ndevu Gorge Power Project which is planned on the Luangwa River in eastern Zambia, the Zambian embassy in Pretoria said on Friday. "The company has since made an application for authority to proceed with feasibility through Ministry of Energy", it said. The Ndevu Gorge Hydro Project involved building a dam on the Luangwa River to create a lake that is 165km long and 17km wide at its broadest point, and which would drive a 235MW power station. The embassy said the initial estimate for the construction cost was $1.26bn. MDH SA was in talks with investors and expected to conclude funding negotiations after the government issued the authority to proceed with feasibility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU commission regrets 'artificially inflated' US steel duties - Reuters

The European Commission on Friday said it regretted a US decision to impose antidumping measures on steel plate exported from Europe, adding that the duties were "artificially inflated". The US Commerce Department set duties of up to 148% on cut-to-length plate from seven producers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, prompting Germany to urge the EU to file a WTO complaint. The Commission had been active during the procedure supporting the European exporters concerned, a spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, our comments and notably those concerning the use by the US of methodologies which artificially inflate the preliminary dumping margins have not been given expected consideration", the spokesperson said. The final duties were in many cases higher than the preliminary duties set in Nov. The Commission "will look now into the detail of the decision taken by the US and consider the appropriate steps". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 03/04/2017

At 07h17 on 03 April 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.41 ZAR/EUR 14.32 ZAR/GBP 16.82 Gold 1248.56 Platinum 954.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.40 All Share 52056.06

Codelco output slips, but cost cuts boost earnings - Reuters

Chile's state copper company CODELCO posted a drop in annual copper output on Friday as ore grades fell at its key deposits, but cost cuts helped it swing to a profit for 2016. CODELCO said it produced 1.83mt of copper in 2016, of which 1.71mt came from its wholly owned mines. That 1.71mt figure is down around 1.4% from 2015 as the company digs deeper and scrabbles through poorer quality ore to keep output flowing. Costs were lower, with reported production costs per pound of copper at $1.26 in 2016, from $1.39 y/y. The company posted a pretax profit for the year of $435m, a significant rise from the previous year's historic loss of $2.19bn. For 2017, the company expected to invest around $2.8bn, with plans to go ahead with a massive desalination plant in the northern desert mining region of Antofagasta. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa implements new development plan at Bokoni - Megan van Wyngaardt

With the restructure plan at ATLATSA's Bokoni mine having reached completion, resulting in the UM2 and vertical Merensky shaft operations being placed on care and maintenance, Bokoni will now operate only two underground shafts, both of which are in ramp-up phases toward steady state. The company on Friday said the Middelpunt Hill UG2 shaft was currently operating at 80% of its targeted steady state volumes of 60 000t/m and is estimated to reach steady state by Q2 2019. The mine has well-established infrastructure and ore is processed on site at the concentrator plant with an installed design capacity of 160 000t/m. The initial phse of the new operational plan at Bokoni is targeting a steady state operation of 145 000t/m throughput being achieved by 2019, with volumes being processed through the existing concentrator plant. Meanwhile, ATLATSA noted that talks were continuing between ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM, ATLATSA and relevant investors surrounding an appropriate exit for AMPLATS from the Bokoni JV. As

Pan African sets sights on commercial output at Elikhulu next year - Megan van Wyngaardt

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES will redeploy around 500 of its employees to the Elikhulu tailings retreatment project during its construction phase, group mineral resource manager BARRY NAICKER said on Friday. NAICKER said that following commissioning, this number would drop to 50 permanent employees. PAN AFRICAN earlier in Mar. said it would seek to re-engage a number of retrenched employees from its Evander mine when site activities for the Elikhulu tailings project in a bid to reduce job losses. EVANDER is to reduce its underground operation's fixed cost base once mining restarts, with 30%, or 976 of the mine's 2 400 employees having been retrenched at an estimated cost of R54m. Meanwhile, the company was now pursuing construction of Elikhulu, following a positive independent definitive feasibility study for facilities and infrastructure at the Evander mine to retreat gold plant tailings at a rate of 1mt/month. NAICKER said the company hoped to break first ground in Q3 2017, reaching commercial output by Q3 20

Turnbull fails in bid to cut tax for Australian big business - Bloomberg

Australian PM MALCOLM TURNBULl was forced to water down hi plan to cut company taxes for big business, undermining the central plank of his strategy to boost growth just five weeks before the government releases a budget aimed at saving the country's triple-A credit rating. While his administration struck a deal to trim the tax rate for businesses with revenue less than A$50m by 2018/19, it was forced to shelve cuts over a decade for bigger companies due to opposition in the Senate. The upper house passed the amended legislation on Friday. The government won agreement to immediately cut the rate for companies with revenue less than A$10m to 27.5% from 30%. The cut will be extended to companies with revenue of less than A$50m within three years. TURNBULL's plan to cut the tax rate for all companies to 25% over the next decade is in limbo. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst to build PGM tech tipped to transform sector - David McKay

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES, through Sedibelo Platinum Mine, together with LIFEZONE and the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION are to press ahead with the commercial development of its Kell Platinum Beneficiation Technology that is expected to transform the PGM sector in southern Africa. Kell technology, which has been developed by Sedibelo director KEITH LIDDELL, has been under wraps for the last five years, and is a chemically-based leach process that consumers less than a fifth of electricity required to operate standard platinum smelters and refineries which burn the impurities from platinum concentrate. The capital cost of the Kell technology is a tenth of the normal smelter/refinery, PALLINGHURST CEO ARNE FRANDSEN said. The Kell plants, which can be constructed in modules, cost around $100m and can be built in 18 months. The intention is for Sedibelo to operate Kell on a toll basis although potential third-party customers can also make equity investments in the construction of modules. Preliminary talks

SA local debt rating downgrade could spark $10bn outflow - UBS - Sujata Rao

The sacking of PRAVIN GORDHAN as finance minister leaves the country risking a two-notch downgrade on its local currency credit rating, which would see it ejected from a key bond index ands cause up to $10bn in outflows, UBS said on Friday. Investment outflows at that level would effectively double the country's current account gap, UBS said. It said that a bigger danger lay in local currency debt. Rated two notches into investment grade, SA is one of the few emerging economies whose local currency bonds are eligible for CITI's World Government Bond Index, a global benchmark tracked by over $3tn globally. A two-notch cut to local ratings would exclude SA from the index, UBS noted, estimating WGBI-indexed local bond holdings at $10bn - just above the country's 2016 current account deficit of $9.5bn, or 22% of total foreign holdings of local debt. "South Africa's continued inclusion in WGBI rests on a local currency investment grading rating from S&P and MOODY's - presently two notches away", UBS analysts

Ghana sells 3.42bn cedis in local bond debut - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana raised 3.42bn cedis from a debut 15-year domestic bond issued on Friday, paying a yield of 19.75%, lead arrangers said. The country also accepted 1.45bn cedis worth of bids for a concurrent 7-year local bond at a yield of 19.75% as part of renewed efforts to use longer maturities to rebalance its finances. Friday's bond sales were conducted through a bookbuilding arranged by BARCLAYS BANK GHANA, STANBIC GHANA and STRATEGIC AFRICAN SECURITIES. Settlement will be today. The government of President NANA AKUFO-ADDO plans to issue domestic securities worth 22.25bn cedis in Q2, of which 14bn cedis will be used to roll over maturing debt. It has earmarked 2.55bn cedis to finance its budgetary requirements and 5.6bn to build buffers for liability management, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania plans to import 400MW of electricity from Ethiopia - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania plans to import 400MW of electricity from Ethiopia to power its industrial drive, President JOHN MAGUFULI said on Friday. Despite reserves of over 57tn cu ft of natural gas, the country faces chronic power shortages due to its reliance on hydroelectric dams in a drought-prone region, for about a third of its 1 570MW of installed capacity. MAGUFULI said the power will be transmitted through a high voltage line linking the two nations via Kenya. MAGUFULI said Ethiopian PM HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN "has agreed to supply us with 400MW, which could be increased later on". The two leaders also witnessed the signing of various deals between the two countries, including cooperation on energy, tourism and agriculture. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gigaba had 'robust' talks with ratings agencies - Mfuneko Toyana

Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA on Saturday said he had had talks with ratings agencies MOODY's and FITCH, which he described as "cordial and robust", and would later speak with S&P GLOBAL RATINGS. Analysts have said SA's investment grade credit ratings are threatened after the removal of former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and his deputy, MCEBISI JONAS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World grain output expected to fall as record 2016 harvest weighs on prices - Emiko Terazono

World grain output is forecast to fall 3% in the coming crop year as the record harvest in 2016 has taken its toll on maize and wheat prices, according to the International Grains Council. Despite the output decline, the high level of inventories is expected to keep grain markets well supplied. The IGC said: "Although some retreat in production is projected, the elevated level of opening stocks will almost offset the fall". The predictions from the intergovernmental organisation echoes expectations of leading agricultural traders, whose bosses told the Financial Times Commodities Global Summit in Switzerland this week that key food markets are likely to remain oversupplied for at least three more years. Farmers are expected to increase the planted area for soyabeans in 2017, which is likely to boost production from the all-time peak of 341mt. Despite the expected rise in output, inventories could fall due to firm demand, the IGC added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US GDP growth rate revised up for Q4 - Pan Kwan Yuk

The US economy grew at a slightly quicker pace than previously thought during Q4, according to a revised report published yesterday. GDP grew at an annualised rate of 2.1% in Q4 2016, a final reading from the Commerce Department showed. That compares with analysts' expectations for 2% and the previous two readings of 1.9%. While the figure exceeds the pace of growth seen during H1 2016, it is still a marked slowdown from the 3.5% growth recorded during Q3. Overall, the US economy grew 1.6% over 2016 as a whole, its weakest year in five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's factories stop shedding jobs for first time since 2012 - Hudson Lockett

China's manufacturing sector saw activity climb to the highest level since 2012 in Mar. as an official gauge showed factories ceased shedding jobs for the first time in nearly five years. The official PMI for China's manufacturing sector came in at 51.8 in Mar., according to the National Bureau of Statistics, up from 51.6 in Feb. A sub-index tracking output climbed half a percentage point to 54.2, while that for new orders rose to 53.5 as new export orders notched a similar increase to 51, suggesting continued, if mild, improvement in external demand. A sub-index for input prices fell almost 5 points from February's level to 59.3. Conditions at the biggest manufacturers remained steady, with a sub-index tracking large-scale companies holding at 53.3. Conditions at small enterprises improved markedly as contraction softened more than 2 points to 48.6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citi warns staff to prepare for hard Brexit - Laura Noonan

CITI is preparing for a "hard" Brexit that could force it to relocate jobs from the UK and create a new broker dealer entity in the EU, the Bank's EMEA boss JIM COWLES has told staff. COWLES yesterday told his staff that, for planning purposes, "we must assume a "hard" Brexit in which the UK loses its ability to passport into the EU. A hard Brexit would require certain changes, including relocating certain client-facing roles to the EU from the UK, and the possible creation of a new broker-dealer entity within the EU." COWLES added that the bank had been discussing options with both clients and staff. "As we make various decisions, we will share details with you as soon as possible. I can tell you that London will remain both our EMEA headquarters and an important global hub for CITI, and that the changes we are considering are being designed to limit the impact to both our clients and our employees". CITI already has an on the ground presence in 20 of the 27 EU states, and 58% of its EU workforce is a

JPMorgan in talks for Dublin building with space for 1 000 people - Laura Noonan

JPMORGAN is in talks to buy a big new building in Dublin, but has told London staff it will not "rush into any decisions" on how it will adjust its operations to after Brexit. Bloomberg reported that the US lender is in talks to take the Capital Dock building in Dublin's city centre which could accommodate some 1 000 people. The bank declined to comment. The news comes as US banks scour the EU for new bases in the aftermath of the UK's decision to exit the EU, which will likely force banks to pull some business out of London. JPMORGAN employs 16 000 staff in the UK. It has licences scattered across the EU including Dublin and Frankfurt, two of the leading destinations which JPMORGAN and other banks are likely to move some operations to in the aftermath of Brexit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU leaders prepare tough opening guidelines in Brexit talks - Alex Barker

EU leaders are preparing a tough opening stance for Brexit talks, according to the draft of the bloc's first response to Britain's request to begin Article 50 exit talks. The first version of the European Council's negotiating guidelines lays down exacting conditions on the UK, making clear that a smooth transition out of the single market will require accepting the bloc's laws, supervisors, courts and budget contributions. Before EU leaders are willing to open talks about future UK-EU trade relations, the draft states that "sufficient progress" must be made in talks on withdrawal terms, covering the rights of EU migrants in Britain and outstanding UK financial liabilities to the EU. The draft guidelines bluntly state that Britain's departure from the single market and customs union will involve disruption for the economy and citizens as new legal barriers are enforced. Six core principles are set for the talks, covering both the withdrawal and transition phase. It calls for a balance of rights and oblig

Turkish GDP growth rebounds strongly - Mehreen Khan

Turkey's economic growth bounced back better than expected at the end of 2016, wiping out its worst quarterly contraction since the financial crisis. Annual GDP expanded by 3.5% in Q4 y/y, rebounding from the 1.8% slump in Q3. Overall expansion in 2016 came in at 2.9% according to figures from Turkstat, above expectations of 2.2% expansion in the calendar year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Huawei revenues grew by a third in 2016 - Yuan Yang

China's biggest smartphone maker HUAWEI grew its revenues by almost a third in 2016, boosted by smartphone sales soaring during a disastrous year for rival SAMSUNG. HUAWEI shipped 139m smartphones last year, an increase of roughly a third from the previous year, cementing its status as the world's third biggest smartphone manufacturer. Last year, HUAWEI released a line of high-end phones in a bid to win over richer consumers in the west. However, net profit margins continued to fall as a result of the company's ongoing move towards smartphones, away from its more lucrative telecoms equipment business. Revenues grew 32% to Rmb521.6bn from a year earlier, while net profits rose 0.4% to Rmb37.1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico lifts key rate as inflation fight continues - Jude Webber

Mexico's central bank delivered a quarter-point rate hike in lien with market expectations, taking its key lending rate to 6.5% to keep up the fight against rising inflation. "Since the last monetary policy decision, the conditions in national financial markets improved significantly", Banxico said in its statement, though it acknowledged external uncertainty remained. The central bank said its unanimous decision was motivated by a desire to avoid contagion in price formation in the economy, to anchor inflation expectations and take into account the US Federal Reserve's recent 25bp rise. Banxico promised to continue monitoring all viables closely so it could take all necessary measures to bring inflation into line. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EM portfolio inflows hit 26-month high - IIF - Jonathan Wheatley

Capital flows to emerging markets have continued to surge ahead after a strong start to the year, with cross-border portfolio flows in Mar. at their highest monthly level since Jan. 2015 and broad capital flows to China turning positive in Feb. for the first time in almost three years, according to the Institute of International Finance. The IIF said flows from non-residential investors into EM bonds and equities were an estimated $29.8bn in Mar., up from $17.2bn in Feb. Meanwhile, overall net capital flows to EMs, including trade and other items, turned sharply positive in Feb., the IIF said, thanks to about $27.5bn recorded for China, breaking a 34-month streak of outflows. Most of the portfolio flows in Mar. came after the US Federal Reserve raised rates on Mar. 15, as investors shrugged off what would normally be a negative signal for EM assets. Of the cross-border flows in Mar., $17.6bn went to EM bonds and $12.2bn to equities, the IIF said. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

SA bonds, bank stocks plunge as analysts prepare for ratings downgrade - Nicholas Megaw

South African government bonds and banking stocks plummeted this morning as analysts prepare for imminent downgrades to the country's credit ratings after President JACOB ZUMA dismissed PRAVIN GORDHAN and eight other cabinet members overnight. Yields on the country's 10-year bonds were up 32.5 bps to 8.813%. The FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index was down 5.5%, its biggest one-day drop since the firing of former finance minister NHLANHLA NENE in Dec. 2015. NOMURA emerging markets analyst PETER ATTARD MONTALTO stressed that "this is not over yet", adding that many in the market are still being too optimistic. "The market has been far too complacent that ZUMA cannot remove PG (GORDHAN) but he has now gone and done it and yet the market is still hanging onto the hope of a credible candidate which has not come with a complete clear out at NT (Treasury). This is a full whack ZUMA-led reshuffle which will lead to multiple imminent downgrades where ZUMA is confident he has the upper hand over weak internal ANC opposit

Banks lose R86bn of market cap - Robert Laing

The JSE's banks had R86bn of their market cap wiped out this morning as the market reacted to President JACOB ZUMA's firing of Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and his deputy, MCEBISI JONAS. Worst hit was FIRSTRAND, whose share price tanked 12% to R43.25 from yesterday's close of R49.12, equating to a R33bn drop in its market cap. STANDARD BANK was the next biggest casualty, with a 9.2% drop to R139.50 from R153.70, knocking its market cap by R23bn. RAND MERCHANT HOLDINGS fell 7.9% to R56.69, reducing its market cap by R6.9bn. BARCLAYS AFRICA fell 7.6% to R138.80 from R150.27, cutting its market cap by R9.7bn. NEDBANK fell 6.8% to R242.80 from R260.65, equating to an R8.9bn reduction in market cap, while CAPITEC fell 5.4% to R755.01, shrinking its market cap by R5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transcend Property declares maiden dividend - Alistair Anderson

TRANSCEND RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY declared a 5.60803cps dividend in its maiden financial results on Thursday, for the one-month period to end-Dec. TRANSCEND listed in Dec. 2016. CEO ROB WESSELO said the fund intended to give investors exposure to a "robust rental market following its listing". Around 3% of listed property in SA includes residential assets. TRANSCEND trades as a REIT. It was created by INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SOLUTIONS, and listed on the AltX with a market cap of R489m and a rental portfolio of assets worth R1.165b, offering a yield of 9.25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netcare adjusted H1 HEPS to be lower - BDpro

NETCARE yesterday said its adjusted HEPS for H1 2017 were expected to be between 9% and 13% lower than the adjusted HEPS of 91cps reported y/y. This was due to the expected effect of currency conversion due to the stronger rand. NETCARE yesterday noted that the average rand exchange rate against the pound had been considerably stronger in the period under review. NETCARE's local hospitals and emergency services division had also experienced a challenging period of trading for the period under review, characterised by low growth in the economy and in total medical scheme beneficiaries. NETCARE noted that in its previous guidance it had indicated that it expected EBITDA to decline due to the potential impact of sizeable new "efficiency options" being introduced by medical schemes. However, the take-up on these options had been lower than anticipated to date and the effect on margins in H1 2017 was expected to be minimal, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma's reshuffle list 'developed elsewhere' - Mantashe - Natasha Marrian

ANC secretary-general GWEDE MANTASHE says the list of Cabinet changes was "developed elsewhere". "This reshuffle was not done in consultation with the ANC, we were given a list that was done elsewhere and it was given to us", he said. The sacking of Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and his deputy, MCEBISI JONAS, is set to have far-reaching consequences as President JACOB ZUMA and his allies have their hands firmly on the wheels of the Treasury, with the appointment of MALUSI GIGABA as GORDHAN's replacement. MANTASHE said the matter of the finance minister was discussed on Monday and some changes were effected to the initial proposals made by the president, but the rest of the reshuffle was news even to the ANC's top leaders. "The issue, from where we are sitting, we raised the question that ministers who are being moved are not the worst performing... we have a problem with that". The ANC's hands are tied, however, with MANTASHE reiterating that Cabinet appointments remain the prerogative of the president

Updated market indicators for 31/03/2017

At 10h05 on 31 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.35 ZAR/EUR 14.27 ZAR/GBP 16.63 Gold 1243.15 Platinum 946.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.07 All Share 52110.81

Gigaba deployed to Treasury for Guptas - Save SA - Matthew le Cordeur

New finance minister MALUSI GIGABA has been deployed to Treasury to perform a particular agenda for the GUPTAS, Save SA said this morning. Political analyst RALPH MATHEKGA told News24 that the fact that GIGABA is "in the GUPTAS' pocket is beyond speculation.... There was, for instance, a clear illustration of this when he used his influence to wrest a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport from the OPPENHEIMERS for the GUPTAS". Business Day sources said "more than half of the bank accounts of GUPTA-related entities have been closed in recent weeks by their last remaining bankers, the BANK OF BARODA, with the process continuing". Save SA said in a statement that "the GUPTAS have anointed their proxies to loot National Treasury at their behest. It is clear that they intend to make their first order of business the approval of a banking licence for the GUPTA proxies at HABIB BANK, and then to facilitate money-laundering and illicit deals". In a brutal display of power, ZUMA fired five ministers,

CSG spends R100m to diversify - Sandile Mchunu

CSG HOLDINGS has entered into a deal with the RTT GROUP for a 100% of its subsidiary, REVERT RISK MANAGEMENT PROPRIETARY, for a cash consideration of R100m, including certain moveable assets. CEO PIETER DRY said this acquisition was to add diversity within the organisation. "We have been struggling to get decent acquisitions in this line of business. We have always wanted to boost the security business in our portfolio, so we are happy that we have managed to get one that will fit in within our business", DRY said. REVERT conducts the business of risk and security management solutiosn. CSG's current strategy focuses on expanding into service delivery businesses that are more tech based with a higher barrier to entry than its existing services. REVERT reported a profit after tax of R13.5m in the FY to end-Aug. 2016. CSG's other recent acquisition in the security division, STALLION, added substance to its alarm monitoring and armed response unit, while the addition of REVERT will result in CSG becoming a

DMR confirms mining charter redraft 'still being finalised' - David McKay

The widely-anticipated re-draft of the mining charter was still being finalised and the document's gazetting was unlikely to meet the Department of Mineral Resources' self-imposed Mar. deadline, the ministry confirmed yesterday. "The draft reviewed Charter was gazetted in April 2016 for public comment... An announcement will be made once the final Charter is gazetted", the DMR said. The Chamber of Mines has not seen the document since proposed amendments were made public last year in Parliament. An industry source said there had been consultations with the DMR, but no specific agreements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma says restitution without compensation won't lead to land grabs - ANA

President JACOB ZUMA yesterday said land restitution without compensation would not end in land grabs, but would restore dignity to poor citizens. He was responding to a debate in a sitting of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament, and said the return of land to its rightful owners was crucial to effect radical economic transformation. "We are not saying let us now go and take the land. We are saying let us amend the Constitution. Constitutions are amended all the time to fix wrongs", ZUMA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining showing tentative improvement off low base - CoM - Martin Creamer

The Q4 mining financial statistics released by Statistics SA confirm the tentative improvement in the sector's financial conditions during 2016, but off a very low 2015 base and with huge swings in performance. In 2016 rand terms, mining's profits before taxes rose by R19.6bn over 2013 to 2014, fell by R68m on 2014-2015, and then improved again by R72.2bn in 2015-2016. Barring the last quarter of 2016, mining's quarterly profits before taxes have been below average for the last eight years since mid-2012, but on a trend line that seems to be improving. "This trend is encouraging but will have to continue for the sector to regain its growth potential", Chamber of Mines economist HENK LANGENHOVEN says. Mining production is still 15% below the peak in 2015 and seems to be moving in a band of 10%-15% below the peak level. Over the last 12 months, output declined by 4.5%. "There is some hope though", LANGENHOVEN says, pointing to Jan. production being nearly 2% better than December's, and y/y output showing

Bushveld's vanadium acquisition financing complete - Martin Creamer

BUSHVELD MINERALS yesterday took a step towards the creation of an integrated vanadium platform with the signing by BUSHVELD VAMETCO of the final financing agreements for the completion of the acquisition of 78.8% of STRATEGIC MINERALS CORPORATION from EVRAZ. The financial close has been concluded with BARAK FUND SPC, with the financing including an $11m bridge loan facility repayable within two months of drawdown and attracting $939 077 in interest, fees and legal charges. BUSHVELD's developing integrated vanadium platform includes the Mokopane vanadium project and the Brits vanadium project in SA. A six-month, $7m-maximum inventory financing facility to SMC subsidiary EVRAZ VAMETCO ALLOYS facilitates the monetisation of BUSHVELD's proprietary Nitrovan vanadium inventory, providing additional cash resources that would otherwise have been received only after delivery completion to customers. On completion of the acquisition, BUSHVELD VAMETCO intends refinancing the bridge loan without the need for an equi

Jubilee posts stronger interim results - Megan van Wyngaardt

Noting that its financial results for the HY to end-Dec. reflected its transformation and continued strong growth in establishing itself as a significant metals producer, JUBILEE PLATINUM yesterday posted a significant increase in gross profit to £900 000, up from the prior year's £6 100. CEO LEON COETZER attributed the growth to the sale of its Middelburg Operations and the acquisition of three platinum surface processing projects, which now set the company on a path of reaching production capacity in excess of 1.14mt/year. JUBILEE also reported accelerated capital investment in its surface processing projects, with capex of £11.18m invested for the HY under review. Income received from the Dikolong chrome mine amounted to £1.36m, which comprised operational earnings from the DCM project for the period under review of £980 000 and working capital loan repayment of £380 000 by DCM to JUBILEE. Operating costs for the period, excluding depreciation and amortisation, fell 37% to £1.10m y/y. JUBILEE n

Petra issues $600m in notes - Megan van Wyngaardt

To refinance its existing $300m, 8.25% senior secured second lien notes, PETRA DIAMONDS launched a $600m notes issue yesterday. Proceeds will also be used to repay all drawn bank facilities and for general corporate purposes. Concurrently, PETRA intends to enter into new bank facilities to provide additional liquidity, with the facilities remaining undrawn upon closing of the offering of the 2022 notes. As a result of an extended debt maturity profile and increased liquidity position, the new capital structure will provide the group with additional financial flexibility. CEO JOHAN DIPPENAAR said this represents a further step forward in the next phase of the company's development as the eight-year capex programme at the Finsch and Cullinan mines nears completion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo to implement diversified output strategy for Mbeya - Natasha Odendaal

KIBO MINING is adopting a diversified production strategy for the Mbeya coal mine, which could potentially result in production starting earlier than planned. This followed a "careful study" of the Mbeya coal-to-power project integrated bankable feasibility study, which showed the move to be feasible and as having the potential to significantly enhance the economics of the Mbeya coal mine. KIBO said the Mbeya power plant would be the mine's primary client, with the domestic coal market as a secondary client. Meanwhile, KIBO issued 277 768 new ordinary shares of €0.015, issued at a price of 4.75pps, to service providers, including for recent geological and investor relations services, in settlement of invoices for a total amount of £13 194. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wesizwe completes platinum shaft development - Martin Creamer

WESIZWE PLATINUM yesterday said it had completed 779 m of service shaft development in the 12 months to Dec. 31. The company, with R455m in cash on hand at year-end, said the production shaft at its mining project in the North West province had been equipped to shaft bottom. Holing between main shaft and service shafts on 81 level was complete and civil work for surface conveyors had begun. The process plant development would be by way of the engineering procurement construction model following the approval of the inquiry process in Dec. 2016. Implemented community social and labour plan programmes at an investment of R40m included an integrated housing project, which has commenced with bulk infrastructure construction. The company said it had implemented HR development programmes to meet Mining Charter requirements at a cost of R190m. Capital commitments for the next 12 months total R399m, down on 2015's R465m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers end strike at Cerro Verde - Reuters

Workers at FREEPORT-MCMORAN's Cerro Verde mine, in Peru, will resume work today after voting to end a nearly three-week strike that had halved output. The union accepted the company's offer to improve family healthcare benefits and pay workers their portion of the mine's profits earlier than usual, union leader JESUS REVILLA said. The union has said the strike had disrupted the mine's output of some 40 000t of copper per month, though the company said there was no material impact on output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt gives green light for shale gas fracking in Karoo - News24Wire

The government has given the go-ahead for shale gas development in the Karoo region, Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE said yesterday. "Based on the balance of available scientific evidence, government took a decision to proceed with the development of shale gas in the Karoo formation of South Africa", ZWANE said. He said the regulatory framework would ensure that shale gas was "orderly and safely developed" through hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. "The finalisation of Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act amendments will also help to expedite the development of shale gas", ZWANE said. Assurances were made that the farming community would benefit from shale gas development, while the Square Kilometer Array would not be affected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sygnia to buy db X-trackers - Business Report

SYGNIA yesterday said it had signed an agreement to purchase DB X-TRACKERS from DEUTSCHE GROUP HOLDINGS for R325m. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. Following this, and subject to approval from the Financial Services Board, the company and the ETFs will be rebranded. DBX is an FSB authorised and approved Colective Investment Schemes management company, which offers a range of ETFs on the JSE, referencing offshore listed shares. The ETFs track the Euro Stoxx 50, FTSE 100, MSCI Japan, MSCI USA and MSCI World indices. The assets under management in the five ETFs as at Feb. 28 were R11.3bn. SYGNIA currently manages R16.9bn in domestic and international index-tracking funds and has a stated intention of becoming a leading provider of passive solutions in SA. The acquisition of DBX allows SYGNIA to enter the ETF market with a critical mass of assets and to launch a broader range of ETF products relatively quickly. Given the regulatory dispensation around ETFs referencing offshore assets, there are

MTN paid Nhleko 72.2m for 2016 - Loni Prinsloo

MTN GROUP awarded executive chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO R72.2m in pay and bonuses last year after he negotiated a reduced fine with Nigerian regulators and shook up senior management. NHLEKO was paid a R30m salary and a R38.2m bonus, MTN said in its annual report, published yesterday. The balance was a fee for simultaneously holding a role as non-executive chair. "In order to take on his full-time executive role at short notice, Mr. NHLEKO was required to commit 100% to the MTN task and step away for 16 months from all his considerable other various commercial interests", MTN said. "The board negotiated an appropriate monthly fee and performance-related cash bonus contract with him". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB keeps repo rate steady - Fin24

SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO yesterday announced that the monetary policy committee has decided to leave the repo rate unchanged at its second meeting of the year. The rate has been steady at 7%, while the prime lending rate has been at 10.5%. The repo rate was last cut in Jul. 2012, when then-governor GILL MARCUS dropped it by 50 bps to 5%. The current account shortfall narrowed to 1.7% of GDp in Q4, less than the median forecast of 3.2%, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Consumer inflation slowed to 6.3% in Feb. from a year ago, in line with expectations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Koko firm about SA's need for nuclear - Liesl Peyper

ESKOM interim CEO MATSHELA KOKO yesterday reiterated the need for nuclear power as a source of base load energy in SA, saying it's not possible to "wish away the need for it". A study by KPMG on the economic impact of the Koeberg power station on the economy found that Koeberg was a direct contributor to economic growth, both in the Western Cape and SA. Over the period 2012/13 to 2015/16, the nuclear power station supported and stimulated economic activity in the country of an estimated R53.3bn. At the outset, KOKO made clear that the presentation of the KPMG study was not about whether SA needs nuclear or not. "What we're discussing today is Koeberg's value to the economy. Asked if he was privy to the numbers presented to KPMG since he's been pushing the "nuclear agenda" for some time, KOKO said: "The debate I've been pushing is about the concept of base load as we see it today. It's not possible to wish away base load. But what you hear today is not our numbers. This is a reputable, independent comp

Open attack on Treasury as Zuma loyalists take control - Matthew le Cordeur

The appointment of two ZUMA loyalists to the Treasury is an open attack on the ministry, according to NOMURA emerging market economists PETER ATTARD MONTALTO. President JACOB ZUMA last night sacked Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and his deputy, MCEBISI JONAS, replacing them respectively with MALUSI GIGABA and SFISO BUTHELEZI. "The market will struggle to digest GIGABA. Someone who has been effective at Home Affairs, but is clearly being put in a role to do a particular job by ZUMA and viewed as loyal to ZUMA. Similarly with BUTHELEZI", MONTALTO said. "I view this as an open attack on Treasury to replace people who are anti-corruption with people loyal to ZUMA to help the ZUMA faction win in December. This is an attack on the institution of National Treasury and as such will trigger multiple downgrades". Echoing MONTALTO's view, DA MP DAVID MAYNIER said GIGABA has extensive experience in the national executive, but has absolutely no experience in the "finance family", and his appointment is unlikely to

WesBank disagrees with regulator over unfair credit practice - Fin24

WESBANK disagrees with the National Credit Regulator that it coaxed defaulting consumers into handing over their vehicles, it said yesterday. The NCR claims WESBANK, via its debt collection agents, coaxed defaulting consumers into relinquishing possession of their vehicles. "The procedure undermines the voluntary nature of the surrender process", NCR's manager for investigations and enforcement JACQUELINE PETERS said. However, WESBANK said the referral does not constitute non-compliance with the NCA, but is instead a result of differing interpretation of the applicable legislation. "WESBANK respects the Regulator's decision to refer the matter ot the National Consumer Tribunal, however, disagrees with the conclusions reached by the National Credit Regulator in its application", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand plummets as Zuma sacks Gordhan - Robert Brand

The rand headed for its biggest weekly slide since 2015 after the firing late last night of Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN raised concerns about SA's fiscal path and its investment-grade credit rating. President JACOB ZUMA is replacing GORDHAN with Home Affairs Minister MALUSI GIGABA, while ANC MP SFISO BUTHELEZI will replace GORDHAN's deputy, MCEBISI JONAS. "Market reaction ot the cabinet reshuffle and what looks to have been a clean sweep of the Treasury top team is going to be a significant negative", STANDARD CHARTERED chief Africa economist RAZIA KHAN said. "Given past volatility in the rand when a cabinet reshuffle was even suggested, the expectation is that the impact may be more pronounced now". The rand was down 1.1% at R13.47/$ as of 06:18 in Tokyo trading, leaving it heading for an 8% loss for the week - the worst such performance since the last time ZUMA fired a finance minister. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria stock exchange gets green light for public listing - Chijioke Ohuocha

The NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE has been given the green light by its members to become a publicly listed company, it said yesterday. The members also approved the appointment of FIRSTRAND and local investment firm CHAPEL HILL DENHAM to guide it through the process of becoming a listed company, the NSE said. The second-biggest bourse in sub-Saharan Africa after the JSE, the NSE is owned by stockbrokers and some institutional investors. It has around 200 listed companies, all included in its benchmark share index. As a first step, the NSE will change its ownership structure from a mutual company of brokers to add new shareholders. NSE president AIGBOJE AIG-IMOUKHUEDE said this demutualisation "will bring the Nigerian capital market on a par with other international jurisdictions, result in enhanced governance (and) transparency." It will also attract "strategic partners, investors and good quality issuers", he added. "As a demutualised entity that is profit-seeking, the NSE will be in a better stead to capi

Nigeria to send oil governance bill to Senate on Apr. 25 - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria will send its oil governance bill to the Senate on Apr. 25, a spokesperson said yesterday, the latest step in efforts to overhaul the energy sector in Africa's largest economy. The legislation is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been in discussion for over a decade and redrafted many times but has yet to be passed into law. "Barring any last minute changes, the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum, will on 25th April lay the final report of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill before the Senate for consideration and approval", a spokesperson said. The statement said lawmakers were expected to hold talks on the proposed legislation on Apr. 4 before submitting the final report to the Senate. Once the Senate has approved the bill, it will be sent to the lower chamber of parliament for approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's economy contracts 3.1% in Q4 - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia's economy shrunk by 3.1% in Q4 2016 following a revised contraction of 0.8% in Q3 the statistics agency said yesterday. On a y/y basis, the economy grew by 0.2% during 2016 compared with expansion of 6.1% in 2015. A downturn in the construction sector, which recorded a decline of 29.5%, was the biggest contributor to the weak growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 31/03/2017

At 07h49 on 31 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.53 ZAR/EUR 14.44 ZAR/GBP 16.89 Gold 1242.20 Platinum 948.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.87 All Share 52261.18

Brussels formally blocks LSE-D Borse deal - Philip Stafford

Brussels has blocked the merger of the LSE and DEUTSCHE BORSE, vetoing a union unbalanced by the Brexit vote. EU competition commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER ended the third attempt in 17 years to combine the exchanges after they refused to meet her requests to offset concerns about market concentration in fixed income clearing. The formal halt brings to an end a 15-month effort by the exchanges to create a European champion. VESTAGER said the merger would have created "a de facto monopoly" in the area of fixed income instruments. "As the parties failed to offer the remedies required to address our competition concerns, the Commission has decided to prohibit the merger", she said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford issues warning over post-Brexit UK production - Peter Campbell

FORD has warned that the competitiveness of the UK's auto industry will be put "at risk" if the UK leaves the EU without a deal that provides access to the market. "No deal would be the very worst case for the UK auto industry and would put at risk the competitiveness of the industry", the carmaker said. FORD runs two engine plants in the UK, exporting engines to the continent where they are assembled into cars. It already expects to cut 1 100 jobs from its Bridgent plant by 2021, leaving just 600 employees. FORD also said a transitional deal that allows existing rules to carry on until a new trade deal is formed is "critical". It has vowed to do whatever it takes to remain profitable in Europe, and has not ruled out cutting costs or even closing more plants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil extends rise after US inventories data - Adam Samson

US crude inventories rose less than analysts predicted last week, while gasoline stocks narrowed sharply, sending crude prices further into the black on Wednesday. Oil inventories rose by 867 000 barrels last week, compared with forecasts of a 1m barrel build. Stocks of gasoline plummeted 3.7m barrels, compared with forecasts for a 1.9m barrel draw. US benchmark WTI extended its gains following the publication of the data. WTI climbed 1.5% to $49.07/barrel, while Brent was up by the same margin to $52.15/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 30/03/2017

At 11h06 on 30 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.98 ZAR/EUR 13.95 ZAR/GBP 16.12 Gold 1250.46 Platinum 957.00 Brent Crude Oil 52.40 All Share 52369.00

Cargill profits lifted by sales of sweeteners, salt - Gregory Meyer

CARGILL has reported its strongest Q3 in seven years, aided by sales of sweeteners and salt. The company said adjusted operating profit rose 50% y/y to $715m in the quarter that ended last month. Unadjusted for items like the timing of hedges, net profit was $650m, up 42% y/y. CARGILL said its food ingredients and applications division contributed the most to profits in Q3. Sales of sweeteners, cocoa and chocolate all boosted business, along with salts used to season foods and melt ice on North American highways. Revenues rose 8% in the quarter to $27.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF to consider $1bn Ukraine assistance next Monday - Roman Olearchyk

The IMF will consider the disbursement of a fresh billion-dollar tranche to Ukraine on Monday, after having assessed the economic impact of Kiev's decision to ban commercial trade with eastern breakaway regions where government forces are battling Russian-backed separatists. IMF country representative in Ukraine, JEROME VACHER, said: "Consideration of the third review of Ukraine's arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility by the IMF's Executive Board, together with the 2016 Article IV consultation, is being scheduled for April 3, 2017. Completion of the third review will enable the disbursement of about US$1bn". Ukraine officials said the decision on disbursement from the $17.5bn assistance programme - originally expected this month - was delayed after the Fund's executive board requested a macroeconomic impact assessment in light of the economic blockade, which has heavily impacted the steel, coal and electricity sectors. To secure continued IMF assistance, Ukraine's government has pledged to overhaul

Nigeria sells $500m eurobond as it looks to boost infrastructure spending - Maggie Fick

Nigeria has sold a $500m eurobond as it seeks to turnround its recession-hit economy with big increases in public spending on infrastructure. The country successfully tapped bond markets for the second time in as many months, pricing its bond with a yield of 7.5%, the finance ministry said. It did not state whether the bond had been oversubscribed. In Feb. it issued a $1bn bond with a coupon of 7.875% what was almost eight times over-subscribed. Like last month's issuance, this paper has a 15-year tenure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mylan shares down as FDA rejects application for generic asthma drug - Jessica Dye

MYLAN's shares fell in afternoon trading after it said US regulators had rejected its application to market a generic version of Advair, GLAXOSMITHKLINE's blockbuster asthma drug. MYLAN said the Food and Drug Administration had issued a complete response letter - meaning that the application review was complete and it would not be approved in its present form - on its submission regarding a generic version of Advair. "MYLAN is in the process of reviewing this response and will provide an update on its application as soon as practicable once it has completed its review and discussed the FDA's feedback with the agency". Shares in the company down more than 3% ahead of Tuesday's close. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ConocoPhillips to sell some Canada assets - Adam Samson

CONOCOPHILLIPS has forged a deal to sell some of its Canadian portfolio to CENOVUS for $13.3bn, the latest move by an oil major to pull away from oil sands projects. CONOCOPHILLIPS said it will sell its 50% stake in the Foster Creek Christina Lake oil sands partnership as part of the pact. It will also sell the majority of its western Canada Deep Basin gas assets as part of the deal. CONOCO's shift away from oil sands follows a similar decision earlier this month by ROYAL DUTCH SHELL. CONOCO will receive $10.6bn in cash, and 208m CENOVUS shares, which were valued at $2.7bn on Mar. 28. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

El Salvador becomes first country to ban metals mining - Jude Webber

El Salvador has become the first country in the world to ban metals mining nationwide following a long-running dispute with a Canadian-Australian company over an environmentally questioned gold project. Environment Minister LINA POHL said it is a "brave step, and extraordinary step, and an enormous step towards reverting the environmental degradation in this country". The bill was passed by 69 votes in favour. The ban came after the World Bank's arbitration tribunal, Icsid, last Oct. threw out a $300m suit filed by PAC RIM CAYMAN, a unit of OCEANAGOLD over a gold project in the north of the country. OCEANAGOLD was ordered last year by Icsid to pay $8m to El Salvador. Lobby groups say the company has not paid up. Icsid this week increased the fine by ordering the company to "pay simple interest on the order for legal costs... in the principal amount of $8m... at the rate of an average of 12 months US$ LIBOR... starting from the date of the claimant's receipt of the award (namely 14 October 2016) until pa

Lloyd's to open Brussels office to maintain passporting rights - Oliver Ralph

LLOYD's has confirmed it will open a new office in Brussels in response to Brexit. The insurer said it expected the new subsidiary to be up and running in time for the Jan. 2019 insurance renewal season. CEO INGA BEALE said: "It is important that we are able to provide the market and customers with an effective solution that means business can carry on without interruption when the UK leaves the EU. Brussels met the critical elements of providing a robust regulatory framework in a central European location, and will enable LLOYD's to continue to provide specialist underwriting expertise to our customers". The news came as the company's annual results showed the scars of tough market conditions. Annual profits were flat at £2.1bn as a 12% jump in premium income was offset by higher claims. LLOYD's combined ratio worsened from 90% to 97.9% in 2016. The market's return on equity fell from 9.1% to 8.1%. BEALE said the results demonstrated how critical it was for LLOYD's to focus on underwriting oversight

Imperial Brands enjoys lift from weak sterling - Mehreen Khan

IMPERIAL BRANDS has been given a lift to its revenues from the pound's weakness following last summer's Brexit vote. In a trading update this morning, the cigarette maker said it would report up to a 14% rise to profits in H1 when measured at current exchange rates. Sterling has tumbled 17% against the US dollar since the Brexit vote but has steadied this year to trade around $1.20-$1.25. IMPERIAL has also launched a £300m investment plan in 2017 which it said would weigh on revenue growth when measured in constant currency terms in H1. The company kept its FY earnings guidance unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shareholders approve splitting off memory chip unit - Peter Wells

Shares in TOSHIBA staged strong gains ahead of shareholders voting today in favour of a plan to split off the group's flash memory chip business. The vote paves the way for a partial or full sale of the NAND chip unit, which TOSHIBA said will be valued at no less than Y2tn. The announcement comes aa day after the company's US nuclear unit, WESTINGHOUSE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the company warned its net loss for the FY to end-Mar. could expand to Y1tn, up from an earlier estimate of Y390bn. Shares in TOSHIBA gained as much as 5.6% in Tokyo before paring back to close with a rise of 4% at Y228.2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta extends CEO's contract - Katie Martin

VEDANTA RESOURCES has decided to hold on to its CEO for a while longer. TOM ALBANESE's initially three-year role was due to expire at the end of Mar., but in a statement today, VEDANDA says it is extending his term to the end of Aug. Chair ANIL AGARWAL is leading the search for a replacement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growth in SA's private sector credit extension slows in Feb. - BDpro

SA's private sector credit growth slowed in Feb., in line with market forecasts. Private sector credit growth decelerated to an annualised 5.26% in Feb., from 5.52% in Jan., SARB data showed. The market had expected credit extended to the private sector to slow to 5.2%. M3 money supply slowed to 6.63% y/y from 7.91% in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life Healthcare share price plummets on issuing of nil-paid letters - Robert Laing

LIFE HEALTHCARE's share price fell as much as 9% yesterday after it issued nil-paid letters. Shareholders received 34 nil-paid letters for every 100 LIFE HEALTHCARE shares held. The letters traded in a range of R6.97 and R6.40, with more than 1m changing hands for a total of R7.7m by 11:45 yesterday. With the value of the nil-paid letters added in, LIFE's shares remained at around Tuesday's R33.70 closing price. Each nil-paid letter allows its holder to buy a LIFE share for R24.50 in the group's R9bn rights offer. The capital is being raised to pay for LIFE's acquisition of the UK's ALLIANCE MEDICAL GROUP, announced in Nov. LIFE agreed to pay an initial £553m cash and up to a further £40m if ALLIANCE meets financial targets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo coal mines bid could favour Masimong - Bloomberg

MASIMONG MINERALS has emerged as the favourite to win an auction for some of ANGLO AMERICAN's South African coal mines, sources said this week. Led by Chamber of Mines president MIKE TEKE, MASIMONG has edged ahead of PHEMBANI GROUP in the process to buy the mines. Their offers ranged from R2bn to R3bn, people close to the matter said earlier this month. ANGLO said it remains in talks with "a number of shortlisted bidders" and will make an announcement in due course. TEKE declined to comment. ANGLO opted to sell the New Vaal, Kriel and New Denmark mines following a decision just over a year ago to dispose of assets in response to plunging commodity prices and a desire to pay down debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nu-World shares hit the roof - Sandile Mchunu

NU-WORLD HOLDINGS' share price rose 14.61% on the JSE yesterday morning after the company released a favourable trading update for the HY to end-Feb. NU-WORLD said basic EPS for the period was expected to be between 338.88cps and 370.65cps, reflecting a 60%-75% increase on the 211.8cps reported y/y. It expects HEPS to be between 338.24cps and 369.95cps, an increase of 60%-75% on the 211.4cps reported y/y. Shares in NU-WORLD closed up 11.75% at R39 on the JSE yesterday. Interim results will be published on Apr. 25. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan threatened with more court action - Fin24

As Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN battles the GUPTA family over the closure of their bank accounts, he is now involved in another court case relating to a bid to buy a bank. VARDOSPAN, headed by GUPTA associates HAMZA FAROOQUI and SALIM ESSA, has filed court papers calling on GORDHAN to "put up or shut up" on the acquisition of HABIB BANK. ESSA and FAROOQUI had bid to buy all of HABIB OVERSEAS BANK's South African assets. The transaction was approved by the Competition Commission in Jan. 2017, without conditions. However, the bid is still pending approval from the Treasury and the SARB. "It is plain to see that a transformational deal for black South Africans is being stalled by the finance minister", FAROOQUI said. The SARB last month recommended rejecting the deal, citing concerns about the source of FAROOQUI and ESSA's income and tax declarations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC gets nod to purchase stake in Distell - Fin24

The Competition Tribunal approved a deal in which the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION will purchase a share of DISTELL, it announced yesterday. "The conditions of the transaction are confidential and form part of conditions agreed to in the AB INBEV merger", the Tribunal said. The PIC stake comprises 26.4% of DISTELL's issued share capital, according to a company announcement issued in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU decides against provisional duties on hot-rolled steel - Reuters

The European Commission has decided it will not impose provisional duties on hot-rolled steel from Brazil, Iran, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine, but could still find the countries have breached rules on unfair competition, sources said yesterday. The Commission has a deadline of Apr. 7 to announce whether it is imposing provisional duties on the steel after complaints it is being sold into Europe at unfairly low prices. The sources said the EU executive had decided against provisional duties, but that is only one step. Eurofer, which represents the European steel industry, says duties are needed to protect a sector that is only just recovering from a steel price crash in 2015. "If the Commission does not tackle excess production beyond China, it exposes our sector to the destructive forces of global excess capacity in steel", Eurofer said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI sets aside R15bn for new investment in incentives - Natasha Odendaal

The Department of Trade & Industry has set aside R15bn for projected investments across all incentives, and the entire budget for the new FY is to be spent on efforts to industrialise the country and broaden the manufacturing sector. DTI DG LIONEL OCTOBER yesterday said the department's budget would also support businesses that have a globally competitive niche on the continent. "The projected number of new jobs to be supported and number of jobs to be retained form enterprises is set at 6 000, while 800 projects have been approved through our incentives schemes to support enterprises in different sectors of the economy", OCTOBER said. "Government manufacturing incentives, localisation and designation continued to strengthen the economy despite negative global and domestic trading conditions", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom cancels supplier contract due to inferior coal - Creamer Media Reporter

ESKOM has terminated a contract with a major coal suppliers to its Tutuka power station after discovering the coal supplied was not extracted from the contracted collieries. The utility revoked the contractual relationship with JUST COAL due to tits "consistent supply of inferior coal". Acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO said the technical information, such as mine layouts and in situ coal qualities, that ESKOM had requested from JUST COAL, did not "adequately address" ESKOM's concerns. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM goes to war over proposed Eskom power station closures - Natasha Odendaal

The NUM yesterday said it was planning mass protest action over ESKOM's decision to mothball five power stations in the next five years to make room for independent power producers. In a bid to "save" ESKOM from bankruptcy and privatisation, the NUm said it would mobilise all its members across the mining, energy and construction sectors and society at large to protest against the signing of the inclusion of more IPPS into the national grid. "With ESKOM having to buy electricity from the IPPs, they find themselves having to close five power stations, which translates to about 10 000 direct job losses only in the power stations, and a further 40 000 individuals that might be without jobs in the surrounding [communities and mines] of the power stations", NUM said. The power stations to be shut down are Hendrina, Kriel, Komati, Grootvlei and Camden. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst turns $45m profit, upbeat on 2017 - Martin Creamer

PALLINGHURST, which made $45m in profit in 2016, is upbeat on 2017. The company spoke of all three of its business platforms being well positioned for further growth and value-unlock. "I remain optimistic for 2017 and beyond", CEO ARNE FRANDSEN said in a Sens announcement, in which the asset value of the company was put at $367m. PALLINGHURST chair BRIAN GILBERTSON said that intense evaluation on unlocking asset value would accompany the company's turning ten this year. "We're exploring all options and will shortly present a proposal to shareholders", GILBERTSON said. The company's Sedibelo Platinum Mines dispatched 165 000oz of 4E PGMs in the FY to end-Dec.. The Tshipi business sold 2.3mt of manganese ore in the period and distributed R1bn to shareholders. GEMFIELDS received record $44m revenue at a singly rough ruby and corundum auction and Jupiter conducted a $55m share buy-back at $0.40/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom confident of its ability to implement new nuclear build programme - Keith Campbell

Requests for Proposals for new nuclear power plants and a new research reactor could be issued by the middle of 2017, according to ESKOM chief nuclear officer DAVE NICHOLLS. In parallel, the process of obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals will continue. Most of these should be secured by early next year. "It will probably be issued as a joint ESKOM/NECSA RFP", NICHOLLS told the Nuclear Africa 2017 conference. Should it be issued, the RFP will likely be divided into ESKOM and NECSA sections, because of their very different requirements, but the two SOEs would coordinate in order to ensure that their decisions were complimentary. The RFP would not be a closed bid. Should the RFP be released by the middle of 2017, NICHOLLS hopes that it could lead to contracts being signed in late 2018 or early 2019. He stressed that this was not a target date - indeed, there was no target date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida names new mine head following failure of wage talks - Reuters

Chile's Escondida on Thursday named a new president to run the BHP BILLITON-operated mine, days after the company failed to clinch a wage deal with workers. MAURO NEVES will take over the role from Apr. 17, the company said. It praised NEVES for his knowledge of "how to mobilise teams with strategic reasoning and operational agility." The job had been occupied since Aug. on an interim basis by MARCELO CASTILLO, who will now become responsible for integrated operations at Escondida. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale minority shareholders nominate candidate to board - Reuters

VALE yesterday said ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT, on behalf of minority shareholders, nominated ISABELLA SABOYA to join the iron ore miner's board. VALE said that SANDRA GUERRA was also nominated by the minority shareholders as a substitute board member for SABOYA in the election scheduled for Apr. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee starts platinum production at Hernic - Natasha Odendaal

JUBILEE PLATINUM's share price on the JSE surged nearly 10% and its share price on the LSE by nearly 9% yesterday after the company announced the start of platinum concentrate production at its Hernic operations. The commissioning and subsequent ramp-up of the operation, which started in Mar., remains on schedule, with the start of the first platinum concentrate production. "The first platinum production is a significant milestone for the company and confirms its strategy to become a significant player in the platinum industry", JUBILEE said. At full production, Hernic is expected to be the largest PGM beneficiation plant of surface chrome tailings in SA, targeting the processing of 55 000t/m of chrome- and PGM-rich material. JUBILEE will provide further information on Friday when it publishes interim results for H1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Promulgation of Mining Charter to dent SA's risk, reward score - Megan van Wyngaardt

If the proposed Mining Charter is promulgated, it will dent SA's score on BMI RESEARCH's Sub-Saharan African Mining Risk Reward Indices, as it could deter investment. The research firm currently places SA as the second-most attractive country for capital investment in mining in the region, behind Botswana. BMI global industry research head MARINA PETROLEKA this week said the regulatory framework and political stability of a country, paired with labour costs and government intervention, were some of the major determining factors in the indices and that the promulgation of the Mining Charter would cause SA to "fall behind" other jurisdictions such as Ghana or Namibia. PETROLEKA further noted that uncertainty remained around the implementation of the charter, as the Chamber of Mines was still to contest it in court. "What we are seeing in South Africa is that the bigger players, such as ANGLO AMERICAN and BHP BILLITON, are already scaling back investments or looking to divest assets, taking a much more conse

Rio's autonomous haul service to be fully integrated by 2018 - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO will progressively expand the use of its AutoHaul system this year, with full implementation to be achieved by end-2018, iron ore division planning, integration and assets MD KELLIE PARKER says. Once fully operational, AutoHaul will be the world's first fully autonomous heavy-haul, long-distance railway system. "We are continuing to make very good progress with the automation of our trains. This will deliver a step change in the safety controls and productivity of rail operations. We are already seeing the AutoHaul system deliver improvements to average train speeds", PARKER said. She noted that, as automated systems became more common across mining and other industries, this would create different jobs such as specialists in computing systems and diagnosis but also field technicians to monitor and replace the communications systems. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Motus seeks synergies, cost savings, says CEO Arbee - Irma Venter

MOTUS CORPORATION, the automotive business of IMPERIAL HOLDINGS, has a new leader. Former IMPERIAL CFO OSMAN ARBEE was named as the CEO of the unit in Jan. MANNY DE CANHA's retirement from IMPERIAL's ASSOCIATED MOTOR HOLDINGS - with IMPERIAL buying out his 10% take of the business - has allowed IMPERIAL to restructure its interests into two businesses. IMPERIAL now consists of the MOTUS and IMPERIAL LOGISTICS divisions, which currently generate some R70bn and R50bn in revenue annually, respectively. MOTUS came into existence on Jan. 1, consolidating all IMPERIAL's vehicle import, distribution, retail, rental, aftermarket parts and financial services business into one entity. The restructuring has prompted the question whether IMPERIAL will consider listing these entities as separate units on the JSE. "Before we consider listing either of these divisions we need to run them as two focused increasingly self-sufficient effective businesses, and we think that will take us to 2018", ARBEE said. "Once we get

Peregrine considers splitting - Colin McClelland

PEREGRINE HOLDINGS is considering a plan to split the company by using profits from its stockbroking and wealth-management units to create a new investment firm. The company has about R1.5bn of surplus cash on its balance sheet that could be used to start the venture, CEO JONATHAN HERTZ told Bloomberg. The board still has to make a final decision and the proposal is one of the options it's looking at. PEREGRINE, which had R105bn under management as of Sep. 30, is seeking ways to divorce the balance sheet of the parent company from its operating units. Having a separate operating business will make it easier to value the company as it will avoid some of the volatility to earnings that comes with investing excess funds in capital markets. The surplus comprises about R600m invested in hedge funds, including PEREGRINE CAPITAL, R350m from Channel Islands-based STENHAM, as well as other sundry investments. Should the board decide to separate the excess capital from the company's divisions, the operating busin

Safaricom halves M-Pesa fees - Siobhan Cassidy

SAFARICOM yesterday said it was cutting Lipa Na M-Pesa merchant fees by half as it targeted small and medium-sized enterprises for growth in its bid to extend the gains of mobile money 10 years after its launch in Kenya. The company said the new fee - a maximum of 0.5% of the transaction amount down from 1% - would be effective from next week. In addition, SAFARICOM said Lipa na M-Pesa merchants would be charged a flat fee of 200 Kenyan shillings for any payments above Ksh40 000. In addition, the company said the M-Pesa Kadago tariff, which allows customers to make small transactions for free, would be expanded for Lipa Na M-Pesa Buy Goods to enable merchants to receive all transactions of Ksh200 and below at no cost. Also, merchants would benefit from instant processing of many more transactions made via Lipa Na M-Pesa with the service now available at 23 participating banks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African, CoAL discussed joint bid for Keaton - David McKay

COAL OF AFRICA and PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES discussed a joint bid for KEATON ENERGY in which the two would create a takeover vehicle and bolster it with PAN AFRICAN's Uitkomst colliery, an industry source said. The talks were terminated before a bid was made. "What was planned was the injection of Uitkomst into a joint bid vehicle with COAL to go for KEATON", an industry source said. "They noted to us that this is off the table", he added. KEATON CEO MANDI GLAD said her company had not received information regarding a second takeover offer for her company. WESCOAL HOLDINGS lodged a takeover offer for KEATON on Feb. 2. "We've had nothing as yet in respect of a competing offer... Should there be anything forthcoming, we will have to announce it", GLAD said. WESCOAL has offered KEATON shareholders R1.80/share, equal to a 33% premium to KEATON's volume weighted 30-day average price at the time the offer was made public. It has the support of 77% of KEATON's shareholders. However, GLAD subsequently said acce

Tanzania orders audit of mining companies' earnings - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's President JOHN MAGUFULI has ordered a special audit of mining companies to determine if they pay their fair share of taxes to the East African country. Mining contributes 3.5% of GDP, but the government wants the sector to pay more taxes. The order for the audit follows an abrupt ban on exports of gold and copper concentrates. "The government wants to verify if the relevant taxes are actually being paid", PM KASSIM MAJALIWA said on Tuesday. MAGUFULI has also ordered hundreds of export-bound shipping containers of mineral concentrate to be placed under 24-hour police watch until a thorough inspection was done to verify if the cargo was properly declared. The president said he has instructed officials to impound over 250 shipping containers of gold and copper concentrate owned by ACACIA MINIGN at Dar es Salaam pending a tax probe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stanbic IBTC says has $24m exposure to Etisalat Nigeria - Chijioke Ohuocha

The Nigerian arm of STANDARD BANK, STANBIC IBTC BANK, has an exposure of $24m to ETISALAT NIGERIA, it said on Wednesday, adding restructuring talks were "ongoing". The Nigerian arm of ETISALAT has been in talks with 13 local bans about renegotiating the terms of a $1.2bn loan after missing a payment. "The members are continuing discussions with ETISALAT with the hope of restructuring the loan", STANBIC IBTC said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to sell 235bn naira T-bills on Apr. 6 - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria plans to sell 234.89bn naira of short-dated Treasury bills at an auction on Apr. 6, the central bank said yesterday. The central bank said it plans ot sell 35bn naira of three-month debt, 33.49bn of six-month bills and 166.40bn of one-year notes, using a Dutch auction system. Payment will be due the day after the auction. The central bank issues T-bills twice a month to finance the budget deficit, help manage commercial lenders' liquidity and curb rising inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's EABL says medium-term bond oversubscribed - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's EAST AFRICAN BREWERIES got a 141% subscription rate for its five-year corporate bond, the company said yesterday. EABL said investors offered 8.45bn shillings, well above the 6bn shillings sought. "These funds will be used to restructure our balance sheet which entails the repayment of short term loans, replacing them with the medium term debt", group CFO GYORGY GEISZL said. The bond is the second tranche of an issue that was first offered to the market in 2015. GEISZL said the restructuring of the balance sheet would also help the group comply with the market regulator's current asset ratio rules. The bond has a fixed annual rate of 14.17%, well above the current rate on the Kenyan 364-day T-bill of 10.914%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BlackRock positive on SA bonds despite political noise - Dhara Ranasinghe

BLACKROCK remains positive on South African bonds despite signs of tensions within the government, SERGIO TRIGO PAZ, the head of emerging debt at the asset manager said yesterday, adding that investors would have to "live with" political uncertainty. South African assets have sold off heavily this week on speculation Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN would be removed from his post. But TRIGO PAZ said he remained "long" on South African debt, noting that the central bank has room to cut interest rates. "There will be noise in SA but we will have to live with it", TRIGO PAZ told a briefing in London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aveng shareholders approve sale of majority stake in Grinaker-LTA - Nqobile Dludla

Shareholders in AVENG approved the sale of a 51% stake in the GRINAKER-LTA business to KUTANA CONSTRUCTION, the company said yesterday, bringing in a partner owned by black women. The deal helps AVENG to align the business with the government's economic agenda and policies aimed at transforming the local construction industry. In Oct., AVENG announced plans to dispose of a 51% beneficial stake and a 45% economic interest to KUTANA for R756m to help the business become profitable again and introduce a black partner. The 51% interest represents the legal voting position of the shares held by KUTANA, while the 45% economic interest represents the benefit attributable to the firm. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 30/03/2017

At 07h18 on 30 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.06 ZAR/EUR 14.05 ZAR/GBP 16.25 Gold 1249.54 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.66 All Share 52444.78

BHP mulling Yandi options - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON is considering the development of its South Flank iron ore deposit in the Pilbara, which could result in the development of the world's largest iron ore mining and processing centre. BHP's asset president for Western Australian iron ore, EDGAR BASTO, today said the Yandi mine was currently operating at 80mt/year, but would be depleted over the next 5-10 years. "We are looking at options to sustain this production", he said, pointing out that the South Flank deposit was currently the preferred long-term solution, and that the investment case for using this deposit for replacement tonnes was strong, given the ability to leverage aspects of the existing infrastructure at the Mining Area C operation and the ore quality. "While this project is still in study phase, if approved by the board, it will result in the development of the world's largest iron ore mining and processing centre located next to billions of tonnes of high-grade resources", BASTO said. This news brief represents a summary of

Uganda's Stanbic reports 25% jump in 2016 pretax profit - Elias Biryabarema

STANBIC BANK UGANDA's 2016 pretax profit rose 24.9%, helped by business diversification that spurred an increase in non-interest income, the lender said today. The bank said pre-tax profit rose to 253.9bn Ugandan shillings in 2016, up from 203.3bn y/y. It said a diversified business model had helped it absorb economic shocks and underpin growth. "This is the major reason why our revenues and earnings have grown", the bank said. Uganda's banking sector non-performing loans stood at 10.5% in Dec., up from 7.7% in Sep., according to central bank data. The results showed the bank's income from trading in forex, government debt and other trading activities climbed 28% last year from 2015. A dividend of 1.172 shillings has been recommended for the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life insurance claims up - Liberty - Kabelo Khumalo

LIBERTY HOLDINGS paid out R17m in valid claims each working day last year, with cancer and cardiovascular being the biggest source of claims in the period. The claims paid out by the insurer in the year to Dec. grew 13% to R4.3bn. LIBERTY yesterday said that R3bn of the total amount of claims paid out were life protection claims. Lifestyle protection claims amounted to R697m and loss on income protection claims paid out totalled R522m. LIBERTY head of risk product development HENK MEINTJES said cancer was the main cause for claims across all segments. In the young achievers segment, 15.2% of claims were due to the disease while it accounted for 24.4% of claims by young parents. Cancer claims represented 26.6% for established providers, and made up 23.3% of claims by empty nesters. LIBERTY had reported a 46.2% drop in headline earnings to R2.2bn, while parent STANDARD BANK's headline earnings attributable to LIBERTY nosedived 61% to R955m in the FY to end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of

Mara looking for island properties - Roy Cokayne

MARA DELTA is setting up a subsidiary with the primary objective of investing into hospitality sector properties. These will be focused on the Indian Ocean islands, including Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius. The company yesterday said the properties the subsidiary would invest in would have triple net, long-term leases. The subsidiary was expected to apply in due course for a listing of its preference shares on the official market of the Mauritius Stock Exchange. MARA DELTA also reported the introduction of the NATIONAL PENSION FUND MAURITIUS as a key investor. It said the NPF would invest $12.84m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAB invests in township taverns - Lyse Comins

SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES has announced a R38.4m investment in KZN, Gauteng and the Western Cape in partnership with provincial governments to roll out a pilot project that will formalise township taverns and assist alcohol harm-reduction programmes. The brewer made the announcement at a meeting with KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Traditional Affairs SIHLE ZIKALALA in Durban yesterday, saying the investment of $1m in KZN was part of a national project. AB INBEV Africa Zone president RICARDO TADEU said the partnership was aimed at job creation, business development and the improvement of the consumer experience at township taverns as well as driving harm-reduction programmes. TADEU said SAB and the SAB FOUNDATION would search for local entrepreneurs who needed business support to help them formalise their trading conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo agrees to settle class action over account scandal - Adam Samson

WELLS FARGO has reached an agreement in principle to settle a class action lawsuit over its sham account scandal for $110m, the US lender said yesterday. The lender said the settlement would include all individuals who claim that "WELLS FARGO opened an account in their name without consent, enrolled them in a product or service without consent, or submitted an application for a product or service in their name without consent" from January 2009. WELLS added that it "expects this settlement to resolve claims in 11 other pending class actions that unauthorised accounts were opened in customers' names or that customers were enrolled in products or services without their consent". CEO TIM SLOANE said the agreement "is another step in our journey to make things right with customers and rebuild trust". The bank said it had already accrued for the full costs of the settlement as of the end of 2016. The pact must still be approved by the court. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU sets out Article 50 day schedule - Mehreen Khan

EU officials in Brussels are getting ready to receive their first formal notification of exit from a member state in 60 years later today. The UK's ambassador to the EU, TIM BARROW, will be the messenger and is due to hand in a letter signed by PM THERESA MAY's pen in Brussels at 12:20 UK time. After the notification, the EU will make a press statement at 12:45. Tomorrow, the UK government will publish its white paper on the Great Repeal Bill that will transpose all EU law onto the country's statute book on the day of exit in 2019. Meanwhile, European Council president DONALD TUSK will set out a series of guidelines for negotiations to be sent to all 27 EU member states on Friday. The bloc's 27 leaders will meet in Apr. for their first formal summit to discuss exit talks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 29/03/2017

At 10h42 on 29 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.07 ZAR/EUR 14.10 ZAR/GBP 16.23 Gold 1249.93 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.76 All Share 52366.43

Toshiba says 2016 net loss could reach $9.1bn - Alice Woodhouse

TOSHIBA has said its net loss for FY2016 could reach Y1.01tn, almost triple its previous estimate as it makes provisions for losses in its nuclear business. In a statement detailing its WESTINGHOUSE unit had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Japanese conglomerate revised its forecast net loss up from the previous estimate of a Y390bn loss. TOSHIBA is wrestling with a $6.3bn writedown on its US nuclear business, the rising risk of share delisting at home, and a breakup of its business that could lead to the sale of its valuable flash memory business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Westinghouse files for Chapter 11 - Kana Inagaki

WESTINGHOUSE has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as Japanse parent TOSHIBA seeks to exit a deeply troubled US nuclear business. The filing today followed rushed talks between TOSHIBA, its lenders and creditors of WESTINGHOUSE as the Japanese group scrambles to offload the subsidiary before the end of its financial year on Mar. 31. The demise of WESTINGHOUSE has been caused by spiraling overruns at nuclear power plants in South Carolina and Georgia, which are now estimated to cost $11bn more than originally budgeted. In a statement, the company said it had obtained $800m in debtor-in-possesson financing from a third-party lender to support the operation of its nuclear power plants during the restructuring phase. "We are focused on developing a plan of reorganisation to emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger company while continuing to be a global nuclear technology leader", interim CEO JOSE EMETERIO GUTIERREZ said. Analysts say the planned bankruptcy and sale of WESTINGHOUSE is fraught with compl

German firms make plans to shift investment from UK - Stefan Wagstyl

Almost one in 10 German companies in the UK plan to respond to Brexit by shifting investments to other EU states even as the terms of the UK's departure are not yet known, a report revealed yesterday. Around 40% of firms surveyed said they expected business to weaken in Britain, a survey from the German chambers of commerce showed. "Brexit will significantly damage the business of German companies with the UK", said DIHK president ERIK SCHWEIZER, adding that exports to the UK were already down 3.5% last year. "In the coming months we should reckon with further decreases in trade... In the long term investment will see a sharp weakening in the previous positive trend." The DIHK, which surveyed 2 200 companies, said 40% of those polled expected a decline in British business conditions in the coming months, and 9% wanted to transfer investments, mostly back to Germany but also to other EU states. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon confirms Souq takeover - Nicholas Megaw

AMAZON has confirmed its deal to purchase Emerati ecommerce site SOUQ.COM in a move that will make it the Middle East's largest ecommerce platform. The US group did not reveal any terms of the acquisition, but it is understood to be worth more than $650m. "SOUQ.COM pioneered ecommerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We're looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with AMAZON technology and global resources", AMAZON senior VP for international consumers, RUSS GRANDINETTI, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump signs order undoing Obama climate measures - Jessica Dye

US President DONALD TRUMP has officially declared an end to the "war on coal". TRUMP yesterday signed a promised executive order that rolls back BARACK OBAMA's action against climate change - including an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan - and includes a boost to fossil fuel power, including coal. White House press secretary SEAN SPICER described the order as follows: "First, it directs all agencies to conduct a review of all regulation, rules, policies, and guidance documents that put up roadblocks to domestic energy production and identify the ones that are not either mandated by law or actually contributing to the public good. It also rescinds a number of the previous administration's actions that don't reflect this administration's priorities. Next, the order directs the [Environmental Protection Agency] to take several actions to reflect this President's environmental and economic goals, including a review of the new performance standards for co

Scottish parliament backs second independence referendum - Mure Dickie

The Scottish parliament yesterday voted to demand a second independence referendum, raising the stakes in the constitutional impasse with a UK government that has already rejected such a vote. The parliament at Holyrood approved another referendum by 69 votes to 59, with the Scottish Greens joining the governing Scottish National Party to overcome opposition from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. The vote came at the end of a debate that had been suspended last week because of the terror attack on Westminster. The UK government said it would not enter talks on the Scottish government's "proposal" since the focus should be on getting a good Brexit deal for the whole UK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agriculture traders warn of long-term oversupply - David Sheppard

Some of the world's biggest agricultural companies have said that key food markets are likely to remain oversupplied for at least three more years, in a likely boon for consumers facing higher inflation but a possible crimp on margins for growers, processors and traders. LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY CEO GONZALO RAMIREZ MARTIARENA told the FT Commodities Global Summit that last decade's period of high prices, triggered by fast-growing EM demand, was unlikely to be revisited anytime soon. "Consumption keeps on growing fast but production grew faster", RAMIREZ said. GLENCORE AGRICULTURE CEO CHRIS MAHONEY echoed this view, adding that the agri industry had to copy the discipline of copper and zinc producers, which had reduced production in response to lower prices. "It's not big overcapacity, and there is demand growth, but a bit like the mining industry there is overcapacity", MOHONEY said. "People sitting on their hands for a few years would definitely help". This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Ford makes $1.2bn US investment - Peter Cambell

FORD will invest $1.2bn across three Michigan sites, including building a data centre and upgrading two of its plants. Several hours before the announcement was made, President DONALD TRUMP pre-emptively heralded the move, tweeting: "Big announcement by FORD today. Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to US. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" In total 130 jobs will be created by the move, FORD said. The investments form part of the $9bn that FORD pledged to invest in its US operations under a deal signed with the UAW labour union in 2015. So far FORD has announced investments totalling $4.7bn of the $9bn, with the balance to be spent by 2019 unless "business conditions change dramatically" or the economy falters. Under the new announcements, the company will invest $850m in installing new tooling into its Michigan assembly plant to make the new Ranger and Bronco vehicles, and will invest $150m at its Romeo Engine plant, creating 130 jobs. It will also build a $200m data cen

Rio Tinto CEO stays bullish on China - Henry Sanderson

RIO TINTO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said he had no concerns about China's economy in the year ahead, predicting restructuring of the country's SOEs would lead to demand for higher-quality commodities. JACQUES said he had "no doubt" China would meet its economic targets this year ahead of the Communist Party's congress in the autumn. He told the FT Commodities Global Summit that he is not concerned about the underlying demand in the country's economy. "There is no doubt that the state-owned enterprises restructuring will happen and it can be an opportunity", JACQUES said. "If you can supply the right quality of iron ore then clearly you have a role to play". Still, he said it was difficult to determine whether more Chinese domestic output of iron ore would come into production due to higher prices. "The real question is whether they restart some of this capacity. It's very difficult to read this situation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World's top oil traders see OPEC rollover if Russia commits - David Sheppard

The world's top oil traders believe OPEC will commit to maintaining their production cuts as long as Russia increases its compliance to keep the cartel's most powerful members on board. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Switzerland, executives from some of the world's largest independent trading houses said a push to draw down oil inventories would likely need to last at least for the rest of the year. "There's a feeling stocks aren't drawing in the way they were meant to", said RUSSEL HARDY, CEO of VITOL's European, Middle East and African business. Compliance with the OPEC-led cuts by the cartel's members has been strong so far, partly due to bigger-than-demanded cuts from Saudi arabia. However, Russia has only executed about half its agreed cut. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cargill chief warns of risk of US-China trade conflict - Emiko Terazono

DAVID MACLENNAN, head of CARGILL, said the risk of a trade conflict between the US and China had risen as he defended global trade and open borders. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, MACLENNAN said "the risk [of conflict] given the rhetoric and given the mentality and emotions in the United States and the world, has gone up", although he added that there were many business people in the new administration who understand the benefits of globalisation. His comments come as the TRUMP administration has promised to pursue an "America first" economic policy which some believe could usher in a new era of protectionism. "Trade agreements can serve as a very easy scapegoat for a wider range of social challenges. Trade is not the reason that citizens face hardships around the world, but is now a very convenient excuse", MACLENNAN said, adding "trade, keeping borders open is really important to the US economy". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mercuria earnings up 10% - Henry Sanderson

Commodity trader MERCURIA recorded a 10% rise in earning for 2016, helped by favourable market conditions and a sharp drop in costs. The company posted net income of $302m, up from $275m y/y. Total volumes across all commodities including gas, metals and coal, as well as crude and refined products, totalled 322mt of oil equivalent. MERCURIA CFO GUILLAUME VERMERSCH said the results included the costs of a settlement with CITI over a $270m metals financing dispute in China. The commodities trader has cut overheads by around 25% over the year as it completed the integration of physical trading assets bought from JPMORTAN and introduced new technology platforms across its business. Gross revenues were $91bn in 2016, with total volumes declining slightly. VERMERSCH said the company was confident of recovering some of the money lost in the metals warehousing scandal at the port of Qingdao in which MERCURIA and CITI became embroiled in 2014, resulting in a long-running legal dispute. This news brief represe

Angola trims May crude exports - Reuters

SONANGOL has taken two cargoes out of its planned May exports in a move to boost its compliance with an OPEC deal to curb production, oil traders said this week. A revised leading programme showed the country's exports were now set at 1.61m bpd from 52 cargoes, down from 1.67m bpd from 54 cargoes initially. The source said the two cargo leadings removed and pushed into Jun. were an end-month Dalia that was with SONANGOL and a Cabinda that was set to load with ENI. Under the OPEC deal, Angola agreed to cut 78 000 bpd from a reference production level of 1.751m bpd. So far this year, the country's production and exports have been well below the target but several fields are coming into production or ramping up, including CHEVRON's Mafumeira Sul and ENI's West Hub and East Hub projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold hoists dividend 900% in 10 years - Martin Creamer

RANDGOLD RESOURCES yesterday reaffirmed its intention to hike its final dividend for the FY to end-Dec. Since its first dividend in its 2006 financial year, the annual dividends have increased by 900% over the 10-year period. In its annual report, the company said the board has proposed a 52% y/y dividend hike to $1/share for FY2016. This will be put up for approval at the company's May 2 AGM. The dividend will be paid in cash with no scrip alternative being made available. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Firestone narrows H1 loss, says Liqhobong on track for commercial output in June - Mia Breytenbach

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS, which yesterday posted a $4.1m loss before tax for the HY to end-Dec., expects its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho to reach commercial production at the end of June. Commissioning of the mine started in Oct. 2016, with construction completed on time and within the $185.4m budget. FIRESTONE CEO STUART BROWN said that finishing construction of the mine and starting production in Oct. 2016 were "two momentous milestones" for the company. Liqhobong had operated consistently at more than 200 000t/m and was now gearing up towards the 300 000t/m nameplate capacity. "We certainly think that achieving commercial production by end-Jun. is achievable", CFO GRANT FERRIMAN said. FIRESTONE's $4.1m loss before tax was slightly lower than the $4.6m loss recorded y/y and was the result of a deferred tax charge during the period under review of $4.6m. Its net loss for the HY under review was $8.8m. The company noted that its finances were well managed with sufficient cash and debt facilities available to f

We're not holding back VAT refunds - SARS - Liesl Peyper

SARS yesterday categorically denied that it was "holding back anyone's money" in the form of delaying VAT refunds to boost its own revenue collection targets. Briefing Parliament's standing committee on finance, SARS was responding to a number of questions from MPs about its revenue collection figures, the issue of outstanding VAT refunds and its tax collection systems. DA MP ALF LEES asked SARS to accept blame where it is appropriate. "Do you agree that the perception of SARS is bad? Why does there have to be unhappiness before you act?" LEES said there's the perception that SARS is "playing" with refunds to boost its own tax collection figures. Responding on behalf of SARS, acting chief officer FIRDOUS SALLIE said there's a specific process that is being followed at the revenue service before tax refunds can be paid out. "Every single assessment submitted to SARS goes through a rigid process", SALLIE said. SARS earlier said it owed vendors a total of R19.6bn in VAT refunds by the end of Feb. 2017.

SA raises maize crop forecast to biggest in 36 years - Thembisile Dzonzi

SA may reap the largest maize harvest in 36 years as rains improved yields and boost the crop's size by 83% from last year, the Crop Estimates Committee said yesterday. Growers will likely produce 14.3mt of maize in the season that ends in April, said LUSANI NDOU, a senior statistician at the CEC. That would be the largest crop since 1981. The CEC maintained its forecast for the area sowed at 2.63m ha. SA will likely produce 8.5mt of white maize and 5.8mt of the yellow variety. The CEC decreased its prediction for sunflower-seed output this year by 3.5% to 896 060t, while the forecast for soybeans was raised 8.6% to 1.2mt. The estimate for sorghum production was raised 8.9% to 153 480t. It reduced the projection for groundnut output 1.8% to 86 600t, while it lifted forecasts for the drybean crop by 1.5% to 65 275t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma mum on R63.9m Nkandla fringe benefit - Liesl Peyper

President JACOB ZUMA is not prepared to divulge whether he declared to SARS the fringe benefits accrued by him as a result of the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead. ZUMA, as is stipulated by the Income Tax Act, is liable to pay the estimated R63.9m in fringe benefits tax on the benefits that accrued to him as a result of the state-funded upgrades to Nkandla. Reacting to his refusal to answer the question, DA MP ALF LEES said that although ZUMA has the right to not answer the question the DA simply asked him to confirm that he has declared to SARS the fringe benefit that has accrued to him in order to prove that he is indeed a law-abiding citizen. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan squeezed in talks with ratings agencies - Fin24

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said he met with three ratings agencies and 50 investors before he left the UK. GORDHAN said while in London, he and his delegation met with about 50 investors who invest in SA bonds and who have "great faith" in the economy. "We also met the ratings agencies, two of them face-to-face and one through a teleconference, and gave them assurances about the economy", GORDHAN said. "I answered their questions about the post-budget developments - and all of that is to make sure that we keep South Africa's good name going and that people outside see our economy in a positive light". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TPT awarded multipurpose terminal depot licences - Natasha Odendaal

SARS has granted TRANSNET PORT TERMINALS new depot licences for all its multipurpose terminals for the packing and unpacking of containers for all commodities, including agri, mineral and mining bulk products. This enables TPT to efficiently facilitate the needs of new and existing customers by adding value to their commodity supply chain and growing its revenue stream amid depreciating commodity volumes. "TPT will offer a consolidated solution to our customers offering them a cost-effective one-stop value-add service", TPT new business development GM BRENDA MAGQWAKA said. The new service, offered at all seven MPTs, was a "welcome intervention", not just for junior miners but also for well-established businesses, MAGQWAKA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi Arabia to build three fly farms - Irma Venter

Saudi Arabia is to host the Middle East's first fly farm, following the completion of a licensing deal between Saudi tech hub SAJT and waste-to-nutrient group AGRIPROTEIN. The agreement signals the start of a new industry for the region - the commercial-scale production of insect-based animal feed. AGRIPROTEIN believes insect meal presents a more sustainable alternative to fishmeal, with the production process also diverting large volumes of organic waste from landfills to feed the larvae. SAJT will use AGRIPROTEIN's factory blueprint to build the first of three fly farms in Saudi Arabia, boosting the country's food security. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Minister moves to calm land reform fears - News24Wire

Land Reform Minister GUGILE NKWINTI has said SA needs clarity on the ruling party's current stance on land, and that the ANC is still guided by the provisions in the Constitution. NKWINTI held a media briefing in Parliament yesterday to update the country on a bill to establish a land commission. He said the differences within the ANC with regards to expropriation without compensation only represent "aspirational ideas", for the purposes of debate. "This is not policy of the ANC. It is one of the aspirations, saying this is what we are going to take to the policy conference in June". President JACOB ZUMA was one of those who supported the idea of expropriation without compensation. When asked how he personally felt about land reform, NKWINTI said he agrees with the Constitution. "I stand on the constitutional provisions in section 25. That's why I called this meeting. I wanted to clarify that there is no doubt that this bill will be constrained by section 25 of the Constitution: just and equitable red

Agarwal happy with his stake in Anglo - Reuters

Indian billionaire ANIL AGARWAL this week said he was happy with his personal 13% stake in ANGLO AMERICAN and was just planning to keep it as an investment for now. "I got the opportunity to take 13% share of that company because I also believe that India and Africa go hand in hand", AGARWAL told a business summit, adding that he had "no other intention at the moment". Earlier this month, AGARWAL said he would buy a £2bn stake in ANGLO and had no intention of taking control of the mining company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Troy restructures Investec debt - Esmarie Swanepoel

TROY RESOURCES has restructured its revolving debt facility with INVESTEC BANK, extending the maturity date by six months to the end of Dec. 2018 and reducing the Mar. and Jun. quarter repayments. A $2m repayment was now due at end-Mar., while a further $m repayment will be made at the end of June. Between Sep. and Mar. 2018, TROY will repay a further $9m over three equal instalments, with a further $15.19m payable between Jun. 2018 and Dec. 2018, also in three instalments. INVESTEC and TROY have also agreed to a reduction in the mandatory hedging requirements to 40 000oz over a 12-month period, and a reduction in the minimum liquidity requirements to A$7.5m until end-Jul. 2017, after which it will be restored to A$10m. As part of the consideration for the provision of the facility, TROY has agreed to grant some 28.5m options to INVESTEC, with an exercise price of 18cps each and a two-year term. The 10m options previously issued to INVESTEC will be cancelled. This news brief represents a summary of th

Acacia rebuffs reports that it violated Tanzanian concentrate export ban - Henry Lazenby

ACACIA MINING has denied allegations that it is trying to export gold and copper concentrates despite a ban by the Tanzanian government. Neither the company nor its customers have attempted to export gold and copper concentrates, ACACIA said. Over the weekend, the Tanzania Port Authority inspected containers in the normal course of business, sparking "misinformation and inaccurate speculation" in the media. ACACIA said its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines continued to operate following the restrictions and gold and copper concentrate was being stored at the mine sites. It added however that this storage could not be indefinite. ACACIA on Friday said it is losing more than $1m in revenue a day at the two mines due to the export ban. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan can't use Gupta deals to advance his case - Zelda Venter

The North Gauteng High Court yesterday ruled that mention made in Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN's court papers of 72 suspicious transactions involving the GUPTAS and their companies had to be struck from the papers. This means the GORDHAN camp cannot use the report issued by the Financial Intelligence Centre in advancing its main application. GORDHAN only asked the FIC to probe the GUPTA-related accounts months after he launched his application for a declaratory order that he cannot interfere with the decision of SA's four major banks not to do business with the family and their companies. But Advocate JEREMY GAUNTLETT SC, for GORDHAN, in opposing the striking out application, said the FIC findings showed the magnitude of the matter. According to the FIC report the suspicious transactions flagged by them involve billions of rands. GAUNTLETT said it was GORDHAN's duty to bring this under the attention of the court. But the judges who are hearing the matter all questioned the relevance of the report.

Sanlam to up stake in Zimnat - Tawanda Karombo

SANLAM is set to announce further investment in Zimbabwe's MASAWARA INSURANCE, increasing its stake in the company beyond the 40% it holds. MASAWARA said the investment by SANLAM EMERGING MARKETS, with an asset base worth $65m in the ZIMNAT GROUP, would be made on Mar. 29. MASAWARA CEO MUSTAFA SACHAK said the investment would have a positive impact on clients and the insurance and reinsurance sectors in Zimbabwe. Sources said the new investment would include developments at the ZIMNAT LION insurance group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold & Exploration mining suffering big losses - Sandile Mchunu

RANDGOLD & EXPLORATION reported a disappointing set of results for the FY to end-Dec. The company on Monday reported a loss from operating activities of R22.5m for the year from a R6.7m operating loss from the prior year. R&E warned the market about the expected losses in a trading update released on Mar. 10. It said the reason for the expected material decrease in EPS and HEPS in the current financial period was as a result of low level of recoveries during the year and an increase in costs. Its NAV decreased by 4.76% from 234cps at end-Dec. 2015 to 223cps y/y. To improve on its operational performance in the year ahead, the company is also expecting to cut down on operational loss in order to have a healthy balance sheet. The firm said, however, it expected a better set of financial results at the end of FY2017 and said it had recovered assets from third parties. R&E's HLPS was 12cps for FY2016, from HEPS of 1cps y/y. Despite reporting losses, the company said its cash and cash equivalents were heal

Nigeria stock market deals fell 22% last month - Chijioke Ohuocha

The value of trading on Nigeria's bourse dropped by 22.3% to 74.1bn naira in Feb. m/m, the stock exchange said yesterday, as foreign investors kept to the sidelines. The central bank on Monday set a new naira rate for consumers with certain foreign expenses and stepped up dollar sales. But analysts doubted whether the moves would draw foreign investors back to Africa's largest economy. Foreign transactions on the bourse hit 1.54tn naira in 2014, when oil prices were at a peak, but declined to 518bn naira last year as crude prices plunged. Nigerian shares have lost 5.2% so far this year after a 6.2% contraction last year. In dollar terms, they shed 40% in 2016 as the naira fell by a third on the official market due to central bank reforms. The bourse said foreign investors traded shares valued at 74.1bn naira last month, down from 95.3bn naira in Jan., with sales accounting for more than half those transactions. Domestic trading accounted for 53.4% of total share dealing in Feb., the bourse said. This

Tencent takes 5% stake in Tesla - Rishika Sadam

TESLA INC yesterday said TENCENT HOLDINGS acquired a 5% stake in the electric carmaker for $1.78bn. The purchase gives TENCENT a growing presence in the rapidly growing future mobility sector, with investments in US and Chinese startup companies that provide ride sharing services and are developing self-driving electric cars. The investment also provides TESLA with an additional cash cushion as it prepares to boost production volume and launch its new Model 3. TENCENT owns around 8.2m shares in TESLA, the carmaker said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays in talks to sell Zim bank to Malawi's FMB - Lawrence White

BARCLAYS is in exclusive talks to sell its stake in its Zimbabwe unit to Malawi-based FIRST MERCHANT BANK, the parties said yesterday. FMB said it was in exclusive talks to buy out the 68% of BARCLAYS BANK OF ZIMBABWE owned by the British parent. Neither party disclosed the value for the prospective deal. BARCLAYS BANK OF ZIMBABWE has a market cap of $60m, according to Thomson Reuters data. The remaining 32% of BARCLAYS ZIMBABWE's shares are traded on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 29/03/2017

At 06h44 on 29 March 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.00 ZAR/EUR 14.06 ZAR/GBP 16.14 Gold 1248.52 Platinum 952.50 Brent Crude Oil 51.53 All Share 52309.23

Updated market indicators for 28/03/2017

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

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

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

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

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

More senior staff casualties at Group Five - Roy Cokayne

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

Geldof firm invests in Africa - Reuters

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

Capitec FY profit up 18% - Reuters

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

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

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

China plans fresh crackdown on Tangshan steel production - Emily Feng

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

Merkel toughens position on Brexit - Stefan Wagstyl

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

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

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

Ghana cuts interest rate - Mehreen Khan

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

Bubble-wrap maker to sell hygiene unit - Mamta Badkar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brussels regulators approve Dow DuPont merger - Rochelle Toplensky

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

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

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

Poundland places 99p Stores into administration - Conor Sullivan

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

DAWN will appeal Tribunal fine - Robert Laing

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

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

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

Sappi appoints CellMark as lignin sales agent - Anine Kilian

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

Huge appoints new CFO - Creamer Media Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

Columbia municipality votes to ban mining - Reuters

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

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

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

Turquoise Hill shares pop despite narrower FY profit - Henry Lazenby

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

Botswana Diamonds continues to progress exploration programmes - Anine Kilian

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

Wesizwe to report higher FY2016 earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

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

Glencore to halt operations as cyclone nears - Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

Cabinet reshuffle much bigger than Gordhan - Montalto - Liesl Peyper

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

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

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

Telkom may split company - Loni Prinsloo

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

Rockwell suspended amid fight over provisional liquidation order - David McKay

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

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

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

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

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

Nigeria to sell dollars to consumers at 360 naira - Paul Carsten

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

Market indicators for 28/03/2017

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

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

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

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

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

Eurozone loan growth slows in Feb. - Mehreen Khan

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

Updated market indicators for 27/03/2017

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

Barclays launches first ETF in east Africa - John Aglionby

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

China iron ore prices lead industrial commodities lower - Hudson Lockett

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

Old Mutual continues to unbundle - Reuters

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

Sun Intl scraps dividend, profit falls - Nqobile Dludla

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

Vitol oil trading volumes surge in 2016 - Neil Hume

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

Fastjet poaches more SAA execs - Nicholas Megaw

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

Credit Suisse boosts bonus pot by 6% - Ralph Atkins

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

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

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

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

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

Capitec ventures into foreign waters - Adiel Ismail

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

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

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

Novus scoops prestigious training award - Eugenie du Preez

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

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

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

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

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

Transnet offers voluntary severance packages to staff - Megan van Wyngaardt

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

Glencore bond tanks, scuppers Anglo's return - Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodlace joins Kumba board - Natasha Odendaal

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

Kusasalethu strike ends - Megan van Wyngaardt

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

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

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

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

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

Fortescue pays down more debt - Esmarie Swanepoel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market indicators for 27/03/2017

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

Workforce has trained nearly 15 000 - Sandile Mchunu

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

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

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

Brait suspends LSE listing plan on Brexit uncertainty - TJ Strydom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nando's franchisee has reason to crow - Tawanda Karombo

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

Market indicators for 24/03/2017

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

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

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

HNA raises Deutsche Bank stake - Don Weinland

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

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

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

Samsung exec plays down possible ownership restructuring - fastFT

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

China Huishan Dairy shares plunge 90% - Peter Wells

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

Australian bank stocks up as lenders lift rates - Peter Wells

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

Japan manufacturing gauge slips - Hudson Lockett

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

Rising sales push Micron shares higher - Jessica Dye

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

Twitter explores subscription-based option - David Ingram

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

New home sales up, jobless claims rise - Lucia Mutikani

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

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

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