Market News

Market News (INET BFA)

Toshiba's exposure to Westinghouse to increase - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA is now set to have a higher exposure to its US nuclear unit WESTINGHOUSE. Japanese heavy machinery maker IHI said it will exercise an option to sell its 3% stake in WESTINGHOUSE, bringing TOSHIBA's total holding to 90%. The widely expected sale came after TOSHIBA warned of a $6.3bn writedown on it US nuclear business earlier this week, blaming massive cost overruns and delays linked to the construction of nuclear reactors in the US. IHI acquired the WESTINGHOUSE stake for $162m in 2006 when TOSHIBA acquired the nuclear business from the British government's BNFL for $5.4bn. TOSHIBA will buy back IHI's holding for Y18.9bn in mid-May. In announcing the writedown, TOSHIBA president SATOSHI TSUNAKAWA admitted the WESTINGHOUSE deal was a mistake and that the company would seek to sell its controlling stake in the subsidiary. Shares in TOSHIBA fell 9.2% on Friday after S&P said it was monitoring support for the company from creditors and would consider downgrading the conglomerate if that support incl

Deere climbs as group lifts FY forecast - Adam Samson

DEERE & CO shares rose on Friday after the company boosted its outlook for profits and sales in its current FY. The company said it expects to generate net income in 2017 of $1.5bn, up by $100m from a previous estimate. Meanwhile, sales are now forecast to rise 4% y/y, from a prior outlook of a fall of 1%. DEERE's more upbeat expectations come as the company cuts costs amid a downturn in the US agricultural market. US net farm incomes are projected to have fallen by 17.3% in the calendar year 2016, and decline by another 27.8% this year, before stabilising in 2018, according to a report from the US agriculture department. DEERE is looking to cut $500m in costs by 2018 as it works through the soft period. DEERE's fiscal Q1 2017 results also beat estimates. Net income was $193.8m, or 61cps, from $254.4m or 80cps y/y. Net sales were down 1% to $4.7bn. Analysts had forecast EPS of 55cps on sales of $4.63bn. Shares in DEERE were up 2% in pre-market trading. This news brief represents a summary of the

General Mills shares sink after issuing profit warning - Adam Samson

GENERAL MILLS came under pressure in pre-market trading on Friday after the company said its FY profits may rise less than it had previously forecast and after KRAFT HEINZ said it approached UNILEVER about a potential tie-up. The company said it expects its FY2017 adjusted EPS to rise by 5%-7%, down from a previous guidance of a rise of 6%-8%. Organic net sales over the period are expected to decline by 4%, from a previous range of 3%-4%. GENERAL MILLS said the less appetising outlook was "driven largely by recent sales performance on US yoghurt and soup." The profit warning came just as KRAFT HEINZ said it had made a £112bn approach for UNILEVER that was rejected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US drillers add oil rigs for fifth consecutive week - Mamta Badkar

US drillers added oil rigs for the fifth consecutive week taking the number of active oil rigs to 597 - up nearly 45% y/y to the highest since Oct. 2015. US drillers brought six rigs back online in the week ended Feb. 17, according to BAKER HUGHES. In all, drillers have brought 72 oil rigs back online so far this year in response to a stabilisation of crude prices. Oil continued to hold its losses, with WTI down 0.3% to $53.18/barrel, while Brent slid 0.1% to $55.58/barrel. OPEC and Russia agreed to cut output by 1.8m bpd for six months this year in a bid to bolster crude prices. And OPEC said it curbed output by 1.1m bpd last month. However, US drillers appear to be ratcheting up production with the Energy Information Administration estimating that US oil output will rise by 80 000 bpd to 4.87m bpd in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's raises outlook on Russia rating to 'stable' - Mamta Badkar

MOODY's on Friday became the latest rating agency to lift its outlook on Russia's credit rating, upgrading it from negative to stable, citing both a fiscal strategy that is expected to lower the country's dependence on energy and replenish its savings, and the gradual economic recovery. MOODY's had confirmed Russia's Ba1 rating, which is one notch below investment grade, in Apr. 2016, but assigned it a negative outlook at the time to reflect an erosion of the government's fiscal savings amid a downturn in crude prices. But on Friday, it said the recovery in Russia's economy following a nearly two-year long recession, alongside the fiscal consolidation strategy, have eased the risks that it had identified last year. Russia's deficit to GDP ratio is now forecast to narrow by around one percentage point per year between 2017 and 2019 and MOODY's said this new target was "achievable" because the government's "oil price and revenue assumptions are sufficiently conservative". S&P and FITCH have also boosted the

WorleyParsons shares dip as much as 13% after H1 net loss - Hudson Lockett

Shares in WORLEYPARSONS dropped as much as 13.4% after the company swung to a loss in H1 of FY2017. Revenue and other imcome from the HY period fell 35% to A$2.7bn, contributing to a net loss after tax of A$2.4m compared to profit of A$23.1m y/y. Much of that drop was the result of restructuring costs, which came to A$56.2m for the HY to end-Dec. WORLEYPARSONS also failed to pay any dividend for the period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan export growth weakens in Jan. - Hudson Lockett

Japanese exports' growth softened markedly in Jan. as the yen strengthened visibly against the dollar during only the second month since the country's outbound shipments exited a 15-month streak of contraction. Exports grew 1.3% y/y in Jan., well below median estimates of 4.7% from economists surveyed by Reuters and down from a rise of 5.4% in Dec. The value of exports to China rose just 3.1% y/y last month after expanding more than 12% in Dec., while shipments to all of Asia were up 6%, half the rate of the previous month. Exports to the US contracted 6.6% after growing 1.3% in Dec. That deterioration in outbound shipments came as the yen strengthened markedly against the dollar, firming 3.6% over the course of last month to Y112.8. Imports' value grew 8.5% y/y for the period, far beyond expectations of a 4.7% rise as the value of shipments from Asia rose 7%, with those from China up 7.2%. Imports from the US grew 11.8% y/y. Those flows shook out to a trade deficit of Y1.087tn, ending a five-month str

Mongolian debt trades near two-year high after IMF agrees to bailout - Hudson Lockett

Mongolia's debt is trading it its highest level in almost two years after the government reached a $5.5bn bailout agreement with the IMF. Prices for its actively-traded 5.125% bonds due in 2022 jumped from 88.78 to 93.20 today. Prices below 100 imply a higher risk investors won't get paid in full. Monday's level was the note's highest since May 22 2015. Just weeks before a $580m payment was due on a bond issued by the DEVELOPMENT BANK OF MONGOLIA, the IMF said it would provide funds to the mining-dependent country conditional on Mongolia's parliament approving fiscal discipline measures which include repeal of a popular cash subsidy for all families with children. The government also said it planned to launch an exchange offer this week for the DBM bonds, swapping them for government debt - though it gave no maturity for the new bonds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba partner with Chinese retailer Bailian Group - Alice Woodhouse

ALIBABA has signed a partnership with BAILIAN GROUP to explore new retail opportunities in the latest brick-and-mortar tie-up for the e-commerce giant. Under the deal, the companies will develop new technology and take advantage of each other's user data to integrate offline stores, logistics and payments to boost efficiency. BAILIAN has 4 700 stores across China. ALIBABA last month outlined a $2.6bn plan to take domestic department store INTIME private. The company also has investments in offline players including retailer SUNNING and white goods maker HAIER. ALIBABA and BAILIAN will develop technology for use in retail in areas including artificial intelligence, the internet of things and big data. The companies will also combine membership bases using geolocation and facial recognition software, among other systems. The partnership will allow offline shoppers to use ALIPAY in BAILIAN. BAILIAN's Safepass and OK Card will also be integrated into ALIPAY. This news brief represents a summary of the

AstraZeneca sells US Zoladex cancer treatment rights - Nicholas Megaw

ASTRAZENECA has sold the US and Canadian rights of its Zoladex cancer treatment to TERSERA THERAPEUTICS in a deal worth more than $320m as it looks ot focus its efforts on developing new medicines. TERSERA will pay an initial feel of $250m upon completion of the deal, $70m after certain sales-related milestones, plus further quarterly payments of a "mid-teen per cent" of product sales. AZ will also continue to manufacture and supply the treatment, which is used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer and gynaelogical disorders and has been approved for use in the US and Canada since 1989. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 20/02/2017

At 10h40 on 20 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.17 ZAR/EUR 13.97 ZAR/GBP 16.36 Gold 1235.27 Platinum 1002.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.08 All Share 52562.31

Hammerson profits fall by more than a half - Judith Evans

HAMMERSON saw profits drop by more than half to £317m in the FY to end-Dec. on a fall in the capital values of its shopping centres and retail parks. The company said the drop, from £728m y/y, was partly due to higher stamp duty in the UK and transfer taxes in Paris weighing on property prices, but also resulted from "weak trading and letting" at the Jeu de Paume shopping centre in Beauvais, France. HAMMERSON said adjusted profit rose 9.4% to £230.7m. The group plans to increase its dividend by 86% to 13.9pps. CEO DAVID ATKINS noted that the group successfully refinanced over £1.2bn of debt and executed its planned disposal programme, generating £635m. ATKINS also noted "UK retail headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty", but added that "I am confident that we have a resilient and adaptable business with multiple opportunities to drive similar levels of growth and therefore continue to deliver sector-leading income-focused returns". HAMMERSON's borrowing rose from 54% to 59% during the year. Net re

Petra profit jumps, but risk of missing output targets persists - Nicholas Megaw

Revenues at PETRA DIAMONDS rose almost 50% in H1 FY2017, with the company returning to a net profit as it continues to benefit from recovery in global diamond markets. The group reported a net profit of $35.2m in the HY to end-Dec., compared to a $2.2m loss y/y. Pre-tax profits rose by an impressive 51 500%, coming in at $51.6m after just scraping a $0.1m profit the prior year. Revenues were 48% higher than the same period the previous year, at $228.5m. However, PETRA warned that its FY production may be toward the bottom end f targets, after construction on a new plant in SA was disrupted by labour disputes. PETRA said it remains on track for production of 4.4m-4.6m ct "but is mindful of the potential to be towards the bottom end of this range". Net debt at end-Dec. was broadly the same as at the end of the first quarter, at $463.6m, more than 20% higher y/y. PETRA's debt - 2.8 times last year's adjusted EBITDA - has risen in recent years as the company invested in new diamond caves. This news brie

Unilever shares fall after Kraft Heinz pulls offer - Mehreen Khan

UNILEVER shares slumped 8% in London this morning following news that KRAFT HEINZ has dropped its $143bnb takeover bid to create the world's second largest consumer goods group. The shares enjoyed their best day since 1987 on Friday, when news of the potential tie-up broke. Just two days after declaring its interest, KRAFT HEINZ said it had "amicably" agreed to end its merger plans, sending UNILEVER shared down 8.6% following a 13.5% surge at the end of last week. "UNILEVER and KRAFT HEINZ hold each other in high regard. KRAFT HEINZ has the utmost respect for the culture, strategy and leadership of UNILEVER", a statement from KRAFT HEINZ said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec says price-fixing case involves single trader - BDpro

INVESTEC says that the complaint referral lodged against it by the Competition Commission for alleged price collusion is confined to the conduct of a single trader employed by the bank. "The bank intends to seek further information from the Competition Commission with respect to the specifics of the charges in order to continue to cooperate with them in this regard", INVESTEC said. INVESTEC is one of 16 local and international banks the Commission said it was prosecuting for colluding to fix prices. Other local banks, which could face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover if found guilty, include STANDARD BANK and ABSA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zurich Insurance - now Bryte - launches in Botswana - Hanna Ziady

The Southern African operation of ZURICH INSURANCE, which used to be listed on the JSE, rebranded itself BRYTE INSURANCE last week. Its Swiss parent recenty sold the company to Canada-based FAIRFAX FINANCIAL HOLDINGS. "We are delighted to introduce our new brand to the Southern African market. Our ambitions is to be the premier, proactive business risk specialist in Southern Africa", BRYTE CEO EDWYN O'NEILL said. The new brand was launched in Botswana on Friday morning. Under its new owner, the company intends expanding into other African countries. O'NEILL would not be drawn on which other African countries BRYTE was considering entering, but said it woudl first bed down its transformation before pursuing growth plans. About 80% of BRYTE's business comprises commercial and specialist lines of insurance written through independent brokers. O'NEILL said it would continue to focus on these lines through in-house specialist underwriting managers. This news brief represents a summary of the original ar

Rolfes resumes interim dividend payments - Matthew Stevens

ROLFES declared an interim dividend of 4cps for the HY to end-Dec., its first interim dividend since 2013. The company posted a 32% rise in revenue to R823m from R626m y/y and increased operating profit of 62% to R97m from R60m previously. It also reported a 60% rise in headline earnings to R61m and a 34% increase in HEPS to 37.9cps. The company reported higher liquidity, with its debt:equity ratio improving to 38% despite increased finance costs of R14m. ROLFES reported improved cash flows of 201% to R14m. Cash spent on investing activities was at R7.9m, which signalled a look to future growth. The agricultural division grew revenue 9% to R156m and improved its operating profit margin to 33.3% from 30.4% previously. This was done despite drought conditions and a higher operating cost by an improved procurement process, ROLFES said. The food division reported a 146% rise in revenue to R397m and a 1.1% improvement in operating profit margins through increased sales prices and volume. Despite a 15% dro

RMB sees money in financing solar power - Yolandi Groenewald

Savvy investors are eyeing off-grid solar power as a vehicle to earn money and improve property yields. A R100m 50/50 JV dubbed FIRST ENERGY ALTERNATIVES, between RAND MERCHANT BANK and solar firm BRIGHTBLACK ENERGY, will test this market. The venture installs solar panels and finance them. WESSEL WESSELS, CEO of BRIGHTBLACK ENERGY, said landlords who invested in solar power could improve their yields. "Normally, property owners are happy with a yield of about 8%. Solar pushes that up to 12%. Some of our clients are getting a 20% yield", WESSELS said. GREG MCKENZIE, investment banker at RMB and joint CEO of the venture with WESSELS, said the average size of rooftop photovoltaic installations was between R2m and R25m, which was too small to excite RMB. "This opportunity wouldn't be interesting on an individual basis... However, when you bulk this into a portfolio, the opportunities become compelling", MCKENZIE said. WESSELS was optimistic that the portfolio could exceed R500m within the next 12-16 mon

Armyworms may invade SA sugar fields next - Matthew Hill

An outbreak of fall armyworms that has attacked maize plants may spread to sugarcane in the KZN province, where a warm climate would help the pest survive through the year, the Agricultural Research Council said. The pest has already spread to all nine provinces including eastern KZN, where the bulk of cane is grown in the nation. There aren't yet any reports of infestations, ARC manager ROGER PRICE said last week. "We are very concerned that fall armyworms will get into the sugarcane along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, where it could persist in the warmer climatic conditions", PRICE said. "My personal view is that the vast bulk of the commercial maize crop has not been damaged and that national food security is not currently at risk". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FEDUSA dismayed at Molefe heading to parliament - Fin24

The Federation of Unions of SA yesterday said it is dismayed that former ESKOM CEO BRIAN MOLEFE has been nominated to be sworn in as an MP for the North West Province. FEDUSA claimed this is because MOLEFE was "linked to the controversial GUPTA family in former Public Protector THULI MADONSELA's State of Capture Report". In the report, MADONSELA revealed that MOLEFE and AJAY GUPTA exchanged 58 telephone calls between Aug. 2015 and Mar. 2016. Cellphone records also located MOLEFE at the GUPTAS' Saxonwold compound 19 times between Aug. 5 and Nov. 17 2015. FEDUSA said the allusion of an improper relationship between MOLEFE and the GUPTAS also link him to the manipulation of an OPTIMUM COAL supply agreement that saw ESKOM silently awarding a R564m contract to GUPTA-owned TEGETA. "Although the allegations contained in the report are yet to be tested in a court of law, FEDUSA believes that they make MOLEFE a highly compromised individual who should be cleared before being appointed to such a constitutionally i

EOH expects higher interim earnings - Fin24

EOH HOLDINGS LIMITED on Friday said it expects EPS for the HY to end-Jan. to be between 430cps and 448cps, reflecting an increase of 20%-25% compared to the 358cps reported y/y. HEPS is expected to be between 431cps and 449cps, reflecting an increase of 20%-25% compared to the 359cps reported y/y. Interim results will be published on Mar. 15. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jackson Mthembu backs Ramaphosa to be next ANC leader - Sam Mkokeli

JACKSON MTHEMBU, the ANC's parliamentary chief whip, threw his support behind Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as the party's next leader and said the ruling party is in danger of losing national power in two years. While the ANC has told its members not to publicly discuss the race to succeed President JACOB ZUMA as party leader, MTHEMBU said RAMAPHOSA's position as deputy means he must become its next president. "The ANC created the position of deputy president precisely so that you have a person who is ready to take over should anything happen to the president", MTHEMBU said. "As an ANC member, I put such a person to be deputy because I was preparing that person to be president - case closed". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol deal 'rips off' Moz - Justin Brown

SASOL has been criticised for entering into a lobsided contract with the government of Mozambique for its first $1.2bn gas investment so that the country didn't get a fair share of the benefits from its natural resources, oil and gas expert DON HUBERT said recently. "There is a really significant gap between what gas is worth and what the government received", HUBERT said. For the first 10 years of the project, the state where the project is situated got $130m in tax revenue, he added. This compared with his estimate that the gas piped from Mozambique was worth $700m/year. SASOL spokesperson ALEX ANDERSON said that, between 2004 and 2014, more than $600m was delivered to the Mozambique government. "These values include corporate taxes, royalties and corporate social investments, as well as profit share and dividends paid to state-owned entities", he added. HUBERT claimed that the dispensation SASOL had in Mozambique was "contractual mispricing" and "abusive". The gas sale agreement meant Mozambique was

Kenya to import yellow maize for first time since 2011 - Samuel Gebre

Kenya has approved the import of 5m bags of yellow maize from Ukraine as a drought slashes its own output of the grain. The imports - the first of the variety since 2011 - will be distributed to animal feed millers, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson JOHNSON IRUNGU said. Arrival of the maize from Ukraine will free up more locally grown white maize for human consumption, one analyst said. The imports will cost $260-$270/t if landed at the port of Mombasa. That would mean a total cost of around $119m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo halts asset sales - Thomas Biesheuvel

ANGLO AMERICAN's worst mines are delivering a windfall. Iron ore and coal prices were among the hardest hit during the commodities rout and have bounced back strongly. Now that the mines are profitable instead of bleeding cash, ANGLO is scrapping plans to sell some of its biggest assets, according to sources. "With all these commodities being up right now, they are trying to milk as much cash as possible", YUEN LOW, an analyst at SHORE CAPITAL STOCKBROKERS, said. "They might be hoping that prices will stay strong for longer than most people think". ANGLO plans to keep assets including a Brazilian nickel mine and the Minas Rio iron ore operation, according to sources. The company also plans to keep metallurgical coal assets in Australia and a stake in Cerrejon mine, Colombia's largest thermal coal exporter. The change in strategy will be announced when ANGLO reports FY results on Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI promises fast-tracked support for downstream steel industry - Terence Creamer

The Department of Trade & Industry insists that measures to support the downstream steel industry in SA are a priority for government and are being fast-tracked. In a statement outlining interventions undertaken since 2015 to support a primary steel sector wracked by global oversupply, the DTi said the long-term viability of the full steel value chain was "paramount". "The downstream, labour-intensive sectors of our economy remain a priority with measures to support these industries being fast-tracked through the collaborative efforts of government departments and its institutions", the DTI said. ITAC initiated investigations in H2 2016 on a number of downstream steel industry products, including wire products, screws, bolts and nuts, tube and pipe fittings, appliances etc. It expects the probes to be finalised during Q1 2017. In parallel, ITAC is processing applications from ARCELORMITTAL SA for the introduction of safeguard protection on hot-rolled and cold-rolled coil, which would be additional to the

Zuma sends Expropriation Bill back to Parliament - ANA

President JACOB ZUMA has sent the Expropriation Bill back to the National Assembly for review, some 10 months after members of Parliament approved it, his office said on Friday. The bill allows for expropriation of land in the public interest and seeks to address racial inequities in land ownership. It could speed up land reform in that it provides for the consideration of more criteria than just the market value when determining the compensation the state pays the current owners. The DA last year petitioned ZUMA not to ink the bill as it believed it violated sections 25 and 26 of the Constitution, which respectively deal with the right to property and the right not to be evicted without a court order. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blue Label expects higher H1 earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

BLUE LABEL TELECOMS expects to post a surge in earnings bolstered in part by 58.18%-owned subsidiary OXIGEN SERVICES INDIA's fair value gains of R150m in the HY to end-Nov. EPS are expected to rise by 54% to 58% to between 80.79cps and 82.89cps for the HY. HEPS are expected to come in 52%-56% higher at 80.86cps-83.09cps and core HEPS some 50%-55% higher at between 81.90cps and 84.63cps for the HY. OXIGEN is now viewed as a venture capital investment with a fair value gain, less deferred taxation and the group's share of losses in OXIGEN for the period under review, equating to a net rise of R135m to BLUE LABEL's HY earnings. Excluding the reported net increase, core HEPS would have ranged between 62.25cps and 63.34cps, equating to a growth of 14%-16%, mostly attributed to organic growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First Quantum narrows Q4 profit on higher costs, lower prices - Henry Lazenby

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS has narrowed its profit for the quarter to end-Dec., reporting profit of $12m or $0.02/share, as higher costs and lower metals prices weighed on the bottom line. For the year, the company said its loss narrowed to $45m, or $0.07/share. Comparative earnings fell 27% y/y to $27m, or $0.04/share. Revenue for the quarter fell 4.2% to $689m, down from $719m y/y. Copper production unit cost rose in the quarter as lower gold credit, higher maintenance and mining costs at Kansanshi and planned maintenance shutdown and seasonal electricity cost at Las Cruces partially offset the embedded benefits of the Kansanshi smelter and cost savings initiatigves. Copper production and sales of 146 101t and 136 265t, respectively, were reported. For 2017, the company expects to produce 570 000t of copper, up from 539 458t y/y; 25 000t nickel, up from 23 624t y/y; 200 000oz gold, down from 214 012oz y/y, and 20 000t zinc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Forevermark diamonds to add 10% more outlets in 2017 - Reuters

FOREVERMARK, part of DE BEERS, has expanded to 2 000 outlets globally and expects a further 10% rise this year, CEO STEPHEN LUSSIER said on Friday. The number of new FOREVERMARK outlets rose by 14% last year with a move into three new markets - Hungary, South Korea and Thailand. This year, LUSSIER said he was looking at expanding further in some existing markets, including South Korea and Thailand, as well as moving into France. LUSSIER said the FOREVERMARK retail outlets accounted for global revenues of close to $1bn in 2016, a figure that had roughly doubled since 2013. DE BEERS spent $85m on FOREVERMARK marketing in 2016 and is also a member of the Diamond Producers Association, set up in 2015 to promote diamonds on behalf of the diamond industry as a whole. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport declares force majeure at Grasberg - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN on Friday said it cannot meet contractual obligations for copper concentrate shipments from its Grasberg mine in Indonesia following a five-week export ban. Production at the mine came to a standstill two weeks ago after the government banned copper concentrate exports on Jan. 12. BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile declared force majeure on Feb. 10, two days into a strike that halted production. "Those two mines are currently offline and that's about 2mt - almost 10% of global copper supply - which is a big deal", JEFFERIES analyst CHRIS LAFEMINA said. Grasberg was expected to produce 800 000t of copper in 2017, about 3.5% of global supply. For each month the mine is offline, the global copper suppy is reduced by around 90m lb, LAFEMINA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo to suspend copper mining at El Soldado - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN will temporarily suspend operations at its El Soldado copper mine in Chile after failing to receive regulatory approval for a redesign that would have helped keep output flowing, the company said on Friday. Chile's minining regulator has rejected the permit request for the redesign. "the company has as a result decided to immediately and temporarily suspend mine operations, while it analyses in detail the report issued by the institution and decides on the next steps in respect of the future of said operation", ANGLO said. Options could include appealing or coming up with a new plan. The mine's output - it produced some 36 000t of copper in 2015 - is small by the standards of Chile. El Soldado is part of ANGLO's Sur complex, in which CODELCO, MITSUI and MITSUBISHI also hold stakes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New CEO to restructure, refocus Miranda Minerals - Anine Kilian

MIRANDA MINERALS has appointed THEO BOTOULAS as its new CEO. Chairperson Dr LELAU MOHUBA said BOTOULAS "has been appointed as CEO with the specific mandate to restructure and refocus the company and to create for it a sustainable future in the minerals space". He added that while the company has experienced a period of inactivity, it continues to offer a foundation for the identification and acquisition of projects that will add value for current and future shareholders and stakeholders. "I look forward to working with BOTOULAS and he will have my full support in executing this mandate", MOHUBA added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoAL to convert $10m YBI loan to equity - Anine Kilian

YISHUN BRIGHTRISE INVESTMENT will soon hold 19.28% of COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED's share capital following the conversion of a $10m loan repayment into equity. COAL in Sep. 2015 entered into a loan agreement with YBI for $10m. In May 2016, COAL and YBI amended the terms of the loan to specify the conditions that would trigger the repayment of the loan. The parties had agreed that if none of the agreed conditions were triggered by the long-stop date of Dec. 31 2016, the loan amount would be converted into equity at a price of $0.04081/share. The conversion shares will amount to 245.4m and the conversion into equity will occur in two tranches. Once completed, YBI will hold 428.3m ordinary shares in COAL, equating to a 19.28% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to boost forex sales to retail users - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's central bank plans to boost dollar sales for school fee payment and travel abroad so as to reduce the spread paid on the black market and support the naira. The currency is quoted on the black market at a discount of around 40% to the official interbank market, which it has closed at 305 to the dollar since Aug. 2016. The central bank disbursed $2.83bn to critical sectors of the economy in Dec. and Jan., but analysts estimate outstanding dollar demand at around $4bn. The bank has been trying to clear the backlog via forward contracts sold to manufacturing, agriculture and airline companies, hoping also to help drag the county out of recession. But retail currency users have been left out, fuelling the black market. On Friday, the naira hit a new low of 516 to the dollar on the unofficial market. Analysts expect the central bank to allow greater flexibility on the naira this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays, Citi helped SA with forex trading probe - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

BARCLAYS PLC and CITIGROUP approached the Competition Commission with information relating to the alleged rigging of the rand's exchange rate, two sources said on Friday. The Commission's inquiry centered on an instant messaging chat room called ZAR Domination, which the Commission alleged was used by the banks to coordinate trading activities when giving quotes to customers who buy or sell currencies. "BARCLAYS and CITIGROUP offered to cooperate with the investigation", one source said, adding that if the information they provided led to a successful prosecution of other members of the alleged cartel they could be exempted from any fine. The Commission was not seeking any penalty agaisnt CITIGROUP, BARCLAYS or BARCLAYS AFRICA because the information they supplied was enough to refer the matter to the Tribunal for prosecution, another source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma says SIU owed $30m by govt - Ed Stoddard

President JACOB ZUMA on Saturday said the state's anti-graft agency, the Special Investigating Unit, was owed almost R390m by government departments and called on them to repay the debt. ZUMA said the funds owed should be paid "without delay to enable the SIU to continue functioning optimally". The presidency said SIU head ANDY MOTHIBI had informed ZUMA of the debt during their first meeting on Friday. No explanation was given as to why the debt accumulated or why it was now drawn to the president's attention. The SIU has a mandate to recover and prevent government financial losses caused by corruption, fraud and maladministration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to raise income, alcohol and tobacco taxes in 2017/18 budget - Vuyani Ndaba

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN is likely to target income, alcohol and tobacco taxes in his Feb. 22 budget to reassure ratings agencies that he will gradually rein in the deficit in coming yeas, a Reuters poll found. The poll shows economists expect the government to target a budget deficit of 3.2% of GDP in the fiscal year from Apr. 1. The Treasury is then expected to narrow the budget deficit further to 2.8% of GDP in 2018/19 and 2.5% the following year. Most of the economists surveyed expect the Treasury to boost revenue with personal income tax hikes as well as levies on purchases of alcohol and tobacco products to plug a R28bn shortfall in the new FY. A fuel levy increase as well as higher VAT were listed as other possible options for GORDHAN to generate new revenue. MOODY's, which put SA on negative watch in its latest review, is due to revisit that on Apr. 7, followed by S&P at the start of June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R's share jump as major shareholder exits - Tanisha Heiberg

MURRAY & ROBERTS on Friday announced that CORONATION FUND MANAGERS had sold all of its stake in the company. On Thursday, shares in M&R had jumped about 29% to a near six-month high. CORONATION held about 15% of M&R's shares. M&R said in a statement it was not aware what led to the rise in its share price. It said around 96m shared had traded during Thursday's session, equivalent to some 22% of the company's issued share capital. The shares closed 2.7% higher on Friday. The new shareholders would have until tomorrow to disclose their share purchase. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA agrees steel pricing model with govt - Nqobile Dludla

ARCELORMITTAL SA on Friday said the government had approved a new pricing model for flat steel products aimed at bolstering its steel sector. The company was fined a record R1.5bn in Aug. 2016 for colluding to fix steel prices. Pretoria formed a team six years ago to find ways to lower steel prices after consumers complained about AMSA's prices. The local price for flat steel products will be calculated on an import weighted basket price. "This agreement and the commitment by government and the company will no doubt make a valuable contribution to the sustainability of the steel industry, and in particular, the downstream industry", AMSA said. The terms of the agreement may be reviewed within a five-year period if the agreed principles are not achieving their original intent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 20/02/2017

At 07h35 on 20 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.05 ZAR/EUR 13.85 ZAR/GBP 16.20 Gold 1234.85 Platinum 1002.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.86 All Share 52223.54

Norway proposes major changes to sovereign wealth fund - Richard Milne

Norway's government has proposed making the biggest changes to the world's largest sovereign wealth fund in decades, increasing its risk by investing about $90bn more in stock markets and cutting the amount of oil money it can use in the budget. The $900bn fund should be able to invest 70% of its assets in equities, up from the current 60%, as the government backed proposals by both the fund itself and an expert group. The shift would be significant for global markets as the oil fund on average already owns 1.3% of every listed company. The increase in equities would come at the expense of bonds, as the oil fund, which has an investment horizon of a century or more, tries to increase its returns. At the same time, the government is aiming to reduce the amount of money from the fund Oslo is allowed to use in budgets. Under the so-called spending rule introduced in 2001, the government is allowed to take up to 4% of the fund each year - meant to be equivalent to the real return from investments. This wou

Vale reports record output in 2016 - Joe Leahy

Shares in VALE were slightly lower yesterday in spite of the company reporting record output last year. The group reported output of 348.8mt of iron ore in 2016, an increase of 3mt y/y, helped by increased output from its Carajas Amazonian mine complex in Brazil, including the startup of its new S11D operation there. "The annual production of 348.8mt was within the original production guidance range of 340-350mt and came closer to the upper end of the range", VALE said. Shares slipped 0.63% to R$31.71/share in Sao Paulo yesterday. "The production guidance for 2017 remains within the 360-380mt range as previously announced and from the end of 2018 onwards VALE will most likely achieve the long-term base case target of 400mt", VALE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlas Mara announces share placement, CEO departs - Martin Arnold

ATLAS MARA's woes have deepened after it announced the immediate departure of its CEO and raised extra funds from an overnight placing. The company said it would appoint a replacement "in due course" for JOHN VITALO, who worked for founder BOB DIAMOND when he rand BARCLAYS and followed him after he left the British lender to help set up the African banking venture. VITALO stepped down on Wednesday. His departure is the latest blow for the company, which posted a 71% drop in profits in H1 2016 and recently announced the departure of ARNOLD EKPE as its chairperson. ATLAS MARA said it had raised $13.5m from a placement of just over 7m shares to a number of existing shareholders in the company, including DIAMOND, who has been interim chair since EKPE left. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ECB profits swell to €1.2bn on QE windfall - Mehreen Khan

The ECB notched up a €111m rise in profits last year on the back of rising interest income earned from its swelling balance sheet. In its latest set of annual financials results, the central bank said its total profits hit €1.19bn in 2016, as it earned a bumper €1.04bn in interest on the assets it has bought up as part of its stimulus measures since Mar. 2015. Net interest income on securities held for monetary policy purposes was up from €0.89 in 2015, the ECB said, which also earned €370m in interest for its foreign reserves. The figures show the ECB's landmark stimulus measures have been good for its bottom line, amid some concerns that the central bank risks making losses from a shift that will allow it to buy negative yielding bonds below its deposit rate. Of its total net profits, 88% came from its QE programme at €1.04bn. The overall size of the ECB's balance sheet now stands at €349bn from €257bn y/y - swelling by more than a third. This news brief represents a summary of the o

Updated market indicators for 17/02/2017

At 10h04 on 17 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.01 ZAR/EUR 13.88 ZAR/GBP 16.25 Gold 1238.04 Platinum 1013.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.85 All Share 52231.73

Toshiba shares drop 12.5% as S&P warns of downgrade risk - Alice Woodhouse

Shares in TOSHIBA fell as much as 12.5% today after S&P said it is monitoring support for the company from creditors and will consider downgrading the conglomerate if that support includes any form of debt restructuring. TOSHIBA's stock has fallen 24.8% in the week to date, wiping out Y230bn of its market cap. S&P, which currently rates TOSHIBA as CCC+, said: "Even if in the event banks continue to provide financial support for the company, if it includes any form of debt restructuring we define as selective default, we will lower the ratings by multiple notches." MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRY told the FT that it would not be coming to TOSHIBA's aid in its nuclear reactor business after analysts suggested the troubled conglomerate may need to partner with another Japanese company with nuclear capabilities to survive. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung shares dip after heir-apparent's arrest - Hudson Lockett

Shares in SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS fell as much as 1.6% at the open on Friday after the early-morning arrest of LEE JAE-YONG, heir-apparent of SAMSUNG GROUP. The arrest of LEE for bribery, embezzlement and perjury was made in connection with an investigation by a special prosecutor into the massive corruption scandal that has engulfed President PARK GEUN-HYE. South Korea's independent counsel, which is investigating PARK's influence-peddling scandal, has accused LEE of making millions of dollars of political donations in return for business favours. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump says new travel-ban order coming next week - Jessica Dye

After a series of legal setbacks, US President DONALD TRUMP yesterday said his administration is preparing to roll out a revised version of his travel ban next week. TRUMP said the new order would be issued "next week sometime" and would be tailored to address legal concerns raised in court rulings on the ban, including one several weeks ago by a federal judge in Washington who temporarily halted the order's implementation. The White House's bid to overturn that ruling was rejected by a federal appeals court last week in a separate ruling. TRUMP defended the ban, saying the roll-out was "very smooth" notwithstanding the "bad court" and "bad decision". TRUMP added, without going into details, that the new order "is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barrick in advanced talks to sell stake in Aussie gold mine - Henry Sanderson

BARRICK GOLD is in "advanced talks" with a buyer for its 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie gold mine in western Australia, president KELVIN DUSHNISKY said yesterday. He said the buyer is working through the process and if they come back with the right price "then we'll be keen". DUSHNISKY would not comment on whether the bidder was China's MINJAR GOLD, a unit of SHANDONG TYAN HOME. Last year they were reported to have made a $1.3bn bid for the asset, known as the Super Pit, which is also owned by NEWMONT MINING. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Invicta sells BSG to Steinbuild - Mark Allix

INVICTA HOLDINGS will sell STEINHOFF DOORS AND BUILDING MATERIALS (STEINBUILD), a subsidiary of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL, 100% of its subsidiary BUILDING SUPPLY GROUP for R678m with effect from Apr. INVICTA holds a 60% stake in BSG with the balance held by management. The sale will be settled with cash. "We are very pleased with this transaction as we believe that the BSG business is a much better fit with STEINBUILD in terms of building its brands and growth aspirations", INVICTA CEO ARNOLD GOLDSTONE said. "It also allows INVICTA to focus on its core competencies - providing capital equipment and parts, as well as engineering solutions, to a number of diverse industries". At end-Mar. 2016, BSG had a NAV of R229m, while profit after tax came in at R38m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tough trading conditions sees 3% drop in Truworths interim HEPS - BDpro

Tough trading conditions fuelled in part by a weak rand saw TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL report a 3% drop in HEPS to 392.6cps for the 26 weeks ended Dec. 25. The group said its financial position remained strong, with NAV/share increasing by 8% to 2 200cps from 2 036.7cps y/y. A gross dividend of 270cps was declared for the period, which was unchanged from the same period y/y. Looking ahead, TRUWORTHS said that in the case of its South African operations, slow economic growth and pressure on disposable income would impact trading conditions, which were likely to remain challenging in the short term. "The affordability assessment regulations continue to limit our ability to open new accounts and grow credit sales. The group has taken action in an attempt to mitigate to some extent the impact of these regulations", the company said. TRUWORTHS added that the trading environment in the UK was also faced with uncertainty and low economic growth prospects. This news brief represents a summary of the original ar

City Lodge H1 profits in low single digits - BDpro

CITY LODGE HOTELS yesterday reported single-digit growth for the HY to end-Dec. as occupancies in SA declined. Normalised headline earnings rose 2% to R197.12m as the occupancy rate dipped to 66% in the HY to end-Dec. from 69% y/y. The drop in occupancies was mainly due to low business and consumer confidence in SA where the company has 54 hotels. Occupancies in Botswana were on par y/y and Kenyan operations achieved slightly higher occupancies. Group revenue rose 5% to R791.3m, benefiting from an inflationary increase in room rates and first-time contributions from the 90-room Road Lodge Pietermaritzburg and the 148-room City Lodge Hotel Newtown. "Stronger economic growth and improved business and consumer confidence would be catalysts for a stronger performance by the group", CEO CLIFFORD ROSS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fatality at South Deep mine - BDpro

An employee of GOLD FIELDS was killed in a tramming-related accident at the company's South Deep mine on Tuesday. Management had suspended all hopper tramming activities, pending a full risk assessment, and had notified the Department of Mineral Resources, GOLD FIELDS said. "This is a serious setback in our efforts to continuously improve safety at South Deep as it is the second fatality we have recorded this year", CEO NICK HOLLAND said. South Deep reported one fatality for the whole of 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Twinsaver looks to diversify portfolio via Validus acquisition - Megan van Wyngaardt

TWINSAVER GROUP is in talks to acquire hygienic disposable products company VALIDUS MEDICAL, further diversifying its portfolio in the FMCG sector. TWINSAVER CEO GARTH TOWELL said the acquisition would enable the company to service new consumer segments and accelerate VALIDUS's growth through investments in technology, talent and access to wider networks. Established in 2015, VALIDUS has quickly grown its national portfolio of quality, disposable medical products across SA's hospital, frailcare and babycare industries. The sale will provide VALIDUS with the capital needed to expand into ancillary and new categories. The sale is subject to regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BASA calls for collusion case against banks to run its course - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Banking Association of SA yesterday implored the public to not make harsh comments or brash decisions following the Competition Commission's decision to refer a case of alleged collusion against 17 banks to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. The Commission on Wednesday revealed the banks were alleged to have colluded on price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency involving the R/$ currency pair from 2007. BASA MD CAS COOVADIA said the processes initiated by the Commission and further undertaken by the Tribunal must be allowed to run their course without any interference. "If, during this process, any bank is found wanting and in contravention of the prevailing legislative and regulatory framework governing competition in South Africa, it must be addressed urgently by the relevant authorities and identified banks to maintain competition in the South African banking sector in the interests of consumers and further avoid risks associated herewith". This news brief repre

Govt to take control of new R&D budget - Liesl Peyper

Government will start coordinating a research and development budget to start upgrading and modernising SA's "obsolete" scientific infrastructure and support R&D activities, according to a Cabinet statement issued yesterday. The "proposed budget coordination" will be phased in over the 2017/18 and 2019/20 medium budget periods. In 2006, government introduced the R&D Tax Incentive, which has since its inception supported scientific projects to the value of R36.1bn. Of the 962 companies that have participated in the incentive, 47% are SMMEs, 12% are large enterprises with a turnover of R41m-R100m, 32% are very large enterprises with a turnover of R100m and above, and 8% did not disclose their turnover size. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bank probe timing couldn't be worse - expert - Renee Bonorchis

The Competition Commission's decision to prosecute 17 banks for forex collusion is badly timed for SA's top four banks, who are trying to keep the moral high ground after blacklisting the GUPTAS due to allegations of state capture. That is the message from ADRIAN SAVILLE, chief strategist at CITADEL INVESTMENT SERVICES & CANON ASSET MANAGERS. "The timing for banks couldn't be worse... It comes at a time when they're trying to demonstrate impeccable behaviour. It makes a case for intervention". Only STANDARD BANK and ABSA were cited in the decision, but the move will likely impact the entire banking industry. The outcome of the probe comes as President JACOB ZUMA and the ANC step up pressure to break the dominance of SA's four largest lenders. ZUMA has accused banks of not doing enough to improve access to the economy that still eludes many of the country's black majority almost 23 years since the end of apartheid. The Commission urged the banks be fined for colluding and manipulating trades in the rand

Liberty Two Degrees announces first results after listing - Carin Smith

LIBERTY TWO DEGREES yesterday announced its first set of financial results following its successful listing on the JSE on Dec. 6. The results for the one-month trading period ending Dec. 31 are in line with the forecast provided in the Pre-listing Statement. The NAV increased by 12c/unit, totalling R9.64 at the end of the reported period. The distribution is declared at 4.85c/participatory unit for the period. L2D CEO AMELIA BEATTIE said the company will continue to build its portfolio. Focus areas over the next 12 months will include to effectively deploy the money raised during its road show and to extract value from existing assets to meet investor expectations. The company has R2.8bn cash available for acquisitions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN axes agreement with Aussie bank - Renee Bonorchis

MTN GROUP will look for new ways to bring banking services to its customers' mobile phones in SA after severing ties with Australian-owned parter TYME. MTN scrapped the mobile money payment service it ran with COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA's TYME due to "a lack of commercial viability", said MAXWELL NONGE, chief digital officer of MTN SA. The company retains a banking licence together with a second partner, SOUTH AFRICAN BANK OF ATHENS, and can use that as a platform for new deals, he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stor-Age to raise R400m to pay for acquisitions - Anine Kilian

STOR-AGE will undertake a R400m equity capital raise through an accelerated bookbuild process to settle the R328.77m purchase consideration for two acquisitions. The company in Dec. announced it would acquire the entire issued share capital of STORAGE RSA via wholly-owned subsidiary ROELAND STREET INVESTMENTS, as well as the shareholders' loan claims against STORAGE RSA. The Competition Commission has approved the transaction. STOR-AGE also announced the acquisition of 100% of the shares in, and shareholders' loan claims against, Units 1-4 Somerset West Business Park. The bookbuild will open on Feb. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank appoints new vehicle, asset finance head - Megan van Wyngaardt

STANDARD BANK has appointed SIMPHIWE NGHONA as its Vehicle and Asset Finance head with effect from Mar. 1. NGHONA will also join the bank's Personal and Business Banking group executive committee. Having worked most recently at CEO of WESBANK's motor division, NGHONA brings 18 years of experience in the automotive and banking industries, which STANDARD BANK believes can be put to good effect to grow its VAF division and further improve customer and dealer experience. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32: Major South African coal extension project on cards - Martin Creamer

SOUTH32 CEO GRAHAM KERR said a decision will be taken in the Jun. quarter on go-ahead for the Klipspruit Life Extension in Mpumalanga, which is said to have robust economics. The original BHP BILLITON capex of more than $500m for the two-year project has been more than halved under SOUTH32 to under $250m, KERR said. While the Klipspruit Life Extension project is export orientated and earmarked to make use of existing rail access, its location in relation to ESKOM's new coal-fired Kusile power station, which is under construction, could see it playing a role in domestic supply. Project capex of $30m is expected in the FY to end-Jun., to fund study costs and the acquisition of land in preparation for the Klipspruit Life Extension project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yamana reports Q4 profit, foresees hiatus in capital spending - Henry Lazenby

YAMANA GOLD yesterday said it foresees a break in significant expansionary capex after completion of the Cerro Moro mine and the Barnat extension at Canadian Malartic mine in 2018. The company said it is targeting significant cash flows starting in 2018, given the expected reduction in capex and increase in production over the guidance period to 2019. Given the technical nature of the projects in Yamana's pipeline, the company is not expecting to start development or any major projects in the next five years. YAMANA sees 2017 gold output at 920 000oz, sliver at 4.7m and copper output at 120m lb. The company reported FY2016 production totalling 1.27moz of gold, 7moz of silver and 115.5m lb of copper. The company reported headline earnings of $6.7m, or $0.01/share for the quarter to end-Dec., compared with an adjusted loss of $6.4m or $0.01/share y/y. Revenue for the period was $484.4m, compared with the $439.1m y/y due to higher metal prices, partly offset by lower copper sales. This news brief repres

BHP, workers far apart one week into Escondida strike - Reuters

The positions of BHP BILLITON and the striking union at its Escondida mine in Chile remain distant even as the parties agreed this week to return to the negotiating table. Workers walked off the job on Feb. 9 after contract talks with the company ended in failure. However, the proposals of the company remain far from those of the workers, union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES said yesterday, after meeting with Chile's labour minister. BHP declined to comment on ALLENDES's remarks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Arconic sells 60% of stake in Alcoa Corp - Henry Lazenby

NYSE-listed ARCONIC yesterday announced it has sold around 60% of its 19.9% stake in its former downstream business segment ALCOA CORP for $890m. ARCONIC sold 23.35m shares of the 36.31m shares it retained in ALCOA at the time of the demerger in Nov. 2016. It said the proceeds would bolster its cash balance and provide financial flexibility to pay down debt and/or pursue share repurchases. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Proposed Stillwater deal nets Sibanye 'deal of the year' award - Anine Kilian

SIBANYE's proposed R30bn acquisition of STILLWATER MINING COMPANY has won Ansarada DealMakers' Deal of the Year award. "We are honoured to receive this award, which I believe recognises that the proposed acquisition of US-listed STILLWATER is a transformative transaction at an opportune time in the commodity price cycle", SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem halts Ghaghoo mine amid low prices - Megan van Wyngaardt

GEM DIAMONDS has placed its Ghaghoo mine in Botswana on care and maintenance with immediate effect. Although the development of the mine had progressed well and reached the point where it would shortly be able to start full commercial production, the material fall in the diamond price from $210/ct in 2015 to $142/ct in Dec. had emphasised the weak state of the diamond market for the category of stones produced at Ghaghoo. GEM estimates that, post one-off settlement costs, the mothballing of the mine will result in an annual care and maintenance cost of $3m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CIL seeks to buy into operational foreign coal mines - Ajoy K Das

COAL INDIA LIMITED plans to enter into strategic equity investment and production sharing agreements with the owners of operational coal mines outside India, rather than the outright acquisition of greenfield coal blocks. CIL had appointed a merchant banker to aid it in identifying assets overseas, with the mandate to target only coking coal and low-ash thermal coal in counties like the US, Colombia, SA, Australia and Indonesia. According to a Coal Ministry official, the company's preference is to acquire coking coal assets as India lacks the techno-economic capacity to increase its domestic coking coal production. However, to avoid unsuccessful bids, CIL reckons that strategic equity investment in operational mines, backed by long-term production buyback agreements with overseas asset owners, will enable it to derisk its investments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio said to seek bank pitches on coal mine sale - Bloomberg

RIO TINTO has asked banks to pitch for a role advising on the divestment of its last remaining coal operations in Australia, sources said. The company has decided to pursue a sale of its Hail Creek and Kestrel mines after receiving unsolicited approaches from potential buyers. The assets in the Bowen Basin could fetch as much as A$2bn, sources said. RIO has been divesting coal assets since dismantling its energy division in 2015 and last month agreed to sell $2.45bn of Australian mines to a company controlled by China's YANZHOU COAL MINING CO. There's no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, and RIO could still decide to keep Hail Creek and Kestrel. A company spokesperson declined to comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport Indonesia mine operations 'stopped completely' - Reuters

All work has stopped at the Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, operated by FREEPORT INDONESIA, a union representative said yesterday, just over a month after the country halted exports of copper concentrate. "Everything has stopped completely. It's just maintenance now", union chief VIRGO SOLOSSA said, stopping short of saying how many of an estimated 33 000 workers were still on the job. Thousands of workers planned to stage a demonstration in Papua, the province where the mine is located, on Friday to demand that the government "make a wise decision" regarding the situation, SOLOSSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grant King joins BHP board - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has appointed GRANT KING as independent non-executive director with effect from Mar. 1. Between 2000 and 2016, KING served as MD and CEO of ORIGIN ENERGY, and is currently the president of the Business Council of Australia. Meanwhile, PAT DAVIES, who has been a non-executive director since 2012, will retire from the board on Apr. 6 to focus on his family business and pursue other interests. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WBHO earnings dented by govt deal - Roy Cokayne

The recognition of the full value of WBHO's socioeconomic contribution and financial liability arising from the settlement agreement with government significantly dented the company's earnings in the HY to end-Dec. The company this week said HEPS for the HY were expected to be between 37.5% and 42.5% lower than the 632.1cps reported y/y. This equates to HEPS of 363cps-395cps for the HY under review. WBHO's total commitment in terms of the government agreement was R255m over 12 years. The agreement with government settled outstanding and potential civil damages claims by state entities against seven major construction groups. WBHO added that it had achieved satisfactory trading over the period with the exception of a single loss-making project in Australia. It did not identify the project. WBHO added that its adjusted HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. were expected to be 5%-10% higher than the 632.1cps reported y/y. This equates to adjusted HEPS of 664cps-695cps. Interim results will be published on Feb. 28

South32 doubts Anglo will deal on Samancor after prices soar - David McKay

The likelihood of SOUTH32 buying ANGLO AMERICAN's 40% stake in the SAMANCOR JV had decreased following an improvement in manganese ore and chrome prices. "It's a business we know well and we are a large player in it", SOUTH32 CEO GRAHAM KERR said yesterday. "At the right price we would be interested in increasing our stake. That's our perspective. But let MARK [CUTIFANI] do his presentation. I suspect ANGLO will have retreated from that process", KERR said. SOUTH32 has a 60% stake in SAMANCOR and operates the asset. In Feb. 2016, ANGLO said it would divest of bulk mining products in favour of a new look focus on copper, platinum and diamonds. Since then, however, the price for manganese ore tripled in 2016 although prices have slipped lately. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma says govt will act against banks accused of forex rigging - Mfuneko Toyana

President JACOB ZUMA yesterday told parliament the government would come down hard on the local banks accused in an report by the competition watchdog of rigging the rand currency. "This matter is still under investigation... government is ready to act against market abuse, price fixing and collusion in the private sector in order to protect our country's economy", ZUMA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Woolies banks on cosmetics as profit dips - TJ Strydom

WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS aims to double its share of SA's beauty products market in three years, CEO IAN MOIR said yesterday. The retail has only a 3% market share in cosmetics but its Australian department store chain DAVID JONES has a long relationship with beauty houses. "We see an ability to more than double our market share by 2020", MOIR said, adding that the DAVID JONES connection played a part in getting CHANEL and ESTEE LAUDER into South African stores. MOIR said WOOLWORTHS' slender beauty offering was costing the business shoppers. The company reported a 4.3% drop in HEPS to 242.6cps for the 26 weeks to Dec. 25. The company also plans to open its first food store in Australia. It will invest as much as A$100m into this business over the next three years, MOIR said. Analysts said signing up global cosmetic brands for the group's South African stores would boost profits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria not sure yet how much to borrow from World Bank - Felix Onuah

Nigeria has not decided yet how much it wants to borrow from the World Bank, Budget Minister UDOMA UDO UDOMA said on Wednesday, to help pay for record spending of $24bn this year. Sources told Reuters last week the country plans to present the required economic reform proposals to the World Bank this month to borrow at least $1bn. "The figure will depend on the (2017) budget approved by the National Assembly", UDOMA said. "We are waiting for the passage of the budget by the National Assembly so that we will know the budget gap or the actual deficit before we can go to the World Bank for loan". Nigeria will present its economic proposals to the AfDB at the same time as the World Bank, government officials said last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya Power expects no drought-related rationing, minimal price hike - George Obulutsa

Kenyans will not be hit by electricity rationing or significant price hikes, with diesel generation making up for a fall from drought-hit hydroelectric dams, the head KENYA POWER said yesterday. While the severity of power interruptions has subsides over the years, many firms in Kenya still run stand-by generators to cater for disruptions. "Even with the hydrological conditions that we are experiencing at the moment, we do not foresee any possibility of carrying out power rationing", KENYA POWER acting CEO KEN TARUS said. TARUS said it is not the utility's decision whether tariffs would rise further due to the extra use of diesel generators, but said the effect is expected to be minimal. A domestic user consuming up to 50 kWh now pays 2.50 shillings per unit, while those who use between 51 and 1 500 kWh pay 11.62 shillings per unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AccorHotels inks deal to open hotels in Ethiopia - Aaron Maasho

ACCORHOTELS will open three hotels in Ethiopia by 2021, becoming the largest international chain to tap into the growing business and tourism sectors in that country. Ethiopia is the continent's second most populous nation and has one of its fastest-growing economies, propelled by huge spending on infrastructure, though it is still one of the poorest The new ACCORHOTELS properties will offer more than 520 rooms in Addis Ababa. ACCORHOTELS have been active in Africa for 40 years and is the continent's leading hotelier by number of rooms. The group operates in 21 African countries, employing more than 10 000 people at 94 hotels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria raises 160bn naira bonds at yield below inflation - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria has raised 160bn naira in local currency bonds at its second debt auction this year at yields lower than the inflation rate, the Debt Management Office said yesterday. The debt office had initially wanted to raise 110bn at the auction but increased the offer due to robust demand. Total demand stood at 337.03bn naira at Wednesday's auction, higher tan 235.05bn naira at its previous sale. Annual inflation hit 18.72% in Jan. The debt office said it raised 70bn naira of the paper maturing in 2036 at 16.77%, lower than the 16.99% the same instrument fetched at the previous auction and paid 16.61% for the 30bn naira raised in the paper maturing in 2026, compared to 16.99% at the previous auction. It issued 60bn naira in the note maturing in 2021 at 16.55% against 16.89% at the previous auction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF may consider extending Ghana aid deal - Kwasi Kpodo

The IMF may consider extending its three-year aid deal with Ghana if the new government requests and extension, the Fund said this week. Ghana is more than halfway through a $918m programme signed in Apr. 2015 to restore fiscal balance to the economy. The government of NANA AKUFO-ADDO is considering seeking an extension of the deal beyond Apr. 2018 to Dec. of that year, IMF Ghana chief NATALIA KOLIADIN said. "The extension of the programme may be considered, if the authorities request it and if it is required to achieve the country's economic objectives", KOLIADIN said. The Fund said last week that Ghana urgently needs to narrow its budget deficit, estimated to have hit 9% of GDP as of the end of 2016, compared with a target of 5.25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 17/02/2017

At 06h18 on 17 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.01 ZAR/EUR 13.89 ZAR/GBP 16.27 Gold 1238.80 Platinum 1013.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.73 All Share 52586.37

US industrial production falls by most since Sep. - Mamta Badkar

US industrial production shrank in Jan., declining by the most in four months. Industrial production declined 0.3% in Jan. from the prior month when it climbed a downwardly revised 0.6%, according to data from the Federal Reserve. That compared with economists' forecasts for output to remain flat. The decline was led by a 5.7% drop in output by utilities, while manufacturing remained unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude stocks climb for sixth week - Mamta Badkar

US crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected, climbing for the sixth straight week, even as OPEC's oil output cuts have beat expectations. Inventories of US crude rose by 9.5m barrels in the week ended Feb. 10, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. That was bigger than economists' forecasts for a build of 3.5m barrels and followed a 13.8m barrel rise in inventories the prior week. At 518.1m barrels, US crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Inventories at the Cushing delivery hub fell by 702 000 barrels, against expectations for a 290 800 barrel rise. Stockpiles of gasoline climbed by 2.8m barrels, against expectations for a build of 226 450. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump says he's open to one- or two-state solution for Israel - Jessica Dye

US President DONALD TRUMP yesterday said all options are on the table when it comes to brokering a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, even as he kept alive the possibility that the US will consider moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. "I'm looking at two-state, and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like", TRUMP said during a press conference with Israeli PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU. NETANYAHU echoed TRUMP's comments, saying: "Rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance". The two-state solution, under which a Palestinian state would be formed alongside Israel in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, has been the touchstone of US policy in the region since the signing of the Oslo accords in the early 1990s. TRUMP said he was optimistic that a deal could be struck by his administration to resolve the conflict. "I think we're going to make a deal", he said, adding that he would like to see Israel "hold back on settlements for a little bit". During the press conf

Yahoo agrees to lop up to $300m off of Verizon deal - James Fontanella-Khan

YAHOO has agreed to take a price cut on the original $4.8bn sale of its core business to VERIZON as both companies are determined to complete a deal that was jeopardised after the internet group revealed it had suffered two major data breaches. According to sources the parties are close to revising the original agreement down by as much as $300m. A renegotiated agreement is the clearest sign that VERIZON and YAHOO want to put the hacking crisis behind them and move ahead with a deal some feared could collapse due to the potential litigation risks linked to the data breach. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kraft Heinz results top estimates as it pledges deeper cost savings - Mamta Badkar

KRAFT HEINZ yesterday said its Q4 sales decreased less than feared and it expects to push through deeper cost cuts. The company's shares slid 1% in extended trading after it said sales fell 3.7% y/y to $6.85bn in the quarter to end-Dec., ahead of analysts' forecasts of $6.7bn. Sales fell most in Europe, dropping 13.3% y/y to $600m. Sales were impacted by a strong US dollar and from an extra week of shipments last year. Organic net sales grew 1.6% y/y. Profits surged to $944m, or 77cps in Q4, compared with $285m or 23cps y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of 91cps topped analysts' estimates of 87cps. The company has been focusing on cutting costs since its merger in 2015. It aims to save $1.7bn annually by 2018, up from its previous goal of $1.5bn. "Looking forward, our objectives and opportunities are clear... But we need to sharpen our focus on profitable sales, and further improve our capabilities and execution to deliver another year of strong, sustainable growth in 2017", CEO BERNARDO HE

Tencent shares up on plans to allow paid content on WeChat - Hudson Lockett

WeChat owner TENCENT is enjoying a second straight day of solid gains on news that its ubiquitous Chinese app ecosystem will introduce paid content. Shares rose as much as 2% this morning to HK$210.80, having closed 1.9% higher yesterday after financial news site Yicai reported that the company planned to allow official, public-facing accounts to charge readers for access to content. TENCENT had offered the option ot offer paid content to a limited number of official accounts, according to the report, which did not offer details on when the option might be extended to all such users. The move stands to monetise the content published by official WeChat accounts more directly than the currently available options of running advertisements or sponsored posts. The scale of potential gains is substantial, as TENCENT has barely begun to make a profit off its 800m monthly active users. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap sets valuation between $19.5bn and $22.2bn - Financial Times

SNAP, owner of the messaging app SNAPCHAT, has set its valuation as high as $22.2bn ahead of its IPO. A price range of $14-$16/share puts the group's valuation in a range from $19.5bn to $22.2bn. The company had previously hoped for a valuation of as much as $25bn, according to listing documents published earlier this month. Those documents also said the IPO would be the first to issue shares with no votes, reserving the power over all major decisions and appointments for co-founders EVAN SPIEGEL and BOBBY MURPHY - even if their employment is terminated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nestle 2016 sales growth slowest in two decades - Ralph Atkins

NESTLE has reported its slowest like-for-like sales growth for at least two decades in the first annual results at the Swiss group published under new CEO MARK SCHNEIDER. The new CEO promised to this year step up restructuring at the world's largest food and drinks company after it achieved organic growth of just 3.2% in 2016. That was down from 4.2% in 2015. The pace of expansion was the slowest since at least 1996, according to comparable figures provided by the company. "Our 2016 organic growth was at the high end of the industry but at the lower end of our expectations", SCHNEIDER said, adding that the company expects organic growth of 2%-4% for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK competition authority probes Heineken's £400m deal for Punch Taverns - Mehreen Khan

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has opened an initial investigation into HEINEKEN's £403m deal to buy pub operator PUNCH TAVERNS. HEINEKEN agreed a deal to takeover PUNCH's 3 350 strong portfolio of pubs in Dec. 2016, arguing it provided a "compelling strategic rationale" to enlarge its existing pub business. The CMA today said it had begun a phase one investigation into whether the merger would reduce competition and choice for UK pub-goers. The probe will be completed on Apr. 24, after which the authority will decide on whether to proceed with an "in depth merger investigation" lasting six months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 16/02/2017

At 11h27 on 16 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.97 ZAR/EUR 13.79 ZAR/GBP 16.20 Gold 1238.09 Platinum 1014.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.83 All Share 52432.60

ARB posts flat HY profits - Matthew Stevens

ARB HOLDINGS reported slight growth in revenue and flat profits for the HY to end-Dec. Interim revenue rose 3.1% to R1.27bn from the R1.24bn reported y/y. The electrical division stood to gain from ESKOM's target of adding 200 000 households to the grid by the end of Mar. 2018, ARB said. The lighting division expanded its Johannseburg outlet by leasing the neighbouring property. It has expanded its Crabtree branded range and launched its Euro Nouveau range in Nov. This expansion of its product offering along with increased trading discipline was behind the increase in profit margin to 22.8% from 22.4% in 2015, ARB said. Despite this, the company's operating profit fell from R104.8m to R104.4m with a decline in operating margin of revenue down 0.3% to 8.2%, from 8.5% previously. ARB reported cash on hand of R174.8m, down from R190.9m y/y. Net working capital as a proportion of revenue rose to 24.3% from 20.9% but remained within the target band of 20%-25%. ARB said that despite the pressure from an uns

Gold Fields swings back into the black - Allan Seccombe

GOLD FIELDS swung to a profit last year due to higher bullion prices and told shareholders it was embarking on a growth phase, warning it may spend more cash than it generated this year. The company will spend $617m on its existing mines in sustaining capital this year and a further $252m on its growth projects. The company declared a final dividend of R0.60, bringing the total return for the year to R1.10/share. It posted net profit for the FY of $163m compared with a net loss of $242m y/y. GOLD FIELDS reported $191m of normalised earnings versus normalised losses of $45m y/y. Exploration and project costs shot up 70% during the FY to $92m as it stepped up work at the Salares Norte prospect in Chile. Gold output for the FY fell to 2.146moz compared with 2.159moz y/y, with all-in costs falling to $1 006/oz from $1 026/oz. Output this year is projected to be between 2.1moz and 2.15moz at an all-in cost of up to $1 190/oz. Expenditure on growth at South Deep will rise to $20m this year from $8m y/y. GO

South32 swings to H1 profit - Esmarie Swanepoel

SOUTH32 has reported a surge in underlying earnings to $479m for the HY to end-Dec., compared with $26m y/y. The group generated free cash flow of $626m for a net cash position of $859m. Revenue for the interim period rose by 8% y/y to $3.2bn, while underlying EBITDA was up 96%, to just over $1bn. SOUTH32 reported a profit after tax of $620m for the HY, compared with a loss of $1.7bn y/y. For the FY, the company expected to spend around $450m in capital, with the spend profile skewed towards the second half of the FY. A further $16m will be spent on exploration work. KERR also highlighted that the proposed $200m acquisition of the Metropolitan Colliery in New South Wales, from PEABODY ENERGY, is expected to create additional value and realise unique synergies with the Illawarra metallurgical coal assets. SOUTH32 maintained its output guidance for its upstream operations for the FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats swings to FY profit - Megan van Wyngaardt

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM swung from a loss of R126m in 2015 to headline earnings of R1.87bn for the FY to end-Dec. 2016. The group completed the divestment of its Rustenburg operations, with R1.5bn upfront proceeds received. It reduced overhead costs by R700m and generated R3.5bn in free cash flow from its operations in the year under review. AMPLATS said that cash discipline would remain a priority, with the focus on value enhancing, quick payback projects such as the successful commissioning of Amandelbult chrome plant. HEPS rose to 713cps in 2016 from a loss of 48cps y/y. Net sales revenue rose 4% to R62bn from R59.8bn in 2015, owing mainly to the weakening of the rand/dollar exchange rate. This was partly offset by reduced sales volumes and the decline in metal prices, particularly platinum and palladium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

How banks allegedly colluded on currency trades - Fin24

The Competition Commission yesterday referred a collusion case to the Tribunal for prosecution against 17 banks, including three of SA's big banks. The Commission said it found that from at least 2007, the respondents had a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads for the spot trades in reelation to currency trading involving US dollar/rand currency pair. It also found the respondents manipulated the price of bids and offers via agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times. Traders of the respondents primarily used trading platforms such as the Reuters currency trading platform to carry out their collusive activities. They also used Bloomberg's chatroom, telephone conversations and had meetings to coordinate their bilateral and multilateral collusive trading activities. They assisted each other to reach the desired prices by coordinating trading times. Traders reached agreements to refrain from trading, taking turns i

Barnes denies SAPO links to SASSA grants bid - Bloomberg

Reports linking the SA POST OFFICE to a bid for SASSA's grants to "CPS, NET1 or any other parties are not true", SAPO CEO MARK BARNES said yesterday following a report in The Star which linked the SOE to the bid. The newspaper said it saw correspondence between former CPS employee DAVE DE BEER and CPS and NET1 CEO SERGE BELAMANT, in which DE BEER requested BELAMANT to consider joining a consortium which included BARNES. DE BEER wrote that "members in my group have very close ties with top management in the POST BANK and SAPO and we are extremely well positioned to move them... MARK BARNES made it clear that the system is still required and that card replacement will be a problem for them". However, SAPO spokesperson BONGANI DIAKO said SAPO did not approach either CPS or NET1 in relation to SASSA grants. "SAPO submitted an independent response to the SASSA RFI (request for information) on February 10 2017", DIAKO said. "No partners were included in the response and SAPO was not part of any consortium".

Gordhan says extending Net1 contract is unlawful - Amogelang Mbatha

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN told Social Development Minister BATHABILE DLAMINI that her plan to extend a contract with NET1 UEPS subsidiary CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES would be "unlawful", a letter obtained by Bloomberg shows. On Feb. 1 SASSA, which DLAMINI is responsible for, told parliament that the only viable option to ensure that 17.2m people keep getting their welfare payments in Apr. would be to extend the NET1 contract that expires at the end of Mar. That contract has been declared invalid by the Constitutional Court because of concerns over how it was awarded and extending it would need the court to overturn its 2013 decision. "SASSA's proposed interim agreement with CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES will not be lawful", GORDHAN said in a letter to DLAMINI dated Feb. 1. "The options proposed by the SASSA team cannot be supported unless the Constitutional Court were to approve such an option". GORDHAN said that should SASSA press ahead with its plan, it would open up government to "legal challenges" and poi

Gold Fields finally sets production, cost target for South Deep - Allan Seccombe

GOLD FIELDS has at last set a production and cost target for its South Deep mine in SA, saying the mine, which needs a further R2.28bn of investment, would generate 500 000oz of gold a year at an all-in cost of $900/oz once it reaches steady state in 2022. The mine has undergone a thorough review and the new plan, which will cost R2.28bn over six years, with peak funding of R582m in 2019, will deliver less gold than management over recent years had expected. South Deep broke even last year in line with management commitments and generated net cash flow of $12m. During the review of the mine in 2015, management identified 68 projects to deliver a profitable mechanised mine, with 29 of those completed and a further 27 to be concluded this year. The remaining 12 projects would be finalised next year. "The initiatives that were implemented over the past two years started to yield results during 2016", GOLD FIELDS said, adding that gold output rose by 47% to 290 000oz. It forecast production of 315 000oz thi

Woolies shares profit from property sale with shareholders - Robert Laing

WOOLWORTHS shared its R1.76bn profit from the sale of DAVID JONES's Sydney head office with shareholders by maintaining its interim dividend at R1.33 despite a drop in headline earnings. Diluted HEPS fell 4.1% to 241.3cps for the 26 weeks to Dec. 25, the company said today. Overall revenue grew 7.1% to R35bn and the R1.76bn windfall from the sale helped net profit jump 37% to R3.3bn. The food segment accounted for 39% of the total R35bn, but food's contribution to the group's R14bn gross profit is 24%, placing it behind DAVID JONES and its clothing and general merchandise division. DAVID JONES contributed 23% of the group's sales and 27% of gross profit. Clothing and general merchandise contributed 21% of total sales and 25% of gross profit, and COUNTRY ROAD 16% of total sales and 24% of gross profit. WOOLWORTHS said food sales rose by 9.5%, with comparable sales up 5.6%. Clothing and general merchandise sales grew 3.5%, and 1.2% on a comparable basis. DAVID JONES's sales grew 4% and comparable sales

Emira rebalances portfolio - Anine Kilian

The first half of EMIRA PROPERTY FUND's 2017 FY was defined by an intense strategic focus on rebalancing its portfolio out of the office sector, aggressive leasing and tenant retention, vigilant cost control, prudent financial management and identifying new opportunities. During the HY to end-Dec., EMIRA sold and transferred two properties for R130.2m at a combined premium to book value of 26.7%. It has committed to sell a further 19 properties valued at R917.1m. Unconditional sales of R318.2m have already been concluded and the properties are expected to transfer before June. Funds raised via the disposals will be put to best use and EMIRA is assessing its properties for potential upgrades, refurbishments, extensions or conversions to different uses, including residential. EMIRA's gearing remains a conservative 37.8%, with 84% of its debt fixed for a weighted average of 2.9 years. It also completed a share buyback programme of 14m EMIRA shares that benefits from the divergence between its equity value

Amplats anticipates continued growth in fuel cells - Megan van Wyngaardt

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM expects the autocatalyst sector to remain a significant driver of platinum demand. In the last year, autocatalyst demand continued to grow, with sales in Western Europe up 6%. This was the result of slightly higher loading, owing to Euro 6b legislation - the sixth iteration of the EU directive to reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhaust emissions. CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH said that while there has been growing interest in using lithium-ion batteries in vehicles, this could possibly impact on the market share of autocatalysts and fuel-cell vehicles, AMPLATS remained positive about the prospects for fuel cells. In 2016, around 2 699 fuel-cell electric vehicles were sold, a significant surge from the 641 units sold in 2015. GRIFFITH said the company was also working on creating ongoing awareness of the benefits of fuel cells. In Oct., the company partnered with the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association on advocacy work in the US. This news brief represents a summary of the or

M&R warns of lower FY earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

MURRAY & ROBERTS yesterday said it expects to report a drop in operational earnings for FY2017 due to persistently low commodity and energy prices. The company said earnings would further be impacted on by the net present value charge of R170m associated with the voluntary rebuild programme agreement entered into by listed local construction companies and government in Oct. 2016. As such, M&R expects to post a 65%-75% drop in headline earnings, while its basic earnings are expected to fall by 63%-74%. The group remained positive, stating that the natural resource market sectors were cyclical and that the group would trade through this difficult period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court rules in favour of Comair in SAA case - News24Wire

COMAIR yesterday advised shareholders that the South Gauteng High Court has ruled in its favour in a case the carrier initiated against SAA 14 years ago in respect of the latter's anti-competitive travel agent incentive schemes. COMAIR said the scheme was designed to keep travel agents loyal to SAA, therefore allegedly being in breach of the Competition Act. The scheme was in place from 2001 to 2006. In terms of the judgment, COMAIR was awarded R554m plus interest at 15.5% on its amount, which will be capped at the value of the award, plus costs, amounting to around R1.16bn in total. COMAIR said it will need time to study the judgment. It did, however, advise that the judgment is subject to appeal by both parties and shareholders should be conscious of this when trading in the company's securities. NATIONWIDE, which also sued SAA on the same issue, was awarded R171.5m plus interest in damages last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gibela starts recruiting staff for Dunnottar manufacturing facility - Megan van Wyngaardt

The GIBELA RAIL TRANSPORT CONSORTIUM has started recruiting operators and artisans for its new manufacturing facility, as well as trainees for its new training centre, at Dunnottar, prioritising historically disadvantaged residents of Ekurhuleni East. The consortium, which was contracted by PRASA to build and maintain 600 new trains for SA's rail commuter public over the next two decades, is seeking to hire around 145 qualified and experienced operators and artisans to staff its car body shell workshop and the fitting workshop. This will also set in motion the start of manufacturing the first of 580 locally-built trains during Q1 2017. At full capacity, the facility will eventually employ around 1 500 people directly. Meanwhile, GIBELA noted that its training centre at Dunnottar is rapidly nearing completion, with applications now open for the first intake of 70 qualified trainees. Some 18 000 trainees are expected to pass through the training centre over the next decade. This news brief represents a

Kibo awaits MCPP Esia certification - Megan van Wyngaardt

KIBO MINING has completed the environmental and social-impact assessment (Esia) for its Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania, and is now awaiting certification. CEO LOUIS COETZEE said the completion of the Esia work marked another major step forward in the development of the MCPP, which had now reached an advanced stage of development. KIBO, meanwhile, remains in ongoing talks with the Tanzanian government and SOEs, including the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and power utility TANESCO regarding a power purchase agreement. KIBO said that while there was no definitive timeframe for the Esia certification process to be completed, and with the special mining lease still outstanding, it did expect the process to happen much quicker than usual. "Given the time gained as a result of the parallel process approach with the Esia and the SML, we believe the Esia certification will be completed well in time to avoid any delays in the assessment and evaluation, and subsequent issuing of the SML by the MEM", KIBO

NEF merges with IDC to advance development of black industrialists - Megan van Wyngaardt

The NATIONAL EMPOWERMENT FUND will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION in a move designed to better meet the demand for funding by black entrepreneurs. The two entities were identified by government as central in implementing radical economic transformation and development policies. The merger will promote increased BBBEE, with a specific focus on promoting black industrialists. The departments of trade and industry and economic development will appoint a technical team to drive the process. To date, the NEF has approved over R8.5bn of transactions to 839 black-owned companies nationwide, which have supported more than 89 900 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agnico Eagle to invest in Arctic gold mines - Reuters

AGNICO EAGLE MINES yesterday said it would invest more than $1.2bn in building a gold mine in Canada's Arctic and expanding another, making it one of the few gold companies to be building mines at a time when industry output is shrinking. AGNICO said its board had approved mine builds for its Meliadine project as well as its Amaruq deposit, which is a satellite deposit of its existing Meadowbank mine. Both Meliadine and Amaruq are in Canada's Nunavut territory. Both operations are expected to start output in Q3 2019. As such, production at Meliadine is now forecast to start about a year earlier than previously expected. Meliadine's capital cost is around $900m and Amaruq around $330m, AGNICO CEO SEAN BOYD said. The projects would help expand AGNICO's gold production to a forecast 2moz in 2020 from expected annual production of around 1.55moz over the next three years. Depending on the timing of the Amaruq permits and development at both projects, 2019 production could be higher. This news brief repr

Kinross narrows Q4 loss - Henry Lazenby

KINROSS GOLD has reported a smaller headline loss for Q4 to end-Dec. as margins expanded on the back of higher gold sales and prices. The company reported an adjusted net loss of $50.9m, or $0.04/share for the quarter, compared with an adjusted net loss of $68.6m or $0.06/share y/y. It reported a net loss of $116.5m, or $0.09/share, compared with a loss of $841.9m or $0.73/share in Q4 2015. The reported loss was less due to lower impairment charges. Revenue from metal sales was $902.8m in Q4, compared with $706.2m y/y. The company generated operating cash flow of $1.1bn for the FY, a 32% increase over the y/y period. All-in sustaining costs for every gold-equivalent ounce sold was $1 012 in Q4, compared with $991/oz a year earlier. As of Dec. 31, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $827m. It had year-end available credit of $1.43bn, for total liquidity of $2,257.4bn. In 2017, KINROSS expects to produce 2.5moz-2.7moz from its operations. It forecast an AISC of $925/oz-$1 025/oz of gold sold.

Goldcorp Q4 earnings surprise as decentralised business reap rewards - Henry Lazenby

GOLDCORP has reported a better than expected Q4 profit as lower costs at its gold mines in the Americas and a higher bullion price offset lower output. The company reported net earnings of $101m, or $0.12/share in the quarter to end-Dec., compared with a net loss of $4.3bn of $5.14/share y/y, when it booked a $3.9bn impairment charge. All-in sustaining costs fell to $747/oz in the period, from $977/oz y/y, with FY2016 AISC falling to $856/oz, down from $894 in 2015. GOLDCORP produced 761 000oz of gold in Q4, down 16% over the comparable period of 2015, with FY2016 output dropping 17% y/y to 2.87moz. For 2017, GOLDCORP expects to produce 2.5moz of gold at AISC of $850/oz. The company has outlined a prodigious five-year growth profile that will see it boost output by 20% to 3moz, lift gold reserves by 20% to 50moz and reduce AISC by 20% to $700/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barrick lifts dividend as earnings beat forecast - Henry Lazenby

BARRICK GOLD yesterday announced it has made significant progress on initiatives to repair its balance sheet, declaring an increased dividend to shareholders and renewed focus on exploration spending. The miner reported improved earnings for the quarter to end-Dec., with headline earnings of $255m, or $0.22/share, beating analyst estimates for earnings of $0.20. Net earnings totalled $425m (36cps), reflecting $146m in net impairment reversals compared with impairment charges of $2.6bn in Q4 2015. Q4 revenue rose 3.6% y/y to $2.32bn, derived from gold and copper sales of 1.52moz and 107m lb, respectively. Revenues in Q4 were higher owing to higher market prices for gold and copper, partially offset by lower gold and copper sales volumes. Gold production in Q4 was 1.52moz, at a cost of sales applicable to gold of $784/oz, and all-in sustaining costs of $732/oz. BARRICK hiked its quarterly dividend to $0.03/ahrea, up from $0.02. For 2017, BARRICK expects to produce between 5.6moz and 5.9moz of gold at AIS

Ferrum, BVI terminate Moonlight JV agreement - Megan van Wyngaardt

FERRUM CRESCENT yesterday said the stalled farm-in and JV agreement between FERRUM IRON ORE and BUSINESS VENTURE INVESTMENTS has been formally terminated. The parties had, under the JV agreement, sought to develop FERRUM's Moonlight iron ore project in Limpopo, but BVI failed to complete the first phase of the project's bankable feasibility study. In Oct. 2015, BVI agreed to fund the BFS in return for a 43% stake in the project's holding company FIO. However, in Jan. 2016, FERRUM announced that the completion of the BFS had been extended to Jan. 2017, which BVI was again unable to complete. Consequently, BVI has not earned any equity interest in FIO. FERRUM CRESCENT is now considering its options in relation to the potential development of Moonlight. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin swings to H1 loss on lower sales prices, volumes - Esmarie Swanepoel

PALADIN ENERGY has reported a 46% drop in sales revenue for the HY to end-Dec. y/y on the back of a 36% drop in the sales price and a 15% decline in volumes. During the interim period, sales volumes reached 2.12m lb of uranium oxide compared with the 2.49m lb produced y/y, with sales revenue reaching $55.2m for the period. The decline in sales prices and volumes also resulted in a gross loss of $17.7m for the period, compared with a gross profit of $23.7m y/y. It also resulted in a $22.3m impairment of inventory, which was partially offset by a 35% drop in the cost of sales. Underlying EBITDA decreased by $11.3m to $5.7m. PALADIN has maintained its production outlook for Q3 of the current FY, with the Langer Heinrich mine expect4ed to produce between 900 000lb and 1m lb of uranium oxide, while sales are expected to be between 700 000lb and 800 000lb. However, FY expectations have been adjusted, with uranium production now expected to reach more than 4m lb, compared with the previous guidance of 3.8m-4m

African States wary of potential repeal of 'conflict minerals' rule - Reuters

A possible plan by US President DONALD TRUMP to suspend a rule on "conflict minerals" could help fund armed groups and contribute to a surge in unrest in central Africa, regional states warned yesterday. Sources last week said TRUMP planned to issue a directive targeting a Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from war-torn parts of Africa. A leaked draft seen by Reuters calls for the rule to be temporarily suspended for two years. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, a regional body comprising 12 member states, warned that repealing the provision would make it harder to ensure that minerals were conflict free. "This might ultimately lead to a generalised proliferation of terrorist groups, trans-boundary money laundry and illicit financial flows in the region", th ICGLR said. The group's statement acknowledged that the initial roll out of the law had imposed a de facto embargo, as major companies avoided buying minerals f

Zim banks holding $120m in cash - - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwean banks are holding $120m in cash and double that in offshore accounts, the central bank said yesterday, as the country struggles with a persistent shortage of cash. Zimbabwe last year introduced a "bond note" currency to try to end the shortages, but businesses say they are instead facing serious delays in paying for imports because banks have no dollars to make the payments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom seeks penalty against banks for FX rigging - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

The Competition Commission has recommended fines against banks including CITIGROUP, NOMURA and STANDARD BANK equal to 10% of their annual revenues for rigging the rand currency, it said yesterday. The Commission said it had concluded a probe into whether banks colluded by using an instant messaging chat room called "ZAR Domination" to coordinate their trading activities when giving quotes to customers who buy or sell currencies. The Commission did not say if the fines should relate to the global revenues of the banks in question of just their South African businesses. The probe found that from at least 2007, traders at these banks had an agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads for spot trades involving the rand and the US dollar. "They also created fictitious bids and offers, distorting demand and supply in order to achieve their profit motives", the Commission added. The Commission said it had referred the case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. Other banks named

Nigeria's Jan. inflation rises for 12th consecutive month - Chijioke Ohuocha

Annual inflation in Nigeria rose in Jan. to 18.72%, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday - its 12th consecutive monthly increase. The rise from 18.55% in Dec. was driven by surges in food, transport and electricity. A separate food index also rose, to 17.82% from 17.39% in Dec., the statistics office said. In Dec., President MUHAMMADU BUHARI presented a record 7.298tn naira budget for 2017 aimed at stimulating growth and pulling the economy out of recession. Economists have questioned whether those goals can be reached. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial buys stake in Kenyan pharma distributor - Nqobile Dludla

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS will buy a 70% stake in Kenyan pharmaceutical distributor SURGIPHARM for $35m, in line with its African growth strategy, the company said yesterday. SURGIPHARM, headquartered in Nairobi, is a leading distributor of pharmaceutical, medical, surgical and allied supplies in Kenya, with an annual turnover of around $70m. "SURGIPHARM accelerates our industry presence and relationships with pharmaceutical principals on the African continent and provides an excellent platform for IMPERIAL LOGISTICS' future growth in other East African markets", IMPERIAL CEO MARK LAMBERTI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol suspends drilling in Moz due to tropical storm Dineo - Wendell Roelf

SASOL LTD has temporarily suspended drilling activity in Mozambique due to tropical storm Dineo, a company spokesperson said yesterday. Dineo hit the southern coast of Mozambique yesterday afternoon and is expected to develop into a category 1 cyclone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comair to bid for Air Botswana - TJ Strydom

COMAIR will submit a proposal to the government of Botswana to take over AIR BOTSWANA, CEO ERIK VENTER said yesterday. COMAIR has vied for the business before, but in 2008 pulled out of a bidding round that failed to attract successful suitors. Botswana on Monday again put its national carrier up for tender as part of a strategy to privatise loss-making state companies. "We'll make a submission and see if they are interested in our approach", VENTER said, adding that proposals had to be made before end-Feb. COMAIR wants equity in and control of the airline that connects four Botswana cities to SA, VENTER said. "We'd even look at a management contract, but it would have to be on the basis that we run a large amount of it from COMAIR to get economies of scale". VENTER said the airline is unlikely to attract cash offers from suitors. "I don't think there is any money involved in this one, to be honest. We wouldn't pay for it, that's for sure", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the origi

StanChart Botswana CEO resigns - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

MOATLHODI KEFENTSE LEKAUKAU, CEO of STANDARD CHARTERED BOTSWANA, has resigned, the bank said yesterday without giving reasons. LEKAUKAU, who joined the lender in 2012 as CEO, will step down with effect from Mar. 31. STANCHART BOTSWANA reported an 85% drop in 2015 profit to 47m pula due to higher interest expenses coupled with a 100m pula impairment charge, which the lender said was largely for one corporate client. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Dec. retail sales up y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's retail sales rose by 0.9% y/y in Dec., lagging market expectations, following a revised rise of 3.1% in Nov., data from Statistics SA showed yesterday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 2.3% y/y rise. On a m/m basis, sales fell by 2.3% and edged up 1.3% in the three months to Dec. compared with the same period a year ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 16/02/2017

At 06h37 on 16 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.94 ZAR/EUR 13.74 ZAR/GBP 16.13 Gold 1235.34 Platinum 1012.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.74 All Share 52485.16

Euronext launches trading platform to ward against high-frequency traders - Philip Stafford

EURONEXT is to follow its main rivals in launching a share trading platform for institutional investors who want to shield their trades for large blocks of shares from aggressive high-frequency traders. The European exchanges operator said it would launch the service in the middle of 2017, as it announced FY results. For the FY to end-Dec., EURONEXT said revenue fell 4.3% to €496.4m, hit by low market volatility. Pre-tax profits rose from €238.6m to €264m on a series of cost-cutting measures, which boosted margins. EURONEXT said it has achieved €15.6m of savings since Q2 of the year as part of a cost-cutting drive. It will propose a dividend of €1.42/share, a rise from €1.24/share, at its AGM in May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Heineken predicts more volatility as profits drop 15% - Hannah Murphy

HEINEKEN is predicting continued volatility in economic conditions and unfavourable currency movements this year, as it posted a double-digit drop in FY profits but improved operating profit margins. The company reported a 15% fall in pre-tax profits to €2.4bn in 2016. Operating profit growth slowed in H2, knocked by "increased currency headwinds" and challenging conditions in its Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe region. The statutory profit figure was also dragged lower by higher exceptional costs including costs related to acquisitions and restructuring, and EBITDA of acquisition-related intangible assets rose by 4%. HEINEKEN, which has a target of improving operating profit margins by 40 basis points a year, recorded a 54 bp improvement to the margin, which stood at 17% in 2016. FY revenues grew 1.4% to €20.8bn. The company said it expected operating profit margins to expand at a 0.4 percentage point rate in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Danone forecasts slower profit growth in 2017 - Harriet Agnew

DANONE has forecast a slowdown in profit growth this year and launched a programme to cut €1bn in costs by 2020 as the yoghurt maker prepares for a steep rise in milk prices in 2017. The group is targeting growth this year of more than 5% in recurring EPS, compared to 2016, when profit rose 9.3% by this measure. This year's forecast excludes the pending acquisition of WHITEWAVE foods, a US food maker that specialises in natural and organic foods. DANONE said like-for-like sales rose 2.9% in 2016, the slowest pace in 20 years. Reported sales, adjusted for currency and other factors, were down 2.1% due to an exchange rate drag from the Argentine peso, the Mexican peso and the Russian rouble. DANONE proposed a dividend of €1.7/share, up 6.3% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SoftBank to acquire Fortress Investment Group for $3.3bn. - Hudson Lockett

SOFTBANK has announced it will acquire investment firm FORTRESS INVESTMENT GROUP for $3.3bn. Under the terms of the deal, SOFTBANK will pay $8.08/class A share for FORTRESS, representing a premium of 38.6% to the stock's closing price on Monday. The deal, which FORTRESS said it expects to close in H2 2017, has been unanimously approved by FORTRESS's board of directors, but is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Berkshire Hathaway A shares crack $250 000 ceiling - Stephen Foley

Shares in WARREN BUFFETT's BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY have reached a record closing high, with the price of admission to the elite club of "A" shareholders exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. BERKSHIRE shares closed at $250 412 yesterday, marking a 13% surge since the US presidential election. The nearly 1% rise during yesterday's trading session inflated the value of a single BERKSHIRE share by $2 078 and the value of the company is now $412bn. At the current rate, BERKSHIRE's cash pile could top $100bn by H2 2017, according to analyst JIM SHANAHAN of EDWARD JONES, giving BUFFETT "a lot of dry powder" to make large and potentially value-enhancing acquisitions. As for the stock, SHANAHAN is recommending A shares only to EDWARD JONES's richest clients. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merck ends late-stage study of Alzheimer's drug - David Crow

MERCK announced it was ending a late-stage study of its Alzheimer's drug after a committee monitoring the trial decided there was "virtually no chance of finding a positive clinical effect". The company was expected to report headline results from the trial in Q3 2017, after studying the drug, Verubecestat, in 2 221 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. MERCK said it would continue trialling the drug in patients in the very early stages of the illness. Many neurologists believe the build-up in the brain of a sticky plaque known as amyloid is the primary cause of Alzheimer's, although a string of drugs designed to clear the deposits have all failed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shares fall 12% after $6.3bn writedown announcement - Alice Woodhouse

Shares in TOSHIBA fell as much as 12.2% in early trade today after the company revealed a $6.3bn writedown for its nuclear business. TOSHIBA late yesterday announced the size of the writedown to reflect cost overruns and delays linked to its US nuclear business. Chairman SHIGENORI SHIGA also said he will step down. TOSHIBA said it would scale back its nuclear business and examine plans to sell parts of its profitable technology business. The company is currently inviting bids for it profitable Nand memory chip business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/02/2017

At 11h27 on 15 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.02 ZAR/EUR 13.75 ZAR/GBP 16.22 Gold 1226.01 Platinum 999.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.69 All Share 52523.80

CPI slows in Jan. - Robert Laing

SA's CPI moderated to 6.6% in Jan. from 6.8% m/m. This was better than economists' consensus forecast of 6.7%. The index, which was reset at 100 points in Dec., came in at 100.6 points for Jan., Statistics SA said. After falling back under the SARB's ceiling of 6% in Aug., inflation steadily accelerated for four months to peak at 6.8% in Dec. The food component of CPI showed inflation of 11.8% in Jan. from the same month y/y. The highest inflation in the basket of goods used to calculate CPI was sugar, sweets and deserts whose average price rose 21.4% y/y. Bread and cereal inflation moderated to 17%. Average meat prices rose 8.9%, fruit by 11.2% and vegetables by 4.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Santam expects plunge in FY earnings - BDpro

SANTAM expects HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. to decline up to 49% from the y/y period, the company said yesterday. It attributed the expected drop in HEPS to a stronger rand which affected its investment returns. Forex losses had a significant negative effect on investment returns, offsetting the investment portfolio performance at home. A few large corporate property claims and drought-related claims affected the underwriting results. SANTAM said the net underwriting margin "is expected to be above the midpoint of the long-term target range of 4% to 8% of net earned premiums". Results will be published on Mar. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcock forecasts jump in earnings - BDpro

ADCOCK INGRAM yesterday said it expects HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be 45%-49% higher y/y. ADCOCK saw a non-recurring capital profit in the interim period resulting from the R407m disposal of part of its Indian business in 2016. This was tempered by certain non-recurring accounting costs. Interim results will be published on Feb. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRDGold posts sharp fall in interim profits - Allan Seccombe

DRDGOLD posted a sharp decline in interim profits after closing a number of sites, laying off staff and depreciating its assets. The company posted a 5% rise in revenue to R1.19bn for the HY to end-Dec., as the rand gold price rose by 16% y/y. Gross operating profit fell to R35m from R64m y/y, with increased operating costs, R18m in retrenchment payments and R102m in depreciation the causes. A higher salary bill stemmed from an average 8.5% increase in wages as well as higher electricity and water costs contributed to the decline. Profit fell to R2.7m from R18m and DRDGOLD reported a headline loss of R10.2m, or 2.4cps, compared with headline earnings of R10.9m or 2.6cps y/y. Gold output fell 7% to 2 100kg due to lower throughput and a 6% drop in yield to 0.166g/t. DRDGOLD said it had commissioned two new sites containing 12mt and 8mt of material with grades of 0.3g/t and 0.28g/t, respectively. It was assessing two slime dams to decide which one to prioritise. This news brief represents a summary of

Moody's withdraws all ratings on Edcon - Colleen Goko

MOODY's has joined other ratings agencies and withdrawn all of its ratings on EDCON. Earlier this month S&P also announced that it had withdrawn its ratings on the company, after downgrading the group's long-term corporate credit rating to default. In a statement released on Monday, MOODY's said EDCON's capital restructuring would short investors on what the company had initially promised them. In Dec. 2016, EDCON launched a compromise sanction process - the last hurdle in its restructuring. The process involved going to senior lenders and asking them to accept a shareholding in the company in exchange for a reduction in the debt owed to them. In Feb. 2017, EDCON announced that the restructuring was complete and that it was officially under the ownership of its creditors. The retailer's new major shareholder group comprises banking and investment firms such as HARVARD PENSIONS FUND, BARCLAYS AFRICA and FIRSTRAND. FRANKLIN TEMPLETON is the largest shareholder. The company's debt now stands at R7bn.

Amplats to sell Union Mine, Masa Chrome to Siyanda Resources - Allan Seccombe

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM has agreed to sell its Union Mine and a chrome company to SIYANDA RESOURCES for up to R6.4bn. The sale and purchase agreement for the 85% stake in the underground Union Mine and the 50.1% stake in MASA CHROME COMPANY to SIYANDA entails an upfront payment of R400m in cash and 35% of free cash flow from the mines for 10 years, with a cap of R6bn. AMPLATS will use the money to repay debt. SIYANDA will sell its PGMs concentrate to AMPLATS for seven years and after that the contract will change to a toll treatment contract. According to its website, SIYANDA is an investment company formed in 2004 by "black mining engineers and other black professionals" and has interests in manganese, coal and nickel. It is a partner with AMPLATS in MASA CHROME. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wesizwe Platinum CEO resigns - Allan Seccombe

JIANKE GAO has resigned as CEO of WESIZWE PLATINUM and will be replaced by ZHIMIN LI as from today, the company said this morning. WESIZWE gave no reason for GAO's resignation, which took effect from Feb. 14. He would leave the company within two months. LI, a mining engineer with three decades of experience in mining and civil engineering projects for JINCHUAN, is a major shareholder in WESIZWE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nampak wants plastic detergent bottles - Bloomberg

NAMPAK is in talks with consumer goods companies about making lightweight plastic detergent bottles in European and African markets as the drinks-packaging maker seeks expansion opportunities. The beverage can maker might add production capacity on both continents if the talks are successful, CEO ANDRE DE RUYTER said this week. The move would not be prohibitively expensive and NAMPAK could draw on expertise from making plastic milk bottles in the UK, DE RUYTER said. "We are making good progress in that regard, with more news to follow later this year". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stronger rand weighs on Brait - Sandile Mchunu

The strengthening of the rand against the British pound weighed heavily on BRAIT SE's NAV in the quarter to end-Dec. The company's NAV/share fell 21.5% to R82.45 from R105.06 in the prior quarter. The rand rose 4.88% against sterling during the period. BRAIT said the appreciation of the rand weighed on budger retailer NEW LOOK, which dropped its carrying value 54% for the quarter to R8.7bn. VIRGIN ACTIVE performed better, with revenue and EBITDA for the FY to end-Dec. from continuing operations up 6% and 12% respectively y/y. VIRGIN ACTIVE's carrying value in rands decreased 5.7% for the quarter to R15.2bn. PREMIER's carrying value of R13.2bn represented 27% of BRAIT's total assets at the reporting period, while ICELAND FOODS' Q3 revenue was up 7%. EBITDA rose 6.1% y/y, and its carrying value fell 5% for the quarter to R7.3bn. BRAIT received investment proceeds of R566m during the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Knock for AfroCentric despite favourable trading - Sandile Mchunu

AFROCENTRIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION's shares took a knock on the JSE on Tuesday despite it releasing a favourable trading statement. The company's share price fell by 4.13% to close at R6.50 on the local bourse. In a trading statement, AFROCENTRIC said it expected EPS for the HY to end-Dec. of 21.38cps-22.28cps, representing an increase of 18.91%-23.91% on the 17.98cps posted y/y. HEPS for the HY are expected to be between 20.91cps and 21.81cps, reflecting an increase of 15.51%-20.51% on the 18.10cps reported y/y. Interim results will be released in March. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DoE sheds more light on renewable energy plans - Liesl Peyper

The Department of Energy yesterday said it will do a modelling on renewable energy in an unconstrained scenario as an electricity generation option. Briefing Parliament's Standing Committee on Energy about the updated Integrated Resources Plan, DoE chief director JACOB MBELE said renewable energy will be considered without constraints to test how readily it will be available as part of SA's energy mix. MBELE explained the process the department followed in drafting the IRP. "The draft plan was based on a number of key assumptions - such as the demand forecast - which were put together by ESKOM and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The economic parameters were based on information from National Treasury, technology and fuel costs, as well as other assumptions such as CO2 emission constraints, renewable energy annual build limits and existing energy plant performance. But the plant we've come up with is not exact and not about absolutes... and we must still test its robustness", MBELE said

Arise makes two African banking investments - Fin24

Newly formed investment company ARISE has recently acquired a 27.7% stake in CAL BANK in Ghana. The stake in CAL BANK was acquired by ARISE from DPI, an Africa-focused private equity firm with assets in excess of $1bn under management. Settlement is to be effected on Feb. 14. ARISE, a collaborative partnership between RABOBANK, NORFUND and FMO take and manage minority stakes in sub-Saharan African financial service providers with the core aim of building strong and stable institutions that serve retail, SMEs, the rural sector and clients who have not previously had access to financial services. Meanwhile, an approval in principle of a $50m bridging loan by ARISE is set to boost the banking sector in Uganda. ARISE CEO DEEPAK MALIK said the company will also provide a $50m bridging finance facility to DFCU in Uganda. "The facility was availed on commercially-agreed terms, to enable commencement of the recapitalisation of DFCU BANK in the short term, while complying with regulatory capital thresholds".

Eskom holds power cut threat over eMalahleni - Beatrice Shongwe

ESKOM is refusing to budge on a threat to cut the power of eMalahleni Municipality. The municipality owes close to a billion rand to the utility in electricity debts, but has to pay at least R600m to avoid ESKOM cutting power supplies. Municipal spokesperson KINGDOM MABUZA said a delegation led by Mayor LINDIWE NTSHALINTSHALI met with ESKOM officials on Monday. "Negotiations are ongoing but clearly ESKOM is not willing to compromise on their threat to cut off power", MABUZA said. He said the municipality will before the end of this week have collected most of the R1.2bn that is owed to it, which is needed to settle the ESKOM debt. He warned the municipality will switch off the power of indebted clients. ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said there is no specific date on which power to the municipality will be cut. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UN meeting warns of 'huge' armyworm threat - AFP

International experts at emergency UN talks in Harare yesterday warned that armyworm caterpillars posed a dire threat to food supplies across several African countries. The outbreak has already caused damage to crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe, SA and Ghana, with reports also suggesting Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia are affected. DAVID PHIRI, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation coordinator for southern Africa, said the fall armyworm posed "a huge threat to food security". "We need to use our collective capacities to put up systems that will strengthen the resilience of our farmers", PHIRI said. The caterpillars eat maize, wheat, millet and rice. The fall armyworm is "spreading rapidly" in Africa and could even threaten farming worldwide, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International warned last week. It said maize is particularly vulnerable to the larvae, which attack the crop's growing points and burrow into the cobs. Unlike the native African armyworm, the fall armyworm does not "march" alon

Tata Motors profits plummet 96% after cash ban - Fin24

TATA MOTORS yesterday reported a 96% drop in quarterly profits, due to a cash ban which hit Indian business and weak sales at its luxury JAGUAR LAND ROVER unit. Consolidated net profit for the quarter to end-Dec. fell to 1.12bn rupees from 29.53bn rupees y/y. Revenue fell 4.3% to 685.41bn rupees. TATA's commercial vehicles business saw a "demand shrinkage" owing to the Indian government's demonetisation drive in Nov. The programme removed around 86% of India's cash at a stroke, triggering massive queues outside banks and a cash shortage that has hit businesses across the country. Meanwhile, the JLR business was "lower wholesale volumes and relatively weaker product mix... and overall higher marketing expenses". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comair lifts revenue, profits - Carin Smith

COMAIR's unaudited interim results for the HY to end-Dec. saw revenue growth of 6% as a result of a recovery in yields, but without any increase in volumes. Profit after taxation for the period was R199m compared to R84m y/y. EPS and HEPS were 42.8cps, up from 18cps y/y. A gross interim cash dividend of 7cps was approved to ordinary shareholders, up from 5cps y/y. CEO ERIK VENTER said looking ahead, the carrier will continue to focus on efficiency and there are a lot of projects in this regard. COMAIR is also looking at growth opportunities, both in and outside SA. Revenue growth for the domestic aviation industry is reliant on a strong economy and GDP growth. At the same time the local aviation industry continues to see surplus capacity in the market, resulting in occupancy levels that remain low by international standards. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Setback for Please Call Me inventor - Kyle Venktess

The Constitutional Court has dismissed Please Call Me creator NKOSANA MAKATE's application in which he claimed VODACOM could determine the revenue generated by the service. The Court "concluded that the application should be dismissed as it bears no prospects of success", documents stated. VODACOM spokesperson BYRON KENNEDY said the company is pleased with the decision handed down by the Court. "VODACOM's position has been consistent that the Constitutional Court order, which was handed down in April 2016, is clear and unambiguous and directs the parties to negotiate in good faith to determine reasonable compensation", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gautrain expansion project could see local spend of up to R79bn - Irma Venter

The proposed expansion of the Gautrain rail system has the capacity to create around 211 000 direct jobs, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC PAUL MASHATILE said yesterday. Speaking at a transport conference in Sandton, MASHATILE noted that the GAUTRAIN MANAGEMENT AGENCY had completed the feasibility study for the expansion of the rail link to Soweto and Mamelodi. The study showed that Gautrain 2 could potentially create an estimated R1.6bn spend on skills, and enterprise and supplier development. Local spend in the project could reach up to R79bn, of which 40%, or roughly R31bn, would be to the benefit of black-owned enterprises. GMA CEO JACK VAN DER MERWE said the agency had applied for Treasury approval for Gautrain 2, as a public-private partnership project, in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. Treasury would judge the feasibility study on values such as affordability and value for money. He added that the Gauteng government was expected to announce the preferred bidder on the supply of new, add

SACCI TAI indicates improvement, but weak conditions remain - Natasha Odendaal

SACCI's latest Trade Activity Index contracted from 53 in Dec. to 46 in Jan., with conditions remaining fragile. However, on a y/y basis, the seasonally adjusted TAI was up six index points from the TAI of 40 in Jan. 2016, yesterday's survey revealed. The nonseasonally adjusted TAI was up to 45 from 44 in Dec. 2016. "The solid improvements in trade conditions sighted in December and January were owing to the surprising and unfortunate economic developments that impacted negatively on trade conditions at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016", SACCI said. The survey noted that political uncertainty, community protests, unemployment, shortages in disposable income, slow economic growth and difficult export markets due to a stronger rand continued to negatively impact trade. The subindices on new orders, sales volumes, supplier deliveries and the backlog on received orders improved in Jan., with the sales volumes index rising three points m/m to 48, new orders stable at 43 and a four-point slide to 44 i

Jasco posts improved H1 results - Natasha Odendaal

JASCO ELECTRONICS yesterday delivered a "pleasing" H1 performance amid difficult economic conditions and a negative impact from the exchange rate. The company achieved nearly double-digit earnings growth during the HY to end-Dec., which it attributed to an enhanced focus on improving margins rather than on revenue growth. During the HY under review, HEPS rose 10.5% to 6.34cps and headline earnings rose by 10.7% to R14.2m. EPS ricked up 9.6% to 6.28cps. Profit for the period grew 6.5% to R15.2m, but revenue was down 6.6% at R521.1m, in line with the company's "more bottom-line focus", with revenue decreases reported in the Carrier, Enterprise and Intelligent Technologies units. The unit achieved strong revenue growth of 24.9% to R102.5m, an increase in operating profit from R6.3m in the HY to end-Dec.; 2015 to R8.5m during the HY under review and an improvement in the operating margin to 8.3% from 7.7% y/y. Operating profit remained flat at R9.6m, with an improvement in the operating margin to 11.4% in t

Botswana adopts Canada's sustainable mining programme - Henry Lazenby

The Botswana Chamber of Mines has announced it will adopt the Towards Sustainable Mining initiative, a corporate social responsibility programme developed by the mining Association of Canada, to improve environmental and social practices in the industry. "Botswana Chamber of Mines members subscribe to the principles of responsible mining and extraction of minerals from the earth. The adoption of TSM will enable the industry to demonstrate adherence to sound and sustainable minerals development practices and strive towards continual improvement", BCM CEO CHARLES SIWAWA said. MAC and its members launched TSM in 2004. Implementation of the programme is mandatory for all MAC members' Canadian operations, but many voluntarily apply it to their international sites. TSM requires mining companies to annually assess their facilities' performance across six key areas, including tailings management, community outreach, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management and energy use and greenhouse gas

Escondida union agrees to talks - Reuters

Striking workers at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile have accepted a government invitation to try to resume talks with the company, the union and government said yesterday. A BHP spokesperson said the company also had received the government invitation and was still evaluating it. CARLOS ALLENDES, leader of the striking union, said it had received an invitation from the government's labour directorate and agreed to meet today. The meeting is not a return to mediation but an attempt to agree to return to the negotiating table. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Platfields to delist from JSE - Megan van Wyngaardt

Due to protracted litigation, embattled PLATFIELDS will not pursue a reverse listing, with liquidation negotiations having been terminated. It now expects its listing on the JSE to be terminated. Last year, another party had implemented liquidation proceedings against the company. PLATFIELDS was advised in Oct. 2015 that an order for its provisional liquidation had been granted by the Gauteng High Court, with final liquidation to take place on Dec. 14 2016. But in Aug. 2016, the High Court set aside the provisional liquidation order against the company, with PLATFIELDS remaining in settlement talks with the company that had implemented the liquidation proceedings against it. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sylvania posts record H1 production - Megan van Wyngaardt

SYLVANIA PLATINUM achieved record PGMs production of 35 819oz for the HY to end-Dec. This resulted in the company posting EBITDA of $9.22m for the period, compared with $3.61m y/y. EBITDA was also 28% higher than the $7.19m recorded in the HY to end-Jun. 2016. SYLVANIA attributed the higher PGM ounces to higher recoveries, as a result of improved plant stability and flotation and mass pull optimisation at its plants, while the plant feed tonnes and feed grades were only marginally higher than both the previous period and the corresponding first six months of 2016. Based on a solid year-to-date performance and the outlook for the remainder of the year, the company expects its Sylvania Dump Operations to exceed previously stated guidance of 60 000oz by 3 000oz-5 000oz. As at end-Dec., the company's cash and cash equivalents amounted to $12.68m, while its cash balance increased by $5.98m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DiamondCorp delays share placement - Natasha Odendaal

The future of the Lace diamond mine hangs in the balance as DIAMONDCORP again delays its placement to give the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION time to meet conditions precedent, as well as provide trade union AMCU a chance to document and finalise an in-principle agreement. The company will now admit the placing shares and the free shares to raise funds on the London bourse on Feb. 28. This will be effective on the AltX by Mar. 7. The previous extension gave the parties until Jan. 30 to conclude agreements and approvals. "The continued delays to the agreements sought by the business rescue practitioner and the group from both AMCU and the IDC are causing commensurate delays in commencing the care and maintenance and remediation programme of the Lace mine", DIAMONDCORP said yesterday. This meant Lace remained nonoperational and its effective idling could be compromised if these agreements were not finalised "in the very near future". The company said the agreement in-principle reached with AMCU "is no

Parker to step down as Anglo chair after 8 years - Megan van Wyngaardt

ANGLO AMERICAN chair SIR JOHN PARKER intends to step down from the board after eight years in the position. His departure will be effective during the year. "The company, with its much-restored balance sheet and a world-class board and management team, led by our CEO MARK CUTIFANI, is well placed for the future", PARKER said. ANGLO senior independent director SIR PHILIP HAMPTON will now lead a process to identify candidates with appropriate global listed company boardroom experience. PARKER will continue to chair the board until such an appointment is effective. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Philippines' minister extends mining crackdown - Reuters

The Philippines' Environment and Natural Resources Secretary REGINA LOPEZ yesterday ordered the cancellation of 75 mining contracts, stepping up a campaign to stop extraction of resources in sensitive areas after earlier shitting more than half of the country's operating mines. The contracts are all in watershed zones, with many in the exploration stage. They over projects not yet in production and the latest action by LOPEZ suggests she will not allow them to be developed further. LOPEZ ordered the closure of 23 of the country's 41 mines on Feb. 2 for damaging watersheds and for siltation of coastal waters and farmlands. Another five mines were suspended, causing an outcry from the industry. The contracts ordered cancelled yesterday include the $5.9bn Tampakan copper-gold project in South Cotabato province, the biggest staled mining venture in the Philippines. Tampakan failed to take off after the province where it is located banned open-pit mining in 2010, prompting GLENCORE to quit the project in 201

Once-off items lift Spur - Business Report

SPUR CORPORATION expects to report improved earnings for H1 FY2017 due to several once-off items. In a statement yesterday, the company said EPS would be between 23% and 28% better than for the HY to end-Dec., at 115.14cps-119.82cps. EPS from continuing operations are expected to gain by 18%-23% while HEPS should rise by 7%-12%. HEPS are expected to be between 109.10cps and 114.20cps. HEPS from continuing operations should gain to between 111.39cps and 116.11cps, or 18%-23%. SPUR noted that, by end-Jun., it had ceased trading in the UK and Ireland, and now disclosed these operations separately to continuing operations. Excluding the impact of the UK and Ireland business unit, the increase in EPS from continuing operations was due to certain once-off and unusual items in the current and prior periods including the impact of the group's cash-settled share incentive scheme, the fair value adjustment to the RocoMamas contingent consideration liability arising from the acquisition of that business in Mar. 20

SA's unemployment falls in Q4 2016 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's unemployment rate in Q4 2016 retreated from its highest in 13 years as key sectors hired more workers. Unemployment stood at 26.5% of the labour force in the quarter under review, down from 27.1% in Q3, Statistics SA said yesterday. This amounted to 5.781m people without jobs in the quarter, compared with 5.873m q/q. Stats SA said the growth in employment was mainly driven by the services industry and the transport and manufacturing sectors. The expanded definition of unemployment also decreased to 35.6% in Q4, from 36.3% q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell, Eni ask Nigerian court to lift forfeiture on oilfield - Camillus Eboh

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL and ENI have asked a Nigerian court to lift a temporary forfeiture of a long-disputed oilfield, a copy of court documents filed by the parties showed yesterday. Last month, a court ordered the temporary forfeiture of assets and the transfer of operations of the OPL245 field owned by SHELL and ENI, among others, to the federal government. The court case is the latest of several inquiries, including by Dutch and Italian authorities, into the 2011 purchase of the OPL245 block which could hold up to 9.23bn barrels of oil. In the documents SHELl said Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had conducted "a gross abuse of process and an abuse of power" to get a court order asking for the forfeiture. The commission "misrepresented material facts in obtaining the ex-parte order" and it was "in the interest of justice that the ex-parte order be discharged", the document said. The inquiry is investigating whether the $1.3bn purchase of OPL245 involved "acts of conspiracy, bribery, offi

Dangote plans rice mill in Nigeria - Chijioke Ohuocha

DANGOTE GROUP plans to launch a rice mill with a farm scheme in Nigeria to tap growing demand for paddy in that country, the company said on Monday. Rice demand in Nigeria hit 6.3mt in 2015, with 2.3mt produced at home. DANGOTE RICE LTD will launch a pilot project starting with 500ha of farmland by Gonroyo Dam, Nigeria's second-largest dam, located in the northern state of Sokoto. The project will be expanded to cover a land area of 25 000ha across three sites in northern Nigeria by the end of the year. "By year-end 2017, DANGOTE RICE plans to produce 225 000mt of parboiled, milled white rice. This will allow us to satisfy 4% of the total market demand within one year", the company said. DANGOTE RICE said it would partner with smallholders and contract farmers to grow paddy rice for milling. It will offer inputs to farmers while the smallholders provide land and labour. At harvest, DANGOTE will recoup input costs and buy the paddy rice from farmers for processing at market price. The 25 000ha land w

Rwanda sets I&M Bank IPO share price at 90 francs - Clement Uwirigiyimana

The IPO of shares in I&M BANK RWANDA LTD have been priced at 90 francs each, the Rwanda finance ministry said yesterday. The government is selling 99 030 400 shares, representing a 19.81% stake in the lender, with the proceeds set to fund the construction of a second airport near the capital. The offer opened yesterday and is expected to close on Mar. 3. The bank's assets stood at 191 805 234 000 francs ($231.25m) at end-Sep. 2016. I&M reported an operating pforit of 6 686 959 000 francs in the first nine months of 2016. Finance Minister CLAVER GATETE told parliament last week that the government aimed to raise 11.5bn francs from the sale. The Rwanda bourse currently has seven listed firms valued at $3.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 15/02/2017

At 08h00 on 15 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.08 ZAR/EUR 13.84 ZAR/GBP 16.31 Gold 1225.77 Platinum 999.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.65 All Share 52465.64

Acacia aims for multi-million oz gold mine in Kenya - Henry Sanderson

BRAD GORDON, CEO of ACACIA MINING, says an exploration project in Kenya will become a "multi-million ounce" gold mine that could open up gold mining in that country. ACACIA today said it plans to declare an initial inferred resource of 1m ounces of gold at a grade of around 10g/tonne at its project in Kenya's Liranda corridor. The project is likely to be in feasibility studies by 2018, with production still several years away. ACACIA also hopes other projects to come out of exploration in Burkina Faso and Mali "this year and next", GORDON said. The company is currently in talks with Canada's ENDEAVOUR MINING over a £3bn merger. GORDON declined to comment further on those talks. ACACIA said it would boost gold production by 40% this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone growth revised downwards - Alice Ross

The eurozone's economy grew by just 0.4% in the final quarter of 2016 and 1.7% over 2016, official figures from Eurostat confirmed today. The figures were revised downwards from a flash estimate at the end of Jan. of 0.5% on a quarterly basis and 1.8% on an annual basis. Economists had been hoping that decent growth figures would show the single currency bloc was strong enough to withstand external shocks. Separate figures showed that industrial production in the eurozone fell by more than expected in Dec. m/m, contracting 1.6% down from a 1.5% expansion in Nov. But eurozone industrial production was stronger than expected on an annual basis, rising 2% in Dec. from expectations of a 1.7% expansion on the same period in 2015, though it was still a slower growth rate than November's 3.2% expansion. Economists had expected a fall in eurozone industrial production in Dec. after German industrial output hit an eight-year low amid poor weather and an extended holiday break for workers, contracting by 3% on a m

Toshiba chair to resign amid $6.3bn writedown - Kana Inagaki

After a five-hour delay, TOSHIBA has finally unveiled a $6.3bn nuclear writedown. The company announced that chairperson SHIGENORI SHIGA will step down after the company warned it would book a Y712.5bn writedown to reflect massive cost overruns and delays linked to several nuclear projects in the US. For the FY to end-Mar., the company said it anticipates a net loss of Y390bn compared to an earlier forecast of a Y145bn profit. TOSHIBA first flagged the risk of the write-off in late Dec., related to goodwill on WESTINGHOUSE's $229m purchase last year of US construction contrctor STONE & WEBSTER from CHICAGO BRIDGE AND IRON. The goodwill, originally estimated at just $87m, snowballed due to rising material and labour costs in completing the two US nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China accused of undermining drive to cut steel capacity - Charles Clover

China's cuts in steel capacity last year primarily targeted mills that were already idle, doing little to reduce the exports that have fuelled trade tensions or address the blight of toxic smog, a study has found. The government has trumpeted its success in shutting up to 85mt of capacity in 2016. However, only about a third of that was producing steel, and the closures in operating capacity were outpaced by new plants or mills that restarted as prices rose, according to a study commissioned from consultancy CUSTEEL by Greenpeace. Strong Chinese steel exports as domestic consumption peaks have stiffened opposition in Brussels and Washington to recognising China as a market economy under WTO rules - a status that would make it more difficult to bring anti-dumping cases. Beijing has countered by defending its efforts to cut excess capacity. The CUSTEEL study showed net operating capacity rose by 36.5mt in 2016, roughly twice the total capacity of the UK. China's 2016 crude steel output was 808mt, up abou

Trump national security adviser resigns - Demetri Sevastopulo

MICHAEL FLYNN has resigned as US national security adviser over a scandal involving his contacts with Russia, in a major blow to President DONALD TRUMP and his fledgling administration. FLYNN stepped down yesterday evening following mounting scrutiny of claims he had illegally discussed sanctions on Moscow with the Russian ambassador to the US. The FBI has been investigating a series of conversations that FLYNN held with SERGEY KISLYAK as the Obama White House put fresh sanctions on Russia over alleged cyber attacks during the presidential race. Some US officials had expressed concern that FLYNN might have been hinting to the Kremlin that the TRUMP administration would adopt a softer stance on Russia. The circumstances surrounding his departure raise uncomfortable questions for TRUMP, who has been criticised for his stance on Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN. He was recently attacked by Democrats and Republicans for saying "you think our country's so innocent" in response to a remark by a Fox News anchor

Trump eases Canadian fears of US trade shake-up - Anna Nicolaou

US President DONALD TRUMP yesterday eased Canada's fears over trade as he and JUSTIN TRUDEAU emphasised their economic ties, in the US president's first meeting with the Canadian PM in which they deflected media questions about their personal ideological differences. At a press conference at the White House the two leaders stressed their "profound shared economic interests". TRUDEAU is looking to preserve his country's $545bn annual trade relationship with the US as TRUMP threatens punitive measures towards Mexico and China. "We will be tweaking it", TRUMP said in reference to the North American Free Trade AGreement. He said Canada, whose trade is roughtly balanced with the US, is in a "much less severe situation than what's taking place on the southern border". TRUMP extolled the "very, very productive discussions" he had with TRUDEAU on Monday morning, pointing to security and a joint fight against terrorism in "dangerous times". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece facing fresh junking without bailout cash - Fitch - Mehreen Khan

Greece is at risk of being downgraded further into junk territory should its creditors fail to resolve their latest set of differences over the country's bailout this month, FITCH RATINGS warned yesterday. Ahead of its next decision on Greece in less than two weeks, FITCH said its current CCC junk rating on Greece was contingent on the country securing a successful injection of its latest tranche of bailout cash "well ahead of July" when it faces a major €7bn repayments crunch. The warning comes as finance ministers are due to thrash out their differences at a meeting in Brussels on Feb. 20 - their last major discussion before a raft of eurozone elections beginning in Mar. and ending in Sep. FITCH has held Greece at CCC for almost two years. The rating "is underpinned by our assumption that the second review of Greece's third bailout programme will be completed well ahead of July, maintaining access to official funding", FITCH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Allergan buys fat cell freezer maker Zeltiq - Pan Kwan Yuk

ALLERGAN yesterday announced it has agreed to buy ZELTIQ, the maker of CoolSculpting machines that freeze away fat cells for $2.47bn cash. ALLERGAN's offer of $56.50/share represents a 14% premium to ZELTIQ's closing price on Friday and is the latest in a string of small deals engineered by CEO BRENT SAUNDERS after the US government thwarted the company's planned $160bn merger with PFIZER last April. ALLERGAN said the ZELTIQ acquisition will be immediately earnings accretive. CoolSculpting works by gently cooling targeted fat cells in the body to induce a natural, controlled elimination of fat cells without affecting surrounding tissue, ALLERGAN said, adding that body contouring is a $4bn/year market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC cuts oil production by 1.1m bpd in Jan. - Anjli Raval

The first assessment of OPEC's own production since the deal to curb output came into effect shows the group has achieved around 92% compliance of its 1.2m bpd target. OPEC has cut oil production by around 1.1m bpd as part of its promise to curb output in Jan., the cartel said. Excluding Nigeria and Libya, which were exempted from the deal to cut output, OPEC's production in Jan. stood at just under 29.9m bpd. This is a drop from the Oct. baseline level of almost 31m bpd. Total output was at 32.1m bpd, according to data from secondary sources. Saudi Arabia contributed the biggest cuts to production at almost 600 000 from October levels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia doubles annual dividend as revenues jump 21% - Alice Ross

ACACIA MINING said it would more than double its dividend for 2016 as it announced record gold production for that year. Revenue jumped 21% to $1,054m, aided by a 13% rise in gold sales and a 7% gain in the gold price in 2016. EBITDA more than doubled to $415m, helped by higher revenues and lower operating costs. The company proposed a final dividend of 8.4cps, bringing the total for 2016 to 10.4cps compared with 4.2cps y/y. CEO BRAD GORDON noted that ACACIA delivered record production, reduced all-in sustaining costs by 14% and more than doubled its net cash position. He added that the company expects to see further production growth and cost reductions in 2017, with production expected to be between 850 000oz and 900 000oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rolls-Royce confirms largest ever loss of £4.6bn - Nicholas Megaw

ROLLS-ROYCE has confirmed the largest headline loss in its history as a weak pound which affected its hedge book and a £671m settlement for historic corruption claims drove it to a pre-tax loss of £4.6bn. However, the drop in profit did not affect the company's dividend, and underlying profit before tax fell by much less than earlier analyst forecasts, down by 49% to £813m compared to expectations of £687m. CEO WARREN EAST previously softened the blow of the settlement announcement by simultaneously reporting that profits and cash would be ahead of earlier expectations. Profits were boosted by an unexpected 9% rise in revenues to £15bn. Analysts had predicted a fall from last year's £13.7bn. Underlying revenues did decline as expected, however, off 2% to £13.4bn thanks mainly to declines in its marine business. The company kept its final dividend for 2016 unchanged from last year's lower level at 7.1pps, stressing the high need for investment in the company and balance sheet flexibility. The com

German annual GDP growth, Jan. inflation confirmed at 1.9% - Mehreen Khan

Germany's growth and inflation rate held up at a bumper pace of 1.9% according to confirmed figures which point to growing economic momentum in that economy. A second reading of the growth rate confirmed the economy expanded at its best pace since 2011 last year, at an annual pace of 1.9%. GDP accelerated by 0.4% in the final quarter, with growth supported by "significantly" higher government spending, Destatis said. Inflation meanwhile also clocked in at 1.9% in Jan. According to the latest figures from the European Commission, the German economy will slowdown to grow 1.6% this year before accelerating to 1.8% in 2018. DESTATIS said the rising cost of imports weighed down on growth at the end of the year, as GDP expansion in Q3 was revised down to a pace of 0.1% from an original estimate of 0.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse reports healthier than expected capital ratio - Laura Noonan

CREDIT SUISSE had a healthier capital ratio than analysts expected at the end of the year after losing less money than feared in Q4. The Swiss lender reported a common equity tier one ratio of 11.6% - better than the 11% expected by analysts. Pre-tax losses were SFr1.903bn in the final quarter, pushing the bank to an FY loss of SFr1.966bn. Analysts feared a Q4 loss of just over SFr2bn, and FY loss of SFr2.1bn. Investment banking and capital markets had a particularly strong quarter, with pretax profits of SFr149m against the SFr22m expected. Global markets' pretax profits for Q4 were just SFr5m, against the SFr43m expected. Asia Pacific's outturn of SFr103m was around 50% below expectations, while Credit Suisse's Swiss bank, which is set to be IPO'd later this year, came in almost exactly in line with forecasts with quarterly pretax profits of SFr382m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba shares fall after company delays earnings announcement - Alice Woodhouse

Shares in TOSHIBA slipped further in afternoon trading after the company failed to release its scheduled earnings report, which had been set to provide further details on the financial troubles at its nuclear business, WESTINGHOUSE. Shares fell 9.5% following the company's failure to release figures as scheduled for noon in Tokyo. TOSHIBA had set Feb. 14 as the date to tell the market exactly how bad the situation is at its US nuclear business. The company in Dec. flagged the potential for a multibillion dollar writedown at WESTINGHOUSE, with analysts predicting the amount would fall in the region of $5bn-$6bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble Group confirms talks with strategic investor as shares jump 17% - Hudson Lockett

Shares in NOBLE GROUP rose today as the commodities trader confirmed it was in talks with a strategic investor following a report indicating it was in early talks with China's SINOCHEM about an equity investment. Shares rose as much as 16.8% to S$0.225 in Singapore following a report from Reuters claiming SINOCHEM was in early talks with the company to buy an equity stake in the international trading house. NOBLE has fared badly amid a multi-year downturn in commodity markets as well as concerns over its accounting. The company's credit rating has also been cut to junk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US oil output to rise by 80 000 bpd in Mar. - Mamta Badkar

US drillers have been bringing oil rigs back online in response to stabilising crude prices and the Energy Information Administration now estimates that US crude production will climb by 80 000 bpd next month. Te EIA said in its monthly report yesterday that output would climb to 4.87m bpd in Mar., from 4.793m bpd in Feb. It estimates for the current month were also revised upwards from 4.748m barrels previously. The shale area of Bakken in North Dakota is expected to see production slide by 18 000 bpd to 976 000 bpd from 994 000 bpd in Feb. Output is also expected to slow at the Utica Shale in Ohio. US drillers appear to have taken advantage of the steadying in oil prices and brought 117 oil rigs back online since the start of Dec., adding rigs in ten of the past 11 weeks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba sees 131% improvement in earnings - Siphelele Dludla

KUMBA IRON ORE pointed to a set of key interventions that reset the cost base and preserved cash as HEPS rose by 131% to 2 730cps for the FY to end-Dec., compared to 1 182cps y/y. Controllable costs were reduced by 34%, lowering the average cash breakeven price to $29/t. Total revenue of R40.8bn for the period increased by 13% from R36.1bn in 2015, mainly as a result of the increase in average realised iron ore prices and the weaker average rand-dollar exchange rate. Total production for the year was 41.5mt, down 8% y/y and in line with planned lower mining volumes at Sishen. The FY performance enabled KUMBA to build a balance sheet and a net cash position of R6.2bn. To maintain balance sheet flexibility in the context of the ANGLO AMERICAN portfolio review, the board of KUMBA decided not to declare a dividend, but would review this during the course of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba CFO steps down - Business Report

KUMBA IRON ORE today announced that CFO FRIKKIE KOTZEE will step down from his role after five years. The company said KOTZEE told the board in Dec. 2016 that he plans to step down during the course of 2017 once a number of major strategic and financial deliverables had been completed. To ensure a smooth transition, he has agreed to remain with the company until KUMBA's AGM on May 11. KUMBA will now begin a search process of internal and external candidates to identify a successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US analyst urges clients to sell Net1 shares as concerns mount over SASSA - Alide Dasnois

Amid growing concerns over the future of social grants payments, NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES CEO SERGE BELAMANT has hit back at critics of his company, which manages the payment of social grants on behalf of SASSA. The contract between SASSA and NET1 subsidiary CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014. However, the court decided to allow the contract to continue until Apr. 1 this year when SASSA was to take over the payment system itself. But two months from the deadline, SASSA official RAPHAAHLE RAMOKGOPA admitted at a briefing in Parliament on Feb. 1 that SASSA would not be in a position to take over the grants payments in Apr. SASSA spokesperson KGOMOCO DISEKO this week said it woudl file a report with the Constitutional Court on Feb. 15 to ask the court to further suspend the invalidity of the contract so that CPS could continue to pay social grants. The NET1 contract has been dogged by controversy, prompting US investment analyst JAY YOON to recommend to clients la

AdaptIT reaps rewards for looking outside SA - Kyle Venktess

ADAPTIT has posted positive earnings for the HY to end-Dec. along with R460m in turnover, up from R310m y/y. EBITDA was up 43% to R89m, while operating profit for the period rose by 31% to R69m, up from R53m y/y. Normalised HEPS rose by 20% to 34.56cps, from 28.89cp y/y. Growth stemmed from the recent acquisition of financial software services firm CQS TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS for R217m, which contributed 44% of the company's total 48% growth. "We had to go outside of South Africa for the growth of the company", ADAPTIT CEO SBU SHABALALA said. "We are taking South African intellectual property that we build here and sell it offshore as well as using best of breed technologies from some of our partners offshore and adapt it to the local African market. this is where our success lies", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Minister allegedly shields ACSA CEO from suspension - Fin24

Four board members of ACSA could face the axe after Transport Minister DIPUO PETERS allegedly issued notices of intent to dismiss them. According to a report in BusinessLive yesterday, the move could be seen as an attempt to shield ACSA CEO BONGANI MASEKO from being disciplined for contravening the SOE's supply chain regulations. The notices were issued late on Friday with a shareholder meeting scheduled to take place on Monday Feb. 20. According to the report, the ACSA board was supposed to meet with PETERS to discuss a resolution to suspend MASEKO with immediate effect and start a disciplinary process against him. The irregularities were fingered in an audit report. The report was conducted by DR VS MNCUBE CONSULTING on behalf of the ACSA board, and presented to the board in Aug. 2016. In Nov., the board suspended procurement manager PERCY SITHOLE, GM for regional airports JABULANI KHAMBULE and legal counsel BONGANI MACHOBANE amid the allegations in the report. MASEKO was not suspended as the probe w

KAP reports growth across all major operational areas - Fin24

KAP INDUSTRIAL HOLDINGS reported growth across all major areas of operations in its interim results for the HY to end-Dec. KAP posted a 10% rise in revenue for the period to R9.0bn, and a 24% improvement in operating profit to R1.1bn, which resulted in operating margins continuing to improve to 12.3% from the previous year's 11%. During H1 cash flow from operations rose by 27%, supported by earnings growth and improved working capital management. In line with its growth strategy, KAP successfully concluded three acquisitions in the period under review. KAP acquired a controlling stake in XINERGISTIX, a logistics company which provides complementary services to those of UNITRANS. KAP also acquired 100% of LUCERNE, also a logistics company. With an effective date subsequent to the reporting period, KAP acquired 100% of polypropylene and high density polyethylene manufacturer SAFRIPOL for R4.1bn. KAP raised R1.5bn equity through a fully subscribed rights issue, a further R1.4bn through a combination of pr

Chamber welcomes court decision on Winelands toll roads - Fin24

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment that puts an end to plans by SANRAL to build the N1/N2 Winelands toll roads within the municipal area of Cape Town. Chamber president JANINE MYBURGH said SANRAL had done good work over the years and it was a pity that its "failure to understand the genuine concerns of the public had resulted in damage to its reputation". In Oct. 2016, SANRAL decided to appeal a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in the Winelands tolling matter by approaching the Constitutional Court. The SCA ruled in Sep. 2016 that SANRAL and the transport minister acted unlawfully in purporting to have the Winelands routes in the province declared toll roads. It dismissed an appeal by SANRAL over the right to toll the N1 and N2 routes. However, the SCA said it would be in breach of the separation of powers for the court to rule on whether the project ought to go ahead, and whether tolling was an appropriate means of financing it. This news brief repr

Moneyweb makes R314 000 profit - Fin24

MONEYWEB reported a profit before tax of R314 000 for the HY to end-Dec. This was achieved by a 17.15% increase in revenue from the prior 6-month period. Revenue of R17.043m was generated over the period under review. The company saw an 86.16% increase in radio revenue from the previous 6-month period. No dividend was declared for the period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana tries again to privatise national carrier - Reuters

Botswana put its national airline up for tender yesterday, as part of its latest drive to privatise loss-making state companies. AIR BOTSWANA would be the second such sale after the government sold 49% of its telecoms firm in a stock market flotation last year. The government said in a notice inviting expressions of interest that it is open to proposals on various forms of privatisation including JVs, ownership, franchising and concessions. The airline, which recently discontinued routes to Harare and Lusaka from Gaborone, halved its operating losses to 83m Pula in FY2016. Previous offers from COMAIR, SA's AIRLINK and AIR MAURITIUS have fallen through. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aveng interim results hit by exceptional items - Megan van Wyngaardt

Due to two nonrecurring exceptional items incurred in the HY to end-Dec., AVENG expects to report a headline loss of R290m-R310m, a widening of the R231m loss reported y/y. The items include a present value charge of R165m for the expense pertaining to its settlement agreement with local government in Oct. and R206m owed to AVENG by KENMARE RESOURCES pertaining to work performed in 2011/12. During Dec., an arbitration tribunal issued a partial ruling, awarding AVENG R206m in full, together with interest. The costs award remains outstanding and is anticipated before year-end. The tribunal awarded a counterclaim in favour of KENMARE in the amount of R150m. This amount, together with associated legal costs, is the subject of an insurance claim. In making this award, the tribunal saw no impediment for coverage under the applicable policies. Despite the findings of the tribunal, the group's accounting policies do not permit the recognition of insurance claims and, hence, a charge of R150m has been recognise

Xtract inks collaboration deal with Nexus - Creamer Media Reporter

XTRACT RESOURCESW has signed a collaboration agreement with NEXUS CAPITAL for the exploitation of alluvial gold deposits at the Manica gold project in Mozambique. The agreement is the result of an internal review by XTRACT of its alluvial contract, and "extinguishes" financing risk and provides for potential near-term income. "There are many alluvial mining operations in the Manica area and significant expertise has been gained in the art as well as the science of working such deposits. I am pleased with the outcome of the last six months' discussions with NEXUS and the prospects of short-term income, which has the propensity to increase considerably", XTRACT chair COLIN BIRD said. NEXUS will receive a payment equal to 11% of gross total monthly gold sales and the balance will be retained by XTRACT subsidiary EXPLORATOR. "As recognition for NEXUS's investment to date in respect of plant and equipment at the mining concession, NEXUS will be entitled to receive the first $1m of any front-end payment paid b

Implats expects to swing to H1 loss - Megan van Wyngaardt

IMPALA PLATINUM yesterday said it expects to post a headline loss per share of 65cps-79cps for the Hy to end-Dec., compared with a profit of 53cps y/y. The company noted that the main reason for the decline in HEPS is that the prior period included a tax credit as a result of a write-off of an amount owed by a debtor. HEPS from continuing operations will further be negatively impacted by 10c-15c/share when the company's share of profit after tax from IMPALA CHROME is eliminated as "discontinued operations profit" owing to the group's take in this entity being up for sale. IMPLATS also expects to report a basic LPS of 48cps-58cps. The group said the difference between basic and headline earnings is primarily due to the insurance compensation received from the 14 Shaft fire incident in Jan. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore consolidates DRC copper asset ownership - Henry Lazenby

GLENCORE has upped its holding in DRC copper assets after buying a 31% stake in MUTANDA MINING held by DAN GERTLER's FLUERETTE GROUP and a 10.25% stake in KATANGA MINING. GLENCORE paid FLUERETTE $922m for the MUTANDA shares and $38m for the KATANGA shares. FLEURETTE and its affiliates owe GLENCORE outstanding loans, secured over the MUTANDA shares, totalling $556m, of which $120m comprises accrued interest. GLENCORE has also acquired shareholder loans owed to the FLEURETTE group by MUTANDA in the amount of around $130m. Accordingly, the total cash consideration payable by the GLENCORE group in respect of the transactions is $534m. GLENCORE has also acquired a further 15.33m shares in KATANGA MINING, about 0.8% of the latter's issued shares which were held as a security for a loan provided to RUWENZORI LIMITED, a member of the FLEURETTE GROUP, in connection with RUWENZORI's acquisition of 25m shares in NIKANOR, which were issued as part of a private placement. NIKANOR subsequently merged with KATANGA and

Firestone hosts successful first sale of Liqhobong diamonds - Megan van Wyngaardt

All 75 936ct on offer at FIRESTONE DIAMONDS' first sale of diamonds recovered from its Liqhobong diamond mine, in Lesotho, have been sold. The sale was held in Antwerp between Feb. 6 and 10, with the company raking in $8.14m, or an average of $107/ct. Over 90 companies viewed the goods and more than 38 companies were successful. The higher-quality diamonds were competitively bid for during the sale. The best stone, a 37ct Type IIa internally flawless white diamond was sold for well over $1m. A number of yellow and fancy yellow stones included in the sale also achieved competitive prices, with interest being exceptionally strong in these categories. CEO STUART BROWN said the company was looking forward to even better results as it gradually increases its mining to all areas of the pit and increases the mine's run-of-mine production over time. A second sale will be held late in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lulo delivers another large diamond - Esmarie Swanepoel

LUCAPA has uncovered a 227ct diamond at its Lulo project in Angola. The miner yesterday said the diamond is the second-largest recovered at Lulo to date, behind the 404ct stone uncovered in Feb. 2016. The diamond, which is type IIa D in colour, is also the seventh diamond larger than 100ct to be recovered at the mine. "This further undelrines the potential there is for the remainder of the 50km stretch of the Caluilo rier to continue to produce large valuable alluvial diamonds", LUCAPA MD STEPHEN WETHERALL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP vows legal action at Escondida after group enters site - Bloomberg

BHP BILLITON yesterday said it will take legal action after a group of more than 300 people entered the Escondida mine during a strike and forced some contractors to abandon the compound. People wearing masks entered the mine site at 18:00 on Saturday, threatening the staff of contract companies and setting off fire alarms, causing damage, BHP said. A smaller group cut power to security cameras, it said. The union, whose 2 500 members stopped work on Thursday, has set up a makeshift camp just outside the mine. Union president PATRICIO TAPIA said while a group of members did enter the mine site, they marched peacefully around the contractor workers' camp and left. "We categorically reject these acts that not only infringe company values but also the law, and put at risk the safety of our people", Escondida Corporate Affairs VP PATRICIO VILAPLANA said. "As a result, the company will use all necessary resources and take the pertinent legal actions to guarantee the safety of all workers". This news brief

Newcrest profits soar in H1 - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST MINING has reported a 333% rise in underlying profits for the HY to end-Dec., as revenues rose by 17% and operating cash flow by 64%. Underling profit for the HY reached A$273m, while revenue increased to A$1.8bn and operating cash flow to A$601m. The higher revenue was attributable to a 15% rise in the gold price during the HY under review, as well as a 2% increase in gold sales volumes, as a result of production from the Cadia operation in New South Wales, increasing by 31% following higher mill throughput and the impact in the y/y period of an extended production outage. EBITDA came in at A$783m, up 44% y/y. NEWCREST produced 1.23moz of gold in the HY at an all-in sustaining cost of A$770/oz. "We remain on track to achieve our annual guidance for the fourth year in a row", CEO SANDEEP BISWAS noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ocean Basket to open five branches in Kuwait - ANA

OCEAN BASKET yesterday said it had signed an agreement with a Kuwait-based food distributor to roll out five new stores in as many years, bringing the number to 17 countries in which the company operates. CEO GRACE HARDING said she met the Kuwait team from AL-GHUNAIM TRADING COMPANY in Cape Town last week to complete the licensing agreement. "We need to ensure the success of our partners by creating a globally relevant and meaningful brand and systems and infrastructure that supports them", HARDING said. AL-GHUNAIM CEO ABDULGHANI AL-GHUNAIM said it was the third largest restaurant company in Kuwait. "We learnt about OCEAN BASKET when one of our senior managers was working in Egypt and decided it would be perfect to enhance the group basket of flavours that we currently offer our customers", AL-GHUNAIM said. "Fish is a very popular dish in Kuwait and we found that OCEAN BASKET has a unique flavour, which we are looking to add to our other offerings". This news brief represents a summary of the original

Zim, Zambia pick French firm to shore up Kariba Dam's wall - Chris Mfula

Zimbabwe and Zambia will give French firm RAZEL-BEC the task of making safe the Kariba Dam, whose wall is swelling, raising the risk of cracks in the structure designed to hold back up to 180bn cubic metres of water. A collapse of the dam could pose a risk to 3.5m people in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as Malawi and Mozambique further downstream. "It is a real risk that the dam could fall without that effort being put in place", Dam Maintenance Engineer FARAI FURASA told Reuters. "Some forces are pushing towards the dam wall and digging into it and the water could slip underneath the dam and cause it to collapse". The Zambezi River Authority plans to reshape the plunge pool at the dam's base and repair the spill-way, which controls the release of water, within five years. The dam was built in the 1950s. Safety manager KOZANAI GURUKUMBA yesterday said the expansion should be completed by the end of 2020, while work on the spill-way to contain the swelling dam wall is expected to be done by 2022. "It has t

Mozambique leaves key lending rate unchanged - Manuel Mucari

Mozambique's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 23.25%, it said yesterday. The country's consumer price inflation slowed to 25.27% y/y in Dec. from 26.83% in November. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye secures $2.65bn finance for Stillwater deal - Tanisha Heiberg

SIBANYE GOLD has secured a loan of $2.65bn to support the acquisition of STILLWATER MINING COMPANY, it said yesterday. SIBANYE closed the syndication of the bridging loan underwritten by CITI and HSBC who will also act as mandated lead arrangers and book runners. The loan facilities were oversubscribed by more than $1bn and divided into three tranches. The first tranche was a $750m bridge-to-equity component which will be repaid following a planned rights issue. The other parts are a $300m bridge-to-equity component which will be repaid following a planned rights issue. The syndication attracted interest from banks acting as mandated lead arrangers including BARCLAYS, CREDIT SUISSE and JPMORGAN CHASE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola CPI slows to 40.4% - Mfuneko Toyana

Angola's inflation slowed to 40.39% y/y in Jan. from 41.95% in Dec., data from the statistics agency showed yesterday. Price increases on a m/m basis rose 2.29% in Jan. compared to 2.17% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria recovers $177m stolen state funds - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria has recovered around $151m and eight billion naira in stolen state funds in less than two months as part of an anti-graft drive, the government said on Sunday. The nation late in Dec. launched a whistleblower scheme entitling those who help find stolen assets to up to 5% of the recovered sums. Sunday's announcement was the first since the middle of last year to give an official figure for recovered assets. "The looted funds... were recovered from just three sources through whistleblowers who gave actionable information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation", the Information Ministry said. On Friday, Nigeria's anti-corruption watchdog said it had seized $9.8m in cash from the former head of the state oil company NNPC, a recovery also made possible under the whistleblower programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Automakers seen investing $615m in SA this year - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's automotive sector capex is projected to rise to R8.2bn this year from R6.4bn in 2016, NAAMSA said in a memo dated Feb. 7. The Association said the sector's estimated capex was based on details supplied by seven major car makers and data from various sources relevant to BEIJING AUTOMOTIVE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. Car manufacturers in SA include FORD, VW, MERCEDES BENZ, NISSAN and TOYOTA. The sector expects a slight rise in new vehicle sales this year as economic growth gains thanks to commodity price rises and a recovery in farming. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 14/02/2017

At 07h15 on 14 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.28 ZAR/EUR 14.09 ZAR/GBP 16.66 Gold 1228.07 Platinum 999.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.74 All Share 52956.71

Old Mutual receives new approaches for US asset management stake - James Fontanella-Khan

OLD MUTUAL has received new approaches for its $900m controlling stake in its US asset management business from potential buyers including China's HNA GROUP, TPG and ADVENT. OLD MUTUAL held preliminary talks with the Chinese conglomerate as well as two US private equity groups but has thus far failed to forge a path to a definitive agreement, sources said. Instead of engaging potential bidders, the insurer sold down part of its 66% stake in OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT to 51% on the open market in Dec., a move that has frustrated the buyers and could jeopardise a future deal. HNA is still interested in exploring a deal with OLD MUTUAL only as long as it cam buy a majority stake in OMAM, two sources said. ADVENT is still interested in a deal, while TPG has since given up on a deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rouble hits 58/$ for first time since Jul. 2015 - Nicholas Megaw

The rouble rose to its strongest level since Jul. 2015 this morning as the Russian Central Bank's pledge to weaken the currency struggles to convince markets. The rouble had already been appreciating as oil prices have recovered over the last 12 months, and growing optimism since DONALD TRUMP's victory in the US election has helped it become the best-performing EM currency since the vote, up just shy of 10%. TRUMP's calls for a normalisation of relations with Russia raised hopes of a relaxation of economic sanctions and encouraged international investors to return to the country. The central bank has promised to spend more than Rbs113bn on foreign currency purchases this month to help slow the rouble's climb, in a bid to boost the government's spending power. But economists have been doubtful the bank would be able to have a big impact on the currency, and it has continued to rise a further 1.6% since the announcement, including a 0.5% rise this morning to take it to 57.99/$. This news brief represents

Kirin agrees to sell Brazil business to Heineken - Alice Woodhouse

Japan's KIRIN has agreed to sell its Brazilian beer business to HEINEKEN for Y77bn as the Dutch group looks to take on rival ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV in its largest market. The parties confirmed they were in talks about a deal late last month, and this morning KIRIN said in a statement it had agreed to sell all its shares in BRAZIL KIRIN to HEINEKEN SUBSIDIARY BAVARIA SA. The Japanese brewer said the "various risks" associated with the Brazilian economy alongside the "stagnant and competitive situation" in the Brazilian beer market and soft drinks market limited the opportunity to transform BRAZIL KIRIN into a highly profitable business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan Q4 growth slower than anticipated - Hudson Lockett

Japan's economy has closed out 2016 with slower than expected growth despite a boost to exports from a weaker yen as domestic demand came up short in Q4. GDP expanded by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% q/q in the three months to end-Dec., down from 0.3% in the prior quarter and coming in just below a median forecast from economists surveyed by Reuters predicting growth would hold steady. Year-on-year GDP rose 1% in Q4, dropping from 1.3% growth in the prior quarter and missing forecasts of 1.1% growth. The latest quarterly growth rate brought Japan's annual GDP growth in 2016 to 1%. Net exports contributed 0.2 percentage points to headline growth, with a 2.6% rise in exports partly offset by imports, which rose 1.3%. But private consumption and household spending were flat from the previous quarter, while residential investment grew 0.9% after shrinking 0.3% in the Sep. quarter. With government consumption rising 0.4% for the period, that shook out to headline domestic demand that was unchanged from Q3. T

China copper futures hit highest level since 2014 - Hudson Lockett

Copper prices in China rose as much as 7% today to their highest level in more than two years amid continued upward pressure from a strike at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile. The price of copper contracts on the Shanghai Futures Exchange leaped as high as Rmb50 300/t in Monday Asia trading, the highest level since May 17, 2014. The price of copper had closed 4.6% higher on Friday in London after BHP declared force majeure on copper shipments from Escondida, which accounted for 5% of global copper output in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan Q4 growth slower than anticipated - Hudson Lockett

Japan's economy has closed out 2016 with slower than expected growth despite a boost to exports from a weaker yen as domestic demand came up short in Q4. GDP expanded by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% q/q in the three months to end-Dec., down from 0.3% in the prior quarter and coming in just below a median forecast from economists surveyed by Reuters predicting growth would hold steady. Year-on-year GDP rose 1% in Q4, dropping from 1.3% growth in the prior quarter and missing forecasts of 1.1% growth. The latest quarterly growth rate brought Japan's annual GDP growth in 2016 to 1%. Net exports contributed 0.2 percentage points to headline growth, with a 2.6% rise in exports partly offset by imports, which rose 1.3%. But private consumption and household spending were flat from the previous quarter, while residential investment grew 0.9% after shrinking 0.3% in the Sep. quarter. With government consumption rising 0.4% for the period, that shook out to headline domestic demand that was unchanged from Q3. T

Fitch says Trump administration poses risk to global govt debt - Adam Samson

The TRUMP administration's controversial immigration and trade policies may overshadow his pro-business fiscal stance, posing a threat to global government debt, FITCH has warned. "US policy predictability has diminished, with established international communication channels and relationship norms being set aside and raising the prospect of sudden, unanticipated changes in US policies with potential global implications", FITCH said on Friday. The ratings agency said a less stable US could cause a slew of issues, including "disruptive changes to trade relations" and "exchanges between policymakers that contribute to heightened or prolonged currency and other financial market volatility". The sovereigns most at risk would be those with "close economic and financial ties with the US that come under scrutiny due to either existing financial imbalances or perceptions of unfair frameworks or practices that government their bilateral relations", FITCH said. Among the countries the agency pointed to were Canada,

EU finance chief warns Trump against ripping up banking regulation - Jim Brunsden

The EU's financial regulation chief, VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, has urged the administration of DONALD TRUMP not to abandon international cooperation on bank rules, warning that an America First policy risks driving up costs for the sector and harming stability. Speaking in London, DOMBROVSKIS said Europe "is sensitive to talks of unpicking financial legislation which applies to carefully negotiated international standards and rules". "It is difficult not to notice when the Chair of the Federal Reserve is criticised for her approach to negotiating international rules and standards, or when an American president talks about 'doing a big number' on Dodd-Frank", DOMBROVSKIS said. Urging the US to stay engaged in international fora such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, DOMBROVSKIS warned that divergence would "give financial institutions incentives to engage in regulatory arbitrage... and [potentially] put the whole financial system at risk". This news brief represents a summary of the original articl

Indian industrial production falls in Dec. - Alice Ross

India's industrial production dropped by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2016 y/y, confounding expectations of a 1.2% rise in output. The fall marked a steep decline from the prior month, when India's industry sector grew 5.7%. Industrial production in India was volatile for much of 2016. The fall in Dec. output follows PM NARENDRA MODI's decision in Nov. to scrap larger-denominated banknotes in a bid to clamp down on black market activity. Last week, India's central bank surprised markets by keeping its key interest rate unchanged at 6.25%, confounding expectations that it would cut rates to spur growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil stockpiles to remain high in H1 - IEA - Anjli Raval

Despite steep OPEC output cuts to reduce the global oversupply and prop up prices, oil stockpiles are expected to remain at elevated levels at least through H1 2017, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. OPEC crude output fell by 1m bpd to 321m bpd in Jan., leading to record initial compliance of 90%, the IEA said. OPEC does not apply penalties for non-compliance and members have had a poor track record of meeting targets in the past. But Saudi Arabia cut more than required, helping to offset higher output from Nigeria and Libya which are exempt from the deal. Russia, Kazakhstan and Oman have also made curbs in line with the deal. While stocks in industrialised nations fell in in Q4 2016 by 800 000 bpd, they continued to build in China and other emerging markets. Volumes of crude stored at sea also increased. The IEA said that, should OPEC continue Jan. levels of compliance, stockpiles will still remain significantly above historical average levels by June. The IEA revised its demand numbers

Updated market indicators for 13/02/2017

At 11h00 on 13 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.30 ZAR/EUR 14.16 ZAR/GBP 16.66 Gold 1231.26 Platinum 1010.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.52 All Share 52947.78

PPC, Afrisam in merger talks - Liesl Peyper

PPC and AFRISAM are engaging in merger talks which they believe will be to the advantage of the shareholders of both firms. AFRISAM admitted to the merger talks in a statement this morning, following a company note to investors from PPC, which said the parties are "assessing the merits of a potential merger". The parties will report back on the outcome of the assessment once finalised. "Any proposed transaction will also require a number of regulatory approvals, but these approvals will be sought at the appropriate time", AFRISAM said. A merger could create a more competitive entity in respect of the balance sheet, scale and capabilities to invest in future growth opportunities, AFRISAM CEO STEPHAN OLIVIER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R3.3bn offer for Tsogo assets - Roy Cokayne

HOSPITALITY PROPERTY FUND has entered into talks with TSOGO SUN HOLDINGS on the potential acquisition of a R3.3bn portfolio of hotel assets from the listed hotel and gaming group. HOSPITALITY said it was preparing to raise some R1.8bn via a rights issue. CEO KEITH RANDALL said the proposed acquisition would be implemented on an income-for-income basis and would be funded via a combination of debt and equity. Subject to the conclusion of formal agreements related to the proposed deal and securing the necessary shareholder approval, HOSPITALITY was preparing to undertake an underwritten rights offer to raise around R1.8bn. The rights offer pricing would be based on the then prevailing market price of HOSPITALITY's shares. HOSPITALITY on Friday reported a 46% rise in distributable earnings to R197m in the HY to end-Dec. from 135m y/y. Distributable earnings rose by 8% on a like-for-like basis, and a dividend of 56.09cps was declared for the four months to Dec. Rental income rose by 28% to R303m, but like-

Zuma says Big Four bank dominance 'must end' - Bloomberg

President JACOB ZUMA yesterday said the dominance of SA's four major banks must end to enable more entrants into the industry and improve access to the economy for black people. "There's a skewed kind of economic control... We actually frustrate our economy deliberately by letting a few people control the economy. So we want to change that. Let us have more banks and share that space", ZUMA said. He was speaking at an event hosted by The New Age, which is owned by his friends, the GUPTA family. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ceramic merger still on the cards - Sandile Mchunu

ITALTILE has said it would not give up on a possible merger with CERAMIC INDUSTRIES eight months after the Competition Commission ruled against it. ITALTILE's CFO BRANDON WOOD on Friday said the company would meet with the Competition Tribunal in Mar. to pursue the merger. ITALTILE earlier said it wanted to acquire the remaining 75% controlling stake in CERAMIC INDUSTRIES for a proposed R3.6bn. ITALTILE on Friday reported a 14% system-wide turnover increase to R3.5bn, from R3.08bn reported in 2015. The company holds a 20% strategic stake in CERAMIC INDUSTRIES and an effective 46% in EZEE TILE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Liquid Telecom considers stock market sale - Bloomberg

LIQUID TELECOM, a unit of ECONET WIRELESS GLOBAL, is considering a sale of shares on a stock market after completing the purchase of NEOTEL to create the largest broadband network in Africa. "A possible listing would be very likely. At the moment we are focused on the intergration of the acquisition and making it a success", RUDNICK said. The bourse and the timing of a potential listing have not been decided, he added. The company had arranged the $500m financing needed to complete the NEOTEL acquisition from TATA COMMUNICATIONS and reduce the company's debt. LIQUID agreed to buy NEOTEL in Jun. alongside ROYAL BAFOKENG HOLDINGS. ROYAL BAFOKENG will take a 30% stake in NEOTEL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

More Chery, Foton brands - Roy Cokayne

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS is set to increase its exposure to the CHERY passenger vehicle and FOTON light commercial vehicle brands in SA. IMPERIAL plans to acquire the AA GROUP, which is involved in the sale and after sales maintenance of new passenger vehicles and new light commercial vehicles in SA. The Competition Commission on Friday said it had recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed acquisition of AA GROUP by BOUNDLESSTRADE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMPERIAL, be approved without conditions. The commission said the proposed transaction was unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US rooftop solar makes Investec the go-to bank - Brian Eckhouse

INVESTEC has become the go-to funding source for the US rooftop solar industry just two years after entering the market. INVESTEC arranged $880m in debt financing for rooftop solar developers and financiers in 2016. That's more than half of the $1.5bn bank debt raised in 2016. Financing for rooftop solar is underpinned by thousands of small contracts with consumers. While the debt is tied to strong individual credit scores, banks have favoured big solar farms because they generally have contracts with investment-grade utilities. INVESTEC has filled the gap by focusing on the industry's unique financing needs, said RALPH CHO, the bank's co-head of power and infrastructure in the Americas. INVESTEC's first rooftop deal, in 2014, was arranging $195m in credit facilities for SUNRUN, the second-biggest US installer. INVESTEC's second deal didn't come more than a year, again with SUNRUN. Its clients also include VIVINT SOLAR and SPRUCE FINANCE. INVESTEC has "carved out a good niche in this space", accordi

Gupta calls Jonas a liar - Dewald van Rensburg

AJAY GUPTA has denied meeting deputy finance minister MCEBISI JONAS, calling him "blatantly dishonest". JONAS made headlines last year with an allegation that he was offered the finance minister's job at a meeting at the GUPTAS' home in Saxonwold in Oct. 2015. GUPTA also claims that JONAS' own testimony to then Public Protector THULI MADONSELA contradicts the public allegations. GUPTA said it "is evident that the 'incident' with Mr MCEBISI JONAS was created in order to support the wave of adverse media attention... Let me... clearly and unambiguously state under oath that I have never met Mr MCEBISI JONAS." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Low growth dampens SA banks' outlook - S&P - Lameez Omarjee

Weak economic growth and credit risk of over-indebted households are reflected in the negative outlook for SA's banks, according to STANDARD & POOR's. In a report on the outlook for local banks, S&P indicated that weak growth and lower affordability of households pose risks to the banking sector. Despite the poor growth, projected at 1.4% this year, credit losses should be between 0.8% and 1% for top tier lenders. There are also "long-term domestic challenges" which are dragging down growth. Even though government has identified reforms it will take time to address the skills shortages and infrastructure bottlenecks, according to S&P. S&P expects interest rate rises of 25 to 75 basis points over the next 12-18 months and inflation of 6%-7%. "This will continue to pressurize household affordability but not materially weaken asset quality." Domestic households pose the "most significant" risk for banks because of their relatively high debt and wider income differences. Corporate credit growth may be sub

FICA Bill - Accountants unhappy about searches - Fin24

The SA Institute of Professional Accountants has reservations on the provision for warrantless searches in the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill. "There are definite circumstances where offenders may leverage delays in obtaining a search warrant to tamper with or destroy crucial evidence. Rather, our concerns relate to the lack of specificity about the conditions under which warrantless searches can be executed", SAIPA company secretary AYANDA MABIDA said. Although a court may rectify any infringement after the fact, MABIDA is adamant that it remains that a person's constitutional rights would already have been violated. On principle, no law should be passed that would permit this eventuality. However, SAIPA acknowledges that the FICA bill is essential to SA meeting its obligations as a member of the Financial Action Task Force - an intergovernmental body that sets standards for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other abuses of the international financial system. This news

Premier Fishing to list on JSE - Fin24

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS will list subsidiary PREMIER FOODS AND FISHING on the JSE next month to raise R526.5m in order to grow its market share. PREMIER FISHING said it has been granted a listing on the main board of the local bourse from Mar. 2. It will list 117m ordinary shares at R4.50 apiece in a bid to raise capital to "provide the company with access to capital in order to grow its business both organically and by way of future acquisitions. Proceeds from the private placement will be used to provide the company with additional capital to fund its further expansion. PFF said this will "allow the company to use listed scrip to fund future acquisitions (and) give its employees and members of communities in which it operates, as well as the general public an opportunity to acquire an equity stake in the company". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Please Call Me never treated as income generative - Vodacom - Kyle Venktess

The Please Call Me service was never treated as revenue generative, VODACOM spokesperson BYRON KENNEDY said last week. This comes after the creator of the service, NKOSANA MAKATE, dismissed the company's claims that it faced difficulty determining the revenue generated by PCM in court papers filed at the Constitutional Court. MAKATE's papers included a supporting affidavit by former employee ANDREW HENDRICKS, who said VODACOM was indeed able to determine the revenue generated by the service and that VODACOM has financial records that determine the revenue generated. VODACOM said it took issue with HENDRICKS's unsubstantiated claim that it has mechanisms to determine the revenue generated by PCM. VODACOM said it remained committed to negotiations with MAKATE and was prepared to resume talks at his earliest convenience. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA keen to tap power tariff deal as Eskom mulls 'incentive pricing' - Terence Creamer

ARCELORMITTAL SA is optimistic that ESKOM, with the support of NERSA, could extend pricing incentives to it and other energy-intensive businesses in light of its surplus position and government's appeal for interventions to reignite growth in the economy. AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK said the group initiated talks on the issue of a more competitive tariff for its Saldanha Steel mill during 2016, when the utility began signalling that the electricity market was beginning to transition from deficit to surplus. Since then, ESKOM has indicated that it anticipates the surplus position to be sustained until at least 2021. Power discounts could prove controversial, owing to ongoing disquiet over ESKOM's special pricing agreements with aluminium smelters in KZN and Mozambique. However, Moneyweb reports that NERSA is willing to consider a "framework" which encourages greater use of the surplus capacity, having already considered a two-year agreement for SILICON SMELTERS, linked to the performance of the silicon price. D

SA's macadamia output to grow 10% this year - Anine Kilian

The Southern African Macadamia Growers' Association expects the local macadamia crop to rise by 10.5% y/y to 42 000t of nut in shell this year. This is compared to the 38 000t produced in 2016, which was 17% lower than the 46 000t produced in 2015, as a result of the drought and other weather events. The main increase in production is expected to come from Mpumalanga, which has the largest area planted to macadamias and which also accounts for 70% of new plantings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WesBank appoints new CEO for Motor division - Irma Venter

WESBANK has announced the appointment of MARK FINLAYSON as CEO of the Motor division following the departure of SIMPHIWE NGHONA on Feb. 1. FINLAYSON is the current CEO of DIRECTAXIS, a subsidiary of WESBANK specialising in non-secured personal loans. "Mark has been successful in introducing a partnership approach into DIRECTAXIS, which is highly relevant in Motor where a large portion of the business emanates from collaborating with both our [vehicle manufacturer] joint ventures and dealers. When combined with the division's existing strong executive team, we are confident that under his leadership, WESBANK MOTOR will continue to be a formidable competitor in the retail vehicle finance market", WESBANK GROUP CEO CHRIS DE KOCK said. FINLAYSON takes on his new role from Mar. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer feels headwinds from drought, soft economy - Megan van Wyngaardt

While the local economy was hit by the long-standing drought and softer trading conditions, increasing inflation has seen PIONEER FOODS increase its group turnover by 5.1% for the four months to Jan. 31, with a 7.6% increase in South African turnover. Contracting volumes saw its international turnover drop by 10.3%. PIONEER's groceries division was negatively affected by lower volumes consequent to softer trading conditions, increased competition and significant cost push inflation. However, the high base-effect of beverages in the prior year, owing to the extremely hot summer season, was not repeated this year. PIONEER noted that the outlook for H2 was for improved performance due to anticipated improved maize profitability; a satisfactory raisin crop; new Weet-Bix capacity coming on stream; the commissioning of the Aeroton bakery upgrade; bakeries in the Western Cape regaining momentum and cost respite in key inputs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fly farm venture AgriProtein signs deal for 25 fly farms a year - Irma Venter

Austria-based CHRISTOF INDUSTRIES has partnered with AGRIPROTEIN to build up to 25 fly farms a year. AGRIPROTEIN rears fly larvae on organic waste and harvests the larvae to make natural, high-protein animal feed products. The company believes insect meal presents a more sustainable alternative to fishmeal, with the production process diverting large volumes of organic waste from landfills to feed the larvae. Using a high-tech blueprint developed with CHRISTOF INDUSTRIES, AGRIPROTEIN plans to roll out 100 fly factories by 2024, and a further 100 by 2027. The $10m partnership will help bring inspect protein into the mainstream of feeds used in aquaculture, poultry farming and petfood. CHRISTOF INDUSTRIES will deliver the factories on a turnkey basis as AGRIPROTEIN's engineering, procurement and construction partner. The farms will be operated by local licensees of AGRIPROTEIN technology in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Former Sasol CEO joins Rio Tinto board - Esmarie Swanepoel

Mining major RIO TINTO has appointed three new independent non-executive directors to its board. Former SASOL CEO DAVID CONSTABLE and former CENTRICA CEO SAM LAIDLAW have been appointed with immediate effect, while ROYAL DUTCH SHELL CFO SIMON HENRY will join the board in July. CONSTABLE has more than 30 years' experience in senior roles at large-scale construction and engineering companies and spent five years as president and CEO of SASOL. HENRY has more than three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry, while LAIDLAW has also had a long career in the industry and was CEO of CENTRICA for eight years until 2014. RIO said the new directors will broaden the experience of the company's board, bringing considerable expertise in the resources sector and an international perspective. Nonexecutive directors ROBERT BROWN and ANNE LAUVERGEON have both indicated their intention to step down from the board at the company's AGM on May 4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Car theft, hijackings on the up - Cartrack - Irma Venter

Statistics released last week by CARTRACK show that carjacking and vehicle theft in SA are on the rise. Theft within the base of vehicles protected by CARTRACK rose by 31% in the 10 months from Mar. to Dec. 2016, while hijackings jumped 32%. Statistics also show Gauteng residents suffering almost 50% of the incidents that are reported nationally. This is followed by KZN with 17% and the Western Cape with 14%. According to CARTRACK' data, on average, 45% more vehicle thefts occur on a Saturday and Sunday than on any weekday. Most vehicles are stolen between 11:00 in the morning and 15:00 in the afternoon. With regards to hijackings, CARTRACK's data indicates that 38% more passenger vehicles are taken on weekends compared with the rest of the week. Night time is also when drivers should be most alert, as 19:00 to 01:00 seems to be the busiest times for hijackers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hino SA trims its Dyna model from medium to light commercial vehicle - Irma Venter

HINO SA, the commercial vehicle arm of TOYOTA SA MOTORS, has reclassified its TOYOTA Dyna truck as a light commercial vehicle, moving it from the medium commercial vehicle segment where it has been competing since its introduction to SA in 1965. TOYOTA redesigned the Dyna's chassis to achieve a 50kg weight loss, providing the vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of 3 500kg - a move which allows it to be classified as an LCV. The reclassification allows HINO SA to sidestep new speed-limiter regulations that came into effect in 2016. New regulations require all medium, heavy and extra-heavy commercial vehicles to be fitted with speed limiters. MCV's are limited to a top speed of 100km/h, while the speed for heavy and extra-heavy trucks is set at a maximum of 80km/h. HINO SA sells around 40 Dyna units a month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP's Escondida declares force majeure on Chile strike - Reuters

BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile will not be able to meet its contractual obligations on metals shipments after a strike brought production to a standstill, a company spokesperson said on Friday. Copper prices on the LME rose 4.5% to $6 083/t on market chatter that force majeure would be declared. "I can confirm that force majeure has been declared", a BHP spokesperson said. Workers in the Escondida Union No 1 downed tools early on Thursday after collective wage talks with the company failed. BHP said it will not produce copper during the strike and will instead focus on maintaining minimum services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport says no deal with Indonesia - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN on Friday said an export ban remains in place at its copper mine in Indonesia as it has not yet reached agreement with the government on a new mining permit. Government officials had earlier told reporters they issued a new mining permit to FREEPORT and that it could apply for an export permit. The government banned copper concentrate exports on Jan. 12 to try and boost Indonesia's smelter industry. FREEPORT said the suspension would reduce output from its Grasberg mine by around 70m lb of copper per month. FREEPORT said it will continue to work with the government, but only agree to a new mining permit with the same fiscal and legal protection in its current contract, said spokesperson ERIC KINNEBERG. "These conditions are necessary and critical for (FREEPORT Indonesia's) long-term investment plans", KINNEBERG said, adding that export restrictions contravene a legally-binding contract. It is expected the new permit will require FREEPORT to pay taxes and royalties it was previously exem

Mali's estimated gold reserves climb to 822t - Reuters

New discoveries by companies have increased Mali's estimated gold reserves to 822t, or around 16 years of output at current production levels, the nation's Mines Ministry said on Friday. Early last year, the ministry estimated reserves at 800t. Total output reached 50.9t in 2016 with industrial production accounting for 46.9t. "The increase in reserves is due to the discovery of new reserves in several mines, notably in RANDGOLD's Loulo-Gounkoto complex and the Morila mine", Minister YAYA DJIRE said. ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI and RANDGOLD RESOURCES both have operations in Mali. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa reports fatality - Creamer Media Reporter

ATLATSA RESOURCES has been issued a Section 54 notice after a fatality at its Bokoni mine's Middelpunt Hill shaft section. A Department of Mineral Resources probe is under way following a fall-of-ground incident at the shaft that claimed the life of a team leader last week. ATLATSA on Friday said mining operations at the shaft remain suspended until it undertakes the appropriate remedial action to the satisfaction of the DMR. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agrium Q4 profit falls as fertiliser market slump weighs - Henry Lazenby

AGRIUM, the Canadian fertiliser producer which controls the largest retail distribution network in North America, has reported a 67% slide in net Q4 earnings attributable to equity holders, to $67m, or $0.49/share. The company attributed the lower net earnings to lower y/y nutrient pricing. Sales for the year fell 5% to $2.3bn. Despite president and CEO CHUCK MAGRO stating that AGRIUM was encouraged by the recent firming in global nutrient markets and the company anticipating solid demand for crop inputs in the coming spring application season, the company's 2017 guidance for diluted EPS of $4.50 to $6 falls short of average Wall Street analyst forecasts calling for FY earnings of $5.45/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan says Oakbay hounded him - Emsie Ferreira

The GUPTA family's OAKBAY had hounded him to use his political position to prevail on banks to re-open the company's bank accounts, lawyers for Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN have contended in heads of argument in the case in which he is seeking a declaratory order that this is not allowed. "Indeed, it both inopportuned and badgered him", the 50-page document released by the Treasury on Friday stressed. In its court papers OAKBAY has indicated that it does not oppose the declaratory order sought by GORDHAN on the basis of legal principle but because he had been plotting politically against the company since 2016. GORDHAN said OAKBAY's correspondence make a mockery of its argument, as it did in fact seek his political assistance regarding the banks' decision and while doing so over several months never levelled such an accusation of conspiracy but in fact lauded his work in his current position and in the liberation struggle. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Econet wraps up Neotel deal - Nicola Mawson

NEOTEL on Friday officially joined the ECONET group, via subsidiary LIQUID TELECOM, as a R6.55bn deal was wrapped up. The deal, announced in Jun. 2016, marked the second time NEOTEL had been a takeover target. It is now set to be recapitalised so it can compete more effectively. LIQUID CEO NIC RUDNICK said the refinancing of NEOTEL's balance sheet "will see a revitalised NEOTEL enter the market with the ability to offer consumers and businesses greater quality services and products delivered through world-class networks". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats probes union clash - Molaole Montsho

A full investigation into a physical confrontation between some union members and shop stewards at IMPALA PLATINUM in Rustenburg is under way, the company said on Friday. IMPLATS spokesperson JOHAN THERON said shop stewards arranged to speak to members at 20 shaft before the morning shift started on Thursday. "Regrettably, during this process, some union members reportedly became dismayed with the process/message which resulted in a physical confrontation between some union members and shop stewards", THERON said. "The situation was quickly brought under control by mine security after which workers resumed their normal duties... some employees reporting for work during the confrontation were caught up in the scuffle and reportedly incurred damage to their motor vehicles - we are presently investigating all reported cases". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's 2016 maize output down 22% - Tanisha Heiberg

SA's 2016 maize fell 22% following an El Nino-induced drought that impacted crop outputs, the Crop Estimates Committee said on Friday. The government agency said in its final 2016 figures, maize totalled 7.779mt compared with 9.955mt y/y. Of that, 3.41mt was white maize and 4.37mt the yellow variety. White maize prices reached record peaks of around R5 300/t in Jan. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 13/02/2017

At 07h13 on 13 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.38 ZAR/EUR 14.21 ZAR/GBP 16.72 Gold 1229.26 Platinum 1006.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.64 All Share 52687.29

US jobless claims hit 43-yr low - Adam Samson

The number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits fell last week to just above the lowest level since 1973, the latest sign of tightening in the labour market. Unemployment claims declined to 234 000 last week, from 246 000 in the prior week. The figure was just above the 233 000 notched in Nov. and came in below the Wall Street forecasts of 249 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zwane says no more talk over new Mining Charter - Neil Hume

Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE yesterday said the time for negotiation over changes to the Mining Charter was over. Speaking to journalists at the Mining Indaba, ZWANE said: "We have been dealing with this for far too long. We believe this year should be a year of action". The latest draft of the Mining Charter requires companies to keep the level of black ownership at 26%, even when original investors sell out. Miners say requiring them to maintain a 26% level of black ownership perpetually would force them to dilute other investors and in the process destroy shareholder value. Asked if there could be a compromise on the 26% rule ZWANE gave little way. "The new mining charter will come out with some changes. We are not going to negotiate for ever, everybody understands that. At a point we have to begin to implement", ZWANE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/02/2017

At 11h18 on 10 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.34 ZAR/EUR 14.19 ZAR/GBP 16.65 Gold 1225.02 Platinum 1002.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.69 All Share 52371.38

ArcelorMittal posts first annual profit since 2011 - Michael Pooler

ARCELORMITTAL has posted its first annual profit in five years, showing signs of recovery in the global steel market. The company reported net income of $1.8bn in 2016, even as sales fell 10.7% to $56.8bn, while its debt pile shrank. This represents a stark improvement on the $7.9bn net loss the company chalked up y/y. ARCELORMITTAL was helped towards its first net income since 2011 with a one-off boost of $832m from the signing of a new labour contract in the US. It also beat analysts' forecasts for core profits last year, with earnings hitting $6.3bn before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. "We enter 2017 with good momentum in the business and the market. Our increased confidence is reflected in the Board's decision to increase capital expenditure for 2017", chair and CEO LAKSHMI MITTAL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China exports, imports surprise with robust Jan. growth - Hudson Lockett

The dollar value of China's exports exited contraction to grow markedly more than expected in Jan. as imports also shop up. Exports jumped 7.9% y/y in dollar terms, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs. That was more than double a median estimate for economists surveyed by Reuters and pointed to a strong rebound for outbound shipments after contraction of 6.1% in Dec. Imports also outperformed with a rise of 16.7% y/y in dollar terms in Jan., having grow just 3.1% in Dec. That was also comfortably above a median forecast of 10% growth. Trade flows brought China's balance of trade to $51.35bn, roughly $3bn above forecasts and around $10.5bn higher m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China renminbi exports register 15.9% rise in Jan. - Hudson Lockett

The renminbi value of China's exports surprised in Jan. with double-digit growth as imports also came in well above expectations. In local currency terms exports rose 15.9% in Jan., jumping from growth of 0.6% in Dec. That was more than ten percentage points higher than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg that called for a 5.2% rise. Imports grew 25.2% in renminbi terms, jumping from 10.8% the prior month and coming in 10 percentage points above the median forecast of 15.2%. Those trade flows brought China's trade balance to Rmb354.5bn, almost Rmb50bn above forecasts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

L'Oréal confirms it is 'exploring' sale of Body Shop - Harriet Agnew

L'OREAL yesterday confirmed in its FY results that it is "exploring all strategic options" regarding the ownership of The Body Shop, the British brand it acquired just over a decade ago. L'OREAL said the strategic review comes as part of "brand portfolio optimisation... in order to give it the best opportunities and full ability to continue its development." No decision has been taken so far. L'OREAL yesterday said like-for-like revenues grew 4.7% in 2016 to €25.8bn. It recorded an operating profit of €4.5bn, representing 17.6% of overall sales. In contrast sales at The Body Shop have continued to substantially underperform the rest of the group. The unit's like-for-like revenues grew 0.6% to £920.8m during 2016, and were down 4.8% on a reported basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese shareholding may scupper Stillwater deal - Bloomberg

SIBANYE GOLD is seeking regulatory approval for its $2.2bn takeover of US-based STILLWATER MINING. Adding STILLWATER's two Montana mines would make SIBANYE the world's third-biggest palladium producer. However, a Chinese consortium owns about 20% of SIBANYE, making it the company's biggest single shareholder. That might possibly spark concerns at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, the body which reviews whether purchases of businesses by foreign entities could threaten national security. CFIUS has looked warily on some high-profile buyouts by Chinese investors. Platinum and palladium are among materials whose supply is monitored by the US Department of Defence due to their importance to military and industrial applications. SIBANYE had already filed for CFIUS approval, CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said this week, adding that the company was not worried about the review. "We realise the sensitivity, but the Chinese don't control us", FRONEMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Bright light beckons for MTN with Iran deal - Bloomberg

MTN GROUP is near an agreement with the Iranian government to acquire a 49% stake in a state-owned internet provider as the company seeks to expand in a fast-growing yet politically challenging market, source said this week. MTN officials are planning a meeting with Communications and IT Minister MAHMOUD VAEZI later this month to finalise the purchase of shares in IRANIAN NET, the sources said. The move will help smooth the process of repatriating funds from Iran as the government would prefer some profit to be invested locally. MTN already owns a 49% stake in IRANCELL TELECOMS SERVICES and has been repatriating some of the $1bn that had been trapped in Iran before restrictions were lifted. The company also agreed in Oct. to invest about R287m in SNAPP.IR, Iran's first cab-hailing smartphone app. The purchase of the stake in IRANIAN NET is expected to be completed before the end of Q1, one source said, adding that further investments in Iran will be identified once the deal has been finalised. This ne

Chinese shareholding may scupper Stillwater deal - Bloomberg

SIBANYE GOLD is seeking regulatory approval for its $2.2bn takeover of US-based STILLWATER MINING. Adding STILLWATER's two Montana mines would make SIBANYE the world's third-biggest palladium producer. However, a Chinese consortium owns about 20% of SIBANYE, making it the company's biggest single shareholder. That might possibly spark concerns at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, the body which reviews whether purchases of businesses by foreign entities could threaten national security. CFIUS has looked warily on some high-profile buyouts by Chinese investors. Platinum and palladium are among materials whose supply is monitored by the US Department of Defence due to their importance to military and industrial applications. SIBANYE had already filed for CFIUS approval, CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said this week, adding that the company was not worried about the review. "We realise the sensitivity, but the Chinese don't control us", FRONEMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Metair expects drop in earnings - Roy Cokayne

METAIR expects HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. to be between 9.68% and 7.26% lower than the 248cps reported y/y. This equates to HEPS of 224cps-230cps for the period under review. METAIR said that trading during the year started with a model change in the automotive components business and it experienced model launch challenges during H1 2016. METAIR's energy business had a strong finish to the year as the Turkish and Romanian battery businesses experienced record production output for the year on the back of excellent Q4 demand. The automotive components business was expected to achieve low double-digit turnover growth and PBIT of 5%-7% for the FY. Results wil be published on Mar. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual makes Africa appointment - Roy Cokayne

OLD MUTUAL has appointed JONAS MUSHOSHO, who has been with the company for the past 26 years and is currently the regional CEO of OLD MUTUAL Southern and East Africa, as CEO for Rest of Africa with immediate effect. OLD MUTUAL said with its growing presence in Africa, it believed the time was right to return its businesses in the rest of Africa under one overall structure that would unlock more opportunities for growth. It added that OLD MUTUAL's west African business under the leadership of ZOMUNODA CHIZURA, and its east Africa and SADC businesses, would report directly to MUSHOSHO, who would continue to be based in Harare. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria prices $1bn 15-yr eurobond - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria has priced a $1bn, 15-year eurobond at 7.875%, the government said yesterday. The paper was almost eight times oversubscribed, it said, adding that the proceeds would be used to finance the budget deficit. Nigeria is suffering its first recession in 25 years, with state revenues having plunged along with global oil prices and militant attacks in the Niger Delta. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria aims to present reform plan this month for World Bank loan - Paul Carsten

Nigeria wants to borrow at least $1bn from the World Bank to help haul it out of recession and plans to present the required economic reform proposals to the lender this month, officials said this week. The country has been in talks with the Washington-based lender for a year to secure a loan to help plug a yawning budget deficit. However, the government has not specified how much money it was looking to borrow from the World Bank, saying only that it aimed to raise $5bn abroad. It was previously also unclear when the country planned to present its proposed reforms to the lender, which will not consider a loan before it reviews the plans to make the economy more resilient and attractive to investment. Once senior official said the country would seek a loan of $1bn from the World Bank, while a second said it would seek as much as $2bn. The Finance Ministry declined to comment on the size of the loan being sought or the timing of the submission of the reform proposals. This news brief represents a summa

New stores lift Dis-Chem turnover - Tanisha Heiberg

DIS-CHEM PHARMACIES today said group turnover rose 13% for the five months to end-Jan., buoyed by new stores. The company said it expected to add a further 21 stores in FY2018. Retail turnover for the period rose by 14.3% y/y to R6.71bn, while group turnover came in at R7.32bn, up 13% y/y. Comparable store growth and sales price inflation for the period were 9.1% and 6.5%, respectively. Over the same period, the CJ DISTRIBUTION segment increased turnover by 15.2% against sales price inflation of 4.8% on average. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA slashes FY loss - Robert Laing

ARCELORMITTAL SA narrowed its loss to R4.7bn in 2016 from R8.6bn in 2015, it said this morning. An 8% increase in the average selling price of steel helped it grow revenue 5% to R32.7bn despite the volume of liquid steel it produced declining slightly to 4.77mt, results for the FY to end-Dec. showed. Thanks to a rights issue mainly supported by the company's parent, ARCELORMITTAL, AMSA managed to slash its nearly R3bn debt down to R290m. In contrast to 2015, when current liabilities of R14.2bn were higher than current assets of R13.3bn, its 2016 results showed the group has nudged back into solvency with current assets of R14.8bn against current liabilities of R13.8bn. AMSA said total sales volume decreased by 44 000t with export sales down 26% due to the oversupply of steel in the global market and the Corex campaign at Saldanha Works. This was partially offset by local sales, which rose by 8%, and growth derived mostly from the closure of EVRAZ HIGHVELD STEEL 7 VANADIUM after that company was placed un

Italtile H1 net profit rises 15% - BDpro

ITALTILE today reported a 15% rise in net profit to R494m in the HY to end-Dec. y/y. The group grew system-wide turnover by 14% to R3.50bn. The company said there was a general slowdown in activity in the building and construction sector because of constrained disposable income. In its outlook, ITALTILE said competition would intensify because of lower consumer demand and high levels of imported products across the industry. HEPS were up 7% to 46.6cps and its dividend rose by 14% to 16cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA wants customers to unite behind call for industry-wide protection - Terence Creamer

ARCELORMITTAL SA has appealed to its downstream customers to join it in a united lobbying effort for higher levels of tariff protection on both primary and value-added steel products, which, it claims, are being displaced by cheap imports that are threatening local companies and jobs. AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK made the call to 130 clients at a function organised by the South African Institute of Steel Construction. DE KLERK said AMSA stood ready to assist industry participants in pursuing greater protection for downstream industry and insisted that further safeguards were required to protect the domestic steel industry as the current levels of protection were not enough to stem the influx of imports. Some steel consumers have expressed open opposition to the company's recent successful move to secure 10% base protection on a range of steel products. There is also vocal opposition from some steel consumers to AMSA's application for additional "safeguard duties" on hot-rolled and cold-rolled coil. DE KLERK sai

IBM to train 25m Africans for free - Loni Prinsloo

IBM is ramping up its digital-skills training programme to accommodate as many as 25m Africans in the next five years, looking toward building a future workforce on the continent. The US tech giant plans to make an initial investment of R945m to roll out the training initiative in SA. At the same time, the programme will be started at IBM's offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt, enabling an expansion of the project across the rest of the continent. "Africa will have the largest workforce by 2040 and IBM wants to lay the foundation blocks to build a digital workforce", JUAN PABLO NAPOLI, head of IBM SKILLS ACADEMY, said. "We will be providing a free cloud-based learning platform able to train people from basic computer skills to high-end app development". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SONA: Zuma ignores SOEs - Matthew le Cordeur

President JACOB ZUMA completely ignored the status of SOE reform in his State of the Nation Address yesterday. ZUMA's speech did not mention the word once and he only briefly spoke about ESKOM's commitment to renewable energy investment. Governance issues at SOEs took centre stage in last year's speech and yesterday's speech came as ESKOM's redacted Dentons report was released to those who requested it this week. The report pointed to mismanagement and breaches of the Treasury while SA suffered load shedding in 2015. SOEs were a major part of ZUMA's 2016 speech when he said that such entities need to be "financially sound" in order to contribute to the successful implementation of the National Development Plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SONA: Zuma steers clear of nuclear - Matthew le Cordeur

President JACOB ZUMA steered clear of the nuclear energy debate in yesterday's State of the Nation Address, simply saying that it will form part of the country's energy mix going forward. "Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix, which also includes electricity generation from gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and coal", ZUMA said. That was the only time he mentioned the term nuclear energy in a country that already has 1 800MW of nuclear energy coming from Koeberg. ESKOM started the nuclear procurement process in Dec. when it launched a request for information process, and two requests for proposals are due to be released this year. ESKOM requires Treasury sign-off before this can be released, as it relates to the financial aspects of the bid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SONA: Zuma sheds light on radical economic transformation vision - Liesl Peyper

President JACOB ZUMA last night set out what the ruling party means when it says radical economic transformation needs to take place in SA. Delivering his State of the Nation Address, ZUMA said government will, in the coming year, through regulations and programmes be able to use the state's buying power to empower small enterprises, rural township enterprises and promote local industrial development. It will draft new legislation to counter economic concentration. ZUMA said a small grouping still controls most of the market. "During this year, the Department of Economic Development will bring legislation to cabinet that will seek to amend the Competition Act to address the need to have a more inclusive economy and to de-concentrate the high levels of ownership and control we see in many sectors". ZUMA also bemoaned the fact that there are still vast differences between the disposable incomes of black and white households. "The situation with regard to ownership of the economy mirrors that of household

Group Five increases shareholding in Hungarian road concession company - Anine Kilian

GROUP FIVE will acquire an additional 10% stake in Hungarian road concession company MECSEK AUTOPALYA KONCESSZIOS ZRT (M6 MECSEK) for R125m, it said yesterday. Following the acquisition, GROUP FIVE will on-sell 49.99% of the stake to ABERDEEN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS for R62.57m, resulting in a net acquisition consideration payable by GROUP FIVE of R62.59m. Under a JV agreement between GROUP FIVE and AIF, the latter in Dec. acquired a 49.99% stake in the former's European investment and concession assets within the Intertoll Europe underlying public-private partnership project's investment portfolio for €43m, or R633.2m. Meanwhile, GROUP FIVE yesterday said it expected to report fully diluted losses and headline losses per share of 300cps-320cps for the HY to end-Dec. Interim results will be published on Feb. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICASA starts public hearings on draft National Radio Frequency Plan - Natasha Odendaal

ICASA yesterday kicked off the public hearings on the revised draft update to the National Radio Frequency Plan, which is aimed at ensuring the most efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum. Stakeholders presenting at the hearings in principle welcomed the framework put forward in what is deemed the mot critical document in the "spectrum domain". However, issues pertaining to a migration plan, spectrum sharing, as well as requests for clarifications, deviations and amendments emerged during the proceedings. The revised draft NRFP update and amendment was released in Dec. 2016 for public comment. Currently, no migration plan had been included in the draft NRFP, with ICASA indicating that the Frequency Migration Plan process would follow the draft to address the frequency migrations identified during the evolution of the earlier national radio frequency plans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kansai Plascon acquires Sadolin Paints - Anine Kilian

KANSAI PLASCON AFRICA will acquire 100% of East African paint distributor SADOLIN PAINTS' operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Burundi. The completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. As part of the deal, the parties have also agreed to separately investigate the acquisition of SADOLIN PAINTS' operations in Rwanda. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SONA: Zuma says Eskom will sign renewables contracts - Terence Creamer

President JACOB ZUMA yesterday said ESKOM would sign the outstanding power purchase agreement for renewable energy projects that had been procured during the most recent rounds of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. ZUMA made the announcement in his State of the Nation Address, which focused strongly on the economy but was delivered against the backdrop of tightened security. The president said renewable energy formed an integral part of the country's energy mix, which would also include gas, nuclear, hydro and coal. "ESKOM will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements in line with the procured rounds", ZUMA said, adding that government remained committed to its IPP programmes, which would extend beyond renewables to include coal and gas. The South African Renewable Energy Council said it was pleased to note the presidency's clear support for the REIPPPP, while the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association said ZUMA's speech sent a strong message to investors

Iamgold shores up balance sheet - Henry Lazenby

The banking syndicate supporting IAMGOLD's existing credit facility has added a commitment of $80m to take the corporate facility to $250m. ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, the TORONTO-DOMINION BANK and EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA this week joined the existing banking syndicate, led by NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA and DEUTSCHE BANK. IAMGOLD CFO CAROL BANDUCCI said the company's balance sheet is strong, ending 2016 with about $750m in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash "which exceeds the $489m of our bonds that are due in October 2020". The company expects to increase its output for 2017 by 4%-9% y/y to between 845 000oz and 885 000oz of gold, with all-in sustaining costs ranging between $1 000/oz and $1 080/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iamgold shores up balance sheet - Henry Lazenby

The banking syndicate supporting IAMGOLD's existing credit facility has added a commitment of $80m to take the corporate facility to $250m. ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, the TORONTO-DOMINION BANK and EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA this week joined the existing banking syndicate, led by NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA and DEUTSCHE BANK. IAMGOLD CFO CAROL BANDUCCI said the company's balance sheet is strong, ending 2016 with about $750m in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash "which exceeds the $489m of our bonds that are due in October 2020". The company expects to increase its output for 2017 by 4%-9% y/y to between 845 000oz and 885 000oz of gold, with all-in sustaining costs ranging between $1 000/oz and $1 080/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agrium Q4 profit falls two-thirds - Henry Lazenby

Canada-based AGRIUM INC, which controls the largest retail distribution network in North America, has reported a 67% slide in net Q4 earnings attributable to equity holders of $67m, or $0.49/share. The company attributed the reduction in net earnings to lower y/y nutrient pricing. Sales for the period fell 5% to $2.3bn. Despite CEO CHUCK MAGRO stating that the company has been encouraged by the recent firming in global nutrient markets and the group anticipating solid demand for crop inputs in the coming spring application season, AGRIUM announced its 2017 guidance range of $4.50-$6.00 diluted EPS, which falls short of average analyst forecasts calling for FY earnings of $5.45/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Escondida workers gird for long battle - Reuters

Workers gearing up for what could be a prolonged strike at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine are stockpiling rations and supplies to survive the searing sun and icy nights of Chile's northern high-desert. Dozens of tents were splayed out near the entrance of the mine this week. Workers have also brought porta-potties and stored food and provisions for about two months. Workers say they have set aside some 250m pesos ($387 000) for logistical purposes and to restock if needed. The walkout began yesterday morning as the company and union remained at loggerheads over a salary and benefits package. "We're a lot more organised than the last (strike). We're angry because the company is making a mockery of us, so if we need to be here 30 or 40 days, so be it", one miner said. BHP has said it planned to halt production during the strike as it could not guarantee the safety of the 80 workers the government had authorised to remain at the mine to perform "critical duties" such as equipment upkeep and adherenc

RBPlat to post FY earnings - Anine Kilian

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM expects to report EPS of 81cps-92cps and HEPS of 80cps-91cps for the FY to end-Dec. This compares with an LPS of 1 589.2cps and HLPS of 83.2cps y/y. The rise in earnings is largely attributable to the net effect of a 9.8% increase in revenue, mainly as a result of a higher realised revenue basket price, combined with a nominal 0.6% increase in cost of sales. "The improved earnings, combined with a strong cash flow contribution from on-reef development revenue at the Styldrift I project, in the North West, resulted in the group having a substantial cash balance at the end of the year", RBPLAT said yesterday. Cash preservation continues to be a priority and the group remains unleveraged with a robust balance sheet that positions it well for the next phase of Styldrift I's ramp-up to a 150 000t/m operation. Results will be published on Feb. 28. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe receives 4th payment from Zijin - Anine Kilian

IVANHOE MINES has received the fourth of five scheduled payments fro ZIJIN MINING as part of the latter's acquisition of a 49.5% stake in IVANHOE's Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the DRC. ZIJIN paid an initial $206m at closing in Dec. 2015, followed by three instalments of $41.2m each in March, July and Oct. It has now paid another $41.2m, with the fifth instalment of $41.2m due in May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PT Bumi sees first profit since 2011 - Bloomberg

PT BUMI RESOURCES will post its first annual profit in five years as a rally in fuel prices help the company push through a debt restructuring. The company had ned income of $101.6m last year, compared with a net loss of $2bn in 2015, according to provisional results emailed by BUMI on Wednesday. The company will release audited results next month. Profit "prospects are bright" for 2017 as coal sales are seen rising between 5% to 7% with prices set to climb at least 30%, BUMI said. The company this week secured shareholders' approval for a $2bn rights issue and $639m of mandatory convertible bonds. The steps will allow BUMI to reduce its debt to $1.6bn from $4.2bn, it said. The company's coal output rose 6.5% to 86.5mt last year with an average price of $41.20/t - 6% less y/y. The debt restructuring will leave BUMI with a more sustainable capital structure, JPMORGAN CHASE analyst SOO CHONG LIM said this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's Coal Ministry in no rush with coal auctions - Ajoy K Das

India's Coal Ministry has decided not to rush through the auction of coal supply linkage to power companies in light of the high availability of the fuel, although the auction of such linkages would take place for non-power industries. The rules for the auction of coal linkage to the power sector have been compiled and the Coal Ministry will secure inter-Ministerial consultations and approval of the Union Cabinet shortly. But the government is in no hurry to hold auctions for the power sector in the face of ample coal stocks that are available for power plants to procure on a spot basis, a Ministry official said. The official said coal supply linkage would be conducted for non-power sectors like cement, sponge iron and steel where the end produce of these industries was not under any government price regulation, unlike electricity. COAL OF INDIA LIMITED was expected to set aside an estimated 15mt of coal for the first round of such linkage auctions, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the

BHP approves investment for Mad Dog 2 development - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has approved a $2.2bn investment for its share of the Mad Dog Phase 2 development in the Gulf of Mexico. The project, in which BHP holds a 23.9% stake, is a southern and south-western extension of the existing Mad Dog field, and includes a new floating production facility with the capacity to produce up to 140 000 gross bpd from 14 production wells. Production is expected to start in 2022. BHP petroleum president STEVE PASTOR said Mad Dog "offers and attractive investment opportunity for BHP and aligns with our strategic objective to build our conventional portfolio through the development of large, long-life, high-quality resources". The Mad Dog field is operated by BP, which holds a 60.5% stake in the project. UNION OIL COMPANY holds the remainign15.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma to resuscitate state-owned mining bill - David McKay

Participation of the state in the mining industry would be strengthened with a bill that would create a standalone government-owned mining company referred to by President JACOB ZUMA as the Mining Company of South Africa bill. Speaking in his State of the Nation Address yesterday, ZUMA said the bill would be presented to cabinet and parliament later this year. Currently, the government has involvement in mining via a number of different entities including the AFRICAN EXPLORATION & MINING FINANCE COMPANY, a company held in the Central Energy Fund but which is to be transferred to the Department of Mineral Resources. ZUMA said he trusted talks between the government and mining industry regarding the Mining Charter would "yield a result so that the process could be finalised". He also anticipated little further delay in the finalisation of amendments to the Minerals & Petroleum Resources Development Act which, ZUMA said, had been sent back to parliament so that "issues related to public consultation undertak

SA's mining, manufacturing output fall but recovery expected - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's mining and manufacturing output fell in Dec., data showed yesterday, but a recovery is expected this year as business confidence picks up and commodity prices rise. Manufacturing output fell by 2% y/y in Dec. after expanding by 2% in Nov., Statistics SA said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing volumes would remain steady at 0.0% y/y in Dec. On a m/m basis, factory production rose 0.3% and edged down 1.1% in the quarter to end-Dec., compared with the previous three months. Mining output fell 1.9% y/y in Dec. after falling 4.5% the prior month, Stats SA said. "Despite the still weak December mining production figures, the performance of mining production should be supported by the forecasted lift in commodity prices in 2017", NEDBANK analysts said in a note to clients. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ecobank CEO wants 100m customers by 2020 - Duncan Miriri

ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL plans to increase its customers to 100m by 2020 from 10m at present, using technology to hit that goal, CEO ADE AYEYEMI said yesterday. Speaking at the launch of the lender's new mobile banking technology in Kenya, AYEYEMI said this would help the lender reach more users in 33 African nations where it operates. "Without technology we cannot go anywhere", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia cancelled five oil exploration licences - Zandi Shabalala

Zambia revoked five oil exploration licences after the companies failed to comply with the rules, Mining Minister CHRISTOPHER YALUMA said yesterday, without naming the companies in question. "We had given out 17 licences and defaulted a few because of non-compliance and not responding to the licence conditions, so now we have 12 left", YALUMA said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba. "If they don't come at pace with the programme we have scheduled for them we will revoke the licences", he said, referring to the 12 remaining firms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mine bosses say transparancy will not be clouded by US rule changes - Ed Stoddard

The expected demise of transparency regulations for minerals and oil companies listed in the US will not cloud the global drive for financial clarity in extractive industries, company executives said at the Mining Indaba. Efforts to shine a light on payments such companies make to foreign governments are considered key to eliminating graft, conflict and the resource curse - the failure of emerging markets to translate wealth into wide prosperity. But the administration of President DONALD TRUMP has begun dismantling such transparency requirements. Congress last week replaced one such rule and TRUMP also plans to issue a directive ordering suspension of another that requires companies to disclose their products contain "conflict minerals" from war-torn parts of Africa. But companies with European and Canadian listings, or which work in countries that have signed up to the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, still have to abide by strict disclosure rules. "Over half of our members wou

Vedanta seeks urgent fix for Zambia mine - Barbara Lewis

VEDANTA RESOURCES is urgently trying to overcome technical issues at its Zambian copper operations that it says have the potential to produce the red metal for another 50 years. VEDANTA is wrestling with the need to remove large amounts of water, amongst other issues. "We're all here working with an element of urgency to find a solution. We're committed to Zambia. We want to invest", VEDANTA CEO TOM ALBANESE said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba. ALBANESE said he'd used the Indaba to meet Zambian officials and the industry's best engineers because a lack of alternative copper assets made it imperative to exploit the company's existing deposits. VEDANTA has a majority stake in Konkola Copper Mines, which ALBANESE said was "one of the largest copper deposits still to be mined at one of the highest grades". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copperzone may float shares in 2017/18 - Zandi Shabalala

Canada-based COPPERZONE RESOURCES could list on the Toronto or London bourses within the next two years to raise money to fund its exploration ventures in Zambia's copper belt. "We are a private company so it's a continual assessment but this year of next year looks more likely than before", director PAUL LEMMON said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba. COPPERZONE is exploring on 22 sites in Zambia but LEMMON said a promising project in the northern province of Loupolo was at an advanced stage and could receive the bulk of the proceeds from any listing. The company has inked agreements with BHP BILLITON, RIO TINTO and VALE to develop at some of its licences. US-based mining investor SPROTT GROUP is the largest shareholder in COPPERZONE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 10/02/2017

At 07h01 on 10 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.43 ZAR/EUR 14.32 ZAR/GBP 16.80 Gold 1224.49 Platinum 1002.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.68 All Share 51904.34

Rio considers exiting interest in Freeport Indonesia mine - Reuters

RIO TINTO is considering walking away from a stake in the Grasberg copper mine operated by FREEPORT MCMORAN in Indonesia, The Australian reported today citing CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES. "There is no doubt it is a world-class resource, but I'm not sure Grasberg is a world-class business for us", JACQUES told the publication, adding that the company will decide in "coming weeks and months" whether to sell or walk away from its option to take an effective 40% stake in the mine in 2021. RIO has a JV with FREEPORT for a 40% stake of Grasberg's production above specific levels until 2021, then 40% of all production after 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to raise tomato import duty to boost local production - Felix Onuah

Nigeria will increase custom duties for tomato imports and waive tariffs for some farming equipment in a bid to stimulate local production and investment in the agriculture sector, trade minister OKECHUKWU ENELAMAH said yesterday. Customs duties on some greenhouse equipment currently amounting to as much as 20% would be removed. "We are going to restrict imports of finished tomato products that can be produced locally", the minister said. Nigeria has been trying to encourage local food production in order to reduce a costly import bill and end its reliance on oil exports, but its artificially high exchange rate has dried up the supply of hard currency, forcing the temporary shutdown of two local tomato paste plants dependent on imports in recent months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba sells Thabazimbi mine to AMSA - Nqobile Dludla

KUMBA IRON ORE today said it is selling its Thabazimbi mine to ARCELORMITTAL for a nominal sum. Operations at the mine ceased in Sep. 2016 after a combination of factors, including high operating costs. KUMBA and AMSA said in a joint statement the identified assets and liabilities of the mine will be transferred at a purchase consideration of R1 plus the assumed liabilities and the remaining 63 employees. AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK said the acquisitions "allows us to take full management control of the processes and costs related to the rehabilitation liability at the Thabazimbi mine". The company will investigate the feasibility of restarting operations at the mine, DE KLERK added. AMSA is accountable for 96% of the mine's current rehabilitation liability, with KUMBA responsible for the site's management. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/02/2017

At 12h05 on 09 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.45 ZAR/EUR 14.40 ZAR/GBP 16.92 Gold 1243.20 Platinum 1022.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.61 All Share 52026.82

Pernod Ricard H1 organic sales growth beats estimates - Alice Woodhouse

Organic sales growth at PERNOD RICARD beat forecasts in H1 FY2017 on strong continued growth in the US. Organic sales rose 4% in H1, up from 3% y/y. Analysts had predicted organic sales across the company to grow by 3.1% in the second half. The company reported total sales rose 2% to €5.06bn in H1, better than analysts' forecast of €5.01bn. PERNOD said it had seen improvement in China, travel retail and Russia compared with FY2016. However, it noted demonetisation in India had seen a "temporary adverse impact" leading to growth deceleration in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German trade surplus hits fresh record in 2016 - Mehreen Khan

The biggest monthly fall in exports since Aug. 2015 pushed down Germany's bumper trade balance in Dec., but still saw the country end the year with its biggest ever surplus. Month on month exports in Germany fell 3.3% at end-Dec., a steeper fall than the 1.3% expected by analysts, while import growth was flat in Dec. This helped push down Germany's Dec. trade surplus from €22.7bn to €18.7bn and comes after a surge in exports of nearly 4% in Nov. Overall, Germany recorded its highest ever trade surplus with the rest of the world in 2016 at €252.9bn, from 2015;s €244.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Smurfit Kappa posts record earnings on back of strong US sales - John Murray Brown

SMURFIT KAPPA has reported record earnings for 2016, with the cardboard box manufacturer benefiting from a strong performance from its US operation. The company reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profit for the FY to end-Dec., up from €599m to €654m. EBITDA reached a record €1.24bn, up 5% on 2015. The dividend was raised 20%. CEO TONY SMURFIT said the results were achieved "despite significant headwinds in higher raw material input costs and adverse currency impacts". Revenues were 1% higher at €8.16bn, with the good performance in the Americas offset in Europe where reported sales were hit by a weak UK pound and Swedish Krona. Box volumes in Europe were up 2%, while in the Americas, deliveries were 25% higher. The final dividend was hiked 20% to 57.6cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commerzbank Q4 earnings slide as loan provisions swell - James Shotter

COMMERZBANK reported a 5% drop in earnings in Q4 as the German lender stocked up its provisions against bad shipping loans. In the quarter to end-Dec., COMMERZBANK made a net profit of €183m, down from €193m y/y. Analysts had expected €154m, according to a Reuters poll. COMMERZBANK said it had boosted its provisions for loan losses by €290m in the quarter, a sharp jump from the €112m it set aside y/y. It warned that it expected to take a further €450m to €600m in provisions for its maritime lending this year. For the year as a whole, the bank posted a net profit of €279m, down from €1.08bn in 2015, mainly as a result of big restructuring charges taken in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Thyssenkrupp swings to profit in Q1 - Patrick McGee

German steel group THYSSENKRUPP swung to a net profit in Q1 FY2017, aided by higher steel prices. The group posted net income to shareholders of €8m, versus a €23m loss y/y. Sales rose from €9.5bn to €10.1bn. Adjusted EBIT rose 40% to €329m, beating analysts' forecasts of €318m. THYSSENKRUPP called this its best start to a financial year since it launched a restructuring programme in 2011. "That shows our strategy is right. We're increasing our share of capital goods and services businesses", CEO HEINRICH HIESINGER said. "That will enable us to generate more stable earnings and achieve profitable growth in the future". The company's elevator unit earnings rose 6% to €215m and its components technology unit recorded a 6% rise to €75m. The Steel Americas unit was the bigger mover as earnings rose to €37m from a €74m loss y/y. Steel Europe reported adjusted EBIT of €28m, down from €51m. Earnings in the group's industrial solutions unit more than halved to €42m. This news b

Goldman Sachs to shut London ops of internal hedge fund - Ben McLannahan

GOLDMAN SACHS is shuttering the London operations of its internal hedge fund, GOLDMAN SACHS INVESTMENT PARTNERS. GSIP debuted in 2008 with total assets of $7bn, including $2bn of GOLDMAN's own money. But performance was patchy from the start, and a few years ago the bank began pulling money out of the fund to comply with the Dodd-Frank At of 2010, part of which requires big banks to limit their investments in hedge and private equity funds. GOLDMAN said the move was not connected to the UK's efforts to negotiate an exit from the EU, which has prompted many financial services groups to review their staffing in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copper stocks gain as BHP production halt fans supply concerns - Peter Wells

BHP BILLITON's decision to halt production at its Escondida mine isn't doing its share price any favours but is working wonders for other Australian copper mines who are likely to benefit from tighter supply conditions. BHP yesterday said it would halt production at the Chilean mine after unions voted to start striking today. At the same time, FREEPORT-MCMORAN flagged it would likely reduce production at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia as it waits for the government to renew its export permit. Copper rose 1.7% to $5.895/t on the LME yesterday as investors prepared for supply shortages. BHP shares were down 1.3% in afternoon trading in Sydney today, but other copper miners were benefiting from its misfortune. OZ MINERALS was up 2.1%, REGIS RESOURCES was up 1.3% and SANDFIRE RESOURCES gained 0.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copper stocks gain as BHP production halt fans supply concerns - Peter Wells

BHP BILLITON's decision to halt production at its Escondida mine isn't doing its share price any favours but is working wonders for other Australian copper mines who are likely to benefit from tighter supply conditions. BHP yesterday said it would halt production at the Chilean mine after unions voted to start striking today. At the same time, FREEPORT-MCMORAN flagged it would likely reduce production at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia as it waits for the government to renew its export permit. Copper rose 1.7% to $5.895/t on the LME yesterday as investors prepared for supply shortages. BHP shares were down 1.3% in afternoon trading in Sydney today, but other copper miners were benefiting from its misfortune. OZ MINERALS was up 2.1%, REGIS RESOURCES was up 1.3% and SANDFIRE RESOURCES gained 0.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsingtao shares up on Carlsberg bid report - Alice Woodhouse

Trading in shares of TSINGTAO got frothy today as the stock rose 5.6% following reports CARLSBERG is considering buying a 20% stake in the company from ASAHI GROUP HOLDINGS. CARLSBERG is said to be working with an adviser on a possible bid for the stake in TSINGTAO held by ASAHI, Bloomberg reported. Hong Kong shares in the Chinese brewer rose to HK$36 on the news, their highest level since Nov. 2015. TSINGTAO's shares in Shanghai rose as much as 3.1% on the reports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jose Cuervo launches IPO - Jude Webber

JOSE CUERVO has launched its long awaited IPO. The Mexican tequila maker, known officially as BECLE, said in a filing with the Mexican stock exchange that the issue was for up to 17.5bn pesos, including a greenshoe option that lets underwriters sell additional shares. Without the greenshoe, CUERVO said the total amount was 15.3bn pesos. The price range is 30-34 pesos per share. The size of the issue is slightly below initial forecasts of a $1bn float when the company talked about going public last year, but above latest forecasts of a $750m offering. CUERVO had put the IPO on ice in Nov. in the wake of the US elections, which unleashed turmoil in Mexican markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Allergan rises on Q4 profit beat - David Crow

ALLERGAN reported Q4 earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts, sending shares in the company up by 2% in pre-market trading yesterday. The company reported adjusted earnings of $3.90/share during the final quarter of 2016 on revenues of $3.86bn. Analysts had expected the company to post adjusted EPS of $3.75 on sales of $3.8bn. ALLERGAN also posted FY revenue forecasts that were ahead of consensus, telling investors it expected to generate revenues of $15.5bn-$15.8bn in 2017. The typical estimate was $15.3bn. ALLERGAN CEO BRENT SAUNDERS said 2017 "is a pivotal year for ALLERGAN and we are well-positioned to deliver growth through excellent execution". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GSK revenues beat forecasts - Nicholas Megaw

Shares in GLAXOSMITHKLINE dropped yesterday despite the company reporting earnings growth at the top end of forecasts, as it warned it could face increased competition for its biggest product in the US. FY revenues of £27.9bn for 2016 were above consensus forecasts, 17% higher y/y, or 6% at constant currencies. Core EPS grew by 12% to 102.4pps, at the top end of the company's 11%-12% target. GSK said progress in 2017 will be difficult to predict due to the uncertainty of estimating the impact of generic competition to Advair. If no generic competition in the US market materialises, the company expects to enjoy core EPS growth of 5%-7%. But growth would be "flat to a slight decline" at constant currencies if rivals are introduced in the middle of this year. Shares in GSK were down 2.4% yesterday afternoon at £15.25. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal explores first Russian panda bond issuance - Thomas Hale

RUSAL is moving closer to becoming the first Russian company to issue bonds in China's mainland debt mraket, in a move that would deepen financial ties between the two countries. RUSAL has registered a prospectus for a seven-year $1.5bn Rmb-denominated bond issuance. A bond sale could follow over the next 12 months. The deal would mark the first Russian panda bond, a term for debt sold by overseas companies and issuers in the Chinese mainland renminbi market. RUSAL hinted that it was planning a panda bond late in 2016. Last month, it issued $600m in dollars, of which 19% was sold to Asian investors. The 5-year bond came with a coupon of 5.125%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBI surprises by holding rates - Kiran Stacey

The Reserve Bank of India has kept its key interest rate unchanged, confounding the expectations of some economists that it would cut rates to spur growth. The central bank said it would maintain the rate at 6.25% despite evidence that the government's move to scrap 86% of the country's cash last Nov. has hampered growth. Just 16 of 46 economists surveyed by Reuters predicted the bank would hold rates, with the majority expecting it to make its first cut of 2017. RBI governor URJIT PATEL said the decision was made to give the bank "flexibility in either direction" to cut or raise rates in the future, adding that he expected the Indian economy to bounce back strongly later in the year. The bank also announced the eventual lifting of limits on withdrawals from bank accounts. Customers have not been allowed to take out more than Rs24 000 over the counter in a week while the RBI prints new banknotes. Deputy governor R. GANDHI said the limits would be removed altogether from Mar. 13. This news brief repre

Sanofi reports strong Q4 results - Harriet Agnew

SANOFI yesterday said sales rose 3.3% in Q4 2016 to €8.9bn, but a slowdown in its Venezuela unit dragged overall FY sales down 0.7% to €33.8bn. The results come as SANOFI CEO OLIVIER BRANDICOURT faces pressure from investors to improve its drugs pipeline after losing out on two big biotech acquisitions last year. SANOFI said sales in Venezuela dropped to €18m in 2016 from €455m in 2015. Excluding Venezuela, sales rose by 3.7% in Q4 and 2.6% in the FY. Overall sales were driven by the company's speciality care SANOFI Genzyme and SANOFI Pasteur vaccines units. Exchange rate movement had an overall negative impact of 1.9% during the year. The group has been working to streamline its business and in Jun. completed an asset swap deal to exchange its animal health business with BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM's consumer healthcare business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spar increases sales - Fin24

THE SPAR GROUP yesterday said it has increased sales by 16.9% from R21.9bn to R25.6bn for the 13-week trading period ended Dec. 31 y/y. Group sales in SA rose by 5.8%. Excluding the Build It business, group sales increased by 6.2%, with internally measured price inflation of around 8.3%. Liquor sales remained robust in SA, with sales growth exceeding 11.3%. SPAR retail sales grew by 6.1% with sales in comparable stores up by 5.2%. The Irish business recorded good festive season trading and solid growth, with turnover up 1.5% in constant currency terms. However, the impact of both the significant sterling weakness and the strengthened rand resulted in negative reported sales growth of -2.6%. Financial results for the HY to end-Mar. will be published on May 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cell C: It's business as usual - Kyle Venktess

CELL C has assured customers that its network will remain active despite the company's recent dongrade to the lowest junk rating. "This is a capital structure issue and will have no direct impact on customers or pricing. CELL C continues to operate as normal", the operator said. S&P's decision earlier this week to lower the company's credit status from CC to D reflects the company's decision to miss interest payments in Jan. 2017 on its €400m in senior secured bonds that are due in 2018. CELL C said it was engaging in a recapitalisation process, which was essential to delivering a sustainable capital structure for CELL C. "As part of this process, various capital and interest payments to lenders have been deferred. This has no direct impact on the underlying business of CELL C and the operational performance of the company remains strong", a spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa concedes R20m is not a living wage - News24Wire

Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said the R20/hr minimum wage agreement is not a living wage. Addressing Parliament yesterday, the deputy president said the agreement was a starting point to lift 6.6m workers who are earning below R3 500/month out of poverty and inequality. RAMAPHOSA said members of NEDLAC - except COSATU - signed the agreement on Tuesday. He said it was not "his" agreement that he sucked out of thin air, but follows two years of engagement with three labour federations, business leaders and community organisations. "Yes, it could have been lifted to any number you choose. But this would have had dire consequences with a huge loss of jobs. It is a balance to provide a platform to improve income levels of our people", RAMAPHOSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barloworld enters new FY on strong footing - Megan van Wyngaardt

BARLOWORLD has experienced a strong start to FY2017, with its Southern African equipment division's order book already standing at R1.7bn at end-Jan., up from R1.3bn in the previous quarter. This reflected increased activity in the mining and contract mining sectors, the company said. In the Russian equipment division, trading in Q1 also continued positively. The firm order book at end-Jan. of $56m is well up on the September level of $21m and includes the recently concluded Bystrinsky transaction with NORILSK NICKEL for 12 large mining trucks. In addition, the mining project pipeline is strong and has been bosoted by some significant greenfield projects. Meanwhile, BARLOWORLD reports that its automotive division produced a solid overall Q1 amid a tough trading environment, with both revenue and operating profit well up y/y. Car rental showed an improved performance through growth in both rental days and rate per day, while motor trading benefited from acquisitions in the previous year. This news bri

SAA cancels flights to Nigeria airport - ANA

SAA and a number of other airlines have cancelled flights to Nigeria's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the NIgerian capital Abuja du eto the dangers posed by the state of disrepair of the runway. SAA cancelled flights for six weeks as repairs on the runway began yesterday. This follows an incident last Aug. when one of its planes was damaged after landing there. Nigerian authorities say the the damage to the runway is so extensive that repairs can't be undertaken at night. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sappi to invest $305m in US, Europe - Anine Kilian

SAPPI will invest $305m over a three-year period in certain of its operations in the US and Europe, it said yesterday. Reporting results for Q1 FY2017, the company said it would invest $165m in upgrading a paper mill in the US and $140m in a number of projects to support the capacity expansion of speciality packaging paper operations in Europe. CEO STEVE BINNIE noted that these investments would maintain the company's robust momentum and support its growth strategy. SAPPI will invest in upgrading and enhancing the flexibility of Paper Machine 1 at the Somerset mill in the US, to set a strong platform for growth in paper-based packaging. The overall capacity of the mill will increase by 180 000t/y and the upgrade is expected to be completed in 2018. In Europe, SAPPI plans to undertake various projects that will result in an increase in its speciality packaging paper capacity and capability, as well as support its drive to be the lowest-cost producer of graphic papers. SAPPI reported solid Q1 results, wit

Sea Harvest eyes JSE listing - Megan van Wyngaardt

To boost its organic and acquisitive growth, SEA HARVEST GROUP plans to list on the JSE by the end of Mar. Listing would provide the company ongoing access to national and international equity capital. "[This will enable] the company to continue investing in its people, vessels, factories and markets to enhance margins in an attractive international seafood market", CEO FELIX RATHEB said. The proceeds from the listing of up to R1.5bn will be used to repay all debt and further invest in the company. Listing the business on the JSE will be another milestone in SEA HARVEST's 53-year journey and will see the formation of a truly black-owned industrial fishing company. "We look forward to our continued commitment to transformation in the fishing industry where, after listing, BRIMSTONE will remain the majority shareholder of SEA HARVEST", BRIMSTONE chair FRED ROBERTSON said. BRIMSTONE currently holds 828m SEA HARVEST ordinary shares, which represents an interest of 85%. After listing, this will be diluted t

Sluggish local economic outlook leads big companies to seek growth overseas - Megan van Wyngaardt

As SA continues to face stagnant economic growth, spurred by political and economic instability, the country's multinational enterprises are expected to not only increase their foreign investment outflows, but also to set up corporate offices abroad, according to a survey by North West University School of Economics and the Columbia Centre on Sustainable Investment. SA's top 20 MNEs have operations in a combined 502 countries and, although the list is expanding, MNEs outside of the top 20 are also increasing their foreign stakeholding. The survey revealed that at end-2015, the 20 foremost South African nonfinancial MNEs had a shared total of nearly $50bn in foreign assets, almost $49bn in foreign sales and more than 220 000 employees abroad. SASOL led the way with $9bn in foreign assets, followed by STEINHOFF with $8.7bn and GOLD FIELDS with $5.4bn. Mining was the largest contributing sector, accounting for 23% of foreign assets, followed by four firms in retail at 20% and SASOL, alone in the energy and c

TMX seeks part of Saudi Aramco listing - Reuters

TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE owner TMX GROUP yesterday said it was pitching the bourse to "Saudi officials of significant influence" to bring at least part of the kingdom's SAUDI ARAMCO public listing to Canada. Saudi Arabia expects to value the state-owned oil producer at a minimum of $2tn. Riyadh will be the main listing venue, with at least one other primary listing either in London of New York, a source said, adding that the Canadian exchange is competing for a secondary listing. Other exchanges vying for a secondary listing include global players such as Frankfurt and Hong Kong. SINGAPORE EXCHANGE has also held talks with SAUDI ARAMCO on a secondary listing, Reuters reported earlier this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia says First Quantum plans $1bn investment, company cites conditions - Reuters

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS plans to invest $1bn in a new smelter and modernisation of a copper mine in Zambia, a government official said yesterday, but the company said the investment was "very conditional". Zambia's high commissioner to SA, EMMANUEL MWABA, said FIRST QUANTUM CEO PHILLIP PASCAL had announced the investment earlier in the day when he met Zambian officials attending the Mining Indaba in Cape Town. MWABA said the company planned to invest $700m in a new smelter whose location it did not specify and $350m would be invested in modernising its Kansanshi copper mine. FIRST QUANTUM president CLIVE NEWALL said that the possible investment was "very conditional... our intentions are at some point to invest a lot of money". He declined to confirm the $1bn figure. "But there are a number of conditions that need to happen before we do that, some of which are our own, you know balance sheet issues... Some are practical: We are building a very major project in Panama, which is taking up a lot of our energ

Freeport to reduce Indonesian mining activities - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN has warned it will scale back activities at its Indonesian copper mine amid a worker strike and other issues. FREEPORT's Grasberg mine is the world's second-largest copper mine, and recent disruptions there have helped support a jump in copper prices. "FREEPORT has just issued a notice this morning that they will reduce (mining) activities in stages', PT SMELTING director PRIHADI SANTOSO said. "We are trying to meet our commitments to our clients", he said, declining to comment on what had sparked the strike at the mine or how many people were involved. PT SMELTING is 60.5% owned by MITSUBISHI MATERIALS CORPORATION, with FREEPORT INDONESIA holding 25%. Lower output from Grasberg would affect PT SMELTING, which processes some 40% of the mine's copper concentrate production, SANTOSO said, adding that he did not know how much the volumes would be cut. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deloitte seeks strategic investor for Lace - Megan van Wyngaardt

DELOITTE has invited investors to submit expressions of interest in respect of DIAMONDCORP's Lace mine in the Free State. The mine was placed in business rescue on Nov. 15 after a flood halted operations. Business rescue practitioner DANIEL TERBLANCHE said to explore all the options available to take LDM out of business rescue, DELOITTE is seeking a strategic investor who can provide the working capital needed to restart operations. DIAMONDCORP has built a 1.2mt/year diamond recovery plant which has the capacity to treat ore for the 25-year expected mine life. The closing date for the submisison of EOIs is Feb. 17. TERBLANCHE said the EOIs would be followed by formal correspondence from the BRP, setting out the requirements for participation in the process. Interested parties must sign a confidentiality agreement and pay a fee of R10 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New tech tipped to save 200 000 SA mining jobs by 2025 - David McKay

Investing in technology that extended reserve and resource life could save around 200 000 jobs that might be lost by 2025 in the local mining industry, Chamber of Mines VP and SIBANYE GOLD CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said yesterday. Speaking at the Mining Indaba, FRONEMAN described a number of potential mining innovations and practices, including round-the-clock mining, non-explosive rock-breaking and mining at depth. "If we can lower costs, we can access more lower grade resources and then put in safety pillars and go deeper. Once we get to 24/7 mining we can extend gold mining in South Africa to 2045", FRONEMAN said. He added that SA had 400mt of low-grade gold that was amenable to profitable extraction using some of the techniques he described. Some 160mt of high-grade ore was locked up in pillars that are already exposed if only they could be mined safely. "We could double the amount of mining below current infrastructure with appropriate technologies", FRONEMAN said. A low grade mine could extend operations

SA gold industry says govt has $275m for silicosis compensation - Ed Stoddard

SA's gold industry yesterday said the government had R3.7bn in a fund available for compensation to silicosis sufferers. "There is a compensation fund that has about R3.7bn in it", said former HARMONY GOLD CEO GRAHAM BRIGGS, who now chairs an industry working group on occupational lung diseases. BRIGGS said that amount should be enough to compensate all the silicosis sufferers who used to work in mines, adding that no compensation had been paid out yet from the fund for unknown reasons. BRIGGS said the fund was with the Department of Health and was the product of contributions paid over the years by mining companies, which put in around R8 for each shift a miner worked. A court last May ruled that class action suits for up to half a million miners who contracted the disease could go ahead. Companies have since said they would appeal that decision. BRIGGS said the industry was getting closer to a solution and hoped an out-of-court settlement could be reached with the claimants this year. This news bri

Nigeria fine to push MTN to 2016 loss - Nqobile Dludla

MTN GROUP expects to report an FY loss due to a $1bn regulatory fine in Nigeria and underperformance there and in SA, it said yesterday. The appointment of banker ROB SHUTER, who starts next month, as CEO is expected to bring operational strength and step up the company's hunt for returns, possibly in financial services. "We hope that this new CEO with a stability mentality will be able to stabilise MTN and not venture into all these risky operations", said MOMENTUM SP REID analyst SIBONGINKOSI NYANGA. MTN said it expects a headline loss, and will issue further information on the likely range in due course. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the company to post a 39% drop in HEPS to 455cps. FY results will be published on Mar. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's 2016 investment pledges up marginally - Chris Mfula

Zambia recorded $3.4bn in investment pledges in different sectors of the economy in 2016, representing a 0.7% rise y/y, the Zambia Development Agency said yesterday. The energy sector registered the highest amount of pledged investment, followed by manufacturing and agriculture, the agency said. ZDA said investment rose despite a general election in 2016, showing confidence in the country was not eroded, and forecast a further rise this year, especially in the energy sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC expected to produce 1.5mt of copper in 2018 - Barbara Lewis

The DRC's Chamber of Mines expects the country to mine some 1.5mt of copper in 2018, up from roughly 1mt in 2016, chamber VP SIMON TUMA-WAKU said yesterday. Speaking at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, TUMA-WAKU said the expected 2018 resumption of GLENCORE's Katanga Mining project, which has been suspended since Sep. 2015, would significantly boost national production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields has $1bn war chest - CEO - Ed Stoddard

GOLD FIELDS has a $1bn loan facility to draw on if it wants to pursue mergers and acquisitions, but no deals are on the immediate horizon, CEO NICK HOLLAND said yesterday. "We have a $1bn committed, unutilised facility", HOLLAND said. He added that the company did not feel compelled to pursue any deals at present and if it did so it would likely be in countries where it already operates such as Australia, Peru or Ghana. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields gears up for chinchilla removal at Chile mine - Ed Stoddard

GOLD FIELDS is gearing up for an operation to capture and relocate a population of critically endangered chinchillas living around its Chilean mining project. Hunted for centuries for their thick, soft pelt, chinchillas are now only found in the wild parts of Chile and the company has agreed to move the endangered rodents. "We have to capture all the chinchillas and resettle them", CEO NICK HOLLAND said, adding that it formed part of the government's environmental agreement with the state. HOLLAND said the animals would be relocated around 50 km from its Salares Norte gold and silver project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First Quantum asks court to dismiss Zambia's $1.4bn claim - Chris Mfula

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS has asked a Zambian court to dismiss a $1.4bn claim by state-owned ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENT HOLDINGS, which accused the Canadian firm of irregular transactions with its local subsidiary. The claim by ZCCM-IH, which holds minority stakes in most of Zambia's copper mines, includes $228m in interest on $2.3bn of loans that it said FIRST QUANTUM wrongly borrowed from the Kansanshi Copper Mine, as well as 20% of the principal amount - $570m. FIRST QUANTUM said in court papers that the action taken by the state-owned miner was started without the approval of the firm's board, which was dissolved when the action commenced. ZCCM-IH said in papers filed in the Lusaka High Court on Oct. 28 last year that FIRST QUANTUM used the money as cheap financing for its other operations. FIRST QUANTUM maintains that the loans were at a fair market rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto denies Guinea iron ore sale has stalled after probe - Eric Onstad

RIO TINTO yesterday shrugged off concerns that its sale of Guinea's Simandou project to CHINALCO had stalled after a probe into payments to a consultant who helped it win rights to the project. RIO signed a preliminary deal in late Oct. to sell its stake in Simandou, but the following month it axed two of its top 10 executives amid an investigation over $10.5m in payments to a consultant providing advisory services on the project. RIO has alerted US, British and Australian regulators about the payments, but there is no suggestion that the officials or consultant acted illegally. "Why do you say stalled? The two (negotiating) teams are working as we speak. The RIO team was in Beijing last week again and we'll be in China next week again", RIO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said yesterday. He declined to say if he was confident the parties would finalise a deal within the original six-month timeframe, saying only that it is "a complicated process, it takes some time". If the deal went ahead, RIO would receiv

Market indicators for 09/02/2017

At 06h58 on 09 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.43 ZAR/EUR 14.35 ZAR/GBP 16.80 Gold 1241.50 Platinum 1017.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.42 All Share 51803.48

L'Oréal explores €1bn sale of The Body Shop - Arash Massoudi

L'OREAL is exploring a €1bn sale of its struggling retail unit, THE BODY SHOP, in a move that may see it jettison the British skincare business it acquired over a decade ago. L'OREAL is working with bankers at LAZARD on a review of its options for the unit with an outright sale among the most likely outcomes, according ot sources. The review comes as sales at THE BODY SHOP have continued to slump in contrast to the rest of L'OREAL's performance. A sale would come 11 years after L'OREAl agreed to acquire THE BODY SHOP for £652.3m, in what was the first major acquisition by JEAN-PAUL AGON in the weeks before he formally assumed the role as CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maersk swings to $1.9bn loss on shipping woes and oil impairments - Richard Milne

AP MOLLER-MAERSK slumped to a big loss in 2016, weighed down by the weak performance of the container shipping line and massive impairments in its oil rig and supply services businesses. The Danish conglomerate reported a net loss of $1.9bn for 2016, compared with a profit of $925m y/y. MAERSK LINE slipped to a loss of $376m from a profit of $1.3bn/year due to record low freight rates. But the biggest contributors to the group loss were two divisions that MAERSK is looking to divest as part of breaking itself up - a $1.5bn writedown in MAERSK DRILLING and a $1.2bn impairment in MAERSK SUPPLY SERVICES. MAERSK said it expected a modest revival in fortunes this year with its underlying profits - $711m in 2016 versus $3.1bn the year earlier - being above that of last year. MAERSK LINE is expected to improve its result by $1bn while global container trade should increase by 2%-4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tullow says capital discipline remains critical - Nathalie Thomas

TULLOW OIL today stressed it would remain focused on capital discipline this year as it seeks to refinance its debt, which widened 19% to $4.8bn in 2016. TULLOW stressed in its FY results today that its free cash flow this year would go primarily towards reducing debt. The company last year produced the first oil from its TEN deepwater project in Ghana, improving cash flow. TULLOW plans to refinance during the course of this year. Although its net debt widened last year from $4bn at end-2015, it stressed it had "significant" headroom in its debt facilities and free cash of $1bn at the close of 2016. TULLOW last year succeeded in narrowing its losses after tax to $597 .3m from more than $1bn a year earlier, despite a 21% dip in revenue to $1.3bn. The company has already guided that its output is expected to average 78 000-85 000 bpd this year, up from 65 500 bpd in 2016, but it last month lowered its guidance for the TEN field by 15 000 bpd to 50 000 barrels. This news brief represents a summary of th

Carlsberg enjoys solid earnings growth in 2016 - Peter Wells

CARLSBERG is targeting profit growth in the mid-single digits and plans to cut debt in 2017, having ruled off on a "good year" in 2016. The brewer reported a net profit of DkK4.86bn in the FY to end-Dec., compared to a loss of Dkk2.58bn in 2015. Operating profit growth of 5% was in line with expectations, which had been revised in Nov. from forecasts for low-single-digit growth. The company expects, based on spot rates as at Feb. 6, to benefit from a Dkk350m translation impact due to currency movements. "We're satisfied with our performance and the delivery of 5% organic growth in operating profit, a solid price/mix, strong cash flow and a further reduction in financial leverage", CEO CEES 'T HART said. "In 2017, we're determined to achieve a substantial proportion of the remaining Funding the Journey benefits, allowing us to grow earnings organically and invest in SAIL' 22-related activities to support the future growth of the company", he said in reference to CARLSBERG's long-term business strategy tha

Updated market indicators for 08/02/2017

At 11h15 on 08 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.49 ZAR/EUR 14.37 ZAR/GBP 16.88 Gold 1234.10 Platinum 1010.20 Brent Crude Oil 54.74 All Share 52008.22

Rio announces $500m share buyback after profits rise 12% - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO today revealed a share buyback, saying it would repurchase $500m of stock following a recovery in commodity prices. Announcing a 12% rise in annual profits and higher than expected dividend, the group said the buyback would target its UK-listed shares. "Today's results show we have kept our commitment to maximise cash and productivity from our world-class assets, delivering $3.6bn in shareholder returns while maintaining a robust balance sheet", CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said. In the FY to end-Dec., RIO said underlying earnings rose 12% to $5.1bn reflecting the recovery in commodity prices and benefits of lower spending and cost cutting. Net debt fell 30% to $9.6bn. RIO said it has generated more than $5bn of free cash flow in 2016. The company last year scrapped its longstanding policy of maintaining or increasing its dividend. On Thursday it announced an FY dividend of 170cps, higher than analysts had been expecting. JACQUES is aiming to boost cash generation by as much as $5bn over the n

Gilead outlook for hep C franchise disappoints - David Crow

GILEAD yesterday said sales of its blockbuster hepatitis C medicines this year would be significantly lower than analysts had been expecting, sending shares in the company down by 3.5% in after-hours trading. GILEAD said it expected its hepatitis C products to generate $7.5bn-$9bn of revenue in 2017, well below the typical analyst estimate of $11.5bn. The company gained fame for its Sovaldi drug, which can wipe out the disease in 12 weeks, as well as notoriety for initially pricing the drug at $1 000/pill. But the group has suffered more recently from a perfect storm, amid pricing pressure, competition from rivals ABBVIE and MERCK, and a smaller pool of patients that still needs to be treated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greeks lash out at 'misleading' IMF report - Mehreen Khan

Greek Finance Minister EUCLID TSAKALOTOS has lashed out at the IMF's "misleading" analysis of the country's economic health and debt trajectory, intensifying the rift between Athens and the Fund over its involvement in the country's three-year bailout programme. Responding to the IMF's report on the Greek economy, TSAKALOTOS said the analysis gave an unfair and insufficient account of reform efforts undertaken by the government since the summer of 2015. He said the "overly pessimistic" account led the Fund to a wrong-headed assessment of Greece's debt dynamics, which the report says could reach "explosive" proportions above 200% of GDP without major debt relief of bolder spending cuts and reforms. POUL THOMSEN, the head of the Fund's European department, defended the projections on Tuesday and warned EU creditor targets risked undermining a fragile economic recovery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bundesbank's Weidmann calls US claim of currency manipulation 'absurd' - Claire Jones

Bundesbank president JENS WEIDMANN has hit back against the TRUMP administration's attempts to widen divisions within the EU by portraying Germany as a currency manipulator, highlighting the possibility of a clash between Washington and Berlin over DONALD TRUMP's protectionist rhetoric. WEIDMANN decried the TRUMP administration's accusations that Germany is deliberately weakening the euro to boost trade as "more than absurd". He said the rhetoric was "very worrying, especially as Germany is increasingly in the sights of the US government". Germany has the third largest trade surplus with the US, after China and Japan, making it a top target for the administration. While most economists would side with WEIDMANN's argument that US Trade Secretary PETER NAVARRO's thesis of currency manipulation "cannot be established by facts", Germany has come under attack over its large current account surplus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADM shares fall as global trade desk stumbles - Emiko Terazono

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND yesterday told investors that its global trade desk incurred losses in Q4, as it missed analysts' estimates for the quarter to end-Dec. Shares in the company fell more than 3% to $42.49 as it reported adjusted quarterly net profits of 75cps against forecasts of around 77cps. Reported Q4 earnings fell to 73cps from $1.19cps y/y. Adjusted EPS for Q4 2015 were 65cps. ADM said the global trade desk as hit "by poor execution and limited forward merchandising opportunities". CEO JUAN LUCIANO said the division was "refocusing the team" and looking at "reducing costs and people in general". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade gap narrows in Dec. - Adam Samson

The US trade deficit narrowed in Dec. to the lowest level in three months, data showed yesterday. The gap fell to $44.3bn in Dec., from $45.7bn m/m, marking the slimmest level since Oct., the Commerce Department said. Economists had forecast a higher reading of $45bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tata Steel returns to profit - Simon Mundy

TATA STEEL has returned to profit after a string of quarterly losses, helped by a ramp-up of operations at a major new plant in India and by a weaker pound's impact on its UK operations. The company yesterday announced that it had recorded a comprehensive profit of Rs5.2bn in the final quarter of 2016. Despite the return to profit in Q4, TATA STEEL remains on track to report a loss for the FY to end-Mar., having racked up a cumulative loss of Rs49.7bn in the first nine months of that period. The remainder of TATA's UK business was helped in recent months by the weakness of the pound following the country's vote to leave the EU. TATA STEEL's turnover was Rs293.9bn in Q4, up 14% y/y. EBITDA more than quadrupled to reach Rs35.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Virgin Active to sell 16 fitness clubs to David Lloyd Leisure - Lauren Fedor

VIRGIN ACTIVE is offloading 16 of its UK fitness clubs to rival DAVID LLOYD LEISURE. VIRGIN ACTIVE yesterday said the sale was the "final significant step" in the UK to "focus its operations on metropolitan and commuter hubs in its key markets". Last summer, the company sold 35 of its UK gyms to NUFFIELD HEALTH, the not-for-profit health and fitness chain, for an undisclosed sum. At the time, VIRGIN ACTIVE, which is 80% owned by BRAIT SE, said it would use the proceeds to invest in higher-end sites, where monthly memberships cost over £100/month. VIRGIN ACTIVE did not disclose how much it made from the latest sale, but said it had spent more than £14m in the last year upgrading its 12 luxury Collection sites in London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China forex reserves drop below $3tn for first time since 2011 - Hudson Lockett

China's forex reserves fell below $3tn for the first time in nearly six years last month as the People's Bank of China spent more of its war chest on propping up the value of the renminbi and Beijing imposed new capital controls in a bid to slow the pace of outflows. Reserves at the central bank fell $12.3bn to $2.998tn in Jan., down 0.4% m/m. A median forecast from economists polled by Reuters had predicted a fall of only 0.3% from Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Look stung by challenging UK retail market - Katie Martin

Profits have slumped by over a third for NEW LOOK, whose CEO says "extremely challenging" conditions in the UK are holding it back, and are likely to continue. The retailer said pre-tax profits in the three months ending just before Christmas were down by 37.6% from the same spell in 2015 to £30.1m. Group like-for-like sales were down 7% y/y and 4.6% q/q, with slightly heavier declines for the UK. It said it expects this bad run in the UK to persist for the current quarter and into FY2017. CEO ANDERS KRISTIANSEN said: "The UK market has continued to be extremely challenging, with reduced footfall and a highly promotional environment on the high street, resulting in a disappointing like-for-like sales performance. Despite this, total sales for the quarter were level as a result of good performances outside the UK, online and in Menswear, proving that our strategy of diversification is the right one for our business". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt should do more to create policy certainty - Gordhan - Liesl Peyper

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN yesterday acknowledged that the government should do more to create policy certainty in SA. Speaking at a lunch hosted by law firm ENSafrica on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba, GORDHAN said he hopes he can continue to deliver macroeconomic stability to the country. "All I an say to you is that I'll be among those who would look for a speedy resolution in some of the issues the mining industry is confronted with", GORDHAN said. He admitted that the country's SOEs need urgent reform in the areas of financial management and strategic direction. "South Africa has also inherited structural problems. And during the course of this year and years to come you'll hear a lot about transformation in South Africa. Some will call it radical, others will call it less radical. But the essence is our own history and history of sanctions against South Africa resulted in many parts of our economy becoming too concentrated". Much more emphasis will therefore be placed on inclusive econom

Stop dumping chicken in SA - SAPA - Fin24

The South African Poultry Association believes SA's embattled poultry industry can be fixed, but for that to happen the EU needs to stop flooding the local market with chicken. "We are a cheaper producer than the EU. Period. All they need to do is stop dumping and life should return to normal", SAPA CEO KEVIN LOVELL said. The EU accounts for around 80% of chicken pieces imported into SA. There is a huge surplus of chicken leg quarters in the EU as consumers there prefer breasts and wings. The brown meat is disposed off as off-cuts to any market that will take it at any price the producers can get. LOVELL said in a comparative study done by the University of Wageningen it was found that SA can produce a whole slaughtered chicken for less than any of the EU countries. "If the EU market was a balanced market and ate all of the parts of a chicken as we do in our balanced market then they would hardly have to export anything and we would not be in dire straits", LOVELL noted. This news brief represents

Harare plant ups PPC cement volumes - Malcom Sharara

PPC's decision to invest in a new plant in Harare is already paying dividends as cement volumes are showing improvement. In a trading update last week, PPC said following the commissioning of the mill in Harare, cement sales volume performance "has shown an improvement when compared to the previous quarter ending September 2016". The growth is in contrast to the HY to end-Sep. when volumes were down 5%, while local pricing fell 10%. "The $82m Harare Msasa mill was completed on time and $3m below budget without a single lost time injury over the entire project construction period", PPC said. The project debt was initially anticipated to be $75m, but the use of own-cash resources reduced debt drawdowns by $20m. PPC noted that there are "liquidity challenges in Zimbabwe which make it difficult to import key inputs", adding that management is exploring various solutions to overcome these challenges. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoM slams unrepentant UN over erroneous report - Liesl Peyper

A report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development about mis-invoicing in SA's gold industry contained serious methodological errors and is now being challenged in a new report. In the report, published in Jul. 2016, UNCTAD alleged that there had been "massive export under-invoicing", in SA's gold industry and that "virtually all gold exported by South Africa left the country unreported". At the time, the Chamber of Mines, SARS and Statistics SA disputed the veracity of the data the UNCTAD researches had used. The CoM subsequently commissioned EUNOMIX to conduct further research about the allegations. The EUNOMIX report found that SA's gold exports were indeed correctly reflected in the data that the SARB, SARS and CoM had. UNCTAD based its research on the UN Commodity Trade Statistics database and "simplistically assumed" that discrepancies in import and export data supplied by countries indicated mis-invoicing, CoM chief economist HENK LANGENHOVEN said. This news brief represents a sum

Eskom denies it is hiding info from public - Lameez Omarjee

Reports that ESKOM is trying to withhold information from the public by not releasing the Dentons report is false, ESKOM chair BALDWIN NGUBANE said yesterday. Speaking at a briefing at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg, NGUBANE clarified reasons why the utility had not released the port on the investigation by the global law firm Dentons, which was concluded in 2015. The probe was launched to identify problem areas contributing to load-shedding at the time as well as delays in infrastructure projects. NGUBANE said the report was not released as there were allegations made against certain companies and people, who had been named in the report. This information had not been corroborated at the time the probe was concluded. "You cannot go and just publish people's names and companies because someone has made an allegation. This was not an accusatory process. It was a fact-finding process". NGUBANE said the utility was initially committed to make the report public, but at the time of completion in Jul. 2015,

R20/hour for workers is an insult - NUMSA - Fin24

Implementing a deal to pay workers a minimum hourly rate of R20 would be the final nail in the coffin for struggling workers, NUMSA said yesterday as it reiterated its disgust at the proposed amount of R3 500/month as a National Minimum Wage. NUMSA general secretary IRVIN JIM said committing workers to a R20/hour minimum rate was done without any consultation, let alone any mandate from the country's working class. He also lashed out at COSATU and FEDUSA, claiming that their leaders have been captured. "These federations should have known from the beginning that a minimum wage of R3 500 per month is a betrayal of the worker's struggle for a living wage and decent work. This proposal should have been rejected outright". NUMSA indicated it will mobilise its members and the working class to fight against "slave wages" and the limitation on the right to strike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats invests in fuel cells to power refinery - Megan van Wyngaardt

IMPALA PLATINUM has, through the installation of an 8MW DOOSAN fuel cell plant, moved a step closer to taking its refinery near Johannesburg off-grid. The first phase of the project comprises 20 DOOSAN fuel cells, which uses combined heat and power to capture energy. It will be operational by mid-year, with the long-term goal to generate between 22MW and 30MW of power. IMPLATS fuel cell coordinator FAHMIDA SMITH highlighted that the development was an "exciting" step in IMPLATS' move towards a carbon-neutral fuel source for its refinery. This initiative is also a stepping stone in IMPLATS' strategic objective to fast-track local manufacturing of fuel cells and its componentry within a proposed 16ha tributary of the special economic zone in the Springs region. The project is being carried out in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry, the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone and supported by the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality, aiming to facilitate platinum beneficiation within SA. Over

S&P downgrades Cell C - Natasha Odendaal

STANDARD & POOR's yesterday announced the downgrade of CELL C after ongoing delays in concluding a restructuring agreement and missed interest payments on its senior secured bonds, as well as other unrated debt instruments. The agency lowered CELL C's long-term corporate credit rating from Selective Default to Default and its issue rating on senior secured bonds due in 2018 to D from CC, as well as revising its recovery rating on the senior secured debt to 4 from 3. The downgrade reflects our view that the delay in concluding the restructuring agreement continues to constrain CELL C's liquidity and that the company's decision to miss interest payments in January 2017 on its €400m senior secured bonds due in 2018 is a default", S&P said. The ratings agency expects to reassess CELL C's creditworthiness under its new capital structure if the company finalises the refinancing. CELL C had not sought bankruptcy protection and S&P said it expects the operator will continue to operate and meet its nondebt oblig

Rand to weaken almost 8% this year - Reuters

Difficulty in holding down public spending in SA and the possibility that interest rates will rise rapidly in the US are likely to wipe out the rand's early gains this year and lead to it weakening further in 12 months, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. The ZAR is expected to weaken almost 8% to R14.43/$ in a year, according to a median of up to 39 analysts polled by Reuters. It is currently trading around R13.40. "We are still concerned about some of the domestic fundamentals, sluggish growth, (and) whether or not we can achieve the fiscal consolidation", ABSA currency strategist MIKE KEENAN said. The rand has gained over 3% since the start of 2017, along with other emerging market currencies. US President DONALD TRUMP's harsh protectionist rhetoric has increased demand for riskier currencies. However, a lot of TRUMP's proposed policies promise to push up inflation in the US, changing the outlook for interest rates. "The chances of more rate hikes have declined in South Africa, whilst in the US the ris

Water scarcity tops list of world miners' worries - Reuters

The world's top mining companies yesterday warned that assets will be stranded and investors will walk away unless they deal with water scarcity in key mining regions. After the hottest global year on record in 2016, water has shot up the agenda at mining board meetings. "Investors say to us: 'don't talk to us about returns'; they want to know how we're managing water", GOLD FIELDS CEO NICK HOLLAND said at the Mining Indaba. ANGLO AMERICAN has said it is striving to use as little water as possible. It has limited water consumption by using 65% recycled water and its goal is to reach 95% over the next decade. "Water is one of the greatest constraints to new supply of mined products across the industry", ANGLO CEO MARK CUTIFANI said. "Investors can see there's a risk that if regions are running short of water, there's a good chance miners will have to divert those resources. What are we doing to anticipate that?" The International Council on Mining and Metals last month published a position on water stew

Strike at Escondida likely - union - Reuters

The main union at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile will likely go on strike as government-mediated negotiations with the company are not progressing well, a spokesperson said yesterday. The parties on Friday started a five-day government-mediated period of talks that effectively delays a work stoppage the Escondida Union No 1 voted for last week. As no talks took place on Sunday, today will be the last day of the negotiations, which the union is legally required to attend. "It's likely that on (Thursday) the ninth, we'll have to make the strike effective on the ground, so we already have that prepared", union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES said, adding that the strike would halt production at the mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Forevermark brand expanding customer base globally - Ilan Solomons

The response to the Forevermark diamond brand has been "just great" in the past three years, which is attributable to the brand's promise of authenticity, quality, uniqueness, integrity and being ethically sourced, according to ANNA RUSSO, the DE BEERS brand's ambassador. RUSSO said the brand had "huge potential" and since its launch in 2008, had been the fastest-growing diamond brand worldwide. The brand is distributed in SA via the local diamond business CARATCO, under whose initiative the brand is expanding globally. RUSSON said Forevermark is available in a number of Asian countries, in the US and Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, Australia and Southern Africa. "In Europe, countries such as the UK, Turkey, Hungary and Russia are already selling Forevermark diamonds and we will be finalising distribution agreements with others soon", she said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee delivers first chromite production at Hernic - Natasha Odendaal

JUBILEE PLATINUM has achieved the first chromite production at its Hernic ferrochrome project following the successful tie-in of the chromite recovery plant into the operational stream. Commissioning of the PGMs recovery plant will now become the focus of the dual-listed firm. "I am very pleased that we have achieved the chromite production milestone and we are now busily implementing the commissioning phase of the platinum recovery plant", CEO LEON COETZER said. At full production, the project 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. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold buys stake in Orinoco - Esmarie Swanepoel

Gold junior ORINOCO has struck a strategic partnership with ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI under which it would receive a A$5.9m capital injection in return for ANGLOGOLD taking a 15% stake in ORINOCO. ANGLOGOLD will subscribe for more than 85.1m shares in ORINOCO, priced at 7c apiece, along with one free option for each share issued, exercisable at A$11c apiece on or before the end of Jan. 2020. The terms offered to ANGLOGOLD were similar to those of a current four-for-seven renounceable entitlement offer open to shareholders. On completion of the corporate investment, ANGLOGOLD will have the right to appoint one director to the ORINOCO board and to retain that nominee director for as long as the company's voting power remains above 10% of ORINOCO's issued share capital. The companies have also entered into a regional exploration JV over ORINOCO's Faina Goldfield project, encompassing the tenement package around the Cascavel gold mine in Brazil. ANGLOGOLD will spend up to $9.5m over a three-year period to earn a 70%

Rio hands diamond mine over to Madhya Pradesh govt - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO will gift the Bunder diamond project, in India, to the government of Madhya Pradesh. The company last year announced it would not proceed with the development of the Bunder mine, owing to commercial considerations, and that it would close all project infrastructure. The government of Madhya Pradesh signed an order in Jan., under which it will accept ownership and take responsibility for the Bunder assets. RIO copper and diamonds CEO ARNAUD SOIRAT said the company's exit from Bunder is the latest example of the group streamlining its asset portfolio, adding that it simplifies the business, allowing the company to focus on its world-class assets. SOIRAT noted that the assets being handed over to the government will include all land, plant, equipment and vehicles at the Bunder project site. The inventory will also include diamond samples recovered during exploration. It is believed this approach will assist the government to package the assets if it is to proceed with an auction process for the B

Rwanda to sell 20% stake in I&M Bank - Clement Uwiriniyimana

The Rwandan government plans next week to sell its 20% stake in I&M BANK operations in Rwanda, with the aim of raising 11.5bn francs, a minister and a senior executive said this week. The IPO would be launched on Feb. 14 and the proceeds would be used to help finance a new airport at Bugesera, east of Kigali. "The money will be invested in initialy equity in the Bugesera Airport", Finance Minister CLAVER GATETE said, adding that the aim was to raise 11.5bn francs. I&M MD ROBIN BAIRSTOW confirmed the Feb. 14 IPO date. I&M BANK in Rwanda is part of Kenya's I&M HOLDINGS. The listing would boost the Rwandan bourse, where the total market cap of the seven listed firms rose to $4.1bn in 2015 but has since fallen to $3.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's business confidence edges up in Jan. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Business confidence in SA rose in Jan. m/m, helped by higher commodity prices and an increase in new vehicle sales, SACCI's Business Confidence Index showed yesterday. The BCI rose to 97.7 in Jan. from 93.8 in Dec. SACCI said it expected conditions that could boost business confidence and attract investment and economic growth. The BCI showed noticeably more positive subindices m/m in Jan., with only three of the 13 subindices making negative contributions during the period under review. "If these conditions could continue to carry the day, then the momentum gained in business confidence could accelerate and create the necessary investment and economic growth atmosphere", SACCI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South African mine tries faster drilling technique to cut costs - Tanisha Heiberg

MASTER DRILLING will next month complete a diamond mine pilot project aimed at roughly doubling the drilling rate and cutting costs, as miners turn to technology to maximise output from depleted reserves. MASTER DRILLING, working with PETRA DIAMONDS at the Cullinan mine, is near the end of a three-year trial that accelerates drilling by using a giant drill-cum-vacuum cleaner to power horizontally through diamond-bearing kimberlite. It says the test-phase should end in Mar., offers the prospect of increasing drilling speeds from around 3 metres to up to 6 metres per day, and has applications beyond mining. "We see this trial as an opportunity to establish a reference for ourselves in getting involved in tunnelling and building knowledge and expertise", MASTER DRILLING director KOOS JORDAAN said. The result of using a drill rather than blasting is a perfectly round tunnel, which engineers says is a more stable shape than the irregular tunnels created by blasting stone. While the technology can be applied t

Market indicators for 08/02/2017

At 07h25 on 08 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.46 ZAR/EUR 14.37 ZAR/GBP 16.82 Gold 1233.41 Platinum 1008.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.63 All Share 52181.91

Rigid and restrictive BEE must end - Exxaro - David McKay

EXXARO RESOURCES CEO MXOLISI MGOJO has called for a different approach to BEE in which a more flexible measure of assessing the value of transactions is adopted. Speaking at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, MGOJO mapped the development of BEE from the BEE Commission Report of 2001 to the present day. EXXARO's 10-year BEE structure was unwound in Dec. to be replaced by a proposal that re-empowers the group to a level of 30% of total share capital versus more than 50% previously. MGOJO described how iterations of empowerment had each, in separate ways, failed to broaden the base of the local economy which has a Gini coefficient of 0.7. "The conversation needs to move from rigid, reductive and restrictive ideas about fixed black equity in white companies. After all, are we really saying that we want a country where demand is 30% or 40% black ownership regardless of the size of the company? Surely we can be more sophisticated than believing that an initial 26% black shareholding of a R6bn company must remain

StanChart's Zim business limits use of Visa card abroad - MacDonald Dzirutwe

STANDARD CHARTERED's Zimbabwean business has restricted the use of VISA debit cards outside the country, in a sign that forex shortages were worsening despite the introduction of a "bond currency" late last year. STANCHART said that with immediate effect, clients planning to use VISA cards outside the country should apply for a "special consideration" from the bank 72 hours before travelling. It added that there was no change in the use of VISA cards locally. Customers will now have to "submit evidence of all the expected expenses to be incurred" on foreign travel for the bank to decide whether they can use their debit card abroad. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week introduced a new $5 "bond note", raising the circulation of the surrogate currency but this has not ended long bank queues. Although the bond note is still trading at par with the US dollar, analysts say it could lose its value if cash shorages persist and travellers and importers turn to the black market to buy foreign currency. This n

Nigeria's recession 'will soon be history' - VP - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's economic recession "will soon be history", Vice President YEMI OSINBAJO said yesterday, without elaborating. As part of a medium-term economic recovery plan, Nigeria is targeting a growth rate of at least 7%/year by 2020, a far cry from the current situation. In Q3 2016, the economy shrank by 2.24%. With inflation at an 11-year high, frustration is rising, with protesters taking to the streets in Lagos this week to call for a change in government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria targets economy to grow at annual 7% by 2020 - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria is targeting economic growth of at least 7%/year by 2020, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning said yesterday. In Q3 2016, GDP contracted 2.24% y/y. With inflation at an 11-year high, frustration is rising, with protesters taking to the streets in Lagos this week to call for a change in government. The 7% target for GDP is part of a medium-term economic recovery plan that seeks to address some of Nigeria's issues, the ministry said. "Our goal is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates, and a diversified and inclusive growth", Budget Minister UDOMA UDO UDOMA said. The plan's priorities are agriculture and food security, energy, small businesses and industrialisation and stabilising the macroeconomic environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana gets offer for struggling BCL mines - Reuters

Botswana's high court yesterday agreed to delay the provisional liquidation of state-owned BCL MINE LTD after lawyers representing liquidator KPMG said they had received an offer to buy its mothballed mines. While the lawyers declined to name the company making the offer, a source said an entity from the UAE had put forward an offer for the three companies under the BCL group. "The minister is currently in the UAE negotiating for the sale of the BCL group", a source said. Following the placement of BCL under provisional liquidation in Oct. 2016, Russia's NORILSK took legal action against the mining group to recover $271.3m it says it is owed for the sale of a 50% stake in the Nkomati JV in SA. Apart from the NORILSK claim, BCL owes creditors including suppliers and banks some $85.41m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Fidelity Bank targets electronic banking for growth - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's FIDELITY BANK is targeting retail clients using low-cost electronic channels to boost profits after a recession in the country forced the mid-tier lender to slow loan growth. FIDELITY chief operating and information officer GBOLAHAN JOSHUA said electronic banking had become a growth area as lenders enable customers to make payments such as phone top-ups and airline tickets for a fee via the internet without taking credit risk after the crisis at home forced them to curb loans. JOSHUA said FIDELITY's instant transfer platform, which had almost no customers three years ago, had about 1m customers at the end of 2016. Total bank account holders hit 3.5m last year. Industry data showed that instant transfers hit 38tn naira last year. Nigerian banks had a total of 65m accounts last year, up from 23m eight years ago. FIDELITY expects loans to grow under 10% this year as the bank targets firms that produce goods locally or export-led ventures. This news brief represents a summary of the original ar

SA forex reserves down in Jan. - Pericles Anetos

SA's gross foreign reserves decreased by $690m to $46.7bn in Jan., SARB data showed this morning. That is down from $47.4bn in Dec. The international liquidity position increased by $564m to $41.4bn. The increase in the ILP reflects the increase in the forward position and changes in the foreign currency deposits received, which were partially offset by the decrease in the gross reserves. Gold reserves increased to $4.8bn from $4.6bn in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SK Hynix bids for Toshiba memory business stake - source - Se Young Lee

South Korea's SK HYNIX has entered the running for a stake in TOSHIBA CORP's memory chip business, seeing an opportunity to gain on rivals in the NAND market, a source said today. The world's No. 2 memory chip maker had submitted an initial bid, although the size of the stake it wanted to acquire had not been decided, the source said. SK HYNIX would benefit from TOSHIBA's tech know-how in high-end NAND products and a boost in chip supply. Interest in the stake is heating up with sources telling Reuters that private equity funds, US data storage company WESTERN DIGITAL and other NAND makers have also submitted bids, amid a surge in memory chip prices. TOSHIBA aims to raise more than Y200bn from the less-than 20% stake in its memory business. The sale is part of a broader sell-off to cover multibillion-dollar writedowns stemming from its US nuclear power unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citigroup gets bond settlement agent license in China - Sumeet Chatterjee

CITIGROUP this morning said it had received the so-called "Type A" bond settlement agent license from the People's Bank of China, allowing it to add to its offering of sales, trading and research in the fixed-income business. CITIGROUP is the first US-based bank to be granted the Type A license to act as a bond settlement agent in China's interbank bond market. CITI's license comes as China has been expanding interbank bond market access to foreign investors in recent years. As a result, the Chinese bond market has grown more than six-fold since 2005 to become the third largest globally by issuance. At the end of Dec., the value of bonds outstanding had reached $9.3tn, CITI said. Yesterday, JPMORGAN CHASE said it had received approval and license to underwrite corporate bonds in China's interbank bond market, making it the first US-headquartered bank to do so. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BNP unveils €3bn digital strategy as annual profits jump - Martin Arnold

BNP PARIBAS has unveiled a new three-year strategy to invest €3bn on adapting its operations to the digital age after outstripping analyst expectations with a 15% jump in annual net profits. The French lender aims to achieve €3.4bn of cost savings by doubling its investment in digitisation. Of this, €2.7bn will be recurring. BNP said it aimed to lower costs as a proportion of revenues from 66.8% to 63% by 2020, helped by planned investments in automation, improved data usage and artificial intelligence. Its net profits rose from €7bn to €7.7bn last year, as revenues outpaced costs, while provisions for bad loans fell and it booked fewer one-off charges. It raised its dividend from €2.31 to €2.70/share, giving investors a yield of 4.6%. The top performing division was BNP's international financial services arm, which reported a 4% rise in pre-tax profits. The domestic retail unit was held back by low interest rates, but still managed a 1.4% rise in pre-tax profits. The corporate and inves

Chinese companies park $110bn in wealth products - Don Weinland

Cash-rich Chinese companies moved a record $110bn in idle cash into financial products last year, mainly at banks, according to data from WIND FINANCIAL INFORMATION. The flood of company funds into wealth management products - up 40% y/y - was a sign that many companies in China shunned risky corporate investment amid the economic slowdown, instead preferring short-duration investments. Almost half of the products bought by companies had a maturity of one to three months. "They believe that these products offer attractive returns relative to risks compared with other investment opportunities, particularly as the economy is still under downside pressure", said CHUA HAN TENG, senior analyst at BMI RESEARCH in Singapore. About $64bn of the cash companies invested in wealth products had been raised from investors via IPOs and private placements, indicating that despite the low appetite for corporate investment, Chinese groups still sought to hold on to cash. This news brief represents a summary of the orig

Updated market indicators for 07/02/2017

At 08h54 on 07 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.36 ZAR/EUR 14.29 ZAR/GBP 16.64 Gold 1234.34 Platinum 1011.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.85 All Share 52151.16

AnaCap snaps up €177m of Barclays' Italian loans - Emma Dunkley

ANACAP FINANCIAL PARTNERS has struck a deal to acquire €177m of Italian loans from BARCLAYS as the bank continues to retrench from its operations in Europe. ANACAP will acquire a portfolio of loans made primarily to small and medium-sized companies secured against Italian property. The price paid to the portfolio has not been disclosed. The deal comes weeks after ANACAP signed an agreement to buy BARCLAYS' French retail-banking operations. The disposal of BARCLAYS' Italian loans - expected to complete in Q2 - will cut its noncore risk weighted assets by £78m. The British banker is aiming to reduce its noncore business, targeting risk-weighted assets of around £20bn by year-end. Although the ANACAP deal removes the last of BARCLAYS' noncore corporate loans in Italy, the bank still has a large mortgage book as well as other retail loans in the country, which it will wind down over time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Macquarie leaves earnings guidance unchanged - Peter Wells

Shares in MACQUARIE have taken a tumble after the Australian investment bank left earnings guidance for 2017 unchanged due to a mixed performance from its business units. In a trading update for the nine months to end-Dec., the bank reiterated it expected its results for 2017 to be "broadly in line" with 2016 when it reported a record net profit of A$2.06bn for the FY to end-Mar. After its FY results last year, it warned that earnings would be flat in FY2017. CEO NICHOLAS MOORE said the net profit contribution from MACQUARIE's annuity-style business in the Dec. quarter was up y/y, but was "slightly down" over the nine-month period y/y. Shares in the bank tumbled as much as 3.4% in morning trade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE, Deutsche Borse offer sale of French clearing arm as antitrust remedy - Philip Stafford

DEUTSCHE BORSE and the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE have submitted the sale of the LSE's French clearing arm as their sole remedy to European antitrust authorities to clinch approval from regulators for their planned €29bn merger. The offer came on the last day of the permitted time frame for both sides to offer a remedy to antitrust concerns. Brussels' tough scrutiny is only one hurdle the exchanges must overcome in their bid to create Europe's largest exchanges operator. DEUTSCHE BORSE CEO CARSTEN KENGETER recently told the FT that the remedy package would be "crucial" to seeking the EU's approval. LCH SA clears derivatives, equities and repo trades, although not interest rate derivatives that are central to the deal. The LSE already has a buyer for the business, having agreed a €510m deal with EURONEXT at the start of Jan. European authorities will now be able to analyse the remedies and test them with other affected market participants, and are due to make a decision by Mar. 13. This news brief repr

30 more tech companies join legal fight against Trump travel ban - Tim Bradshaw

Another 30 tech companies have joined Silicon Valley's legal fight against President DONALD TRUMP's immigration ban. The addition of well-known names including HP, ADOBE, SLACK, PANDORA and IAC takes the total number of companies included on the amicus brief to 127. Also now lending their support to the legal challenge are TESLA and SPACEX. These companies are both led by ELON MUSK, who is an advisor on TRUMP's business council. On Sunday night, APPLE, MICROSOFT, GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, AIRBNB, UBER and TWITTER were among almost 100 companies that submitted the amicus brief - a legal document filed by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject - to the ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Israel passes law to legalise expropriation of private Palestinian land - John Reed

The Israeli Knesset yesterday passed a controversial law that would legalise the expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land, which could mark the first step toward annexation of parts of the West Bank. MPs ignored warnings from opposition lawmakers and the international community and passed second and third readings of the Regularisation Bill, which will legalise some 55 Jewish settler outposts built in the occupied West Bank. International law views all settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as illegal, but until now outposts were illegal in Israel too as they are built on private land on which Palestinians have claims. Critics of the law have described it as a land grab, and it would be viewed as a possible step toward annexation of parts of the West Bank as it would amount to the application of Israeli sovereignty in areas where the settlements are. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Draghi: ECB still ready to expand Q3 in face of low inflation - Mehreen Khan

The ECB remains committed to expanding its record stimulus programme should inflation fail to hit target, president MARIO DRAGHI said yesterday, adding that policymakers were not concerned over a four-year inflation high hit last month. DRAGHI said the ECB did not think the current energy price-induced inflation spike would "durably affect the medium-term outlook for price stability". He said growth in the eurozone still faced "downside" risks on the back of global factors. "If the inflation outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council is prepared to increase the asset purchase programme in terms of size and or duration", DRAGHI said. Current consumer prices hit 1.8% in Jan., in line with the central bank's target of just below 2%. It predicts that inflation will still undershoot its target over a three-year period, averaging at 1.7% projected for 2019. Core inflation r

Tiffany falls after CEO exists - Adam Samson

TIFFANY & CO shares fell yesterday after CEO FREDERIC CUMENAL abruptly exited the company after leaving its board "disappointed by recent financial results". CUMENAL, who had led the company since Apr. 2015, will be replaced with immediate effect by board chairperson and former CEO MICHAEL KOWALSKI, who will serve as interim chief as the group seeks a permanent replacement. The news, which was announced on Sunday, sent shares sliding by as much as 7% in pre-market trading yesterday. TIFFANY's board has been "disappointed by recent financial results" and "believes that accelerating execution of those strategies is necessary to compete more effectively in today's global luxury market and improve performance", the company said. Like-for-like sales in the two months to end-Dec. were down 2% y/y. For Q4 as a whole, analysts reckon TIFFANY's like-for-like sales fell by 1.1%, which would be a fifth consecutive quarterly decline. FY results will be published on Mar. 17. This news brief represents a summary o

Cyrus Mistry removed from Tata board - Simon Mundy

TATA SONS has removed ousted chairperson CYRUS MISTRY from its board in the latest stage of his protracted removal from the Indian conglomerate. TATA SONS had dismissed MISTRY as its chair on Oct. 24, prompting him to launch an intense campaign challenging the legality of the dismissal, which will be heard at Mumbai's National Company Law Tribunal. MISTRY's ousting came after he lost the confidence of his predecessor, RATAN TATA, who had remained as chair of the TATA TRUSTS, which own 65% of TATA SONS. That controlling stake meant the outcome of yesterday's shareholder vote was never in doubt. MISTRY's family continues to control an 18% stake in TATA SONS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toyota lifts annual profit forecast - Kana Inagaki

TOYOTA has followed rival HONDA in lifting its annual profit guidance on a lower yen outlook. For FY to end-Mar., TOYOTA said it expects a net profit of Y1.7tn compared to an earlier forecast of Y1.55tn. It also raised its FY revenue target by 1.9% to Y26.5tn on stronger-than-expected sales of pickup trucks in North America. The upgrade came as TOYOTA suffered a 23% drop in net profit to Y486.5bn during Q3 to end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SANRAL: Scrapping Gauteng e-tolls not the solution - Lameez Omarjee

SANRAL yesterday said it did not oppose a probe into price-fixing allegations surrounding the local construction industry. It was responding to claims by OUTA that the roads agency had spent R10bn more than needed for its Gautrain Freeway Improvement Project. OUTA yesterday said according to its estimates the GFIP could have cost R8bn-R9bn. It claims that price-fixing contributed to these elevated costs. "SANRAL has no objections to an independent enquiry into construction costs and would welcome the opportunity to participate and state its case". It added that such a probe should also investigate "the manipulation of figures" by critics of the GFIP, the credentials and experience of "experts" and the role of pressure groups to disseminate "alternative facts" to the media. SANRAL criticised OUTA's call to have e-tolls scrapped. "This would mean that we would not be able to meet our financial obligations and that we may be liquidated. This could affect all other infrastructure entities within governmen

SANRAL overpaid close to R10bn on GFIP upgrade - OUTA - Lameez Omarjee

Overpayment of close to R10bn by SANRAL for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project should be accounted for, according to OUTA. OUTA yesterday noted that the project which cost SANRAL R17.9bn could have cost between R8bn and R9bn. OUTA chair WAYNE DUVENAGE said the civil rights body wants to see corrective action taken and will be writing letters to relevant ministers and engaging with SANRAL's management to act in the best interests of the public. DUVENAGE said information on the GFIP has been "deliberately" withheld from the public and that information from other roadworks projects, including others by SANRAL, is available. This brings SANRAL's transparency into question and there is no explanation why they have paid close to R18bn for this project. OUTA used three methodologies to determine the potential price of the projects. This information is available in a position paper entitled: The Road to Excess: A Paper on High Pricing, Collusion and Capture of National Road Construction. DUVENAGE said th

SA mining deal value jumps 4-fold in 2016 - Fin24

The volume of deals in SA's mining and metals sector rose 78% y/y in 2016 while deal value increased fourfold to $ 1.1165bn in the year, according to an EY quarterly report, published yesterday. PGMs transactions drove SA deal value, with platinum deals taking the two top spots in SA for the year, making up half of the deal value for 2016. SIBANYE was the acquirer in both of these transactions. The report shows that Africa has bucked the global trend of a drop in the volume of deals in the mining/metals sector. The revival in Africa of both deal value increasing at 62% y/y and deal volume increasing three-fold to $5.818bn in 2016 provides an indication that the continent is starting to see an increased trajectory for mining and metals deals. EY believes the outlook for mining mergers and acquisitions in Africa in 2017 remains positive and the trend of portfolio optimisation is likely to continue driving transaction flows this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold proposes 52% dividend hike - Fin24

RANDGOLD RESOURCES has capped a record-breaking year with a proposed 52% dividend hike, the company said yesterday. In its report for Q4 and the FY to end-Dec., RANDGOLD said production has risen by 26% q/q and 3% y/y. It reached its net cash target of +$500m, with no debt. Profit was up 22% q/q and 38% y/y, and total ash cost per oz fell 17% q/q and 6% y/y. The lost time injury frequency rate was at a record low of 0.46%, down 22% y/y. Gold sales for the quarter of $453.1m lifted 15% from $392.8m q/q. Group gold output for the quarter of 378 388oz was up 26% q/q due to increases in gold production across all of the operations, while the average gold price received of $1 206/oz dropped by 10% q/q. Gold sales rose by 28% q/q, reflecting higher ounces sold in the quarter as well as the higher average gold price received. Profit for the Fy of $294.2m represents an increase of 38% compared to a profit of $212.8m y/y, reflecting increased revenue and lower cash costs, partially offset by a 16% rise in depr

Dangote, Sinotruck to build assembly plant in Nigeria - Reuters

Nigeria's DANGOTE GROUP plans to establish a $100m vehicle assembly plant project in Lagos. The plant will, upon completion, produce heavy-duty trucks to distribute DANGOTE's products within Nigeria and across other African countries. Truck production will happen in partnership with CHINA NATIONAL DUTY TRUCK GROUP COMPANY. The plant will be 60% owned by the DANGOTE GROUP, trading under DANGOTE INDUSTRIES, with SINOTRUK holding the remaining 40% equity stake. The plant will have the capacity to produce 10 000 trucks annually. The operation is expected to employ around 3 000 people, once fully operational. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Draghi lays Greek QE hurdles amid bailout jitters - Mehreen Khan

Greek government bonds will only be included in the ECB's major stimulus measures after the central bank has deemed the country's debt to be sustainable, ECB president MARIO DRAGHI said yesterday. He told MEPs in Brussels that central bank policymakers would need to make their own "independent" assessment of Greece's debt dynamics, amid warnings from the IMF that Greek debt was on an "explosive" path. Questions hang over the fate of Greece's current three-year bailout programme, with the IMF due to make a major decision on its participation in the rescue later this month. Athens has long called on the ECB to ease its debt pressures by snapping up the country's bonds under its asset purchase programme, but DRAGHI said the move would only be considered once EU and IMF creditors had agreed on what medium-term debt relief measures would be granted to the country after 2018 and after finance ministers sign off on the country's second bailout review. Greece's current debt to GDP pile stands at 180% of GDP but c

AMSA to report narrowed FY losses - Natasha Odendaal

ARCELORMITTAL SA yesterday said it expects to report narrowed losses for the FY to end-Dec., which is attributed to the nonrecurrence of the 2015 FY's R2.55bn in one-off items and a R4.25bn impairment, as well as an increase in steel sales prices and sustainable cost improvements in 2016. The LPS for FY2016 is expected to narrow by 79%-80% from a loss of 2 152cps y/y to between 438cps and 448cps for 2016. The HLPS is also expected to decrease by up to 82% from 1 338cps to 239cps-249cps. AMSA posted one-off items in 2015 of R2.55bn on the back of a Competition Commission penalty, closure of the Thabazimbi mine and the derecognised payment in advance and an impairment of R4.25bn at the Saldanha operations and the Vaal Melt shop in Vereeniging. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral's interim earnings hit by headwinds - Natasha Odendaal

The continuing unfavourable trading environment is expected to push the earnings of ASTRAL FOODS down by up to 75% for the HY to end-Mar. The negative impacts of weakened consumer spending, high levels of imported poultry, high maize and soya meal prices, lower kilograms sold and planned output cuts had spilled over into Q2. EPS and HEPS of 94cps are expected for the HY under review, a significant decline on the EPS of 777cps and HEPS of 774cps reported y/y. ASTRAL highlighted the negative impacts of new brining regulations in the poultry industry, leading to lower kilograms sold, the high maize and soya meal prices, which will continue until the new harvest season starts in May and the continuously high levels of imported poultry not under the ITAC safeguard duty. ASTRAL had introduced planned production cuts to alleviate the pressure on the overstocked poultry levels, it said. It will publish interim results on May 15. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA confirms presence of fall armyworm in maize belt - Reuters

The Department of Argiculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Friday said scientific tests have confirmed the presence of the invasive fall armyworm in the maize belt, the first time the pest has been detected there. Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on agricultural products a the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest. The fall armyworm is an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart. The South African samples were collected in the caterpillar stage and had to emerge as moths before positive identification could be done. "Damage reported in South Africa so far is mainly on yellow maize varieties and especially on sweetcorn as well as maize planted for seed production", the DAFF said. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said an emergency meeting would be held in Harare from Feb. 14-16 to shape coordinated emergency responses to the armyworm threat and other potential hazards such as the spread of avian flu which has

De Beers shelves Ontario diamond mine expansion - Reuters

DE BEERS is shelving immediate plans to study an expansion project at a remote northern Ontario diamond mine after failing to get support from a neighbouring aboriginal community, a "disappointing" setback for the producer, DE BEERS CANADA GM JAMES KIRBY said last week. The isolated Victor mine in the James Bay lowlands produces around 600m ct of diamonds annually and is scheduled to halt production in late 2018 and close in early 2019. The nearby Tango deposit could have added 5-6 years, but assessment work will not proceed without formal support from the First Nation of Attawapiskat, 90km east of the mine, KIRBY added. Tango is not permanently cancelled and could revive with community support, but further delays may create a production gap, boosting costs and impacting profitability, KIRBY said. The miner is now studying ways to delay closing Victor, which has 550 staff and contractors, and C$74m in remediation costs. It could process 6m-7m tonnes of lower-grade ore on site, if profitable, KIRBY said,

Gahcho Kue produces 67.87ct gem-quality diamond - Henry Lazenby

The JV Gahcho Kue diamond mine in Canada has recovered a 67.87ct gem-quality diamond, building on previous recoveries during the bulk sampling programme. The find represents the largest gem-quality diamond recovered to date at Gahcho Kue. Previously, the presence of large gem-quality diamonds at Gahcho Kue was established during the bulk sampling when a 25.13ct octahedron was recovered, with the CEO of 49% JV partner MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS, PATRICK EVANS, commenting that the recovery of a 67.87ct gem quality diamond during production ramp-up is "very encouraging". He added that following some disruptions owing to conveyor systems winterisation issues, the production ramp-up at Gahcho Kue is once against progressing well and the mine is on track to achieve commercial production on schedule during the current quarter. The Gahcho Kue JV comprises a collaboration between MOUNTAIN PROVINCE and DE BEERS CANADA, which owns a 51% stake and is the operator. This news brief represents a summary of the origin

Vale to book $1.2bn Q4 fertiliser charge - Henry Lazenby

VALE has revealed that it expects to book an after-tax $1.2bn impairment charge on its fertiliser business in Q4. The company said the charge arises from the Dec. agreement to sell certain assets in its fertiliser division to MOSAIC CO for $2.5bn. It added that owing to a lower price outlook for certain products, it expects to recognise further impairments in its base metals operations in VALE Newfoundland and Labrador and VALE New Caledonia. The miner expects the exact figures of these impairments to be "significantly less" than the $4.9bn impairment booked on these assets in 2015. VALE said it plans to reopen a 2026 bond issue and use the proceeds to redeem bonds maturing in Mar. 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gemfields' Q2 emerald output nearly halves - Anine Kilian

Production of emerald and beryl at GEMFIELDS' 75%-owned Kagem mine in Zambia nearly halved to 4.7m ct in the quarter to end-Dec., compared with 8.2m ct produced y/y. CEO IAN HAREBOTTLE said the mine experienced a mixed Q2 with lower production volumes, as a result of the varied nature of the mineralisation at the deposit, which was offset to some extent by the effort of the operating team on site. Meanwhile, GEMFIELDS' 75%-owned Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique continued to deliver strong results, with a significant increase in ore processed relative to the prior comparable period as a result of improved operational efficiencies. The mine produced 1.1m ct of ruby and corundum in Q2, compared with the 1.6m ct y/y, as lower-grade but higher-value material was processed. FABERGE sales orders rose by 95% y/y in the quarter. The number of sales transactions rose by 48% y/y, while the average selling price per piece increased by 12% y/y. Total operating costs for the quarter rose by 2%, largely due to increa

Cutifani blasts notion of white monopoly capital - David McKay

ANGLO AMERICAN CEO MARK CUTIFANI yesterday said the next 3-4 months would be among the most important in the 150-yar history of mining in SA. Speaking at the Mining Indaba, CUTIFANI also took a swipe at the notion of white monopoly capital, describing it as "false and misleading". "For those who develop such false and misleading ideas, we have to ask what their personal motives are", CUTIFANI said, adding that such terms ought to be condemned to SA's dark past. "Many people still don't understand that owners of JSE firms are ordinary pension and investment funds; that is, average South African citizens of all races, black, white, coloured and Indian. Black South Africans own more than 45% of South African mining assets. If people want to talk transformation come to ANGLO. We are first to acknowledge we have a long way to go, but let no-one mislead you on the facts. If we are going to have a debate, we need to talk on facts and the truth", CUTIFANI said. This news brief represents a summary of the ori

Barplats shareholders reject HZT buyout bid - Natasha Odendaal

BARPLATS INVESTMENTS' shareholders have rejected the sale of BARPLATS MINES to China's HEBEI ZHONGHENG TIANDA PLATINUM, EASTERN PLATINUM said yesterday. In Dec., HZT hit EASTPLATS and subsidiaries with a notice of civil claim in the British Columbia Supreme Court over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement entered into between EASTPLATS' former management and HZT in Jun. 2016. EASTPLATS, following the election of a new board in Jul. 2016, had embarked on a review of several deals entered into by the former board of directors, including the proposed sale of BARPLATS MINES and associated intercorporate investments and loans to HZT for $50m. Last week, BARPLATS shareholders rejected the special resolution submitted to a meeting seeking approval of the sale of the subsidiary, which holds the Crocodile River Mine in North West. Further information regarding the implications of the vote on the SPA and the outstanding lawsuit commenced by HZT is expected to be communicated in due course.

Amplats posts revised FY trading update - Natasha Odendaal

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM yesterday said it now expects its earnings for the FY to end-Dec. to be considerably higher than what it initially forecast in Nov. Headline earnings for FY2016 are expected to increase to R1.64bn-R2bn from the R107m achieved in 2015, with HEPS increasing to 625cps-760cps in 2016, from 41cps y/y. AMPLATS in Nov. said it expected headline earnings and HEPS of R21m and 8cps respectively. While the Nov. update indicated expectations of a respective R2.4bn and 928cps in basic earnings and EPS, the revised trading update tabled potential basic earnings for 2016 of R550m-R670m and EPS of 210cps-255cps, a turnaround on the prior year's loss of R12.1bn and 4 638cps. AMPLATS largely attributed the increase in basic earnings to R14bn of impairments and write-offs in the comparative period - R1.8bn impacted headline earnings - offset somewhat by additional H2 impairments of R283m - R130m for the investment in Bokoni and R153m on the investment in Pandora. Basic earnings for the period had al

Market indicators for 07/02/2017

At 05h26 on 07 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.33 ZAR/EUR 14.33 ZAR/GBP 16.62 Gold 1234.68 Platinum 1013.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.83 All Share 52151.16

Goldplat commissions Stage 1 of Kilimapesa processing facility - Anine Kilian

GOLDPLAT has commissioned the first stage of its new processing plant at its Kenya-based subsidiary, KILIMAPESA GOLD. Planned output at the processing plant is 60t/day which, together with ongoing production from the existing plant, equates to the production of around 4 600oz/y of gold, compared with the 2 005oz produced in FY2016. The plant has a designed capacity of 200t/day and comprises a crusher circuit, mills, a thickener, leach tanks, an elution plant and a tailings deposition facility. "I am pleased with the board's decision to proceed with an expansion plan at our KILIMAPESA gold mine, which represents an investment of the order of $2m. Although it is modest in terms of production, we believe it will result in the commencement of sustainable profitability at KILIMAPESA", GOLDPLAT CEO GERARD KISBY-GREEN said yesterday. "At this stage the new plant is expected to process 120t/d and once the plant is fully commissioned and producing at a steady state, a yearly rate of 4 500oz of gold is planned".

South32 says Eskom committed to Khutala expansion - David McKay

ESKOM remained committed to the brownfields development of Khutala, SOUTH32's colliery that supplies the Kendal power station, said MIKE FRASER, country head of SOUTH32 in SA. "Khutala has moved into a feasibility study... ESKOM is funding the study. We will deliver a feasibility study towards the back end of this year, or next year", FRASER said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town. The current life of mine of Khutala's reserve is about nine years. The colliery's saleable production is forecast to fall to 8.6mt in FY2017and FY2018 from the 10.2mt mined in FY2015. Asked to commnt on ESKOM's policy to impose 51% BEE on coal suppliers, FRASER said this did not apply to SOUTH32 as its coal contracts were inked before the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naira falls to record low on black market - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's naira dropped to a record low of 500/$ on the black market yesterday, even though foreign reserves rose to their highest in a year as demand for the greenback grew and the central bank rationed dollar supply, traders said. The naira has been hovering near the 500 level for the past two weeks. On the official market, it has been quoted at 305.25, where it has been trading since Aug. 2016. The central bank last week sold $660m in three- and five-month currency forwards at an auction aimed at clearing a backlog of dollar demand. But traders say that was not enough to satisfy the market. Central bank data yesterday showed that forex reserves have been rising, though they remain far from their peak of $64bn in Aug. 2008. The reserves had climbed to a one-year high of $28.28bn by Feb. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania needs $46bn in power investment by 2040 - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania yesterday said it needs $46.2bn in investment over the next two decades to revamp ageing energy infrastructure and meet rising electricity demand. A power system master plan released by the government yesterday said 70% of capex would be financed by debt and the rest by the government's own resources. "The financing requirement to implement the Power System Master Plan (PSMP 2016-2040) is about $46.2bn for capital cost... The cost includes investment on generation, transmission and sub-stations. Generation accounts for almost 80% of the total investment cost", the government said. Tanzania aims to boost power generation capacity to 10 000 MW over the next decade from around 1 500MW at present by using some of its vast natural gas and coal reserves to end chronic energy shortages and boost industrial growth. Tanzania last month said it was seeking a loan of $200m from the World Bank for debt-ridden state power utility TANZANIA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY after President JOHN MAGUFULI refused to allow

De Beers to hold diamond exploration spend steady in 2017 - Barbara Lewis

DE BEERS will keep its diamond exploration budget steady at $35m in 2017, the company said, although it has turned to new technology to try to improve the rate of discoveries. "Our exploration spend this year is likely to be in line with last year's, around $35m", the company said in an email. DE BEERS is employing a high-tech detection method that measures the tiny magnetic field shifts that indicate the presence of a kimberlite pipe well below the surface of the earth. The industry as a whole invested some $7bn on exploration between 2000 and 2013, DE BEERS figures show. The results of this spending have been meager - DE BEERS says only one diamond deposit of significant size has been discovered - Bunder in India, which RIO TINTO found in 2004. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye looking for another local asset - Ed Stoddard

SIBANYE GOLD is hunting for another South African platinum asset with a focus on smelting and refining, but a deal is unlikely this year as it seeks to fund its acquisition of STILLWATER MINING of the US, CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said yesterday. "We still have a step to do with our platinum strategy... Our South African asset base still needs to have a mine to market basis. We need to add downstream processing, so that's smelting, refining. We want to know who our end-users are and develop the market", FRONEMAN said. He said the rights issue of up to $1.3bn the company was planning for the $2.2bn STILLWATER acquisition needed to be completed first and so any new deal was unlikely this year. "We think it's prudent to target the $1.3bn. It gives us a prudent balance sheet", FRONEMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA coal miners to offer single-digit wage hikes - CoM - Ed Stoddard

Local coal producers will likely offer single-digit wage hikes to unions in talks set to commence in Apr., the Chamber of Mines said yesterday. "I would think consumer price inflation plus a little extra. That keeps us within single digits", said ELIZE STRYDOM, head of labour relations at the Chamber. SA's headline CPI accelerated to 6.8% y/y in Dec. from 6.6% in Nov. The industry wants each company to negotiate its own settlement based on what it can afford, while the NUM wants a collective agreement. The dispute has gone to a government arbitrator and if it remains unresolved, the union's members in the coal sector could embark on industrial action. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's growth to almost double as commodity sales rebound - Reuters

Botswana's economy will grow by nearly double in 2017 compared to the previous year as the nation shakes off a slump in global commodity prices and electricity shortages. Finance Minister KENNETH MATAMBO yesterday said the economy would grow by around 4.2% in 2017 compared with 2.9% growth in 2016. MATAMBO said the budget deficit would widen, to 1.43% of GDP from 0.7% previously, as government spent more on electricity and water infrastructure following a severe drought in the region. "The optimistic outlook is based on the anticipated slight improvement in the mining sector and positive growth prospects for the non-mining sectors", MATAMBO said. The minister said revenues for the 2017/18 FY were estimated at 57.2bn pula, with customs collections accounting for 29.8% of revenues followed by minerals at 28.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi buys UK packaging firm Excelsior Technologies - Nqobile Dludla

MONDI PLC bought UK-based packaging firm EXCELSIOR TECHNOLOGIES for $41m from funds managed by private equity firm ENDLESS LLP and certain minority shareholders, it said yesterday. Outgoing CEO DAVID HATHORN said the British business will support the development of MONDI's consumer packaging division. EXCELSIOR makes packaging, mainly for food, and owns a packaging technology for microwave steam cooking. For the FY to end-Dec. 2016, the company generated revenues of £39m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore extends major Libyan oil deal - Julia Payne

GLENCORE has extended a deal with Libya's state oil firm to be the sole marketer of a third of the country's current crude output, according to sources. It is not clear for how long GLENCORE would continue to have exclusivity over the output and whether some parts of the deal would be renegotiated. The deal extends GLENCORE's dominance over rivals such as VITOL and TRAFIGURA in handling barrels from Libya for a second consecutive year. GLENCORE's deal entitles it to around 230 000bpd from the Sarir and Mesla oilfields in Libya, the sources added. It also regularly delivers crucial refined fuel as Libya's refining system operates well below capacity. GLENCORE trades some 4.4m bpd of crude and refined products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to gazette Mining Charter by Mar. - Zwane - Wendell Roelf

Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE today said the country will by Mar. gazette its final Mining Charter. ZWANE added during a speech at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town that a new Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act will also be finalised by June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Brands inks franchising deal - Business Report

GOLD BRANDS INVESTMENTS has concluded a franchising deal with UK restaurant operator CASUAL DINING GROUP. CDG operates restaurant businesses Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Las Iguanas and Belgo. GOLD BRANDS will exclusively introduce these brands to SA, with the first store scheduled to open during the course of 2017 and a minimum of 20 opening across the country in the next five years. The CDG brands are complementary to Chesanyama, GOLD BRANDS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRDGold expects major slump in HY earnings - Fin24

DRDGOLD expects earnings for the HY to end-Dec. to decrease by 76%-96% y/y as gold output fell by 10%, operating costs increased by 9% and as it closed Crown sites. The company said it expected EPS of 0.17cps-1.03cps, a decrease of 76%-96% on the 4.3cps reported y/y. The company expects its HLPS to be between 2.66cps and 2.14cps compared to HEPS of 2.6cps y/y. "Volume throughput amounted to 6mt compared to 6.6mt, a 10% decrease, while gold production amounted to 1 066kg compared to 1 034kg, a 3% increase; and operating costs increased by 9% to R82/t", the company said. The final clean-up and closure of specific Crown sites continued to weigh on costs, causing both accelerated depreciation and retrenchment costs of around R18m each. After paying a dividend of R52m for the FY to end-Jun. 2016, DRDGOLD ended the Q2 to end-Dec. with R290m in cash and cash equivalents, compared with R335m at end-Q1 FY2017. Gold output for FY2017 is expected to be between 136 000oz and 140 000oz at cash operating costs of R46

Dow, DuPont seek to address EU's antitrust concerns - Rochelle Toplensky

DOW CHEMICAL and DUPONT are on the verge of offering to sell research and development capability in response to Brussels' antitrust concerns over the companies' planned $140bn merger. The case, which will decide tomorrow whether to approve the transaction, has become a test of European competition regulators' approach to industrial innovation. The investigation is the first of three agrichem megadeals that EU competition commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER will examine this year. DOW and DUPONT are seeking to stop the merger being blocked, amid concerns from politicians and consumer groups. Brussels' objections to the deal have attracted particular scrutiny as it marks the first time the commission has threatened to block a deal primarily based on concerns that it could cut innovation in a whole market. Previous antitrust cases have cited a narrower range of risks to product development in specific markets. RAPHAEL DE CONINCK at consultancy Charles River Associates said analysing the future impact of a mer

German factory orders surge to enjoy best month since Jul. 2014 - Mehreen Khan

Germany's industrial sector enjoyed a bumper end to 2016, topping off a year in which overall economic growth accelerated to a five-year high. M/m factory orders in the country rose by a better-than-expected 5.2% in Dec., having contracted by 3.6% in the prior month, on the back of a 10% surge in export demand from the eurozone. It was the best Dec. reading since 2008. Year-on-year, new orders were up by 8.1% - the best figure since the height of the eurozone's debt crisis in 2011. According to Destatis, domestic German demand climbed 6.7% on the month while overall foreign orders were up 3.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign investors cut holdings of China bonds - Gabriel Wildau

Foreign investors trimmed their holdings of Chinese sovereign and quasi-sovereign bonds in Jan., according to new data, suggesting that concerns over rising interest rates and currency depreciation are cooling foreign demand for renminbi paper. Foreign institutions cut holdings of Chinese government bonds by Rmb1.9bn in Jan. from a month earlier to Rmb422bn, the first monthly decline since Oct. 2015, according to data from China Central Depository and Clearing. They also cut holdings of bonds issued by China's three policy banks - CHINA DEVELOPMENT BANK, AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CHINA, and the EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF CHINA - by a combined Rmb21bn, bringing the total to Rmb284bn. The latest data doesn't capture foreign holdings of bonds for which China Central Depository does not serve as custodian. That includes exchange-traded bonds and corporate bonds held in custody at the other main clearinhouse for the interbank market, Shanghai Clearing House. Foreign holdings of Chinese onshore bonds of all

Trump signs pair of orders on financial regulation - Jessica Dye

US President DONALD TRUMP on Friday signed off on two executive actions to kick off his promised reform of financial regulation, one taking aim at the Dodd-Frank law passed in the wake of the financial crisis, and the other concerning financial professionals' advice to clients on their retirement savings. "Today we are signing core principles for regulating the United States financial system", TRUMP said. The first action outlines "guideline principles that sets the table for a regulatory system that mitigates risk, encourages growth and more importantly protects consumers", White House press secretary SEAN SPICER said. The so-called fiduciary role called for financial advisors to act in their clients' best interests when giving advice on retirement investments. The executive action calls for the US Labour Department to review the rule, which was slated to take effect in Apr., SPICER said. Bank stocks and the broader financials sector on the S&P 500 rallied in advance of the signing, which took place ear

Merkel says EU should move forward on free trade - Duncan Robinson

German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL on Friday reiterated that the EU would not follow the US down a protectionist road, arguing that the block should "move forward" with more free-trade agreements. On the relationship between the EU and US, MERKEL called for greater cooperation in some areas, even as a transatlantic gulf emerges on policies such as trade and mgration. "There will be areas where we are linked by common interests. International terrorism cannot be fought on our own. Then there will be tasks where we have to stand on our two feet". MERKEL struck a less bombastic tone than European Council president DONALD TUSK, who had launched an aggressive response to TRUMP's initial policies. Instead, she said the EU must work more closely together as a bloc on areas such as trade and diplomacy. "We also need to invest more in our defensive capabilities", MERKEL warned, reiterating her commitment to NATO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF warns on Turkish growth risks, alls on to protect lira - Mehreen Khan

The IMF on Friday warned of a cocktail of risks threatening the Turkish economy as it called on the country's central bank to hike rates to protect the tumbling lira. In findings from its latest annual report on the Turkish economy, the Fund said the country was exposed to a series of external vulnerabilities while inflation had soared and growth has fallen to its worst quarterly level since the financial crisis. The IMF is forecasting GDP growth that will fall "below potential" at 2.9% this year, having dropped to 2.6% in 2016. The economy faces considerable downside risks, with high inflation, external imbalances, and substantial reliance on external financing continuing to generate vulnerabilities. With the lira having weakened to its worst on record against the dollar last month, the IMF urged the Turkish central bank to continue tightening monetary policy in order to "address sharp lira depreciation, contain high and rising inflation, and counteract intensifying external pressures". The Fund forecas

US adds more jobs than expected in Jan., but wage growth cools - Adam Samson

The US economy added more jobs than expected in Jan., but wage growth cooled, the Labour Department said on Friday. The US added 227 000 jobs in Jan., blowing past Wall Street expectations of 180 000. However, average hourly earnings rose at a y/y rate of 2.5%, a slowdown from 2.8% in Dec., and missing estimates of 2.7%. The underemployment rate also disappointed in Jan., ticking up to 9.4%, the highest level since Oct. The overall jobless rate rose to 4.8% from 4.7%, compared with forecasts that it would hold steady. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia leaves interest rates on hold - Max Seddon

Russia's central bank left key interest rates at 10%, saying the country was on track to meet a target of lowering inflation to 4% by end-2017. "The economy is recovering faster than was expected earlier", the central bank said on Friday. "But the slowdown in consumer price growth is partially influenced by temporary factors". It added that plans announced on Friday to buy up to Rbs6.3bn in forex to weaken the rouble over the next month will not affect central bank governor ELVIRA NABIULLINA's long-coveted 4% inflation target. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia to embark on currency purchases to dampen rouble - Max Seddon

Russia is to spend more than Rbs113bn in the next month in a bid to weaken the rouble, marking a reversal from the 2014 currency shock that forced it to intervene heavily to stop the rouble falling too far. Russia's central bank will spend Rbs6.3bn/day on forex transactions from Feb. 7 to Mar. 6, the finance ministry said on Friday. The move follows a steady rally in the rouble as the oil price has picked up. Analysts had expected the intervention to range between $90m and $130m a day, well below the $200m/day the central bank spent for two months in 2015. Russia last week announced plans to build up its forex reserves to prevent rising oil prices from strengthening the currency. The finance ministry had said purchases would continue as long as oil prices remain above $40/barrel and it would sell forex if oil prices sank below that mark. Moscow would also implement a new "budget rule" mandating storing excess oil revenues as foreign currency reserves rather than spending it, in a bid to reduce the defic

Updated market indicators for 06/02/2017

At 10h13 on 06 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.27 ZAR/EUR 14.27 ZAR/GBP 16.56 Gold 1222.55 Platinum 1006.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.97 All Share 52411.33

Hudaco battles to recover R490m - Roy Cokayne

The legal case by HUDACO to recover R490m in secret profits and tax from its corporate advisers to a BEE transaction is continuing. CEO GRAHAM DUNFORD on Friday confirmed this, but noted that the case was progressing slowly. HUDACO instituted the legal action against BRAVURA EQUITY SERVICES, CADIZ ASSET MANAGEMENT and others in 2015. The legal action is aimed at recovering alleged secret profits of R180m and the R312m payment made by HUDACO to SARS in settlement of a challenge under the general anti-avoidance rule and related to the financing arrangements for HUDACO's empowerment transaction, which ran from Aug. 2007 to Feb. 2013. The legal action followed SARS' concluding in 2013 that the leveraged BEE structure HUDACO had put in place in 2007 was a scheme designed to avoid tax, resulting in the company facing a tax charge of around R500m plus possible further penalties. HUDACON in 2007 sold 15% of all operating businesses, except DEUTZ DIESELPOWER, to the HUDACO TRADING BEE STAFF EDUCATION TRUST, HUDAC

Chinese company banned for fraud enters Eskom nuclear race - Matthew le Cordeur

A Chinese company that has expressed interest in responding to ESKOM's nuclear request for information was debarred for 18 months by the World Bank in late 2015. SHANDONG TAIKAI POWER ENGINEERING was debarred by the World Bank "following the company's involvement in fraudulent practices relating to the World Bank-financed electricity sector development project in Uganda and second transmission and distribution project in Vietnam", the World Bank said in Aug. 2015. A probe by the bank found that the company misrepresented its prior project experience by submitting falsified contracts and completion certificates, along with a forged business licence while bidding for contracts. The ban means TKPE has not been able to work on any World Bank funded projects since the announcement. However, the 18-month ban will be over by 19 Feb. 2017 - that would mean there would be no clash of conflict should the World Bank and TKPE both participate in the programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Zuma to lunch with business ahead of SONA - Fin24

President JACOB ZUMA invited business leaders to a lunch ahead of his State of the Nation address on Thursday to "further strengthen cooperation between government, organised labour and business". In a statement issued yesterday, the Presidency said the "pre-SONA" business investor luncheon, which will take place at the Grand West Casino in Cape Town tomorrow, will be attended by business leaders an union representatives. "The meeting will serve as a platform to promote inclusive economic growth, radical socio-economic transformation and job creation in South Africa", the Presidency said. Members of the inter-ministerial committee, which ZUMA established in 2016 to improve support and assistance to investors wishing to take advantage of vast investment opportunities in SA, will accompany the president at the lunch. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Peters apologises for delay in road accident payments - Fin24

Transport Minister DIPUO PETERS on Friday apologised to the claimants, service providers, stakeholders and caregivers who are affected by the delays in payment following the attachment of the ROAD ACCIDENT FUND's bank account by the Sheriff of the Court. PETERS finds the attachment of the RAF's bank account unfortunate and regrettable as the action denies the claimants access to their much-needed financial relief from government. She has directed that the RAF keep those affected informed and abreast with the status quo and ensure that normality is restored urgently. While the government is planning to introduce the Road Accident Benefit Scheme, the RAF introduced the Cash Management Plan which was put in place two years ago to maintain regular payment. The implementation of this plan was disrupted by the few legal firms who intended to ensure that their claims are prioritised over those who have patiently been waiting for payment. The attachment has adversely impacted the RAF as an institution, disruptin

SARB opposes Gupta associate's bank bid - Sam Mkokeli

The SARB has recommended rejecting a bid to buy HABIB OVERSEAS BANK's local unit due to concerns about the source of the two businessmen's income and tax declarations, government officials said last week. The central bank has written a letter to Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN recommending that the merger between the HABIB OVERSEAS BANK unit and a South African entity be blocked. One of the businessmen is linked to the GUPTA family. SALIM ESSA, a director of VR LASER SERVICES which is partly owned by OAKBAY INVESTMENTS, and HAMZA FAROOQUI had bid to buy all of HABIB's South African assets. HABIB OVERSEAS, which is owned by Luxembourg-based PITCAIRNS FINANCE SA, has about R1.1bn in South African assets. The deal would have merged HABIB's South Afrian arm and VARDOSPAN, a JV between CINQ HOLDINGS and PEARL CAPITAL, owned respectively by ESSA and FAROOQUI. "We have received no communication that our application has been rejected" FAROOQUI said in an email on Friday, while ESSA expressed confidence that the

VR Laser mum on bank acc closures - Liesl Peyper

Businesses associated with the GUPTAS are under increasing pressure to find financial institutions that are willing to facilitate and process their banking transactions. The BANK OF CHINA severed tied with VR LASR just three weeks after the company opened bank accounts with the institution in Sep. 2016. The bank is majority owned by the Chinese government. VR LASER CEO PIETER VAN DER MERWE on Friday declined to comment on the closure of the company's bank accounts, except to say the process is currently under litigation. He declined to divulge who the company is currently banking with. BusinessLive on Friday reported that VR LASER, of which AJAY GUPTA's eldest son KAMAL KANT SINGHALA is a director, approached the BANK OF CHINA after NEDBANK and STANDARD BANK closed the company's accounts in 2016, citing reputational risk. The BANK OF CHINA demanded that VR LASER restructure its business to exclude shareholding by the GUPTA family before it would continue doing business with it. According to papers file

Tanzania said to pick Mota, Yapi to build rail - Bloomberg

Tanzania chose Turkish construction group YAPI MERKEZI INSAAT VE SANAYI AS and Portuguese building firm MOTA-ENGIL SGPS SA to build a railway at a cost of more than €1bn to connect the country with landlocked neighbours, sources said lat week. The contract is to build around 400km of track that will link Tanzania with Burundi and Rwanda. MOTA-ENGIL and YAPI MERKEZI hold a 50% stake each in the winning bidder. YAPI MERKEZI has asked the Turkish government to provide guarantees for financing the project, one source said. Turkish President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN made a two-day visit to Tanzania last month to strengthen ties between the two nations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN appoints executive for group transformation - Natasha Odendaal

MTN GROUP on Friday announced the immediate appointment of SAIM YAKSAN as executive for group transformation, following the launch of holistic transformation programme Ignite in Q3 2016. YAKSAN will be tasked with the development and execution of special initiatives to accelerate business and financial performance under Ignite, which will be progressively rolled out to other operations after its establishment in SA and Nigeria. YAKSAN will be supported by DEBBIE MINNAAR and OLUBAYO ADEKANMBI, who will lead transformation offices in SA and Nigeria, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Two Rivers platinum mine output surpasses 400 000oz/y - David Oliveira

Two Rivers, a JV between AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS and IMPALA PLATINUM, reached an important milestone in 2016, producing more than 400 000oz of PGMs for the first time since it started production in 2008. Two Rivers GM JJ JOUBERT said the mine has continuously improved its y/y output performance over the past five years, from about 300 000oz in 2011 to 400 722oz in 016, which he attributed to the continued rise in rock-face availability, the nature of the orebody, the mine design and mining 24/7. JOUBERT said the ore reserve is very stable with a low dip, allowing for mechanised equipment to be deployed, thereby "setting it apart from most platinum mines". Because the mine operates continuously, with blasting taking place twice daily, it can adopt an operating method that uses the mining equipment to the best of its capabilities and efficiencies. The 2017 production target is set for 380 000oz "but our forecast is well in excess of that... so we should exceed the target quite comfortably", JOUBERT said.

India 2017 gold demand seen muted as govt clamps down on 'black money' - Reuters

Gold demand in India will be muted this year after dropping to multi-year lows in 2016, with trading dented as the government pushes to make markets for the metal more transparent and brings in a new tax, the World Gold Council said on Friday. Lower demand from the country could rein in global prices, but would allow the nation to reduce its trade deficit. PM NARENDRA MODI has been trying to curb costly bullion imports and stop the metal from being used to hide billions of dollars of undeclared "black money'. More than two-thirds of gold is bought with cash in India. Gold demand in the country fell 21.2% in 2016 y/y to 675.5t as new rules such as those forcing customers to disclose their tax code for purchases above 200 00 rupees dampened demand, said SOMASUNDARAM PR, MD of WGC's Indian operations. That was the lowest level in seven years. Consumption will likely be between 650 and 750 t in 2017, with appetite also hit by the introduction of a nationwide Goods and Services Tax. The GST is expected to be

Philippine miners say closures to hit 1.2m people, vow to fight back - Reuters

The planned closure of 23 mines in the Philippines and the suspension of five others will affect around 1.2m people, miners said, as some vowed to take legal action to contest the decision. Environment and Natural Resources Secretary REGINA LOPEZ ordered the closures and suspensions on Thursday as she announced the results of a months-long audit on the country's 41 mines aimed at halting mining operations judged to have harmed the environment. ARTEMIO DISINI, chair of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, said the first option for affected miners would be to appeal to President RODRIGO DUTERTE "before going to the courts". Finance Secretary CARLOS DOMINGUEZ on Friday said he would shortly meet with other cabinet members to check if they have "emergency employment programs" that could absorb workers who will lose jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport warns of cuts as it awaits Indonesian export permit - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN on Friday said it will cut staff, spending and production in Indonesia if it does not get a new export permit by mid-Feb., amplifying a warning it made last week. The miner said it continues to work with the government to resolve issues after exports of its copper concentrate were halted on Jan. 12. The country banned export shipments of semi-processed ore to boost its local smelter industry. FREEPORT said it has the right to export copper concentrate from its Grasberg mine in Indonesia without restriction or export duties under its current contract, and was considering alternatives to enforce its rights. For every month it awaits export approval, FREEPORT said its share of output will be reduced by around 70m pounds of copper and 70 000oz of gold. If the export delay in Indonesia continues, FREEPORT said it would need to make "near-term" production cuts to match capacity at its smelter, which processes around 40% of its concentrate production. It will also need to "significantly adjust

Randgold's Tongon to meet 2016 output guidance - Natasha Odendaal

RANDGOLD RESOURCES on Friday said its Tongon mine in Ivory Coast would meet the revised production guidance for 2016 on the back of ongoing significant performance improvements. Tongon is expected to hit the targeted production of 260 000oz of gold for 2016, with expectations of 285 000oz of production in 2017 and 290 000oz thereafter each year for the next three years. RANDGOLD CEO MARK BRISTOW said the Tongon team "had delivered on all the critical issues, stabilising the optimised crushing circuit, minimising the impact of grid power supply disruptions and implementing an effective preventative maintenance plan". RANDGOLD now aims to extend the life of the mine via additional resource and reserve discoveries in the extensions to the current orebodies, the satellites around the mine and other targets within trucking distance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Local fuel cell manufacturing launch boost for platinum demand - Martin Creamer

The government-backed fuel cell plant launch scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town has potential demand implications for SA's platinum-mining industry. With the backing of the Department of Trade & Industry, ISONDO PRECIOUS METALS has invested in a state-of-the-art German manufacturing plant technology for membrane electrode assembly (MEA) currently used by international manufacturing companies. ISONDO is also pursuing private sector venture capital for the balance of its funding needs via Section 12 J of the Income Tax Act, which allows investors to claim a 100% tax deduction plus a 70% BBBEE credit. The company expects to be revenue generating in the next 18 months. ISONDO is positioning to produce MEA for the international market within a special economic zone in SA at lowest cost, using technology that has been developed internationally. Targeted are the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which dominates the market, and the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC).

Gold Fields expects return to profitability in FY2016 - Natasha Odendaal

GOLD FIELDS expects to have swung back into the black during the FY to end-Dec., with EPS and HEPS surging by 160%-170%, and 730%-389%, respectively. GOLD FIELDS on Friday said its EPS for 2016 would be between $0.18 and $0.21, compared with an LPS of $0.31 reported y/y. HEPS for 2016 are expected to be between $0.29 and $0.31, compared with a loss of $0.04/share y/y. Normalised EPS, at $0.23-$0.25/share, are expected to be 280%-320% higher than the normalised EPS of $0.06 reported y/y. The increases in EPS, HEPS and normalised earnings are driven by an 8% y/y rise in the dollar gold price and lower net operating costs in local currencies, coupled with the impact of converting these costs at weaker exchange rates. GOLD FIELDS expects stable attributable gold-equivalent output during the FY under review, reaching 2.1moz, with all-in sustaining costs of $980/oz and all-in costs of $1 006/oz. Results will be published on Feb. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alex Forbes CFO quits - Business Report

ALEXANDER FORBES on Friday announced that CFO DEON VILJOEN will leave the company at the end of April after 14 years with the company. The company said VILJOEN was leaving "to pursue other opportunities". In his place, BRUCE BYDAWELL will temporarily assume the position of acting CFO. ALEX FORBES also announced that PETER EDWARDS, MD of Institutional Financial Services, will leave at the end of Mar. However, EDWARD has agreed to stay with the company as a senior adviser post his retirement, to provide counsel as needed while the group executes on its single institutional strategy. The firm said extensive searches are underway to identify suitable candidates for both roles and it will make further announcements "in due course". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH buys Cornastone - Business Report

EOH HOLDINGS on Friday said it has bought the CORNASTONE group of companies for an undisclosed amount. EOH said the deal will enhance its service offerings. The addition of CORNASTONE to EOH's stable gives it additional offerings such as niche support services to telecoms network operators in the areas of call centre operations, billing operations, revenue assurance and operational data analysis. It will also enable it to provide revenue management and revenue protection solutions to the public sector. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fly Blue Crane delays rescue plan - Business Report

Low cost carrier FLY BLUE CRANE's business rescue practitioner, ETIENNE NAUDE, is still optimistic about the airline's future, but on Friday said he had requested an extension from the company's creditors on the presentation of the proposed business rescue plan. The plan, NAUDE said, would be presented in the final few weeks after a few lose ends are "tied up". To achieve a sustainable plan, "FLY BLUE CRANE will temporarily have interrupted services - a move that will allow the airline to restructure its operations, reach critical agreements and fine-tune its schedules", NAUDE said. He added that the extension of the plan is needed to "aid the development and implementation of a sustainable strategy for the airline". The company started flying in Sep. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to miss 2016 targets on growth, deficit reduction - Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Ghana will miss its 2016 targets on growth, fiscal deficit reduction and its primary balance, but intends to restore fiscal discipline and eliminate overexposure, Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA said on Friday. The new government said this week it inherited debt from SOEs and ministries of at least 7bn cedis ($1.6bn) and a budget deficit close to "double digits" compared with a 2016 target of 5% of GDP. OFORI-ATTA said the government is hopeful of meeting the challenges by enforcing strict financial discipline. Ghana is halfway through a three-year, $918m IMF programme aimed at restoring fiscal balance and promoting growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mali forecasts 2017 GDP growth at 5.3% - Tiemoko Diallo

Mali is forecasting 2017 GDP growth of 5.3% due to expectations of a strong grain and cotton harvest and gold production, DIAKARIDIA DEMBELE, technical adviser at the finance ministry, said on Saturday. This compares with an estimated GDP growth of 5.4% last year in the country. Agricultural output will rise due to subsidies and increased mechanisation, while two gold mines should open this year, DEMBELE said. These are the Fekola mine operated by B2GOLD and Yanfolila, operated by HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria sells 400bn naira bills to mop up money market liquidity - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's central bank sold some 400bn naira of T-bills on Friday, lifting the interbank lending rate up to 12%, traders said. The central bank sold 82bn naira in 181-day Treasury bills at 18% and 309bn at 18.6%, mopping up liquidity from the money market and pushing up the cost of borrowing among commercial lenders. Markets had opened on Thursday with a surplus liquidity of around 467bn naira due to an injection of matured T-bills until the central bank later debited banks for the purchases of 302.4bn in primary market T-bills. Traders said the central bank on Friday moved to reduce liquidity with the sale of open market operations bills, which fetched returns above the inflation rate. Nigeria raised 302.4bn naira at Wednesday's Treasury bills auction, more than the 242bn planned due to robust demand for the one-year debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania hikes fuel prices due to weaker currency, crude costs - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's energy regulator raised maximum fuel prices on Saturday, citing higher international costs for crude and refined products and a weaker local currency. Fuel prices weigh heavily on the country's inflation rate, which rose to 5.0% in the 12 months through Dec., from 4.8% the prior month. Tanzania's Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority raised the maximum retail price of petrol by 3.64% and increased the cap for diesel sales by 7.47%. Maximum kerosene prices were raised 8.9% in the latest monthly price limits, which take immediate effect. EWURA increased the price of petrol in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam by 69 shillings a litre to 1 959 shillings, and the price of diesel in the capital by 129 shillings to 1 861 shillings per litre. Kerosene prices in the commercial capital rose 151 shillings to 1 852 shillings per litre. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Peugeot to assemble two car models in Kenya - Laurence Frost

France's PSA GROUP at the weekend said it had signed a contract to start assembling two car models in Kenya. PSA, maker of PEUGEOT, CITROEN and DS cars, will assemble the PEUGEOT 508 and 3008 models from its of pre-assembled modules with local partner URYSIA, its long-standing Kenyan importer and distributor. The venture will initially produce around 1 000 vehicles annually, PSA said. The PEUGEOT brand previously assembled vehicles in Kenya between 1974 and 2002. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz has not approached Paris Club for debt relief - Karin Strohecker

Mozambique's finance ministry on Friday said it had not approached the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations for debt relief, the country's finance ministry said last week. "The Ministry of Economy and Finance... wishes to deny recent rumours in the media erroneously reporting that the Republic has approached the Paris Club for debt relief", the statement said, without giving any further details. Mozambique last month said it would not make a coupon payment to holders of its 2023 dollar-bond. The government said its financial difficulties made its ability to repay debt this year "extremely limited". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC copper output down 5% in 2016, inflation to top 30% in 2017 - - Aaron Ross

The DRC mined 986 582t of copper in 2016, down 5% y/y amid stubbornly low prices, the central bank said on Friday. The central bank also said the inflation rate would increase this year to 31.19%, up from an estimated 25.04% in 2016. A shortage of dollars and large government deficits pushed down the Congolese franc by nearly 40% last year, the bank said. The World Bank last week said it expects the DRC's economy to average 5% growth in 2017/18, compared with an estimated 2.7% in 2016. But it warned that public finances are severely depleted and recommended that the government seek assistance from international development partners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 06/02/2017

At 06h15 on 06 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.26 ZAR/EUR 14.30 ZAR/GBP 16.56 Gold 1223.67 Platinum 1007.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.94 All Share 52265.16

Sibanye may raise up to $1.3bn in equity for Stillwater deal - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

SIBANYE GOLD said it might tap shareholders for up to $1.3bn to partly fund a $2.2bn takeover of STILLWATER MINING CO., the only US miner of platinum and palladium. SIBANYE had initially said it would raise around $750m via a rights issue to help fund the deal, but today said it had reconsidered after some shareholders expressed concerns about the group's debt levels. "SIBANYE believes that increasing the equity component would be prudent in the current strong rand environment, allowing the company to maintain a strong balance sheet", it said. The company said gold output of 765 000oz for the HY to end-Dec. was similar to the amount produced in the HY to end-Jun., while PGM group metal production amounted to 230 000oz. SIBANYE said the consensus outlook for precious metal prices in the near term, particularly in rand terms, was subdued and further sustained rand strength would impact on operating margins in its gold and platinum divisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish inflation hits 12-month high - Mehreen Khan

Turkey's annual inflation rate rose by far more than expected in Jan. as the country's central bank battles with a tumbling lira and the worst pace of economic growth since the financial crisis. Annual inflation hit 9.2% last month from December's 8.53% - far above policymakers' range of 5%, and a forecasted climb to 8.6%. Turkey's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged last month but hiked its overnight lending rate by 75 bps. Meanwhile, producer price inflation hit 13.7% last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Independent gauge shows China factory activity softening - Hudson Lockett

Growth in China's manufacturing sector slowed markedly at the start of 2017 as the flow of new business slowed despite a boost in export orders. The CAIXIN-MARKIT manufacturing PMI dropped nearly a full percentage point to 51 in Jan. from 51.9 m/m. Analysts had forecast a reading of 51.8. Factory output grew at the slowest pace since Sep., while total new orders grew at a softer rate. Jobs were shed at a faster pace in Dec. as companies attempted to cut costs. Yet almost a quarter of companies surveyed for the gauge indicated they continued to face sharply rising input costs that had prompted more than one in 10 companies to raise their prices. Among the more positive developments in Dec. was a steep uptick in growth of export orders, which came in at the fastest rate since Sep. 2014. Businesses also remained staunchly sunny on their prospects, with expectations for output rising to a six-month high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap unveils $3bn IPO filing - Adam Samson

SNAP, parent of disappearing image-messaging platform SNAPCHAT, has for the first time made public its filing for an IPO, which is expected to be one of the biggest tech IPOs in recent years. The filing with the US SEC said the company expects to raise $3bn. SNAP is aiming for a valuation of $20bn-$25bn and is looking to float its shares next month. At that level, SNAP would top TWITTER's IPO market value of $18bn in 2013. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon sales rise 22% but miss estimates - Leslie Hook

AMAZON yesterday disclosed a weaker-than-expected 22% ries in quarterly sales, along with a disappointing revenue outlook, sending shares down in after-hours trading. Revenues hit $43.7bn in Q4, slightly lower than analysts had expected, and AMAZON blamed forex fluctuations for an unfavourable impact of $558m during the quarter. AMAZON also said the pace of sales growth could slow during Q1, and issued guidance for sales between $33.25bn and $35.75bn, which would be an increase of 14%-23% y/y. Wall Street was forecasting revenues of $36bn. Profits were higher than expected at $749m for Q4, or $1.54/share. During FY2016, AMAZON's revenues grew 27% and reached $136bn. Shares fell 4% in after-hours trading shortly after the earnings release. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Visa shares climb as quarterly earnings top estimates - Adam Samson

VISA shares climbed in after-hours trading yesterday after the company unveiled a bigger-than-expected rise in quarterly profits. The company logged earnings of $2.1bn, or 86cps, in the quarter to end-Dec., an increase of 7% y/y. The EPS topped Wall Street forecasts of 78cps. Operating revenue rose by 25% on the same basis to $4.5bn, also exceeding forecasts of $4.3bn. The upbeat results propelled the stock higher by more than 2% in extended trade, adding to the advance of 5.5% for 2017 as of the close of trading on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple lifts bond sale to $10bn on strong investor demand - Eric Platt

APPLE lifted its borrowing plans to $10bn after strong investor demand allowed the iPhone maker to up the size of a planned bond sale on Thursday, according to two investors involved with the sale. Order boots for the deal, which is spread across nine tenors, surpassed $36bn as underwriters tightened pricing, they added. The new 2027 maturing debt was set to price with a yield 88 bps above benchmark Treasuries, or roughly 3.35%. The company's 2026 maturing notes traded hands with a yield between 3.25% and 3.3% on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 03/02/2017

At 12h00 on 03 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.43 ZAR/EUR 14.44 ZAR/GBP 16.83 Gold 1213.27 Platinum 974.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.73 All Share 52351.44

Estée Lauder cuts guidance, citing strong dollar, global turmoil - Pan Kwan Yuk

ESTEE LAUDER yesterday took the scissors to its sales and earnings forecasts for fiscal 2017, citing dollar strength and the uncertainties created by recent geopolitical events. "Social and political issues, terrorism, currency volatility and economic challenges are affecting consumer behaviour in certain countries, such as Hong Kong and some emerging markets", the company said. As a result, it now expects net sales to grow 4%-5% this year, down from the 6%-7% growth it was predicting just three months ago. Forecasts for its diluted net EPS have also been revised lower to between $3.29 and $3.33, down from its prior forecast of $3.38-$3.44/share. The guidance cut overshadowed ESTEE LAUDER's slightly better than expected Q2 results. Net sales rose 3% for the quarter to end-Dec. to $3.21bn, in line with forecasts. Net income fell 4% to $428m or $1.15/diluted share as the company took a $41m charge related to its ongoing restructuring. Excluding this one-off charge, earnings came in at $1.22/share, ahead

Conoco posts smaller-than-expected quarterly loss - Ed Crooks

CONOCOPHILLIPS reported a smaller loss than expected for Q4 2016, and highlighted its potential to make profitable investments in its business as low oil prices, but projected only slow growth in production this year. The underlying LPS for the quarter, excluding one-off items, was 26cps, compared to a loss of 90cps y/y. Analysts had on average forecast a loss of 40cps. CONOCO's shares fell more than 60% in the oil price crash, to a low point in Feb. last year after it cut its dividend, but have risen 24% over the past 12 months as crude has recovered. The group cut capex by more than 50% to $4.9bn last year, and cut production and operating expenses by 19%. Production for 2016, excluding the Libyan operations that have been hit by disruption in that country, dropped slightly to 1.57m boe/day, down from 1.59m b/d in 2015. For 2017, the company expects capex to be roughly unchanged at $5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merck's Keytruda posts strong sales gains after lung cancer nod - David Crow

Sales of an immunotherapy made by MERCK jumped in Q4 after the company was given the green light to use the drug in some untreated lung cancer patients. MERCH generated $483m of revenues from Keytruda in the final quarter of 2016, an increase of 36% q/q and up 125% y/y. MERCK yesterday announced adjusted earnings for Q4 that were in line with analysts' forecasts at 89cps. Revenues of $10.12bn were about $100m shy of the typical Wall Street forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoE leaves policy on hold - Katie Martin

The Bank of England has opted to keep its low benchmark interest rate and bond-buying programme on hold in Feb., with the rate-setting committee voting unanimously for the move. The bank rate was left unchanged at 0.25%, with corporate bond purchases of up to £10bn and government bond purchases at £435bn. The BoE upgraded its short-term forecast for growth for the second time in three months. It now thinks GDP growth will hit 2% this year from an earlier estimate of 1.4% made in Nov. The BoE still thinks consumer prices will far overshoot its target at 2.7% this year before falling back to around 2.4% in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nickel price leaps after Philippines announces mining crackdown - Neil Hume

The price of nickel jumped yesterday as hedge funds and speculators rushed to close bets against the metal after the Philippines pressed ahead with an environmental crackdown on its mining industry. Nickel rose $190 to R10 470/t on the LME after Manila ordered the closure of 21 mines and the suspension of another six pits, including the country's biggest gold mine. During a televised press conference, environmental and natural resources secretary REGINA LOPEZ said the mines earmarked for closure on Thursday accounted for around half of the country's nickel output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hudaco shares rally on FY results - Andries Mahlangu

HUDACO shares rallied nearly 8% this morning after the company posted an improvement in its performance and gave an upbeat assessment on its near-term outlook. The company said HEPS rose 5% to 1 222cps in te FY to end-Nov. y/y, off revenue of R5.5bn. The engineering consumables division comprises 20 businesses and accounted for 49% of other sales and 39% of operating profit. The total dividend per share was unchanged at 525cps, while net cash from operations rose 51% to R749m. Shares in HUDACO were up 7.53% at R122.60 in mid-morning trade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba announces tax settlement - Robert Laing

KUMBA IRON ORE's share price fell as much as 5% to R201.74 this morning after it said it has agreed to pay R2.5bn to settle a tax dispute with SARS. Although lower than the R5.5bn SARS originally demanded in Feb. last year, the settlement was R1bn higher than KUMBA had provided for in its financial results. KUMBA said the settlement would be paid in full by end-Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

More than 70 residential units planned for Cape Quarter - Carin Smith

TOWER PROPERTY FUND's development of over 70 residential units in Cape Town's Cape Quarter is expected to come on stream from Dec. 2017 through to mid-2019. Given the high demand for residential property in the area, TOWER will sell all the units and re-invest the profits in the business. CEO MARC EDWARDS said the development is divided into three properties. The main one already has 14 residential apartments on the top floor of the commercial and office space. The second property - the existing Piazza building - will have at least 54 apartments added to the existing retail and office space. For the development of the third property, on Napier Street, the existing building has already been knocked down. The new development will consist of two floors of commercial space, 19 residential units and 128 parking bays. The aim is to create units that fit the look of the area instead of just modern blocks of flats. Currently prices for residential property in the area are around R65 000/m² and EDWARDs said t

Pityana: Dirty money at centre of Zuma delaying FICA Bill - Liesl Peyper

There's enough reason to suspect the true reason why President JACOB ZUMA is delaying the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill is to facilitate continued money laundering, SAVE SA convenor and ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI chair SIPHO PITYANA said yesterday. PITYANA said the reasons advanced by the president, namely whether the matter of warrantless searches are constitutional or not, are baseless. "That was ingestigated ant there's case law (on the matter of warrantless searches). It's inconceivable that the state law advisors who advise him on these matters and the constitutionality of the law would not have drawn his attention to the fact that the courts have already taken a view on it. There's no basis to sent this ball back on those grounds". PITYANA earlier told the Cape Town Press Club he hopes Cabinet will ask hard questions on yesterday's lekgotla, such as why the FIC Bill was sent back on "the flimsiest of grounds". Asked about the ANC's recent pronouncements that the local economy needs to be cha

Brimstone issues trading statement - Fin24

BRIMSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION yesterday said it expects improved earnings for the FY to end-Dec., compared to an LPS and HLPS of 284.8cps and 295cps respectively reported y/y. This profit would represent an increase of at least 100% compared to the loss incurred in the prior comparative period. Results will be published on Feb. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPC boosts empowerment status - Roy Cokayne

PPC improved its BBBEE contributor level to Level 4 from Level 8 in Dec. on the back of a new empowerment transaction. The company yesterday confirmed this, but indicated that details related to the "proposed new B-BBEE III transaction" would be communicated to shareholders during H1 2017. PPC last month said the conclusion of its first empowerment transaction had resulted in a cash inflow of R1bn in Dec. It said this inflow had improved the significant de-gearing evident in the company's balance sheet in the HY to end-Sep. PPC said the R1bn cash inflow from the completed BBBEE deal would be used to further reduce the company's debt and fund capex, particularly the Slurry kiln 9 project. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resilient puts Nigeria on hold - Roy Cokayne

RESILIENT has postponed further development in Nigeria until the country's economy recovers and said it was considering other direct investment opportunities to achieve its goal of having up to 50% of its total direct and indirect property assets in offshore assets. RESILIENT MD DES DE BEER said 39.4% of the group's total direct and indirect property assets were offshore at end-Dec. However, DE BEER said that with the challenges currently being experienced in Nigeria, its board was considering other direct investment opportunities which met the criteria of owning dominant regional malls to achieve this goal. RESILIENT owns 60.9% of RESILIENT AFRICA, a JV for the development of malls in Nigeria n partnership with SHOPRITE CHECKERS. The company had advanced R951m to RESILIENT AFRICA, with additional commitments totalling R185m at end-Dec. RESILIENT yesterday reported a 16.2% rise in distributions per share to 270.22cps for the HY to end-Dec., from 232.46cps y/y. The growth was attributed to a solid perfor

Edcon debt reduced to R7bn - Siseko Njobeni

EDCON has finalised the restructuring of its debt, resulting in the reduction of the debt from R26.7bn to around R7bn. The retailer yesterday said the development would enable it to shift its focus from debt reduction strategies to improving its operational performance. EDCON said it had obtained all the necessary approvalsfor the restructuring with lenders, who include various banks and investment firms, having already approved the move. "We are already seeing benefits at store level, in technological improvements, customer care, and ensuring that our employees are better informed, trained and remunerated. We expect these and certain other new initiatives to be continued to be rolled out for the next year, before we start seeing anticipated and meaningful benefits", CEO BERNIE BROOKES said. BARCLAYS WEALTH & INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT analyst CHRIS GILMOUR said while it was too soon to assume that EDCON was out of the woods, the reduction of the debt was a major step. GILMOUR said while there was potential

Premier Fishing turns to solar - Joseph Booysen

Soon-to-be-listed PREMIER FISHING SA has installed the first solar-energy initiative in the abalone aquaculture space in SA as the company looks to expand its plant in the Western Cape. The company said it completed the solar energy investment on its Atlantic Abalone farm in Gansbaai to double abalone imports to overseas markets and to create more job opportunities. CEO SAMIR SABAN said the Solar PV system would use light from the sun or solar irradiation to generate electricity, offsetting the ESKOM power supply to the farm. "The abalone operation currently employs more than 100 people and with the further expansion of our existing operations we expect to employ more than 300 people once the expansion is completed", SABAN said. PREMIER FISHING is a member of AEEI. It plans a separate listing on the JSE next month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VBS eyes JSE listing - Reuters, Business Report

VBS MUTUAL BANK, which made headlines last year after it granted President JACOB ZUMA a loan to reimburse the state for upgrades to his Nkandla residence, plans to list on the JSE, its chairperson said yesterday. VBS lent ZUMA R7.8m after a court ordered he pay back part of the R246m the state spent on his luxury home. The lender, whose clients are mostly rural homebuilders or small businesses, plans to expand from only four branches at present to a nationwide network, VBS chair TSHIFHIWA MATODZI said. VBS is a level one empowerment contributor, and claims it is 99.93% black-owned, although the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION holds a quarter of its stock. The lender has 30 000 clients with deposits of around R800m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI steps in with task team amid poultry industry malaise - Natasha Odendaal

The Department of Trade & Industry's action-focused government task team is in the process of identifying several interventions to resolve the current crisis surrounding chicken dumping in SA's poultry market. The DTI is seeking out measures to boost trade, competitiveness, value-addition and tech upgrades; provide export support, industrial finance and incentives; and promote growth and transformation of the poultry industry. DTI deputy DG GARTH STRACHAN said the task team "will develop a common response to the complex challenges facing the domestic industry. This followed the delivery this week by FAWU general secretary KATISHI MASEMOLA and SA Poultry Association CEO KEVIN LOVELL of a memorandum of protest to the EU's offices in Pretoria over the claimed dumping of chicken in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BevSA calls for regulation of sugar reduction, not sugar tax - ANA

The Beverage Association of SA yesterday said it remained convinced that the reduction of obesity rates in SA could be done without the negative impacts of taxation in the economy. This comes after BevSA earlier this week outlined its opposition to a proposed 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages. Government has proposed a 20% tax on SSBs from Apr. in a bid to curb the country's high obesity rate. While it acknowledged that obesity was a concern, BevSA said there were more effective ways to address the problem than a tax on soft drinks. It proposed regulating sugar reduction instead of introducing a sugar tax, with the industry willing to commit to achieving double the calorie reduction envisaged by the tax without adverse economic effects and job losses. BevSA urged more in-depth local research before the tax was implemented, including a detailed socio-economic impact assessment on the effects of a tax. It argued that a sugar tax would harm the industry and SA's economic growth prospects, while deliveri

Ivanhoe cleared to relocate informal graves near Platreef project - Henry Lazenby

IVANHOE MINES subsidiary IVANPLATS has been cleared by a South African court to continue with the relocation of informal graves located in the vicinity of its $1.2bn Platreef mine development project in Limpopo. Justice JOHN MURPHY set aside the interim interdict that was granted by the North Gauteng High Court on Nov. 28 following an ex parte hearing, which was conducted without IVANPLATS' knowledge or participation. The judge would give written reasons for his decision in due course. IVANPLATS argued in court that it had conducted extensive consultation with community residents and relatives of the deceased individuals interred in the graves, and also had obtained all necessary permits and authorisation for the relocation process. A total of 54 graves were relocated from land outside the perimeter of the mine development site before the interim interdict was issued, 30 awaited relocation and 10 locations had been investigated and found not to contain human remains. IVANPLATS is providing new burial plo

AngloGold expects up to 262% rise in headline earnings - Creamer Media Reporter

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI expects to report a 242%-262% y/y rise in headline earnings to $104m to $118m for the FY to end-Dec. HEPS are expected to be 239%-256% higher y/y. The company reported a headline loss and HLPS of $73m and $0.18 respectively for FY2015. Results will be published on Feb. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to double ferrochrome output to 300 000t - Reuters

Zimbabwe's ferrochrome production is expected to double to 300 000t this year after the government allocated chrome concessions to small mining companies as part of efforts to boost output, Mines Minister WALTER CHIDHAKWA said yesterday. CHIDHAKWA said the country earned $115m from 149 000t of ferrochrome. Raw chrome exports are expected to reach 550 000t from 285 000t, he added. "We are projecting 300 000t of ferrochrome for 2017 as a result of the measures we have taken in allocating the chrome concessions", CHIDHAKWA said. Harare is pushing large mining companies to give up part of their concessions for distribution to individuals and smaller mines, which has helped in the gold sector, where small scale miners have tripled output to over 8t since 2014. The government has accused the two biggest ferrochrome miners of underutilising concessions and last Apr. forced the biggest producer, ZIMASCO, to give up half of its 46 000ha in mining claims. CHIDHAKWA said Harare was still negotiating with ZIMBABWE

Bell starts succession planning - Anine Kilian

BELL EQUIPMENT yesterday said it has initiated a programme to ensure a successor has been elected by the time current CEO GARY BELL elects to retire. The programme may include a talent search process, both internal and external, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal says Concor colluded on five projects - Anine Kilian

The Competition Tribunal has found that CONCOR, a subsidiary of MURRAY & ROBERTS, colluded with other construction companies in tenders involving five projects. "The decision followed a complaint lodged by the Competition Commission with the tribunal in which the commission sought a declaratory order from the tribunal confirming that CONCOR had contravened the Competition Act in relation to the projects", the Tribunal said. In 2006, M&R was given conditional immunity from an administrative penalty for the projects, which extends to CONCOR. CONCOR had applied for leniency under the Commission's Construction Fast-Track Settlement process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore maintains 2017 guidance after hitting 2016 targets - Natasha Odendaal

GLENCORE yesterday reported output in line with its guidance for the FY to end-Dec. on the back of copper, zinc, coal and oil production suspensions. Copper output for the year under review fell 5% to R1.4mt, with higher grades and throughput within the Latin American portfolio offsetting the impact of the suspended production at GLENCORE's African copper assets. The company posted a 24% y/y drop in zinc output to just under 1.1mt due to production curtailments. A 20% hike was reported in nickel production to 115 100t, while coal output contracted 5% to 124.9mt during the period under review. GLENCORE's entitlement oil interest of 7.5m barrels was 29% lower than in 2015, due to the depletion of existing fields. GLENCORE's 2017 production guidance remains unchanged, with copper output of 1.35mt expected, zinc production at 1.19mt, lead at 300 000t, nickel at 120 000t, ferrochrome at 1.65mt and coal at 135mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio said to get approaches on last $1.5bn of coal assets - Bloomberg

RIO TINTO GROUP, which last month agreed to sell $2.45bn of Australian assets, has received approaches for its remaining coal operations in that country, sources said yesterday. The company is considering options for its Hail Creek and Kestrel mines, including a potential sale. Its controlling stakes in the operations - located in Queensland's Bowen Basin - could fetch as much as A$2bn, sources said. RIO has been divesting Australian coal assets since dismantling its energy division in 2015. The assets are RIO's last producing coal mines globally after it agreed to sell its stake in Australian thermal coal operations to an arm of China's YANZHOU COAL MINING for $2.45bn. A formal sale process for Hail Creek and Kestrel may not begin until ANGLO AMERICAN decides whether to sell its Australian coking coal mines, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale more optimistic than market on iron ore prices - Reuters

VALE is more optimistic than the market consensus in terms of iron ore prices for 2017, Investor Relations Director ANDRE FIGUEIREDO said yesterday. FIGUEIREDO also said the company had likely made a profit in 2016, and should pay dividends equivalent to around 25% of net profit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MiX posts lower profit - Business Report

MIX TELEMATICS yesterday reported lower profit despite having hit the 600 000 subscriber mark. The company said this was as of the quarter to end-Dec. "Passing the 600 000 subscriber mark is a great achievement", CEO STEFAN JOSELOWITZ said. MIX said its strong Q3 results were driven by general strength across the portfolio, including a positive contribution from energy sector consumers, as well as the ongoing shift towards bundled deals. Subscription revenue for the quarter came in 5.5% higher at R310.7m, which benefited from an increase of more than 54 600 subscribers, boosting the subscriber base 9.9% y/y. Total revenue was R401.4m, up 6%. The company''s profit declined to R35.1m from R57.9m y/y. JOSELOWITZ said the company is well positioned to maintain momentum for the remainder of the FY and beyond. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wescoal opens bidding for Keaton with R525m cash/share offer - David McKay

WESCOAL HOLDINGS is to bid shares and cash worth R525.6m for KEATON ENERGY in its bid to establish itself as an 8mt/year domestic and export coal miner. The company yesterday unveiled terms of a takover offer in which it will offer KEATON shareholders R1.80/share, a 33% premium to KEATON's volume weighted average price over the last 30 days. The offer has the support of 77% of KEATON's shareholders including the POUROULIS family, who own 26.4% of the company and trading group GUNVOR via investment vehicle PLUSBAY (26.8%). Shareholder support is conditional on KEATON not receiving a higher offer, KEATON CEO MANDI GLAD said. The WESCOAL offer consists of R1.20/share, equal to a total of about R350m, with the balance in some 87.6m WESCOAL shares in a ratio of 0.3 for every KEATON share. WESCOAL said its bid, which it hopes to conclude in the first half of its 2018 FY, would be funded through a combination of cash, debt and the R178m it received from its Dec. empowerment transaction. The offer has a number

DRDGold to extend Ergo 15 years - David McKay

DRDGOLD will spend around R507m in order to access additional mineral reserves identified in a pre-feasibility study of its surface gold tailings east of Johannesburg. The company said the study, focused on tailings to the east of its ERGO Mining plant, showed an increase in mineral reserves to 312.6mt from 170.9mt previously. This would extend the operating life of ERGO by 15 years to 2031, in which some 3moz of gold would be mined compared to 1.8moz identified prior to the study. DRDGOLD said R507.7m is needed to support the proposed mining operations and to access the East Rand slime dump and dams. "This includes 162.4km of pipelines and pump stations. No major upgrades are required to the current processing plant", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC's growth to average 5% in 2017/18 - World Bank - Aaron Ross

The World Bank expects the DRC's economy to average 5% growth in 2017/18 compared with 2.7% in 2016, thanks to stronger commodity prices and expanding agriculture and services sectors. Congo has seen its economy battered by low commodity prices over the past two years, with its currency losing nearly 40% of its value in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to issue tenders for millions of tonnes of coal - Wendell Roelf

ESKOM will issue at least two tenders early in H1 2017 for millions of tonnes of coal for its power stations, a senior official said yesterday. AYANDA NTETA, acting GM for fuel sourcing, said ESKOM was also monitoring a potential strike in the coal industry and had taken measures to ensure security of supply to power stations. "In terms of security of supply we always have mitigation in place should there be any strike in the industry", NTETA said. On Wednesday, the NUM threatened to strike in protest over the structure of industry wage talks. NTETA said the utility had around 60 days worth of coal stockpiles to help offest any short-term supply disruptions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sudan wants to agree WTO membership this year - Tom Miles

Sudan wants to finalise its membership of the World Trade Organisation this year, international cooperation minister OSMAN AHMED FADUL WASH said yesterday as he reopened talks on joining the body after a 13-year hiatus. To reactivate the process, Khartoum had "carefully and tirelessly" worked on an updated memorandum on its foreign trade regime, a legislative action plan and other documents setting out its plans ot comply with WTO rules. Sudan first applied to join in 1994 but its journey towards membership has been in limbo since Mar. 2004, at a time when its government was being accused of a campaign of killing and looting in western Sudan. Sudan will have to get approval to join the WTO from all other members, including the US, which still considers it to be a state sponsor of terrorism. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 03/02/2017

At 07h44 on 03 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.39 ZAR/EUR 14.40 ZAR/GBP 16.76 Gold 1213.52 Platinum 993.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.82 All Share 52719.58

AstraZeneca sees annual drop in revenue - Gonzalo Vina

ASTRAZENECA recorded a 5% drop in revenue in FY2016 as competition from generics in the US hurt sales of the company's key product Crestor. AZ said revenues were $23bn in 2016, down from $24.7bn y/y. Core operating profit was down 7% to $6.72bn, while core EPS were $4.31, down 5% y/y but beating estimates of $4.24/share. The company warned that both total revenue and core EPS would suffer "low to mid single digit" percentage declines in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Johnson Matthey reaps benefit of weak pound - Michael Pooler

The weakened pound was behind a flattering performance for JOHNSON MATTHEY, with the company reporting an almost one-fifth jump in sales during Q3. The group said sales excluding precious metals rose 19% to £876m in the quarter to end-Dec. y/y. Stripping out the currency effect, sales rose by a more modest 2% in the period at constant exchange rated, with underlying improvements in the company's divisions that make emissions controls catalysts, refine precious metals and another that supplies catalysts to oil refineries and licenses processes for chemical plants. JOHNSON MATTHEY also said underlying profit before tax was ahead of last year at constant currencies. But revenue shrank at its arm that makes active pharmaceutical ingredients and another that houses new businesses. JM said it would benefit from favourable exchange rates in the FY, reiterating guidance from Nov. that underlying profit would be boosted by around £65m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank posts Q4 loss - James Shotter

DEUTSCHE BANK posted a €1.9bn net loss for Q4, as its performance was weighed down by the cost of its $7.2bn mortgage mis-selling settlement with the US Department of Justice. The lender took €1.6bn of litigation charges in the final quarter of 2016, the bulk of which related to the DoJ settlement. The Q4 loss, which was slightly better than the €2.1bn net loss the company reported y/y, took the lender to a €1.4bn net loss for 2016, down from a loss of €6.8bn y/y. CEO JOHN CRYAN said the results had been "heavily impacted by decisive management action taken to improve and modernise the bank, as well as by market turbulence for DEUTSCHE BANK". He added that DEUTSCHE had "proved our resilience in a particularly tough year", noting that the bank's capital and liquidity ratios had improved. DEUTSCHE's common equity tier one ratio finished 2016 at 11.9%, up from 11.1% at the end of Q3 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook revenue jumps 51% - Hannah Kuchler

FACEBOOK revenue and earnings soared in Q4 despite concerns sales could slow as it hits the limit on how many advertisements it puts in the newsfeed. The social network reported non-GAAP earnings of $1.41/share, compared with the average estimate of $1.31/share. Net income was $3.5bn in the quarter to end-Dec., and $10.2bn for FY2016. Revenue rose 51% to $8.8bn, higher than the consensus forecast for revenue of $8.5bn, with the platform and its subsidiary INSTAGRAM becoming essential for marketers in the holiday shopping season. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fed leaves rates unchanged - Sam Fleming

The Federal Reserve yesterday left the federal funds target range at 0.5%-0.75% in a unanimous vote, following a quarter-point increase at the prior meeting in Dec. The unchanged move was expected by markets and analysts. The central bank flagged up improvements in consumer and business sentiment and said it expected inflation to rise to its 2% target as it makes further, gradual adjustments to interest rates. The main uncertainty hanging over Fed policy is the outcome of Republican talks over cutting taxes and boosting infrastructure. Tax plans advanced by President DONALD TRUMP during the election would add around $7.2tn to the national debt over a decade, whereas House Republicans' plans would lift debt by at least $3tn, according to the Tax Policy Center. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers at Escondida reject pay offer - Neil Hume

A strike looks increasingly likely at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile. BHP yesterday confirmed that its pay offer had been rejected by workers. "As a company, we regret that our proposal was not accepted and, despite the result, we reiterate our desire to maintain an open door, to continue to carry out a process in an atmosphere of respect and dialogue, and to achieve an agreement that allows us to face future challenges together with our workers", BHP said. The company now has 48 hours to request government mediation to attempt a resolution with the disgruntled workers. That option is likely to be triggered but few analysts think it will be successful. In the last pay deal four years ago, workers received a $49 000 bonus when the copper price was $2 000/t above its current levels. This time they have been offered $12 000. Analysts estimate that 3 400t of output would be lost for each day of stoppage at Escondida. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude inventories rise by most since Oct. - Mamta Badkar

Inventories of US crude rose for the fourth consecutive week and climbed by the most since Oct. Inventories of US crude rose by 6.5m barrels in the week ended Jan. 27, according to the Energy Information Administration. That compared with analysts' estimates for an increase of 26m barrels. Stocks at the Cushings delivery hub fell by a bigger than expected 1.25m barrels, compared with expectations for a drop of 59 800 barrels. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks rose 3.9m barrels against expectations of a build of 1.4m barrels. That marked the fifth-straight increase. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory growth swiftest since Nov. 2014 - Adam Samson

The pace of US manufacturing sector growth climbed in Jan. to its highest level in more than two years. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing gauge rose to 56 last month, from 54.5 in Dec., beating analysts' forecasts for 55. The reading is the latest evidence to suggest the sector has picked up steam after a rocky 2016, when it contracted at the start of 2016 amid a pullback in demand from the energy sector. The report pointed to rising inflationary pressures, with the prices paid index notching its highest reading since May 2011. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector adds 246k jobs in Jan. - Adam Samson

The US private sector added the most jobs since Jun. in Jan. 2017, widely beating analysts' forecasts. The private-sector added 246 000 jobs in Jan., beating the estimate of 168 000 and representing a sharp pick-up from the 151 000 increase in Dec., according to payroll processor ADP. Yesterday's report comes ahead of the more closely-watched figures from the US labour department that are due out tomorrow. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone manufacturing beats expectations - Nicholas Megaw

The eurozone's manufacturing sector remained robust in Jan., as a weak euro helped the health of the sector to its strongest level in almost six years. IHS MARKIT's PMI's for Italy, France and Germany all reported strong performances, with particularly strong job creation figures across the continent. Final figures for the whole eurozone were higher than initial estimates, at 55.2. Overall job creation hit its highest level since early 2011, with Spain particularly strong and multi-year highs in France and Germany. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 02/02/2017

At 11:43 on 02 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.37 ZAR/EUR 14.44 ZAR/GBP 16.96 Gold 1216.98 Platinum 1006.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.81 All Share 52749.62

Curro expects rise in FY earnings - Sens

CURRO HOLDINGS today said it expects EPS and HEPS for the FY to end-Dec. to be between 43.1cps and 47.1cps, compared to the 27.8cps and 28.3cps respectively reported for the y/y period, being an increase of 52%-67%. Results for FY2016 will be published on Feb. 28. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony Gold pays first dividend in four years - Allan Seccombe

HARMONY GOLD today paid its first interim dividend in four years as its operations and hedging strategies contributed to a robust performance in the HY to end-Dec. A 50cps payout was declared for the period as net profit ballooned to R1.5bn compared with a R445m loss y/y. Revenue shot up to R9.87bn, compared with R8.7bn y/y, and was given a R233m boost from the company's gold hedging programme. Gold output was slightly lower at 553 862oz versus 568 459oz in the prior interim period as the company moved away from unprofitable production. HARMONY was on track to deliver 1.05moz of gold for its FY to end-Jun. at a cost of $1 100/oz. The group cut net debt to R289m from R1.1bn at end-Jun. 2016, freeing up the company to invest $70m in the FY to end-Jun. 2017 in its Hidden Valley gold and silver mine in Papua New Guinea, and a further $110m next year, CFO FRANK ABBOTT said. HARMONY acquired NEWCREST MINING's 50% stake in Hidden Valley last year for $1, giving it full ownership of the mine from Oct. 2016.

OneLogix H1 profit up 8% - BDpro

ONELOGIX today reported single-digit growth in H1 trading profit, partly due to retrenchment costs. The logistics group said trading profit rose by 8% to R91.5m in the HY to end-Nov. y/y, after incurring a R4.4m one-off charge to cover retrenchment costs. Excluding these costs, trading profit would have been R95.9m, in line with top-line growth at 12%. The company reinstated a dividend for the first time since 2015 after successfully acquiring VISION and CRYOGAS. CEO IAN LOURENS said the completion of infrastructure developments and improved prospects for the company were behind the decision to reinstate the dividend, which was 8cps. HEPS edged up 1% to 16.5cps y/y. Excluding retrenchment costs, HEPS would have been up 8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SASSA wants ConCourt to overturn Net1 ruling - Mike Cohen

The SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY will ask the Constitutional Court to allow it to extend a welfare distribution contract with NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES' CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES, which the court had ruled invalid, to ensure that 17.2m people continue receiving their social grant payments. While NET1's contract expires at the end of Mar., SASSA hasn't appointed a replacement or made arrangements to take over the payments itself. SASSA executive head RAPHAAHLE RAMOKGOPA yesterday told Parliament: "The only thing that would make us survive is to go to court and ask for the suspension of the invalidity" of NET1's contract, adding that any other option "will not enable SASSA to pay on April 1, 2017". If the court refused to allow the extension support for the ANC may be damaged. ANC legislators welcomed the approach taken by SASSA, saying it would ensure welfare payments will continue in Apr. Opposition parties criticised the agency for not having an alternative plan in place should the court refuse to sa

Invicta subsidiary loses New Holland distribution - Roy Cokayne

HUMALANI MARKETING, a subsidiary of INVICTA that trades as NEW HOLLAND SA, is set to lose the exclusive distribution rights for the NEW HOLLAND brand of agricultural products into SA, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia. The company held exclusive distribution rights for the products in these countries for more than 10 years. INVICTA yesterday said it had reached an agreement with CNH INDUSTRIAL in terms of which CNH will distribute the NEW HOLLAND brand of products directly into these territories effective from May 1 2017. It said CNH was the manufacturer of the NEW HOLLAND product and wished to enter these territories directly. INVICTA said the remaining distribution rights held by HUMALANI for other CNH brand products, including CASEIH and CASE CONSTRUCTION, were not affected by this agreement. INVICTA said the agreement would not have any impact on the company's 2017 results and was not expected to have a material impact on FY2018 results. Group revenue was expected to decline by around 5% and

Capitec now 3rd biggest in SA - Joseph Booysen

CAPITEC has overtaken SA's established banks as the most popular in the country with at least 120 000 customers opening accounts with the bank each month. CAPITEC communications head CHARL NEL yesterday said data from NIELSEN showed that the bank had become SA's preferred and most-used primary lender, with more clients than both FNB and NEDBANK. The NIELSEN survey showed that three out of 10 banking customers chose CAPITEC as their primary bank, 11 percentage points more than FNB's 18%, while ABSA was at 17%, STANDARD BANK at 15% and NEDBANK at 10%. CAPITEC was also the most affordable bank in SA. CAPITEC now operated 800 branches across the country with a staff compliment of 13 000. Of these, 300 branches were open for seven days a week, making it easier for clients to do banking during weekends. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrim says BBC, PPF don't speak for ANC on FIC Bill - Liesl Peyper

The Black Business Council and Progressive Professionals Forum don't speak for the ANC as they're not structures of the ruling party, YUNUS CARRIM, ANC MP and chair of Parliament's finance committee, said yesterday. The Standing Committee on Finance was continuing deliberations on the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill after having heard responses from Treasury following the prior week's public hearings. President JACOB ZUMA sent the bill back to Parliament in Nov., citing constitutional reservations about the section dealing with warrantless searches. The committee hosted another round of public hearings last week, inviting stakeholders to make submissions on the section of the bill in question. Three senior counsel members - Advocates ISHMAEL SEMENYA, JEREMY GAUNTLETT and LAWSON NAIDOO - said in their submissions that the piece of legislation is indeed constitutional. But both GAUNTLETT and SEMENYA suggested that the specific clause in the bill could be tightened to reduce the scope of consti

Cardtronics acquires Spark ATM Systems - Fin24

CARDTRONICS announced that it has closed on the acquisition of SPARK ATM SYSTEMS - a move that marks the former's entry into the South African market. SPARK is a fast-growing independent ATM deployer in SA, with a growing nationwide network of around 2 600 ATMs. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. CARDTRONICS CEO STEVE RATHGABER said SPARK is an innovative and highly respected ATM deployer with relationships with leading banks in SA, making it a strong fit with CARDTRONICS. SPARK ATM SYSTEMS will continue to operate under its current name, and founders MARC STERNBERG and RUSSEL BERMAN and the existing management team will continue in their current roles. SPARK's offices in Cape Town will be retained as CARDTRONICS' African base of operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom criticises SA ICT policy - Gareth van Zyl

VODACOM has criticised government's ICT policy white paper, which was released for public comment late last year. In Oct. 2016, Cabinet approved the ICT Policy White Paper which seeks to boost national broadband usage by establishing a single public-private sector owned wireless open access network. The white paper further seeks to provide high demand spectrum to this WOAN network and shift away from networks having exclusive rights over this resource. The document has faced criticism from the likes of the DA and TELKOM. The DA said the policy is unconstitutional as networks have to "surrender" infrastructure and radio wireless spectrum. TELKOM warned that parts of the paper are "potentially dangerous" and noted its concerns over handing back spectrum. VODACOM has adopted a diplomatic approach towards the document by agreeing with it objectives but questioning its proposed methodology. "We support the objectives of the White Paper to make broadband more accessible and affordable for all. However, as i

Barclays PMI off to strong start in 2017 - Anine Kilian

The seasonally adjusted BARCLAYS AFRICA PMI rose to 50.9 in Jan. from 46.7 m/m. The rise in the headline PMI was supported by m/m improvements in four of the five underlying subindices. The sustained uptick in orders filtered through to higher output levels and, as such, the business activity index rose to 52.7 - its best level since Jun. 2016. The employment index also improved, but remained below the neutral 50-point mark. The index measuring suppliers' performance recovered to 53 points in Jan. from an historic low of 40.9 in Dec. The expected business conditions subindex surged to 70.3 from 53.2 in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jan. new car sales up 3.7% y/y - Reuters

South Africa's new vehicle sales rose 3.7% y/y to 50 333 units in January, data from the Department of Trade & Industry showed yesterday. Exports were down 10.3% to 11 659 units y/y, the DTI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold miners return to work - Henry Lazenby

Employees who staged an illegal sit-in at RANDGOLD RESOURCES' Tongon mine in Ivory Coast have returned to work. The company said management, together with representatives of central and local authorities, negotiated a settlement with the workers. Workers staged the sit-in at Tongon that started on Jan. 26, demanding annual ex gratia payments. RANDGOLD did not provide more details on the settlement agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Canada, Mexico strengthen mining ties - Henry Lazenby

Canada's federal Natural Resources MInister JIM CARR yesterday inked an MoU with Mexico's Economy Minister ILDEFONSO GUAJARDO VILLARREAL to solidify the countries' close bilateral relationship. The memorandum for the mining sector will cover geoscience, clean innovation and corporate social responsibility, and will promote sharing best practices in water management and the use of renewable energy. The agreement comes against the backdrop of US President DONALD TRUMP's "America First" policy. "Only 27% of Mexican territory has been explored and many of the country's mines rank globally", Deputy Mining Minister MARIO ALFONSO CANTU said. CARR noted that Mexico is a leader in silver output and in the top 10 for 16 other minerals. "There is no better mining partner than Canada. The TSX represents more than half of the equity for financing the industry and hosts more than 60% of publicly traded mining companies", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoAL raises $2m via share placement - Megan van Wyngaardt

COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED has, via the placement of 49 ordinary shares to M&G INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, raised $2m. The funds would be used for working capital purposes. Application has been made for the placement shares to be admitted to trading on the Aim market of the LSE, expected to become effective on or around Feb. 6, and will also be made for quotation on the ASX and JSE. Following the admission of the shares, COAL will have 1.97bn shares in issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Echo Polska acquires four Polish malls - Anine Kilian

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES plans to acquire four retail assets in Poland from real estate funds managed by BLACKSTONE for €166.6m. The acquisition, expected to close in Apr., includes the 23 039m² Galeria Twierdza shopping centre, in Klodzko, as well as an adjacent plot with a restaurant. The other three malls are the Galeria Twierdza in Zamosc, the Galeria Tecza in Kalisz, and the Wzorcownia shipping centre in Wloclawek. The centres are dominang within their catchment area and mark EPP's entry into Klodzko and Zamosc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN simplifies tower ownership structure - Megan van Wyngaardt

MTN GROUP will exchange its 51% stake in NIGERIA TOWER INTERCO, the parent company of INT TOWERS, for an additional shareholding in IHS HOLDING. As a result, MTN's economic interest in IHS GROUP will increase from 15% to 29% with the deal having no conditions precedent. The transaction enables MTN to simplify its tower ownership structure and diversify its tower infrastructure exposure across the IHS GROUP, which operates in a number of markets across Africa. It further allows the group to benefit from its previously owned passive infrastructure and continued network investment. The deal is expected to close once the new shares in IHS GROUP have been issued during Q1, with all MTN's interest in IHS sitting alongside other investors. MTN chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO said the transaction "simplifies our ownership structure and diversifies our tower investments across IHS group". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Community co-owns new Amplats chrome recovery JV - Martin Creamer

The Baphalane Ba Mantserre community in Limpopo are the co-owners and co-operators of a new chrome recovery plant that ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM launched at its Amandelbult complex yesterday. The R474m plant was built, financed and commissioned by AMPLATS in 2016. The co-ownership and co-operation agreement is embodied in a JV with RUSTENBURG PLATINUM MINES, with 74%, and BAPHALANE SIYANDA CHROME COMPANY (BSCC) with 26%. The community that surrounds the mines within the Amandelbult complex then owns 75% of the share capital of BSCC, with the rest held by technical partners SIYANDA RESOURCES and MEGA CHROME MANAGEMENT. The plant is expected to reach steady state production by mid-year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PetroSA reports fatalities at Mossel Bay refinery - Creamer Media Reporter

PETROSA yesterday said two employees had been killed in an incident at its Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids refinery on Tuesday. The employees were working on a vessel when they lost consciousness. Medical treatment was provided but the workers could not be resuscitated. The SAPS, Inspector of Mines and the Department of Labour have been informed of the incident and an investigation will be instituted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoM confirms dispute over move to decentralised coal wage talks - Creamer Media Reporter

The Chamber of Mines yesterday confirmed that it was unable to reach agreement with representative unions in the coal mining sector regarding the future structure and form of wage negotiations in the sector. The Chamber noted that the coal companies it represents had previously indicated their intention to negotiate wages and terms and conditions of employment on a decentralised basis with effect from 2017. Solidarity, the NUM and UASA have declared a dispute with the Chamber. Solidarity this week accused the CoM of negotiating in bad faith, saying it had gone against its stated mandate to continue with centralised talks as communicated to trade unions earlier in Jan. The NUM said it plans to organise a strike across the coal mining sector in light of the decision to move to decentralised talks. The CoM said it remains open to further engagements with the unions on the matter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony Gold reports fatality - Creamer Media Reporter

HARMONY GOLD has halted all scraper-related operations at its Masimong mine in the Free State following the death of an employee in a scraper-related incident. An investigation into the incident is under way. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana govt says inherits budget deficit 'closer to double digits' - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's new government has inherited a budget deficit "closer to double digits" as a percentage of GDP than the 5% targeted for 2016 by the previous government, Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA said yesterday. Ghana is following a three-year, $918m IMF programme aimed at stabilising the economy after the deficit ballooned during the previous election year of 2012. The Fund and the government of former president JOHN MAHAMA said during 2016 they would respect budgetary targets, although ahead of the Dec. vote ministers said the deficit might stand at 7% of GDP. "I suspect that it's certainly closer to a double-digit deficit. This is what we are confronting", OFORI-ATTA said. The new government also inherited a debt from SOEs and government ministries of at least 7bn cedis, he said, adding that the country will aim for double-digit economic growth but not this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Poor agriculture, slower financial services hit 2016 Tanzania growth - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania says its economy likely grew at a less speedy rate than it had hoped in 2016, hampered by poor-performing agriculture and less demand from its big trading partners. Finance & Planning Minister PHILIP MPANGO yesterday said the 2016 growth projection was now 7.0% rather than the 7.2% given in Sep. MPANGO said weaker-than-expected growth in some sectors in the first nine months of 2016 had undermined the economy. He cited agriculture, which he said grew by 2.1% in that period, compared with a targeted growth rate of 2.6%. The financial services sector also expanded at a slower-than-expected rate - 5.6% between Jan. and Sep. versus a previous projection of 7.6%. MPANGO said Tanzania's FY annual headline inflation rate declined to 5.2% last year from 5.6% in 2015 and was expected to remain within the government's mid-term target of 5% this year. Tanzania's economy grew 6.2% in Q3 2016, compared with 7.3% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimplats sells stake in subsidiary to employees - MacDonald Dzirutwe

ZIMPLATS yesterday announced it had sold a 10% stake in its subsidiary ZIMBABWE PLATINUM MINES to employees for $95m. The deal was financed by a loan from the mining subsidiary to an employee trust and will be repaid from future dividends, the platinum miner said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier fishing unit to list on JSE - Wendell Roelf

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS will list its fishing and food unit on the JSE on Mar. 2 to grow its market share, CEO KHALID ABDULLA said yesterday. The company expected the IPO to value the unit at around R1.2bn. Funds raised will be used for further growth and acquisitions. "We will be raising about R550 with the listing and obviously we will use that money to grow the business further, to buy other fishing and fold-related businesses", ABDULLA said. He said AEEI will be placing around 45%-49% of PREMIER's shares on the market, with each share priced ar around R4.50. PREMIER FOOD & FISHING recently reported a 37% rise in operating profit to R74m for the FY to end-2016 on the back of higher sales and good catch rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Political tensions, weak growth major risks to SA rating - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Political tensions and weak economic growth in SA are the biggest challenges to the country's sovereign rating, MOODY's said yesterday. The ratings agency said political tensions "impeded key structural reforms such as comprehensive reforms of state-owned enterprises which are yet to take place and hampered growth, another key credit challenge". MOODY's rates SA at two notches above junk status with a negative outlook. S&P last week also warned that infighting in the ANC could derail government efforts to improve policy implementation and that Pretoria had little room to increase spending. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 02/02/2017

At 07h52 on 02 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.43 ZAR/EUR 14.49 ZAR/GBP 17.01 Gold 1215.47 Platinum 1005.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.56 All Share 53104.12

New Pepkor MD appointed - Kabelo Khumalo

PEPKOR AFRICA this week announced that it had appointed GARTH NAPIER as its new MD as the company moved to grow its footprint further on the continent. The appointment comes a few months after STEINHOFF said it planned to merge its African operations with those of SHOPRITE. PEPKOR is owned by STEINHOFF. NAPIER commences his duties this month. He replaces CHARL CRONJE, who has been appointed as MD of ACKERMANS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solidarity quizzes Vodacom on BEE deal - Business Report

Solidarity wants clarity on VODACOM's reported plans to implement a R15bn empowerment deal. The union yesterday said the deal seems to serve to exclude people who are not black. Deputy general secretary JOHAN KRUGER said such deals could be attendant on the unequal allocation of shares in employee share ownership plans, an allocation done according to race. Solidarity said this is cause for concern. "If these rumours are true Solidarity will not hesitate to take further action and to launch mobilisation campaigns against the deals", KRUGER said. Bloomberg last month reported that VODACOM plans to buy back part of the 12.47% stake owned by the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION. It also quoted a spokesperson as saying: "VODACOM is committed to delivering on the ideals of black economic empowerment and continue to explore a variety of options with the primary objective of broad-based inclusivity". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Xanadu is in the intu bag - Roy Cokayne

INTU PROPERTIES has confirmed it has entered into an exclusivity agreement to acquire the Xanadu shopping centre in Madrid. The company confirmed the deal this week following media speculation about a potential acquisition. INTI said it had entered into exclusivity agreements with entities of the IVANHOE CAMBRIDGE GROUP to acquire the centre. The deal would be funded from a combination of bank financing and existing facilities. INTU stressed that at this stage there was not any certainty that the deal would be finalised, adding that further announcements would be made "as and when appropriate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria likely to launch eurobond sale this week - Felix Onuah

Nigeria is likely to launch a planned $1bn sale of eurobonds this week, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday. "We're on course with everything we're doing", ADEOSUN told reporters without giving details. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlantic Leaf buys office property in Peterborough - Alistair Anderson

ATLANTIC LEAF PROPERTIES has acquired an office property based in the Petersborough Business Park in the UK from SPCP GROUP III in a deal valued at £22.9m. The company has said it is set to achieve its earnings forecast for an FY distribution of 85pps in the FY to end-Feb. 2017. The company said the acquisition was in line with its strategy of investing in quality investment grade real estate assets which deliver sustainable returns for investors via a combination of income and capital growth. The £22.9m purchase price, in addition to transaction-related costs, would be settled via a combination of cash and debt funding. The property is fully let. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 01/02/2017

At 12h55 on 01 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.49 ZAR/EUR 14.54 ZAR/GBP 17.00 Gold 1210.41 Platinum 995.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.76 All Share 53152.46

Italtile expects higher profit - Business Reporter

ITALTILE expects a rise in profitability for the HY to end-Dec. The company today said basic EPS will be between 50.5cps and 51.8cps for the period, an increase of 14%-17% y/y. HEPS will be between 46.0cps and 47.3cps, up 6%-9% y/y. ITALTILE added that system-wide turnover for the period will be 14% higher y/y, while trading profit will be between 10% and 13% better than the R531m reported y/y. Interim results will be published on Feb. 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workforce jumps on earnings expectations - Sandile Mchunu

WORKFORCE HOLDINGS' share price rose more than 8% yesterday after the company said it expected a rise in EPS to between 39.19cps and 42.6cps, from 34cps y/y. The company said the increment would reflect a jump of 15%-25% y/y. Shares closed up 8.89% at R2.45 on the JSE yesterday. WORKFORCE said HEPS were expected to rise to 38.27cps-41.60cps for the FY, up 15%-25% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBA Holdings to be liquidated - Roy Cokayne

RBA HOLDINGS is set to be liquidated after an attempted business rescue have failed. Business rescue practitioner TREVOR GLAUM yesterday confirmed he would be applying to the Western Cape High Court today to discontinue RBA's business rescue proceedings and to convert these into liquidation proceedings. GLAUM said a number of RBA directors had resigned, adding that he had nothing further to report on the future of the company at this stage. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom offsets fall in customer numbers with market growth - Robert Laing

VODACOM managed to offset a drop in customer numbers and revenue outside SA by growing in its home market. The drop in customer numbers outside SA meant the group's overall customer numbers fell by 64 to 65 233 over 2016. The company had 36 375 active customers in SA at end-Dec., an increase of 2 272 y/y. Tougher subscriber identity demanded by African governments saw its subscriber numbers fall 17.9% in the DRC and 2.3% in Tanzania. This took its overall active customer base outside SA down 7.5% to 28 794. The drop in subscribers outside SA translated into a 9% drop in revenue to R4.3bn from its international unit in the Dec. quarter. The South African business grew revenue 5% to R17bn, helping the company grow its overall revenue for the quarter by 1.2% to R21bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors cheer resurrected ABlL as it returns to JSE - Robert Laing

The share price of AFRICAN BANK INVESTMENT LIMITED rose 77% to 55c from the 31c it last traded at before the share was suspended in AUg. 2014 when it resumed trading this morning. The company has changed its name to AFRICAN PHOENIX and the share code to AXL. Following the separation of the company's "good bank" and "bad bank", the listing's remaining operating asset is insurance company STANGEN. Yesterday, ABIL issued a trading statement saying its HEPS for the HY to end-Mar. was expected to be at most 2.95c. Its separation from AFRICAN BANK would translate into at least a 90% decrease from the HEPS of 29.5cps reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anthony Leeming takes helm at Sun Intl - Robert Laing

SUN INTERNATIONAL CFO ANTHONY LEEMING succeeded GRAEME STEPHENS as CEO today, three months earlier than originally scheduled. The company said STEPHENS would still complete his original notice period, but as LEEMING's assistant. The group said it had initiated a search for a new CFO, and a further announcement in this regard will be made in due cours.e This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone inflation hits four-year high - Nicholas Megaw

Inflation in the eurozone rose faster than expected to its highest level in four years in Jan., in a development that will put further pressure on the ECB as it faces calls to bring its monetary stimulus programme to an end. Consumer prices in the single currency area were 1.8% higher than Jan. 2015, the largest annual increase since Jan. 2013. Economists had only forecast a 1.5% increase. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile energy prices, remained steady at 0.9%. Energy prices increased 8.1% in Jan., compared with 2.6% in Dec. Food, alcohol and tobacco were the next biggest risers, increasing 1.7% in the month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone annual GDP hits 1.8% - Claire Jones

The eurozone's economy grew by 0.5% in Q4 2016, taking annual growth for the year to 1.8%. The annual growth figure was down from a revised 2% in 2015 but will still boost hopes the region's recovery is now strong enough to shake off political uncertainty across advanced economies. The figure was in line with analysts' expectations of 0.5% quarterly growth and 1.7% for the year as a whole. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India to scrap 'obstructive' foreign investment board - Amy Kazmin

India has decided to scrap its Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a body that was often seen by foreign companies as an obstruction to their efforts to invest in India. Finance Minister ARUN JAITLEY announced the board's incipient demise while unveiling the country's budget for the FY starting in Apr., and said the move was expected to improve the ease of investing in India. Until now, companies planning investments in a wide range of Indian economic sectors, or of a certain size, required FIPB approval in order to invest in the country, but the process of obtaining such approval could be protracted and infuriating. JAITLEY said the FIPB would be disbanded in the coming year, and that a detailed roadmap unveiling new procedures for FDI would be unveiled. He also said the government was considering further liberalisation of FDI rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Roche 2016 sales miss forecasts - Gonzalo Vina

ROCHE reported sales for 2016 just below analysts' forecasts and gave little further detail on when it will release widely-watched clinical data from its breast cancer drug Perjeta. Sales rose 5% to SFr50.576bn, lower than the SFr50.7bn expected by analysts. Core operating profit rose by the same amount to SFr18.42bn. Adjusted for currency movements, sales were up 4%. ROCHE reported a 5% rise in revenue to SFr39.103bn at its pharmaceutical unit, while revenue at the diagnostics business rose 6% to SFr11.473bn. Core EPS were SFr14.53, below the SFr14.73 expected by analysts. ROCHE said it would raise the dividend to SFr8.20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi appoints new CEO - John Murray Brown

MONDI has appointed PETER OSWALD as group CEO, succeeding DAVID HATHORN, who is retiring. OSWALD, who has been with the company since 1992, is currently the head of MONDI's Europe and International division. He will work with HATHORN for the next three months, taking up his new position on May 11 at the AGM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China manufacturing growth softens as services pick up - Hudson Lockett

China's manufacturing and construction sectors saw growth soften in Jan. as services expansion increased, according to official gauges of business activity. The official PMI for the manufacturing sector came in at 51.3 in Jan., according to the National Bureau of Statistics, down 0.1 points m/m. Sub-indices for both output and new orders, at 53.1 and 52.8 respectively, registered slower growth in Jan. m/m. Growth in input and output prices also slowed markedly, reflected by drops of around 5 and 4 points to 64.5 and 54.7, respectively. The sub-index for services industries came in at 53.5, up 0.2 points m/m. The broader gauge of growth for all non-manufacturing activity rose just 0.1 points to 54.6 as a sub-index for construction activity fell 0.8 points to 61.1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple aims to double service revenues by 2021 - Tim Bradshaw

APPLE plans to double the size of its services business within the next four years, turning revenues from the App Store, iCloud and its Music and video services into a nearly $50bn/year business by 2021. Services were the fastest-growing revenue line in the Dec. quarter, up 18% y/y to $7.2bn. In its last FY, ending in Dec., services revenue grew 22% to $24.3bn. APPLE finance chief LUCA MAESTRI said its services division will become "the size of a standalone Fortune 100 company" this year. "We have a goal to double the size of the services business over the next four years. We have a lot of momentum and plenty of opportunity". App Store revenues grew by more than 40% in the quarter under review, while sales from Music, APPLE Care and iCloud storage all hit new all-time records. APPLE's install base continued to grow despite an 8% drop in iPhone sales in fiscal 2016, driving use of its services. The total number of APPLE devices in active use has increased by "strong double digits" from the 1bn figure t

Apple returns to sales growth but outlook falls short - Tim Bradshaw

APPLE returned to increasing revenue in the Dec. quarter and said the growth rate could accelerate in the coming months as iPhone sales rebounded strongly in North America, Western Europe and Japan. Despite forecasting revenues to grow as much as 6% in the current quarter, its outlook fell short of Wall Street's estimates amid continuing sales declines in China and forex headwinds. APPLE sold 78.3m iPhones during the Dec. quarter, up 5% y/y. Total revenues were up 3% to $78.4bn, while earnings grew 2.4% to $3.36/share and net income fell 2.6% to $17.9bn. For the current quarter, APPLE said revenues would be between $51.5bn and $53.5bn, compared with analysts' forecasts of $54bn, while gross margin was in-line with expectations at 38%-39%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Siemens lifts 2017 profit outlook - Patrick McGee

SIEMENS yesterday announced it had increased its profit forecast for FY2017 after booking higher-than-expected profits for the quarter to end-Dec. The company said it now expects basic EPS of €7.20-€7.70, from €6.80-€7.20. It also increased its outlook for profit margins in its industrial group to 11%-12%, from 10.5%-11.5% previously. CEO JOE KAESER called the raised guidance "a clear signal" that his Vision 2020 plan was moving ahead. SIEMENS said net income in Q1 jumped 25% to €1.9bn, well above forecasts at €1.37bn. Profit across its industrial businesses were up 26% y/y to €2.5bn, against forecasts at €2.15bn. Orders in the quarter were 14% below the prior year on a comparable basis. SIEMENS said profit margins in its industrial businesses jumped from 10.4% a year ago to 13% and it cited "significant margin expansion in most industrial businesses". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina raises electricity tariffs by up to 148% - Benedict Mander

The Argentine government yesterday sent a wrong signal that it is serious about controlling the country's fiscal deficit when it announced hikes in electricity tariffs from 61% to 148% for consumers in Buenos Aires. The move represents another step in reining in Argentina's bulging fiscal deficit and the phasing out of distorting and populist subsidies implemented by the previous administration. Nevertheless, it will complicate the government of MAURICIO MACRI's battle against inflation, which it has succeeded in reducing from a monthly rate of almost 4.5% a year ago to around 1.5% this month. Economic consultancy ECOLATINA estimates that the electricity tariff hikes will push inflation in Feb. up to around 2.2%, from around 1.7% in Jan. The consultancy expects tariff rises across all sectors to contribute around 7 percentage points to inflation in 2017, which they estimate at 24%. That is well above the central bank's target of below 17%, but a significant reduction from about 40% inflation in 2016.

Caterpillar to move global HQ to Chicago - Pan Kwan Yuk

CATERPILLAR yesterday said it was moving its global headquarters to Chicago as the group becomes the latest US company to set up shop there. "Since 2012, about two-thirds of CATERPILLAR's sales and revenues have come from outside the United States... Locating our headquarters closer to a global transportation hub, such as Chicago, means we can meet with our global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently", CEO JIM UMPLEBY said. It expects 300 employees to be based in Chicago once the new location is fully operational. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UPS shares down as 2017 forecast tails estimates - Pan Kwan Yuk

Shares in UPS fell more than 4% in pre-market trading on Tuesday after the US package delivery and logistics company issued earnings guidance for the 2017 FY that trailed estimates. The group said it expects adjusted diluted EPS to come in between $5.80 and $6.10 this year - compared to the average of $6.17 forecast by analysts - due to the stronger dollar, which is expected to shave 30c off its adjusted EPS and lower the EPS growth rate by around 500 bps. UPS also issued Q4 sales and earnings that fell short of forecasts. Despite a busy holiday season that helped lift shipping volumes 7.1% during the quarter to end-Dec., revenue rose juts 5.4% to $16.93bn, shy of the $17bn the market was expecting. Adjusted net income came in at $1.43bn, or $1.63/diluted share. Analysts had penned in $1.48bn or $1.69/diluted share. Including the impact of the mark-to-market pension charges, UPS fell into a net loss of $239m for the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim faces 15% hike in basic foods with new VAT rules - Malcom Sharara

Zimbabwe is set to introduce a 15% VAT on several basic foodstuffs with effect from Feb. 1 following the publication of new legislation. This amends previous regulations by deleting several items from the list of VAT zero-rated goods, while at the same time including them on the full VAT of 15%. Some of the items that have been removed from the zero-rated list include potatoes, rice, margarine, mahewu (fermented liquid mealie-meal porridge), meat and fish. "Consumers are likely to shift towards informal retailers where the tax collector's hand is not present", said local analyst WALTER MANDEYA, adding that formal outlets are likely to lose out as they will be forced to charge VAT. All companies with annual turnover of $240 000 are required by law to install fiscal devices in line with VAT fiscalised recording regulations. Fiscalised tax registers record sales at the point of sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore mulls bid for Implats' chrome waste ops - Loni Prinsloo

GLENCORE is considering bidding for IMPALA PLATINUM's 65% stake in a chrome waste-retreatment operation in SA, sources said. GLENCORE has already agreed to buy metal froM CHROME TRADERS PROCESSING, the closely held company that owns 30% of the business controlled by IMPLATS. GLENCORE, which has chrome assets nearby, is bullish on prices and keen to grow its presence in the industry. The operation produces more than 200 000t of chrome concentrate annually from tailings. It made a profit of R67m in the FY to end-Jun. 2016. IMPLATS sees the operation as a non-core asset and wants to focus on its platinum mines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Four Richemont brand CEOs said to depart as overhaul widens - Corinne Gretler

RICHEMONT plans to extend its management overhaul by naming new CEOs of four luxury brands, according to sources. ANDREW MAAG, head of Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at BURBERRY GROUP, will join as CEO of ALFRED DUNHILL, one source said. Also being replaced are the heads of three watch brands. JAEGER-LECOULTRE CEO DANIEL RIEDO will leave at the end of Feb., while the CEOs of PIAGET and VACHERON CONSTANTIN will retire. The changes were in the works in Nov. when RICHEMONT eliminated the companywide CEO position, one of the sources said. Watchmakers are emerging from their worst year for exports since 2009. RICHEMONT chair JOHANN RUPERT has said the company needs to name younger managers who are in tune with what luxury consumers want. VACHERON CONSTANTIN CEO JUAN-CARLOS TORRES and PIAGET CEO PHILIPPE LEOPOLD-METZGER will remain non-executive presidents. GEORGES KERN, CEO of IWC, will take on the JAEGER-LECOULTRE CEO position on an interim basis as he becomes head of all watchmaking at RICHEMONT.

Net1: Ending SA welfare deal would be a 'disaster' - Franz Wild

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES CEO SERGE BELAMANT said a failure to extend the company's contract to distribute welfare payments beyond the end of Mar. would be a "national disaster", and offered to sell the business to the government. While SASSA is under pressure to replace NET1 as the distributor of R139.5bn of welfare payments annually, it's yet to put the contract out to tender. The Constitutional Court in 2013 declared NET1's contract invalid because of the way it was awarded. It was allowed to continue because of legal disputes and the failure of SASSA to issue a new tender. SASSA may need to return to court if NET1's contract is to be continued. SASSA is scheduled to present its plans for welfare distribution to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday. BELAMANT said NET1's CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES has a better network than any of the potential bidders. He said it hasn't been approached by government, adding that it will need ot know whether it's going to continue with the contract by the end of Feb. "We

Eskom receives more than 20 nuclear RFI acknowledgment forms - Terence Creamer

ESKOM has received more than 20 "acknowledgment forms" formally notifying the utility of an intention to respond to its Nuclear New Build Programme request for information, a source confirmed yesterday. The utility released the RFI documentation on Dec. 20 and set Apr. 28 as the closing date for response. The RFI also requested those intending to participate in the process to submit an acknowledgment form by Jan. 31. The source said at least 28 forms had been received by the deadline. Responses were received from all the "heavyweight" nuclear vendors, as well as a number of other entities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chicken industry challenges weigh on RCL's interim results - Megan van Wyngaardt

RCL FOODS expects its HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be 40cps-55cps, around 30%-50% lower than the 87.2cps reported y/y due to the challenges facing the local chicken industry. EPS for the period were also expected to fall by 48%-65% to between 30cps and 45cps. The interim results were also impacted on by an after-tax impairment of R102.7m, excluded from headline earnings, for redundant plant and equipment related to the decision to reduce commodity chicken volumes. Earnings were further impacted on by a R37.4m after-tax provision for restructuring costs and fair value adjustments on biological assets; and a forex loss of R27.9m as a result of rand/dollar appreciation. RCL noted that, excluding its chicken business's performance, the balance of its operations are expected to show trading profit growth over the y/y period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sugar taxes likely to cost formal beverages sector R1.4bn - Treasury - ANA

Formal business selling carbonated sugar sweetened beverages is estimated to suffer a R1.4bn loss in revenue should the sugar tax be implemented, the Treasury said yesterday. Treasury officials participated in public hearings on the proposed tax before the standing committee on finance as well as the health portfolio committee. The analysis document tabled during the hearings states that higher prices "discourage consumption of soft drinks, with lower income households most affected... overall, the impact of the tax is negative, but relatively small, real gross domestic product is 0.02% lower compared to the no-tax baseline". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU rebuffs South African claim of chicken dumping - Terence Creamer

The EU is strongly contesting arguments that its chicken exports to SA are the main cause of the current malaise in the industry, asserting that "structural" problems in the local industry are the main reasons for its lack of competitiveness. Ambassador MARCUS CORNARO also dismissed suggestions that European exporters are dumping cheap, low-quality bone-in chicken on the domestic market, noting that the prices of frozen chicken pieces from Spain, Belgium and Ireland are not the cheapest on the market. In addition, imports from seven other EU poultry exporting countries are currently prohibited, owing to a blanket Avian flu ban imposed since late 2016. The EU will therefore seek to overturn a provisional safeguard duty of 13.9% on frozen bone-in-chicken imposed by ITAC on Dec. 15. SARS figures put broiler imports for 2015 at 457 374t, or around 21% of local consumption. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANC wants govt to bail out poultry industry - ANA

The ruling ANC on Monday said it had resolved that government should buy struggling but productive poultry farms in a bid to save jobs and increase food security and production. Local poultry producers are set to retrench more than 3 500 workers in one of the largest industry bloodbaths as they struggle under heavy competition from cheap imported chickens from EU countries. ANC secretary-general GWEDE MANTASHE said the party had resolved to pursue this as part of accelerating radical transformation of the economy and disrupt existing patterns of ownership and control. MANTASHE said the ANC decided to defend existing jobs and create new ones, by protecting and incentivising domestic businesses and industries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoAL on the hunt for cash generating asset - Megan van Wyngaardt

COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED yesterday said it was evaluating various opportunities to acquire a cash generating asset. "We continue to engage with potential funders to ensure any potential opportunity can be appropriately funded. We are aware of the current cash balances and the requirement to fund the last legacy liability in June 2017", COAL said, adding that it was in talks to ensure the payment of this liability could be funded while also having sufficient funding available to move ahead with the Makhado project. COAL said the 26-month construction phase of Makhado is expected to start this year, as soon as all regulatory approvals are in place. The project is currently in limbo following the suspension of its 20-year integrated water use licence in 2016. The IWUL was suspended after the VHEMBE MINERAL RESOURCES FORUM lodged an appeal to the Department of Water and Sanitation. COAL is now awaiting final decisions on its appeal to the DWS and the Water Tribunal. "This delayed start-up reflects the comple

Solidarity says CoM negotiating in bad faith - Megan van Wyngaardt

Solidarity yesterday accused the Chamber of Mines of negotiating in "bad faith", adding that it had gone against its stated mandate as communicated to trade unions earlier in Jan. "The CoM [notified the unions that] negotiations at a centralised level, as was done before, will no longer take place", Solidarity mining industry deputy general secretary CONNIE PRINSLOO said. This, PRINSLOO noted, was a reversal of the Chamber's s5tance communicated to unions on Jan. 20, when Solidarity and other unions met with the CoM. "[It then] confirmed that centralised negotiations will still be held and reiterated its wish that the negotiations be subject to a strict protocol to ensure an efficient and speedy process - to which all unions present agreed", PRINSLOO said. Further, the CoM had not laid a firm foundation for future engagement, especially in view of the upcoming 2017 wage talks. "Solidarity is extremely perturbed by this state of affairs and believes the CoM's actions signal that it is negotiating in bad f

PTM raises funds for Maseve - Megan van Wyngaardt

PLATINUM GROUP METALS yesterday closed its public offering of common shares, raising more than the $25m it had initially planned to raise. The company issued 19.6m shares at $1.46 apiece, raising $28.75m. PTM will use the capital to advance underground development and production ramp-up of its 91 000oz Maseve platinum mine, near Rustenburg. The funds will also be used for working capital during start-up and general corporate purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimplats posts strong Dec. quarter, progresses new mine developments - Megan van Wyngaardt

ZIMPLATS this week reported a 41% q/q rise in revenue for the quarter to end-Dec. due to a 70% rise in 4E PGMs sales volumes. This was achieved despite lower metal prices and a 44% q/q rise in operating costs. ZIMPLATS reversed an impairment on long-term receivable of $13m. Tonnes mined during the quarter were marginally higher q/q due to sustained good operational performances across all the company's mines. Meanwhile, milled ore volumes and 4E metals-in-concentrate produced fell by 6% and 7% respectively q/q, driven by the lower concentrator operating time owing to the full reline of the semiautogenous grinding mill during the quarter. Production of 4E metal rose by 29% q/q due to higher furnace availability. ZIMPLATS noted that the redevelopment of its Bimha mine remained on schedule to reach full production in Apr. 2018. A total of $24m had been spent on the project as at Dec. 31, against an approved total project budget of $92m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal posts record sales, output up 10% - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL yesterday reported record coal sales of 679 000t and a 10% jump in production following the commissioning of the New Clydesdale Colliery in Mpumalanga. RoM coal output rose to 1.2mt during the Dec. quarter, up from 1.1mt q/q. The Kangala Colliery delivered 896 000t RoM during the quarter, down 17% q/q. UNIVERSAL said that with increased yields of around 68% at the plant for the quarter, domestic sales from Kangala were in line with the prior quarter. New Clydesdale delivered 396 000t during the quarter. UNIVERSAL sold 572 000t into the domestic market and exported 107 000t in the Dec. quarter. Operating cash flow increased by 52% q/q to A$4.9m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa adopts low-risk strategy for new Lesotho diamond mine - Esmarie Swanepoel

LUCAPA DIAMONDS has been awarded the Mothae kimberlite project in Lesotho following a competitive international tender process. LUCAPA acquired a 70% stake in the project for $9m, payable over 10 months. Mothae used to belong to LUCARA DIAMOND CORPORATION, but the miner put the project up for sale in 2015. PARAGON DIAMONDS was interested in acquiring a 75% stake in Mothae, which is near GEM DIAMONDS' Letseng mine, but the companies never concluded a final agreement. LUCAPA yesterday said that with the existing infrastructure and camp in place, the company was planning to bring the project into production within 12 months, under a staged low-risk development strategy. Previous development plans for the project have mainly been focused on large-scale mining and processing scenarios; however, LUCAPA will be adopting a staged- and low-capital approach to develop the kimberlite mine. Phase 1 mining and processing will provide valuable metallurgical data, diamond grade and value information at deeper levels f

Fortescue's cost cuts continue - Esmarie Swanepoel

FORTESCUE METALS has delivered another quarter of consistent output, with the company shipping 42.2mt of iron ore during the Dec. quarter. This was 4% below the 43.8mt shipped in Q1 2017. C1 cash costs for Q2 to end-Dec. reduced to $12.54/t, compared with the $13.55/t reported q/q, as productivity and efficiency initiatives continued to drive performance and lower unit costs. CEO NEV POWER said the operating results, coupled with positive market conditions "have generated excellent cash flow which supported a further $1bn of debt repayments in December". "Initial gearing targets have been surpassed and it is pleasing to see the ratings agencies recognise our performance and upgrade their ratings and outlook accordingly", POWER said. For FY2017, FORTESCUE expected to ship 165mt-170mt of ore, with C1 costs expected to reach $12-$13/tonne. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine sells Manchester property - Business Report

REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL has sold 201 Deansgate in Manchester for £29.15m. The company yesterday said the office block was originally acquired as part of the AUK Portfolio in Mar. 2016. The sale price represented a net initial yield of 3.6% and a 14.3% premium to the last reported book value. The geared IRR over the investment over the investment period was 22%. RIN said the proceeds from the disposal will be put towards "reducing debt on favourable terms". Terms have been agreed to extend the term of certain debt facilities with the company contributing around £25m of equity to reduce the loan. "The improvements to the terms of the debt facilities will deliver an attractive return on the equity contribution of approximately 10% per annum". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimplats says Harare in fresh bid to seize mining claims - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's government has made a fresh attempt to seize more than half of ZIMPLATS' mining land, the company said yesterday. It said it received a new notice from President ROBERT MUGABE's administration on Jan. 13 stating that the government wanted to seize the land and giving the company 30 days to lodge an objection. This is the third time since Feb. 2012 that Harare has issued a notice to seize 27 948ha of mining land from ZIMPLATS. "The operating subsidiary (ZIMPLATS) is engaging the government of Zimbabwe on the matter", the company said in its Q3 results statement. ZIMPLATS said its profits for Q3 to end-Dec. rose 28% to $21m thanks to higher platinum matte sales, which rose to 133 978oz from 100 392oz y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA posts trade surplus in Dec. - Mfuneko Toyana

SA recorded a larger-than-expected trade surplus in Dec., largely due to a sharp drop in imports as the continent's most industrialised country continued to see subdued consumer and business confidence. The trade surplus stood at R12bn, far above market forecasts of a R6bn surplus, data from SARS showed. The data showed imports had fallen nearly 20% to R19.75bn in the month. Imports of equipment components fell the most, but 53%, followed by clothing and toys, as well as textiles, which decreased 45% and 38%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 01/02/2017

At 07h39 on 01 February 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.50 ZAR/EUR 14.57 ZAR/GBP 16.98 Gold 1208.56 Platinum 994.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.43 All Share 52788.12

Pakistan steps up missile tests to counter India defence push - Farhan Bokhari

Pakistan is ramping up nuclear missile tests in response to India's drive to modernise its armed forces, increasing already heightened tensions between the two countries. Islamabad last week conducted its first flight test of the surface-to-surface Ababeel missile, which has a range of 2 200km and which officials and analysts say marks a significant step forward in the country's ability to target locations in India. The move followed Pakistan's first ballistic missile launch from a submarine earlier this month. "Taken together, these tests prove Pakistan's ability to go for an outright war if war is imposed on us", a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official said. Pakistani officials last week warned they were ready to use nuclear weapons against India in the event of an invasion by its neighbour. This followed an admission by BIPIN RAWAT, head of the Indian army, that the country had a plan to send troops across the border if it suffered a terror attack believed to originate in Pakistan. While most ex

Fighting escalates in eastern Ukraine - Roman Olearchyk

Fighting in breakaway eastern regions of Ukraine has escalated, with seven government soldiers and about 15 Russian-backed militants killed in battles near the separatist stronghold of Donetsk, officials said. Ukrainian defence officials yesterday accused "Russian occupation forces" of firing, "using all the might of their arsenal along all front lines" from Donetsk, south towards the port city of Mariupol. The separatists used Grad rocket systems in the attack, they said. The separatist leaders blamed Kiev's forces for the violence, which they said claimed the life of one of their top commanders. Kiev accused the separatists of provoking the battle by attempting to seize government positions north of Donetsk. In response, "our military servicemen went on the offensive taking an important position which has strategic significance", STEPAN POLTORAK, Ukraine's defence minister, said late on Sunday. The attacks took place after President DONALD TRUMP held his first telephone call as US leader with Russian

Deutsche Bank pays $630m to settle mirror trades probe - Kara Scannell

DEUTSCHE BANK has agreed to pay $630m to settle US and UK investigations into alleged mirror trades used to launder $10bn out of Russia. New York's Department of Financial Services yesterday said the German lender would pay it $425m, while the UK's Financial Conduct Authority this morning said it had fined DEUTSCHE £163m - about $204m - the largest financial penalty it or its predecessor agency has ever levied for anti-money-laundering controls failings. DEUTSCHE received a 30% discount on an original fine of £229m for agreeing to settle with the FCA in the early stages of the investigation. The bank said the settlements were already reflected in its litigation reserves and that it was cooperating with other probes. It still faces a US Department of Justice criminal probe into the trading. At the heart of the matter were trades that involved Russian clients buying securities in roubles through DEUTSCHE's Moscow office and then selling identical ones for foreign currency, including US dollars, through t

Updated market indicators for 31/01/2017

At 12h11 on 31 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.56 ZAR/EUR 14.51 ZAR/GBP 16.93 Gold 1197.30 Platinum 989.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.19 All Share 52883.14

Nando's denies stock market flotation report - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

NANDO's today denied speculation that it was considering a stock market flotation. Citing unidentified sources, Bloomberg reported today that NANDO's was weighing an IPO, possibly in London, to raise money for expansion. "The speculation about a NANDO's IPO is incorrect, nor are they currently considering fundraising", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya economic growth to slip to 5.7% in 2017 - Duncan Miriri

Kenyan economic growth is expected to slip to 5.7% in 2017 from around 5.9% in 2016, the central bank said today. Governor PATRICK NJOROGE did not give reasons for the drop but noted risks to the outlook came from uncertainty related to Britain's vote to leave the EU and questions about the direction of US policy after the election of President DONALD TRUMP. Economists have said an election later this year in Kenya could also hurt the economic outlook. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dec. credit growth quickens y/y - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's private sector credit demand growth quickened in Dec. to 5.11% y/y from 4.6% in Nov., SARB data showed today. Expansion in the M3 measure of money supply rose to 6.06% y/y compared with 4.76% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAPO to register financial services unit as a bank - Wendell Roelf

The SOUTH AFRICAN POST OFFICE will submit an application to register its financial services unit, POSTBANK, as a bank by Jul. 3, a document handed out in parliament showed. POSTBANK has R1.4bn in excess capital, enough to meet regulatory minimum requirements for a bank, the document showed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBCT misses 2016 coal export target - TJ Strydom

The RICHARDS BAY COAL TERMINAL today said 2016 coal exports fell 3.7% to 72.6mt, missing its target of 75mt on weak demand from Europe. The terminal aims to raise its exports to 77mt this year. The terminal said shipments to Europe contributed 12% of the total in 2016, down from 19% y/y, as less coal went to Turkey and Spain. Asia accounted for 75% of the total, up from 66% in 2015, due to robust demand from India and Pakistan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nomura profit doubles in Q3 - Peter Wells

A stock market rally and weaker yen have contributed to a strong Dec. quarter for NOMURA, which almost doubled profit y/y. The Japanese broker reported net income of Y70.3bn in the quarter to end-Dec. That was a 15% rise on the June quarter, but almost doubled from Y35.4bn y/y. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast profit of Y31.5bn. NOMURA said all business divisions reported stronger net revenue and income before income taxes, adding that group income before taxes, at Y95.5bn, was the highest in six quarters. NOMURA said assets under management in its asset management division were at a record high, while higher client activity boosted revenues for its wholesale businesses in the Americas and Asia ex-Japan. For the nine months to end-Dec., the firm lifted net income 18% y/y to Y178.4bn on a 5.3% rise in total revenue to Y1.29tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoJ holds monetary policy steady - Peter Wells

The Bank of Japan has kicked off 2017 by keeping monetary policy on hold, but has upgraded its economic forecasts. The decision to keep interest rates on hold at -0.1% and the pace of asset purchases steady at Y80tn/year was expected by economists. The BoJ said its expected real GDP to grow 1.5% in fiscal 2017, compared to a forecast of 1.3% provided in Oct. Growth in fiscal 2018 is now forecast to hit 1.1%, up from 0.9% in Oct. The median forecast for inflation of 1.5% in fiscal 2017 was unchanged from Oct., but was now in a tighter range. Inflation is expected to be at 1.7% in fiscal 2017, also unchanged from Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump sacks acting AG for refusal to enforce travel ban - Hudson Lockett

President DONALD TRUMP has fired acting US attorney general SALLY YATES after she ordered the Justice Department not to enforce his travel ban barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country. The White House yesterday said YATES had "betrayed the Department of Justice" by refusing to enforce TRUMP's executive order and he had relieved her of her duties. YATES had instructed top lawyers at the DoJ in a letter not to defend the executive order in court for the remainder of her term, saying she was not convinced it was lawful. The White House statement noted YATES was an OBAMA administration appointee, adding the she was "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration". In her place TRUMP had named DANA BOENTE, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general until the conformation vote for JEFF SESSIONS in the Senate, "where he is being wrongly held up by Democratic senators for strictly political reasons". This news brief repre

Germany will not ease rules to lure bankers after Brexit - James Shotter

Germany's financial watchdog BaFin yesterday warned it would not relax its rules in a bid to attract banks looking for a new home in the EU following the UK's Brexit vote. Speaking after a meeting with representatives of around 25 banks from the US, UK, Japan and Australia, BaFin official PETER LUTZ said foreign banks were "welcome" in Germany, but added that there would be no "regulatory arbitrage", stressing that banks would have to move appropriate numbers of managers and risk management staff to Germany in order to be eligible for a license. "Setting up a letterbox won't be enough", LUTZ said. He noted that no banks had yet applied for licenses in Germany as a result of the Brexit vote, but that he expected the banks involved to decide by the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 2017 whether or not they would move to Frankfurt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snap to choose NYSE for IPO - James Fontanella-Khan

SNAP has chosen the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE for its eagerly anticipated IPO, dealing a blow to rival NASDAQ. The company has already confidentially filed its IPO documents with the US SEC late last year and is expected to publish the information publicly this week. SNAP is aiming for a valuation of $20bn-$25bn, higher than rival TWITTER's $18bn valuation at IPO in 2013. MORGAN STANLEY and GOLDMAN SACHS were leading the offering. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump signs executive order to slash regulations - Mamta Badkar

US President DONALD TRUMP yesterday signed an executive order requiring that for every one new regulation two others would need to be eliminated. In keeping with his campaign promises to reduce the regulatory burden on US companies, TRUMP signed an executive order "to reduce the regulatory burden on small and large businesses by eliminating two orders for every one new regulation", according to a White House Pool report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU needs to create 'bad bank' for €1tn toxic loan pile, says EBA chief - Martin Arnold

ANDREA ENRIA, chair of the European Banking Authority, has called on Brussels policymakers to create an EU "bad bank" to buy billions of euros of toxic loans from lenders to break the vicious circle of falling profits, squeezed lending and weak economic growth. ENRIA believes that while the EU has recognised the bad debt crisis facing its banks faster than Japan did after its "lost decade" in the 1990s, it is now at risk of addressing the problem even more slowly than Tokyo did. He proposes that the EU should create a taxpayer-backed fund to buy bad loans from struggling lenders at their "real economic value" - a level to be determined by the fund after doing due diligence on the loans. This would have the double benefit of increasing transparency around the true value of the vast piles of non-performing loans clogging up the balance sheets of many banks in the region and increase the size of the nascent market for such assets. The EU is examining various ideas for how to reduce banks' NPLs, with official

Turkish trade deficit at $5.6bn - Alice Ross

Turkey's trade deficit hit $5.6bn in Dec., in line with forecasts. The figure marked a 10.3% drop from Dec. 2015. Exports rose 9% to $12.8bn in Dec. y/y, while imports were up 2.3% to $18.4bn y/y. The Turkish lira strengthened after the data were released, hitting a daily high of TRY3.78/$. The EU said last month it wanted to "modernise" its trade agreement with Turkey, arguing that deepening the customs union between the two would bring economic benefits for both partners. The EU is Turkey's largest trading partner, accounting for two-fifths of total trade, while Turkey is fifth on the EU's list. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell to sell North Sea, Thai assets - Andrew Ward

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has struck deals worth up to $4.7bn to sell offshore oil and gas assets in the North Sea and Thailand. The company said it had agreed to sell a package of UK North Sea assets to CHRYSAOR, a small British company backed by EIG PARTNERS, for up to $3.8bn. It also added another $900m to the kitty on Tuesday via the sale of its stake in the Bongkot gas field in Thailand to KUWAIT FOREIGN PETROLEUM EXPLORATION COMPANY. SHELL CFO SIMON HENRY said the deal "shows the clear momentum behind SHELL's global, value-driven $30bn divestment programme." The CHRYSAOR deal is the biggest in the North Sea for years and includes an initial consideration of $3bn and a payment of up to $600m between 2018 and 2021 subject to commodity prices, with potential further payments of up to $180m for future discoveries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockcastle wants more deals - Roy Cokayne

ROCKCASTLE GLOBAL REAL ESTATE yesterday said it was in advanced talks regarding potential acquisitions. The company added that it continued to sell listed investments, including those strategically held, to be positioned to reinvest the proceeds in direct properties and developments. ROCKCASTLE's stated objectives are to invest in direct property in central and eastern Europe and listed real estate securities globally. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TPF interim revenue up 22% - Business Report

TOWER PROPERTY FUND increased revenue by 22% to R223m and operating profit by 47% to R195m in difficult trading conditions in the HY to end-Nov. In a statement issued this morning, the company said the acquisition of a R1bn retail property portfolio in Croatia during the period increased the fund's total portfolio value to more than R5bn. Currently 28% of TOWER's properties by value are located in Croatia. Distributable earnings for the period rose to R130m. After the board's decision to no longer distribute once-off earnings to shareholders as dividends, TOWER's distribution per share declined by 15% to 38.4cps. The number of shares in issue rose by 42%. TOWER's portfolio in Croatia is now valued at more than R1.3bn. TOWER's development of over 70 residential units at the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village is expected to come on stream from Dec. 2017 through to mid-2019. Given the high demand for residential property in the area, TOWER will dispose of all the units and re-invest the profits in the busine

Shoprite, Steinhoff talks continue - Business Report

SHOPRITE and STEINHOFF today said they continue to have exclusive talks about a possible merger. The companies said they "remain engaged in exclusive on-going negotiations regarding the potential sale of STEINHOFF's Africa retail assets to SHOPRITE". This follows an announcement last month that the parties were planning on creating an entity to be called RETAIL AFRICA. RETAIL AFRICA is expected to be the continent's largest retailer with an annual turnover of R200bn, employing 186 000 people. SHOPRITE will issue new ordinary shares to STEINHOFF that will give the latter a significant stake in the former. The deal will result in SHOPRITE acquiring STEINHOFF's clothing chains in exchange for shares. SHOPRITE will also buy the furniture and appliance retailers that STEINHOFF owns via JD GROUP. The enlarged business might eventually come under STEINHOFF's control via a share swop. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA approves 1.3mt of GM US maize imports - Thembisile Dzonzi

SA issued permits to allow total imports of 1.3m metric tonnes of GM maize from the US since allowing entry of the grain for the first time in Dec. There have been 15 permits issued for GM maize, according to MAKENOSI MAROO, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. MAROO didn't say whether the permits were for white or yellow maize. Local maize farmers oppose the new imports because they are likely to push prices lower, Grain SA said recently. So far none of the maize has landed in local ports, according to HAMPIE LOURENS, MD of SOUTH AFRICAN BULK TERMINALS, which handles grain imports at the port of Durban. SA has imported 641 235t of white maize in the season that began May 1, mostly from Mexico, according to data from the SA Grain Information SErvice. Yellow maize imports in the period have totalled 1.2mt, much of it from Argentina. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADvTECH acquires stake in University of Africa - Fin24

ADVTECH has acquired a majority stake in University of Africa. The company yesterday said it is pleased with the acquisition of a 51% stake in UoA, with the deal representing the company's first tertiary partnership outside of SA. A private distance-learning university based in Zambia, UoA has a rapidly growing student base from across the continent and an expanding portfolio of qualifications. The university has more than 2 000 students and offers 22 Bachelors, eight Masters and a Doctoral degree. With the addition of UoA to the ADVTECH stable, its tertiary division will now comprise of ten brands across 26 sites in sub-Saharan Africa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanlam acquires stake in BrightRock - Fin24

SANLAM LIMITED has concluded agreements whereby SANLAM LIFE INSURANCE will acquire a 53% stake in life insurance provider BRIGHTROCK. It will be done via a combination of a share subscription and the purchase from various management shareholders and Correlation Investments. The total consideration is dependent on the effective date of the deal and is expected to be a maximum of R707m, should the effective date occur in H1 2017. SANLAM will fund the acquisition from available discretionary capital. The deal is in line with SANLAM's strategy to seek profitable and sustainable growth opportunities to invest in SA. In terms of the transaction agreement, SANLAM and BRIGHTROCK will retain their own brands, life insurance licences and management teams. The effective date of the deal will be dependent on the fulfilment of suspensive conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Labat acquires major stake in Ormin - Roy Cokayne

LABAT has agreed to acquire 51% of the issued share capital of ORMIN COAL for R16m. LABAT said it was growing its existing logistics business and saw major synergies between the two businesses because of the transport requirements of ORMIN to transfer the finished product to markets either locally or to ports. LABAT said it would be the dedicated logistics contractor for all ORMIN products. It added that it had also identified the beneficiation of existing mined resources as a major opportunity and a mechanism for community upliftment, small business development and job creation at community level. LABAT saw ORMIN as an ideal partner for such a venture and had identified various other above ground opportunities to exploit together. It added that ORMIN had secured rights to above ground tailings of various minerals and currently supplied chrome product to identified markets, but planned to expand the operations to other minerals this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan alleges campaign by Guptas against Treasury - Reuters

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN yesterday said in court documents that the GUPTAS were carrying out an "organised campaign" against him and the Treasury. GORDHAN also denied that he had a vendetta against the GUPTAS as claimed in court documents filed by the family on Jan. 20. The GUPTAS had accused GORDHAN of planning to diminish their business. This affidavit had been filed in response to one issued by GORDHAN in Oct. linking the family and their companies to suspicious transactions. The GUPTAS have denied any wrongdoing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clover tries to reassure shareholders - Natasha Odendaal

CLOVER yesterday moved to reassure shareholders that its restructure and the transfer of its low-margin business will not negatively impact the company. The group last month announced the restructuring of its business to develop higher-margin, value-added products in dairy and other related food categories and eliminate CLOVER's exposure to the cyclical nature of its low-margin business. The proposed restructure will see CLOVER unbundle its low-margin assets, which include the marketing and selling of nonvalue-added fresh mill, ultrapasteurised milk and ultra-high-temperature milk, into the newly established SPV DAIRY FARMERS SA, which will now be responsible for determining the raw milk price. CLOVER said the move will eliminate the "unfounded speculation" or misconception that CLOVER favoured profitability over the interest of producers or sacrificed profitability in favour of producers. CLOVER's initial 100% shareholding in DFSA will be reduced to 26% post Jun. 30, when 74% of the shares will be made a

Afrox to post higher FY earnings - Natasha Odendaal

AFRICAN OXYGEN expects to report double-digit gains in earnings for the FY to end-Dec. after reporting improved margins from operational efficiencies and a reduction in fixed costs post its restructuring programme the year before. EPS for the FY are expected to be 39%-49% higher than the 134cps reported y/y, at between 186cps and 199cps. AFROX anticipates higher HEPS of 182cps-196cps, a 31%-41% rise on the 139cps reported y/y. Results will be published on Feb. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM lambastes Sibanye's legal bid against DMR - Megan van Wyngaardt

The NUM yesterday criticised SIBANYE PLATINUM's decision to pursue a legal bid against the DMR for alleged financial damages as a result of Section 54 stoppages. "Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act was brought to life because it has contributed to saving lives in the mining industry", the NUM said. It noted that, since 2008, there had been a "consistent decline" in the lives lost in the industry, with fatalities in 2016 at 76 lives lost. "We are urging the Chamber of Mines to intervene as a matter of urgency and to engage with the DMR to discuss the elephant in the room rather than dispose of the baby with dirty bath water", NUM health and safety chair PETER BAILEY said. Meanwhile, the CoM late on Friday said it was perplexed by a statement issued by Mines Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE two days earlier, stating that the Minister had alleged that certain of the CoM's members were flouting safety laws and regulations. The CoM said safety was its most significant priority, but noted that it and its mem

Harmony expects jump in H1 HEPS - Megan van Wyngaardt

HARMONY GOLD's share price rose by 9.6% yesterday after it announced an expected rise of 235%-255% y/y in HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. HARMONY attributed the higher HEPS to an increase in the average gold spot price, the recognition of a gain on the Hidden Valley acquisition and the gains recognised on gold and currency hedges. This, the company said, will translate to HEPS of 139c-160c/share. EPS are expected to be between 434% and 454% higher y/y at between 341cps and 361cps. HARMONY recorded a loss of 102cps in the HY to end-Dec. 2015. Interim results will be published on Feb. 2. HARMONY's shares rose as high as R35.01 yesterday, compared with Friday's close of R31.94. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz awards gas development projects to Yara, Shell - Manuel Mucari

Mozambique has awarded gsa development projects to Norway's YARA INTERNATIONAL, SHELL MOZAMBIQUE and GL ENERGY AFRICA, the National Petroleum Institute said yesterday. YARA will develop fertilisers and 30MW-50MW of power while SHELL will produce diesel and 50MW-80MW of power. GL ENERGY will produce 250MW from gas resources, the NPI said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's Okavango diamond sales jump 80% in 2016 - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Botswana's state-owned OKAVANGO DIAMOND COMPANY yesterday said sales rose 80% to $547m in 2016 as global consumer demand rebounded. OKAVANGO deputy MD MARCUS TER HAAR said overall volumes rose 155% to 3.44m ct after accounting for various post sale adjustments through the year. While sales were significantly higher in 2016, average price per carat weakened to $158.78, from $183.78 in 2015. "The fall in average price per carat is attributable to the different mix of diamonds sold over the two periods", TER HAAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 31/01/2017

At 07h49 on 31 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.51 ZAR/EUR 14.46 ZAR/GBP 16.91 Gold 1202.32 Platinum 994.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.19 All Share 52660.94

Jubilee to deliver chromite concentrate in fortnight - Natasha Odendaal

JUBILEE PLATINUM's commissioning of chromite recovery and PGMs plants at its Hernic ferrochrome operation is progressing to schedule, with the first chromite concentrate product targeted within the next two weeks. At full production, the project is expected to be the largest PGMs beneficiation plant of surface chrome tailings in SA, targeting the processing of 55 000t/m of chrome and PGM-rich material. The integration of the two circuits will start in Feb. The commissioning of the PGM recovery plant would be the natural succession of the chromite recovery plant with integration of the two recovery plants targeted for Feb. JUBILEE will undertake the full functional testing of the fully integrated metallurgical unit processes using process water prior to feeding through chromite and PGM material. The final step of integrating the chromite recovery plant into Hernic's current operations to receive Hernic feed material and ramping up of production is targeted for completion within the next two weeks. This

Randgold confident Loulo-Gounkoto exceeded 2016 production guidance - Anine Kilian

RANDGOLD RESOURCES expects to report record Q4 production at its Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali. CEO MARK BRISTOW at the weekend reiterated that the company was likely to report that it had exceeded its production guidance of 670 000oz of gold for 2016. Further, RANDGOLD expects its production to remain at above 600 000oz/y for the next 10 years. Brownfield exploration at Loulo produced 600 000oz of inferred resources via drilling at its Gara deposit in 2016, while recent studies at the Yalea deposit have identified a number of targets for follow-up exploration this year. "RANDGOLD's investment in exploration continues to be a key part of the company's long-term strategy in Mali, with exploration teams progressing targets across western Mali during the fourth quarter of the year", BRISTOW noted. He added that significant progress was being made with the establishment of Agripole at RANDGOLD's other Malian operation, Morila. RANDGOLD will publish its results for Q4 and FY2016 on Feb. 6. This ne

Resgen considers loan facility increase - Natasha Odendaal

As work continues at its Boikarabelo mine, RESOURCE GENERATION is considering a proposal to raise an existing unsecured loan facility. The provider of the three-year-old facility, which was now fully drawn down, had offered RESGEN an increase in the facility to provide the company with additional working capital for the period up to the first drawdown under the proposed project funding arrangements, the company said yesterday. "The company expects to finalise its consideration of the proposed increase during February and will update the market when this occurs", RESGEN noted. RESGEN held $4.5m in cash at end-Dec. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rain in Peru may affect copper output at Freeport mine - Reuters

Copper production at FREEPORT-MCMORAN's Cerro Verde mine in Peru might be temporarily affected by heavy rains that have blocked roads in the region, the company's local unit said on Monday. However, the rains would not have any material impact on the company, it added in a statement. FREEPORT did not specify how the rains would affect output and declined further comment. Cerro Verde produced 1.1bn lbs of copper in all of 2016, more than double output in 2015 thanks to a recent expansion. FREEPORT holds a 53.56% stake in the mine, with SUMITOMO METAL MINING COMPANY holding a 21% stake and BUENAVENTURA 19.58%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest boosts copper output, gold production flat - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST MINING yesterday reported that its gold production for the Dec. quarter was flat, but that its copper production had increased. The company's Dec. quarter gold production dropped to 614 715oz, compared with 615 498oz q/q and 620 691oz y/y. Copper production rose to 25 176t in the quarter, from 23 723t q/q and 17 581t y/y. All-in sustaining costs fell to $751/oz, from $790/oz in the Sep. quarter. For the full 2017, NEWCREST maintained its production target of 2.35moz-2.6moz of gold, and 80 000t-90 000t of copper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria asks Goldman, Stanbic to help sell debut diaspora bond - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria has asked GOLDMAN SACHS and STANBIC IBTC BANK, the local unit of STANDARD BANK GROUP, to advise it on the sale of a debut "diaspora bond" targeted at Nigerians living abroad. Such bonds are a form of government debt that targets members of the national community abroad and Africa's biggest economy first announced plans to sell them in 2013 to raise between $100m and $300m. GOLDMAN and STANBIC were due to manage the sale at the time, but the government failed to appoint any bookrunners before the 2015 presidential election that brought MUHAMMADU BUHARI to power. A finance ministry source said the country will look to issue a diaspora bond after completing a $1bn eurobond sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand, bonds weaken on cabinet reshuffle reports - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's rand was on course for its third consecutive session of losses today on reports President JACOB ZUMA is considering a cabinet reshuffle. The rand was trading at at 13.63/$ a short while ago, down 1.26% for the day. Government bonds also weakened. The yield on the benchmark bond maturing in 2026 rose 10 bps to 8.95%. "Risk sentiment is taking a bit of a knock following the latest political developments on possible cabinet reshuffle on the domestic front", ETM trader JANA VAN DEVENTER said. The rand weakened on Friday on reports that ZUMA could remove ministers who backed calls for his resignation in Nov. The ANC is due to hold a news conference at 1200 GMT to discuss the outcome of a regular meeting of its top leaders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal starts opencast mining at NCC - Esmarie Swanepoel

UNIVERSAL COAL has started opencast mining at its New Clydesdale Colliery in Mpumalanga, marking the second phase of its planned 3.3mt/y NCC operation. Underground mining started in Sep. 2016 and is expected to achieve nameplate rates of 900 000t/y of thermal coal by the end of the current quarter. The opencast operation will deliver a further 2.4mt RoM premium-quality domestic thermal coal and low phos metallurgical coal from the adjacent Roodekop pit, once steady state production is achieved by the middle of 2017. UNIVERSAL CEO TONY WEBER said the company expected NCC to generate robust cashflows to complement contributions from the operating Kangala mine, positioning the company well to fund future growth, while underpinning a dividend return going forward. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DMR grants Vele environmental authorisation - Anine Kilian

The Department of Mineral Resources has granted COAL OF AFRICA LIMITED environmental authorisation for a stream diversion and other infrastructural activities at its Vele Colliery in Limpopo. COAL is still awaiting the approval of an integrated water use licence from the Department of Water and Sanitation, which is the final regulatory approval required for the stream diversion in respect of the plant modification project (PMP). The PMP is aimed at expanding and modifying the existing process plant at Vele to overcome historical operational efficiencies that prevented the mine from producing the 5mt/y of coal originally anticipated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 30/01/2017

At 11h12 on 30 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.64 ZAR/EUR 14.59 ZAR/GBP 17.11 Gold 1190.16 Platinum 981.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.32 All Share 52624.76

Trump backs down on green-card immigrants - Sam Fleming

President DONALD TRUMP has decided to allow green card holders from the Muslim countries targeted by his extreme vetting programme to enter the US, in the first reversal since he reveailed his controversial immigration policy on Friday. "I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest", Homeland Security Secretary JOHN KELLY said. "Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations". TRUMP spent yesterday defending his order to clamp down on people entering the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the face of protests and legal assaults at home and mounting hostility around the globe. The White House measure bars refugees from entry for 120 days and indefinitely prohibits entry for Syrian refugees. It also bars citizens from seven Muslim countries - Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Soma

Vodafone confirms talks over Indian merger - Katie Martin

Shares in VODAFONE rose to the top of the FTSE 100 at the start of trading this morning after it confirmed it is talking to the ADITYA BIRLA GROUP about a merger between VODAFONE INDIA and IDEA CELLULAR, following media speculation about a deal that would create India's largest telecoms company. "There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms or timing of any transaction", the company said, adding that "any merger would be effected through the issue of new shares in IDEA to VODAFONE and would result in VODAFONE deconsolidating VODAFONE INDIA". Shares in VODAFONE were up 3.6% at 200p an hour ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold begins talks to end sit-in at Ivory Coast mine - Mehreen Khan

RANDGOLD RESOURCES has begun talks to end an illegal sit-in at one of its sites in the Ivory Coast. The company said the protest at its Tongon mine began over "some employees demanding annual ex gratia payments". The sit-in began on Jan. 26. "Representatives of the central and local governments as well as the union, which does not support the sit-in, have joined management in engaging with the workers to end their action", RANDGOLD said this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece faces 'explosive' surge in public debt, IMF warns - Shawn Donnan

Greece faces what is likely to be an "explosive" surge in its public debt levels that within decades will mean it will owe almost three times the country's annual economic output unless given significant debt relief, the IMF has warned in a confidential report. The report was prepared by IMF staff ahead of a Feb. 6 board meeting to discuss the fund's participation in an EU-led bailout of Greece and signals the continuing hard line the IMF is taking on debt relief for Athens. It offers a bleaker view of Greece's economic dilemmas than an analysis prepared last year, warning that the debt load is "highly unsustainable" and would not improve even if it implemented further reforms recommended by the fund. The Fund calculated that Greece's debt load would reach 170% of GDP by 2020 and 164% by 2022, "but become explosive thereafter" and grow to 275% of GDP by 2060. The IMF cites the heavy burden borne by the Greek people as part of the economic crisis they have been battling since 2010 and repeats a call for a

VW overtakes Toyota as world's biggest carmaker in 2016 - Kana Inagaki

VOLKSWAGEN has reclaimed the crown from TOYOTA as the world's largest carmaker by sales as the German group overcame damage from the diesel emissions scandal. TOYOTA today said its global sales rose 0.2% to 10.2m vehicles in 2016. That fell short of the 10.3m units sold by VW. Analysts say sales in the world's two largest car markets - the US and China - will continue to be a critical factor as VW tries to maintain its lead over TOYOTA in 2017. With US car sales seen to be nearing their peak, TOYOTA is expected to grapple with a broader slowdown in vehicle demand as well as pressures from President DONALD TRUMP to boost spending and manufacturing in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba, Tencent inspired by Pokémon Go in redo envelope wars - Yuan Yang

ALIBABA and TENCENT have opened a new front in their rivalry over the lunar nea year tradition of gifting hongbao - red envelopes with money inside - using Pokemon Go-like add-ons to attract new customers. For the past three years, the companies have gone head-to-head in trying to attract users to their mobile payment platforms by offering virtual hongbao stuffed with cash. But this year both TENCENT's WeChat and ALIBABA's Alipay have switched strategies to promote their offline mobile payments and augmented-reality games. Instead of sending virtual red envelopes directly to users, the rivals' new front is "offline" mobile payments, meaning payments to high-street vendors as opposed to ecommerce websites. Such payments are usually completed by scanning a physical QR code. Both companies are rolling out spring festival add-ons to encourage users to gift physical objects via their apps, hoping the habit will stick. Players can also leave a red envelope for someone else in a GPS-tagged location. TENCENT's

China investment in foreign real estate hits record $33bn - Gabriel Wildau

Chinese real estate investment abroad rose by more than half last year to a new high, highlighting the potentially disruptive impact of tighter capital controls imposed later in the year to discourage outbound money flows. Overseas investment from China in residential, commercial and industrial property totalled $33bn in 2016, up 53% y/y, according to global real estate group JLL. The US was the most popular destination for the second consecutive year, drawing $14.3bn of investment, followed by Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia. "We believe that Chinese investors will continue to be major movers of capital into global real estate for many years. But a similar increase in 2017 may be challenging given the recent discussion about China monitoring its capital outflows", said DAVID GREEN-MORGAN, research director for JLL in Singapore. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkey cut to junk by Fitch - Mehreen Khan

FITCH has become the latest ratings agency to cut Turkey's sovereign borrower rating, stripping the country of its last remaining investment grade status with a major credit institution. In a decision late on Friday, FITCH cut Turkey to BB+ from BBB-, saying political and security developments "have undermined economic performance and institutional independence. While the political environment may stabilise, significant security challenges are set to remain". FITCH said a plan to concentrate power in the office of the presidency would "entrench a system in which checks and balances have been eroded". It kept its outlook on Turkey stable but added that a purge of suspected government opponents since July had "unnerved some participants in the economy". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chevron earnings disappoint - Ed Crookes

CHEVRON has reported earnings well below expectations for Q4 2016 as it improved returns from oil and gas production but suffered a slump in profits from its refineries. Shares were down more than 2.5% in pre-market trading. EPS were 22cps for the quarter, compared to an average forecast of 64cps. The group reported a loss of 31cps for Q4 2015, hit by a write-down in asset values. Revenues for Q4 2016 were also less than expected at $31.5bn, up 8% y/y. CEO JOHN WATSON said CHEVRON's 2016 results had been affected by low oil and gas prices, but the company has "responded aggressively" by cutting capex and operating costs. Capex spending dropped to $22.4bn in 2016, from $34bn in 2015, as CHEVRON completed work on large projects, such as the Gorgon LNG plant in Australia, and put the brake on commitments to new projects. Production was roughly unchanged at 2.67m boe/day in Q4 compared to the equivalent period of 2015, as output from Gorgon and other new projects was offset by natural decline, asset sales

US 2016 economic growth weakest in five years - Adam Samson

The US expanded by 1.6% last year, marking the weakest rate in five years, underscoring the steady but tepid economic recovery under the OBAMA administration. President DONALD TRUMP has promised to boost the growth rate to 4% via a combination of lower taxes, softer regulations and higher government spending on infrastructure. Many economists have noted that it may be difficult for TRUMP to produce a long-lasting increase in economic growth, given that the labour market is already operating near what is considered to be its normal level, and the potential for a further rise in inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Colgate-Palmolive shares slip as sales miss - Mamta Badkar

COLGATE-PALMOLIVE shares fell on Friday after the company said Q4 sales missed forecasts and cautioned that global uncertainty and currency issues remain a challenge in 2017. The group said it swung to a profit of $606m or 68cps in the quarter to end-Dec., compared with a loss of $458m or 51cps y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, EPS of 75cps were in line with estimates. Sales decreased 4.5% y/y to $3.7bn, missing analysts' estimates of $3.9bn. Revenues declined in Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa but were unchanged in North America. Organic net sales grew 1.5%. Looking ahead, the company said uncertainty in global markets and forex volatility remains a challenge and it expects low-single-digit net sales and earnings per share growth in 2017. Shares in the group slid 3.7% to $65.75 in pre-market trading on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bosch revenues up 3.5% in 2016 - Patrick McGee

BOSCH on Friday said 2016 revenues rose 3.5% but operating profit fell owing to lower margins and heavy investment in its long-term growth strategy. In preliminary figures, BOSCH said EBIT were €4.3bn, down from €4.6bn y/y. Revenues were up 3.5% to €73.1bn. Final figures are expected on May 4. Sales in the car parts division rose 5.5% to €44bn, accounting for 60% of group sales. Asia was the company's fastest growing region, with revenue up 8.1% versus 3.4% growth in Europe. Sales declined in North and South America, falling 2% and 5.7%, respectively. BOSCH is projecting 2.3% global economic growth this year, but it declined to offer a projection for its own sales given uncertainties including the new US administration and the Brexit vote. The group said it would invest €300m in a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence, to bulk up its "one-stop shop for the Internet of Things" model comprising services, sensors and software. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba faces fresh legal action over 2015 accounting scandal - Peter Wells

TOSHIBA shares dropped this morning amid media reports a number of trust banks were preparing to sue the company for damages related to its 2015 accounting scandal. MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST and BANKING CORP were among those reported to be suing, according ot Asahi Shimbun. Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund last year sued TOSHIBA for $9m in damages over losses linked ot the $1.3bn accounting scandal. The group's efforts to revive its fortunes since then have been dealt an additional blow by its warning in Dec. that it could book "several billion dollars" of impairment losses on part of its Westinghouse nuclear business in the US. Late last week, the company said it was scaling back its ambitions for its nuclear business and, in a bid to prevent falling into negative net worth, announced a plan to split its profit-generating memory chip because of a prelude to a state sale and a potential IPO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freedom reveals irregular deals - Roy Cokayne

FREEDOM PROPERTY FUND has released details of several allegedly irregular property transactions apparently committed by its previous board and executive team. The fund on Friday said its audit committee had been notified by RSM SA, the company's auditor, of its belief that reportable irregularities had and were taking place at the company and reported them to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Most of these irregularities relate to transactions that took place between Mar. 2015 and end-Feb. 2016 when FREEDOM's board and executive management were in control of managing the company. The suspension in trading in the company's shares followed its failure in 2016 to publish its results for the FY to end-Feb. within three months of its year-end. Trading in FREEDOM's shares on the JSE remains suspended as it has still not published or finalised these financial results. FREEDOM said it would continue to work closely with its auditor to finalise the release of its annual results as soon as possible.

Three major banks eye welfare job - Bloomberg

Three of SA's biggest banks are considering bidding to distribute government welfare grants to more than 17m people as a contract with NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES comes to an end after years of legal battles. The existing contract earned NET1 about R2bn/year. BARCLAYS AFRICA, NEDBANK and a unit of FIRSTRAND are contemplating bids, according to e-mailed responses to questions from the lenders. The SOUTH AFRICAN POST OFFICE has already said it will bid. While it is yet to issue a formal bid, SASSA has asked potential bidders to submit requests for information as it mulls how to distribute the welfare payments. The current contract with NET1's CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES expires at the end of Mar., but may be extended until SASSA's own systems are in place or an alternative provider is found, according to the Department of Social Development. AFRICAN BANK and CAPITEC said they are not bidding, while STANDARD BANK said it has not engaged in the SASSA process to date. This news brief represents a summary of the or

Cargo Carriers CEO to step down - Fin24

After more than 24 years of service to CARGO CARRIERS, CEO MURRAY BOLTON has notified the board of his intention to retire as CEO within the next 12 months in order to enjoy a greater degree of personal and family time as he enters his 60s. The board will immediately commence with the process of identifying and appointing a successor to MURRAY and implement the appropriate measures to ensure a smooth transition to a new leadership team. Further announcements in this regard will be made in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P warns it may cut Turkey rating deeper into junk - Adam Samson

S&P GLOBAL warned on Friday that it may cut Turkey's credit rating deeper into junk territory amid concerns over whether policymakers will be able to tame inflationary and currency pressures. S&P affirmed its BB rating on the country, which has been in effect since the military coup attempt in Jul. 2016. But S&P said it now holds a "negative" outlook, from "stable", to "reflect what we consider to be rising constraints on policy makers' ability to tame inflationary and currency pressures, which would weaken the financial strength of Turkey's companies and banks, undermining growth, and fiscal outcomes, during a period of rising global interest rates". The lira has tumbled by around a quarter against the US dollar since Jul. S&P forecasts that the currency's weakness could push the rate of consumer price growth up this year to 8.6%, from 7.8% in 2016. "In our view, the Turkish central bank's monetary policy response to rising currency and inflationary pressures may prove insufficient to anchor its inflati

SA miners will miss commodity upswing - Godfrey Mutizwa

SA's squabbling politicians and badly redrafted mining law will consign the mining industry to another mediocre year, ensuring it misses the benefits of an upswing in commodity prices that started in 2016. PAUL MILLER, investment banker for NEDBANK mining finance, said he could not see the political leadership required to help turn the industry around, ahead of this year's ANC elective conference in Dec. It would be up to the industry to assist regulators to improve a mining environment battered by what MILLER termed a break-out in "lawfare", as companies challenge some of the mining regulations. The biggest negative effect on the industry would come from the amended Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the reviewed Mining Charter. Both were expected to be enacted shortly, despite strong opposition from the mining industry. Adding to the uncertainty were a number of legal challenges to the DMR's interpretation of Section 54 safety stoppages. "I think 2017 is going to be a particularly ser

Sanlam's on-demand app - Neesa Moodley

SANLAM is venturing into new territory by launching an insurance cover app, callked Go Cover, which allows you to buy accidental injury cover, on demand, from 24 hours to an extended 30-day period. The cover can be activated immediately or at a precise future data and time within 30 days. Once you sign in and enter your details, you can buy cover and activate your policy within minutes. The app is aimed at people who require periodic workplace protection and holiday-makers. The launch of the app follows SANLAM's announcement of its purchase of a 53% majority stake in innovative insurer BRIGHTROCK, at a price of up to R707m. The Go Cover concept is similar to BRIGHTROCK's innovative needs-matched term life cover, while making use of technology to reach the target market and increase accessibility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom, Please Call Me creator in legal deadlock - Kyle Venktess

VODACOM on Friday said it is committed to talks with 'Please Call Me' inventor KENNETH MAKATE after the company filed court papers last week. The company filed an affidavit at the Constitutional Court in response to MAKATE's latest court application. VODACOM said the Constitutional Court Order, which previously directed the parties to negotiate in good faith to determine reasonable compensation, "is clear and unambiguous". In Dec., talks between MAKATE and VODACOM hit a deadlock with the matter going back to court. MAKATE applied for an order at the Constitutional Court seeking clarification on the import and meaning of a judgment handed down last year. "VODACOM remains committed to negotiations with Mr MAKATE and is prepared to resume talks at his earliest convenience. Mr MAKATE's present application is, in VODACOM's view, premature", VODACOM spokesperson BYRON KENNEDY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Metals, engineering sector to grow for first time in over three years in 2017 - David Oliveira

SA's metals and engineering sector is expected to grow for the first time in over three years this year, by 1.4%, amid rising commodity prices and an improved economic outlook both globally and domestically. SEIFSA senior economist TAFADZWA CHIBANGUZA on Friday noted that the growth expectations are dependent on there being no production disruptions as a result of the forthcoming wage talks in the sector. "Commodity prices were significantly low at the start of 2016, but the majority of them recovered, pointing to possible further momentum in 2017", CHIBANGUZA said. He noted that the current commodity price surge would contribute favourably to the metal and engineering sector's growth, despite uncertainty as to whether the trend is cyclical or structural in nature. But he suggested that the uptick is likely a "cyclical bounce" based on analysis of information from this month. The positive growth prognosis for the sector is bolstered by an estimated domestic economic growth of 1.7% this year and 1.8% in 2

Poultry task team makes progress in finding solutions to sector challenges - Megan van Wyngaardt

A poultry sector task team established by the government to deal with the challenges facing the local poultry industry has made "significant progress" across various work teams, the DTI said on Friday. Domestic poultry producers continue to express concern about growing imports of poultry products and some producers have announced plans to retrench workers. The task team's work streams include trade measures; investigating health and quality issues; competitiveness; industry growth and transformation; and industrial financing, incentives and demand-side interventions. The DTI said that, as soon as the necessary technical work had been completed for the short-term interventions, the task team would submit, for final ratification, a set of short-term and shared interventions. These proposals will be submitted to the Ministers concerned and the broader leadership of business and labour involved in the poultry sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stronger rand drives Comair's interim earnings higher - Megan van Wyngaardt

A stronger rand has contributed to a 125%-145% y/y increase in COMAIR's EPS for the HY to end-Dec. COMAIR expects to report EPS of 40cps-44cps for the interim period. COMAIR said the stronger rand had resulted in the reversal of unrealised translation losses on the dollar-denominated aircraft loan of R98m, which would also boost HEPS by 213%-233% to between 41cps and 44cps. Further, all lossmaking open oil hedges had matured by end-Dec. 2015, with no further hedges having been entered into. The results for the period are expected to be released on Feb. 14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Excessive grain imports hurting local farmers - Megan van Wyngaardt

Grain SA has called for greater transparency in the reporting of import and export contracts, as local producers' competitiveness was being hampered by unchecked imports. "Currently there is no mechanism to report import and export contracts. This is totally one-sided and only the traders have access to this information and the producers don't". Grain SA said: "A great number of permits for US genetically modified organism maize imports were [recently] issued; however, the same GMO events are not available to local producers. Such exceptions should only be made at times when food security is at risk". It added that excessive imports of maize would only put prices under further pressure. Further, Grain SA noted that the imports caused great uncertainty and allowed market players to force the market in a certain direction. "We feel strongly that a free market system can only function optimally if the market information is available to all role-pleyers all the time. The declaration of import and export co

JSS eyes R1bn capital raise to fund junior miners - Natasha Odendaal

JSS EMPOWERMENT MINING FUND is targeting a capital raise of R1bn in two windows this year to fund junior opencast miners to get over the start-up hump and reach profitable operations. The Section 12(J) company, a partnership between boutique corporate finance firm JALTECH and STEFANUTTI STOCKS, set to be launched in Feb., plans to offer an attractive investment opportunity via extensive hands-on risk mitigation and tax benefits, while offering junior mining companies a helping hand in funding and technical expertise. JSS plans to provide investments of R30m-R500m, along with operational expertise, to qualifying South African junior mining companies with projects at the bankable feasibility study stage. Eight prospective projects have already been identified for possible aggregate funding of R703m and will undergo evaluation by the fund's investment committee as soon as the minimum capital of R500m required by the fund has been raised. STEFANUTTI will provide blue-chip levels of contract mining services fo

SMEs must prepare for increased electricity tariffs - Fin24

The next eight years will likely see an above-inflation y/y electricity increase of at least 6%-8%, according to MILA LOUBSER, head of Engineering Intelligence. The large investments ESKOM is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future. This will make it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy, in her view. Since 2008 the average tariff increase in SA has been around 300%, LOUBSER's research shows. "In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%", LOUBSER said. This trend will have the largest impact on small and medium enterprises. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PotashCorp profit forecast disappointments amid tough markets - Bloomberg

POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN forecast lower-than-expected earnings for 2017 as it warned that new nigrogen-fertiliser plants in the US will weigh on prices. The company also said it expects "challenging market fundamentals" in the phosphate-fertiliser market, and is assessing the valuation of its phosphate assets, which may lead to a write-down. POTASHCORP projected earnings this year of 35c-55c/share, trailing the 62cps average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company's Q4 net income also disappointed, falling to 7cps from 24cps y/y, compared with the 9cps average estimate. Meanwhile, POTASHCORP said its merger with rival AGRIUM is expected to be completed in mid-2017 and generate cost savings of $500m/year following the completion of the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African to report higher H1 earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES expects its EPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be between 23% and 43% higher than the 12.43cps reported y/y. HEPS were also expected to rise by 21%-41% y/y. The company said its profits were significantly impacted by the PAR GOLD PROPRIETARY transaction, which resulted in the weighted average number of issues in issue reducing by 17.7% y/y. The Uitkomst colliery also performed well during the period, contributing about 8.5% of the group's earnings. During the current reporting period, the company recorded a pre-tax mark-to-market fair value gain of R90m on the cost collar, owing to a reduction in the gold price for R625 000/kg as at Jun. 30 2016, to R505 000/kg as at Dec. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Abandoned Blyvoor mine caused 'catastrophe', rights group says - Bloomberg

The closing of the Blyvooruitzicht mine in SA resulted in a humanitarian "catastrophe" and the government must protect the rights of residents who were neglected, according to advocacy group Human Rights. The mine started production in 1942 and was operated by DRDGOLD and VILLAGE MAIN REEF before going into liquidation in 2013. Lawyers for Human Rights gathered data from about 300 households in the area and found that 60% of them said they didn't have enough to eat or the ability to support their children. "The catastrophe at Blyvooruitzicht is the result of a toxic cocktail involving private sector abdication of responsibility, an inadequate legislative framework and state enforcement effort", the group said on Friday. Maintenance at the site ceased after the liquidation, leaving residents exposed to radioactive dust from the mine waste areas and raw sewage in the streets due to the breakdown of infrastructure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samarco restart encounters new obstacle - Bloomberg

BHP BILLITON and VALE's crippled SAMARCO mine has a new obstacle threatening to slow its restart - a small time mayor. The city of Santa Barbara declined to sign off this week on a plan for SAMARCO to continue to use water from a nearby river. Without the approval, SAMARCO won't be able to complete an ongoing environmental study required by state regulators for a restart, a source said. "There are environmental impacts related to the water supply that need to be thoroughly studied", mayor LERIS BRAGA said. He is calling for a separate study to be dome to test for possible disruptions to water flow. Even if SAMARCO resolves BRAGA's objections, the mine will probably only be able to complete the environmental impact study needed for an operating license by Jul. at the earliest. If the dispute can't be resolved, the study's completion date could be delayed even further, making the likelihood of a restart this year more difficult. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand, write-downs knock Liberty - Business Report

LIBERTY HOLDINGS on Friday said earnings will be lower for the FY to end-Dec., partly due to lower returns on an investment portfolio caused by a stronger rand and write-downs. The company said basic EPS will be between 40% and 60% lower at between 597.4cps and 896.1cps. In addition, HEPS will also be between 40% and 60% lower, coming in at 611.3cps and 916.9cps. Normalised HEPS are expected to be 35%-55% lower than the prior year, coming in at between 659cps and 951.9cps. LIBERTY said the main contributors to the reduction in earnings are lower returns on the investment portfolio due to poor performance and the stronger rand, as well as the write-down of infrastructure investments held in the alternative portfolio. LIBERTY also experienced net negative actuarial assumption changes in the Individual Arrangements business relating mainly to worsening persistency. "Management has taken action to address persistency and the operational issues in the group. The customer facing units continue to write good

Lagarde says Uganda needs to rely less on credit for infrastructure - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda needs to tap more of its domestic revenues to fund infrastructure development as reliance on borrowed funds is "unworkable" and could lead to a spike in debt, IMF MD CHRISTINE LAGARDE said on Friday. Chinese credit is funding projects ranging from expressways and hydropower plants to airport expansion. Plans are underway to borrow more from China for a planned standard gauge railway, as well. The borrowing from China and other lenders like the African Development Bank has stoked unease among some opposition and government officials. LAGARDE, who is on a visit to Uganda, told a business forum that infrastructure investment could help push Uganda's growth to above 5%, where it has hovered in recent years. But the projects needed to be rigorously vetted and efficiently implemented, she said. "Relying on borrowing alone to finance infrastructure will not cut the bill in and of itself, and it will be unworkable because debt will become too high", LAGARDE said, adding that finance "must come also from

Nigeria interbank rate eases on liquidity injection - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's interbank lending rate dropped 6.5 percentage points on Friday to 5% on average as the money market was awash with cash from budgetary disbursal and coupon payment on matured bonds, traders said. The cost of borrowing among commercial lenders closed at 11.5% on Friday due to a drop in liquidity. Traders said around 400bn naira was injected into the banking system on Wednesday from Dec. budget allocations to states and local governments, while 49bn naira coupon on matured bonds was released by the central bank, boosting liquidity and forcing down the interbank rate. "We strongly believe that the central bank will conduct more OMO (open market operations) next week to take out the excess cash from the system", one trader said, adding that expected dollar sales at a special forex auction could also help reduce the liquidity level and see rates rising again. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Safaricom shifts funding to catch up on fixed-data demand - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's SAFARICOM is reallocating funds to build up its fixed-data network to connect homes to the internet as demand grows for online streaming services, CEO BOB COLLYMORE said at the weekend. SAFARICOM has until recently been focusing on mobile internet access, with COLLYMORE admitting that the company has "been a bit lazy in growing our data business". The internet provision business grew by around 40% in H1 to end-Sep. 2016. That was well below the 52% growth rate for other African operators and 62% in the rest of the world. The investments in the fixed data network were a reallocation of SAFARICOM's budget and would not add to its planned capex, which is set at 32bn shillings in the FY to end-Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's petrol pump price to rise 2% this week - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

The retail price of petrol will rise by 2% from Wednesday, while the price of wholesale diesel will go up by 1.8%, the Department of Energy said on Friday. The price of 95 octane petrol will rise by 29c to R13.62/l and 93 octane will increase by the same amount to R13.38/l in Gauteng. Diesel will go up by 21c to R11.63/l, the DoE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 30/01/2017

At 07h36 on 30 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.44 ZAR/EUR 14.42 ZAR/GBP 16.90 Gold 1193.63 Platinum 984.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.45 All Share 52973.83

Toshiba to spin off memory business - Alice Woodhouse

TOSHIBA has confirmed it will spin off its memory business as the company is faced with a multi-billion writedown in its nuclear business. The company said it will seek approval from shareholders for the spinoff in late Mar. with the split to be effective from Mar. 31. "Splitting off the Memory business into a single business entity will afford it greater flexibility in rapid decision-making and enhance financing options", the statement said. The sale of the memory business with the expected price of $1.8bn is seen by analysts as a "fire sale price tag". TOSHIBA defined the memory business as including the solid state drives business but excluding its image sensor business and said it is considering the assets to be transferred in the split. Analysts expect the size of the write down for TOSHIBA's nuclear business at between $4bn and $7bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsingtao shares fall as brewer denies Asahi to sell stake - Alice Woodhouse

Shares in TSINGTAO BREWERY fell as much as 2.5% in Hong Kong this morning after it denied media reports that its second-largest shareholder, ASAHI GROUP HOLDINGS, was planning to sell its stake in the Chinese beer maker. Shares had gained well on Thursday, finishing the day up 6.6% in Hong Kong on reports Japan's ASAHI planned to sell its 19.99% stake in the company and had hired MORGAN STANLEY as a consultant. In a filing yesterday evening, the Chinese brewer said ASAHI "has not expressed any views regarding the possibility of the transfer of its shares in the company". TSINGTAO reported net profit for H1 2016 had fallen 11% y/y to Rmb1.079bn owing to weaker demand and competition from imported brands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU states rebuff scheme to extend tariffs on Chinese solar panels - Arthur Beesley

EU member states have rejected a plan to extend tariffs on Chinese solar panels, delivering a bloody nose to Brussels as it seeks to sharpen penalties against Beijing for dumping products on European markets. The rejection of the European Commission's proposal by 18 member states is the first time the commission has been rebuffed since its powers to impose anti-dumping tariffs were fortified three years ago. In that period, it has secured the support of member states for about 40 tariff proposals in various sectors. Yesterday's vot is not the final word on the matter. The commission's plan will go to an appeal panel next month, where a decision will be made by qualified majority voting - a system that gives greater weight to larger countries such as Germany, France and Italy. Those countries supported the commission's proposals, leading campaigners for tariffs to believe the proposal will be allowed by the appeal panel. In a separate vote yesterday, member states accepted the commission's proposal to e

HK renminbi deposits fall at record pace in Dec. - Hudson Lockett

Hong Kong's renminbi deposits fell at a record pace to their lowest level in more than four years in Dec., depleting liquidity in the Chinese currency's top offshore trading centre. Renminbi-denominated deposits fell 12.9% m/m to Rmb546.7bn in Dec., according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The next-largest fall of 9.5% came in Dec. 2008. The drop takes them 45.5% own from a peak of Rmb1tn in Dec. 2014, and the lowest level since Sep. 2012, when they were Rmb545.7bn. SWIFT data published yesterday showed the renminbi's share of international transactions fell 15.1% in Dec. m/m to end 2016 lower from where it had started among major global currencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesco snaps up Booker in £3.7bn deal - Mehreen Khan

UK supermarket giant TESCO struck a deal to buy up wholesaler BOOKER to create what it claims will be the UK's leading food business. The deal values BOOKER at 205.3pps, or £3.7bn, a premium of 12% over its closing price of 183.1pps on Jan. 26. BOOKER owns grocery chains BUDGENS and LONDIS and has over 170 cash and carry locations in the UK. TESCO said BOOKER shareholders will receive 42.6p in cash and 0.86 in new TESCO shares. The merger will result in BOOKER shareholders owing 16% of the combined entity. The deal is conditional on shareholder approval, having been unanimously approved by both boards. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TransCanada re-submits application for Keystone XL - Adam Samson

TRANSCANADA has resubmitted its application to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline after President DONALD TRUMP reversed his predecessor's decision to scrap the project. TRANSCANADA said it has submitted a presidential permit application to the US State Department, seeking approval for an $8bn pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta to refineries in the US. "This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America's growing energy needs as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and generate substantial economic benefit throughout the US and Canada", TRANSCANADA CEO RUSS GIRLING said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Microsoft quarterly profits top forecast as cloud unit shines - Leslie Hook

MICROSOFT posted better-than-expected profits for Q2 to end-Dec. EPS were $0.83, using the adjusted measure watched by Wall Street, up from $0.76 q/q. Revenues for Q2 reached $25.84bn, up 1% y/y, using a measure that excludes the impact of the LINKEDIN acquisition and adjusts for deferred revenue from Windows 10. MICROSOFT saw particularly strong growth in its cloud services division, although this was undercut by declining sales in the PC division. Revenues from cloud computing service AZURE grew 93%, a slight deceleration from 116% y/y growth in the previous quarter. Commercial sales of Office 365 rose 47%, underscoring the continued growth in cloud subscription sales for one of the group's key products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alphabet slips as profits miss Wall Street expectations - Adam Samson

ALPHABET shares fell in after-hours trading yesterday after the GOOGLE parent revealed quarterly earnings that were short of analysts' expectations. The company reported adjusted quarterly profits of $9.36/share, missing forecasts of $9.62. Sales soared by 22% in the final quarter of 2016 to $26.1bn. Excluding the cost of acquiring traffic, revenue came in at $21.2bn, topping estimates of $20.6bn. Net profits rose to $5.3bn in Q4 2016, from $4.9bn y/y. Shares in ALPHABET shed 3% in extended trading. The GOOGLE division saw its operating profits grow by 16.9% to $7.9bn, with the performance led by mobile search and YouTube. The Other Bets unit posted an operating loss of $1.1bn compared with a loss of $1.2bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump said to eye 20% border tax on Mexican imports to pay for wall - Jessica Dye

President DONALD TRUMP's press secretary, SEAN SPICER, yesterday told reporters the president is weighing a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a wall along the two countries' shared border. Earlier in the day Mexican President ENRIQUE PENA NIETO cancelled his upcoming trip to Washington after TRUMP tweeted that unless Mexico agreed to pay for the border wall, there was no point in the two of them meeting. SPICER also told reporters that TRUMP had decided to pay for the wall by slapping the tax on Mexican imports. Without delving further into details of the proposed tax, SPICER added: "When you look at the plan that's taking shape now, using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from, like Mexico. If you tax that $50bn at 20% of imports - which is by the way a practice that 160 other counties do - right now our country's policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous. By doing that we can do $10bn a year and easi

Trump puts banking reform on legislative agenda - Jessica Dye

President DONALD TRUMP has said that "financial reform" will be among his top priorities, in his most high-profile remarks on banking reform since the election. Addressing a gathering of Republican lawmakers in Philadelphia, TRUMP said: "We will also pursue financial reform that will help Americans get the credit they need to pursue their dreams". He vowed during his campaign to pursue an overhaul of some aspects of Dodd-Frank, which was implemented in the wake of the financial crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LVMH reports 6% climb in 2016 revenue - Harriet Agnew

LVMH shrugged off a "new normal" of low growth in the luxury goods sector as it posted revenues up 6% to €37.6bn in 2016. The performance was boosted by a strong Q4 when organic revenues grew 9% to €11.3bn. The group's operating profit was up 6% to €7bn during 2016. LVMH's performance was driven by its key fashion and leather division, where organic revenues were up 4% to €12.8bn. The division bounced back in H2 2016 after stagnating in the first half of the year. Organic revenues in wine and spirits grew 7% to €4.8bn during 2016, and were up 8% to €4.95bn in perfume and cosmetics. The company has benefited from a diversified business model that owns 70 brands across wines, spirits, fashion, leather goods, perfumes, cosmetics, watches and jewellery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico's president cancels White House visit amid border wall feud with Trump - Jude Webber

Mexico's President ENRIQUE PENA NIETO has cancelled his upcoming trip to Washington after US President DONALD TRUMP tweeted that unless he agreed to pay for the border wall, there was no point in having the summit. The Mexican president said he had informed his US counterpart that he "will not go to the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday". He also reiterated that Mexico is willing to work with the US "to achieve agreements that benefit both nations". The peso sank lower on the announcement, giving up recent gains and sinking 2.2% following TRUMP's tweets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dow Chemical beats earnings forecast after cost savings - Ed Crooks

DOW CHEMICAL has reported underlying EPS above analysts' expectations, boosted by plants expansions and cost savings. DOW's underlying EPS, excluding one-off costs, were 99cps, up 6% y/y and above analysts' estimates of a drop to 88cps. Revenue came in at $13bn for the quarter to end-Dec., up 14% y/y, or up 3% stripping out the impact of acquisitions and disposals. CEO ANDREW LIVERIS said the results showed the company "performs under all economic conditions". DOW said it was making "significant progress" on the DUPONT deal, announcing the senior leadership team for the merged group, finalising plans to achieve the promised $3bn/year in cost savings and accelerating the planned timeline for breaking up the merged group into three new companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Baker Huges posts wider than expected loss - Ed Crooks

Oilfield services group BAKER HUGHES has reported a loss for Q4 2016 that was larger than analysts had expected. It warned of a difficult outlook for H1 2017, in spite of the rebound in oil prices over the past 12 months. Underlying EPS showed a loss of 30cps, compared to a loss of 21cps y/y. The average of analysts' forecasts was a loss of 12cps for the quarter. Revenues were slightly higher than expected at $2.41bn, but still down 29% on the equivalent period of 2015. BAKER HUGHES in Oct. said it had announced to merge its business with GENERAL ELECTRIC's oil and gas division, to create a company that will retain an independent listing but will b 62.5% owned by GE. BAKER HUGHES said the GE deal was on course for completion in H1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Polyus wins auction for Russia's largest gold deposit - Henry Sanderson

Russian gold producer POLYUS has won a bid for the country's largest gold deposit, it confirmed yesterday. The company, owned by the family of billionaire SULEIMAN KERIMOV, bought the deposit for Rbs9.4bn as part of a JV with ROSTEC. Russian PM DMITRY MEDVEDEV last month signed an order to auction SUKHOI LOG, which was discovered in 1961 and is located in the Irkutsk region of Russia. POLYUS already owns the only existing power line in the area, which is close to its existing gold mine. The rules of the auction dictated the deposit must b 25% owned by the state. The Sukhoi Log deposit contains 62.4moz of gold with an estimated grade of 2-2.45 grams a tonne. Analysts at BERENBERG estimate it requires capex of $3.5bn-$4bn to develop. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Weak economy dampens new vehicle sales - Lameez Omarjee

Rising prices for new vehicles has contributed to the demand for used vehicles among consumers, according to the TRANSUNION Vehicle Price Index. The VPI shows that the increase in new vehicle price exceeded inflation by an average of 3% for the past three quarters. Data for Q4 2016 showed the prices for new vehicles increased to 9.4%. This was up from 4.6% for sales for the same period in 2015. The prices for used vehicles increased from 1.6% to 3.3%. Meanwhile, the volume of deals financed for Q4 decreased by 25% on new vehicles and increased by 8% on used vehicles. TRANSUNION data shows manufacturers are responding to the decline in new vehicle sales with decreased margins. They are also increasing marketing incentives to boost sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB in talks to reimburse victims of safety box heist - Lameez Omarjee

FNB plans to reimburse customers for the costs incurred following the loss of their possessions in robberies where their safety boxes were stolen late last year. FNB yesterday said it would assist customers by covering the costs of replacing documents such as marriage certificates and passports. It will also assist where customers had to pay excess for claims that were successfully submitted to insurance firms. Although it is not legally obligated to do so, FNB will also initiate settlement discussions for uninsured Randburg, Parktown and Sunnypark customers whose safety boxes were tampered with. The outcome of settlement discussions depends on customers providing evidence for the contents of their safety deposit boxes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 27/01/2017

At 10h24 on 27 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.46 ZAR/EUR 14.35 ZAR/GBP 16.89 Gold 1182.50 Platinum 971.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.33 All Share 53415.68

Shares dip as Barclays Africa branch targeted - Bloomberg

BARCLAYS AFRICA was targeted by protesters who entered one of its branches yesterday and demanded the bank pay back money from a bailout provided to a company it bought before the end of apartheid. Demonstrators linked to the ANCYL gathered outside the branch in Durban. Police ensured customers and staff were protected during the incident. The protests came after the leaking of a draft report compiled by the Public Protector that ABSA may have unduly benefited from state support when it bought BANKORP in 1992. A panel appointed by former SARB governor TITO MBOWENI found in 2002 that ABSA's investors didn't derive undue benefit from the central bank's intervention and said restitution shouldn't be pursued. "Our stance remains that ABSA doesn't owe the government money", the bank said. BARCLAYS AFRICA reversed earlier gains to trade 0.81% lower at R163.73 at the close in Johannesburg yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fitch revises Nigerian outlook to negative - Bloomberg

FITCH RATINGS revised the outlook on Nigeria to negative from stable over concerns that a lack of forex will hamper the economy, and affirmed the country's rating at B+, four steps below investment grade. While the Nigerian economy will likely expand by 1.5% this year, after contracting by an estimated 1.5% last year, the non-oil industry will continue to be constrained by forex shortages, FITCH said. While government debt remains low at 17% of GDP, the shortage of state revenue "poses a risk to debt sustainability", FITCH said. The government's debt stood at 281% of revenue as of end-2016, and while 77% of that is domestic, foreign-currency borrowing is increasing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats-Sibanye expansion project on track - Tawanda Karombo

IMPALA PLATINUM and SIBANYE GOLD's Mimosa JV in Zimbabwe is continuing with its on-reef expansion project, although targeted output for 2017 will be lower y/y. Investors in the project abandoned a plan to sink a new shaft at the mine, with sources saying the change in strategy was motivated by capital rationing due to suppressed commodity prices and an operating environment deemed less conducive to high capital projects. Mimosa is tapping into the $30m capex for the year to boost the on-reef expansion project. The mine is also grappling to meet Harare's expectations for a refinery facility. The company has said its smelter project "is currently at bankable feasibility study level", despite indications from sources that other options are being explored. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Esor prices rights offer - Roy Cokayne

ESOR yesterday said its planned R37.54m rights offer was unconditional and may now be implemented. In terms of the offer, ESOR will offer shareholders a total of 98.79m rights offer shares at 38c apiece in a ratio of 25 rights offer shares for every 100 ESOR shares held on Feb. 3. The company previously said the full proceeds from the rights offer would be used to repay a credit facility that was made available to the company by GEOMER INVESTMENTS. This credit facility was used to fund the acquisition by ESOR in Oct. of TUBOSEAL SERVICES for R15m and the business assets and operations of TUBOSEAL for R18.25m. The rights offer is being fully underwritten by GEOMER INVESTMENTS. It will open at 9am on Feb. 6 and close at noon on Feb. 17, with the results announced on Feb. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solid sales growth leads to share price jump for Spur - Robert Laing

SPUR CORPORATION's share price rose nearly 5% yesterday after it reported sales of R3.8bn for the HY to end-Sep., 8.6% higher than the y/y period's R3.5bn. Excluding its UK and Irish restaurants which ceased operations by the end of June, sales growth was 10.4%. At end-2016, SPUR's restaurants numbered 590, 15 more than in June. Of these, 60 were outside SA. SPUR said RocoMamas grew sales 113.2% y/y. Excluding new restaurants, RocoMamas grew sales 45%. The Hussar Grill grew sales 58%. Excluding new outlets, the brand's sales growth was 38%. SPUR appears to be scaling back Captain DoRegos, whose sales declined 15.8%. John Dory's grew sales 17.8%. Much of this growth appears to be from new outlets since comparative sales growth was 4.6%. SPUR Steak Ranches grew sales 4%, while Panarotti's grew sales 10.4%, of which 9.7% came from existing restaurants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPI rises in Dec. - Robert Laing

Farm and factory gate prices accelerated to 7.1% in Dec., dashing hopes it would remain at November's 6.9%. Statistics SA yesterday said PPI for Dec. was 129.2 points, 0.5% higher than November's 128.6 points and 7.1% higher y/y. The effects of the drought remained evident in December's PPI, with the food component showing farm gate inflation of 12.2%. Meat prices rose 3.7% m/m and 10.2% y/y. The highest annual inflation was recorded for sugar, which rose 18.7% y/y but declined by 2.1% m/m. Motor vehicle prices jumped 8.2% m/m and by 9.9% y/y. Car part prices declined 4.6% y/y - the only constituent of the PPI to show deflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Defaulting municipalities fingered in AG's report - Liesl Peyper

A number of municipalities that owe ESKOM millions in unpaid electricity bills have been fingered for irregular and wasteful spending. In the auditor-general's report on local government's financial performance in FY2014/15, the municipalities in North West, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Limpopo were among the main contributors to a significant increase in irregular spending over the past five years. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure shot up with R1bn since the 2010/11 FY to R1.34bn, with wastage most prevalent among municipalities in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, North West, Free State and the Northern Cape. "The most concerning indicators... were municipalities spending more than the resources they had available... not paying, or taking a very long time to pay their debt and creditors not being paid on time", the auditor-general said in Jun. 2016 when he noted that the financial health of 92% of municipalities in SA was either reason for concern or required serious intervention. This news brief repres

Exxaro will support any 'sustainable' plan for restarting Arnot - Terence Creamer

EXXARO RESOURCES says it will be guided by ESKOM on the future of the Arnot mine in Mpumalanga, which was closed after the utility's Dec. 31 2015 decision not to renew a 40-year coal supply agreement with the mine. The termination of the agreement triggered a series of events that resulted in the now well-publicised R650m prepayment to the GUPTA-family's TEGETA. EXXARO executive for stakeholder affairs MZILA MTHENJANE reaffirmed the group's position that Arnot was indeed an ESKOM asset, as outlined in a 2015 statement relating to the termination of the CSA, which stated that the utility was responsible for the capital to fund sustaining and expansion expenditure and the operating expenses at the mine, as well as mine closure costs. MTHENJANE said EXXARO will support a sustainable solution in view of the utility's recent proposal that the mine be reopened to provide ongoing employment opportunities and ownership of the mine by employees. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi to invest €470m to cut costs, expand production at Czech mill - Megan van Wyngaardt

MONDI will invest €470m on the modernisation and expansion of the Steti mill in the Czech Republic. The project will entail the installation of a new recovery boiler, rebuilding the fibre lines, debottlenecking the paper machines and an investment in a new 90 000t/y machine glazed kraft paper machine. MONDI yesterday said the upgrades would allow for increased electricity self-sufficiency, lower energy costs and a reduced environmental footprint, as well as a 130 000t/y increase in pulp production, while lowering output costs. MONDI would also cut its maintenance capex by around €105m over the next five years. The new recovery boiler and rebuilt fibre lines are expected to start up in late 2018, while the new paper machine is expected to start up in H1 2019. Based on the current timetable, capex on the project is expected to be incurred in the three years from 2017 to 2019. Given the approved pipeline, MONDI's capex is now expected to be in the range of €600m-€650m for 2017 and €800m-€850m f

Construction steel designation confirmed after lobbying effort - Terence Creamer

The long-awaited stipulation that domestic steel, as well as locally made steel products and components, be used in public sector construction projects has been welcomed by ARCELORMITTAL SA and the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction. The instruction note, published by the Treasury in the Government GAzette in line with the Preferential Procurement Regulations of 2011, will come into force on Feb. 1. It instructs accounting officers to specify 100% local content for value-added steel products. In addition, a minimum local content threshold of 100% is specified for primary steel products such as plate, sheets, galvanised and colour coated coils, wire rod and drawn wire, sections and reinforcing bars. The designations were confirmed following intensive lobbying by AMSA of the DTI and the Economic Development Department. SAISC CEO PAOLO TRINCHERO described the designation of fabricated structural steel as "great news", while AMSA CEO WIM DE KLERK suggested it could resuscitate "the entire indus

Court rules villagers cannot sue Shell in UK for Nigerian oil spill - Reuters

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL cannot be sued in London courts over Nigerian oil spill allegations, the High Court ruled yesterday, dealing a setback to attempts to hold multinationals liable at home for subsidiaries' activities. Villagers from the Bille and Ogale communities in the Niger Delta were trying to pursue oil spill allegations against SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OF NIGERIA in British courts. The court rules that the suit did not establish that the parent company had legal responsibility for the subsidiary's actions. Leigh Day, the law firm representing the villagers, said it would appeal the ruling. The villagers argued domestic courts were unfit to hear their case, while SHELL said the matter was a uniquely Nigerian issue and should be heard there. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar beats Q4 earnings forecast - Henry Lazenby

CATERPILLAR has reported flat y/y adjusted EPS for the Dec. quarter, reflecting pressure in many of its end markets from weak economic conditions around much of the world. The company posted adjusted Q4 profit of $0.83/share, unchanged y/y, but higher than the outlook for profit per share excluding restructuring costs provided in Oct. Analysts had on average predicted EPS of $0.66. For the FY, adjusted profit per share was $3.42, down from $5.35/share in 2015. The impact on profit from lower sales and revenues was eased by a $2.3bn reduction in period costs and variable manufacturing costs. During the period, the company booked three large noncash charges and higher-than-expected restructuring costs. The net loss amounted to $2/share, compared with a loss of $0.16/share in Q4 2015. Sales and revenues for the quarter were $9.6bn, down from $11bn y/y. FY sales and revenues were $38.5bn, down about 18% from $47bn in 2015. CATERPILLAR lost $0.11/share in 2016, compared with a profit of $4.18/share in 201

Brazil plans flexible iron ore royalty rate of 2%-4% - Reuters

Brazil's government plans to introduce a bill to set a flexible royalty rate for iron ore that would be between 2% and 4%, depending on international prices for the commodity, Broadcast reported yesterday. The current iron ore royalty rate is 2%. In an interview with Broadcast, the real-time news service of newspaper Estado de S Paulo, Mines and Energy Minister FERNANDO COELHO FILHO said the government plans to review the country's mining royalty scheme as part of a wider reform of the sector. The ministry's press office was not immediately able to confirm the information. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport paid Gecamines $33m to settle Tenke dispute - Reuters

FREEPORT-MCMORAN paid $33m to resolve claims brought against it by GECAMINES over the sale of its majority stake in the Tenke copper mine in the DRC to CHINA MOLYBDENUM. The settlement, revealed in the company's Q4 2016 earnings statement, ends actions including a complaint before the International Chamber of Commerce, FREEPORT said. CMOC purchased the 56% stake in May for $2.65bn. Tenke is one of the world's largest copper mines with proven and probable reserves of 3.8mt of contained copper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo Q4 output broadly higher, copper down - Ilan Solomons

ANGLO AMERICAN achieved higher output for most of its products in Q4 to end-Dec., but copper output fell by 19% y/y. Copper production, which dropped to 146 600t, was mainly the result of lower grades and the impact of adverse weather and illegal strike action by contractor unions at the company's Los Bronches mine in Chile. CEO MARK CUTIFANI said that operational improvements across the portfolio delivered a 4% output increase on a copper-equivalent basis for the quarter under review. Nickel production increased by 4% y/y to 10 900t, following the successful ramp-up of the Barro Alto mine in Brazil to nameplate capacity in Q3. DE BEERS' rough diamond production rose by 10% y/y to 7.8m ct. Export metallurgical coal production contracted by 2%, mainly due to the sale of the Foxleigh coal mine in Australia, which was completed in Aug. 2016. Excluding Foxleigh, production rose by 5% to 5.4mt. CUTIFANI noted that the production of export thermal coal was impacted by the sale of the Callide coal mine in Aus

Merafe increases FY output, reduces debt - Ilan Solomons

MERAFE RESOURCES' attributable ferrochrome production from the GLENCORE MERAFE CHROME VENTURE for the FY to end-Dec. increased by 4% to 107t, compared with the 101t produced y/y. MERAFE yesterday said it expects to report basic EPS of 20cps-23.5cps for the FY, up from 13.7% y/y - an increase of 46%-72%. HEPS are also expected to increase by 44%-49% to between 20cps and 23.5cps compared with 13.9cps y/y. The company expects its net cash balance will decline to R263m at Dec. 31, compared with R310m at the end of 2015, while its debt is expected to decrease to R409m from R660m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Firestone Diamonds gears up from first sale as Liqhobong ramps up - Megan van Wyngaardt

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS has scheduled its first diamond sale, in Antwerp, from Feb. 6-10 as its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho ramps up to full output. In the quarter to end-Dec., the company recovered over 20 special stones larger than 10.8ct from the mine, including a 37ct white diamond and several yellow diamonds. Diamond recoveries started in late Oct. Further, through the processing of lower-grade stockpiles and diluted ore, the company was able to produce 58 000ct at a grade of 14.4ct per hundred tonnes. FIRESTONE expects to host two sales every quarter, with the second auction of this quarter due to be held late in the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No agreements reached with AngloGold yet - Solidarity - Megan van Wyngaardt

Solidarity yesterday said it would do everything in its power to ensure that as few jobs as possible are affected by ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI's restructuring plans. It also refuted reports that an agreement had been reached by the company and unions to save all 849 jobs affected by the company's intended retrenchment process. The NUM earlier this week reported that it had reached an agreement with the company to transfer employees to other business units or retrain them for other jobs. However, ANGLOGOLD at the time said talks were still ongoing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Africa's mineral exploration budget 24% lower y/y in 2016 - David Oliveira

Although Africa accounted for 13%, or $916m of the global mineral exploration budget in 2016, research from STANDARD & POOR's has revealed that that was 24% lower y/y. The continent has dropped to being the fourth-largest investor in exploration, from third-largest in 2015. The data found that, out of Africa's 34 mining countries, only the DRC set an exploration budget of more than $100m last year. S&P found that drilling in the final quarter of 2016 went up to 1 183 drill holes from the 844 holes drilled in Q3 2016. "Gold has long been the top drilling target in Africa; however, the number of drilling announcements for graphite matched those for gold in the last quarter", S&P analyst IQRA MUGHAL said. She added that gold was the most valuable commodity produced in Africa, accounting for an estimated $14.6bn in sales revenues in 2015. Copper accounted for the largest amount of planned and completed capital spending in 2016, with the majority being focused on assets in the DRC. Financings targeted for A

China's metals curb plan seen risking shortages in biggest user - Bloomberg

China's proposal to halt some metals production to fight air pollution over the winter would create shortages of alumina but have a more limited impact on aluminium supply, the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said yesterday. The proposal involves an alumina suspension in three provinces that would affect about a fifth of the country's operating capacity producing the raw material for aluminium. A draft was circulated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection earlier this month and is subject to change pending industry feedback. The period targeted runs from Nov. to Mar., when pollution peaks due to coal-fired heating. The impact on aluminium production would likely be around 1mt. For alumina, the impact would be bigger and create and imbalance in supply and demand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Choppies plans new stores - Mbongeni Mguni

CHOPPIES ENTERPRISES plans to expand its number of stores in southern Africa by almost 25% over the next two years as it seeks to lure business in different locations. The supermarket chain is planning to increase outlets to 250 from 203 at the end of 2016, CEO RAM OTTAPATHU said yesterday. The grocer plans to open 26 supermarkets this year at a cost of around R300m, OTTAPATHU said. This will include growth in KZN. Ten of the new stores will be in Zambia and one or two stores are planned for Zimbabwe. Funding will come from its own cash reserves and a potential extension of the date of maturity on its short-term debt. With almost 500m pula in existing borrowings, any additional debt taken will be negligible, the CEO said. In 2018, CHOPPIES will aim to reach the 250-supermarket target before pausing the growth initiative. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda negotiating $2.3bn loan with China to fund rail line - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda is negotiating a $2.3bn loan with China's EXIM BANK to fund an initial 273km stretch of rail line the country is planning to build for faster and cheaper transportation. Uganda eventually wants to construct a 1 700km standard gauge railway network to connect with similar lines being built in Kenya. "The construction of the eastern route... will cost $2.3bn", Standard Gauge Railway project head KASINGYE KYAMUGAMBI told Reuters. He did not way when a deal is expected to be finalised but said that construction - slated to start once funds are secured - will take 42 months. Once completed, the railway will have several arms connecting it to Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan. KYAMUGAMBI said the Ugandan government will contribute 15% to the cost of the Malaba-Kampala stretch and also pay for land for the railway corridor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 27/01/2017

At 08h00 on 27 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.42 ZAR/EUR 14.32 ZAR/GBP 16.86 Gold 1183.74 Platinum 971.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.17 All Share 53416.56

Tanzania says to receive $305m World Bank loan for Dar es Salaam port expansion - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania will receive a $305m loan from the World Bank to expand its main port in Dar es Salaam. The port acts as a trade gateway for landlocked African states such as Rwanda and Malawi. "The World Bank has agreed to give Tanzania loans for various development projects, including a credit of $305m for an expansion project at the Dar es Salaam port", Finance Minister PHILIP MPANGO said. Officials said the government was also in talks with the World bank for a $425m additional funding to expand a new public transport system in the commercial capital. The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit System, inaugurated yesterday, was built with a $290m loan from the World Bank. The project is expected to benefit around 500 000 people in a city of 4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA drops in democracy index - Lameez Omarjee

SA dropped two spots in its ranking on The Economist's latest democracy index. The country, classified as a "flawed democracy" now ranks 39. A flawed democracy is a country with free and fair elections. Even if there are problems, basic civil liberties are respected. Weaknesses include problems in governance, underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation. The index looks at 165 states, and the overall score is based on scores in five categories, these being electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. SA's overall score in 2015 was 7.56 - this has dropped to 7.41 in 2016. SA ranked fourth among other sub-Saharan African countries. Mauritius ranked first and is the only SSA country classified as a full democracy. The country which scored the highest on the index was Norway, followed by Iceland and Sweden. The US was demoted from a full democracy to a flawed democracy, ranking 21, tied with

Amplats posts marginal Q4 production uptick - Natasha Odendaal

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM today posted a marginal uptick in production during Q4 to end-Dec. Total platinum metal-in-concentrate output was 2% higher y/y at 610 000oz, with improved performances seen at the Mogalakwena and Unki operations, where output was up 5% and 7% to 103 400oz and 19 900oz respectively. Production from JV operations decreased by 5% to 189 500oz during Q4, with lower production from Bokoni offsetting record production at Kroondal and strong output from the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine. Platinum production for the FY reached 2.38moz, compared with the 2.34moz produced in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba delivers strong FY output - Natasha Odendaal

KUMBA IRON ORE's performance in Q4 2016 resulted in FY output exceeding guidance at Sishen and record FY production at Kolomela. Sishen achieved FY production of 28.4mt, surpassing its target of 27mt, with Q4 contributing some 8.5mt, an 11% rise y/y. The increased output was attributed to improved mining productivity, bolstered by access to low strip ratio ore and higher plant yields during H2 2016. Kolomela delivered record FY production of 12.7mt, boosted by a 20% rise in Q4 output to 3.4mt. KUMBA said waste mined was 59% higher y/y at 15.4mt, in line with higher production levels. Export sales marginally increased during the period, reaching 10.6mt, while total finished product stocks were 3.5mt, compared with 3.1mt as at Sep. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP launches online freight platform to sink shipping costs - Reuters

BHP BILLITON has launched an online system under which shippers compete to offer the best price to haul cargoes of commodities to the company's customers. BHP this week allocated its first cargo using the auction-style platform, which it hopes will save money as it bypasses brokers who traditionally help negotiate vessel-hire rates between cargo owners and shippers. The company plans to gradually ramp up the platform, which it said was the first of its kind for a major charterer. BHP asked 13 ship owners and operators to submit offers via the online platform to transport 170 000t of iron ore from west Australia to China next month. More than 50 bids were submitted in an hour and the final agreed price was almost $0.30 below the spot price, BHP spokesperson ANGELA PERERA said. The spot freight index rate from WA to China closed at $5.19/t yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BP warns oil glut could dampen long-term prices - Andrew Ward

The world is facing a long-term oil glut as producers scramble to exploit reserves before demand for fossil fuels goes into decline, according to an assessment by BP which suggests oil companies should brace for prolonged pressure from weak prices. In an annual look at the global energy outlook published yesterday, the company said there was twice as much technically recoverable oil available than the world was likely to need between now and 2050. This made it likely there would be technically recoverable oil reserves which will never be extracted. This would spur increasing competition between companies and producer nations to ensure their assets were not left "stranded" as demand gradually shifts from fossil fuels to cleaner energy. The result was likely to be "quite significant pressure to dampen long-run prices", according to SPENCER DALE, BP's chief economist. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin production falls after 'disappointing' Q1 - Nicholas Megaw

LONMIN PLC suffered a disappointing start to FY2017 as output declined and the company's efforts to increase productivity struggled. Overall output from LONMIN's Marikana mining operations were 7.8% lower in the quarter to end-Dec. y/y. The poor start follows a difficult year for the company in which it was forced to cut more than 5 000 jobs and launch a rights issue to stave off bankruptcy. The decline was driven by a13.8% contraction in output from K3, its biggest shaft, which has been affected by labour disputes. LONMIN said it is deploying additional crews at K3 to help improve production as "the relationship between operational management and unions at this shaft is not working as effectively as we expected, and the yielding of results from the implementation of business improvement initiatives at this shaft is taking longer than we would have liked to see". LONMIN maintained its FY sales and unit cost guidance "subject to seeing sustained improvement in production during the year". This news bri

Updated market indicators for 26/01/2017

At 12h22 on 26 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.29 ZAR/EUR 14.26 ZAR/GBP 16.80 Gold 1195.29 Platinum 982.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.53 All Share 53245.57

Sage Q1 revenues grow 5% - Madhumita Murgia

SAGE today reported a 5.1% rise in revenues in the first quarter of its current FY, while it continued to look for buyers for its North American payments business. The British group said: "All major SAGE countries are running to or exceeding plan, with the exception of USA where the payments business showed a slight decline in revenue". The North American business generated about a third of organic revenues during 2016. SAGE has been transitioning from one-off software services to subscriptions, and saw a related 10% drop in revenues from software services. In turn, recurring revenue grew by 9.6%, driven by software subscription growth of 31%, and the number of software subscriptions contracts now stands at 1.1m. "Q1 results are broadly in line with our expectations. We indicated at the time of the full year results that the early part of FY17 would start more slowly, with growth accelerating through the year and into FY18", SAGE CFO STEVE HARE said. "For the year as a whole we remain confident that we

Diageo beats forecasts after years of slowing growth - Lauren Fedor

DIAGEO reported better-than-expected interim results this morning in a sigh that the company has reversed multiple years of slowing organic profits and sales growth. The company reported organic net sales growth of 4.4% in the HY to end-Dec., with organic operating profit also up 4.4%. Analysts had expected sales growth of 3.4% and a 2.2% y/y increase in organic operating profit, according to company-compiled consensus. DIAGEO noted an improved performance in its US Spirits business and Scotch companies as "highlights" for the period. CEO IVAN MENEZES said the company was "building a stronger, more consistent, better performing company... We are identifying consumer trends faster, expanding the reach of our products across markets and developing trade channels to capture these growth opportunities". Last year, DIAGEO celebrated a self-styled turnaround, after reporting a 3.5% rise in organic operating profits, compared to the 0.7% recorded in 2015. Profit margins were 0.3% higher at 28.7%. The group sa

Unilever warns of tough market conditions as Q4 revenues miss - Mehreen Khan

UNILEVER notched up lower than expected sales in Q4 as it warned "tough market conditions" were to spill over into H1 2017. The company said underlying revenue growth came in at 2.2% in the quarter to end-Dec., below an average forecast of 2.6%. Quarterly sales were down 2.3% in Europe in the quarter, but performed better in Asia and the Americas where they expanded by 3.7% and 3.5%, respectively. UNILEVER said its Q4 was "particularly challenging, and it now expects to see a "slow start" to 2017 with momentum picking up through the year. UNILEVER's total full underlying revenues rose 3.7% to hit €52.7bn in 2016, in line with forecasts, with its core EPS exceeding analyst forecasts at €1.88. The core operating margin grew 50 basis points in the year to 15.3%, with core operating profits before tax rising to €8.04bn from €7.85bn in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

J&J to buy Actelion for $30bn - Hudson Lockett

JOHNSON & JOHNSON has agreed to acquire biotech firm ACTELION for $30bn in a deal that would see the latter's R&D unit spun off into a standalone company based and listed in Switzerland. ACTELION said the all-cash tender offer from J&J would be made in Switzerland for all outstanding shares in the Swiss biotech firm at $280/share. The deal, which the companies expect to close by Q2 2017, has been approved by the boards of directors at both companies and will be funded by J&J using cash outside the US. ACTELION's R&D unit will be spun out immediately prior to the acquisition to form a new company that will list on the SIX Swiss Exchange. J&J will hold up to 32% of shares in the new company, although it will initially hold only 16% with rights to more via a convertible note. Shares in the new company will be distributed to ACTELION shareholders once the tender process is completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico's president says it will not pay for Trump's wall - Jude Webber

Mexico's President ENRIQUE PENA NIETO slammed US counterpart DONALD TRUMP's decision to sign an executive order to authorise construction of a border wall on the day Mexican ministers were in Washington to begin talks on revamping NAFTA and future bilateral relations. In a message aired on social media, he stopped short of immediately cancelling his planned trop to Washington to meet TRUMP on Jan. 31. Foreign Minister LUIS VIDEGARAY and Economy Minister ILDEFONSO GUAJARDO held some 10 hours of talks with TRUMP advisers and officials at the White House and further meetings were planned for today before they returned home. As the ministers had been flying to Mexico on Tuesday evening, TRUMP stunned Mexicans with a tweet on his intentions to push ahead with the wall and immigration plans. "I lament and repudiate the United States' decision to continue construction of a wall that, for years, far from uniting us divides us. Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay

China industrial profits hit the brakes in Dec. - Hudson Lockett

Industrial profit growth at large Chinese firms fell sharply in Dec. as electronics manufacturers saw a double-digit drop from the previous year's level. December's reading of 2.3% marked a fall of 12.2 percentage points from the prior month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That dragged annual growth of industrial profits down to 8.5%, nearly one percentage point lower than year-to-date growth in Nov. Even at that lower level the rise marked a return to annual growth after 2015 saw profits contract 2.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump vows 'immediate construction' of Mexico border wall - Jessica Dye

President DONALD TRUMP has officially moved to deliver on his promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico. TRUMP yesterday signed an executive order saying US policy would be to: "secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism". The order would also expedite determinations of whether individuals who have been arrested are eligible to remain in the US and quickly deport those who are not. A second executive order said that so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions" - which typically limit cooperation with federal officials to deport undocumented immigrants - would not receive federal funding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia to begin buying foreing currency from Feb. - Max Seddon

Russia says it will start buying up foreign currency from Feb. in a bid to shield the rouble from volatility. The central bank yesterday said it would buy foreign currency on the domestic market at a level consistent with the country's oil and gas revenue. The finance ministry said purchases would continue as long as oil prices remain above $40, and sell forex if oil prices sank below that mark. The rouble's weakness since a currency crash in late 2014 has allowed Russia to keep up most of its rouble-denominated budget payments thanks to the boost from dollar-denominated oil and gas revenues. The ministry last week said it would implement a new "budget rule" mandating storing excess oil revenue as foreign currency reserves rather than spending it, in an attempt to reduce the deficit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clicks enjoys a merrier Christmas - Robert Laing

CLICKS enjoyed faster retail sales growth over the Christmas period. The company reported retail sales growth of 12.2% in the 20 weeks ended Jan. 15. This was an improvement on the 9.6% for the 20 weeks to Jan. 18 2016. Overall turnover, which includes its pharmaceutical wholesaler UPD, slowed to 8.6% from 13.9% y/y. The company's turnover for the 20 weeks came to R10bn, it said. Sales growth accelerated to 13.6% from 10.3% y/y for the CLICKS chain. Excluding new stores, the chain grew sales 9.6% while product inflation was 5.4%. "In the months ahead we expect CLICKS to maintain its competitive market position. This will be driven by our value offer to customers and the continued expansion of the CLICKS store and pharmacy footprint, underpinned by the relative resilience of the health and beauty markets in which we trade", CEO DAVID KNEALE said. UPD increased turnover by 6.4%, ahead of selling price inflation which averaged 4.3% for the period. Interim results for the HY to end-Feb. will be publishe

Sasol expects massive drop in H1 earnings - BDpro

SASOL expects HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to drop by up to 44%, dented by a stronger rand and the effect of industrial action at its Secunda mining operations. The company said the stronger currency resulted in translation losses of around R1.3bn compared with translation gains of R2.6bn y/y. The effect of industrial action at the Secunda operations resulted in a 16% drop in mining output volumes and higher one-off costs to ensure a continuous supply of coal to Secunda Synfuels operations. "Overall, SASOL delivered a strong business performance across most of the value chain", the company said. Secunda Synfuels' production volumes were up 1%, with Eurasian operations increasing production volumes by 8% due to stronger product demand. Natref's production volumes were down 7%, mainly due to planned shutdowns during the period under review. Normalised sales volumes were up 11% y/y for the base chemicals business and 2% for the performance chemicals business due to stronger demand, higher chemical margins a

Sibanye announces retrenchments - Allan Seccombe

SIBANYE GOLD today said it could retrench up to 330 people from its newly acquired operations to cut costs and merge its Kroondal and Rustenburg mines. The company has issued Section 189 notices, notifying the workforce of the retrenchments and giving organised labour a chance to present ideas over the next 60 days on how to minimise or avoid the job cuts. SIBANYE noted that it had told the market last year that it had to save R800m in costs at the neighbouring mines it bought, realising there were benefits to unlocking savings by bringing them into a single entity. "The reduction in replicated overhead costs and duplicate structures is a critical first step in realising these synergies", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lewis posts drop in revenue - Matthew Stevens

LEWIS GROUP yesterday reported a decline in revenue for Q3 and the nine months to end-Dec. LEWIS said revenue fell by 7.5% for Q3, while sales declined by 5.6% y/y. Over the nine month period, revenue fell 4% and sales by 2%. The company also reported a 6% rise in debtor costs in the nine month period, though it was better than the 7.3% rise in the HY to end-Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dire consequences if SA does not sign FIC Bill - Treasury - Liesl Peyper

Scrapping the Financial Intelligence Centre Bill will have a disastrous effect on SA, the Treasury warned yesterday. ISMAIL MOMONIAT, representing the Treasury during public hearings into the Bill, made an impassioned plea to MPs to consider the impact if the BIll is not signed into law. He said not complying with international standards of the Financial Action Task Force will lead to punitive action from the international financing community that will have the same effect as a ratings downgrade, as it will increase the likes of borrowing costs. The most vocal protesters of the Bill were the Black Business Council and the Progressive Professionals Forum. The two organisations' submissions to Parliament were by and large similar as they centred mainly on concerns that African people will fall victim to the term politically exposed people, and that their constitutional right to freedom and dignity will be infringed upon as a result. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom 'considers' selling stake in BEE deal - Loni Prinsloo

VODACOM is considering the sale of a R15bn stake in what would be one of the country's biggest ever deals aimed at boosting black participation in the economy, according to sources. The group plans to buy back part of the 12.47% stake owned by the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION, the sources said. The stake could then be listed as a separate entity restricted to black investors. Talks with the PIC are ongoing and an outcome is expected in coming months, one person familiar with the matter said. The PIC acquired the VODACOM stake from the government in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma's stance on FIC Bill is incorrect - senior counsel - Liesl Peyper

Two independent members of senior counsel yesterday told MPs of the Standing Committee on Finance that President JACOB ZUMA's interpretation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Bill is not correct. Advocate ISHMAEL SEMENYA SC said the bill will indeed pass constitutional muster. "In view of this, the National Assembly would be perfectly entitled to simply reaffirm the bill in its existing form". However, in an amendment SEMENYA said: "In the event that the National Assembly wanted to, it could also amend the ill to make expressly clear the limits of the searches under (the relevant) section". SEMENYA suggested including an additional subsection to the proposed section, stating that where inspectors enter premises without a warrant they do so at a reasonable time, on reasonable notice and with respect for and protection of the dignity, freedom, security and personal privacy of the person whose premises are being searched. ZUMA sent the Bill back to Parliament in Nov. as he had reservations about its cons

Bidvest can tap over R13bn for acquisitions outside SA - Janice Kew

BIDVEST GROUP is seeking deals outside SA and could borrow as much as $1bn for acquisitions after it spun off its food services unit in 2016, CEO LINDSAY RALPHS said on Tuesday. Now operating a mix of mostly South African businesses, BIDVEST sees its scope for local acquisitions as limited, RALPHS said. There are a "couple of processes taking place" related to potential acquisitions, with expansion in the UK a possibility, the CEO said. Any deal would be in an industry in which BIDVEST already operates and the company would want to be a major competitor in any new market, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

France's EDF intends to respond to Eskom's nuclear RFI - Terence Creamer

The French nuclear industry, led by EDF, yesterday formally declared its intention to submit a response to the Nuclear New Build Programme request for information, which was released by ESKOM on Dec. 20. EDF said its response would deal with the nuclear fuel cycle and the commercial production reactor, which could be procured by the SA NUCLEAR ENERGY CORPORATION. The RFI was issued instead of the request for proposals, previously mooted, and ESKOM stressed that the process did not amount to a competitive tender and would thus not create any financial commitments or obligations on it or government. The closing date for responses to the RFI is Apr. 28, but vendors needed to inform ESKOM by Jan. 31 as to whether or not they intend to respond. EDF operates the world's largest nuclear fleet, comprising a total of 73 units, 58 of which are located in France. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New mining contractor at Botswana diamond mine - Martin Creamer

AVENG MOOLMANS is building on its 15-year presence in Botswana with its latest appointment - at LUCARA's Karowe diamond mine. The mining contractor has been appointed for a six-year period to provide services that include drill, blast, load and haul functions for both ore and waste at the wholly-owned LUCARA mine, where mobilisation is under way to ensure a timely start of mining activities from early Mar. LUCARA is a member of the LUNDIN GROUP. AVENG MINING operating group MD STUART WHITE said his company was looking forward to adding value at the operation, which has yielded 1.8m ct that have generated revenue of $1.02bn at an average price of $566/ct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New ICT policy could throw industry into tailspin - Natasha Odendaal

Despite the well-intended rationale behind SA's new National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, the implementation of the policy could turn the industry on its head and into untested, questionable territory, according ot AFRICA ANALYSIS MD DOBEK PATER. The implementation of some of the proposals in the policy were risky ventures that held too many possible unintended negative consequences, with failed or unproven concepts that were against the grain of international trends, PATER said yesterday. While many industry proponents concede that some of the aspects contained within the paper are positive, government's push to open the market, increase customer choice, reduce the cost to communicate and improve universal access may backfire on the back of some "radical" proposals that are "questionable". PATER noted serious risks such as the Paper's shifting of power into the fold of the government as opposed to independent bodies, leaving the public sector with an enhanced role and greater industry control. The

Transnet rejects claims locomotive acquisition programme is in tatters - Anine Kilian

TRANSNET has denied media reports that its R50bn acquisition programme for 1 064 new locomotives is in tatters. TRANSNET in 2014 awarded CSR ZHUZHOU ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE and BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION SA contracts for the supply of a combined 599 electric locomotives, while GENERAL ELECTRIC SA and CNR ROLLING STOCK SA were awarded a contract to supply a combined 465 diesel locomotives. News24 earlier this week reported that the first two of 232 diesel locomotives to be supplied by China's CRRC (CSR and CNR have since merged to form CRRC) had experienced glitches in the form of excessive vibrations in their alternators soon after they arrived in SA last year. "Discovery of technical glitches is no indication of poor workmanship, engineering or design. The two locomotives had precommissioning glitches, which CNR has attended to", TRANSNET said. The utility stressed that it operates many Chinese manufactured locomotives on its network and they "run excellently". This news brief represents a summary of the o

Freeport stock dives on threatening Indonesian mine cuts, lower guidance - Henry Lazenby

FREEPORT-MCMORAN stock yesterday nosedived after the company threatened to reduce output and cut staff at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia. The miner said if it had not obtained approval to export concentrate by mid-Feb., it would be forced to implement measures that would see production at the Grasberg mine throttled to around 40% of capacity, reduce its workforce, lower costs and suspend future investments on its underground development projects and new smelter. The company confirmed that as of yesterday, subsidiary PT-FREEPORT INDONESIA had not obtained approval to export concentrate. PT-FI has requested that concentrate export be permitted while the new licence and stability agreement are negotiated. It is also discussing the applicability of export duties and divestment requirements with government. FREEPORT stressed that under its contract of work, PT-FI was not required to pay export duties on concentrate or to conduct further divestments. According to FREEPORT, for each month of delay in obtaining

Zwane hits back at companies for refusing to obey law - David McKay

Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE yesterday said he was concerned SIBANYE GOLD and ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI were refusing to adhere to SA's laws in respect of mine health and safety. ZWANE said utterances in the media by the companies suggested "that they are refusing to comply with the mining laws of the country". He was referring to Section 54 notices of which ANGLOGOLD and SIBANYE have been critical and which has seen both turn to the courts for legal clarity on whether the DMR has always been fair in issuing such work stoppages. While Section 54s are valid in certain instances, a Labour Court decision in favour of ANGLOGOLD in Nov. showed the DMR had not operated fairly in the temporary closure of its Kopanang mine. Meanwhile, SIBANYE has taken the step of suing ZWANE and other DMR officials for R26m in damages following what appeared to have been unfair implementation of a Section 54 at Kroondal Platinum Mine. "Profit-making and the health and safety of workers are not mutually exclusive and it is

IDC given Jan. 30 deadline to save DiamonCorp's Lace mine - David McKay

DIAMONDCORP has until Jan. 30 to avoid going into administration which is the date given to the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to agree to certain conditions ahead of a £1m share placement. The company yesterday said the IDC had not yet agreed to certain conditions "with respect to various issues related to the board's obligations" before the share placement. As a result, the placement has been delayed to Jan. 31 although it was possible, in absence of a deal with the IDC, that the firm would be bankrupt before then. The IDC has lent a total of £18m to develop Lace. Meanwhile, DIAMONDCORP CEO PAUL LOUDON was able to extract an in-principle agreement with trade union AMCU in respect of retrenchments and the payment of outstanding wages whilst the mine was placed on care and maintenance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba expects higher FY earnings - David McKay

Higher iron ore prices will help KUMBA IRON ORE to an increase of up to 132% in FY HEPS - a performance that will raise hopes for the reinstatement of the dividend which was suspended in Jul. 2015. KUMBA yesterday said HEPS would come in at 2 738cps, at the upper end of guidance. Basic EPS would be between 2 604cps and 2 738cps. Expectations of a dividend are based on the apparent robustness of the iron ore price, which has stayed above $80/t even though analysts were expecting it to weaken. Results will be published on Feb. 14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P says SA needs to deliver growth, fiscal improvements - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's sovereign credit rating could come under pressure if the country's economic growth and fiscal performance do not improve, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS regional head KONRAD REUSS said yesterday. "We have certain expectations with regard to GDP growth and certain expectations with regard to fiscal improvements. If there is no delivery in this regard, that could certainly put pressure on the rating", REUSS said. The ratings agency also said infighting in the ANC could derail government efforts to improve policy implementation and that Pretoria had little room to increase spending. "The message is clear. Do the right thing even while contesting for leadership", REUSS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GE proposes investing in Nigeria's oil refineries - Ulf Laessing

GENERAL ELECTRIC has proposed investing in Nigeria's oil refineries, potentially convening a consortium of companies to improve capacity at the ailing facilities. GE's plan and similar promises from companies like Italy's ENI to work with Nigeria to rehabilitate the country's three oil refineries could help the government as it tries to reduce costly imported oil products. "We propose that work commences either with the Warri or Port Harcourt refinery as a pilot, and we set a target to improve the refinery capacity before the end of 2017", GE told the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION. GE and the NNPC could also cooperate on national power projects, the Nigerian firm said, as the country remains plagued by cuts and shortages and a creaking national grid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 26/01/2017

At 07h45 on 26 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.25 ZAR/EUR 14.26 ZAR/GBP 16.78 Gold 1198.85 Platinum 984.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.53 All Share 53250.79

Dawn embarks on rights offer - Creamer Media Reporter

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK is embarking on a rights issue to raise R350m in gross proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet to allow for the alignment of its capital structure to its business model and the current environment. DAWN has agreed terms with a potential underwriter and expects the proposed rights issue to be fully underwritten. In addition, the company has received undertakings of support from the proposed rights issue from shareholders representing in excess of 60% of DAWN's issued share capital. DAWN will convene an EGM of shareholders to obtain the necessary approvals to implement the offer early in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel production rises 0.8% y/y in 2016 - Anine Kilian

Global crude steel production as reported by the 66 member countries of the World Steel Association rose by only 0.8% y/y to 1.63bn tonnes in 2016. SA's output decreased to 6.14mt in 2016, compared with the 6.42mt produced y/y, while Africa's production fell by 4.7% y/y to 12.19mt. Asia's production rose 1.6% y/y to 1.13bn tonnes, with China's steel output up 1.2% to 808.37mt. Japan's crude steel output contracted by 3% y/y to 104.77mt, while India's crude steel production rose by 7.4% to 95.62mt. South Korea produced 68.57mt of crude steel in 2016, a decrease of 1.6% y/y. The EU produced 162.29mt of crude steel, a decrease of 2.3% compared to 2015. North America's crude steel output remained flat y/y at 110.99mt, with production in the US down 0.3% y/y to 78.62mt. The CIS produced 8% more steel in 2016 at 102.22mt. Worldsteel reported that the average capacity utilisation was 69.3% in 2016, compared with 69.7% in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global steel production rises 0.8% y/y in 2016 - Anine Kilian

Global crude steel production as reported by the 66 member countries of the World Steel Association rose by only 0.8% y/y to 1.63bn tonnes in 2016. SA's output decreased to 6.14mt in 2016, compared with the 6.42mt produced y/y, while Africa's production fell by 4.7% y/y to 12.19mt. Asia's production rose 1.6% y/y to 1.13bn tonnes, with China's steel output up 1.2% to 808.37mt. Japan's crude steel output contracted by 3% y/y to 104.77mt, while India's crude steel production rose by 7.4% to 95.62mt. South Korea produced 68.57mt of crude steel in 2016, a decrease of 1.6% y/y. The EU produced 162.29mt of crude steel, a decrease of 2.3% compared to 2015. North America's crude steel output remained flat y/y at 110.99mt, with production in the US down 0.3% y/y to 78.62mt. The CIS produced 8% more steel in 2016 at 102.22mt. Worldsteel reported that the average capacity utilisation was 69.3% in 2016, compared with 69.7% in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barrick hits high-end of FY guidance - Henry Lazenby

Initial indications are that BARRICK GOLD has hit the higher-end of its FY2016 production guidance at 5.52moz, down 9.8% on 2015. The company estimated 2016 all-in sustaining costs were at, or slightly below, the low end of its forecast of $740/oz to $775/oz of gold, compared with 2015 AISC of $831/oz. BARRICK also estimated its cost of sales applicable to gold was at the low end of the forecast of $800/oz to $850/oz. BARRICK will report detailed Q4 and FY results on Feb. 15. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola's debt lower, but continued fiscal adjustment needed - IMF - TJ Strydom

Angola's public debt is projected to narrow to 62.8% of GDP in 2017, from 71.6% last year, the IMF said late yesterday. "...continued fiscal adjustment will be needed going forward to put public debt on a clear downward path while supporting economic growth over the medium term", the Fund said in a statement after the IMF team met government officials. The fund urged Angola to phase out exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices. It also said the southern African nation should more forcefully address its dependence on oil and diversify the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Equatorial Guinea says it expects decision soon on OPEC membership bid - Wendell Roelf

Equatorial Guinea has held "fruitful" talks and expects a decision soon on an offer to join OPEC, Mines and Hydrocarbons Minister GABRIEL MBAGA OBIANG said today. "We've held fruitful discussions. This is going to move faster than we expect". Earlier this week OBIANG said the country had applied to join the cartel, seeking to become OPEC's 14th member and the sixth from Africa. He said the country wanted a stable global oil price and was willing to discuss further cooperation with OPEC to achieve this. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P concerned by SA's political tensions, fiscal limits - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

STANDARD & POOR's yesterday said rising political tensions in SA amid infighting in the ANC could derail government efforts to improve policy implementation and that Pretoria had little room to boost spending. The ratings agency said SA's fiscal space, "or the flexibility its government has to increase its spending to boost the economy, is now limited". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC injects $50m into market to prop up franc - Aaron Ross

The DRC's central bank injected $50m into the interbank exchange market on Tuesday to prop up the Congolese franc, which has lost nearly 40% of its value in the last year. The bank injected $50m into the market five times in 2016 and hiked rates but the franc continued to slide. Low oil and mineral prices over the last two years have heaped pressure on the franc and driven inflation from less than 1% in 2015 to over 11% last year. The oil and mining sector provide 95% of the country's export earnings. The DRC's economic growth slowed to an estimated 2.5% last year from 6.9% in 2015. The central bank expects growth of 2.9% this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copper prices jump on rising odds of Escondida strike - Henry Sanderson

Copper prices are up 3% edging towards $6 000/t after workers at the Escondida mine in Chile rejected a management wage offer, raising the possibility of a strike. Unionised workers at the BHP BILLITON-owned mine said they considered the latest offer "absurd". Workers have until Jan. 31 to vote on a new wage proposal - results of which often set the standard for other mines in Chile. A strike by workers at Escondida could boost the price of copper, since it accounts for 6% of all the world's refined copper. The red metal has rallied 14% since the election of DONALD TRUMP on hopes he will boost US infrastructure investment. But analysts say the market is still well-supplied, with Chinese demand muted before the Chinese New Year holiday. Weak demand could limit any price spike. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump calls US environmental regulations 'out of control' - Adam Samson

US President DONALD TRUMP yesterday told automakers he would curb "out of control" environmental regulations as part of his bid to make the country friendlier to business. TRUMP promised that environmental checks that often slow the process of building new plants would be both softened and accelerated under his administration's policy. "We're going to make a very short process", TRUMP said. "We're going to either give you your permits or not give you your permits, but you're going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we're going to give you your permits." TRUMP also signed executive orders advancing construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, fulfilling a campaign promise while risking renewed protests over the projects. The OBAMA administration in 2015 rejected Keystone, designed to carry oil from Alberta in Canada to Texas, after several years of environmental reviews and controversy. The $3.8bn Dakota Access pipeline also drew months of fierce protests, including from N

Updated market indicators for 25/01/2017

At 11h12 on 25 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.37 ZAR/EUR 14.34 ZAR/GBP 16.74 Gold 1203.15 Platinum 990.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.06 All Share 53732.67

BHP plans $820m petroleum exploration - Business Report

BHP BILLITON today said that, following the successful bid for TRION in Mexico and positive drilling results at LeClerc and Caicos, an $820m exploration programme is now planned for the current FY. "In petroleum, we will accelerate our counter-cyclical oil exploration efforts this year. Our successful TRION bid leaves us in a leading position to develop the newly opened Mexican acreage in the Gulf of Mexico, where we can leverage our core expertise", CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said. "We are encouraged by recent positive drilling results at the LeClerc well in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caicos well in the Gulf of Mexico. After the first successful rig, our Onshore US gas hedging programme will also be expanded to secure attractive returns". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMB lists new dollar product on JSE - Siseko Njobeni

In a first for SA, RAND MERCHANT BANK yesterday said it had listed dollar custodial certificates on the JSE, enabling companies and individuals to hold unlimited quantities of cash in US dollars. DCCs, which listed on the ETF sector of the JSE yesterday, could be a simplified hedge against the rand's depreciation, according to RMB alternative asset specialist EBRAHIM PATEL. He said the certificates allowed companies and individuals to invest in US dollar-linked assets without requiring the permission of the SARB. DCCs were easily tradable, dollar-denominated investment instruments which had no exchange control implications. Each certificate could cost $1 000. RMB said investors would earn the return of a US Treasury note, receiving an income stream in US dolllars, which would be settled in rands. RMB, which created, issued and listed the instruments, would act as the market maker providing liquidity in the product. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese injects cash, increases interest rates on MLF - Gabriel Wildau

The People's Bank of China yesterday injected Rmb245.5bn of cash in to the domestic banking system via its Medium-term Lending Facility. The central bank injected Rmb138.5bn in six-month loans to 22 banks at an interest rate of 2.95% and an additional Rmb107bn in one-year funds at 3.1%, according to its official website. Both rates were 10 bps higher than the previous MLF injection on Jan. 13. The uptick in the MLF rate is a further sign that authorities intend to tighten policy slightly in 2017 after another year of rapid credit growth in 2016. In addition to MLF, the PBoC has used open market operations to inject short-term cash, including a record Rmb1.13tn net injection via open market operations last week. The OMOs included 7-, 14- and 28-day reverse bond repurchase operations. The PBoc also implemented a temporary cut to the required reserve ratio for the country's five largest banks last week, according to Caixin. That move would inject around an additional Rmb600bn-Rmb700bn. This news brief r

Antofagasta misses copper output targets - Nicholas Megaw

ANTOFAGASTA missed out its copper output targets in 2016, and said it expects uncertainty to continue despite the recent recovery in copper prices. In a production report published today the company said it "put in a strong performance in the final quarter of 2016", but FY copper output of 709 400t was narrowly below its target of 710 000t-740 000t. ANTOFAGASTA maintained its targets for 2017 production of 685 000t-720 000t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Novartis launches share buyback - Katie Martin

NOVARTIS is bumping up its dividend by 2% and lining up a $5bn share buyback after what it calls a "solid performance" in 2016. Net sales were 2% lower y/y at $48.5bn, dented somewhat by competition in generics. Group net income slumped from $17.8bn to $6.7bn, though the 2015 total was flattered by income from discontinued operations. CEO JOSEPH JIMENEZ said: "We made major strides in advancing our pipeline, executing our bolt-on M&A strategy and implementing our new focused organisation. Today we are proposing an increase in our dividend and initiating a share buyback of up to $5bn." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyundai Motors Q4 profit misses forecasts - Peter Wells

Worker strikes and currency volatility weighed upon HYUNDAI MOTORS in 2016 as the carmaker reported a drop in sales and profits. The company posted a 12.1% drop in y/y net profit to Won5.7197tn in 2016 on a 2.1% slide in sales to Won93.649tn. Declines in revenue and profit during the Dec. quarter were even sharper, and missed analysts' forecasts. Net profit fell 30.1% to Won1.1tn. Last week, HYUNDAI said it will increase its investment in the US by 50% over the next five years, to $3.1bn. The company stuck with its estimate for a rebound in sales in 2017, of 4.6% to 5.08m vehicles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japanese exports snap 14 months of decline - Alice Woodhouse

Japanese exports were stronger than expected in Dec., growing for the first time in 15 months as exports to Asia rose and a weak yen helped lift the trade surplus. Exports rose 5.4% y/y in Dec., well above the median estimate from economists of 1.1% growth and marking the first increase since Sep. 2015. Exports to China rose by 12.5% y/y while shipments to Asia were up 12%. Imports fell 2.6% y/y in Dec., dropping more than the expected 0.8%. Japan posted a trade surplus of Y641.4bn in Dec., more than double economists' estimates of Y281bn and remaining in the black for a fourth consecutive month thanks to a weaker yen. The Nov. trade surplus was revised down to Y150.8bn from Y152.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diaper wars, strong dollar continue to weigh on Kimberly-Clark - Pan Kwan Yuk

The diaper wars continued to weigh on Us consumer goods maker KIMBERLY-CLARK during Q4. The company reported sales and profits that came in a touch below market expectations as it was held back by weak demand for its core products - Huggies nappies and Kleenex tissues - and the strong dollar, which eroded its overseas earnings. Like-for-like sales rose just 1% during the period while net sales was flat at $4.54bn. Net income for the quarter came in at $505m, or $1.40/share. The market had forecast revenues of $4.54bn and EPS of $1.42. KIMBERLY-CLARK said net sales in 2017 are expected to be similar to 2016, including organic sales growth of around 2%. Diluted net income per share for 2017 is anticipated to be $6.20-$6.35. The board approved a 5.4% increase in the quarterly dividend, taking the dividend to 97cps, up from 92cps in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

J&J to explore sale of diabetes care business - David Crow

JOHNSON & JOHNSON said it was exploring a sale of its diabetes care business as it announced Q4 earnings that were broadly in line wiht Wall Street forecasts. The group said it would evaluate "potential strategic options" for its diabetes brands LifeScan, Animas and Calibra, which make devices including glucose monitors and insulin pumps. J&J will consider putting the companies into a JV and forming strategic alliances as well as an outright sale. J&J reported adjusted earnings of $1.58/share on revenues of $18.1bn for Q4 2016, versus the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.56 and $18.3bn. The group announced profit and sales forecasts for 2017 that fell short of expectations, pencilling in adjusted EPS of $6.93 to $7.08 on revenues between $74.1bn and $74.8bn. Analysts were expecting the company to generate adjusted EPS of $7.12 on revenues of $75bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DuPont pushes back Dow merger closing date to H1 - Ed Crooks

DUPONT has reported underlying EPS up 89% at 51cps for Q4 2016, well above analysts' expectations, as it cut costs in preparation for the merger with DOW CHEMICAL, the closing date for which has once again been pushed back. The two companies had originally expected to close the deal in 2016, but last Oct. that timetable slipped to a planned completion in Q1 2017. The planned merger has raised concerns about its impact on competition, particularly for crop protection chemicals and seeds. DUPONT's revenues of $5.2bn for Q4 were down 2%, and below expectations, hit by declines in the agriculture business that the company blamed on a change in the timing of seed deliveries in the southern US. Earnings were higher in most segments, with nutrition and health the best performer, up 59% at $135m, helped by a disposal that raised $27m. Central corporate expenses were down 45% to $88m. DUPONT did not give guidance on its FY outlook, as it expects the merger to be concluded by end-Jun., but said it expected underl

Mediclinic to acquire majority stake in Life Path Health - Fin24

MEDICLINIC SOUTHERN AFRICA yesterday confirmed that it will acquire a majority stake in LIFE PATH HEALTH. LIFE PATH is a mental health treatment provider which operates seven facilities currently concentrated in the Western Cape, with a further three in the pipeline in other regions of SA. MEDICLINIC said it believes this acquisition will fulfil its strategic objective of expanding the basket of care services available to the local market, while also leveraging off the experience and track record offered by LIFE PATH HEALTH. MEDICLINIC CEO KOERT PRETORIUS said: "There is a strong alignment between LIFE PATH HEALTH's current healthcare offering and MEDICLINIC's vision of transforming into a more integrated healthcare service provider, offering a broader range of services to our patients". The acquisition of the majority stake in LIFE PATH is subject to conditions, including approval by the competition authorities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Regional airlines flock to Zim - Memory Mataranyika

RWANDAIR and ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES are the newest airlines to fly to Zimbabwe, as the government opens up its skies to other players after years of state protectionism for the country's ailing flag carrier AIR ZIMBABWE. The two carriers will start flights to Zimbabwe this year and are banking on the upgrade of Victoria Falls airport and growing prospects for business travel between Harare and regional as well as international destinations. SUGAR CHAGONDA, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, said Zimbabwe and ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES are engaging in joint marketing initiatives aimed at boosting Zimbabwean tourism in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN apologises for slow BEE cash payout - Gareth van Zyl

MTN has apologised to shareholders of its BEE vehicle over the "frustration" in getting paid back in cash. MTN moved to unwind its MTN ZAKHELE scheme in Nov. as it prepares to open up its new empowerment vehicle ZAKHELE FUTHI. Reports emerged this week that MTN was not able to make all cash payments in Dec. 2016, resulting in frustration among some shareholders. "We are aware of the frustration of MTN ZAKHELE shareholders who need to verify their accounts and receive the cash amount due to them and we apologise for any inconvenience experienced during the process", MTN said. "We can assure you that we are doing our utmost to ensure that this process goes smoothly and that shareholders are paid quickly", MTN said. The company has further blamed unverified bank accounts for causing a disruption to the process. MTN said all shareholders who did not receive their payments on Dec. 13 are being paid with interest. Shareholders whose accounts failed verification have been required to provide FICA documents to

Rosatom denies nuke bid, Eskom says reports nonsensical - Matthew le Cordeur

ROSATOM said it has not yet submitted its bid for SA's 9.6GW nuclear procurement project. This followed a report by Reuters yesterday, which stated: "... ROSATOM has submitted a bid for a nuclear power project in South Africa, TASS news agency cited the company's general director ALEXEI LIKHACHEV as saying on Tuesday". ROSATOM told Fin24 that LIKHACHEV was only referring to the company's decision to respond, which will come in due course. This makes sense in terms of the timelines set by ESKOM. It gave bidders until next week Tuesday (Jan. 31) to confirm whether they will submit an RFI response. After that, the closing date for responses to the RFI is Apr. 28. Acting ESKOM CEO MATSHELA KOKO said "reports of ROSATOM submitting a bid are nonsensical because the RFP hasn't been issued yet". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brown throws weight behind Eskom's coal procurement policy - ANA

ESKOM will continue to transform coal procurement because this is a non-negotiable national imperative, Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN said yesterday. The utility is currently embroiled in a disagreement with EXXARO RESOURCES over the latter's BEE policy. Last month, EXXARO announced it would reduce its BEE shareholding to around 30% following the expiry of an agreement with its empowerment partners. ESKOM's coal procurement policy requires that all suppliers have a "black ownership target" of more than 50% throughout the life of the mine. "ESKOM will continue to source coal, as with renewable energy, at the right quality and the right price. I like to believe that these are good business principles that benefit the South African consumer", BROWN said. She added that a meeting involving herself, the Ministers of Energy and Finance, as well as ESKOM, should take place by mid-Feb. to seek an "answer" to the current standoff over the signing, by ESKOM, of 37 outstanding power purchase agreements wi

DoE resumes IEP, IRP public consultations - Natasha Odendaal

The Department of Energy's public consultation workshops on the updated draft Integrated Energy Plan and the Integrated Resource Plan will resume in Limpopo today. This followed on the first series of public consultations which were held in Gauteng, KZN, and the Western and Eastern Cape in Dec. The consultation swill then move to Mpumalanga on Jan. 27, the North West on Jan. 31 and the Free State on Feb. 3. The draft IEP and IRP plans were approved by Cabinet in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial expects dip in interim earnings - Megan van Wyngaardt

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS expects its EPS for the HY to end-Dec. to decrease by 21% to 27% to around 700cps. HEPS are expected to decrease by 13%-20% to between 640cps and 700cps. This would result from forex losses, compared with forex gains in the y/y period on various monetary items including working capital and hedging instruments. Higher finance costs and higher debt levels also impacted on IMPERIAL's results for the period under review. IMPERIAL added that higher amortisation of intangible assets arising form acquisitions, paired with prior period EPS being enhanced by profit on the sale of NESKA, also impacted on its interim results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers rakes in $720m in year's first sales cycle - Martin Creamer

DE BEERS yesterday announced $720m as the value of rough diamond sales at the company's first sales cycle of 2017, compared with $470m and $494m in the last two sales cycles of 2016, helped by a longer period between the final sight of 2016 and the first sight of 2017. DE BEERS reported good demand as the industry entered the period when rough diamond demand is traditionally strongest. "While the reopening of some diamond polishing operations in India saw something of an increase in demand for smaller, lower quality rough diamonds, we maintain a cautious outlook for these categories as the Indian industry continues to adjust to the post-demonetisation environment", CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said. Last week DE BEERS said it would begin piloting fixed-price forward contracts in its auction sales, the first of which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 16, for the grainers, smalls and near-gem categories of rough diamonds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe moves to fast-track new Kakula resource estimate, PEA - Natasha Odendaal

IVANHOE MINES is fast-tracking a new resource estimate and an expanded preliminary economic assessment at ts Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the DRC to examine expanded development options. This follows the latest assay results from another 25 holes in the ongoing 2016/17 drilling campaign that has significantly expanded the Kakula copper discovery and reinforced the "exceptional continuity" of high-grade copper mineralisation and the relatively flat-lying geometry. A new Kakula mineral resource estimate is expected early in Q2 2017 to update the mineral resource that was defined in Oct. following a drilling programme covering a total area of 8.7km² within the larger 60km² Kakula exploration area. Kakula contained an estimated indicated mineral resource of 66mt at 6.59% copper, as well as an inferred resource of 27mt at 5.26% copper, at a 3% cutoff. At a lower 1% cutoff, Kakula contained an indicated mineral resource of an estimated 192mt at 3.45% copper and an inferred resource estimate of 101mt at 2.74

Eastplats defends HZT civil claim - Natasha Odendaal

EASTERN PLATINUM is seeking to have a notice of civil claim filed against it by HEBEI ZONGHENG TIANDA PLATINUM dismissed with costs. EASTPLATS yesterday said its response for dismissal with costs against HZT has been filed. In Dec., HZT hit EASTPLATS and several of its subsidiaries with the notice of civil claim in the British Columbia Supreme Court over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement entered into between EASTPLATS' former management and HZT in Jun. 2016. EASTPLATS, following the election of a new board in Jul. 2016, had embarked on reviews of agreements and deals made by the former board, including that of the proposed sale of EASTPLATS' Barplats Mines subsidiary and associated intercorporate investments and loans to HZT for $50m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China steel mills resist Rio's demand for 'ridiculous' iron ore premium - Reuters

Chinese steel mills have balked at RIO TINTO's plan to charge a premium in long-term contracts for its highest grade of iron ore. RIO is seeking a premium of at least 15c/t above the index price for its flagship Pilbara Blend product, or PB fines, for all new long-term contracts, according to sources at Chinese steel mills. RIO sells around 85% of its ore to China via contracts that run up to five years, so a premium for its top product would boost earnings as the market builds on last year's unexpected price revival. "As far s we know, none of the steel mills have accepted this", one source said, adding: "I think it's not fair to add some premium, it's not reasonable, it's ridiculous". This is the first time RIO has sought a premium on its long-term contracts with Chinese mills since the industry ditched a four-decade system of pricing contracts annually in 2010. BHP BILLITON and VALE have in the past secured premiums for their high-grade products, but unlike RIO, which is seeking the premium from all C

Rio Tinto hiring commodity analysts in Singapore - Reuters

RIO TINTO is looking to hire eight Singapore-based experts to improve its supply and demand analysis in commodity markets. The company posted the vacancies on its website earlier this month, with a spokesman yesterday saying they were "routine hirings" which would add to its staff of over 300 people in Singapore. The roles include several positions in market analysis, ranging from junior to principal analysts, offering short-term supply and demand analysis as well as competitor analysis. RIO is also hiring leaders for various procurement divisions within its global sourcing team including for raw materials, technology, hydrocarbons and explosives and for property services. The procurement team oversees sourcing and buying of goods and services for all operations and businesses within the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iron to 'correct down sharply' as supply rises - Citigroup - Bloomberg

Iron ore is headed for a sharp drop as higher-grade supplies from Brazil and Australia are set to increase, according to CITIGROUP, which combined its forecast for a second-half tumble with upgrades to its outlook in the opening quarters of the year. Recent gains have been supported by a deficit in higher-grade material, analysts said this week. CITI boosted its Q1 forecast to $77/t from $60, raised its Q2 call to $70 from $57, while holding the Q4 figure at $53. CITI expects prices to correct down sharply in H2, with 50mt-60mt a year of high-grade ore supply from Brazil and Australia ramping up. 'Chinese iron ore output may also rise", it said, citing a forecast from MySteel for a 15mt increase. Stockpiles of ore held at ports in China climbed to a record 119.1mt last week, according to SHANGHAI STEELHOME INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CO. CITI said that as more than 95% of the build-up during 2016 was likely low-grade material, the high-grade market remains fairly tight. This news brief represents a summar

Record iron ore output for BHP, but power outage trims copper targets - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has reported record production from its Western Australian iron ore operations during the HY to end-Dec., driven by the continued ramp-up in capacity at the Jimblebar mine. Total iron ore production for the HY rose to 117.6mt, with the December quarter's production up 9% q/q to 60mt. The company maintained its iron ore guidance for the FY to end-Jun. at 265mt-275mt. However, it lowered its production guidance for copper by 2% to 1.62mt of ore, from its previous estimate of 1.66mt, to reflect the lower volumes expected at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. Production at Olympic Dam suffered in Q2 to end-Dec. as a result of a state-wide power outage between Sep. 28 and Oct. 14. The operation is expected to produce around 160 000t-170 000t in FY2017. Total copper production during H1 was down 7% to 712 000t, while Q2 production decreased by 7% q/q to 357 000t. BHP reported a 15% drop in petroleum production during the HY, producing 106m boe. The Dec. quarter's output was also down 15%

Workers at BHP's Escondida reject wage offer - Reuters

Unionised workers at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine in Chile yesterday said they rejected the company's latest wage offer and asked its workers to vote for a strike and prepare themselves for an extended conflict. The union, which represents some 2 500 workers at the mine, has been in collective wage talks with BHP since Dec. to replace the current contract which expires at the end of this month. "The company has presented its last offer today, which eliminates or modifies a series of benefits our union has fought for and won over the years", the union said. "Considering this, the union's board has asked all of its members to vote en masse for a legal strike and to prepare themselves for an extended conflict". BHP declined to comment on the matter. Workers will have vote on the company's wage proposal between Jan. 27 and 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MMI CEO says business as usual for JV with Aditya Birla - Asha Speckman

MMI HOLDINGS CEO NICOLAAS KRUGER says cash flows to the health insurance JV with India's ADITYA BIRLA will continue uninterrupted, despite the crisis caused by the recall of rupee notes in that country. "We're not concerned at all about the short-term pressure... our cash flow support for the business only happens gradually over many years so we are not concerned at all from a cash flow point of view", KRUGER said. ADITYA BIRLA HEALTH INSURANCE launched as a JV between MMI HOLDINGS and ADITYA BIRLA GROUP in Nov. 2016. Health insurance in India has less than 10% penetration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Former ABIL to resume trading as African Phoenix - Hanna Ziady

Shares in AFRICAN PHOENIX INVESTMENTS LIMITED, formerly AFRICAN BANK INVESTMENTS LIMITED, will resume trading on Feb. 1 after a nearly two-and-a-half year suspension was lifted by the JSE yesterday. AFRICAN PHOENIX CEO ENOS BANDA said the company would announce a new strategy in Q1 2017. For the FY to end-Sep. 2016, AFRICAN PHOENIX reported profit after tax of R491m, down 62% y/y. This was mainly due to insurer STANGEN, the group's only operating subsidiary, exiting its relationship with AFRICAN BANK LIMITED. AFRICAN PHOENIX had assets of R2.2bn at end-Sep. and a cash position of R1.8bn. The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission registered PHOENIX under its new name in Dec. and shares in the company, which will trade on the JSE under share code AXL, will resume trading on Feb. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AVI expects improved interim earnings - Sens

AVI yesterday announced that group revenue for the HY to end-Dec. was 11.6% higher y/y, reflecting a combination of price increases in response to a weaker rand and higher raw material costs. The company expects consolidated HEPS for the HY to increase by 7%-9% y/y, translating into an increase from last year's 281.6cps to a range between 301cps and 307cps. Consolidated EPS for the HY, including capital gains and losses, are expected to increase by 8%-10% to between 302cps and 308cps, compared with the 279.9cps reported y/y. Interim results will be published on Mar. 6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net1 takes stake in bank in Liechtenstein - Siobhan Cassidy

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES yesterday said it had agreed to acquire a 30% stake in Liechtenstein-based BANK FRICK & CO. NET1 said once the deal had been completed, it would have a two-year option to acquire a further 35% in BANK FRICK, the only bank in Liechtenstein with acquiring licences from VISA and MASTERCARD. The deal was subject to regulatory approval in the tiny central European country. NET1 CEO SERGE BELAMANT said the company entered into an agreement with BANK FRICK last year to become a strategic partner for the provision of support and banking services required to deploy NET1's products and services in Europe. "We have agreed with BANK FRICK that approximately $30m of its free equity will be utilised as seed capital for a fund dedicated to our future activities." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

1Time's Global bid still up in the air - Siseko Njobeni

Low-cost airline 1TIME this week told shareholders there had been no new developments in its planned acquisition of GLOBAL AIRWAYS. In 2013, the company announced it had entered into a binding agreement with GLOBAL AVIATION HOLDINGS and PAK AFRICA TRADE ZONE to acquire the entire share capital of the British Virgin Islands-based GLOBAL AIRWAYS for R21.6m. The deal was expected to culminate in 1TIME's resurrection after the airline ceased operations. LINDEN BIRNS, MD of Plane Talking, on Monday said 1TIME was among a number of airlines which failed because of reliance on the use of wrong aircraft. He said the carrier was using old planes that were suitable as long as global oil prices stayed low. BIRNS said when it closed, 1TIME was ready to buy fuel efficient aircraft. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria holds main rate steady - Reuters

Nigeria's central bank yesterday held its benchmark interest rate at 14%, and kept its cash reserve ratios for commercial banks at 22.5%, governor GODWIN EMEFIELE said. The rate decision matched the view of most economists polled by Reuters over the past week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AFC issues $150m debut sukuk - Chijioke Ohuocha

AFRICA FINANCE CORP has issued a three-year $150m sukuk, becoming the first African government-backed entity to sell an Islamic bond. The pan-African institution said it received subscriptions of $230m for the debut sukuk, initially planned to raise $100m. It did not disclose the yield. AFC was set up by African governments and the private sector in 2007 to mobilise investment for infrastructure across the continent. It has since invested more than $4bn in 26 countries. Other African-based insurers are likely to follow with sukuk of their own, analysts say, as Islamic bonds can be cheaper than conventional bonds, especially when interest from the market is high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania hopes for LNG plant agreement with oil majors by 2018 - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania hopes to reach an agreement with international oil companies in 2018, paving the way for the construction of an LNG plant, a senior official said yesterday. The planned new infrastructure will enable Tanzania to export some of the offshore gas reserves discovered in recent years in a region that has turned into a hydrocarbon exploration hotspot. BG GROUP - recently acquired by ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - together with STATOIL, EXXONMOBIL and OPHIR ENERGY plan to build a $30bn onshore LNG export terminal in partnership with TANZANIA PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. But a final investment decision has been held up by government delays in finalising issues relating to the acquisition of land at the site and establishing a legal framework for the nascent hydrocarbon industry. As a first step, the Tanzanian government and oil companies must work out a "host government agreement" setting out terms on which the foreign investors will build and run the project. "Discussions for a host government agreement sta

SARB keeps repo rate at 7% - Mfuneko Toyana

The SARB yesterday kept its benchmark repo rate unchanged at 7%, in line with expectations, saying the near-term outlook of inflation has deteriorated while the domestic growth outlook remained constrained. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 25/01/2017

At 07h33 on 25 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.38 ZAR/EUR 14.36 ZAR/GBP 16.75 Gold 1205.93 Platinum 995.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.32 All Share 53342.04

Rio Tinto agrees sale of Aussie coal subsidiary - Katie Martin

RIO TINTO has struck a deal to sell COAL & ALLIED INDUSTRIES to an Australian buyer for up to $2.45bn. YANCOAL AUSTRALIA is making an initial $1.95bn cash payment, followed by a string of deferred cash payments over the next five yaers. RIO may also be entitled to royalties after the sale. RIO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said the sale delivers value to shareholders and "is consistent with out strategy of reshaping our portfolio to ensure the most effective use of capital". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US pledges to 'protect our interests' in South China Sea - Demetri Sevastopulo

The White House yesterday said the US would protect its interests in international waters in the South China Sea but refused to say whether it would attempt to block China from accessing artificial islands in the area. Secretary of State REX TILLERSON angered China this month by declaring that the US would attempt to prevent China from accessing the islands. In his first press conference, White House press secretary SEAN SPICER said the US would prevent China from taking over any islands located in international waters in the region. "If those islands are in fact in international waters and ot part of China proper, then, yes, we're gonna make sure taht we defend international territories from being taken over by one country", SPICER said. While he declined to say if the TRUMP administration would attempt to block China from accessing the disputed islands, his response surprised Asia experts given the sensitivity of the issue. "How do you enforce it? This approach risks armed conflict and the US would lo

US court approves $1.7bn settlement for VW dealers - Patrick McGee

The US court overseeing the VOLKSWAGEN scandal in that country yesterday granted final approval to a $1.67bn settlement for hundreds of franchise dealers who had sued the carmaker in 2016. The settlement includes a cash payment of $1.2bn to around 650 VW-branded dealers - an average of $1.85m/dealer - plus $175m in sales incentives and $270m via a provision for prior payments, according to law firm HAGENS BERMAN, who represented the dealers. Judge CHARLES BREYER called the deal "fair, adequate, and reasonable", noting that the 98% participation rate among dealers was "extraordinarily high". The settlement comes two weeks after VW agreed to pay a $4.3bn criminal fine to the US government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAP raises 2020 targets on strong cloud services - Patrick McGee

SAP raised its 2020 target today as it reported that "strong momentum" in cloud services allowed it to meet guidance for 2016. The German group said profit after tax in Q4 rose 18% to €1.51bn, versus forecasts of €1.61bn. Cloud and software revenue rose 7% in Q4 to €5.76bn, as cloud subscriptions and support jumped 31% to €827m. New cloud bookings "soared" 40% last quarter to €344m, and rose 31% in the year to €1.15bn. CFO LUCA MUCIC said SAP had delivered on all its promises, achieving top line and bottom line targets after raising them in Oct. The company reiterated a 2017 target for cloud and software revenue to grow 6%-8%. In 2016 it grew 7% to €18.4bn. For 2020, SAP now expects total revenue in a range of €28bn-€29bn, up from €26bn-€28bn. Its projection for cloud subscriptions and support revenue was lifted to €8bn-€8.5bn, up from €7.5bn-€8bn, while operating profit guidance was raised to €8.5bn-€9bn, up from €8bn-€9bn. This news brief represents a summary

Capital flight battle threatens China trade flows - Don Weinland

China's battle against capital flight is threatening its trade flows, with recent restrictions on the use of basic tools for cross-border finance beginning to hamper the businesses driving the country's $1.7tn in annual imports. While regulators seeking to keep Chinese money onshore remain focused on outbound FDI they believe is being used to funnel money abroad, payments for goods and services have also been hurt. Transactions are being delayed and contracts forced into renegotiation, while trade credit insurers are cutting exposure to the country. The branches of several banks in Shenzhen froze the issuance of standby letters of credit during Dec., according to a notice circulated at a Chinese bank in Hong Kong and seen by the FT. The halt came after central regulators told banks to reduce their issuance. Another channel constricted by regulators in recent weeks was nei bao wai dai, which allows offshore banks to lend to Chinese companies overseas using guarantees based in China. This news brief repr

Samsung Q4 operating profit best in three years - Bryan Harris

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS today reported its best quarterly profit in more than three years, with strong sales of memory products and display panels helping the company bounce back from the costly Galaxy Note 7 debacle. SAMSUNG said operating profit for Q4 was Won9.2tn, in line with analysts estimates and the highest since Q3 2013. This put the FY figure at Won29tn - up 10% y/y. SAMSUNG in Oct. killed off its marque Note 7 smartphone after handsets around the world began catching fire. The fiasco prompted US regulators and a host of airlines worldwide to ban the phone on flights. SAMSUNG itself estimated the recall of 2.5m devices and the subsequent termination of the Note 7 would cost upward of $5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yahoo says Verizon deal delayed until Q2 - Hannah Kuchler

VERIZON's $4.8bn deal to buy YAHOO will be delayed until Q2, after the internet company has discovered two high profile hacks since the acquisition was announced in July last year. YAHOO said it is working on "integration planning" with VERIZON but that it no longer expected the deal to close before end-Mar. "In addition to integration planning, our top priority continues to be enhancing security for our users... With security protocols and password changes in place, approximately 90% of our daily active users have already taken or do not need to take remedial action to protect their accounts, and we're aggressively continuing to drive this number up", YAHOO CEO MARISSA MAYER said. The company reported non-GAAP EPS of 25cps, higher than the average analyst estimate for 21cps in Q4, and net income of $162m. Revenue of $1.46bn beat the consensus estimate for $1.4bn, but excluding the impact of a change in the way revenue is presented due to an amendment to YAHOO's saerch agreement with MICROSOFT, revenue wo

Mexico will seek trade deals with TPP countries, boost non-US investment - Jude Webber

Mexico will begin talks with Trans-Pacific Partnership member countries to strike new trade deals as it seeks to diversify markets for its exports and boost non-US investment, President ENRIQUE PENA NIETO said yesterday. The president said Mexico was committed to a "win-win" outcome in upcoming NAFTA negotiations and said the solution to achieving its aims was not aggression but "dialogue and negotiation". US President DONALD TRUMP earlier inked an executive order pulling the US out of the TPP. In addition to Pacific pacts, Mexico was also ready to sign a trade deal with the UK, once its exit from the EU is formalised, PENA NIETO said. He said Mexico's NAFTA negotiations would be aimed at preserving free-trade between the US, Mexico and Canada and protecting investment flows. Mexico would also promote "a border that unites us and does not divide us... Mexico doesn't believe in walls", PENA NIETO added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CME cedes European cocoa trading victory to ICE - Emiko Terazono

The battle over cocoa trading has been won by INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE after CME GROUP announced it was suspending trading in its European cocoa contracts as of yesterday's close. In a notice to customers, CME said cocoa contracts starting with the May 2017 contract would be suspended, althouth it said the Mar. 2017 contract will remain available for trading with the open interest for the contract unaffected. CME launched its cocoa contracts in 2015 in a bid to challenge the dominance of ICE, which oversees two cocoa benchmarks. Cocoa traders said the suspension had been a matter of time as there was little liquidity in the new contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump signs executive order to withdraw from Pacific trade deal - Adam Samson

US President DONALD TRUMP has signed an executive order signalling that America will back-out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The move is the TRUMP administration's first major foreign policy action, but further measures related to trade are expected. BARACK OBAMA had hoped the TPP would cement America's power in the Asian region. China, which is excluded from the deal, has been flexing its muscle in Asia. It has, for instance, marked vast claims across the South China Sea prompting a dispute with other regional players. TRUMP has also vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU creditors implement short-term Greek debt relief measures - Mehreen Khan

Greece's EU creditors have implemented measures to alleviate the country's short-term debt burden after a setback at the end of 2016 over Athens' decision to provide a Christmas bonus to the poorest pensioners. The European Stability mechanism gave the green light to a series of modest measures that will cut Greece's 180% debt-to-GDP ratio by 20 percentage points over the next 47 years. The measures include a bond swap to fix exchange rates for debt used to recapitalise Greek banks and a swap arrangement that will ensure some of Greece's interest rate payments remain at reasonable levels. An additional move to smooth the country's debt repayments will be completed at the end of Jan. None of the measures will result in any eurozone member states losing money, ESM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese deal for Birimian's Mali project falls through - Henry Sanderson

Australian explorer BIRIMIAN said the sale of its lithium project in Mali to a Chinese buyer has been scrapped due to difficulty getting capital out of China. The deposit for the sale to SHANDONG MINGRUI GROUP of the Bougoni project for $78m in cash was not received "due to the increasing regulatory protocols on the transfer of funds from China", BIRIMIAN said. Beijing has tightened rules for the overseas transfer of capital in recent months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB might surprise with rate decision - Carin Smith

The Monetary Policy Committee of the SARB is likely to decide at its meeting this week to keep the repo rate unchanged, according to economist MIKE SCHUSSLER. "I think interest rates will stay here for most of the year, with a chance of a small increase if inflation does not drop as much as expected", SCHUSSLER told Fin24. SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO will announce the first rates decision of the year this afternoon. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Digitisation could boost Africa by R4tn - Kabelo Khumalo

The adoption of digitisation by African countries could add $300bn to the continent's economy by 2026, with SA to derive the most benefits, according to an inaugural report published yesterday by SIEMENS. The 2017 African Digitalisation Maturity Report was conducted by the company to benchmark levels of digitisation in SA, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, with emphasis on the sectors of transport, manufacturing and energy. SABINE DALL'OMO, CEO of SIEMENS Southern and Eastern Africa, said for the continent to compete in the digital age, it needed to implement policy and create an environment conducive for knowledge sharing. The report focused on four pillars of economic maturity - the digital environment, infrastructure, skills and digital literacy - in four countries. SA emerged as the country with the highest potential to realise digital maturity, followed by Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. SA also led the way in digital environment and with regard to ICT infrastructure, as well as in skills and digital liter

NUM temporarily saves AngloGold jobs - Siphelele Dludla

The NUM yesterday said it had successfully negotiated an agreement to avoid retrenchments at ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI following the company's decision to lay off more than 800 workers in SA. NUM met with the company with the purpose to seek avoidance measures that would minimise the retrenchment of workers to zero after ANGLOGOLD issued Section 189 notices to 849 workers. Last week, the union called on the comapny to rethink its position and said it would fight to make sure that its members were not retrenched cheaply. Yesterday, NUM Mining Coordinator at ANGLOGOLD, TAFA MOYA, said the union and the company agreed that workers would be transferred to other business units within the company and that other workers would be re-skilled for different jobs. ANGLOGOLD spokesperson CHRIS NTHITE confirmed the meeting, but said it was too early to predict the overall outcome of the agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand should trade at R5.20/$ - Big Mac Index - Lameez Omarjee

The rand should be trading at R5.20 to the greenback, according to the latest Big Mac Index by The Economist. According to the index, the rand is undervalued by 62.7%. The index was put together by The Economist as far back as 1986, and measures whether currencies are at the "correct" level based on the theory of purchasing power parity. It is not meant to be taken seriously as there are various limitations to the methodology. The price of a Big Mac in the US is $1.89, compared to R26.32 in SA. If the exchange rate were R5.20, a Big Mac should cost R9.83 in SA. According to the index, the rand should be trading at R6.78/€, R8.52/£ and R1.34/Rmb. Factors dragging down the local currency include high inflation, political uncertainty, weak economic growth and the increasing current account deficit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev offers SAB managers severance packages - Matthew le Cordeur

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV has offered managers at SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES a voluntary severance offer programme as the beer conglomerate begins merging operations between the two companies. SAB communications head ROBYN CHALMERS confirmed the programme but dispelled media reports that over 1 000 managerial roles would be affected. "It is important to note that no employee will be forcibly retrenched as a result of the merger. It is too early in the process to say how many people may opt for the voluntary offer", CHALMERS said. She said the VSO programme arrangements are in keeping with the conditions AB INBEV agreed to with the Competition Tribunal. The severance programme has been made available only to certain employees at management level and above, and not to those who are at bargaining unit level, CHALMERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P expects stagnant house prices - Roy Cokayne

S&P GLOBAL RATINGS is projecting muted nominal house price growth of 5.5% for SA for 2017, which implies stagnation in home prices in real terms. The ratings agency has forecast nominal house price growth of 6.5% for 2018. S&P said the local housing market was burdened by a weak macroeconomic environment, still high household indebtedness and a rising interest rate burden. S&P senior economist TATIANA LYSENKO said residential property prices stagnated in real terms in 2016, with above target inflation eroding nominal price gains. Hmoe prices improved at the end of 2016 as financial conditiosn stabilised, but LYSENKO stressed that still subdued growth, persistent very high unemployment and elevated consumer indebtedness did not bode well for the local housing market in the near term, particularly if interest rates continued to rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom warns illegal electricity buyers as ghost vendor nabbed - Fin24

ESKOM has called on South Africans to refuse to buy illegal electricity vouchers after a Johannesburg man was nabbed with almost 600 prepaid vouchers. The suspect was busted in a joint operation by the SAPS and the Hawks and 598 illegal prepaid vouchers and R8 500 in cash were found at the suspect's residence. Operation Khanyisa head DILEEP JOHN said people might think that the selling of illegal prepaid vouchers is a victimless crime, only affecting ESKOM, but this is not the case. "The loss of revenue suffered by ESKOM due to this crime contribugtes to the need for the national power utility to increase the tariffs charged to paying customers. The price of ghost vending is, therefore, paid by society as a whole", JOHN said. People can send anonymous tip-offs via SMS to 32211. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo completes MCPP integrated BFS - Natasha Odendaal

The positive outcome of KIBO MINING's integrated bankable feasibility study for the Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania has placed the company in a "strong position" during the ongoing talks for the final power purchase agreement, as well as with potential projects funders and suitors, the company said yesterday. The finalised IBFS has presented a financially, technically and operationally robust project. "We are extremely pleased with the positige results from the IBFS. The significant improvement in the various internal rate of return figures exceeds management expectations and will, without doubt, attract favourable attention from potential investors", KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE said. The completed report shows the MCPP can be built and commissioned within the previously projected duration of 36 months, with a 21.1% reduction on the total capital requirements originally laid out in the integrated prefeasibility study for the integrated project. KIBO said the latest results also indicated total revenue

Rehab work begins to prepare Highveld structural mill for restart - Terence Creamer

Rehabilitation work at HIGHVELD STEEL's heavy structural mill in Mpumalanga is under way to prepare the facility for recommissioning, following the conclusion of a supply and marketing deal with ARCELORMITTAL SA in Dec. Under the proposed arrangement, AMSA will supply blooms and slabs for processing into heavy structural products used in the construction and infrastructure markets. The products to be manufactured includ rail sleepers and bars, beams and columns and bearing piles. A small crew of contractors are currently on site to prepare the mill to produce at rates and qualities that are as close as possible to the mill's original design specifications and tolerances. On receiving the blooms and slabs from AMSA, the inputs will be reheated and, where necessary, cut prior to rolling. AMSA will be responsible for sales and marketing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Interwaste FD steps down - Anine Kilian

INTERWASTE yesterday announced that ANDRE BROODRYK has resigned as FD of the company. Group financial manager ANDRIES CRONJE has been appointed as acting FD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA campaign 'led by Gupta-sponsored groups' - EFF - ANA

A campaign to get ABSA to pay back apartheid debt is led by "State Security" and the GUPTA family, EFF leader JULIUS MALEMA claimed yesterday. The EFF has been attacked in recent weeks for being complacent after announcing it would occupy the lender's head office. This followed a leaked draft report by Public Protector BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE on the probe into ABSA, which shows the bank was implicated in the looting of state funds during the apartheid era. MALEMA said the EFF would not join "Mickey Mouses funded by the GUPTAS and State Security Minister DAVID MAHLOBO... We will occupy ABSA in our own time... we will nto be told by EFF enemies on how to fight ABSA." MALEMA alleged that those calling for the occupation of ABSA were on MAHLOBO's payroll and the GUPTAS. "State Security dished out money to buy adverts in the City Press to occupy ABSA, the same cash that was used to form a bogus union in Marikana", MALEMA said. MKHWEBANE's report found that ABSA was liable for the repayment of R2.25bn in bailouts

Atterbury Property Fund appoints new chair - Natasha Odendaal

Property developer ATTERBURY's newly launched real estate holding fund, ATTERBURY PROPERTY FUND, has appointed ALLEN SWIEGERS as its new chair. SWIEGERS concluded 33 years with DELOITTE where he held various senior positions and served on the executive committee. The ATTERBURY PROPERTY FUND was launched in mid-2016 as the investment vehicle for existing and future ATTERBURY assets in SA, Namibia and Mauritius. It is headed by CEO WOUTER DE VOS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Teck seeking infrastructure synergies with Anglo in Chile - Henry Lazenby

TECK RESOURCES has entered into talks with ANGLO AMERICAN on the potential to share a port in Chile, as both miners mull expansions at neighbouring base metal mines. TECK is considering an expansion of the Quebrada Blanca copper mine, as is ANGLO for its neighbouring Collahuasi mine, which could result in two ports being built 5km apart. "This is ridiculous. We've got to stop doing that as an industry, and so I've talked to MARK CUTIFANI. Eventually we will sort something out", TECK CEO DON LINDSAY said yesterday. "We need to optimise our resources and how we develop them. And we're going to have to find synergies with partners and look at things differently than before", LINDSAY said, adding that this is an approach that has successfully worked in the past in the Sudbury basin of Ontario and in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Giyani moves to delist from AltX - Natasha Odendaal

GIYANI GOLD is preparing to delist its secondary listing on the AltX. The listing will be scrapped on Feb. 13, with trade suspension planned for Feb. 10. The company will maintain its listing on the TSX-V. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resgen updates Boikarabelo resource estimates - Megan van Wyngaardt

A recent update to the reserve estimate for RESOURCE GENERATION's Boikarabelo mine has increased its measured and indicated coal tonnes to 994.81mt, up from the previous 664.2mt. The company's marketable coal reserves, however, decreased from 430.6mt to 267.09mt based on an export-quality product with an average of 14% ash and an average 25.73 MJ/kg calorific value determined on an air dried basis; and a domestic power station product with an average 31.43% ash and an average 19.5MJ/kg calorific value determined on an AD basis. RESGEN noted that its export/domestic business model has also resulted in a meaningful rise in the net present value and internal rate of return of the project, with the previously announced 2010 estimated coal resource and coal reserves being based on a single-loc-quality product for sale to domestic power stations. The new business model has resulted in the export-quality product having an average yield of 23.68% and the domestic power station production having an average yield o

Anglo sees incremental gains as trading unit hits cruising speed - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN, which broke with tradition when it set up a focused commercial unit, sees modest improvements ahead after an early boost to profits, as it gets closer to clients, even offering shelter from volatile markets with fixed-price contracts. ANGLO shied away from directly trading its own material for decades, instead selling largely via intermediaries. That changed in 2013 under CEO MARK CUTIFANI as ANGLO sought a direct link with customers to get more value from every tonne of material sold, a move which added more than $400m to underlying operating profit in two years. The value of sales made to intermediaries fell from 60% in 2012 to less than 10% of the total in 2015 - roughly the current level, according to ANGLO marketing CEO PETER WHITCUTT. The company is now close to the limit of the extra cash it can squeeze out per tonne sold, WHITCUTT said last week, but it can still get closer to the needs of end-users. "There is more we can do as we improve the resource-to-market connection and make

DiamondCorp raises £1m via share placing - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIAMONDCORP has raised proceeds of around £1m via the placing of 25.4m new ordinary shares at 4pps. The company is also issuing around 3.14m new ordinary shares with 3.14m attached warrants as settlement for professional fees pursuant to the placing and in satisfaction of certain outstanding indebtedness. Applications are being made to the LSE and JSE for the placing shares and the fee shares. Upon admission, and subject to the conclusion of a labour agreement with AMCU, DIAMONDCORP's enlarged issued ordinary share capital immediately will stand at 507m ordinary shares. The company earlier this month announced plans to raise the £1m to fund critical expenditure at its Lace mine. But it has stressed that it needs to reach an agreement with AMCU regarding retrenchments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile sees copper output rising 4.3% this year - Reuters

Chile is seen producing 5.79mt of copper this year, a 4.3% rise y/y, due to increased production at BHP BILLITON's Escondida mine, state copper commission COCHILCO said yesterday. Copper output in Chile is forecast to grow by an additional 3.4% in 2018, reaching nearly 6mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold deals with challenges at Kibali - Henry Lazenby

Despite dealing with certain critical issues in the DRC, RANDGOLD RESOURCES has maintained all the Kibali mine capital projects on track, it announced yesterday. The mine has dealt with a difficult H1FY2016, with the plant's transition to a mixed-ore feed which included ore from the new Kombokolo and Rhino satellite pits. RANDGOLD said it had made further progress with the entire operation's performance improvement in H2 FY2016, specifically focusing on metallurgical process enhancements, which had resulted in improved recovery rates. The new satellite pits had added operational flexibility, allowing the Kibali mill's average throughput to top nameplate capacity for the year. RANDGOLD noted that grade control will remain a challenge until the underground mine was fully commissioned later in the year. Construction of the underground mine is on schedule and the commissioning of its shaft system in Q3 will complete the development of the Kibali complex. RANDGOLD said that despite the ongoing operational im

PTM launches $25m bought deal financing - Henry Lazenby

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has reached an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by BMO CAPITAL MARKETS to raise $25m. The company had recently advised that for it to achieve positive cash flow and to maintain its working capital covenants under existing loan facilities, it will need to source C$5m-C$15m of additional funding. Under terms of the bought-deal financing, the underwriters will buy 17.13m shares at $1.46 apiece for gross proceeds of $25m. PTM will use the net proceeds of the offering for underground development and production ramp-up of the Maseve mine, for working capital during start-up and for general corporate purposes. PTM has granted the underwriters an overallotment option, exercisable at the offering price for a period of 30 days following the closing, to buy up to a further 15% of the offering. The offering is expected to close on Jan. 31, subject to customary closing conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola's banks grapple with liquidity, forex shortages - Herculano Coroado

Angola's banks face a liquidity crunch due to a shortage of foreign currency, Association of Angolan Banks chair AMILCAR SILVA said yesterday, but added he is not aware of requests by lenders for a state-funded bailout. With crude prices at $55/barrel, Angola is starved of dollars and the kwanza has collapsed and inflation in the country has risen drastically. "I have no knowledge about a request like this", SILVA said. The association represents banks including BANCO BNI, BANCO DE POUPANCA E CREDITO, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK ANGOLA, BANCO VTB AFRICA and STANDARD BANK. "We all know that banks are facing foreign exchange liquidity problems in Angola. This distress was not created by them, but it was caused by the financial crisis this country faces", SILVA said. The central bank, which hiked interest rates by 500 bps last year as inflation hovers around 40%, last year said it expects inflation to ease in 2017. SILVA said if the state or central bank intervenes, it should be in the form of credit to be pa

Moz default on eurobond was unnecessary - Karin Strohecker

Mozambique's default on a coupon payment for its dollar-denominated bond last week was "unnecessary" and a step in the wrong direction for the country's relationship with the holders of the debt, a group of creditors said in a statement yesterday. Mozambique a week ago said it would not make the $59.8m payment to holders of its 2023 bond due on Jan. 18 because a deteriorating economic and fiscal situation made its ability to repay debt this year extremely limited. "This development is a retrograde step for the prospects of Mozambique engaging in good faith negotiations with bondholders", the Committee of Mozambique's Bondholders said. "The default was unnecessary, given the improvement since October in Mozambique's economic and financial situation", the statement said. It added that Maputo was continuing to service other external debt, which signalled "a strategic default targeted at the bondholders". The committee was formed in Nov. and includes ALLIANCEBERNSTEIN, FRANKLIN TEMPLETON INVESTMENT MANAGEMEN

Ghana holds main policy rate unchanged at 25.5% - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's central bank yesterday held its main policy rate unchanged at 25.5%, Bank of Ghana governor NASHIRU ISSAHAKU said. The central bank trimmed the rate in Nov. by 50 basis points in the first such cut since Jul. 2011, which may herald further reductions this year as inflation begins to fall at a faster pace after years above government targets. ISSAHUKA said the central bank also supports a plan by the new government to renegotiate a $918m deal with the IMF, adding that the plan will not derail efforts to stabilise the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 24/01/2017

At 05h44 on 24 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.52 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 16.91 Gold 1216.00 Platinum 980.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.28 All Share 53040.48

Equatorial Guinea seeks to become OPEC member in 2017 - Ed Stoddard

Equatorial Guinea, Africa's no. 3 oil producer, has presented an offer to join OPEC this year and has agreed to production cuts, Energy Minister GABRIEL MBAGA OBIANG said yesterday. If it was to join OPEC, it would become the cartel's 14th member and the sixth from Africa. "We firmly believe that Equatorial Guinea's interests are fully aligned with those of OPEC in serving the best interests of the industry", OBIANG said. The offer was made when he travelled to Vienna last week to meet with OPEC officials but the statement provided no further details about the country's bid for cartel membership. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Guinness Nigeria to seek approval for 40bn naira share sale - Chijioke Ohuocha

GUINNESS NIGERIA plans to seek shareholder approval to raise 40bn naira via a rights issue today to boost its balance sheet, the company said. The group posted a loss of 2.21bn naira in Q1 compared with 517.6m naira a year ago. GUINNESS said it expected the share sale will give it financial and operational flexibility. The issue is subject to regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria must not scare away MTN, says minister - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria must not scare away MTN, its communications minister said, as lawmakers probe alleged illegal money transfers. The comments by ADEBAYO SHITTU are the state's first statement on the latest investigation into MTN, indicating the government does not want to see the company punished unduly if the latest allegations prove to be true. "Nobody will say that MTN is not important to Nigeria - we must encourage them, we must not scare them away from Nigeria", SHITTU said last week. MTN threatened to pull out of the country last year during a dispute over unregistered SIM cards before the government agreed to reduce a settlement on the issue by nearly 70% to $1bn. The company now faces another potentially hefty penalty if a probe by Nigeria's upper house of parliament finds evidence that the company illegally transferred $13.9bn out of the country between 2006 and 2016. MTN has insisted it did not break Nigeria's currency transfer rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold puts mine spending over M&A deals - Katia Porzencanski

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI plans to focus on extracting more metal out of its existing mines, rather than using deals to expand. "We have a lot on our portfolio that we can draw from to increase production", ANGLOGOLD chair SIPHO PITYANA said at the WEF in Davos. "That's what the priority is going to be, and in the overall rankings, mergers and acquisitions would therefore be lower down on our list". That contrasts with a recent spate of deals in the gold industry as producers benefit from rising metal prices and rebounding profits. Shares of ANGLOGOLD rallied 44% last year, the biggest increase in a decade. ANGLOGOLD will aim to raise output at operations in Australia, PITYANA said. He also cited operations in Brazil and Guinea as targets for expansion, and brownfield projects, meaning growth at existing mine sites. "We've given a signal to management that we are happy to commit more capital and see our capex increasing", PITYANA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese growth fuelled by unsustainable stimulus, warns Fitch - Mehreen Khan

Accelerated Chinese economic growth reflects the country's fixation on "short-term" targets, fueled by high levels of government spending, loose monetary policy and rising debt levels, FITCH RATINGS has said. Responding to official government figures which showed the economy expanded by 6.8% in y/y terms in Q4, FITCH said developments in the Chinese economy are becoming a "significant risk to medium-term macroeconomic stability". In particular, the agency noted Beijing's attempts to pump "direct fiscal expansion and quasi-fiscal stimulus" into SOEs, where the annual pace of investment growth climbed to 19.1% from 10.7% from 2015. "Outside of the SOE sector, fixed-asset investment growth slowed markedly, underlining the importance of stimulus in propping up demand and highlighting the risk that the economy might lack self-sustaining growth momentum", FITCH said. It noted that steady growth is masking various unwelcome developments in the Chinese economy. FITCH pointed to climbing credit growth, capital ou

African bond issuance slumps to 6-yr low - Steve Johnson

Sovereign bond issuance by African countries plunged to its lowest level since 2010 last year as investors pushed up yields and balked at much of the proposed net borrowing. Stripping out SA, sub-Saharan countries managed to get just one hard-currency bond issue away last year. Even that, a five-year $750m bond issued by Ghana in Sep., had to be scaled down from plans to borrow $1bn over 10 years amid investors' fears the country would struggle to meet its fiscal targets. This compares poorly with the period from 2013 to 2015, when sub-Saharan states (ex SA) issued 21 dollar bonds, raising a total of $18bn. Analysts said last year's weak issuance was largely due to a weak external backdrop, with low commodity prices and tepid enthusiasms for emerging markets among international investors. This resulted in a "big dislocation in yields" which surged beyond 12% for African commodity exporters, before falling back to around 8% later in the year. Another factor behind the issuance drought was that many count

Australia bolsters protection of strategic assets - Jamie Smyth

Australia has ordered a sweeping security review of its critical infrastructure and is drawing up a register of key assets to help regulators assess whether any privatisation or sale to overseas investors would raise national security concerns. The initiative, unveiled today, was prompted by concerns about an increased risk of "sabotage, espionage and coercion" involving key water, energy and port facilities amid a surge in foreign investment from China. The security reviews will be conducted by a new Critical Infrastructure Centre within the attorney-general's office, which the government said would "provide greater certainty and clarity to investors and industry on the types of assets that will attract national security scrutiny". Canberra said that while its initial focus was on water, energy and ports, it would consult further with industry and states to consider which other assets required attention. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Erdogan kicks-off referendum campaign to boost powers - Mehul Srivastava

Turkey's president RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN has begun a final push to increase his power as president after parliament agreed far-reaching constitutional changes that will now be put to a referendum. The proposed changes would crown ERDOGAN's 14-year rule by boosting his formal role as president and allowing him to remain in the post until 2029. "God willing the people will give the true decision, the final decision", ERDOGAN said at the weekend as he kicked off the campaign for the referendum, which is likely in Apr. The changes would give the president the power to control budgets, appoint more top judges and resume leadership of the ruling AKP party while scrapping the post of PM, the job ERDOGAN held from 2003 for three terms. If approved, they would take effect in 2019 and also allow him to serve two more terms as president, until the end of the next decade. Analysts depict his move as a gamble that will either personalise his rule further or plunge the already polarised country into deeper disarray.

Trump attack on media sets tone for start of presidency - Demetri Sevastopulo

DONALD TRUMP has spent his first weekend in the Oval Office attacking the "dishonest" media in a confrontation with news organisations that sets the tone for his style of leadership. TRUMP's focus on criticising the media comes as only two of his cabinet nominees have been confirmed by he Senate and after the president issued a call to stop "American carnage" - a reference to crime, drugs and economic decline. Analysts were stunned at the weekend when TRUMP sent SEAN SPICER, the new White House press secretary, to berate the media over their reporting of low numbers at his inauguration ceremony. SPICER said there were no official estimates on Friday's inaugural crowds, but then asserted that more people had watched the event than any previous inauguration. He said attempts to "lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration" were "shameful and wrong", and refused to take questions. Aerial photograps comparing 2009 and 2017, coupled with figures for passengers on the metro system, suggest TRUMP attracted a much

Shell sells stake in Saudi petrochemicals business - Andrew Ward

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has agreed to sell its 50% stake in a Saudi Arabian petrochemicals JV for $820m, the latest in a series of disposals aimed at reducing debts and streamlining the company's sprawling portfolio of assets. The deal will give full control of the business, known as SADAF, to SAUDI BASIC INDUSTRIES, the state-controlled chemicals group known as SABIC. The agreement ends a 37-year alliance between SHELL and SABIC, during which time SADAF become the biggest petrochemical complex in the Middle East with combined output of 4m metric tonnes per year. SABIC said the deal would allow it to "optimise and invest" in the facilities and integrate them with other affiliates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investment in infrastructure assets soars to record - Gill Plimmer

Private investment in infrastructure assets soared last year as fierce competition for roads, airports, ports and power plants pushed prices higher. Investment in global infrastructure assets hit a record $413bn in 2016, up 14% y/y. Although the deal value rose from $362bn to $413bn in 2016, the number of deals held steady at 1 772, showing there is still a surplus of money chasing too few projects. The number of deals has stayed at between 1 700 and 1 800 a year since 2013, according to PREQUIN, which provided the data. Although appetite for infrastructure projects remains strong, most investors prefer not to invest in the construction phase. Investors favour built assets such as airports and toll roads that deliver steady income streams. The freezing of decisions on large-scale road, rail and energy projects by governments since the financial crisis has meant many infrastructure investors are struggling to find homes for their cash, pushing up prices for assets. Investors are increasingly turning to

Samsung says battery defect caused Galaxy Note 7 fires - Bryan Harris

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has laid the blame for its exploding Galaxy Note 7 handsets on the devices' batteries, pointing the finger at overheating caused by design and manufacturing defects. Monday's findings follow a three-month probe by the company and independent third parties into a debacle that is expected to cost the smartphone marker more than $5bn. Ruling out any issue with the smartphones' software or other hardware, SAMSUNG said: "Our investigation, as well as investigations completed by three independent industry organisations, concluded that the batteries were found to be the cause of the Note 7 incidents". The probe found that, due to design problems, the batteries did not fit squarely into their cell pouch. That caused them to short-circuit, resulting in devices overheating and catching fire. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China clamps down on banks moving currency abroad - Tom Mitchell

Chinese regulators are stamping out moves by banks to shift renminbi out of the country as they attack one of the few loopholes remaining in the country's new capital controls regime. The tightening is another setback for Beijing's larger strategy of internationalising its currency - a goal that has taken a back seat to stabilising capital outflows and the renminbi's depreciation against the dollar. According to several sources, banks in Shanghai must "import" Rmb100 for every Rmb100 they allow a client to remit abroad, ensuring no net outflows of the Chinese currency. Shanghai-based banks had been allowed to remit Rmb160 overseas for every Rmb100 they brought back into China. The clamdown goes further in Beijing where banks must import Rmb100 for every Rmb80 they remit abroad on behalf of clients, ensuring a net inflow into the capital. Remitting renminbi offshore, where it can be converted into foreign exchange, was one way to avoid China's new capital controls. According to policy researcher NSBO, ne

Petra ramps up output by nearly a quarter - Mehreen Khan

PETRA DIAMONDS ramped up its production and notched up rising sales in 2016, putting it on course to meet its output targets for the year. In a trading update for the HY to end-Dec., PETRA said output was up 24% y/y to 2.01m ct, helping the company on the way to hit an FY production target of 4.4m-4.6m ct. PETRA said sales for the period rose 47% to 1.91m ct while rough diamond prices were flat on a like-for-like basis. Sales growth helped push up revenues by 48% to $228.5m. Net debt stood at $465.4m, with the company expecting to meet its required lender covenant ratios for the period. PETRA has doubled its capex since 2012 in a bid to build new diamond caves and gain access to better quality ore. CEO JOHAN DIPPENAAR said the company would begin to see a "meaningful reduction in capex as the capital projects, which were first set out in 2009, come to fruition". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME on hunt for new CEO as Garry Jones departs - Neil Hume

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE has launched the search for a new CEO after the sudden departure of current head GARRY JONES. JONES "retired" this morning after just over three years running the exchange. LME COO MATTHEW CHAMBERLAIN has been appointed interim CEO of the bourse with immediate effect. JONES' retirement follows a difficult year for the LME. In Aug., it was forced to slash fees after a revolt by its brokers who considered setting up a rival exchange. The exchange also saw trading volumes fall this year despite a rebound in metals prices. His decision to leave comes just a month after the departure of the LME's COO and head of strategy STUART SLOAN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold firms as dollar stumbles - Alice Woodhouse

Gold prices hit a two-month high this morning, extending gains on Friday in the face of a weakening dollar following President DONALD TRUMP's inauguration. The yellow metal was up as much as 0.8% at $1 219.55/oz, its highest since Nov. 22, Bloomberg data showed. The dollar index fell 0.4% in Asia morning trade. Among other investor havens receiving renewed interest as the dollar softened were bonds and the yen. Yields on 10-year US Treasuries were up 4 bps in late-morning trade at 2.4282%. Japan's yen was 0.9% stronger at Y113.64/$. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple files lawsuit against Qualcomm - Hannah Kuchler

APPLE has filed a $1bn lawsuit against QUALCOMM accusing the chipmaker of abusing a monopoly position, after the US and South Korean regulators argued it used its dominance at the expense of handset makers. It follows a suit by the US Federal Trade Commission earlier in the week, and an $890m fine from the South Korean regulators late last year. APPLE is demanding a payment of $1bn it believes are due as a rebate for licensing fees - and claiming that the chipmaker is holding back the money as punishment for APPLE's contribution to the South Korean investigation. "QUALCOMM built its business on older, legacy, standards but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties", APPLE said. "Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, QUALCOMM insists on charging APPLE at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined". This news brief represents a summary of the ori

P&G boosts FY organic sales forecast as revenue holds steady - Lindsay Whipp

PROCTER & GAMBLE raised its "organic" sales guidance for its FY on Friday as it shows further signs that it is emerging from its years of cost cutting towards top-line growth. The company now expects sales excluding the negative impact of forex and divestitures to increase 2%-3%, compared with an earlier forecast of 2%. P&G still expects core EPS of "mid-single digits". In its Q2 to end-Dec., the company said sales were $16.9bn, unchanged y/y and beating analysts' forecasts for sales of $16.8bn. Organic sales rose 2%, thanks to higher volumes. EPS for the quarter surged 157% to $2.88/share due to a one-time gain from the divestiture of dozens of its brands to COTY. Excluding that gain and the effect of the strong dollar, core EPS rose 4% higher to $1.08, slightly higher than consensus analyst estimates of $1.06. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Schlumberger sees revenue shrink - Jessica Dye

Oilfields services group SCHLUMBERGER reported a y/y decline in revenue as it eyes a slight uptick in capex for the coming year thanks to rebounding crude prices. The company on Friday said revenue for the quarter to end-Dec. was $7.1bn, down 8% y/y. It swung to a loss thanks to charges recorded in connection with its merger with CAMERON GROUP, which was completed this year, as well as currency devaluation in Egypt and other costs associated with workforce reduction and facility closures. That brought its net loss for the quarter to $204m, coming out to a 15cps loss, below analysts' forecasts for EPS of 26c on $375.3m in income. Excluding the charges, SCHLUMBERGER said adjusted net income for the quarter was $379m, or 27cps, slightly edging out analysts' forecasts. The company projected capex of $2.2bn in 2017, a modest increase over the $2.1bn seen in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GE Q4 earnings slip - Ed Crooks

GENERAL ELECTRIC on Friday reported earnings in line with analysts' forecasts as a slump in profits from its operations serving the oil and gas industry offset good performances from power generation equipment. Underlying EPS were 46c for Q4 2016, down 12% y/y. For the FY as a whole, underlying EPS were $1.49, up 14% y/y but towards the lower end of the range of guidance GE gave a month ago. Revenues were $33.1bn for the quarter, down 2% and a little below the average forecast of $33.9bn. Orders in the quarter were worth $33.9bn, up 4% y/y and the order backlog at the end of the year was $321bn, up 2%. The best performances came form thermal power equipment, where segment profit rose 27% to $2.07bn, and from wind turbines and other renewables, where profits almost tripled to $163m. The oil and gas division's profits were down 43% at $411m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cœuré raises concerns over City's EU access after Brexit - Mehreen Khan

BENOIT COEURE, one of the ECB's most senior officials, has warned the outlook for the eurozone's financial stability is "shaking up" as Britain gets ready to leave the EU's single market. COEURE said it is still "too early to tell" what effects Brexit would have on financial risk in the single currency area but it was "time to start thinking about" how regulators would deal with the City of London's access to EU markets. With PM THERESA MAY confirming Britain will leave the single market, COEURE warned it would be "challenging" to reach an agreement that would maintain the City's ability to sell its services to the EU. He said an arrangement to maintain euro clearing in the UK could be agreed "if a new framework is strong enough... but it sounds challenging". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 23/01/2017

At 11h02 on 23 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.53 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 16.83 Gold 1213.44 Platinum 978.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.24 All Share 52656.67

Bharti Airtel forced to cut back on debt - Bloomberg

BHARTI AIRTEL is considering mergers or stake sales at some of its Africa operations as it looks to cut debt and make its biggest overseas acquisitions profitable. The moves would pare the size of operations on the continent and could be completed within a year, chair SUNIL BHARTI MITTAL said last week. Some of the company's businesses in 15 African countries would be affected, he said. Faced with a price war in India, BHARTI is looking for ways to pare its net-debt equivalent to about $12bn as of Sep. The company has sold its Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso operations, as well as some of its tower businesses, as it reorganises assets it bought in 2010 in a $9bn deal with Kuwait's largest cellphone operator. BHARTI's African unit lost $91m in the quarter to end-Sep., compared with a $170m loss y/y. As part of the debt reduction, BHARTI is also considering selling a stake in BHARTI INFRATEL, its tower unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angolan banks appeal for bailout - Candido Mendes

Angolan banks are appealing to the government to help put together a bailout package to protect account holders as lenders reel from low oil prices. Financial assistance could come from the administration of President JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS or be shared by all of the country's 28 operational lenders, AMILCAR SILVA, chair of the Association of Angolan Banks, said last week. He didn't specify whether lenders were calling for a liquidity boost for the industry or cash injections aimed at struggling companies. "Banks must be helped because they have liquidity problems that can cause negative situations in the whole system, putting its credibility at stake", SILVA said. Troubled loans more than tripled to 15% of total credit in Sep. when compared with levels in 2010, and were at their highest as a proportion of regulatory capital requirements since 2014, according to data compiled by the country's central bank and consultancy EAGLESTONE ADVISORY SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original artic

Late rain to help Tongaat Hulett - Tawanda Karombo

Current heavy rains that are pounding Zimbabwe have breathed fresh impetus into TONGAAT HULETT's operations in that country, although the benefits will only likely accrue to start next year. TONGAAT controls ZSE-listed HIPPO VALLEY and has a significant stake in TRIANGLE SUGAR CORPORATION, also in Zimbabwe. In the HY to end-Sep., TONGAAT said operating profit form its Zimbabwe operations amounted to R251m, with production and sales volumes "relatively consistent with the prior year". Executives with the company are now expecting "a higher proportion of production" in H2 to end-Mar. 2017, adding that "the focus for 2017 is to recover from the recent drought." "Sugar cane requires at least 12 months to mature and as such the full benefits of the current rains will be realised in the 2018/19 harvest season", ADELAIDE CHIKUNGURU, corporate affairs head for TONGAAT's Zimbabwe operations, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Restructuring for Fly Blue Crane - Siseko Njobeni

Budget carrier FLY BLUE CRANE is evaluating its routes as part of a restructuring process following the company's application for business rescue in 2016, business rescue practitioner ETIENNE NAUDE said yesterday. The step to file for business rescue came shortly after FBC launched flights to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. NAUDE said as a result of the business rescue application the company would operate under the supervision of a BRP, as the restructuring of the company takes place. He said FBC was evaluating its routes as part of its re-engineering programme "including the fine-tuning of its schedules to some destinations during low seasons - such as the end-of-year break when business customers in some markets are away on holiday". NAUDE said he had met all of FBC's major business partners, and they had pledged their support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hulamin headline profit to triple - Business Report

HULAMIN expects a boost of more than 100% to its bottom line after an especially good H2. In the FY to end-Dec., the company expects EPS to gain at least 127% to 116cps, while HEPS are expected to more than triple, growing at least 208% to 114cps. Normalised EPS are expected to gain 107% to at least 114cps, the company said today. HULAMIN said it performed particularly well in H2 FY2016 despite the strengthening of the rand "to deliver a record operating profit for the full year". This was achieved in a relatively stable price environment. FY results will be published on Feb. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasfin FD retires - Business Report

SASFIN today announced that group FD TYRONE SOONDARJEE is retiring after a decade with the financial services provider. SOONDARJEE will retire from all boards and subsidiary boards from the end of June. SASFIN intends appointing a successor to SOONDARJEE and will advise shareholders of this appointment in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ARC gets stake in Alex Forbes - Fin24

AFRICAN RAINBOW CAPITAL will acquire a 10% stake in ALEXANDER FORBES in a strategic empowerment deal. PATRICE MOTSEPE started ARC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBUNTU-BOTHO INVESTMENTS, as part of a plan to build a financial-services company controlled by black people, through being SANLAM's empowerment partner. ALEX FORBES said shareholders approved ARC's acquisition in its African operations, with net proceeds of R678.1m to be settled in cash. ARC co-CEO JOHAN VAN ZYL welcomed the approval of the deal, describing it as a landmark investment by ARC which has a 10- to 20-year vision to build a South African base and expand into the rest of Africa. "For us, investing in ALEXANDER FORBES is key to executing on that vision since the group is a recognised market leader in South Africa and selected markets in Africa", VAN ZYL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.