Market News

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Woolworths Australia boss shown the door - Jan Cronje

WOOLWORTHS regional Australian CEO JOHN DIXON has left the company as the retail moves to simplify its leadership structure there. In a shareholder announcement yesterday morning, WOOLWORTHS said DIXON's position was being axed in the wake of a strategic cost review. DIXON resigned as an executive director on Monday. As part of the leadership restructuring, the CEOs of the group's two Australian operating divisions - DAVID THOMAS of DAVID JONES and SCOTT FYFE of the COUNTRY ROAD GROUP - will report directly to WOOLWORTHS GROUP CEO IAN MOIR. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa recovers another significant stone - Esmarie Swanepoel

LUCAPA has recovered a 25ct yellow gem diamond from its Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho. The company said the stone was recovered from the Neck zone of the kimberlite, which was not part of the current 1m cart JORC-compliant resource. The 25ct stone was recovered within the first two days of trial processing through the bulk sampling plant, after recent efficiency and security modifications, with a number of other five-plus carat stones also being recovered. The Mothae project is expected to start processing three 50 000t bulk samples of kimberlite material from the Neck, North and South Eat zones, with the aim of adding to the resource and the mine life. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrum Crescent completes fundraising to advance Spain project - Creamer Media Reporter

FERRUM CRESCENT has completed a fundraising to progress resource delineation and to commission an initial scoping study at its lead/zinc project, in Spain. The company yesterday issued new shares and options to raise some £1bn, before expenses, following the previous day's shareholder meeting where the issue of equity was approved. The fundraising comprised 1 739 139 435 new shares at a subscription price of 0.0575pps. The net proceeds will enable FERRUM to build upon the Toral project's maiden resource estimate of 16mt at 6.9% zinc-equivalent and 25g/t silver through the completion of all key Stage 1 work for 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Water dept commits to doing more with less - Natasha Odendaal

The Department of Water and Sanitation is working to achieve more with less, Water and Sanitation Minister GUGILE NKWINTI said as he presented a R15.57bn budget for 2018/19 yesterday. Historical commitments not adequately budgeted for, budgetary constraints influenced by challenging emanating from previous financial years and preliminary contract commitments are expected to cut into the budget for the year. NKWINTI cited the bucket eradication programme that experienced unauthorised expenditure via overspending, which will still reflect in the finalised DWS financials for 2017/18. About 292m in overspending was reported in the sanitation programme in 2016/17, and additional overspending will be reported for the 2017/18 FY. Further issues can be overcome through proper project management, NKWINTI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan, Russia, Turkey bring potential US tariff retaliation to $3.5bn - Reuters

Japan, Russia and Turkey have warned the US about potential retaliation for its tariffs on steel and aluminium, the WTO said yesterday, bringing the total US tariff bill to around $3.5bn annually. The three countries outlined their compensation claims in notifications to the WTO, following similar moves by the EU, India and China. Each showed how much the disputed US tariffs would add to the cost of steel and aluminium exports to the US, based on 2017 trade. Russia said the US tariffs would add duties of $538m to its annual steel and aluminium exports. Japan put the sum at $440m. Turkey added a further $267m. China, the EU and India have put their claims at $612m, $1.6bn and $165m, respectively. Japan said it was free to impose at least $264m of its retaliation after 30 days, suggesting that the rest might be delayed, since some of the US products covered by the tariffs were subject to an absolute increase in imports from Japan. Neither Russia nor Japan specified how they might retaliate against US exports, but Turkey listed 22 US goods that it was planning to target, ranging from nuts, rice and tobacco to cars and steel products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ascendis to get secondary listing on A2X - Simone Liedtke

ASCENDIS HEALTH will from May 29 also start trading on new exchange A2X. This follows the approval yesterday in which the company was included in the list of qualifying equity securities. ASCENDIS has a primary listing on the JSE, and will now have a secondary listing on A2X. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto confirms talks of $3.5.bn Grasberg stake sale - Henry Lazenby

RIO TINTO yesterday confirmed that it is in talks with PT INDONESIA ASAHAN ALUMINIUM to sell its stake in the Grasberg copper/gold mine, in Indonesia, for $3.5bn. Rumours swirled on Tuesday about the deal, prompting the company to make a public statement that "discussions between RIO TINTO, INALUM and joint-venture FREEPORT are ongoing, including as to price. No agreement has been reached, and there is no certainty that binding agreements will be signed". RIO has a JV with FREEPORT-MCMORAN for a 40% share of production above specific levels until 2021, and 40% of all production after 2021. INALUM plans to acquire RIO's JV interest in the operation under a wider arrangement aimed at taking control of FREEPORT's local unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wescoal expects 303% increase in FY HEPS - Marleny Arnoldi

WESCOAL expects its HEPS for the FY to end-Mar. to be in excess of 45.5cps, which is a 303% rise on the 11.3cps reported y/y. EPS will be in excess of 46.5cps, which is a 301% rise compared with EPS of 11.6cps reported y/y. The 2017 acquisition of KEATON ENERGY strengthened WESCOAL's balance sheet and free cash generation and further diversified the asset base, realised economies of scale and synergies, as well as enhanced optionality in contracts and offtake negotiations. The enlarged business now has coal resources will in excess of 300mt, four operating mines, three processing plants and significant interests in coal supply chain infrastructure. WESCOAL is now better positioned to meet increased demand, both from ESKOM and other domestic and export customers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lemur concludes concession agreement for Imaloto project - Simone Liedtke

BUSHVELD MINERALS' coal and energy subsidiary LEMUR HOLDINGS has executed a 30-year concession agreement with the Madagascar government for the development, construction, operation and maintenance of the Imaloto integrated thermal and coal and power project. The concession comes on the back of a full coal mine exploitation licence, and follows the signing of a 30year binding power offtake agreement with the Madagascar state-owned utility JIRAMA. The project, which has an initial capacity of 60MW and over 250km of expandable transmission, will be located at the mine mouth of LEMUR RESOURCES' coal deposit. BUSHVELD said the addition of a power component unlocks the value of the coal asset, while at the same time securing reliable electricity supply for the country. Imaloto remains on track to deliver electricity to Madagascar by 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers' rough diamond sales increase in 4th sales cycle - Anine Kilian

DE BEERS reported an increase in rough diamond sales to $550m for the fourth sales cycle of 2018. This is compared with rough diamond sales of $522m in the same cycle y/y, and sales of $524m in the third cycle of 2018. CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said the company saw "robust demand for rough diamonds, reflecting continued strong demand for diamond jewellery, especially from American consumers, as we head towards the important JCK Las Vegas trade show at the start of June." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GEM recovers 115ct diamond from Letseng - Anine Kilian

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered a 115ct top white colour Type IIa diamond from the Letseng mine in Lesotho, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. This is the ninth diamond of over 100ct recovered at the mine this year, already exceeding the total number of diamonds of over 100ct recovered in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

With Nigeria c.bank holding rates, doubts arise over cuts - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's central bank kept its main interest rate at 14% yesterday, prompting some economists to question whether rate cuts will ever materialise in the wake of slowing inflation rates. "The objective of the policy stance will be to accelerate the reduction in the rate of inflation to single digits, promote economic stability, boost investor confidence and promote foreign capital flows", Central Bank governor GODWIN EMEFIELE said. Nigerian's benchmark rate has been held at 14% for almost two years, since inflation rates spiked and the naira devalued sharply with the country mired in recession. EMEFIELE said one reason rates were held was that inflation, still above the central bank's single-digit target, could worsen again after an influx of cash from the implementation of Nigeria's much-delayed 2018 budget. Similarly, heavy spending during election season could also spark a jump in inflation, at 12.48% in April, EMEFIELE added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nene says outlook for tax revenues unchanged - Wendell Roelf

Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE yesterday said the outlook for tax revenues remain unchanged, in a blow to the chances of reducing the budget deficit. He made the comments in Parliament. Earlier this month, Treasury DG DONDO MOGAJANE said SA will struggle to raise the tax revenues needed to reduce a budget deficit and support fragile economic growth due to ongoing problems in tax administration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ATON raises stake in M&R to 40% - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Germany's ATON has raised its stake in MURRAY & ROBERTS to nearly 40%, it announced yesterday. ATON is in the middle of a $400m takeover bid for the rest of M&R. The bid has been rejected by the local group, which itself has started all-share merger talks with embattled rival AVENG. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

H&M scouts out potential suppliers in SA - Wendell Roelf

H&M is looking at SA as a potential supplier, with executives from the clothing retailer vising some of the country's main cities this week. The government helped to broker the H&M visit as part of efforts to boost the textile sector which has been hit hard by Chinese clothing imports that led to factory closures and thousands of job losses. AMELIA-MAY WOUDSTRA, H&M spokesperson for SA, said company executives would visit Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, but that the assessment, which would consider partnerships with local suppliers, was still in its early stages. H&M currently imports all its clothing into SA, so a decision to produce clothes locally would be a big boost for the local textile industry, which competes with rivals such as Ethiopia and Swaziland. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola cuts tax rates for development of marginal oil fields - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola has halved headline tax rates for marginal oil fields as part of a series of laws to drive investment and reverse declining production in the country. The series of presidential decrees, published in the Official Gazette last week, outlines new legislation for the development of marginal fields, the creation of a regulator for fuel products and natural gas rights. Angolan oil production is set to decline 36% to 2023, according to government data. President JOAO LOURENCO is scrambling to rekindle investment in a sector that accounts for 95% of the country's exports. For marginal fields, petroleum production tax was cut to 10% from the usual 20%, while petroleum income tax was cut to 25% from 50%. A separate decree called for a flexible approach to concession boundaries, with reserves that spread beyond the original limits being rolled into current blocks as long as they did not cross into an area already under contract. New gas legislation gives oil companies a specific legislative framework to work, develop and sell natural gas for the first time in Angola. It outlined a tax regime on predominantly gas fields of 5% on production and 25% on income. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Production vessel at Ghana's Jubilee oilfield to shut temporarily - Kwasi Kpodo

The production vessel at TULLOW OIL's Jubilee oilfield off Ghana's west coast will shut down next week for 21 days while it undergoes repairs. The planned shutdown next Monday of the Kwame Nkrumah production vessel will result in a cut to offshore gas supply, Ghana's power utilities said. They said any loss of power generation would be offset by generating additional power from the eastern port of Tema area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 23/05/2018

At 07:11 on 23 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.56 Rand/Sterling 16.87 Rand/Euro 14.80 Gold 1291.19 Platinum 904.00 Oil 79.39 All-Share Index 58121.84

Favourable trading a boon to Finbond - Sandile Mchunu

FINBOND GROUP surged more than 9% in early trade on the JSE yesterday after it reported a favourable trading update for the FY to end-Feb. The share price rose to R3.88, up from Friday's closing price of R3.54 after FINBOND said it expected its HEPS to rise by 68.8%-88.7% during the period. FINBOND said it expected HEPS would rise between 31.4cps and 35.1cps, representing an improvement of 68.8%-88.7% from the 18.6cps reported y/y. EPS will rise to between 29cps and 32.7cps, representing a percentage improvement of between 55.9% and 75.8%, compared to the 18.6cps reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AEEI posts strong results - Business Report

AFRICAN EQUITY EMPOWERMENT INVESTMENTS yesterday announced interim results for the HY to end-Feb. Group revenue rose by 33% to R604m, mainly due to significant revenue growth achieved from the company's holding in the Technology division. Operating profit rose by 1 326% from R587m to R8 371m on consistent organic and acquisitive growth. Profit before tax rose by 455% to R188m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rhodes Foods says interim turnover up, diluted HEPS down - ANA

RHODES FOOD GROUP yesterday said its turnover for the HY ended Apr. 1 rose by 16.6% to R2.5bn, with organic growth of 6.9%. RHODES said its diluted HEPS fell 38.9% to 31.4cps. The group's gross profit margin was lower at 25.3% owing mainly to increased costs and the adverse currency impact in its international business. It said the acquisitions of PAKCO and MA BAKER, which were not included in the y/y period, contributed combined turnover of R209m. RHODES planned a further R115m capital investment in H2 2018. It said the international business should benefit in H2 from the sale of lower cost-based industrial products from the 2018 season coming onto the market as well as a small uplift in foreign selling prices of canned fruit and continued improvement in volumes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff kept mum about Tekkie Town claims - Business Report

STEINHOFF reportedly failed to inform investors of the discord and claims from TEKKIE TOWN vendors drawing up to the private placement of STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL shares that took place last month. This comes after STEINHOFF announced in Apr. 11 that it was aiming to place 200m shares in STAR in order to mitigate the liquidity scandal it was facing. According to reports, the STEINHOFF board was aware of the claims surrounding TEKKIE TOWN's acquisition and bonus scheme in March. Moneyweb reported that this was a week before the STAR bookbuild was conducted. A letter reportedly written on Mar. 28 was directed to STAR management, JAYENDRA NAIDOO and LEON LOURENS. The letter noted a bonus scheme which was based on the performance of TEKKIE TOWN under STEINHOFF's ownership. This scheme was reportedly agreed to by former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE. It was then reportedly revised by former STAR CEO BEN LA GRANGE. Another letter dated Mar. 28 was reportedly aimed at STEINHOFF chair HEATHER SONN and the acting CEO. This letter summarises the transaction where STEINHOFF acquired TEKKIE TOWN. The letter ends off with a sort of warning and says that STEINHOFF should practice caution in dealing with TEKKIE TOWN assets or shares and should only engage in dealings with TEKKIE TOWN when the matter has been settled. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Baby-related shares jump on report China could end birth limits - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese companies that make baby-related products jumped this morning after Bloomberg reported the country was considering removing all limits on the number of children a family can have by the end of this year. Bloomberg yesterday reported that Beijing had commissioned research on the possible outcome of scrapping nearly four-decade-old controls on reproduction, with a decision expected as soon as Q4. The ruling Communist party allowed all couples to have two children from 2016, abandoning the one-child policy which had been in place since 1979. However, the change in policy appears to not have had the desired effect, as the number of births fell in 2017 y/y. SHANGHAI AIYINGSHI, a retailer of maternal and baby supplies jumped 10% this morning, while XIAMEN YANJAN NEW MATERIAL also surged by 10%. Crafting products maker CRE8 DIRECTY rose 6.6% and toy makers GOLDLOK TOYS and RASTAR GROUP rose 3.7% and 2.6%, respectively. BEINGMATE BABY & CHILD and SANYUAN FOODS, makers of infant formula and food, both gained 2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto warns Mongolia on tampering with rights to copper mine - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO has warned Mongolia not to tamper with the contracts that underpin its investment in Oyu Tolgoi if it wants to attract more foreign capital to the country. Speaking at the Mongolia Economic Forum earlier today, RIO copper head ARNAUD SOIRAT said Mongolia had all the ingredients to become a "successful resource nation" but only if it honoured agreements around issues such as tax and royalty payments. "The world is watching how Oyu Tolgoi develops. It is a test case for future investment in Mongolia which brings with it jobs, new business opportunities and community development", SOIRAT said. RIO is currently the largest foreign investor in Mongolia. It has ploughed more than $7bn into the first phase of Oyu Tolgoi and is planning to spend a further $5.5bn on developing an underground mine that will unlock the project's full potential. But these plans are under threat. Earlier this year, the Mongolian government hit Rio with a $155m tax bill, while MPs have set up a working group to review the agreements that underpin the development of Oyu Tolgoi. Analysts say much of the frustration with the contracts can be traced to the government's decision to take a 34% equity stake in Oyu Tolgoi. To finance its share of the mine's development costs, Ulan Bator has had to borrow money from a RIO subsidiary. Until that debt is repaid, it cannot receive dividends. RIO has warned it will take the tax dispute to international arbitration if it cannot reach agreement with the government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil rises as US unveils fresh sanctions on Venezuela - Cliff Venzon

Oil prices rose yesterday as the US unveiled fresh sanctions on Venezuela following the re-election of President NICOLAS MADURO. Brent crude rose 1.2% to $79.43/barrel, near the recent high of $80.50 set last week. US benchmark WTI rose 1.5% to hit a fresh three-and-a-half year intraday high of $72.34/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US demands exacting terms for new Iran nuclear treaty - Katrina Manson

The US has laid out a set of exacting demands for a new nuclear treaty with Iran, insisting that Tehran ends its "malign behaviours" in the Middle East in return for waiving all economic sanctions and re-establishing full diplomatic ties. Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO listed a dozen concessions the TRUMP administration was seeking in return for a new pact, including Iran's withdrawal from Syria and Yemen, halting uranium enrichment, admitting the true scope of its former nuclear programme, releasing US and allied hostages and halting development of nuclear-capable missiles. The requests were immediately rejected by Tehran, who said it would not be dictated to by the TRUMP administration. Many analysts described the demands as unachievable. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blackstone, Goldman sell data provider for $1.9bn - Philip Stafford

IHS MARKIT is to buy data provider IPREO for $1.86bn from BLACKSTONE and GOLDMAN SACHS as part of a broad reboot for its financial services unit. The UK-based data provider wants to lift organic growth targets at the subsidiary, which provides indices and data for hard-to-value assets and accounts for a third of group turnover. IHS yesterday said it would also sell its struggling MARKITSERV business, which processes derivatives trades. IPREO, whose customers include many of the world's biggest private equity and venture capital companies, is "a perfect strategic fit for us", said LANCE UGGLA, CEO of IHS. "It repositions our financial services segment in a faster growing market". IPREO has had a compound annual growth rate of 11% over the past five years. The IPREO deal would be funded by debt, IHS said, pushing up its leverage ratio to around 3.6 times earnings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook CEO agrees to have EU hearings live-streamed - Aliya Ram

MARK ZUCKERBERG will face his second public grilling over FACEBOOK's use of personal data this week, after bowing to pressure from European MPs to live-stream a hearing later today. European Parliament president ANTONIO TAJANI last night said a meeting with ZUCKERBERG would be publicised after MEPs revolted against plans to keep it private. European officials are expected to revisit questions about FACEBOOK's data protection arrangements and ask how the company tackles hate speech and disinformation. Up to 2.7m EU citizens may have had their FACEBOOK profile data shared with CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's CEFC misses bond payment - David Sheppard

A subsidiary of China's embattled CEFC ENERGY GROUP yesterday defaulted on a maturing bond, casting further doubt on the future of an entity that just months ago cut a deal to buy a large stake in ROSNEFT of Russia. CEFC SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL GROUP said the $327m in interest and principle payments due on a renminbi-denominated bond would not be made for six months, despite it maturing yesterday. The default comes after CEFC ENERGY GROUP's founder and chair YE JIANMING was detained in Feb. following a crackdown by Beijing on excessive risk-taking. His detention ultimately spelled the end for an audacious $9bn bid by the company to take a 14% stake in ROSNEFT. The FT in Mar. reported that CITIC, China's state-owned finance-to-infrastructure conglomerate, was in talks to take a stake in CEFC following YE's detention. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GE to combine transport unit with Wabtec in $11.1bn deal - Ed Crooks

GENERAL ELECTRIC has agreed to combine its transport unit with WABTEC, the maker of passenger and freight locomotives, in a $11.1bn deal that provides the US blue-chip with a $2.9bn cash infusion. The deal is part of planned asset disposals worth around $20bn by the industrials group as it seeks to shore up its balance sheet and simplify its business structure. The asset sales are expected to bring in between $5bn and $10bn this year. GE will take a 50.1% stake in the combined entity as part of its deal with WABTEC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK court dismisses charged against Barclays over Qatar deal - Martin Arnold

BARCLAYS has scored a major victory over the Serious Fraud Office after a British criminal court dismissed fraud charges brought against the lender over its emergency fundraising from Qatar during the financial crisis. The decision is a setback for the SFO, which has investigated the case for five years and is now without a permanent director following the departure of DAVID GREEN last montH. The BARCLAYS prosecution centred around the alleged financial assistance that the bank gave to Qatar through a $3bn loan to directly or indirectly acquire shares in a fundraising. This helped the bank avoid a state bailout during the financial crisis. BARCLAYS noted that the SFO was "likely to seek to reinstate these charges by applying to a High Court judge to re-commence proceedings via a new indictment of the same charges". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors turn net sellers of S African debt - Joseph Cotterill

Foreign investors have turned net sellers of South African bonds for the year despite the ascendancy of CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as president. As of Friday May 18, investors have sold R493bn of debt issued in SA compared to R485bn of purchases since the start of 2018, according to JSE data. The reversal, which included a sell-off of over $400m last week alone, comes just before RAMAPHOSA is set to mark his first 100 days in office since replacing JACOB ZUMA. Yesterday the rand also hit its lowest level against the US dollar since RAMAPHOSA became ANC leader in Dec. Investors remain net buyers of South African stocks, with about $1.6bn more purchases than sales of equities on the JSE so far in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adobe to buy Magento Commerce for $1.7bn - Eric Platt

ADOBE yesterday agreed to purchase MAGENTO COMMERCE for $1.7bn. The purchase of MAGENTO, which provides ecommerce services for companies, adds to ADOBE's suite of offerings for the web. "Embedding commerce into the ADOBE Experience Cloud with MAGENTO enables ADOBE to make every moment personal and every experience shoppable", ADOBE executive VP BRAD RENCHER said. The deal is expected to close in Q3. ADOBE also yesterday said it had authorised a new $8bn share buyback programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump bans purchase of Venezuelan debt in new sanctions - John Paul Rathbone

US President DONALD TRUMP stepped up the financial pressure on Venezuela by banning the US purchase of any debts or accounts receivable issued by the government and state-run oil company PDVSA. The executive order followed the re-election of NICOLAS MADURO to a second six-year term in Sunday's presidential election, which the White House labelled a sham. "This measure is designed to stop the government of Venezuela from mortgaging the country's future, and [to stop officials] lining their own pockets", a senior administration official said. "It covers all debt and accounts receivables, debt pledges as collateral, and [trading or purchase] of any equity interest in which the Venezuelan state owns more than 50%". In an unprecedented move, 14 Latin American nations agreed to step up financial scrutiny of sanctioned members of the Venezuelan government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec broadens horizons with funeral plan offering - Lameez Omarjee

CAPITEC BANK is broadening its offering with a new funeral product. The bank yesterday said it is launching the CAPITEC Funeral Plan, underwritten by CENTRIQ LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY LTD. The product is positioned to be an affordable and flexible insurance product for the domestic market. CAPITEC INSURE will allow for "paperless" applications and says claims could be paid out within four hours, while up to 22 lives can be covered on one policy. Funeral cover ranges from R10 000 to R100 000. "Existing CAPITEC clients can activate the funeral plan in a branch or on their banking app with no paperwork required", CAPITEC said. Policies start from R25/month through the app, and R40/month when applying in a branch. "All policies feature no automatic annual premium increases provided the cover stays the same". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore said to be near R12.78bn deal for Chevron's CT refinery, other assets - Loni Prinsloo

GLENCORE is close to a $1bn deal to buy CHEVRON's southern African assets, potentially scuppering an earlier agreement with CHINA PETROLEUM & CHEMICAL CORPORATION, according to sources. GLENCORE will complete the deal within the next six weeks, said one of the sources. The assets include a 100 000 bpd refinery in Cape Town and more than 800 gas stations in SA and Botswana. While SINOPEC's deal had political backing in SA when it was announced, the change in leadership of the ANC and the appointment of CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as president means GLENCORE is now favoured as a buyer. GLENCORE is supporting black-investor group OFF THE SHELF INVESTMENTS FIFTY SIX PTY LTD as a technical and financial partner, it said previously. OFF THE SHELF's investors own the other 25% of the CHEVRON business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcorp banks on tough decisions to bring turnaround - Fin24

FY2018 has been a time of "intensive transformation", ADCORP HOLDINGS said yesterday. The company had a change in leadership at both board and management level. Group revenues for the FY to end-Feb. were R15.3bn - a 3% decline y/y. Gross margins remained stable at 14.5% when compared to 14.8% y/y, while EBITDA for the period was R137m, 60% down from FY2017. ADCORP said the drop in earnings was driven by the group "clean-up exercise" that resulted in a number of once-off costs. Excluding the impact of the once-off costs, the underlying EBITDA for FY2018 is R387m, a 4% improvement from the y/y period. Revenue in ADCORP Industrial Services remained flat, while revenues fell in both the Support Services and Training Services businesses. This was somewhat mitigated by a 17% rise in revenue in the Financial Services business and an 11% increase in the Professional Services SA business. Revenue in Australia fell by 8%, largely due to shifting the business focus away from low margin clients, which resulted in an EBITDA increase of 6% in that region. ADCORP has set itself "an ambitious but attainable target of R1bn EBITDA by 2022, which we believe we can reach through further adoption of lean processes to reduce our cost-to-serve as well as exploring the various growth options available to our business". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Renergen, SAB tap into gas to reduce carbon emissions - Simone Liedtke

RENERGEN has signed an offtake agreement with AB INBEV subsidiary SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES for the supply of LNG to power its delivery trucks. The agreement sees the initial roll-out of compressed natural gas to a small fleet of SAB trucks in the Gauteng area, using gas from RENERGEN's Tetra4 operations in the Free State. This will be expanded to a much larger fleet to run on LNG once Tetra4's plant reaches operational status in 2019. "The use of LNG not only drastically reduces carbon emissions, but has the added advantage of improving the vehicle's lifecycle maintenance and reduces the operator's cost significantly. RENERGEN wants to remain a pioneer in alternative energy sources and is proud to be associated with SAB in such a landmark agreement", RENERGEN CEO STEFANO MARANI said. He said there is a global move away from diesel-powered trucks to LNG- powered trucks and that the company continues to discuss the benefits of LNG with some of the bigger fleet owners in SA. MARANI highlighted that AB INBEV has announced aspirations to reduce its CO2 footprint substantially, eradicating it almost entirely by 2025. "It's a landmark transaction in South Africa in the sense that this paves the way for other corporates to see that it's time to look into the environmental and financial benefits of this move from diesel to LNG", MARANI added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alaris to acquire US radio frequency manufacturer - Marleny Arnoldi

ALARIS HOLDINGS' UK subsidiary, ALARIS INVESTMENT HOLDINGS has signed a membership interest purchase agreement for the acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding membership interests of an undisclosed limited liability company based in the US from a consortium of sellers. The target company is engaged in the business of designing, developing, manufacturing and distributing various passive radio frequency and microwave antenna solutions and related products around the world. The target company will provide increased market access for the sales of ALARIS and antenna manufactureR COJOT's products. ALARIS said the target company's business model and product range are complementary to the two existing operating entities in the ALARIS group. The combined operations and intellectual property will provide a strategic advance to the company to capitalise on new opportunities. The purchase consideration for the acquisition will be $2.7m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dipula reports solid H1 financial results - Marleny Arnoldi

DIPULA INCOME FUND achieved an 11.5% y/y rise in distributable earnings to R216.4m for the HY to end-Feb. The company said its A-share dividend rose by 4% y/y to 52.6cps, and its B-share dividend by 5.3% y/y to 44cps. At end-Feb., DIPULA's property portfolio of 174 properties was valued at R7.1bn, with a gross leasable area of 748 978m2. The company said the conversions of vacant office buildings in Midrand and Bruma to residential units are progressing well and are expected to be completed in H2 2018 and early 2019, respectively. The board said its focus in H2 will be on integrating the new acquisition into the group and extracting maximum value from the existing portfolio. The board expects growth in dividends of 4%-5% for the FY to end-Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kropz clinches offtake from phosphates project - Martin Creamer

Plant nutrient minerals development company KROPZ has secured several offtake agreements ahead of production at its Elandsfontein project in the Western Cape. The cornerstone offtake agreement for around a third of KROPZ's production at market prices that will be negotiated annually is with FOSKOR, in which the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION is the controlling shareholder. Once production ramps up, KROPZ will ship phosphates from the Port of Saldanha to FOSKOR's plant in Richards Bay. KROPZ's other offtake agreements already concluded involve marketing into the Americas and India via major trading companies. The company is targeting lower initial output numbers, at which it will still be profitable, ahead of ramping up towards its capacity of 1.2mt-1.5mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nissan signs memorandum with Ghana to introduce auto programme - Irma Venter

The NISSAN GROUP OF AFRICA has signed an MoU with the government of Ghana to pave the way for the introduction of an automotive programme in the country. "The MoU seeks to unlock economic potential, promote development of the automotive sector and promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks that encourage sustainable automotive manufacturing", NISSAN AFRICA MD MIKE WHITFIELD said. NISSAN opened a semi-knockdown assembly plant in Nigeria in 2014. The plant assembles the Nissan Patrol, Almera, NP300 and Urvan models. It will work in Ghana, as in Nigeria, in partnership with the STALLION GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OUTA welcomes NERSA's withdrawal of SSEG registration rules - Marleny Arnoldi

OUTA has welcomed NERSA's decision to withdraw the proposed rules to govern the registration of small-scale embedded generation below 1MW. The proposed SSEG rules were published for public comment by NERSA on its website last month. Yesterday, NERSA executive manager for electricity regulatioN MBULELO NCETEZO said the draft rules had been withdrawn until the Department of Energy gazettes a revised notice. OUTA believes there is a lack of clarity by those in authority as to the need and purpose for the registration of SSEG. "Tapping into free natural resources, such as solar and wind power, should not be controlled or subjected to an onerous registration process, especially if these systems are ringfenced and not linked to the grid", OUTA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer Foods achieves credible interim performance - Simone Liedtke

PIONEER FOODS achieved a credible performance for the HY to end-Mar. with total sales volumes up 4% y/y and revenue up 3% y/y to R9.9bn. Gross profit rose by 12% to R2.9bn, while the gross profit margin improved to 29.6% from 25.7%. Operating profit before capital items, adjusted for the company's Phase I BBBEE transaction share-based payment income/charge and related hedge and for one-off M&A costs in 2017, increased by 36% to R949m. In turn, the adjusted operating profit margin rose from 6.9% to 9.6%. Profit before tax, after finance costs of R88.9m, rose by 38% to R896.5m. The share of profit of JVs and associated amounted to a loss of R21.6m, while EPS rose by 34% to 332.5cps and HEPS increased by 30% to 317.1cps. HEPS, adjusted for the BBBEE SBP net charge/gain and for one-off M&A costs in 2017 rose by 26% to 319.9cps. A gross interim dividend of 105cps remains unchanged for the HY to end-Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Texton concludes acquisition of logistics properties - ANA

TEXTON yesterday said it had concluded agreements with EQUITES PROPERTY FUND and various wholly-owned subsidiaries for the acquisition of a portfolio of logistics properties for an aggregate purchase consideration of R205.3m. It said the acquisition was consistent with its investment strategy of acquiring portfolio enhancing industrial properties which offer long-term, sustainable income streams and provide an attractive, risk-adjusted return profile. "This investment also improves TEXTON's tenant and sectoral profiles by reducing its exposure to office properties whilst improving the percentage of large national tenancies underpinned by strong tenant covenants", it added. TEXTON said the acquisition was subject to unconditional approval by competition authorities in terms of the Competition Act, or conditional approval on terms and conditions which the purchaser and seller confirmed in writing to the other to be acceptable. The deal will be funded via third party funding, TEXTON added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barloworld H1 profits, revenue rise on higher equipment sales - Marleny Arnoldi

Despite a weaker Q1, the gold economy remains on track to show solid growth for 2018 in both developed and emerging markets, while SA's economic outlook is also improving, benefiting BARLOWORLD. The company yesterday posted a 14.2% y/y rise in HEPS from continuing operations to 457cps for the HY to end-Mar. HEPS including discontinued operations improved by 32% y/y to 481cps. BARLOWORLD declared an interim dividend of 145cps. Operating profit from continuing operations rose 6.1% y/y to R1.95bn. Revenue for the period grew by 1% to R30.9bn, mainly on the back of improved performances in the Equipment Russia and Equipment Southern Africa divisions. The group's equipment division for Southern Africa delivered a good operating performance in H1. Revenue of R8.67bn was up by 5.6% y/y, driven by higher mining machine sales in SA, Mozambique and Zambia. BARLOWORLD reported an operating profit of R734m, up 2.9% y/y, while the operating margin fell to 8.5% as a result of the increase in mining machines in the sales mix and a stronger rand. Income from associates and JVs rose by R72m to R107m. The equipment division in Russia continued to benefit from new mining projects and a recovery in the commodity price. Revenue there rose 77% y/y to $296m, supported by strong growth in both prime product and aftermarket sales. The division's operating profit rose by 26% y/y to $25m, while the operating margin of 8.2% was below that of the y/y period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TNPA appoints new COO, GM of corporate affairs - Simone Liedtke

NOZIPHO MDAWE has been appointed COO of TRANSNET NATIONAL PORTS AUTHORITY with effect from May 21. MDAWE takes over the role recently vacated by PHYLLIS DIFETO and briefly held in an acting capacity by MOSHE MOTLOHI. The role of TNPA COO has been expanded and will include marine services, aviation services and pilotage, continuous improvement, port planning etc. In addition, MOTLOHI has been appointed permanently in the newly created role of GM of corporate affairs and external relations, based in the office of the CEO. The aim of the position is to manage, develop, facilitate and sustain effective stakeholder relations. TNPA CEO SHULAMI QALINGE said the appointments would aid TNPA in meeting the demands of customers in a dynamic global trading environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldplat to close Kenya mine plant - Anine Kilian

GOLDPLAT will close Plant 1 at its Kilimapesa gold mine, in Kenya, following the successful installation and subsequent second-stage expansion of a new processing plant. The new plant, which is processing at a rate of around 5 000t/m, is now established enough that GOLDPLAT can continue running the plant as its sole processing facility. The fine material currently being processed through Plant 1 will be sent to Plant 2, where it will be processed directly through the classifier and the cyclone, bypassing the milling process, and increasing throughput with an overall improvement in the margin per ounce recovered. Further cost savings will also be achieved through the restructuring of labour, although the closure of Plant 1 will not result in a significant reduction in labour numbers as employees will be re-assigned to other positions at Plant 2 and at the mine where possible. The previously reported planned Stage 3 expansion at Plant 2 will be undertaken on a modular basis, as and when finances allow. The closure of Plant 1 will initially result in a reduction in production during the last quarter, with gold output for the year expected to be slightly below 5 000oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Threat of cobalt supply shock top risk for EVs - Bloomberg

A burgeoning risk of a supply crunch in cobalt poses one of the biggest threats to forecasts for rising electric vehicle adoption. Major investment in mines is required to avoid price spikes that could see cost reductions for lithium-ion batteries stall, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts said yesterday. Cobalt shortages are likely earlier than previously forecast and the issue poses a potential challenge to EV sales over the coming five to seven years. "The long lead time to bring on new mines and the concentration of cobalt reserves in the Democratic Republic of Congo mean there is a real possibility of supply shocks in the early 2020s", the BNEF analysts said. EVs are forecast to achieve cost parity with gasoline engine models in the mid-2020s and by 2040 will account for a third of the global fleet, BNEF said. Sales in China are rising faster than previously forecast, potentially adding to a short-term squeeze on cobalt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Polyus says Natalka operating at 80% capacity - Creamer Media Reporter

The greenfields Natalka mill in Russia's Magadan region is operating at 80% of its design throughput capacity of 10mt/y, POLYUS reported yesterday. Natlka, which has produced more than 40 000oz of gold since the start of 2018, will be producing 450 000oz/y of gold following the ramp-up. "We are very content with the pace of the ramp-up and look forward to the achievement of the full capacity shortly", POLYUS CEO PAVEL GRACHEV said. Natalka is the largest processing plant in Russia and will contribute to POLYUS' targeted increase in overall gold production to 2.8moz in 2019. The miner's production guidance for 2018 is between 2.375m and 2.425m ounces. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst sells 56% of carats on offer at Zambia auction - Simone Liedtke

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES has sold 56% of the carts on offer at an auction of higher-quality rough emeralds held in Lusaka. The auction, which took place earlier this month, saw 31 companies placing bids and generated revenue of $10.3m, with a robust overall average price of $59.55/ct achieved. Of the 17 auction lots offered, 10 were sold. "Our Lusaka auction offered the smallest quantity of higher-quality emeralds of any of our auctions to date and saw only a little over half of the gems sold. The bulk of our emerald customers hail from India, where the gemstone and jewellery sector is suffering from the fallout of the Nirav Modi fraud", said PALLINGHURST and GEMFIELDS CEO SEAN GILBERTSON. He added that given the ensuing losses sustained by Indian banks, access to finance has become challenging for many companies in the Indian gem and jewellery industry. GILBERTSON noted that as the auction's average price per carat shows there is still a good underlying demand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo awards 2nd lot of Mbeya EPC contract - Simone Liedtke

KIBO MINING has awarded SEPCO III the second lot of the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania. Lot 2 of the EPC contract involves the construction of the power line that will evacuate power from the Mbeya power plant to TANZANIA ELECTRICITY SUPPLY COMPANY's Mbeya substation. Stemming from the past four weeks' intensive engagement with TANESCO on the development of the power purchase agreement for the MCPP, KIBO met with SEPCO III to discuss various matters. During the talks, SEPCO III was given an update on the progress with regard to the PPA talks. Further, the existing EPC contract price for MCPP was revalidated, while the parties also discussed the integration and alignment of PPA technical requirements with the EPC contract provisions. KIBO and SEPCO III also discussed expanding their existing cooperation agreement to also include KIBO's Mabesekwa project, in Botswana. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal says Deripaska has not formally resigned; reiterates sanctions may hurt business - Reuters

RUSAL yesterday said it has not received a formal resignation from director OLEG DERIPASKA, and reiterated that its business and prospects may be affected by US sanctions. The company noted that controlling shareholder EN+ last week said that DERIPASKA had resigned from its board of directors. EN+ also announced its directors had endorsed its chairman's plan to have US sanctions against the company lifted. "The company reiterates that its current assessment is that it is still highly likely that the impact may be materially adverse to the business and prospects of the group", RUSAL said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse. "As at the date of this announcement, the company has not received any formal resignation from Mr. DERIPASKA", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

City Lodge CEO to retire - Roy Cokayne

CITY LODGE HOTEL GROUP CEO CLIFFORD ROSS is to step down from his role at the end of June, due to ill health. ROSS will be replaced as CEO by ANDREW WIDEGGER, who has been the group's financial director since 1994. ROSS has been with CITY LODGE GROUP for more than 30 years, the last 15 as CEO. ALASTAIR DOOLEY, a chartered accountant and the group's divisional director of finance since 2009, will succeed WIDEGGER as CFO. A new position of chief operating officer has been created in the group, which will be filled by LINDIWE SANGWENI-SIDDO, who joined the company as a divisional director of operations in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA agrees modest wage deal with state workers - Wendell Roelf

SA's public sector workers will see their pay rise by slightly more than inflation after the government clinched a three-year wage deal with unions that had threatened to call a strike. "We are not happy. However, we have done our best in terms of pushing the employer from the 4.5% they were offering", COSATU chief negotiator MUGWENA MALULEKE said. Under the deal reached on Monday, the government will increase salaries of public sector workers by up to 7% in the first year. In the second and third years, the state will provide hikes of up to projected inflation plus 1%. The salary increases are well below the 12% initially demanded by unions and will be seen as a victory for President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, who is trying to restore confidence in SA's public finances. NEHAWU spokesperson KHAYA XABA said it would also sign the wage deal. The Public Servants Association said it had rejected the government's offer. The deal will still go through if larger unions accept it. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's economic growth slows for first time since end of recession - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's economic growth slowed in Q1 2018 for the first time since the country pulled out of recession last year as the non-oil sector struggled. The National Bureau of Statistics yesterday said GDP grew by 1.95% in Q1, lifted by the oil sector. That was a slight dip from 2.11% q/q. The economy shrank by 0.91% in Q1 2017. The oil sector grew by 14.77% in the period, higher than the non-oil sector which rose 0.76% in Q1. Oil production stood at 2m bpd in the quarter, up from 1.95m bpd q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana c.bank cuts policy rate - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 100 bps to 17% on Monday, saying it was on track to meet its medium-term inflation target as the economy stabilised. Central bank governor ERNEST ADDISON projected that inflation would drop to the bank's target of 8% by the end of this year or early 2019. Annual inflation fell to 9.6% in Apr. from 10.4% m/m. Ghana's public debt fell from 69.8% of GDP at end-2017 to 60% at the end of Feb., ADDISON added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 22/05/2018

At 05:37 on 22 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.67 Rand/Sterling 17.01 Rand/Euro 14.93 Gold 1292.30 Platinum 898.00 Oil 78.36 All-Share Index 57821.20

Aton says will not support M&R's proposed transaction with Aveng - Simone Liedtke

ATON believes MURRAY & ROBERTS is putting its interests ahead of that of shareholders and other stakeholders with its proposed combination with AVENG. It said the sole intent of M&R's announcement on Friday that it plans to merge with AVENG is to frustrate ATON's proposition to M&R shareholders, and reflects an "underdeveloped and rushed outline of a potential transaction with a speculative rationale". ATON remains of the view that the AVENG deal directly conflicts with M&R's stated strategy. It notes that M&R's strategy has been to exit the infrastructure and building sector and to exit manufacturing. The potential AVENG deal is in direct conflict with that strategy as it would see M&R acquire infrastructure and building businesses. The AVENG transaction would further impose significant and unpredictable risk to M&R, including a significantly heightened debt burden, assumption of businesses that incurred R6.7bn in losses in FY17, as well as the restructuring of significant parts of AVENG's activities, which the latter was unable to do. This, ATON says, would distract M&R from focusing on sound growth opportunities. The terms of the AVENG transaction are disadvantageous for M&R shareholders due to the high premium paid to AVENG shareholders, substantial dilution of M&R shareholders, the significantly heightened debt burden and integration and restructuring risks which are likely to hinder M&R's growth. ATON adds that M&R is unable or unwilling to disclose the possible impact of the AVENG transaction. "Therefore, there is no basis for the proposed general meeting in relation to the potential transaction at this stage, neither will the proposed transaction be supported by ATON". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrum Crescent name change approved - Creamer Media Reporter

FERRUM CRESCENT has received shareholder approval to change its name to EUROPA METALS, in a move designed to emphasise its involvement in a zinc, lead and silver project in Spain. The company last year sold its Moonlight iron ore asset in SA and is now focusing on the Toral project, which is established to contain 670 000t of zinc, 540 000t of lead and 13moz of silver. Shareholders yesterday approved the name change and a resolution to issue equity at a general meeting. More details about the timetable for effecting the change would be announced in due course. The group will use EUZ as its new ticker code on the ASX, Aim and JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US confirms list of 35 key minerals, targets domestic supply boost - Reuters

Uranium and key rechargeable battery metals lithium and cobalt are on a final list of 35 critical minerals that he US deems essential to its economic and national security and wants to produce more of domestically. The Department of Commerce will use the list for a report that responds to a Dec. presidential order to break US dependence on foreign minerals. The current administration wants to identify new domestic sources of critical minerals; increase domestic exploration; mining and recycling; give miners and producers electronic access to better mapping and geological data; and streamline leasing and permitting for new mines. The list, which also includes aluminium bauxite, PGMs, and potash, will periodically be updated for changes in policy, supply, demand and concentration of production, the Interior Department said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ant Financial $10bn fundraising over-subscribed - Henny Sender

ANT FINANCIAL's over-subscribed $10bn fundraising has attracted investors from leading US private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, venture capitalists and hedge funds. The fundraising values ANT at more than $150bn. ANT executives still need to apportion shares in the fundraising and have not yet determined the final allocations. Investors expected to take part include CARLYLE, GENERAL ATLANTIC, SILVER LAKE PARTNERS, SEQUOIA CAPITAL CHINA and WARBURG PINCUS, sovereign wealth fund TEMASEK, and institution funds including CANADIAN PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD and BLACKROCK. Investors in ANT's $10bn fundraising will receive convertible instruments rather than equity, an acknowledgment of the grey legal area of foreign ownership in Chinese financial services platforms. Investors say the success of ANT could mean a similar move by rival TENCENT's financial arm. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ryanair warns on hard Brexit as passenger growth boosts profits - Josh Spero

RYANAIR has predicted a tough 2019 even as it reported a robust rise in passengers and profits in its FY2018 results. It also warned that a hard Brexit might force it "to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders". Passenger numbers rose 9% to 130m and post-tax profits 10% to €1.45bn, in line with the company's earlier guidance. Revenue rose 8% to €7.15bn. For 2019, CEO MICHAEL O'LEARY predicted a rise of 9% in unit costs due to increased fuel costs and staff pay, as the airline's unions negotiate better deals. Fuel alone would add €400. O'LEARY said profits would fall to €1.25bn-€1.35bn. Unit costs for FY18 fell 1% due to fuel hedging, compared to the 2% RYANAIR had predicted in Q3, and rose 3% exfuel "mainly due to one-off €261m costs arising from our September 2017 cancellations, and higher H2 staff costs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Xi's green comments park environmental stock rally - Edward White

Stocks linked to environmental protection in China rose on Monday after President XI JINPING reaffirmed the government's battle against pollution. Xinhua quoted XI as saying China would push ecological advancement to a "new level", limit waste and unnecessary consumption during a meeting on environmental protection on Sunday. "We must bite the bullet and overcome them", XI said of the country's challenges. Although his comments did not appear to include specific new measures, several environment-related stocks soared today. New road materials producer JIANGSU BAOLI INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT, water treatment firm SHANGHAI EMPEROR OF CLEANING HI-TECH and water management company POTEN ENVIRONMENT all hit their maximum daily gain of 10%. Meanwhile, the CSI Environmental Protection Industry Index was up 1.4% and on track for its highest close in a month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan exports improve in Apr. but miss expectations - Hudson Lockett

The value of Japan's exports rose at the quickest pace in three months in April thanks to a boost in shipments to the US, but still missed analysts' estimates. Exports in April grew 7.8% y/y, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance, quickening from a rise of 2.1% in Mar. but below a median estimate of 8.1% from economists polled by Reuters. The value of outbound shipments to Asia accelerated to a y/y rise of 6% as exports to Hong Kong exited contraction with growth of 1.3%, and growth in direct shipments to China edged up 0.1 percentage points to 10.9%. Exports to the US picked up from March's rise of just 0.2% to register growth of 4.3% in April. Imports grew 5.9% y/y, bouncing back from a 0.6% contraction m/m. Those trade flows shook out to a Y626bn trade surplus that easily exceeded a forecast of Y405.6bn and marked only a moderate fall from March's surplus of Y797bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maduro wins farcical presidential election - Gideo Long

Venezuela President NICOLAS MADURO won another six years in office yesterday in a presidential election which has been condemned around the world as a farce and which is likely to prompt further sanctions from the US. MADURO garnered 68% of the votes cast, according to the electoral commission, the CNE, which is loaded with government loyalists. This despite presiding over one of the biggest economic meltdowns in the region's history, hyper inflation, corruption, plunging oil output and food shortages. MADURO's nearest rival, HENRI FALCON, took 21% of the vote and dismissed the election as fraudulent, calling for a new ballot. The CNE said final turnout was projected to be 48%, far below the average of recent Venezuelan elections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Thailand economy grows at fastest pace in five years in Q1 - Alice Woodhouse

Thailand's economy grew at its fastest pace in five years in Q1 2018 on higher private consumption and improved exports. The economy grew 4.8% y/y in Q1 to end-Mar., the fastest pace of growth since Q1 2013 and up from 4% in Q4 2017. That was above the 4% growth rate forecast in a Reuters poll. Private consumption grew by 3.6% from 3.4% in the prior quarter. In q/q terms, Thailand's economy grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2%, against the 1.1% increase forecast. CAPITAL ECONOMICS revised up its 2018 FY growth forecast to 4.2% from 4% on the strength of the figures, but noted that growth "may have now peaked". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF endorses Argentine economic reform programme - Benedict Mander

The IMF on Friday offered another endorsement of the Argentine government's economic reform plan as it continues to negotiate the terms of a bailout for the country. IMF MD CHRISTINE LAGARDE said President MAURICIO MACRI will have "full ownership" of the programme, stressing the importance of maintaining social consensus as the government tightens its fiscal adjustment after a run on the currency destroyed around a fifth of the peso's value in recent weeks. LAGARDE said the Fund "fully endorses" MACRI's goals of achieving sustained and equitable growth and restoring market confidence with a macroeconomic programme aimed at reducing financing needs and public debt, "and importantly, protecting society's most vulnerable during this transition". The statement comes amid fears in Argentina that the Fund would impose harsh conditions on a loan that could hit the popularity of the market-friendly MACRI, who many expect to run for re-election next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AstraZeneca CEO suffers pay revolt - Sarah Neville

ASTRAZENECA suffered a significant revolt over the pay of CEO PASCAL SORIOT on Friday, when around 35% of investors at its AGM voted against its remuneration report. INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES earlier in the month advised against supporting the pay report and highlighted "concerns around the level of disclosures and the outcomes under the company's annual bonus framework". SORIOT earned £9.4m in 2017, down from £14.3m y/y, but ISS had complained about the level of annual bonuses he had received, suggesting that the remuneration committee should have set more stringent targets. AZ did not hide its disappointment at the result. Pointing to the sales the company is garnering from its new medicines, one insider said SORIOT was being "rewarded for turning science into products". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deripaska formally resigns from EN+ board - David Sheppard

OLEG DERIPASKA has resigned from the board of EN+ in the first step towards following through on a vow to distance himself from control of his sanction-hit companies. EN+ on Friday said the board had accepted DERIPASKA's resignation as director of the company. RUSAL and EN+ were hit by UK sanctions targeting what the Treasury said were Russia's "malign activities" early last month. DERIPASKA agreed to take steps to relinquish control of RUSAL including selling down his 70% stake in EN+ to below 50% and resigning from the board. The company added that DERIPASKA had also given a commitment "not to seek re-election as a director of RUSAL". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lloyds faces possible shareholder revolt over pay - Attracta Mooney

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP faces a potential shareholder revolt over its pay report at its AGM this week after CEO ANTONIO HORTA-OSORIO received an 11% rise to take his total pay to £6.2m. Adviser INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES has advised shareholders to vote against the bank's pay report, pointing out that the CEO's bumper pay packet was nearly 100 times the average LLOYDS employee. The CEO's pay hike came during a year in which LLOYDS returned completely to the private sector, almost a decade after it was bailed out by the British government during the financial crisis. ISS said its quantitative research suggested that pay outcomes were not well aligned with performance. It also argued that the benefits provided to the executive directors was "very generous" compared to practices at other listed UK companies. It said the CEO's benefit package, which includes a car allowance, is about 12.5% of his salary. Rival proxy adviser GLASS LEWIS backed pay at LLOYDS, saying that despite a rise in fixed pay and concerns about targets attached to bonuses, shareholder support was merited. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Higher oil prices, weaker rand a risk to CPI - analysts - Lameez Omarjee

The SARB's monetary policy committee is expected to take a hawkish stance and keep interest rates unchanged next Thursday, analysts expect. The rand reached an intraday loss of 12.82/$ on Friday as dollar strength surge on the back of US Treasury yields which were still rallying in the afternoon. "We don't believe a one percentage point jump in CPI will be enough to justify an interest rate hike, but we expect the tone of the governor's speech to turn decidedly hawkish", FNB chief economist MAMELLO MATIKINCA said. April's inflation data will take into account the higher VAT rate as well as the fuel hike of 72c/litre. FNB expects CPI to rise from 3.8% y/y in March to 4.8%. "Of chief concern will be the spike in the oil price which reached $80/bbl (last week), as well as rand depreciation on the back of a stronger US dollar", MATIKINCA said. INVESTEC chief economist ANNABEL BISHOP expects rates to remain unchanged, with higher interest rates likely in the longer term. INVESTEC's long-term CPI forecast is around 5.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sygnia CEO takes on JSE over dodgy listings - Sibongile Khumalo

SYGNIA CEO MAGDA WIERZYCKA has lambasted the JSE, accusing it of weak governance by allowing dubious listings which have led to financial losses for investors. From allegations of market manipulation to the listing of companies that "bear no semblance to operational reality", WIERZYCKA wants the bourse operator to be held accountable for failing to protect investors' interests. She questioned the listing of GUPTA-owned OAKBAY and AYO TECHNOLOGY, hailed as the largest black-controlled ICT firm in the country when it debuted on the JSE in Dec. 2017 with a market cap of R14.7bn. WIERZYCKA raised concern over AYO's "suspicious price transactions" which have seen its share price drop from R42/share on the day of listing to R28.50. The biggest loser in AYO's share price movement has been the GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND, which invested R4.3bn for a 29.9% stake in the group. "This means the GEPF has lost 31% of its investment", WIERZYCKA said, slamming the JSE for allowing listings "where the valuation bears no semblance to the real value of underlying assets". The valuation of OAKBAY RESOURCES & ENERGY also came under sharp attack by WIERZYCKA - the company exited the JSE in Jul. last year under a cloud, having shed over 70% of its value. The INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION had bought 3.6% equity in OAKBAY. "I will continue raising these issues because they point to weak governance on the part of the JSE", she said. Responding to the allegations, JSE director of issuer regulation JOHN BURKE maintained that investors are provided with "sufficient information to make an informed investment decision". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff seeks 3-yr debt extension amid account probe - Luca Casiraghi, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is seeking a three-year extension on most of its $11.3bn of debt as it battles to come to grips with an accounting scandal that's wiped more than 96% off its share price. The company on Friday presented an initial restructuring plan to creditors it said is "essential" for the company to survive. STEINHOFF proposed its holding company debt be extended and that it pay no cash interest, except on loans of the HEMISPHERE real estate unit. STEINHOFF said advisory fees related to legal issues, restructuring costs and investigating the financial irregularities pushed the company into the red in the HY through March. Impairments and losses taken on asset disposals have also weighed on the group's bottom line. Sales rose 1% to €9.4bn. The company will start negotiations with creditors from this week to get a consensual agreement on the overhaul, of it will apply for court processes in Austria, the UK or the Netherlands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Parties to meet as Markus Jooste's Mayfair aims to offload Lodestone stake - Carin Smith

The parties in a high court application by minority shareholders in LODESTONE - to try to prevent MARKUS JOOSTE's MAYFAIR and others from selling their shareholding in LODESTONE - will likely meet next week in a bid to agree on a date for the application to be heard, Fin24 learnt on Friday. The application is being sought against SECOND CHAPTER INVESTMENTS, LODESTONE BRANDS, MAYFAIR HOLDINGS, MAYFAIR SPECULATORS, STANDARD BANK and four others. SCI is the majority shareholder in LODESTONE (66.7%). SCI has two shareholders - MAYFAIR (78.37%) and SCI P1 (21.63%). The minority shareholders allege that MAYFAIR is "in all likelihood scrambling to sell its shareholding in LODESTONE through every means possible". The applicants regard the conduct of the respondents as "oppressive and unfairly prejudicial to the rights of the applicants" and want the court to interdict any further steps to dispose of their shareholding in LODESTONE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hwange suspends MD - Nadine James

HWANGE COLLIERY on Friday announced that it had suspended MD STENJWA THOMAS MAKORE with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing. During his suspension, MAKORE is not authorised to transact or conduct any business on behalf of HWANGE. Zimbabwean media have reported that the suspension is linked to allegations of corruption and insubordination. MAKORE was appointed HWANGE MD in 2014. In the interim, the company has appointed SHEPARD MANMIKE as acting MD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom expects lower FY18 earnings - Natasha Odendaal

TELKOM on Friday said it expected its HEPS and basic EPS for the FY to end-Mar. to have declined by 15%-25% y/y. HEPS are expected to be between 541.1cps and 611.1cps, representing a 110cps-180cps drop on the 721.1cps reported y/y. Basic EPS are expected to decrease to 554.1cps-628cps in FY2018, compared with the BEPS of 738.8cps reported y/y. TELKOM attributed the decrease to a significant rise in its effective tax rate, from the 15.2% in 2017 to slightly below the South African corporate tax rate, as well as higher labour costs driven by inflationary and market-related adjustments. The prior year's earnings were impacted on by voluntary severance packages and voluntary early retirement packages of R66m, with a related tax benefit of R13m. Results will be published on May 28. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN, Huawei deploy new spectrum-sharing solution - Natasha Odendaal

MTN SA and HUAWEI have jointly deployed a commercial spectrum-sharing solution. CloudAir 2.0 will share spectrum between 2G, 3G , 4G and narrow broadband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) radio technologies within the 900 MHz spectrum band. Through a joint innovation programme, launched in 2017 to research and trial innovative technologies in MTN SA's network, the parties developed the spectrum cloudification sharing capabilities to enable MTN to more efficiently use its limited 900 MHz spectrum allocation. HUAWEI's CloudAir 2.0 also achieves a 45% increase in long-term evolution throughput within the band. "This solution can allocate and adjust spectrum resources according to the changes of mobile traffic and avoid legacy radio access technologies from occupying prime spectrum, thereby improving spectral efficiency", HUAWEI wireless network product line president EDWARD DENG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CIG secures funding to turn Conco ops around - Marleny Arnoldi

CONSOLIDATED INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP has secured funding to turn around its power infrastructure services provider subsidiary CONCO, which fell into financial difficulty in Nov. At the time, CIG said the difficulty was the result of weak growth in its international business, political and civil unrest on existing projects, delays in the awarding of new projects and fewer opportunities in SA's power sector. Subsequently. CIG reviewed and evaluated its funding requirements and optimal long-term capital structure. CIG has now concluded this process, which included the assessment of various strategic alternatives, such as selling assets. CIG has determined that it needs a capital injection to protect the sustainability of its operations. To facilitate this injection, the company entered into a suite of agreements with FAIRFAX AFRICA INVESTMENTS, a subsidiary of FAIRFAX AFRICA HOLDINGS. These agreements include a R300m loan to be advanced by FSA to CIG, an R800m nonrenounceable rights offer to CIG shareholders, fully underwritten by FSA at a fixed price of R4/share, and conversion rights under which FSA has an option to convert the upfront loan into CIG shares and CIG has an option to convert the upfront loan into CIG shares - under certain circumstances. Meanwhile, CIG's management expected the HY to end-Feb. to remain challenging for the company and it previously cautioned that the restructuring of CONCO would have a short-term negative impact on profitability. In line with those expectations, CIG on Friday said EPS for the HY are likely to be 650%-660% lower than the 111cps reported for the y/y period. HEPS are expected to be 470%-480% lower than the 111.1cps reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

L2D to convert to Reit, acquires further assets - Marleny Arnoldi

LIBERTY TWO DEGREES on Friday announced its intention to convert to a corporate REIT and list on the JSE as a new company. This is subsequent to the cancellation of the existing put option between LIBERTY GROUP and LIBERTY TWO DEGREES, in terms of which the former has the option to sell further portions of its undivided shares in properties co-owned by it and L2D for no consideration. It also follows the acquisition of a further R1.2bn of properties from the LIBERTY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO. The internalisation of the management company of L2D will result in NEWCO taking over from the manager the asset management functions in relation to both the L2D and the LPP co-owned property portfolios. Collectively, in terms of the internalisation, it is anticipated that NEWCO will buy the business of the manger for R300m. The consideration in respect of the internalisation and the acquisition, which totals R1.5bn, is intended to be funded by debt. The board does not expect the proposed transaction to affect the distribution guidance for the FY to end-Dec. It is anticipated that the transaction will be concluded during Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye CEO confident of Lonmin takeover despite cash burn - Reuters

SIBANYE-STILLWATER CEO NEAL FRONEMAN is confident his planned takeover of LONMIN will proceed, but said the struggling platinum miner must slow its cash burn. SIBANYE's £285m all-share bid for LONMIN faces hurdles including the latter's weak cash position, regulatory approval and the effects of a stronger rand. Before December's offer LONMIN had been in crisis following a series of labour strikes, subdued platinum prices and years of high costs. "I remain confident that this transaction will close and it will close in the form that we originally and always expected", FRONEMAN said. "What we are saying to the LONMIN management is please don't let the wheels come off, maintain your net cash position as your model shows", he added. "There is a duty on LONMIN management to deliver.. I'm not panicking. I'm very confident in their ability to meet their targets". Should the deal fail to close, job cuts at LONMIn could be higher than initially projected, FRONEMAN said. "Those 12 600 jobs (cuts) are inevitable, I can't stop them. They are going to go whether we do this merger or not... We are asking the Competition Commission to approve the merger-related job losses to save the rest of the jobs", FRONEMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yamana pours first gold at Cerro Moro - Henry Lazenby

YAMANA GOLD last week announced that it has poured the first gold and silver doré at its Cerro Moro project, in Argentina. The operation started feeding ore to the 1 000t/day processing plant in Apr., and is expected to ramp up to commercial production over Q2 with the bulk of gold production weighted towards H2 2018. Cerro Moro is expected to produce 85 000oz of gold and 3.75moz of silver this year, rising to 125 000oz of gold and 6moz of silver in 2019, and reaching 130 000oz of gold and 7moz of silver a year by 2020. YAMANA expects to add at least another 1moz of gold equivalent resources to the mineral inventory over the coming years. To this end, the company plans to convert 110 000 gold-equivalent ounces of inferred mineral resources to measured and indicated resources; discover 250 000 gold-equivalent ounces of new inferred mineral resources; and define future drill targets through scout drilling, soil and rock sampling, and mapping through its 2018 exploration programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore said to face UK bribery probe over Congo dealings - Bloomberg

The UK's Serious Fraud Office is preparing to open a formal bribery investigation into GLENCORE and its work with Israeli billionaire DAN GERTLER and the leader of the DRC, sources said. Investigators at the SFO plan to seek formal approval for a full probe into GLENCORE's dealings in Congo, the sources said. DRC government spokesperson LAMBERT MENDE said the country is "absolutely calm" about the matter. "We are ready to take all the blows and we are ready to fight back", he said on Friday. Any final decision on whether to proceed with a formal probe will be up to a committee of SFO senior staff, including interim director MARK THOMPSON. GERTLER and close friend DRC President JOSEPH KABILA have been implicated in previous British and US bribery probes. The SFO has been scrutinising the men's relationship with a Kazakh mining company for six years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio gets accreditation for AutoHaul - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has been granted accreditation by the Australian Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, approving its autonomous operation of trains at its Pilbara iron ore operations. RIO implemented autonomous trains at Pilbara in Q1 2017, with about 65% of all train kilometers completed in autonomous mode by the end of Q1 2018. RIO noted on Friday that more than 3m km have been completed in autonomous mode to date. The AutoHaul project is continuing to progress and is scheduled for completion by end-2018, with the miner taking a phased approach to deploying autonomous trains across its network in the lead-up to full commissioning. RIO operates around 200 locomotives on more than 1 700km of track in the Pilbara, transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Independence takes greater stake in Orion - Esmarie Swanepoel

INDEPENDENCE GROUP has taken a bigger stake in ORION MINERALS, increasing its shareholding from 4.2% to 11.1%. INDEPENDENCE will subscribe for A$5m worth of ORION shares, priced at 5cps, with the two companies also entering into a collaborative working relationship, under which INDEPENDENCE secured matching rights to any potential JV or sale of ORION's nickel projects in the Areachap Belt, in SA. Under the agreement INDEPENDENCE will be given the opportunity to purchase or earn-in to any ORION project in the area, prior to a third-party transaction, and on the same terms and conditions as any proposed third-party transaction. INDEPENDENCE's preferential rights included the Jacomynspan project, which hosts a maiden mineral resource of 6.8mt, containing 39 480t of nickel, 22 800t of copper and 1 800t of cobalt. ORION will use at least 30% of the raised funds to explore nickel/copper/cobalt targets previously identified in regional exploration programmes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa's Lulo delivers up more diamonds for sale - Esmarie Swanepoel

LUCAPA DIAMOND COPMANY has generated a further A$4m in sales from a parcel of 1 632ct of diamonds from its Lulo mine in Angola. The company on Friday said the parcel did not include the gem quality 46ct pink diamond or other large special diamonds recently recovered from Mining Block 4. The recently recovered pink diamond was the largest coloured diamond recovered at Lulo to date, eclipsing the 43ct yellow diamond recovered in Jan. and the 39ct pink diamond recovered in Sep. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec Property Fund closer to offshore target - Roy Cokayne

INVESTEC PROPERTY FUND has moved closer to its strategic target of generating 20% of its income from offshore assets following its R1.1bn investment into a pan-European logistics portfolio earlier this month. IPF last week said its balance sheet now comprised 11.7% offshore exposure in developed markets following this investment. The fund, via wholly-owned subsidiary INVESTEC PROPERTY FUND OFFSHORE INVESTMENTS, acquired a 42.9% stake in a portfolio of 22 logistics properties located across Europe with an asset value of €432m post its FY to end-Mar. 2018. The initial portfolio was located across Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands. IPF expects growth in core dividend a share of 6.5%-7.5% for its FY to end-Mar. 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim will not require foreign mines to list locally - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe will not require foreign mining companies to list locally as previously announced and will remove the clause from a mines amendment bill now before parliament, Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said on Friday. CHITANDO said the requirement had caused panic among foreign mining companies, adding that this was contrary to the government's push to open the country to foreign investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola passes new law scrapping need for local investment partner - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola's parliament last week unanimously approved a new law to facilitate private investment into the country, doing away with the need for local partners and a minimum spend of $1m. The new law, which does not apply to the oil, mining and finance sectors, it a cornerstone of President JOAO LOURENCO's attempts to open up and diversify the economy. Previously, foreigners looking to invest in Angola had to, in most sectors, join with a local partner who by law was required to have at least a 35% stake. Investors had long described the requirements as restrictive. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anadarko seeks to raise up to $15bn for Moz LNG project - Oleg Vukmanovic

ANADARKO PETROLEUM is seeking to raise a record $14bn-$15bn from banks and export credit agencies for its huge LNG project in Mozambique, sources said. The full amount would be the largest loan ever in the LNG sector. SOCIETE GENERALE, the financial adviser on the $20bn LNG project, has already received interest for a combined $12bn in cover and direct lending from export credit agencies in China, SA, Italy and Japan, one source said. The export credit agencies include EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF CHINA, EXPORT CREDIT INSURANCE CORPORATION OF SA, Italy's SACE and Japan's NIPPON EXPORT AND INVESTMENT INSURANCE. SOCGEN will launch a global roadshow on May 21 to test demand among commercial banks. In all, ANADARKO has agreed commercial terms including volume and price for 5.1mt/y of LNG supplies from Mozambique, closing in on the 8.5mt/y target needed to trigger its final investment decision on the project. The company aims to build from scratch a 17 000-acre liquefaction complex in Mozambique's remote north to chill gas pumped from the Golfinho/Atum fields in its Area 1 deepwater block, 16.5km offshore. It will produce 12.88mt/y of LNG in its initial phase, which can be expanded to 50mt/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya oil output on course after agreement on revenue share - Duncan Miriri

Kenya will start the small scale export of crude oil from its fields in the north in June after an agreement on how to share the revenue, the presidency said at the weekend. TULLOW OIL and its partner AFRICA OIL discovered commercial reserves in the LOKICHAR basin in 2012. TOTAL SA has since taken a 25% stake in the asset. A row had broken out after President UHURU KENYATTA cut the share of the Turkana county government to 15% and that of the local community to 5%, leaving the rest to the national government. He then met officials from the county to strike a new deal, which will raise the county government's stake to 20% and cut the national government's to 75%. The deal will allow a long-delayed law on oil exploration and production to clear parliament, letting exports begin. "We will intensify our exploration efforts not just in Turkana but in the rest of the country now that we have a legal instrument that can help guide how oil and gas will be handled in our republic", KENYATTA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria c.bank injects $293m into currency market - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's central bank on Friday announced it had injected $293m into the interbank foreign exchange market, extending efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate dollar shortages. The Central Bank of Nigeria said it had sold the funds to agricultural firms, airlines, petroleum imports, and to companies importing raw materials and machinery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Beltone Financial seeks controlling stake in Oragroup - Ehab Farouk

Egypt's BELTONE FINANCIAL is seeking a controlling stake in ORAGROUP, which owns banks in 12 African countries, as it seeks to expand its financial services on the African continent, BELTONE said yesterday. The Cairo-listed financial services firm said its board had agreed to sign a non-binding offer to set out indicative terms for the deal. BELTONE did not disclose the exact size of the stake it is looking to acquire or the potential terms. ORAGROUP has 143 branches serving more than 400 000 clients in 12 African countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 21/05/2018

At 06:18 on 21 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.77 Rand/Sterling 17.19 Rand/Euro 15.01 Gold 1292.91 Platinum 882.75 Oil 78.36 All-Share Index 57804.33

Ghana to award nine new oil blocks off west coast - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana is set to award nine new upstream oil blocks for commercial exploration off its western coast beginning this year, the energy ministry said last week. The country plans to award six of the nine blocks this year while the remaining three will be given out next year through am ix of open competitive tender and direct negotiations. The ministry said GHANA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION will acquire one of the blocks to explore in partnership with a strategic partner to develop its technical capacity and become an operator. Ghana at present produces around 180 000 bpd mainly from three offshore fields, including its flagship Jubilee reserves operated by TULLOW OIL. The government last week named a 23-member committee to oversee the allocation of oil blocks to local and international companies through evaluation and negotiation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom evacuates Kusile contractors after protest - Tanisha Heiberg

ESKOM on Friday said it had evacuated all contractors at its Kusile power station following a violent pay-related protest. The utility said the evacuation happened when a violent protest broke out at the power station over a bonus payment dispute. All workers are expected to be back at work later today, ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said. Twenty-seven protesters were arrested on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property after four vehicles were damaged during the protest. Construction at the site has stopped, but power generation at the online units has not been disrupted, PHASIWE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff flags H1 loss as restructuring wipes out sales gains - Maria Sheahan

STEINHOFF expects to report a first-half net loss as costs related to restructuring, losses on asset sales and litigation offset a rise in revenues. Group retail revenue is expected to rise 1% to €9.4bn in the HY through end-Mar., it said following a meeting with lenders on Friday, citing preliminary figures. It did not disclose the size of its H1 loss after tax was but said it was preparing to publish unaudited H1 figures on Jun. 29. STEINHOFF said it hoped to have a restructuring plan in place shortly to put to creditors that would include measures such as fixing the maturity from all loans at three years from the restructuring date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R agrees to buy Aveng - Nqobile Dludla

MURRAY & ROBERTS has agreed to buy rival AVENG LIMITED, although its biggest shareholder ATON said it will not support the R1bn takeover. The proposed deal, announced on Friday, would give additional scale in M&R's key markets such as Australasia and Africa, while shoring up liquidity in loss-making AVENG in the near term. M&R said if a formal offer is made, it will buy out AVENG's stock worth R1bn by issuing new shares, assuming that AVENG separately raises at least R300m in new capital via its proposed rights offer. Should AVENG not be able to raise R300m, the transaction value will be reduced. The merger would see AVENG integrate its MOOLMANS and MCCONNELL DOWELL businesses with M&R's underground mining and oil and gas portfolios. ATON said it will not support the proposed deal, noting that "it clearly demonstrates that M&R's management is putting its interest ahead of those of shareholders and other stakeholders." In addition to the potential merger, M&R proposed to redeem AVENG's outstanding convertible bonds maturing in 2019 early by amending the terms and conditions. If implemented, settlement of the bonds will be at par value R12bn plus accrued interest. This will be funded from a combination of new financing facilities of R1.8bn and available cash resources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim mines need $11bn investment to modernise - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe needs up to $11bn to modernise its mines and boost production to maximum capacity over the next five years, Chamber of Mines head BATIRAI MANHANDO said on Friday. He said with the exception of platinum producers, all other mines were operating below their installed capacity. Mining generates more than half of Zimbabwe's export receipts - last year it earned $2.8bn - but industry executives say it has the potential to earn more with increased investment. "At the beginning of the year the capital intensive industry required $7bn for both ramp-up and sustenance capital. The figure has lately been revised upwards to $11bn with renewed interest in our sector", MANHANDO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont spends €203m buying back watches while sales rise - Ralph Atkins

RICHEMONT lifted sales by 8% in constant currencies in the FY to end-Mar., powered by China and other Asian markets, but revealed it had spent a further €203m buying back excess stocks of watches. At actual exchange rates, sales rose 3% to €10.98bn in the FY under review, but that would have been equivalent to 8% at constant exchange rates. The group had previously revealed it had bought back stock in Hong Kong, but today it also reported inventory buybacks in Europe. The €203m spent on buybacks from multi-brand retail partners compared with €278m in the y/y period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German industrial prices up 0.5% in April - Katie Martin

Prices for industrial products in Germany rose at a surprisingly rapid rate in April. The index of prices rose by 2% in April y/y, set against an expected gain of 1.8% and a previous reading of 1.9% in March. On the month, prices rose by 0.5%, from a soggy 0.1% in March and an expected rise of 0.3%. Prices fell by 0.1% in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba chip unit sale cleared by Chinese regulators - Leo Lewis

TOSHIBA has received antitrust clearance from China for the $18bn sale of its memory chip business to BAIN CAPITAL, giving the green light to one of the biggest private equity deals since the financial crisis. "The parties will now take necessary procedures to close the transaction, which is currently expected to occur on June 1, 2018", TOSHIBA said yesterday. While the disposal of the lucrative chip business will shore up TOSHIBA's balance sheet, the remaining pieces of the conglomerate will be much smaller in scale and far less profitable. For the FY to end-Mar., the NAND memory business alone generated an operating profit of Y479bn with a profit margin of 40%. Once the division is stripped out, TOSHIBA's annual operating profit stood at Y64.1bn with the profit margins of its social infrastructure businesses, which include elevators, air conditions and escalators, stuck in low single digits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vivendi keeps options open on possible Universal IPO - Harriet Agnew

VIVENDI yesterday moved a step closer to a potential IPO of its main profit engine UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP but stopped short of confirming that it would go down this route. The company's supervisory board met yesterday to weigh up the future of UMG, with possible options including an IPO or the sale of a stake to a third party. VIVENDI said revenues grew 3.3% to €3.1bn in Q1 2018, at constant currencies and parameters. This was driven by UMG, which was up 4.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Regulator asks for views on Sainsbury's-Asda merger - Alice Woodhouse

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority today issued an invitation to comment on J SAINSBURY's proposed £7.3bn takeover of ASDA in the first step of a potential probe into the merger. The CMA invited comment from interested parties for "initial views on the impact that the proposed merger could have on competition in the UK". Comments should be submitted before 5pm on June 4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AstraZeneca sales hit by generic competitors to Crestor - Cat Rutter Pooley

ASTRAZENECA this morning reassured investors its plans remained on track despite core EPS halving in Q1 y/y. Product sales would be weighted towards H2 as newer drugs started to offset the impact of generic competition to its legacy Crestor statin. Total revenues fell 4% in Q1 y/y - a 9% drop at constant currencies. While product sales rose 3% y/y, that uplift disappeared when currency effects were removed. At constant exchange rates product sales fell 4%. Core operating profit tumbled 49% to $896m and EPS 51% to $0.48. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK PM concedes on customs union until Irish border resolved - George Parker

The whole of the UK will remain tied to a customs union with the EU after 2021 until an alternative to having a hard border in Ireland can be found, British PM THERESA MAY has conceded. MAY agreed the plan on Tuesday with her cabinet ministers, according to government officials. MAY was accused by some Tory MPs of bouncing the cabinet into adopting the scheme, while others said they had been kept in the dark. Senior EU officials also expressed doubts about the UK approach, warning that it diverges significantly from Brussels' preferred outcome. "If this is it, we will have a crisis", one senior EU diplomat said. Under the plan, the whole of the UK will be covered by the EU's common external tariff, removing the need for a customs border in Ireland or between Ireland and the UK mainland. MAY, speaking at an EU summit in Sofia, suggested that the UK would still be able to have its own "independent trade policy", though it will be unable to negotiate different tariffs with countries that already have a deal with the EU. The EU has warned that unless "substantial progress" is made on agreeing the Irish backstop at next month's European Council, Brexit negotiations could stall. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maersk warns cluster of geopolitical threats looms over shipping - Cat Rutter Pooley

High oil prices, rising geopolitical risks and ratcheting trade tensions are all testing the international shipping business of AP MOLLER-MAERSK, the Danish conglomerate warned yesterday. "Increased uncertainties" could hit container freight rates, bunker prices and exchange rates, MAERSK warned, putting at risk its target for 2018 of profits above last year's $356m and earnings of $4bn-$5bn. MAERSK reported a ballooning underlying after tax loss in the quarter, after discontinued businesses were stripped out. Losses welled by more than 70% from the y/y period to $239m. MAERSK CEO SOREN SKOU said the rise in oil prices combined with tension over Iran were not good for the container shipping business. The group would shut down its business in Iran if US sanctions on Iran went through as planned, the news agency reported, becoming the latest foreign investor to threaten to pull out of the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia's VTB doubles profits - Max Seddon

VTB, Russia's second-largest bank, doubled its net profit to Rbs55.5bn in Q1 2018 y/y, driven by an 11.2% rise in net fee and commission income and a 16% return on equity. The lender grew its consumer deposits 5.5% during the quarter while boosting its loan book by 2.6%. The higher lending boosted net interest income by 2.9% to Rbs116.3bn. VTB's cost of risk went down from 1.9% y/y to 0.9%, while provision charges fell 54.9% to Rbs20.7bn. The bank's total and tier 1 capital adequacy rations remained stable at 14.5% and 12.7% respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU court upholds ban on insecticides found to harm bees - Rochelle Toplensky

The European court has upheld Brussels' partial ban on a group of insecticides found to harm bees, rejecting requests by BAYER and SYNGENTA to annul the decision. The European Commission in 2013 severely restricted the use of three nionicotinoids after the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the chemicals were harmful to bees. The ban was extended in Apr. 2018 to prohibit all outdoor use, after further research confirmed the finding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAFTU threatens to take minimum wage war to court - Sibongile Khumalo

SAFTU has threatened to challenge the National Minimum Wage Bill in court if it passed without input from a wide range of the working class. Government is currently considering the bill, which will set the minimum wage for workers at R20/hour or R3 500/month. SAFTU demands a living wage of R12 000/month. "The next step would be to go to court if the bill is passed in its current form; we believe that he bill goes against the Constitution", SAFTU secretary general ZWELINZIMA VAVI said. SAFTU has made submissions to Parliament's committee on labour on the national minimum wage, but remains critical of the process for what it calls ignoring critical views and consultation of a wider group of stakeholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury: Recapitalisation of SAA still being finalised - Lameez Omarjee

The recapitalisation of SAA is a matter that is still being finalised through the work of an oversight forum, the Treasury said yesterday. In a written response to Fin24 about a possible cash injection of R21.7bn for the carrier, the Treasury said the funding of SAA's turnaround "will require an acceptable mixture of debt and equity, and this matter is being finalised as part of the work of the Oversight Forum between SAA and National Treasury". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom continues with front-end nuclear prep - Carin Smith

ESKOM is continuing with front-end planning for a nuclear build programme, senior manager of nuclear new build LOYISO TYABASHE said yesterday. During a discussion on nuclear at the African Utility Week, TYABASHE said that although the Integrated Resource Plan was being reviewed with the aim of being finalised in Aug. 2018, ESKOM remained the designated owner and operator of any nuclear development. "Those responsibilities mean we have to get ready for nuclear. We cannot just wait and see if nuclear is part of the reviewed IRP or not", he added. "The current IRP has nuclear in it. Until nuclear is not part of the plan, we must continue with front-end planning". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont wraps up YNAP takeover, online retailer to delist - Lameez Omarjee

RICHEMONT has acquired 94.99% of YOOX NET-A-PORTER's shares, exceeding the minimum capital requirement of 90% of YNAP's share capital. YNAP will delist from the Milan bourse with effect from June 20, with trade to be suspended from Jun. 18. RICHEMONT in January announced its intentions to bid R40bn on YNAP, as part of a strategy to make inroads in the online retail space. At the time, the company owned 50% of YNAP. RICHEMONT will now purchase all the YNAP shares tendered in the offer during the acceptance period. It is expected to pay €38/YNAP share tendered in the offer on May 18. This amounts to €2.47bn. The consideration will be paid in cash. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Famous Brands takes knock on profit warning - Lameez Omarjee

Shares in FAMOUS BRANDS took a knock yesterday after the company said it expects a weaker financial performance for the FY to end-Feb. The group said HEPS are expected to be between 327cps and 405cps, lower than the 428cps reported y/y. This is an "approximate decrease" of 5%-24%. Basic EPS are expected to decrease by 18c-23c/share on the 414cps reported y/y, a contraction of 94%-96%. Shares in FAMOUS BRANDS fell 4.52% to R101.69 by mid-morning yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA seeks urgent funding after latest loss - John Bowker

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS said executives will meet Treasury officials every two weeks to address urgent funding needs after the carrier reported a seventh consecutive year of losses - its worst since 2015. SAA CEO VUYANI JARANA last month said the airline needs R5bn immediately, while looming debt repayments next year may require further government assistance. A so-called oversight forum has been set up between SAA and the Treasury that will also address the airline's ownership structure, the carrier said on Wednesday. Interim CFO BOB HEAD is working to properly value assets including aircraft, property and equipment, a task he's expected to complete this month, while an analysis of irregular expenditure under previous management should be completed by Sep. SAA reported a net loss of R5.7bn in the year through March, more than double what it had budgeted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to freeze bonuses, pay hikes and external vacancies - Khulekani Makhubane

ESKOM yesterday said that any internal job transfers that take place within the utility will not include a salary increase. This is in tandem with remarks from ESKOM's leadership earlier this week that vacant lower positions would be frozen and that there would be a moratorium on bonuses and increases. In the statement, ESKOM said internal job advertisements are geared towards recruiting staff within the organisation for available posts across all its business units and departments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stefanutti Stocks FY operating loss widens on impairment - Simone Liedtke

STEFANUTTI STOCKS' operating loss widened to R451m for the FY to end-Feb., compared with the R106m loss reported y/y. It yesterday reported that goodwill and intangible assets of R667m had been impaired, predominantly relating to the goodwill that arose from the STOCKS LIMITED acquisition. Excluding the impairment, operating profit came to R216m, up from R202m y/y. Contract revenue from operations of R10.4bn rose by R1.3bn y/y. The UAE operation has contributed R48m towards the share of profits of equity-accounted invitees, which in total has remained consistent at R41m as a result of losses incurred by other equity-accounted investees. As a result of these factors, STEFANUTTI incurred an LPS of 294.94cps. With the reversal of impairment charges relating to assets, HEPS were 90.35cps, a slight improvement on the adjusted HEPS of 89.86cps reported y/y. Its order book is currently R14.3bn, of which R4.9bn arises from work beyond SA's borders. Capex for the year came to R500m, up from R272m y/y. The contract revenue of the newly combined business unit is R5bn, with an operating profit of R175m at an operating profit margin of 3.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom, ICASA to publish data price findings within months - Cwele - Natasha Odendaal

The findings of data inquiries being undertaken by ICASA and the Competition Commission are on track for publication in June and Aug., respectively, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister SIYABONGA CWELE said yesterday. CWELE said ICASA's planned release, next month, of the findings of its Priority Market Study should slit markets prone to ex-ante regulation and priority markets to be subjected to market review processes. "We have urged ICASA to prioritise the broadband data market because "data must fall" and we must work together to achieve this goal", CWELE said, noting that his department's cost to communicate programme has been progressing well. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diamond jewellery demand at all-time high - De Beers - Simone Liedtke

Global consumer demand for diamond jewellery hit a new all-time high in 2017, rising to $82bn, a 2% increase y/y, according to data published by DE BEERS. The US was the main driver of growth, with demand for diamond jewellery rising by 4% to $43bn. DE BEERS added that an increase in self-purchase of diamond jewellery helped drive demand, representing 33% of total US diamond jewellery pieces acquired in 2017. Demand in China rose by 3% in local currency and by 1% in US dollar terms, totalling $10bn. Demand for diamond jewellery in India, Japan and the Gulf saw low single-digit declines in US dollar terms, hit by macroeconomic factors and regulatory and exchange rate impacts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buffalo reports mixed Q1 results - Simone Liedtke

BUFFALO COAL's RoM production for the quarter to end-Mar. fell by 26% y/y and by 9% q/q, as a result of lower output at the Magdalena mine, offset by marginally improved output at the Aviemore mine. Aviemore's RoM output rose by 17% y/y, mainly due to dykes encountered in the mining areas, which slowed down production during the y/y period. The mine's RoM production was also 4% higher q/q, as a result of fewer dykes having been encountered. Magdalena's RoM production for Q1 was 44% lower y/y and 18% lower q/q, mainly as a result of difficult geological mining conditions and pit-room constraints. To mitigate the loss of production at Magdalena, BUFFALO COAL has entered into an agreement with a neighbouring coal miner to buy in around 6 000t/m of anthracite coal. BUFFALO's revenues for Q1 improved by 15% y/y due to higher anthracite and calcine sales, which were partially offset by lower bituminous sales. Revenues fell by 18% q/ as a result of lower anthracite sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzanite miner gets bill as Tanzania cracks down on lost mineral revenues - Reuters

Tanzanian gemstone miner TANZANITE ONE has agreed to pay compensation and overdue taxes to the government after unspecified violations led to losses in public revenues, the President's office said. TANZANITE ONE acknowledged mistakes but did not disclose what violations had been committed or how much it would pay in compensation. The exact amount the company will pay to the government will be agreed on later, but it would pay compensation in instalments starting within the next two weeks, President JOHM MAGUFULI's office said. TANZANITE ONE director FAISAL JUMA said the company will ensure it will never make the same mistakes again and was grateful that it was able to come to an agreement with the government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo looks to sell Peru copper stake to Japanese firms - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN is likely to sell up to 30% of its multi-billion dollar Peruvian copper project Quellaveco to Japanese entities, including MITSUBISHI, which already own part of it, sources said. ANGLO said in its 2017 financials it is seeking to cut its 82% stake in Quellaveco, which could produce 225 000t of copper annually, to between 50% and 70%. The sources said it has hired GOLDMAN SACHS and MORGAN STANLEy to help with the sale, which could be announced within the next two months. MITSUBISHI owns 18.1% of Quellaveco, but is looking to raise its stake to just above 30%, one source said. Other Japanese trading houses including SUMITOMO, MITSUI, JX NIPPON MINING & METALS and ITOCHU are considering making final offers for a minority stake, the sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Desert Lion sets price for flotation plant development in Namibia - Simone Liedtke

The Phase 1 flotation plant at TSX-listed DESERT LION ENERGY's Namibian lithium operations is estimated to cost around C$7m. The plant, with a processing capacity of 350 000-400 000 tonnes a year, will be used to process the fines from the historic run-of-mines stockpiles at DESERT LION's Rubicon and Helikon mines. The capital cost estimate for the plant was determined by TULELA PROCESSING SOLUTIONS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Construction starts on mixed-use precinct, Barloworld Logistics HQ in Irene - Marleny Arnoldi

Property developers ABLAND, GIFLO DEVELOPMENTS and architects SOM have started work on a new mixed-use precinct called Irene Boulevard. the site will become the new four-star rated green headquarters of BARLOWORLD LOGISTICS, which will be vacating its offices in Sandton to occupy the new site. The precinct will offer a bespoke lifestyle and a 16 000m2 shopping centre to the Irene market, with BARLOWORLD LOGISTICS' headquarters comprising 5 500m2. Construction started in mid-Apr. and is anticipated for completion in Apr. 2019. Construction of Phase 2 of the development - the retail leg - will start in Q3 2018 and will include a leading national grocer, restaurants and beauty and health facilities. The site is conveniently located on Alexander road just off the Botha avenue interchange, with great exposure and easy access to the N1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Disposals hit Datatec's FY18 earnings - Natasha Odendaal

DATATEC posted EPS of 20.5cps for the FY to end-Feb., compared with 1.4cps y/y, due to the profits on the disposal of two business during the period under review. However, it posted an underlying LPS of 5.6cps for the FY under review, compared with EPS of 11cps y/y, while HEPS plunged into the red from earnings of 2cps in 2017 to a loss of 19.1cps in FY2018. DATATEC attributed the decline to the sale of WESTCON AMERICAS to SYNNEX, and a weaker financial performance from WESTCON INTERNATIONAL. Continuing EBITDA contracted to $26.7m, from $29m y/y, while gross profit was up 2% to $636m. DATATEC's operating loss widened from $23.3m in 2017 to $81m, while the loss before tax expanded from $31.9m to $99.4m. Continuing operations achieved a 2% uptick in revenue to $3.92bn during the period under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Poynting looks to rest of Africa - Irma Venter

POYNTING GROUP is seeking to expand its business to the rest of Africa, CEO MICHAEL HOWARD said this week. POYNTING is already well known outside Africa, with 50% of its revenue flowing from Europe, the US, Australia and Scandinavia. The company holds more than 50 registered designs and patents in various countries across the globe. "In sub-Saharan Africa, our focus includes providing Internet access to Africa using our antenna products... We are putting together an African business model where we partner with stakeholders which provide added value in the fixed wireless eco-system, where fibre does not reach or does not perform. This includes partners such as the mobile and fixed operators, financial services and installation partners", HOWARD says. "This means that POYNTING will not only sell antennas, but also the router, the sim card, airtime packages and installations, while also providing finance over a contract period. We plan to deploy the model in sub-Saharan Africa". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First Quantum weighs further increases at Cobre Panama - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Cobre Panama copper project, being developed by FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS, is 72% complete and due for first concentrate production early in 2019. Project manager GAVIN ASHLEY said the process plant would be commissioned by H2 2018, with project construction likely to be completed before the end of the year. FIRST QUANTUM in Feb. announced a 15% rise in production capacity at Cobre Panama, with the project now expected to process around 85mt/y of ore, to deliver 350 000t/y of copper concentrates. ASHLEY said the company was targeting the production of 150 000t of copper in concentrate during 2019, ramping up to 270 000t-300 000t in 2020. By 2021, the mine was expected to deliver its targeted 350 000t/y of copper in concentrate, treating 85mt of ore a year. ASHLEY said the project had been designed with a final upgrade figure of 100mt/y in mind, and in some areas, FIRST QUANTUM had already invested in the upgrade potential. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's parliament passes record 9.12tn naira 2018 budget - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's parliament on Wednesday passed a record 9.12tn naira budget aimed at boosting growth in west Africa's biggest economy nine months before the country's next presidential election. The total sum laid out in the spending plan passed by the Senate is higher than the 8.6tn naira budget presented to parliament by President MUHAMMADU BUHARI in Nov. The budget was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. It still needs to be returned to BUHARI to be signed into law. "We must grow our economy away from oil. Hopefully, the current budget, when signed into law, should help us in this regard", Senate President BUKOLA SARAKI said. Lawmakers said the increase from the plan presented by BUHARI six month earlier was due to the assumed oil price rising to $51/barrel, up from $45 in the president's earlier version. The budget assumes crude oil output of 2.3m bpd and an exchange rate of 305 naira per dollar. The budget proposes the use of 2.2tn naira to service debts and would operate a deficit of 1.73% of GDP this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vitol, Glencore in running for Petrobras' Nigerian assets - Julia Payne

The world's three largest oil traders are competing to buy the African arm of PETROBRAS that owns stakes in two major Nigerian offshore oil blocks. The Brazilian oil major in Nov. launched the sale of 100% of PETROBRAS AFRICA as part of its plan to offload $21bn in assets through 2018. PETROBRAS holds half the shares in the company, while 40% are held by a subsidiary of GRUPO PTG PACTUAL SA and 10% by HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS. Bankers have previously estimated the value of the PETROBRAS venture to be about $2bn. It has stakes in two offshore blocks that contain two producing fields, the Agbami field in OML 127, operated by a local CHEVRON affiliate, and the Akpo field in OML 130, operated by TOTAL SA. In early May, three consortia including the major trading companies submitted bids to buy PETROBRAS AFRICA. VITOL bid together with an upstream subsidiary of WARBURG PINCUS called DELONEX and TSX-listed AFRICA ENERGY CORP. GLENCORE joined with SEPLAT and MAUREL & PROM, while the third bidder was privately-held FAMFA OIL together with ROYAL DUTCH SHELL. PETROBRAS is expected to make a decision by the end of May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen secures credit line - Tanisha Heiberg

ASPEN PHARMACARE yesterday announced it had secured a €3.4bn credit facility for refinancing debt at three of its subsidiaries. ASPEN said the facilities were 70% oversubscribed and would be used for ASPEN FINANCE, ASPEN PHARMACARE and ASPEN ASIA PACIFIC. It did not provide further details. The drugmaker has been expanding outside its home market of SA. The company said it had secured the revolving credit facility from 28 banks internationally. The facility is structured across the euro, the rand and the Australian dollar, with tenors of two to four years and a one-year extension option. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's Jinchuan International to double African output - Melanie Burton

China's JINCHUAN GROUP INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES plans to double its African copper and cobalt production in the next 2-3 years, CEO GAO TIANPENG said yesterday. The company currently produces around 50 000t of copper and 5 000t of cobalt annually. JINCHUAN's mining unit, METOREX GROUP, is headquartered in SA and controls the Ruashi Mine in the DRC that produces copper and cobalt and, and the Chibuluma South copper mine in Zambia. Metorex produced 42 512t of copper in 2017, steady y/y, and 4 638t of cobalt, up from 3 391t in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 18/05/2018

At 06:46 on 18 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.59 Rand/Sterling 17.03 Rand/Euro 14.87 Gold 1290.63 Platinum 888.00 Oil 79.20 All-Share Index 58184.25

Alrosa may buy diamond polisher Kristall in 2018 - Reuters

Russian diamond miner ALROSA may buy state-owned diamond polisher KRISTALL in 2018, Russia's Deputy Finance Minister ALEXEI MOISEEV said yesterday. ALROSA previously said it was "expedient" for it to buy KRISTALL when the latter is privatised. "KRISTALL will be sold at the market price and, of course, we are talking about the privatisation in favour of ALROSA", MOISEEV said. KRISTALL has been hit by low profit margins in the gem-cutting sector and by strong competition from foreign polishers partially caused by Moscow's decision to cancel an export duty on rough diamonds in 2016. MOISEEV said the deal may happen "significantly earlier than the end of this year", adding that Moscow is currently assessing KRISTALL's value and will make a final decision on its privatisation once the process is done. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom to launch new platform for video content - Gabriella Steyn

VODACOM this week confirmed that it will soon launch a new content service set to offer a wide selection of media. The platform will offer many genres and types of content, and will include access to third-party services. The service will be competitively priced and will be supported via discounted data use options such as the recently launched VODACOM TICKET multimedia bundles, VODACOM spokesperson BYRON KENNEDY said. Earlier this month, the company launched its Social Ticket products, which promise users discounts of up to 50% on data used for social media, video, music and gaming. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa boosted by rebound in global diamond demand - Max Seddon

ALROSA grew its net profit 40% y/y in Q1 2018 to Rbs33.2bn on the back of strong sales amid an improving global diamond market. Diamond sales went up 43% in the last quarter to 13.4m ct even as production decreased, with the company selling 6m ct from its stockpile. That allowed ALROSA to grow its EBITDA 8% to Rbs48bn y/y, 8% more than analysts' consensus estimates. Free cash flow went up by 19% to Rbs41.1bn after the company sold a number of non-corer gas assets. Net debt fell by 4.6 times y/y to Rbs18.6bn as a result of the sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Senate votes in favour of retaining net neutrality - Barney Jopson

Democrats scored a surprise Senate victory on net neutrality yesterday, voting to block a move by TRUMP-appointed regulators to scrap rules meant to ensure all internet services are treated equally. The Democratic push is now expected to run aground in the House of Representatives. It passed the Senate thanks to three Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats, but similar defections are less likely in the House. The net neutrality rules prohibit US broadband providers from favouring some bits that flow through their networks over others, banning the introduction of paid-for "fast lanes" and the throttling of services from businesses with which they might compete. The Senate voted by 52 to 47 to reinstate the net neutrality regulations after Democrats forced a vote using a once-obscure tool known as the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn recent regulatory moves with a majority vote. The bill is unlikely to advance in the House, where 25 Republicans would need to switch sides in order for Democrats to bring it up for a vote. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil holds interest rate steady in surprise move, cites EM rout - Andres Schipani

Brazil's central bank unexpectedly left its key interest rate unchanged yesterday, citing the recent sell-off in emerging markets assets for the move. It held the benchmark Selic rate at a record low of 6.5%, confounding the market which had widely expected it to lower rates again following a string of a dozen consecutive cuts. The central bank said the "external scenario become more challenging and volatile. The evolution of risks, largely associated with the normalisation of interest rates in some advanced economies, has led to adjustments in the international financial markets. As a result, there was a reduction in risk appetite for emerging economies". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent jumps 7% after Q1 profits surge - Hudson Lockett

TENCENT shares rose as much as 7.1% in Hong Kong this morning after the company's Q1 profits beat analysts' forecasts. Net profits rose 65% y/y in the three months through Mar. to Rmb23.97bn. Revenues rose 48% to Rmb73.53bn on the back of online ads and a more than doubling of sales from other businesses, though games remained central to growth, with smartphone games sales coming in at Rmb21.7bn. Sales and marketing expenses jumped 76% to Rmb5.57bn, or 8% of revenues, compared to 6% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec ekes out tiny profit rise as Brexit, Steinhoff sting - Hannah Murphy

INTESTEC eked out 1% growth in profit in its latest FY amid a "challenging backdrop" including ongoing Brexit-related uncertainty and losses from its exposure to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. Statutory operating profit at the bank ticked up by 1.4% to £607.5m in the FY to end-Mar., from £599.1m y/y. On a constant currency basis, this was a 3.5% decrease, although revenues rose 6.9% to £2.4bn. Losses from its exposure to STEINHOFF also hit its trading revenues, which fell by 12.5% to £138.2m. The losses from STEINHOFF stood at £13m, although that was less than a Dec. estimate and the company added that SA's economic outlook had become more positive in the final quarter. INVESTEC CEO STEPHEN KOSEFF said the operating performance "was underpinned by sound growth in loans and funds under management and a solid recurring income base, despite a challenging backdrop in South Africa and the UK". The wealth and asset management arm of the business hit £100bn of funds for the first time, while the specialist bank "continued to see good client acquisition". INVESTEC yesterday named PERRY CROSTHWAITE, who already sits on the board as senior independent director and previously headed up the banking division, as its new chair with immediate effect. INVESTEC declared a final dividend of 13.5pps, taking the FY payout to 24p, a 4.3% rise y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesla signs lithium supply deal with Kidman Resources - Henry Sanderson

ELON MUSK's TESLA MOTORS has signed a three-year lithium supply deal with Australia's KIDMAN RESOURCES. The fixed price deal for the mineral will start when KIDMAN's project in Western Australia commences production. Lithium demand is expected to rise fourfold by 2025, according to analysts at GOLDMAN SACHS. KIDMAN is developing the Mount Holland hardrock lithium project in western Australia in a JV with Chile SQM, the world's second-largest producer of the battery raw material. It is also building a refinery to process the lithium into battery grade material, which is expected to start construction in 2021. Currently, most lithium from Australia is sent to China to be processed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US industrial production clocks 3rd straight month of gains - Pan Kwan Yuk

US industrial output grew for a third consecutive month in April, boosted by strong output gains in utilities and the oil and gas sectors. Industrial production rose 0.7% in the month, data from the Federal Reserve showed. That's better than the 0.6% rise analysts had expected and comes as the increase for March was revised upwards from 0.5% to 0.7%. Mining output climbed 1.1%, mostly reflecting strong gains in oil and gas extraction as US shale producers ramped up output in response to higher oil prices. Utilities output rose 1.9% in April. Manufacturing output rose only 0.5% in April - better than the flat reading for March, but a slowdown from the 1.4% recorded in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zoetis to buy veterinary diagnostics company Abaxis for $2bn - Eric Platt

Animal health group ZOETIS has agreed to purchase ABAXIS, a maker of portable blood diagnostic systems for veterinary offices, for $1.9bn. The deal will expand ZOETIS's presence int he market, which the company said would bolster its expansion efforts. The company said it believes sales of veterinary laboratory equipment were advancing faster than the overall animal health industry, fuelled in part by growth outside of the US. ZOETIS said it estimated the size of the veterinary diagnostic market at $3bn. ABAXIS shareholders will receive $83/share under the deal, a 16% premium to the company's closing price on Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moyane's lawyers weighing options after Ramaphosa snub - Tehillah Niselow

Suspended SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE's legal team is studying President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's letter, in which he reportedly refuses to agree to any of MOYANE's requests. MOYANE's lawyer ERIC MABUZA said they are yet to be advised of the date for the disciplinary inquiry, which will be chaired by retired Constitutional Court Judge KATE O'REGAN. MABUZA also confirmed that his client will plead not guilty to all 12 charges of misconduct he faces. Business Day reported that MOYANE's lawyers had written to RAMAPHOSA arguing against the disciplinary inquiry being held in writing, as the SARS Act allows for oral evidence. According to the disciplinary hearing's terms of reference, oral evidence would be heard only at the panel chair's discretion. MABUZA had also requested for the state to pay MOYANE's legal fees for the duration of his disciplinary inquiry. Presidency spokesperson KHUSELA DIKO confirmed to eNCA that RAMAPHOSA had turned down that request, adding that it was "unfortunate" he had taken his issues to the media. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nuclear still in SA's energy mix - Radebe - Khulekani Magubane

Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE yesterday said nuclear energy remained a part of SA's energy mix but added that the extent to which government invests in energy will be determined through policy. RADEBE said nuclear energy would remain one of the mechanisms government would use to diversify its sources of energy in the immediate and distant future. However, he said this would be done responsibly and in accordance with the energy policy adopted by Cabinet later this year. "Nuclear is part of our energy mix. In Koeberg we produce energy out of nuclear. How the mix is finalised will depend of the outcome of the Integrated Resource Plan which will be concluded by August with Cabinet. This is a process that will include the public and stakeholders", RADEBE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Plastic bottle recycling hits record - Simone Liedtke

Despite tough trading conditions and a drop of 13% in the total polyethylene terephthalate market, the local plastic industry recycled a record 2.15bn PET plastic bottles in 2017. With a post-consumer recycling rate of 65%, SA is on par with international standards, industry body PETCO said. The 93 235t of collected PET exceeded the industry target of 58% for 2017 and created 64 000 income-generating opportunities for waste pickers, collectors and recyclers. This, in turn, saved 578 000m3 of landfill space and 139 000t of carbon in the process. PETCO said the 3% y/y rise in recycled tonnage was significant against the backdrop of political and economic instability, volatile exchange rates and industrial strike action, which had affected some of the major industry players in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Santova achieves 13.5% organic profit growth in line with strategic focus - Schalk Burger

SANTOVA grew its profit by 13.5% to R71.3m for the FY to end-Feb., from R62.8m y/y, with the performance of the group having been "purely organic", it said yesterday. This is the result of a strategic choice focused mainly on internal integration and scaling of operations. HEPS rose by 12.4% to 44.84cps and assets by 7.6% to R964.4m. The group's financial position has not been significantly impacted on by currency in the current year. SANTOVA also increased capital and reserves by 13.8% to R416.2m, reduced the group's debt-to-equity ratio from 53% to 46.5%, and increased net cash generated from operating activities by 20% to R67.8m. As a result, cash and cash equivalents on hand rose by 18.1% to R108.4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MPs to summon ministers on R13.8bn owed to Eskom by municipalities - ANA

MPs yesterday resolved to summon the inter-ministerial task team looking into municipalities which owe ESKOM close to R14bn in debt to Parliament. At a meeting of the standing committee on public accounts, ESKOM chair JABU MABUZA said the amount the utility was owed went from R9.5bn last year to R13.8bn at the end of April 2018. SCOPA said it was not happy with the responses received from ESKOM, the South African Local Government Association, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Treasury on how they were working together to solve the debt problem, which could affect ESKOM's standing with lenders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Group Five secures R650m in bridge funding - Irma Venter

GROUP FIVE has secured R650m in short-term bridge funding. The company yesterday said it had also entered a creditors standstill agreement with regards to the secured short-term bridge funding. The R650m bridge funding is for a 12-month period and was obtained from a consortium of local banks. The funding should address the mismatch between the short-term funding needs of GROUP FIVE, the cash funding needed to complete the Kpone contract in Ghana, and the rate at which claims, debtors and non-current assets could be realised to fund outflows. The standstill agreement reached with the consortium and an insurance partner aims to ensure that these parties do not terminate any of their existing facilities, cancel or reduce any available commitment, or limit in terms of their existing facilities, and to provide a temporary suspension of any enforcement action under the existing funding documents. In addition to the bridge funding and standstill agreement, GROUP FIVE said it was continuing to improve its free cash position via the recovery of long-outstanding debts and the conversion of non-current assets and other cash-enhancing initiatives. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet appoints interim CFO - Creamer Media Reporter

MOHAMMED MAHOMEDY has been appointed as TRANSNET's interim CFO with effect from May 15. MAHOMEDY is a chartered accountant and, over his 12 years of service at the SOE, has led key strategic portfolios within finance. Before his latest appointment, MAHOMEDY was GM Finance at TRANSNET GROUP CAPITAL. He also set up and managed the Group Capital Integration Assurance portfolio and was part of the finance executive at TRANSNET FREIGHT RAIL. MAHOMEDY will formulate and lead all aspects of the company's financial strategy, including overseeing the company's funding, capital investment programmes, managing procurement, financial risk and adherence to the highest standards of governance and internal controls. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent profits, revenues jump but subsidies weigh on margins - Louise Lucas

The cost of TENCENT's ramped-up competition with ALIBABA was laid bare when it revealed a 3% drop in operating margins, after stripping out he impact of acquisitions, in Q1. TENCENT said operating profit rose 59% y/y to Rmb30.69bn in the quarter to end-Mar. On a non-GAAP basis, stripping out gains from investee companies, operating profits came in at Rmb25.27bn. Revenues also continued to surge, up 48% at Rmb73.53bn on the back of online ads and a more than doubling of sales from other businesses, notably payments and cloud services, to Rmb15.96bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Martin Gilbert takes break from Glencore board to focus on Sky - Neil Hume

GLENCORE has granted non-executive director MARTIN GILBERT a leave of absence, until mid-Oct. 2018, so that he can focus on the bid battle for SKY. As SKY's deputy chair and senior independent director, GILBERT is at the heart of the bid battle for the UK media group. COMCAST's £22bn offer for SKY earlier this year trumped an £18.5bn bid from RUPERT MURDOCH's 21ST CENTURY FOX. GILBERT, co-CEO of STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN, had been under pressure to honour a commitment given to the asset manager's board to quit his role at either SKY or GLENCORE by the end of the month. The leave of absence from GLENCORE provides him with a temporary solution, allowing him to honour his undertaking to SLA while at the same time remaining on SKY's board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil price surge to constrain demand growth - IEA - Anjli Raval

Rising crude prices will restrain oil demand growth, the International Energy Agency said yesterday. The agency revised lower its assumption for 2018 oil consumption growth to 1.4m bpd - from a prior estimate of 1.5m bpd - with total demand expected at 99.2m bpd. "We expect a slowdown in [demand growth in the second half of the year] largely attributable to higher oil prices", the IEA said in its monthly oil market report. It noted that the removal of energy subsidies in big consumer economies in recent years could mean rising prices have a bigger impact on demand. Production from outside of OPEC will grow by around 1.9m bpd in 2018, led by the US, a slightly higher rate than seen in last month's report. Total output from these countries is forecast at 60m bpd. Commercial stockpiles in industrialised nations fell in Mar. to just above 2.8bn barrels - their lowest level since Mar. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade activity weakens in April - SACCI - Marleny Arnoldi

Trade conditions weakened in April, with SACCI's Trade Conditions Survey's Trade Activity Index measuring 39, down from 43 in March. The prevailing tight trade conditions are reflected in lower sales volumes, weak new orders and declining supplier deliveries. "The current trade conditions are more restrained than in April 2017, with the TAI measuring six index points lower in April than a year ago. Trade expectations are better than a year ago, with the Trade Expectations Index at 54 points, which is two index points, which is two index points above the Apr. 2017 level", SACCI noted. SACCI reported that sales volumes dipped in April, with the subindex 11 points lower at 35, down from 46 in Mar., but with the new orders index only slightly down by one point to 34. Expected sales volumes and expected new orders were both higher at 61 and 54 points, respectively. SACCI said inventories are anticipated to decline to 48 from 53 points over the next six months. The employment subindex improved by one point to 43 in April, while the six months' employment outlook index rose by 6 index points to 52 in April. The employment subindices, however, remained erratic, SACCI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi Q1 performance strong despite maintenance shutdowns, challenging trading conditions - Marleny Arnoldi

MONDI achieved an underlying profit of €295m for Q1 to end-Mar., a 15% improvement on the underlying profit of €256m reported y/y and a 6% improvement on the €279m reported for Q4 2017. Higher average selling prices and profit improvement initiatives across the group offset higher operating costs, which increased as a result of maintenance shutdowns and negative currency effects. Like-for-like sales volumes were stable on the y/y period, with growth in packaging paper offset by lower volumes in uncoated fine paper. The estimated impact on operating profit of maintenance shutdowns completed during the period was around €35m, compared with €10m in Q1 2017. MONDI said cash fixed costs were higher, largely as a result of the impact of maintenance shutdowns. The group said the estimated impact of currency movements on operating profit for 2018 will be around €115m, compared with €95m in 2017, of which around €40m will be incurred in H1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gemgrow positive it will deliver on B share guidance for FY2018 - Marleny Arnoldi

GEMGROW PROPERTIES yesterday reported a dividend of 26.09c per A share and 19.34c per B share for the quarter to end-Mar. - 52.18c/A share and 38.52c/B share for the HY to end-Mar. CFO JUNAID LIMALIA said the company has about 47m preferential shares in issue on its protective, first-paid A share listing, and about 405m B shares in issue. GEMGROW owned 139 properties in the reporting period, of which retail comprised 22%, office 33% and industrial 27%. The value of properties under management rose from R4.5bn as at Sep. 30 to R5bn as at Mar. 31. The revenue stream for the portfolio is now diversified across retail (27%), office (46%) and industrial (27%), with gross leasing area up 10% to 759 964m2. LIMALIA noted that GEMGROW maintains a strong, derisked balance sheet, with a loan to value ratio of 29% and 97% of debt hedged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strong results confirm Capprec's asset value, growth prospects - Schalk Burger

CAPITAL APREPCIATION's strong FY financial results confirm the value of the assets it acquired over the past few years and promises strong organic growth, joint-CEO BRADLEY SACKS said yesterday. The company concluded four acquisitions during the FY to end-Mar., including AFRICAN RESONANCE and DASHPAY, which constitute its payments and payment infrastructure business segment, and SYNTHESIS, which is the first business in its software and service business segment. CAPPREC's revenue grew to R571.3m, from R80.2m y/y, and profit after tax to R142.9m from R39.2m y/y. HEPS rose to 9.53cps and the group declared a final dividend of 2cps, which brings the maiden dividend for the year to 4cps. CAPPREC generated cash of 116.8% of the 2018 profits after tax. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rosatom, Zambia to build nuclear science centre - Anine Kilian

ROSATOM and the government of Zambia have signed an agreement for the construction of the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in the Southern African country. Construction of the centre will be the first joint project between Russia and Zambia in the field of nuclear technologies. "In the near future, we plan to start extensive practical works, including engineering surveys at the site of the centre, assessment of nuclear infrastructure and subsequent development in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations, as well as global and Russian best practice", ROSATOM general director ALEXEY LIKHACHEV said at the signing in Russia. The CNST will be located 10km from Lusaka and will include a nuclear research facility based on a multipurpose research water-cooled reactor of up to 10MW, a laboratory complex, multipurpose irradiation centre, as well as a cyclotron-based nuclear medicine centre. The project will be implemented in several stages in three to six years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa on track to achieve Vision 2020 strategy - Simone Liedtke

THARISA CFO MICHAEL JONES yesterday said the company's Vision 2020 strategy, which is aimed at increasing production to 200 000oz of PGMs and 2mt of chrome concentrates by year-end 2020, is well on track. THARISA has, through its low-cost co-production business model delivered "robust operational and financial results" for the HY to end-Mar. The group reported a profit before tax of $37.2m for the interim period with net cash flows from operating activities at $52.1m. EPS amounted to $0.10, and THARISA declared a maiden interim dividend of $0.02/share. The company's average PGM contained metal basket price benefited from the rise in palladium and rhodium prices, contributing to an increase of 19.6% to $909/oz from $760/oz y/y. Average contracted metallurgical grade chrome concentrate prices decreased to $193/t from $278/t reported in H1 FY2017. Production milestones for THARISA in the period to end-Mar. included an 11.4% increase in PGM production, while PGM recoveries rose to 83.2% from 78.3%, exceeding the targeted 80%. Chrome production was 732 500t, up 15% from the 636 800t produced in H1 y/y, and chrome recoveries improved to 65.9% from 63.4%, exceeding the targeted 65%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP outlines value-add plan - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP is aiming for a 40% increase in its base value by implementing six key strategies, CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE said this week. The strategies included cutting unit costs by more than 15%, accelerating the technology and innovations programme, progressing its five high-return, latent capacity projects, improving the risk-return profile of the company's major projects to make them more competitive within the capital allocation framework, a copper- and oil-focused exploration programme that could offer significant potential to replenish reserves, and exiting the onshore US acreage. "Alongside this, we have reduced net debt by over $10bn, returned $8bn to shareholders, and crucially, replenished our pipeline with new opportunities". MACKENZIE noted that looking ahead, BHP was targeting a further $2bn in productivity gains by the end of the 2019 FY, which was in addition to the $12bn already achieved since 2012. BHP would also use technology to unlock resources and increase productivity, while taking advantage of latent capacity opportunities that MACKENZIE said had the potential to generate average returns of more than 100%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trencor blames losses on reporting impairments - Roy Cokayne

TRENCOR this week said it will still be posting losses for the FY to end-Dec. despite improving conditions in the container leasing market. The company said this resulted from the requirement under IFRS to further impair the container fleets owned by TEXTAINER and TAX, while no such impairments were required by those companies reporting under GAAP. TRENCOR has a 47.8% stake in TEXTAINER and 100% of unlisted TAC. It expects to report HEPS of 100cps-130cps in the FY to end-Feb. This is 123%-130% higher than the HLPS of 435cps reported y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom committed to reducing out of bundle rates - Zeenat Vallie

Following the new regulations introduced by ICASA last month, VODACOM has said that it is committed to implementing the new rules and reducing out of bundle rates. After ICASA's recent changes in regulations, mobile operators have since been placed under pressure to revise their data prices. How this is going to be achieved remains a topic of great interest as South Africans also wonder how exactly they will benefit from this new rollout. Although no pricing changes have been released as yet, VODACOM is working hard to implement the changes by the Jun. 8 deadline. "VODACOM is working hard to be ready to implement the new regulations by the 8 June deadline. We're still working through some of the detail, particularly the technical implementation, to ensure that our systems can accommodate the changes", a company spokesperson said. The company added that already two thirds of all bundles have an hourly, daily of weekly expiry term. The spokesperson noted that while the data price may be low, this would mean it will have a shorter expiry term. "The shorter the expiry term, the lower the price so enforcing a three-year expiry would have had the unintended consequence of pushing prices higher", the person said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB allows customers to open bank accounts with selfies - Siphelele Dludla

FNB yesterday launched a new digital innovation which allows individuals and businesses to open bank accounts in a few minutes by taking a selfie and uploading it into the bank's app. CEO JACQUES CELLIERS said "Selfie", the name of the service, was the bank's latest step towards paperless banking. He said the app would move FNB "from being a digital innovator to being a data-driven contextual platform disruptor". With Selfie, FNB existing and new customers upload selfies to the FNB app, which captures biometric information about them. The app is linked to the Department of Home Affairs and uses Google Maps to validate addresses, doing away with paperwork for proof of residence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Preliminary Angola July oil export plans shows rise vs June - Amanda Cooper

Angola's preliminary export plan for July includes at least 48 cargoes, compared with June's final 43 cargoes, according to a loading programme issued to buyers. Angola's exports slid to their lowest in nearly 12 years in June after SONANGOL dropped two cargoes from the final loading schedule. Output in Angola has been steadily falling because of a lack of investment in its ageing offshore oilfields due to a two-year oil price crash that began in 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania c.bank approves merger of two state-owned banks - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's central bank yesterday said it has approved the merger of two small state banks, TWIGA BANCORP and TPB BANK PLC, as part of a plan to improve financial stability and reduce the number of state-run lenders. The decision is part of a drive to counteract a spike in bad loans since 2015 that has hit bank profits and stifled private sector lending. "We will see more mergers of government-owned banks until we remain with one or just a few banks owned by the government", deputy central bank governor BERNARD KIBESSE said. The Bank of Tanzania took control of TWIGA BANCORP in Oct., saying the majority state-owned bank was severely undercapitalised. The decision followed a call by President JOHN MAGUFULI for action against failing state institutions. Bad debts as a proportion of the total banking industry loan portfolio rose to 11.7% in Dec. 2017, more than twice the maximum target of 5%, up from 10.6% in Jun. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa acquires 90% stake in Zim chrome business - Barbara Lewis

THARISA has bought a 90% stake in SALENE CHROME ZIMBABWE LIMITED, it said yesterday, gaining access to rich chrome deposits and growing its presence in Zimbabwe. The company previously announced an interest to move into Zimbabwe's Great Dyke region, which is considered to have chrome and platinum reserves comparable to those in the Bushveld region of SA. THARISA did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, saying only they required "nominal upfront payment". THARISA has bought the 90% stake from the LETO SETTLEMENT TRUST, which will retain a 10% stake in SALENE and be entitled to a 3% royalty from the sale of the chrome concentrate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB seen keeping rate at 6.5% next week - Vuyani Ndaba

The SARB will keep interest rates unchanged next week as an anticipated quicker rise in consumer prices over the coming months won't drive inflation above target, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. All 25 economists polled in the past week predicted the central bank will hold rates at 6.5% at its May 24 meeting. The SARB cut the repo rate to 6.5% in March, giving a boost to the economy, and is now expected to enter a prolonged period of inactivity, with no change forecast for the next 18 months at least. The rate of increase in consumer prices is not expected to breach the top-end of the central bank's 3%-6% target during the forecast horizon. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda power distributor Umeme to spend $1.2bn to expand grid - Elias Biryabarema

Ugandan power distributor UMEE LTD plans to spend $1.2bn in the next seven years to revamp and expand the grid, and has hired an adviser to explore options for raising the money, CEO SELESTINO BABUNGI said yesterday. The investments will be used to prepare for a rise in power expected to come online by 2020, he added. Uganda is developing two new hydropower plants on the Nile - Karuma and Isimba - and upon completion, they are expected to add a combined 780MW of power to the grid. When the two plants come online, they will roughly double Uganda's existing generation capacity which currently stands at around 700MW. "We need to invest in new infrastructure to uptake the new generation: extending lines, building new substations, connecting more customers", BABUNGI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 17/05/2018

At 07:28 on 17 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.41 Rand/Sterling 16.84 Rand/Euro 14.69 Gold 1292.45 Platinum 890.50 Oil 79.20 All-Share Index 58621.77

SA sells $2bn of bonds in over-subscribed deal - Alexander Winning

SA sold $2bn of bonds maturing in 2030 and 2048 on international capital markets in a deal to finance the government's foreign-currency commitments, the Treasury said yesterday. The Treasury said the bond sale was more than 1.7 times oversubscribed and described it as an expression of investor confidence. SA's 2018 budget review envisaged $9bn of international borrowing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria awards rail project to Chinese state rail firm - Brenda Goh

Nigeria has awarded a $6.68bn contract to the CHINA CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION for work on a major segment of a railway linking Lagos, in the southwest, and Kano in the north, Xinhua reported this week. "The signing of the... segment contract agreement today (Tuesday) concludes all outstanding segments of the Lagos-Kano rail line", Xinhua said, adding that work is expected to take 2-3 years. CCECC, a subsidiary of CHINA RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, has been involved in other parts of the Lagos-Kano rail project, which started in 2006 and was broken into segments for implementation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA retail sales rise 4.8% y/y in March - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Local retail sales rose 4.8% y/y in Mar. after increasing by a revised 4.2% in Feb., data from Statistics SA showed yesterday. On a m/m basis, sales were flat. Sales rose by 4.1% in the three months to end-Mar., compared with the same period last year, Stats SA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Most workers back at Guinea's SMB bauxite mine after strike - Saliou Samb

Operations at SOCIETE MINIERE DE BOKE's bauxite mine in Guinea have restarted following a nearly two-week strike that caused a halt in production of the aluminium ore, MD FREDERIC BOUZIGUES said yesterday. The company, owned by Guinea, China's WINNING SHIPPING LTD, SHANDONG WEIQIAO and UMS INTERNATIONAL LTD, on Monday said it had already lost 1m-1.2m tonnes of scheduled bauxite output due to the strike. "The overwhelming majority of workers went back to work this morning even if there are a few scattered blockages without any impact on shipments", BOUZIGUES said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US shoppers spending again as retail sales climb - Sam Fleming

US retail sales rose in Apr. for a second consecutive month, suggesting households were spending more freely following a fallow period at the start of the year. Headline sales grew 0.3% to $497.6bn last month from Mar., according to data released by the Commercial Department on Tuesday, in line with analysts' forecast. The m/m gain for March was revised up to 0.8%. JPMORGAN analysts said after the retail data that real consumer spending was running at a 2.4% annualised rate in Q2, twice the pace in the first three months of the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto warns of threat from rising costs and resource nationalism - Neil Hume

The head of RIO TINTO has issued a stark warning to the mining industry, saying it will have to work hard to protect margins and generate cash against a backdrop of rising costs and increased political risk. CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said cost inflation driven by near $80/barrel was affecting the entire sector and all commodities, while resource nationalism was gaining momentum. "Volatility in markets... trade warns and resource nationalism are all sources of uncertainty... And as we predicted last year, cost pressures have returned. In this environment asset quality really matters and operating capability is critical. Protecting margins and generating cash will be hard across the industry", JACQUES said. "A significant industry issue is resource nationalism. From the DRC and South Africa to Mongolia and Australia, it is gaining momentum". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME reports highest profits since 2015 - Neil Hume

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE has reported its highest profits since 2015, buoyed by a recovery in metals markets and lower costs. Pre-tax profits in the FY to end-Dec. rose 5% to $109m, allowing the exchange to pay a $75m dividend to parent HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING. A separate filing showed the LME's clearing business made pre-tax profits of $5m in 2017, against $52m y/y, and paid a dividend of $21.5m to HKEX. The results also show volumes traded on the LME totalled 157m lots last year, up 0.6% from a year earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WTO ruling on Airbus paves way for US sanctions on EU - Peggy Hollinger

The US has won the right to impose billions in punitive tariffs on EU imports after the World Trade Organisation handed Washington a victory in the first of two crucial decisions that could finally end a 14-year battle over illegal subsidies to BOEING and AIRBUS. The ruling paves the way for what could be the largest retaliatory action in WTO history. It also risks exacerbating growing trade tensions between the EU and US. The WTO's appeals body yesterday upheld a 2016 ruling that the EU has failed to eliminate billions in illegal aid to AIRBUS on two aircraft - the A380 superjumbo and the A350 twin aisle jet. The European Commission said it would take "swift action" to ensure it was in line with the WTO findings. BOEING, which argued that unlawful aid to these two programmes comes to $9bn of its original alleged $22bn in illegal support, welcomed the ruling as vindication of its claims that European governments have for decades illegally subsidised the rise of AIRBUS via cheap loans for the launch of new aircraft. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta appoints Naidoo to lead African ops - Henry Sanderson

VEDANTA RESOURCES has appointed South African-born DESHNEE NAIDOO to lead its African operations. NAIDOO will oversee the group's copper and zinc mines in Zambia, SA, Namibia and Tanzania. She has 20 years experience in the mining industry, and was previously CFO of ANGLO AMERICAN's thermal coal business in SA. NAIDOO joined VEDANTA in 2014 and led the expansion of its $400m Gamsberg zinc project in SA. She replaces STEEN DIN, who will leave the company in July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Thomson Reuters to move forex derivatives out of London after Brexit - Philip Stafford

THOMSON REUTERS is planning to transfer its widely used forex derivatives trading from London to Dublin to be ready for the UK's departure from the EU next year. In a note to clients yesterday, the company said it had applied to the Central Bank of Ireland for a licence. It will be used to cover THOMSON REUTERS' derivatives business, the largest in Europe which trades more than $300bn a day. The business is part of the THOMSON REUTERS trading operations being bought by BLACKSTONE for $17bn. The move will split legal oversight of THOMSON REUTERS' European cash and derivatives venues. As part of the move, THOMSON REUTERS will drop its UK-regulated licence to trade derivatives in the EU. It will keep its spot trading market, which trades around $100bn/day, in London as this is outside the scope of Mifid II, Europe's main market rules. The technology for matching deals, and processing and settling them will also remain in London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China sold US Treasuries in Mar. amid trade concerns - Joe Rennison

China sold $2.5bn of Treasuries in Mar. amid heightened tension between Beijing and Washington over trade, official data showed yesterday. China joined other countries in selling long-term US government debt with a maturity over one year, having been a net buyer in Jan. and Feb., data from the US Treasury showed. Japan sold $8bn, adding to sales in Jan. and Feb. of $2.1bn and $14bn, respectively. Despite the selling activity, China's overall holdings rose by $9bn to $1.19tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan GDP suffers first contraction since 2015 - Hudson Lockett

Japan's economy contracted in Q1 for the first time since 2015, according to an early reading that showed a drop of nearly 1% in domestic demand. A preliminary reading on GDP from Japan's Cabinet Office showed an annualised contraction of 0.6% inQ1, coming in well below a median forecast calling for a 0.2% fall from economists polled by Reuters. Private demand fell an annualised 0.95. The Cabinet Office also revised Q4 GDP growth to an annualised 0.6% from 1.6% previously. On a q/q basis, GDP fell 0.2%, with sequential growth in the Dec. quarter revised from 0.4% to just 0.1%. Private demand dropped 0.3% q/q, pulling headline growth down 0.2 percentage points as private residential investment fell 2.1%. Exports rose 0.6% sequentially and imports grew 0.3%, shaking out to a 0.1 percentage point rise in the headline figure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Burberry announces share buyback as operating profit climbs - Jonathan Eley

BURBERRY reported FY adjusted operating profit slightly ahead of analysts' expectations and said it would buy back a further £150m of shares as the group continues its transformation. For the FY to end-Mar., revenue at constant currencies was £2.73bn, while adjusted operating profit was £467m, just ahead of forecasts for £453m. Free cash flow was £484m, leaving the group with £892m at year-end. The FY dividend will rise 6% to 41.3pps. Looking ahead, BURBERRY said net space reduction in its stores was expected to reduce retail revenue by 1% this year, but that it expected to save a further £36m via cost reductions, taking the cumulative total to £100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt to proceed with shale gas exploration and exploitation - Mantashe - Lameez Omarjee

Government intends to fast-track the exploration and exploitation of shale gas, Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE said yesterday. "The southern Main Karoo Basin is considered the most prospective area for shale gas, with a possible estimation of 205 trillion cubic feet of gas technically recoverable, as reported by PETROLEUM AGENCY SA", MANTASHE told Parliament. "We intend to move with speed to fast-track the finalisation of exploration rights applications, so that South Africa can maximise its chances of reaping the benefits from shale gas exploration and exploitation". In Sep. 2017, Reuters reported that a new study in the Journal of Science by geologists from the University of Johannesburg and three other institutions suggested there were closer to 13tcf of gas, at the bottom of the range of estimates. Estimates of the available deposits have ranged from around 13 tcf to 390 tcf. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI to launch R500m incentive scheme for metal and engineering industry - Lameez Omarjee

The Department of Trade & Industry is dealing with the steel glut by providing a R500m incentive scheme for metal and engineering, Parliament has heard. Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES yesterday tabled a budget vote in Parliament where he shared some of the department's key priority areas. Among these is to provide support for the metal and engineering value chain, which has been troubled by electricity price hikes and slowing demand from the mining sector. DAVIES said the use of incentives and other industry policy tools could stabilise sectors in distress, as was seen in the clothing and textiles industry. To save the steel industry, it is important to raise competitiveness by raising investment. "We want a similar story in metals and engineering... We need to ensure we defend ourselves in [the] current environment". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAT inks MoU to help emerging tobacco farmers in E Cape - Fin24

Tobacco farming is making a comeback in the Eastern Cape with the signing of an MoU between BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO SA and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation to support emerging farmers. BATSA will fund training in tobacco production and general mixed crop farming, as well as skills development, and will buy and process the tobacco produced by the farmers. The ECDC will help to identify emerging farmers for inclusion in the programme, facilitate co-funding of co-operatives and programmes and help to manage and monitor implementation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurobond sale test of confidence in Ramaphosa - Lyubov Pronina

SA is hoping to ride a wave of improved investor sentiment by tapping the eurobond market for the first time under new President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, as his administration tackles mismanagement and corruption. SA is marketing dollar securities maturing in 2030 and 2048, with initial price talk of about 6% and 6.375% respectively, according to sources. The country had budgeted to sell $3bn of international debt this year, according to Treasury documents. SA last issued eurobonds in Sep., when it sold $2.5bn of 10- and 30-year notes. Yields on the former rose nine basis points to 5.48% by 11:21 in Johannesburg yesterday, while the longer-dated securities traded at 6.05%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA may have lost R100bn or more to state capture - Gordhan - Khulekani Magubane

State capture may have cost SA R100bn or more, Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said yesterday. GORDHAN said he would, however, leave it to Judge RAYMOND ZONDO's judicial inquiry into state capture to conduct the full investigation of the matter. He said he was optimistic that the state capture probe would get to the bottom of how the GUPTAS and their associates managed to orchestrate state capture, and exactly how much was lost. He said the continued efforts of their allies in some of these entities, to erase evidence of their actions, must not succeed. "Disappearance of documents is becoming a bit of an industry. People don't want the inquiry to get hold of evidence of what they have done. The good people in these institutions must provide all [the assistance] they can and help Justice ZONDO conduct this inquiry", GORDHAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US and China 'still very far apart' on trade, says US ambassador - Gabriel Wildau

The US and China are "still very far apart" on disputes over trade, technology and market access, US ambassador to China TERRY BRANSTAD said yesterday. BRANSTAD said the US wanted to see a "specific timetable" on market opening, following demands presented by a US delegation that visited Beijing earlier this month. He was one of seven US representatives who participated in the trade talks. "The Chinese have said 'we want to see the specifics'. We gave them all the specifics in terms of trade issues... We're still very far apart", BRANSTAD said. He noted that China had not met pledges to open financial services and cut auto tariffs. "There are many areas where China has promised to do but haven't. We want to see a timetable. We want to see these things happen sooner or later". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

North Korea cancels S Korea talks over military drill - Jessica Dye

North Korea yesterday pulled out of high-level talks with South Korea which were scheduled for today, in response to a joint military exercise being conducted by the south and the US. "This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an international military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula", the North's Korean Central News Agency said. The KCNA statement also suggested possible trouble for the highly anticipated summit between KIM JONG UN and DONALD TRUMP, which is set to take place in Singapore next month. "The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about he fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities", KCNA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina peso boosted as c.bank auction deemed a success - Benedict Mander

Argentina's peso received a strong vote of confidence yesterday after investors hailed the central bank's auction of $25bn in short-term securities as a success. All holders of the local currency notes known as Lebacs chose to roll over their investments, avoiding the capital outflows that have destroyed around a fifth of the peso's value in the last three weeks. With the amount of securities at stake equal to almost half the value of Argentina's $53bn forex reserves, the central bank agreed to pay 40% interest rates on the notes to maintain investor interest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paddy Power Betfair in talks to buy FanDuel - Murad Ahmed

PADDY POWER BETFAIR is in talks to acquire fantasy sports site FANDUEL as the UK and Ireland-based bookmaker looks to capitalise on a sudden lifting of a federal ban on sports betting across the US. Media reports yesterday suggested the two groups were close to completing a deal, but a source close to PADDY POWER BETFAIR's leadership said the talks were ongoing. People close to the bookmaker said it has been talking to American gambling groups for weeks over potential deals and partnerships, in anticipation of a US Supreme Court decision delivered on Monday. That ruling struck down a federal law against sports betting, paving the way for individual states to legalise the practice. BARCLAYS estimates the US gambling market could be worth $10bn in net revenue to gambling operators, a figure that excludes money given back to punters in prizes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investors punish Barclays Africa over Hodnett's exit - Fin24

BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP yesterday announced the resignation of deputy CEO and director DAVID HODNETT with immediate effect. The market did not take to the announcement kindly, sending BGA shares down 2.69% to R176.13 by mid-afternoon yesterday. The share hit an intra-day low of R174.01. In a note to shareholders, the bank said HODNETT would participate in a handover until Aug. 31, and thanked him for his "extensive contribution". Business Insider SA reports that his resignation could be over a disagreement on strategic direction. BGA in Apr. announced a new structure, with four core businesses, as part of the bank's long-term vision to chart its own path after separating from its UK parent company. The initial announcement stated that HODNETT would take a two-month sabbatical, and the CEOs of the four operations would report directly to group CEO MARIA RAMOS. This would essentially have meant that HODNETT's role as head of SA banking would fall away. No further details were provided on his post-sabbatical future at the time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rebosis concludes agreement to sell six office buildings for R888m - Simone Liedtke

REBOSIS PROPERTY FUND has, via subsidiary ASCENSION PROPERTIES, concluded an agreement with BOXWOOD PROPERTY INVESTMENT FUND for the sale of six office buildings for R888m. The disposal forms part of the company's strategy to be a retail-focussed fund and to reduce the company's gearing in line with the roadmap outlines in its interim results announcement earlier this month. The proceeds of the disposal will be used to reduce the company's existing debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Govt faces strike action over protracted wage talks - News24Wire

The Public Service Association will start balloting its members in favour of a strike as the union grows increasingly frustrated with protracted government wage talks. While government has kept mum on its wage offer, it is reported to be 7% increases at junior salary levels and 6% for senior staff. Unions are demanding between 10% and 12% wage hikes, the abolition of lower salary levels and the delinking of housing allowances when both spouses work in the public sector. The current wage deal lapsed on Mar. 31, and talks have been ongoing since Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Motorists in for another massive petrol price spike - News24Wire

Motorists can expect another massive fuel price hike at the start of June, the AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION warned yesterday. Commending on unaudited mid-month fuel price data published by the CENTRAL ENERGY FUND, the AA said last month's fuel price account was closed earlier by the Department of Energy, resulting in the postponement of a substantial 50c/litre increase brought on by a weakening rand and rising international oil prices at the end of April. "This means the country started [May] with a substantial fuel price deficit. In the first half of May, the fuel price has continued to worsen, with steep oil price rises and ongoing weakness of the rand against the US dollar". Fuel users are currently facing hikes of 74c/l for petrol, 81c/l for diesel and 78c/l for paraffin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Logicalis to acquire Coasin Chile for $20m - Natasha Odendaal

A subsidiary of LOGICALIS is acquiring Chilean ICT services and solutions provider COASIN CHILE for up to $20.2m in cash, parent DATATEC said yesterday. LOGICALIS expects to complete the deal in Q3 2018. It will pay $19.1m to current owners SOCIEDAD DE EJUCUCION DE PROYECTOS DE INGENIERIA DATATEL, SOCIEDAD DE INVERSIONES TECNOLOGICAS and INVERSIONES TELCO CHILE upon completion of the deal. A further $1.1m will be paid based on COASIN achieving a stipulated profit target for the 12 months to end-Jun. The acquisition, which will be settled in cash from LOGICALIS' resources, remains subject to certain third-party consents as well as regulatory approvals. COASIN reported turnover of $84.4m, profit after tax of $2.8m and net assets of $12m for the FY to end-Dec. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola LNG Soyo plant to shut for planned maintenance - Reuters

Angola's Soyo plant, which has a capacity of 5.2mt of LNG per year, will have a planned shutdown for maintenance in July, a company spokesperson said yesterday. Production at the plant is expected to resume in early August. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mountain Province welcomes former De Beers CFO as new CEO - Henry Lazenby

Canada's MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMODNS has appointed STUART BROWN as incoming president and CEO, effective from Jul. 1, to replace interim president and CEO DAVID WHITTLE, who took the helm following the immediate departure of former president and CEO PATRICK EVANS in June 2017. In 2006, BROWN was appointed as CFO of DE BEERS before taking on the role of CEO of FIRESTONE DIAMONDS. He was responsible for securing the funding and building the team that delivered the successful construction and transition to production of FIRESTONE's Liqhobong diamond mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norway postpones decision on carbon capture plant, drops Yara - Reuters

Norway postponed a final decision on whether to go ahead with a project to develop Europe's first industrial carbon capture and offshore storage project, after dropping one of its participants, YARA INTERNATIONAL. The government yesterday said YARA's site, one of three industrial facilities identified for the project, was not suitable and the project as a whole needed to be more cost effective. Governments and businesses seeking to cut carbon emissions have long cherished the idea of storing CO2 in the ground rather than emitting it. The Norwegian government, which has estimated the project will cost up to NKr12.6bn, had planned to decide in 2019 on whether to invest some of the money for the project, but yesterday put that decision off until some time during 2020 or 2021. The other two sites identified for the project are Olso's Klemetsrud waste-to-energy plant owned by Finland's FORTUM, and a site owned by NORCEM, a subsidiary of HEIDELBERGCEMENT. The government yesterday said it needed more time to decide whether to grant support to FORTUM's project, but gave NORCEM's site the green light, saying it would grant NKr80m for NORCEM's project to capture around 400 000t of carbon emissions per year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo to spin off unit to encourage platinum demand - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN will spin out its internal venture capital unit, it said yesterday, as it seeks to spur investment in fuel-cell technology to boost demand for platinum. The World Platinum Investment Council sees oversupply in the platinum market of 180 000oz in 2018, down from last year's level but above a previous forecast of 25 000oz. Confirming a report in the FT, ANGLO said it would provide more details in due course on the spin off of the internal fund that has been exploring new applications for PGMs, including hydrogen fuel cells. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB approves Sibanye/Lonmin deal - Creamer Media Reporter

The SARB has approved SIBANYE-STILLWATER's proposed acquisition of LONMIN. LONMIN CEO BEN MAGARA said the company was pleased that the central bank had approved the deal. The transaction remains on schedule for closure during H2 2018, subject to approval by LONMIN and SIBANYE's shareholders, as well as the UK and South African competition authorities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana President eyes jobs in new 'marriage' with De Beers - Bloomberg

Botswana's President MOKGWEETSI MASISI wants a new long-term diamond sales pact with DE BEERS when the current 10-year deal expires in 2020, and for more gems to be processed locally. "We have had a wonderful relationship with DE BEERS and we expect that relationship to be even more cemented", MASISI said on Monday. MASISI succeeded IAN KHAMA as Botswana's leader on Apr. 1. He said preparations for the talks are at an advanced stage, but declined to give details of the government's proposals or whether it wanted to raise its stake in DE BEERS, saying he didn't want to prejudice the talks. The new deal may differ from the current one as the circumstances and operating environment had changed, MASISI said. He added that Botswana wants skilled jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC mining code draft regulations complete - Marleny Arnoldi

Major mining companies operating in the DRC remain hopeful that meaningful changes can still be made to the 2018 Mining Code. The commission established to draft the regulations to effect the mining code has officially completed its work. It will now report back to the Minister of Mines, who will then work with the inter-ministerial commission ahead of presenting it to government for approval. Industry representatives participated actively in the process and influenced a number of the regulations arising from the code. However, because the commission's terms of reference were restricted to the regulations, it could not deal with key issues, notably around the rights vested under the former code, the companies said. Industry representatives said they would continue to engage with government at all levels, as well as with influential organisation Civil Society - a member of the Mining Code revision tripartite group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoM opposes Eskom's RCA applications - Simone Liedtke

The Chamber of Mines has opposed ESKOM's application to NERSA for a large tariff hike to recover losses on its Regulatory Clearing Account. If granted, the requested R66.6n increase will be passed on to consumers and result in mine closures, the Chamber warned yesterday. It suggested that ESKOM should rework its business plan to reduce its fixed and variable costs, while growing sales, which will reduce the electricity tariff. Further, it has recommended that NERSA not pass the RCA on to customers but rather that government task itself with dealing with the continuing inefficiencies at ESKOM. The CoM further recommended that ESKOM reduce its spare capacity from 35% to an industry-acceptable capacity of 15%. "This can be achieved by mothballing or putting some of the older power stations on cold storage", the CoM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM closes $17.62m public offering - Simone Liedtke

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has closed the issuing of 117.45m units at a price of $0.15/unit for gross proceeds of about $17.62m. Each unit comprises one common share and one common share purchase warrant of PTM. Each warrant will entitle the holder thereof to buy one common share at a price of $0.17 for a term of 18 months from the date of closing of the offering. The net proceeds of the offering, before expenses, of about $16.56m, will be used towards the repayment of a loan facility and production payment termination fees owed to LIBERTY METALS & MINING HOLDINGS and for general corporate and working capital purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R concludes Genrec sale - Roy Cokayne

MURRAY & ROBERTS has concluded the sale of GENREC, its steel fabrication and erection contracting business, to black-owned SOUTHERN PALACE. M&R said the transaction was implemented effective from May 1. The group in Nov. 2016 also sold its southern African infrastructure and building business to a consortium led by the SOUTHERN PALACE GROUP for R314m. The assets and liabilities included in the GENREC transaction were sold at book value. It follows M&R initially selling GENREC in Oct. 2016 to NISELA CAPITAL for R185m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom launches free service for the deaf - Business Report

VODACOM this week launched an SMS emergency service for the deaf, hearing as well as speech impaired customers. The free service aims to make the lives of hearing impaired individuals easier. "We are confident that this initiative will assist in promoting the ability to communicate for deaf and hearing impaired customers through digital inclusion as they can now request help should they experience an emergency situation", VODACOM executive KAREN SMIT said. Deaf and hearing impaired customers will now be able to request emergency services via SMS by sending an SMS to 082 112. Customers will be able to request the services of police and ambulance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA aims to finalise mining charter in June - Mantashe - Alexander Winning

SA aims to finalise a third version of a hotly contested mining charter in June, Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE said yesterday, later than the government had predicted last month. "We aim to finalise and gazette the mining charter in June, having taken on board inputs and concerns from stakeholders across the country", MANTASHE said in a speech to parliament. He said in April that he aimed to finalise the charter by May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICBC targets Chinese visitors to Kenya with new credit card - John Ndiso

The INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA has launched a credit card in partnership with Kenya's STANBIC BANK to tap a growing pool of Chinese visitors to the country. Around 53 485 Chinese visitors came to Kenya in 2017 and ICBC, which owns STANBIC parent STANDARD BANK, expects the number to rise to 60 000 this year. ICBC AFRICA deputy CEO GANG SUN said users of the card will be able to pay for hotels and other services while visiting Kenya. "More and more Chinese choose to travel abroad for their vacations... with average consumption of $1 250 per person", SUN said. ICBC's number of credit card users rose to 88.59m last year, making it China's largest domestic credit card issuing bank, it said in Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye-Stillwater will close loss-making output at Lonmin - Zandi Shabalala

SIBANYE-STILLWATER plans to shut loss-making production at LONMIN when it takes over the platinum miner, SIBANYE CFO JUSTIN FRONEMAN said yesterday. "We will not cross-subsidise loss-making production across the portfolio", FRONEMAN said at the Bloomberg Intelligence Precious Metals Forum in London. "If we've got ounces that aren't covering their costs they will be taken out... we have to do that. We can't let our shareholders absorb those kind of expenses". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA unemployment rate steady in Q1 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's unemployment rate was unchanged at 26.7% of the labour force in Q1 2018 q/q, Statistics SA said yesterday. In its quarterly workforce update, the statistics agency said there were 6m people without jobs in the three months to end-Mar., compared with 5.9m in the final quarter of 2017. The expanded definition of unemployment rose to 36.7% in Q1, from 36.3% q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 16/05/2018

At 07:10 on 16 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.56 Rand/Sterling 16.97 Rand/Euro 14.87 Gold 1290.50 Platinum 898.00 Oil 78.47 All-Share Index 57891.77

Toshiba says chip sale still on track - Kana Inagaki

TOSHIBA's $18bn sale of its NAND memory chip business remains on track, CEO NOBUAKI KURUMATANI said today as the company returned to annual profit for the first time in four years. Approval from China is the final hurdle to completing the sale of TOSHIBA's chip unit to a consortium led by US private equity group BAIN CAPITAL. "We have not received any negative feedback from Chinese regulators", KURUMATANI said, adding: "There is no change to our stance from before". TOSHIBA said it expects its net profit to rise 33% y/y to Y1.07tn for the FY through Mar. 2019. The forecast was based on the assumption that it would receive a boost of Y970bn from the chip sale. At end-Mar., its equity ratio recovered to 17.6% from negative 13% a year ago, removing the risk that its shares would be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC stands ready to support oil market stability - Anjli Raval

OPEC countries are prepared to step in to alleviate any market shortages together with other producers, the group suggested yesterday, acknowledging recent geopolitical developments could hit oil supplies. "Despite the large uncertainties prevailing in key market fundamentals, OPEC, as always, stands ready to support oil market stability, together with non-OPEC oil producing nations", OPEC said in its monthly oil market report. Production from OPEC members rose by 12 000 bpd last month to average 31.9m bpd, according to estimates by secondary sources such as analysts and industry consultants. Yet the group estimates demand for its crude will stand at a higher level this year at 32.7m bpd - another upward revision. OPEC also increased its global demand forecast for 2018. Growth in consumption was revised higher by 25 000 bpd to 1.65m bpd, compared with last month's report on stronger data from industrialised nations in Q1. Total demand is set to stand at nearly 98.85m bpd this year, also higher than anticipated by 200 000 bpd. Non-OPEC supply was revised slightly higher, by 10 000 bpd as higher predictions for output from the US, Argentina, Colombia and China were largely offset by downward revisions to Canada, Mexico, Norway, the UK and Brazil. It is now estimated to grow by 1.7m bpd y/y - almost 90% accounted for by the US - to average 59.6m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's warns emerging economies over debt vulnerabilities - Kate Allen

Emerging economies with shorter debt maturities and less fiscal scope to accommodate rising debt costs are most vulnerable to a tightening of global financial conditions, according to research by MOODY's. The study singled out Egypt, Bahrain, Pakistan, Lebanon and Mongola as particularly at risk; Sri Lanka and Jordan are also "highly exposed" to an interest rate shock, MOODY's said. Investors who bought some of the riskiest emerging market sovereign bond sales of the past year have in recent weeks been left nursing paper losses as a strengthening dollar rattles sentiment in emerging markets. MOODY's' study of 125 sovereigns looked at two scenarios - a moderate rise in interest rates and a sharper and more immediate increase in funding costs,both of which were assumed to last for four years. MOODY's VP ELISA PARISI-CAPONE said the research concluded that "a moderate shock would generally be manageable, with limited impact on sovereigns' debt affordability and debt burdens other than for those which already exhibit very low fiscal strength". However, a severe shock would pressure a broader set of ratings, she added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook suspends 200 apps from platform over data misuse - Federica Cocco

FACEBOOK has said it has kicked around 200 apps off its platform as part of the first phase of an investigation into third-party apps with access to users' data. The company yesterday announced that since an audit of all apps began last month, "around 200" have been suspended "pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data". "Where we find evidence that these or other apps did misuse data, we will ban them and notify people via this website", IME ARCHIBONG, VP of product partnerships at FACEBOOK, said in a blog post. The review focused on apps that were given access to user data before 2014, when the social network changed its policy and reduced access to its data, as well as those which acted suspiciously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF sounds warning on Irish property market - Arthur Beesley

The IMF has sounded a fresh warning about Ireland's surging property market, saying residential prices appear "modestly overvalued" by some measures. The Fund has also called for close attention to the upswing in Irish commercial property. Irish property has recovered well from the 2008 crash, but rapid job growth and years of pent-up demand for homes have led to a severe housing shortage, with double-digit price increases and record rents presenting a big challenge to the government. "We don't have very clear signs of overvaluation but it's going that way", IMF mission chief to Ireland ERIK DE VRIJER said. "We're not saying that house prices are overvalued. We're saying that some indicators are that they are entering overvalued territory, which is a bit of a very subtle message" DE VRIJER also urged Dublin not to cut taxes in the 2019 budget next Oct., saying the government should not "overstimulate" the expanding economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China retail sales, investment miss expectations in Apr. - Edward White

China's retail sales and investment growth came in below economist forecasts last month but industrial production grew faster than expected, official figures showed today. Total fixed-asset investment for the first four months of 2018 rose 7% y/y, China's National Bureau of Statistics said. That was below a median estimate of 7.4% from economists surveyed by Reuters, and down 0.5% from the three months to March. Retail sales growth showed a y/y rise of 9.4% in April, missing a 10% forecast from Reuters and down 0.7 percentage points m/m. Industrial output rose 7% y/y in April, besting a median forecast of 6.3% and climbing 1 percentage point from March's level. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lira hits low on Erdogan monetary policy signal - Hudson Lockett

The Turkish lira touched a record low against the dollar after President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN said he could exert more influence on monetary policy if re-elected next month. The currency shed as much as 0.7% to a record 4.3981/$ today after the comments. "When the people fall into difficulties because of monetary policies, who are they going to hold accountable?" ERDOGAN said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "They'll hold the president accountable. Since they'll ask the president about it, we have to give off the image of a president who's influential on monetary policies", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Agricole profits shy of forecasts in Q1 - David Keohane

CREDIT AGRICOLE today posted profits short of forecasts after a complicated quarter as the French lender was held back by its home retail market and tough trading conditions. The mutual bank's listed vehicle saw net income in Q1 come in at €856m, up y/y but behind analyst forecasts of €878m. The lender was held back by its retail business LCL which was profits fall almost 25% and by its investment bank, which dropped 35% compared to the previous quarter. CREDIT AGRICOLE said trading revenue fell by 24%, adding that it runs no proprietary trading activity "which could have offset the wait-and-see approach by clients". The group's asset management business, AMUNDI, held up well, aided by the purchase of PIONEER from Italy's UNICREDIT last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German economy slows more abruptly than expected - Cat Rutter Pooley

The German economy slowed more than expected in Q1 2018, growing 0.3% on the prior quarter. Economists had expected a slowdown in the q/q growth rate, from 0.6% in Q4 2017 to 0.4%, according to a Reuters poll. The slowdown was driven by a drop in government final consumption expenditure for the first time in five year, German statistics office Destatis said, and a hit to foreign trade. Both exports and imports contracted q/q, adding further weight to concerns about the impact of US tariffs and the looming global trade war. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Premier Foods sales growth rises to 5-yr high - Naomi Rovnick

PREMIER FOODS has achieved its best sales performance in five years as UK consumers have tightened their belts on clothes and furniture shopping but continued to stock up their pantries. The company said revenue rose 3.6% to £819.2m in the FY to end-Mar., which was its fastest rate of growth in half a decade. Pre-tax profits rose by 74% to £21m. The group's grocery revenues rose 4.6% during the year. At its non-branded business, which makes food for retailers, revenues rose 12.1%. In the past quarter, PREMIER's grocery sales soared by 9.4%, while group sales rose 7%, somewhat held back by lacklustre trading in its "sweet treats" unit that produces cakes and desserts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodafone CEO to stand down - Nic Fildes

VITTORIO COLAO will step down from his positoin as CEO of VODAFONE in Oct. 2018 after a decade at the helm of the telecoms giant. He will had over to NICK READ, CFO since 2014, who has been groomed as the internal candidate to take over having held executive roles including head of the UK business ans five years as CEO of VODAFONE's Africa, Middle Eastern and Asia Pacific unit. VODAFONE chair GERARD KLEISTERLEE said COLAO's tenure had been "outstanding". The announcement accompanied FY results for VODAFONE that showed revenue down 2.2% to €46.6bn. Its service revenue rose 1.6%, driven by broadband growth. EBITDA grew by 12% to €15bn, beating its forecast, while free cash flow was €5.6bn hitting its promise to exceed €5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin takeover faces UK competition probe - Neil Hume

The deal to save LONMIN is facing another hurdle. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority today said it was studying the proposed takeover by SIBANYE-STILLWATER. The CMA "is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterpise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services". LONMIN yesterday insisted that the SIBANYE deal was still progressing even though the company saw its cash balance drop sharply as it slid to an H1 loss. If LONMIN fails to close the deal it could struggle to refinance its debts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia sales weigh on German wholesaler Metro - Jonathan Eley

German wholesaler METRO saw its sales in Russia slump by 8.85 on a like-for-like basis in H1 FY2018. Reported sales fell by nearly 15%. At the wholesale division overall, same-store sales were up 1.2% in the period. Group earnings before tax were €333m, down 22% y/y. METRO had already warned investors that profits for the FY would likely be lower as a result of the difficulties in Russian and exchange rate movements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sinosteel to invest $1bn in Zim, lift ferrochrome output - MacDonald Dzirutwe

China's SINOSTEEL CORPORATION has agreed to invest $1bn in Zimbabwe to build a power plant and increase ferrochrome output, President EMMERSOM MNANGAGWA said yesterday. SINOSTEEL president ANDONG LIU said the company planned to build three additional furnaces at its majority-owned ZIMASCO business, which would raise ferrochrome output by 120 000t over the next five years to 300 000t/y. ANDONG said he saw ferrochrome output from ZIMASCO at 500 000t annually in ten years' time. The company also plans to build a 400MW coalbed methane-fired power plant in western Zimbabwe, the firm's president added. "We will continue to review our process to facilitate investment inflows as well as ease of doing business", MNANGAGWA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Popo Molefe appointed chair of Transnet's interim board - Tehillah Niselow

Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN has undertaken a broad shakeup at TRANSNET and appointed POPO MOLEFE as interim chair. MOLEFE previously chaired PRASA. GORDHAN also removed the remaining members of the TRANSNET board - SETH RADEBE, POTSO MATHEKGA and ZAINUL NAGDEE. They were removed as non-executive directors with immediate effect. MOLEFE will chair the interim board and five interim members have been appointed. They are LOUIS ZEUNER, RAMASELA GANDA, URSULA FIKELEPI, EDWARD KIESWETTER and DIMAKATSO MATSHOG. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Competition watchdog casts eye over public transport - Lameez Omarjee

Public hearings to be conducted by the Competition Commission for the public passenger transport market inquiry are scheduled to kick off in June. The Commission yesterday said the inquiry seeks to address inefficiencies in the provision of public transport and understand market dynamics of the entire value chain. The probe seeks to address concerns that there may be features that prevent, distort or restrict competition in a sector that caters for the transport needs of 70%-80% of the population, the commission said. Members of the public have until May 18 to apply to appear before the hearings. The commission will focus on minibus taxis, metered taxis, app-based taxi services, METRORAIL, GAUTRAIN, buses and 4+1s ( a car that operates like a taxi service). The terms or reference of the inquiry include considering the impact of competition by existing price setting mechanisms, price regulation, route allocation, licensing and entry regulations and allocation of subsidies. They also cover transport planning to evaluate government's transport plans and transformation in the industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bus strike finally ends, compromise wage deal brokered - Sibongile Khumalo

Bus drivers have officially ended their protracted strike after reaching a compromise wage settlement on Monday. Drivers agreed to a 9% wage hike for the first year and 8% for the second year. The offer is backdated to Apr. 17, the date of the start of the strike. Workers initially demanded that the wages be backdated to Apr. 1. One bus company is apparently still refusing to agree to the settlement until the signed agreement has been delivered. The company concerned is GOLDEN ARROW, which is owned by HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INDUSTRIES. Last week, the Bargaining Council and the CCMA proposed an offer of 8.75% pay increases for the first year and 8.25% for the second. The unions initially demanded a 12% salary hike across the board, among other demands. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Magara says 12 600 Lonmin jobs on the line - Ntaoleng Lechela

Unless its tie-up with SIBANYE-STILLWATER is completed soon, LONMIN is set to retrench around 12 600 workers between 2018 and 2020. CEO BEN MAGARA yesterday said that "given the current exchange rate strengthening, we could actually end up accelerating more job losses if the transaction is delayed in any form". He said 2 000 jobs have already been lost, and a total of 1 700 are still to be shed in 2018. In 2019, about 5 300 jobs will be cut, with 3 600 retrenchments on the cards in 2020. These jobs will be lost in LONMIN's stand-alone business regardless of consolidation. MAGARA said 50% of the job cuts were due to redundancy, and the other 50% would be shed because of the shutdown of shafts. CFO BARRIE AN DER MERWE said each employee would get a severance package of about R200 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom wants 3% on top of any tariff hike for three years to claw back R66bn-plus - Terence Creamer

ESKOM has proposed a five-year phasing-in period to recoup R66bn-plus in costs and revenue variances contained in three separate Regulatory Clearing Account applications. The applications are being adjudicated simultaneously by NERSA, which wrapped up nationwide public hearings yesterday. The applications cover the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years. On the final day of the public hearings in Gauteng, ESKOM argued that the amount could be recouped through three separate yearly hikes of 3% over-and-above any tariff hikes approved as part of the MYPD4, which NERSA would deliberate upon later this year. But acting CFO CALIB CASSIM said the RCA-related increases would have to be sustained in the base tariff for the period to five years in order for ESKOM to recover the full r66.6bn sought for the three years, as well as any further recoveries made in favour of ESKOM for the 2017/18 RCA application. The 2017/18 RCA application would be submitted by Aug. and would seek to recover a further R20bn in cost and revenue variances. NERSA will make a determination on the applications before the end of June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bosma to succeed Brown as Firestone Diamonds CEO - Simone Liedtke

PAUL BOSMA has been appointed to succeed STUART BROWN as CEO of FIRESTONE DIAMONDS, with effect from Jul. 1. BOSMA has more than 24 years' experience in the mining industry, of which 14 years have been in the diamond industry working for DE BEERS. He joined FIRESTONE in 2014 as the mineral resources manager on the project team and, in 2016, was appointed GM of the Liqhobong mine, in Lesotho. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

enX subsidiaries post satisfactory HY performance - Simone Liedtke

ENX's EQSTRA INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT and EQSTRA FLEET MANAGEMENT AND LOGISTICS operations performed satisfactorily in the HY to end-Feb., ENX reported yesterday. Group revenue for the HY to end-Feb. rose to R3.6bn, while EBIT improved to R354.1m and profit before tax improved to R182.7m. Adjusted EBIT rose to R377.9m. Headline earnings for the period rose 20.9% to R138m, which translates into HEPS of 77.4cps. Adjusted headline earnings rose by 33.9% to R156m, for adjusted HEPS of 87.5cps. Capex increased to R823.2m, being primarily employed to maintain and grow leasing fleets. Looking ahead, ENX said it is focused on the dynamic allocation of capital and is continuously assessing its long-term strategic options. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sappi continues to invest in growth as Q2 performance beats expectations - Simone Liedtke

SAPPI will continue to invest in growth and has submitted an environmental approval application to expand its Saiccor mill, in KZN, by another 110 000m2. Production is expected to start early in 2020, with the environmental approval expected within the next few months. SAPPI CEO STEVE BINNIE yesterday said the company's performance in Q2 to end-Mar. had been ahead of forecasts. SAPPI generated EBITDA of $211m, an improvement over the y/y period. BINNIE noted that the stable demand for dissolving wood pulp enabled the company to increase its selling price for its graphics paper, which offset the impact of the higher raw materials cost of hard craft pulp. The group's specialities and packaging paper business experienced sales growth of 12% over the y/y period, excluding the sales from the inclusion of the specialities business of the CHAM PAPER group for one month. Variable costs rose 5% y/y, led by sharp rises in both purchased softwood and hardwood paper pulp pricing. Lower latex, wood and energy prices provided some relief. Net cash utilised for the quarter was $225m, while cash taxes for the quarter came to $50m, an increase of $18m y/y. SAPPI has net debt of $1.63bn, up $303m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Calgro M3 confident of securing longer-term working capital - Marleny Arnoldi

CALGRO M3 reported a worse-than-expected financial performance for the FY to end-Feb., due to challenging political and associated economic conditions, as well as delays in raising working capital. "Our increased focus on the private sector within our residential property development business gave rise to higher working capital requirements that took longer to secure than initially expected", CEO WIKUS LATEGAN said. This funding was secured towards the end of Nov., but could not be invested and capitalised on immediately due to the Dec. construction shutdown period. Future working capital, required in FY2019, is on track and CALGRO is securing longer-term working capital for use in 2020. CALGRO reported a 6.9% rise in core HEPS to 143cps and a 16.7% rise in revenue to R2.3bn for the FY under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Balwin expects sales to grow in 2019 - Marleny Arnoldi

BALWIN PROPERTIES' performance for the FY to endFeb. was largely impacted on by delays in construction at its five latest developments. The delays were due to delayed town planning, zoning of land and local authority approval of the developments. The delays affected 696 apartments, which will now only reflect in the sales for the 2019 FY. Nevertheless, BALWIN said that 2 084 apartments were handed over and recognised as revenue in the period under review, compared with 2 771 y/y. The higher number of new developments launched and handed over during the period resulted in a reduction in gross profit margin to 33%, compared with 37% in FY2017. Revenue fell by 9% y/y to R2.5bn, while profits fell by 26% to R491m. EPS and HEPS fell by 26% y/y to 104cps, compared with 140cps y/y. Dividends decreased by 32% y/y but net asset value rose by 15% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa appoints Mabuza as Russia envoy - News24Wire

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA has appointed Deputy President DAVID MABUZA as his special envoy to Russia, the Presidency said this week. MABUZA will hit the ground running and meet with Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN in Moscow on Tuesday to congratulate him on behalf of RAMAPHOSA and the South African government on his re-election as president in March. The Presidency said RAMAPHOSA would host PUTIN along with other heads of state in the BRICS grouping at the BRICS Summit scheduled to take place in SA in late July 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Galileo hits 15.4% zinc mineralisation at Zambia project - Marleny Arnoldi

GALILEO RESOURCES yesterday announced drilling results for its final eight drill holes at the Star Zinc project in Zambia, in which it has an 85% stake. Assay results received for the final eight diamond drill holes at depths downhole to 63 m include four holes showing medium- to high-grade zinc mineralisation, from 4.72% to 15.4% zinc. The Star Zinc project is an historical small-scale openpit mine from which low-tonnage, high-grade willemite was extracted intermittently from the 1950s to the 1990s. GALILEO CEO COLIN BIRD said this final batch of results supports the company's view that the project will be boosted by peripheral, at or near-surface mineralised karsts and zinc oxides. At a cutoff grade of 3% zinc, this would potentially require little or no blasting, due to the deposit being close to the surface. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Platinum supply, demand weak in Q1 - WPIC - Nadine James

There was a slight decline in both platinum demand and supply in Q1 2018, the World Platinum Investment Council reports. The WPIC yesterday said refined output fell by 0.7% y/y in Q1, largely as a result of South African mine supply falling to its lowest level since 2016. Although South African producers had delivered a good performance in 2017, the improved political climate has led to a stronger rand, which, when combined with the high costs and a relatively low platinum price, has resulted in lower margins. Further, recycling supply for Q1 had decreased by around 13% q/q, but increased by around 7% y/y. Meanwhile, platinum demand for the quarter slipped 1% y/y on the back of lower automotive and investment demand. Jewellery demand rose by 3% y/y, largely due to a 7.9% y/y rise in China. Industrial demand improved by 4% y/y as a result of growth in propane dehydrogenation capacity in China and increasing fuel-cell production in Japan. Global supply is expected to decline by 1% in 2018, despite recycled supply increasing by around 3% y/y. Demand for platinum jewellery is predicted to climb by 2% with industrial demand forecast to increase by 6% y/y. Investment demand is predicted to fall to 250 000oz, with automotive demand falling by 3% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia Mining delivers strong dash generation in Q1 - Simone Liedtke

CALEDONIA MINING produced 12 924oz of gold in Q1 2018, marginally higher than that produced in Q1 2017 and in line with expectations. "We expect that production will deliver the usual increase in the second half of the year as we see the benefit of the increased level of mine development in the first half of the year, which will improve our access to higher grade areas", CEO STEVE CURTIS said. CALEDONIA has maintained its FY guidance at 55 000oz to 59 000oz of gold. Meanwhile, adjusted EPS of 40.1cps were 51% higher than in the y/y period in 2017, largely due to a higher realised gold price, and the increased export credit incentive. Operating cash flows for the quarter to end-Mar. were $7m and the company's balance sheet remains strong with net cash of $13.4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Platinum surplus to widen - Marleny Arnoldi

The platinum market will move further into oversupply this year, as production from SA remains flat and demand is forecast to contract by 2.5%, according to the latest JOHNSON MATTHEY PGM market report. Gross demand fell by 2% to 7.96moz in 2017, as investment purchasing in Japan slackened following exceptional activity during 2015 and 2016. In contrast, demand for platinum in industrial processes set a record high on the back of capacity expansion in China. Sales of platinum to the automotive sector were little changed, with diesel car production volumes stable in Europe. Mine supply in 2017 was flat, with higher sales from South African producers offset by lower Russian and Zimbabwean shipments, while overall recycling volumes showed a moderate improvement. JOHNSON MATTHEY forecasts that mine output will remain lacklustre in 2018, but says there is scope for further growth in recycling, as the global vehicle scrap market continues to rebound. Total platinum supply remained at 6.11moz in 2017, compared with 6.10moz in 2016 and is forecast at 6.05moz in 2018. JOHNSON MATTHEY expects demand to contract by 2.5% to 7.78moz in 2018, from 7.96moz in 2017 and 8.17moz in 2016. The oversupply is forecast to increase to 316 000oz this year, with net demand of 5.74moz forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, Barrick expect prospecting licence for Tanzania nickel project - Zandi Shabalala

GLENCORE and BARRICK GOLD expect to receive a prospecting licence for a nickel JV in Tanzania after the government cancelled its retention licence, BARRICK said. The retention licence of the undeveloped Kabanga project was one of 11 licences cancelled as part of enforcement of new mining regulations which were approved in Jan. "In order to transition to the new licence structure implemented in January, the project partners have applied for a Prospecting Licence covering eh same area as the Retention Licence", BARRICK said. The company said it had been in talks with GLENCORE and the government in recent months over the Kabanga project. The companies expect to receive the prospecting licence but did not provide a timeline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Equatorial Guinea may strip Ophir of LNG project - Oleg Vukmanovic

Equatorial Guinea will force OPHIR ENERGY out of its flagship LNG project and may scrap it entirely unless long-delayed financing deals worth $1.2bn are presented to the government by Dec. The ultimatum is a blow to OPHIR, which has set aside $150m of its own cash to develop west Africa's first deepwater LNG project, Fortuna, by 2022 despite the company's lack of a track record in LNG and small balance sheet. "We have a clear idea of who we would give the licence to but at this stage we are not prepared to comment", Mines Minister GABRIEL OBIANG LIMA said. OPHIR's licence to the field in offshore Block R expires in Dec. LIMA said another option is to scrap Fortuna and instead pipe gas from Block R into an existing land-based LNG project on Bioko Island. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Thor Explorations eyes Nigeria - Barbara Lewis

THOR EXPLORATIONS of Canada aims to bring Nigeria's first large-scale gold mine online in early 2020, its CEO said, as the country seeks to diversity its economy away from oil and gas. The World Bank in Apr. 2017 said it was providing funds to help the Nigerian government develop its neglected mining sector. Projects under way include THOR EXPLORATIONS' Segilola Gold Project, located in Osun State, which CEO SEGUN LAWSON says aims to produce gold in Q1 2020 and has probable gold reserves of around 500 000oz. "THOR is currently developing the country's most advanced gold mine", LAWSON said. He says he has a mining and exploration licence and is considering his options for raising $72m to get the mine into production. LAWSON bought the Segilola project in 2016 for $3.1m in cash plus $6m in THOR shares. He promises rapid payback on the investment once production starts. THOR's stock has climbed 50% this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netcare boosted by domestic market - Sangameswaran S

NETCARE reported an 8.5% rise in HY earnings on Monday, citing a strong domestic performance and its exit from the UK. It said the local healthcare market has returned to growth and it expects demand for private healthcare to remain resilient over the medium to longer term due to an ageing population. Adjusted diluted HEPS from continuing operations rose to 87.7cps in the Hy to end-Mar., and the group raised its interim dividend to 44cps from 38cps y/y. In SA, the company registered a 3.5% rise in patient days. This is expected to continue in H2, NETCARE said, but at a slower rate than in the first half HY group revenue rose 8.2% to R9.97bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TPG invests in Kenyan digital payments firm - Duncan Miriri

Private investment firm TPG has paid $47.5m to acquire an unspecified stake in Kenyan digital payments firm CELLULANT, which operates in 11 African markets, the parties said yesterday. "Across Africa, expanding easy-to-use and low cost mobile banking offers immense potential for impact, and CELLULANT is at the leading edge of that work", said BILL MCGLASHAN, CEO and co-founder of THE RISE FUND, the impact investment arm of TPG that invested the money. RISE invested together with ENDEAVOR CATALYST, SATYA CAPITAL and VELOCITY CAPITAL. TPG said the deal was the largest of its kind in African fintech firms. CELLULANT offers digital payments platforms and mobile banking services aimed at those who do not have a bank account. CELLULANT CEO KEN NJORGE said the investment would enable the company to expand into new markets and to invest in its existing operations. CELLULANT will also introduce consumer-focused products, he said without elaborating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/05/2018

At 07:37 on 15 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.36 Rand/Sterling 16.75 Rand/Euro 14.74 Gold 1312.30 Platinum 905.50 Oil 77.47 All-Share Index 58614.45

Rio signs up for Sipa project in Uganda - Esmarie Swanepoel

SIPA RESOURCES has inked an earn-in and JV agreement with RIO TINTO's exploration arm for a interest in its Kitgum Pader base metals project in Uganda. Under the agreement, RIO would have the option to earn an initial 51% stake in the project by spending $12m on exploration within the first five years, including a minimum commitment of $2m. RIO could increase its stake in the project to 65%, by spending an additional $15m within a further three-year period. By spending an additional $30m on exploration, RIO can take its interest to 75%. RIO will have exclusive marketing rights to the production from the project area, with an arm's length commission applying. SIPA said the agreement would allow the company to accelerate nickel/copper exploration activities within the broader project area, while also continuing to evaluate its Akelikongo discovery, which was emerging as one of the more significant magmatic nickel/copper discoveries made within the last few years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LNG exports put Australia oil and gas in trade surplus - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian oil and gas industry recorded a trade surplus for the first time in 13 years in 2016/17, new data from the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association showed yesterday. APPEA reported that due to a 35% rise in the value of LNG exports in 2016/17 compared with 2015/16, Australia's exports reached A$30.5bn, compared with imports valued at A$26.9bn. Furthermore, Australia's oil and gas trade balance was likely to remain in surplus in the near future, as LNG exports continued to increase. Gas production rose by almost 21% in 2017 y/y, and has more than doubled in the last decade. Conventional gas production in 2017 reached 2.595tn cubic feet, while natural gas produced from coal seams reached 1.26tcf, and LNG exports reached 2.78tcf. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net1 to focus on unbanked after CPS/SASSA contract expires - Sandile Mchunu

NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES is preparing for life without the SASSA contract, which comes to an end in Sep. The company planned to refocus on delivering commercially compelling services to SA's unbanked population and in other emerging markets. CEO HERMAN KOTZE said the company had planned for this eventuality and the strides they had made and traction they had already gained gave them increased confidence that NET1 had never been better positioned to return to being a sustainable and profitable growth company on an international scale. NET1 published its Q3 results for 2018, reporting a 10% rise in revenue to $162.7m - up from $147.9m - compared to Q3 2017. EPS came to $0.95/share, including a $0.52 fair value adjustment related to the CELL C investment. NET1 acquired a 15% stake in CELL C for R2bn. It also reported a cash flow from operations of $85.2m in the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

STAR clarifies Tekkie Town claim - Business Report

STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL on Friday said it had taken note of the claim lodged by founders and original shareholders of TEKKIE TOWN against STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. STAR clarified that this claim was not against STAR and that STAR was an independently listed entity. TEKKIE TOWN, originally acquired by STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL in 2016, was sold to STAR in 2017 prior to its listing. TEKKIE TOWN filed papers in the Western Cape High Court to have its R3.2bn acquisition by STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL reversed. The group had received a demand from TEKKIE TOWN amounting to around €120m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral H1 profit jumps more than five fold - Radhika Rukmangadhan

ASTRAL FOOD on Monday said its profit surged more than five-fold for H1 to end-Mar., helped by higher sales and prices in its poultry business. Revenue in the poultry business rose by 23% to R5.5bn as an improvement in poultry supply and demand balance gave pricing support. It warned that avian flu remained a threat and major concern for the poultry industry with the upcoming winter. The company reported diluted HEPS of 1 972cps for the HY under review, compared with 355cps y/y. Group revenue rose 15% to R6.67bn, and the company declared an interim dividend of R10/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom reports revenue growth amid data price war - Sibongile Khumalo

VODACOM has reported revenue growth at its South African operations, despite the current data wars which have seen it adjust prices in challenging economic conditions. Revenue for the FY to end-Mar. grew by 8.1% to R70bn, driven by smart sales which account for 70% of total devices sold. HEPS remained flat at 923cps. Data revenue grew by 12.8% to R23.4bn, contributing 42.8% of service revenue. VODACOM GROUP revenue grew by 6.3% to R86.4bn, while net profit rose by 18.6%, boosted by the SAFARICOM acquisitION and by the profit from the sale of HELIOS TOWERS TANZANIA LTD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye takeover still on track - Neil Hume

LONMIN saw its cash balance shrink to $17m in the HY to end-Mar., but said a proposed takeover by SIBANYE-STILLWATER remained on track. SIBAYE has said it will walk away from its $140m stock offer for LONMIN if it does not have a net cash position when the deal closes later this year. LONMIN today said its cash position has fallen to $17m in the HY to end-Mar., from $75m y/y. It noted that its cash position would have been $64m if it has not been forced to "lock-up" $47m of cash for a smelter outage that would unwind later in the year. "We remain in a net cash positive position at the end of the period, demonstrating the strength of our mine-to-market business, notwithstanding the $47m from the lock-up of metal, which is expected to unwind in our traditionally stronger second half of the year", LONMIN CEO BEN MAGARA said. In the HY to end-Mar., LONMIN reported a net loss of $32m, against a loss of $181m y/y, on production down 5% to 284 011oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tin mine developer Strongbow to list in London - Henry Sanderson

STRONGBOW EXPLORATION will list on London's AIM market next month. The Canadian company, which bought the South Crofty tin mine from administration in 2016, aims to raise £25m over the next 18 months to develop the mine. South Crofty was the last tin mine to close in the UK in 1998. It had been a producing mine since 1592. STRONGBOW says global demand for tin could make the mine profitable. The price for tin has risen by 60% since 2016. The company has also agreed to look for lithium in Cornwall with startup CORNISH LITHIUM. Brine within the South Crofty mine is thought to be rich in lithium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays CEO fined £640 000 over whistleblowing scandal - Caroline Binham

BARCLAYS CEO JES STALEY has been fined a total of £642 430 by the UK's financial regulators for trying to uncover the identity of an anonymous whistleblower. The bank will avoid any sanction by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority but will have to tighten its whistleblowing systems and annually report back to the watchdog, the regulators said on Friday. The bank already revealed last month that STALEY would not be banned by the regulators over the affair. BARCLAYS said it has docked STALEY's 2016 bonus by £500 000 over the issue. His aggregate financial loss of £1.14m is equivalent to 27% of his total compensation for that year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Reuters predicts low single-digit growth after data sale - Mark Vandevelde

THOMSON REUTERS narrowly beat analysts' forecasts for revenue and profits in Q1 and said it expects low single-digit growth in its remaining business, after a $17bn deal to sell its terminals and data business completes later this year. Private equity firm BLACKSTONE is writing its biggest private equity cheque in a decade to acquire the THOMSON REUTERS unit, which competes with BLOOMBERG to provide information services to financial professionals. That will leave the newswire, boosted by a $325m annual contract to supply content to the divested terminals business, and a legal and tax publishing business that THOMSON REUTERS sees as its new focus. The company is setting aside up to $3bn of proceeds from the BLACKSTONE transaction to fund acquisitions in the sector. Excluding the terminals and data business, THOMSON REUTERS reported adjusted EBITDA of $430m in Q1, on revenues of $1.4bn. Both measures were about 4% ahead of their level in the same quarter last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lira falls after Erdogan calls interest rates 'mother of all evil' - Adam Samson

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN on Friday said interest rates must fall, calling them the 'mother of all evil' at a time when Turkey's central bank is fighting to tamp down a flight away from the lira. ERDOGAN's comments come after he held a meeting with economic advisors last week after the lira fell to a new record low of TRY4.3736 to the dollar. It is among the worst performing emerging market currencies this year. "We're not interested in Turkey's enemies, who are hiding behind currency rate speculators, the interest rate lobby, or credit rating agencies. These are not our concern", ERDOGAN said. With the lira down 11.8% against the greenback, several analysts have speculated that the central bank may need to trigger an emergency rate hike despite ERDOGAN's well-known objections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US consumer sentiment unchanged in May - Mamta Badkar

American consumer sentiment was unchanged in May from the prior month but topped expectations. A preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey remained at 98.8, against forecasts for a dip to 98.5. Households' expectations for inflation over the next 12 months edged up to 2.8%, from 2.7%. The report showed the survey of current economic conditions slipped to 113.3, compared with 114.9 the prior month. While the index of consumer expectations edged up to 89.5 from 88.4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME sticking with Rusal metal suspension - Neil Hume

The LME has no plans to lift the restrictions it has placed on RUSAL. The exchange said it considered a US Treasury decision to extend a deadline for customers to wind up business with RUSAL and concluded that a temporary suspension should remain in force. Under the suspension, any RUSAL metal produced after the sanctions were announced on Apr. 6 cannot be warranted or placed into LME warehouses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Xerox calls off $1.6bn sale to Fujifilm - Eric Platt

XEROX called off its $6.1bn sale to FUJIFILM late on Sunday after reaching a truce with activist investors CARL ICAHN and DARWIN DEASON that ends months of infighting and will hand over control of the iconic US company to the rebellious shareholders. XEROX said its long-time Japanese partner had failed to deliver audited financials, limiting its ability to consummate the transaction. As part of the decision to terminate the deal, XEROX fired its existing CEO JEFF JACOBSON. He will be replaced by former IBM and HEWLETT-PACKARD executive JOHN VISENTIN, while KEITH COZZA of ICAHN ENTERPRISES will become chairman of the board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK 'held to ransom' by hard Brexit demands, says David Miliband - George Parker

Former Labour foreign secretary DAVID MILIBAND returned to the British political fray on Monday to join across-party campaign for a soft Brexit. "Britain is being held to ransom by demands for a hard Brexit, severing links with the customs union and single market", MILIBAND said today. He will share a platform with former Liberal Democrat deputy PM NICK CLEGG, and NICKY MORGAN, Tory chair of the Commons treasury committee, calling for Britain to retain close ties to the EU. He said that his own party should back a House of Lords amendment calling for Britain to stay in the single market - a policy opposed by Labour leader JEREMY CORBYN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan to take majority stake in China asset manager - Don Weinland

JPMORGAN CHASE on Monday said it planned to take a majority stake in its Chinese asset and wealth management JV CHINA INTERNATIONAL FUND MANAGEMENT, just days after it applied to re-enter China's securities market with a majority controlled company. The US lender said it has appointed JPMORGAN veteran MARK LEUNG as its CEO of China, although it has not yet said who its local partner is. "Our investment in China is a commitment to bring the full force of JPMORGAN CHASE and our resources to the country. We will hire people, lend to businesses, support the development of markets and strengthen communities through philanthropic initiatives", chair and CEO JAMIE DIMON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Molewa invites comment on waste tyre management plans - Marleny Arnoldi

Environmental Affairs Minister EDNA MOLEWA has given notice in the Government Gazette of four industry waste tyre management plans. The plans received were submitted by TYRE WASTE ABATEMENT & MINIMISATION INITIATIVE OF SA, EVERGREEN ENERGY, JPC ENERGY SYTSEMS and SOUTH AFRICAN TYRE REUSE COMPANY. The broad policy direction is to reduce the environmental externalities associated with waste tyres, by diverting waste tyres away from landfill and maximising the value extracted from waste tyres as a resource by encouraging reuse, recycling and waste-to-energy. MOLEWA has invited the public to comment on the demonstration and response by the various plans on upstream and downstream value chain, including the market demand and supply analysis. Comments should focus specifically on the advantages or disadvantages of each plan to ultimately advance sound waste tyre management throughput aspects of the value chain. THE DEA will host public hearings throughout the country from May 18 to Jun. 4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet, Tshipi e Ntle sign long-term manganese contract - Simone Liedtke

TRANSNET has signed the second long-term agreement under its Manganese Export Capacity Allocation programme, which seeks to integrate a number of export manganese contracts. The seven-and-a-half year contract with TSHIPI E NTLE will result in 2.1mt/y of manganese being transported from the Kalahari manganese fields along the Saldanha-Port Elizabeth railway line to the ports of Saldanha and PE, respectively. The contract will result in secure and robust manganese export volumes for both TRANSNET and TSHIPI. "The signing of the second manganese contract is a sign that TRANSNET is serious about securing export volumes for the mining industry and general freight companies. We are working hard to finalise the outstanding manganese contracts with the rest of the targeted manganese producers", TRANSNET chief new business development officer GERT DE BEER said. The utility plans to sign nine contracts as part of its MECA programme, which will result in 12.5mt/y of manganese transported to the port. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

State looks at ways to ease municipalities' R138bn debt burden - Lameez Omarjee

Municipalities are owed more than R138bn by government departments, businesses and households, Parliament heard last week. "The general view was that the culture of non-payment must be eradicated to ensure viability of municipalities, especially non-payment by households that are able to pay", Parliament said on Friday. It said it is necessary for the Treasury to issue a directive instructing provincial and national departments to pay their debts. Delegates also recommended that the Tax Administration Act be amended to allow deductions of municipal debts before refunds are made by SARS. Treasury will be releasing its annual report on the state of local government finances and financial management soon, Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE said. A total of 95 municipalities are in financial distress, according to the 2016/17 report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Large power users urge NERSA to hold Eskom accountable for inefficiencies - Terence Creamer

The Energy Intensive Users Group of SA has argued that any cost-recovery granted to ESKOM in relation to the Regulatory Clearing Account applications currently under review by the regulator be capped at R40.5bn. It also urged NERSA on Friday to refrain from granting any relief before determining whether the costs had been prudently and efficiently incurred. In fact the EIUG warned that its member firms were not in a position to absorb any further price hikes while remaining in business. Through RCA submissions for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, ESKOM is seeking to recover nearly R67bn in revenue and cost deviations against what was granted for the three years as part of the third multiyear price determination period, implemented from Apr. 2013 to end-Mar. 2018. ESKOM acting CFO CALIB CASSIM on Friday reiterated the utility's stance that the applications had been made in strict compliance with the RCA methodology and that ESKOM accepted that the full amount could not be liquidated in a single year. Should the full R66.6bn be added to the tariff in a single year, it would result in an increase of more than 30%. The largest portion, or R44bn, of the amount sought by ESKOM relates to revenue variances, which arose as a result of lower sales volumes in the three years than those determined in the MYPD3. However, ESKOM is also seeking to recover R7.4bn in higher IPP costs, R9.4bn in relation to international purchases, R3.4bn in higher coal costs, R1.3bn for diesel, R2.8bn for other primary-energy costs and R1.4bn of other expenses. The EIUG said its analysis showed that ESKOM should only be seeking to recoup a maximum of R40.5bn, as the utility should only be compensated for the fixed costs portion of the revenue variance. In addition, it noted that the reason provided for ESKOM's purchase of coal that was more expensive than that allowed for in the MYPD3 was the delayed commissioning of Medupi, as well as more expensive coal being sourced from other collieries. "Both these reasons are

Durban port truck booking system could become compulsory by 2019 - Shirley le Gruen

The Durban port may have a compulsory truck booking system in place by Apr. 2019, TRANSNET PORT TERMINALS CEO NOZIPHO SITHOLE said last week. SITHOLE said the introduction of the truck booking system over the past year was a major positive stride for the utility. It had initially met with resistance and utilisations levels were just 20%, but these were now at 45% with the benefits beign felt by transport companies. The target utilisation is 80%. SITHOLE said that once all systems were in place and a few gremlins were removed from the system, the truck booking system would become compulsory. The mandatory truck booking system will include a utilisation reward and penalty system that will discourage abuse of bookings and not keeping appointments. SITHOLE added that both a booking system and less congestion hinged on aligning working hours between depots and TPT's terminals to ensure an even spread of trucks entering the port. At present, depots are often closed while terminals are still operating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA liquid steel output up 5.9% in Q1 - Simone Liedtke

ARCELORMITTAL SA's liquid steel production rose by 5.9% to 71 000t in Q1 to end-Mar. The higher output was mainly due to higher production at the company's Vanderbijlpark Works and Saldanha Works, which was offset by lower long products output following some instability in the iron-making process. Capacity utilisation for Q1 2018 rose to 85%. Local sales were 2% or 17 000t lower, mainly due to lower local demand for flat products as a result of tepid economic activity in SA. In addition, total imports of primary steel products fell by 20% y/y as a result of safeguards, a weaker local market, high stock levels and increased output. Export sales rose by 33.2% or 82 000t with flat steel product sales higher by 58 000t and long steel product sales by 24 000t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ctrack launches fleet-tracking solution for small businesses - Irma Venter

CTRACK, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed INSEEGO group, has launched a low-cost fleet tracking and optimisation tool dubbed Drive for SMEs. CTRACK says Drive is ideal for companies with fleets of 30 vehicles or less. It is an interactive web-based solution that looks the same on a mobile phone, laptop or tablet. GPS integration locates vehicles and drivers in real-time. Responsive mapping indicates a driver's current location, as well as their destination, giving small businesses the ability to provide their customers with updated estimated times of arrival. Drive can also provide an overview of a company's in-progress and scheduled tasks, with the tracking of deliveries and job statuses also performed in real-time. Paying R2 900 in cash for installation, Drive users have access to the system at a fee of R159/month. Rental fees are R259/month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R10bn budget slash for DHS - News24Wire

The Department of Human Settlements is on the receiving end of a R10bn budget cut over the medium term period. The housing backlog currently stands at an estimated 2.1m. Human Settlements Minister NOMAINDIA MFEKETO said the fiscus "is under severe pressure and we are forced to do more with less. This department has witnessed budget cuts running into billions of rands, but this will not dissuade us from the task at hand". Asked by journalists what the budget cut was, DHS DG MBULELO TSHANGANA said: "We've lost just over R10bn over the [Medium Term Expenditure Framework's] next three years". TSHANGANA said this was a major shock to the system but added that the department wasn't complaining as it wasn't the only department that faced budget cuts. MFEKETO said land continued to be "one of the major problems hindering the delivery of sustainable human settlements in our country. Through the Housing Development Agency, an entity of the Department of Human Settlements, we intend to engage the private sector, State-owned enterprises, provinces and municipalities to unlock strategic parcels of land suitable for human settlements development". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio, Alcoa team up with Apple in zero carbon aluminium smelting drive - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has teamed up with ALCOA to develop the world's first carbon-free aluminium smelting process. The new process will produce oxygen and replace all direct greenhouse-gas emissions from the traditional aluminium smelting process. The two companies have launched a new JV, dubbed ELYSIS, to advance larger scale development and commercialisation of the new process, with a technology package planned for sale at the start of 2024. The JV partners, the governments of Canada and Quebec and IT giant APPLE have agreed to provide a combined C$188m for the development of this technology, with APPLE to help facilitate the collaboration between ALCOA and RIO on the carbon-free smelting process, and to provide technical support to the JV partners. Canada and Quebec are each investing C$60m in ELYSIS, with the provincial government of Quebec holding a 3.5% equity stake in the JV, while the remaining ownership is split evenly between RIO and ALCOA. APPLE is providing an investment of C$13m, with RIO and ALCOA investing C$55m cash over the next three years and contribute specific intellectual property and patents. ELYSIS will develop and licence the technology so it can be used to retrofit existing smelters or build new facilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LDC completes $466m sale of metals unit to Chinese fund - Reuters

LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY on Friday announced it had completed the sale of its metals business to a Chinese investment fund for $466m, as part of a push to revive profits by focusing on its core agricultural markets. The company in Dec. announced an agreement ot sell LDC METALS to NCCL NATURAL RESOURCES INVESTMENT FUND, without disclosing financial details. The metals business is one of the largest copper, zinc and lead concentrates merchants worldwide, according to LOUIS DREYFUS, and has been one of the group's most profitable activities in recent years. LDC METALS CEO PAUL AKROYD said a new name for the business would be announced soon. The sale price of $466m compares with a book value of $314m as of 2016, according to company filings. Excluding the metals unit, LOUIS DREYFUS' annual results showed underlying profits steadied in 2017 after two years of decline but net profits from continuing operations fell to 4224m from $266m in 2016. NCCL NATURAL RESOURCES INVESTMENT FUND is managed by NEW CHINA CAPITAL LEGEND as general partner, and has AXAM ASSET MANAGEMENT and CHINA MOLYBDENUM as limited partners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Injured Sibanye employees stable, one discharged from hospital - Marleny Arnoldi

One of the six mineworkers who was hospitalised after sustaining injuries ina seismic-related incident at SIBANYE-STILLWATER's Driefontein mine earlier this month has been discharged. SIBANYE on Friday said the other five rescued employees remain in a stable condition and are making good progress. The company said management will be conducting a thorough investigation across the entire Masakhane mine to assess the impact on the operations, due to the numerous seismic events that occurred during the last week. The underground inspection is expected to take about a week, and operations at the mine will remain suspended during this period. Production from the rest of the mines making up the Driefontein operations will continue as normal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM, HCI amend strategic investment terms - Anine Kilian

PLATINUM GROUP METALS and HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INVESTMENTS have agreed to amend the terms of a strategic investment. PTM on Friday said HCI had entered into an amended subscription agreement on a private placement basis, for the purchase of 15.09m units at a price of $0.15/unit for gross proceeds of $2.26m. Each unit will consist of one common share and one common share purchase warrant, with each common share purchase warrant allowing HCI to purchase one further common share of the company at a price of $0.17/share for a period of 18 months from the date of closing of the amended private placement. The initial agreement, announced on May 4, involved the purchase of 16.77m units at $0.19 apiece for gross proceeds of $3.19m. Separately, PTM on Friday reported that LIBERTY METALS AND MINING had agreed to amended credit terms for an existing secured loan facility. The company had to raise a minimum of $15m in financings of subordinated debt, common shares and securities convertible into common shares before May 31. The first $12m of gross proceeds from the required financing would be used to reduce indebtedness under the LMM facility. If these conditions are satisfied, the LMM facility maturing date would be extended to end-Oct. 2019, a previous requirement to raise a further $20m in subordinated debt and common shares before end-Jul. 2018 would be eliminated, and interest would continue to accrue and be capitalised until the maturity date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cobalt supply pressures rising amid DRC conflict mineral concerns - Anine Kilian

Technology and clean technology companies are increasingly struggling to secure adequate supplies of cobalt, while the ethical sourcing of the metal also remains a challenge. The DRC provides around two-thirds of global cobalt supplies, but traceability of origin and governance in the supply chain are severely deficient, says Africapractice. The agency notes that the nature of the mineral's value chain and the fact that cobalt from artisanal mines can change hands several times before being mixed with 'clean' ore prior to smelting "indicates the challenge companies face in their efforts to responsibly source the mineral. In anticipation of public pressure and eventual regulations, private sector actors are already seeking work-arounds". The cobalt price has seen fluctuations in recent months but overall demand is unlikely to recede, even in the face of sociopolitical uncertainty and heightened international scrutiny. "As a result, we don't expect drastic action by major multinationals to limit exposure to the country, but rather a behind-the-scenes effort to stay ahead of international legislation and stay on top of domestic developments", the report notes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aton files merger application with competition authorities - Simone Liedtke

Germany's ATON says it has received further interest from shareholders for its offer to acquire the majority of MURRAY & ROBERTS shares at R15/share. As of Apr. 17, ATON held a beneficial interest of 39.9% in M&R. ATON on Friday said as the M&R board made it clear that it would not cooperate with the German group on the proposed deal, ATON has filed a merger application with the Competition Commission. M&R will file its own separate merger notification. ATON remains of the view that the implementation of the offer will be beneficial to M&R and its stakeholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bayer to sell SA cotton seed business - Marleny Arnoldi

The Competition Tribunal on Friday approved a merger between BAYER and MONSANTO on the condition that the merged entity sell the BAYER South African cotton seed business. The merged entity must also sell the entire global LIBERTY LINK trait technology and the associated LIBERTY branded agrochem business of BAYER. The potential buyer of the divested businesses will be required to commercialise the divested products in SA, or alternatively, to licence the divested business to a South African third-party to commercialise. BAYER is active in the crop protection business in SA, while MONSANTO is active in the supply of seeds, biotech traits and herbicides. In terms of the agreement, a trustee will be appointed to oversee the divestiture, which will include distribution rights and other intellectual property rights owned or licensed to BAYER in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's thermal coal imports rise over 15% in Q1 - trader - Reuters

India's thermal coal imports rose by more than 15% in Q1 2018, with Indonesia accounting for around three-fifths of total supplies, according to vessel arrival data from AMERICAN FUELS & NATURAL RESOURCES. Imports rose to 39.6mt during the quarter to end-Mar., the data from AMERICAN FUELS showed. That is up from 34.4mt of thermal coal during the first quarter of 2017. Government data for Q1 2018 has not been released yet. The AMERICAN FUELS figures are broadly in line with data from an Indian-based trading company reviewed by Reuters that showed imports were 37mt in the quarter. VASUDEV PAMNANI, a senior trader at AMERICAN FUELS, said India's demand for coal with a higher calorific value was increasing since buyers want more energy from the coal they purchase to offset higher prices and logistical challenges, mainly railway delays. SA was the second-largest source of foreign coal during Q1, supplying around a quarter of total imports, with the US and Australia being the next largest sources. ADANI ENTERPRISES accounted for about one-sixth of all the imports, purchasing about 6.51mt during the period. The TATA GROUP imported 5.23mt of coal during the period, with SWISS SINGAPORE taking in 2.92mt and JSW GROUP bringing in 2.48mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Legal fight, delays force Adani writedowns on Carmichael - Bloomberg

ADANI ENTERPRISES has taken an 896.4m rupees writedown on its Carmichael coal project in Australia due to delays and legal challenges. The impairment charge was booked by its Australian unit ADANI MINING PTY in the quarter to end-Mar., ADANI ENTERPRISES said on Thursday. Even though the writedown is small compared to the overall size of the A$16.5bn project, it is the latest sign of strain to hit the development. ADANI has pushed back by one year its original 2020 target to start the Carmichael mine after failing to obtain up to A$3bn of funds by a March deadline. Major financiers in Australia and China have excluded themselves from funding the development. The writedowns stem from ADANI being forced to duplicate studies and redesign elements of the project due to delays in regulatory approvals and ongoing legal challenges, a company spokesperson said last week. Additional labour costs have also contributed to the charge, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats seeks tenders for Marula tailings facility - Ed Stoddard

IMPALA PLATINUM is seeking tenders to build a tailings or waste storage facility at its Marula mine in a positive sign for a site recovering from community protests that sent its shares higher. The company on Friday posted an advertisement in the Mail & Guardian seeking tenders for the project. Bidders are required to "use 100% unskilled local labour" and "maximise the use of local sub-contractors". IMPLATS last month said Marula was rebounding strongly and ramping up output and is one of the company's few assets in SA that is not losing money. The mine was on the brink of closing last year after a nearby chrome project IMPLATS had set up with a tribal council collapsed, triggering protests from local residents excluded from its revenue flows. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solidarity seeks at least 10% wage hikes in gold sector - Ed Stoddard

Solidarity has submitted wage hike demands in the gold sector of at least 10% annually over the next three years, according to a document submitted to the Chamber of Mines. The document says Solidarity is seeking hikes of CPI plus 4%, or 10%, "whichever is greater". Inflation is currently running at 3.8%. The document added that a three-year deal was only achievable if "the offer for the 3rd year is more favourable than year 1 and 2, and a guarantee of job security is built into the offer". The NUM has submitted wage hike demands in the gold sector of up to 37% over a two-year period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana sells $2bn eurobonds at issuer-favoured yield - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana sold $2bn worth of dual-tranche eurobonds with 10- and 30-year maturities and it will pay issuer-desired yields, government and transaction sources said. The country sold $1bn each of the 10-year notes maturing in 2029 and 30-year paper at 7.625% and 8.625%, respectively. It set guidance for the May 2029 bond at 7.75% -7.875%, while the May 2049 paper was in the 8.75%-8.875% range. Total books passed $5.5bn, evenly split between the two tranches, lead advisers said. Lead advisers for the sale were BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH, CITIGROUP, JPMORGAN and STANDARD CHARTERED. Ghana plans to use some of the proceeds to refinance debt and up to $750m as revenue for its 2018 budget. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola plans to privatise more than 70 SOEs in medium term - Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola plans to privatise 74 state companies over the next few years, mainly those in the industrial sector, according to a prospectus sent to investors as part of the country's eurobond issuance. President JOAO LOURENCO, who took office in Sep. 2017, has pledged to reduce state interference in the economy, which remains centrally controlled after years of civil war and Soviet influenced state building following independence from Portugal in 1975. "Generally, the government intends to sell its entire interest in these companies, the majority of which operate in the industrial sector", the prospectus said. The document does not list the companies or say how much the privatisation could raise, but a government source said Angola's ports, national carrier TAAG, BCI bank and insure ENSA were all being considered for partial or full privatisation. Angola is in the process of raising $3bn via two eurobond issues, launching $1.75bn in 10-year notes at 8.25% and a $1.25bn 30-year tranche at 9.375%. In the prospectus, Angola also said it saw its total debt - excluding that held by oil firm SONANGOL - reaching $77.3bn, or 70.8% of GDP by the end of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania cancels licence of Barrick, Glencore nickel project - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania has revoked a retention licence for an undeveloped nickel project jointly owned by BARRICK GOLD and GLENCORE as part of enforcement of a new mining regime. The licence for the Kabanga nickel project was among 11 retention licences cancelled by the government under the Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations of 2018, which were approved in Jan. BARRICK and GLENCORE, which own the 50/50 JV project were not immediately available for comment. Their licence was due to expire in May 2019. Other retention licences cancelled by the mining commission target other nickel, gold, silver, copper and rare earth exploration companies. Tanzania's new mining rules state that "all retention licences issued prior to the date of publication of these regulations are hereby cancelled and shall cease to have legal effect. Consequent upon cancellation of retention licence... rights over all areas which were subject of retention licences are hereby and without further assurance reverted to the government". BARRICK and GLENCORE have been looking for potential buyers for the Kabanga project since 2015 after lower global nickel prices derailed the project. The parties have held the licence for the project since 2009, which is estimated to have an inferred resource of 36.3mt, grading 2.8% nickel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 14/05/2018

At 06:31 on 14 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.21 Rand/Sterling 16.52 Rand/Euro 14.58 Gold 1317.98 Platinum 921.50 Oil 77.10 All-Share Index 58422.86

CRM tailings retreatment project cost rises - Anine Kilian

The estimated cost to complete the chrome tailings retreatment project at the Crocodile River Mine has increased by 16.6% to R191.2m, EASTERN PLATINUM said on Friday. This follows after EASTPLATS and subsidiary BARPLATS MINES undertook a cost-to-complete exercise on the project. Construction is well under way, with the significant components of the chrome processing circuit on site. Construction teams are well advanced with the civil construction to build the structures for the circuit. Reporting on activities for the quarter to end-Mar., EASTPLATS on Friday said it expects the updated PGMs feasibility studies on its tailings resource at CRM to be completed in the next few months. EASTPLATS reported it had cash and short-term investments of $21.3m and working capital of $25.6m available for completion of the project and other operations. Net operating cash flow used during the quarter was $1.4m, compared with $2.3m y/y, an improvement of 39%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Allen Morgan steps down from Kumba board - Nadine James

ALLEN MORGAN on Friday stepped down as lead independent nonexecutive director of KUMBA IRON ORE. During KUMBA's AGM on Friday, chair Dr MANDLA GANTSHO thanked MORGAN for his "immense contribution and dedication to the board and the company... We acknowledge his exemplary leadership in the very demanding role of chairperson of the human resources and renumeration committee". GANTSHO, DOLLY MOKGATE, SANGO NTSALUBA, NOMALIZO LANGA-ROYDS and MARY BOMELA were re-elected as independent nonexecutive directors. KUMBA also appointed DELOITTE & TOUCHE as its independent external auditor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deadlocked May postpones key Brexit votes - George Parker

British PM THERESA MAY postponed key Brexit legislation while allies yesterday played the the prospect of any imminent agreement over future customs policy, deepening the paralysis over Britain's strategy on leaving the EU. The PM's allies believe there is unlikely to be a breakthrough over customs arrangements and the Irish border at next Tuesday's meeting of the inner Brexit committee, even though she wants the issues settles before next month's EU summit. Meanwhile, senior Tories admitted they did not dare bring back two key Brexit bills to the House of Commons - on trade and customs - until the autumn because of fears MAY could be defeated. BORIS JOHNSON is leading cabinet resistance to MAY's preferred plan for a hybrid "new customs partnership" with the EU, which Eurosceptics see as a backdoor attempt to keep the UK in the EU's customs union. MAY's allies are trying to find a way through the impasse, which has immobilised the government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Geely hires banks to float Volvo - Emma Dunkley

ZHEJIAN GEELY HOLDING GROUP, the owner of VOLVO CARS, has appointed three global investment bank to lead the Swedish carmaker's IPO this year. GEELY has appointed GOLDMAN SACHS, MORGAN STANLEY and CITIGROUP as joint global co-ordinators to run the IPO, potentially fetching a value between $15bn and $30bn, sources said. The banks declined to comment. EVERCORE ISI analyst ARNDT ELLINGHORST said a valuation of even $16bn would see the company trade higher than BMW or DAIMLER on an enterprise-value-to-earnings multiple. A source said one option considered by GEELY was a dual-listing in Sweden and Hong Kong. However, he said that it was still possible for a private equity company to swoop in on the carmaker. VOLVO saw car sales rise 14% to 147 407 units in Q1, but net income slipped 1.8% to SKr2.6bn. Revenues rose 18.9% to SKr56.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo warns of income hit from lower fees - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO has told investors that it expects to make less in future from overdraft fees and other account charges as it works to rebuild its reputation after a series of scandals. CFO JOHN SHREWSBERRY said the bank's income from "deposit service charges", including overdraft fees, would decline in 2018. Regulators have criticised the bank for its charges, and the lender has come in for wider scrutiny over its treatment of customers. The lower revenues that the bank expects to generate from the fees reflect what SHREWSBERRY called "customer friendly" changes it is making. WELLS now sends around 20m alerts per month via text or email to account holders whose balances are running low. Deposit account "service charges", coupled with fees on credit and debit cards, are among the most important sources of revenue for WELLS. The group generated $9.32bn from these fees in 2017, accounting for almost a quarter of its total non-interest income. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dropbox results top forecasts as paying users rise - Shannon Bond

A rise in paying users helped DROPBOX beat Wall Street's expectations in Q1, the company's first financial results since going public in Mar. showed yesterday. Revenue rose 28% y/y to $316.3m, ahead of forecasts of $309.2m. DROPBOX's net loss widened to $465.5m, or $2.13/share, from $33.1m or 17cps y/y, due mainly to costs associated with its IPO. Stripping out those charges, adjusted earnings of 8cps beat forecasts of 5cps. DROPBOX had 11.5m paying users at end-Mar., up 24% y/y. Average revenue per user rose 3% to $114.30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Elliott to vote against Hyundai Motor's restructuring plan - Lindsay Fortado

Activist hedge fund ELLIOTT yesterday said it will vote against HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP's restructuring plan, and urged the company's shareholders to do the same. The plan "fails to provide a sound business rationale, fails to offer terms that are fair to all shareholders, fails to achieve any meaningful simplification of its corporate structure, fails to address significant valuation discounts, and fails to optimise balance sheets, improve shareholder returns or corporate governance", ELLIOTT said. ELLIOTT said it is "encouraged" that HYUNDAI is willing to restructure, but the company's proposed plan "is based on flawed assumptions" and "more significant measures are needed to address the long-unresolved issues... that have led to significant value discounts and underperformance". ELLIOTT's own restructuring plan for the group includes merging HYUNDAI MOTORS and HYUNDAI MOBIS, reducing cash on the balance sheet, cancelling all current and future treasury shares, paying up to 50% of net income in dividends, and appointing three new independent board members. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast mine strike weighs on Randgold - Henry Sanderson

Shares in RANDGOLD RESOURCES fell more than 8% in London yesterday after disappointing Q1 results. The company said net income fell to $67m, or 61cps in the quarter, below forecasts of 68cps, while gold output slipped to 286 890oz, from 340 958oz y/y. Analysts said the company had a lot to do to meet its FY production target after a strike at its Tongon mine in Ivory Coast and lower throughput at its Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali. RANDGOLD said it still expected to meet 2018 production guidance of 1.3m-1.35m ounces. It noted that Tongon was back at full capacity ad its Kibali mine in the DRC was also increasing production due to increased underground mining. CEO MARK BRISTOW said the company was "aggressively hunting for its next big project in the African gold belts as well as further afield". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Possibility of El Nino by winter 'nearing 50%' - Emiko Terazono

The possibility of an El Nino weather pattern emerging in the winter of 2018/19 has increased, according to official forecasts from US meteorologists. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the chances of El Nino were "nearing 50% by northern hemisphere winter 2018-19". The 2015 El Nino was the strongest on record, with the weather phenomenon contributing to coral bleaching in the Great Barrier reef and severe droughts in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump to meet Kim Jong Un on Jun. 12 - Jessica Dye

DONALD TRUMP will have his much-anticipated meeting with North Korean leader KIM JONG UN on Jun. 12 in Singapore. "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" TRUMP tweeted yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff probing possible executive bonus clawback - Jonathan Eley

STEINHOFF yesterday said it is investigating the clawback of past bonus payments to senior executives, and intends to present a restructuring plan to its European creditors next week. "It is imperative that a restructuring plan is agreed with stakeholders as soon as possible in order to provide a more stable trading environment for the group's operations its people, suppliers and service providers, and to allow management more time to focus on and assist the underlying business", the embattled company said. It added that it was "making every effort" to finalise its accounts for the HY to end-Mar. by the end of June. These will include an update on current trading and a balance sheet as of Sep. 2017, which will be unaudited. STEINHOFF added that it was "giving consideration to reclaiming bonuses paid in the past to certain senior executives under the relevant Dutch code". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wilmar worried by US-China trade spat - Neil Hume

WILMAR INTERNATIONAL has warned a tit-for-tat trade war between China and the US could impact the performance of its oilseeds business, one of the largest in the industry. "The prospect of China imposing import tariffs on US soyabeans will result in soyabean prices staying volatile for the coming quarters... Even though performance of our Oilseed Crushing business will not be affected in the short term, a prolonged stand-off between China and the US would affect the utilisation of our crushing plants", WILMAR chair and CEO KUOK KHOON HONG said. WILMAR is one of the companies hardest hit if trade tensions between Washington and Beijing do escalate and it is forced to source supplies from elsewhere. It has more than 50 crushing plants in China as well as various JVs. KUOK's comments came after WILMAR reported a 41% drop Q1 net profit to $203m, which it blamed on a "difficult operating environment" for its tropical oils business and seasonal losses in sugar. The oil unit recorded a pre-tax profit of $101.7m in the quarter to end-Mar., down from $155.2m y/y, due to lower palm oil prices and poor margins in its consumer-facing businesses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BofA warns of return to $100/barrel oil - Anjli Raval

A return to $100/barrel oil could be on the cards, according to BANK OF AMERICA analysts, as the collapse in Venezuelan output and a fall in Iran's crude exports as a result of new US sanctions coincide with OPEC and Russia-led supply cuts. These dynamics could create a tight supply and demand picture over the next year with US shale oil supply failing to offset big losses elsewhere due to infrastructure constraints, the analysts said yesterday. "Looking into the next 18 months, we expect global oil supply and demand balances to tighten", they said, forecasting a market deficit of 630 000 bpd in 2018 and 300 000 bpd in 2019. BOFA raised its price forecast for Brent crude for 2018 and 2019 to $70/barrel and $75/barrel respectively, but said there was also "risk of $100/bbl oil next year". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US CPI rise less than expected in April - Pan Kwan Yuk

US consumer prices rose less than expected in April, providing further evidence that while inflation is picking up, it is unlikely to significantly overshoot the Federal Reserve's target in the short term. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, showed prices were 2.1% higher last month compared to the same period a year ago. That matches the pace recorded in March, which was the fastest since last Feb. but was below the 2.2% the market had expected. On a m/m basis, US core CPI were up 0.1% in Mar., also a shade weaker than the 0.2% rise analysts had forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoE holds rates, plays down economic 'soft patch' - Chris Giles

The Bank of England yesterday played down signs of weakness in the economy but opted to hold rates steady at 0.5% in case activity fails to pick up in H2 2018. With inflation projected to return to the central bank's 2% target within two years and remain on track, BoE governor MARK CARNEY said it was more likely than not that one interest rate rise was needed this year and that they would increase gradually to 1.25% by mid-2021. In its assessment of the current state of the UK economy, the Monetary Policy Committee contradicted the Office for National Statistics' assessment that the weakness was largely unrelated to snowy weather, saying it thought the statistics office would soon revise higher than the weak 0.1% estimate of the q/q growth rate. The weak Q1 forced the BoE to cut its economic growth forecast for 2018 from 1.8% to 1.4%, but the majority of the MPC thought poor data reflected just a temporary soft patch. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin takeover in danger of collapse - Neil Hume

The £140m takeover of LONMIN is facing increasing risks and could fall apart, according to LIBERUM SECURITIES, which says SIBANYE-STILLWATER could walk away from its all-stock offer if LONMIN continues to burn cash. "We are downgrading LONMIN to a sell due to the increasing risk that the merger with SIBANYE falls apart and the subsequent difficulties it would face in securing a refinancing of its debts", LIBERUM analyst BEN DAVIS said. "At the current rate of cash burn LONMIN will be pushed into net debt before the year, scuppering the proposed merger before it has a chance to complete." DAVIS said SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN had publicly stated that he will not seek approval for the 51.5pps offer from his company's shareholders if LONMIN is in a net debt position when the deal closes later this year. "We estimate that LONMIN's net cash position will be between $53m-$63m depending on production run-rates at the first-half results next week. Assuming current spot prices remain for the remainder of the year, LONMIN will be in a net debt by September using the low end of guidance", DAVIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK factory output slips in March - Gavin Jackson

The UK's manufacturing sector contracted in Mar., figures from the Office for National Statistics showed yesterday. Manufacturing production fell by 0.1% compared to the prior month as both domestic and export orders fell, the ONS said. The decline was slightly smaller than analysts had predicted. According to a poll by Reuters, the average forecast was for a 0.2% contraction. Overall industrial production expanded by 0.1%, below expectations of a 0.2% expansion. "Today's figures support estimates showing the economy was very sluggish in the first quarter of 2018, with little impact overall from the bad weather", the ONS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff's latest shareholder note shows a company 'heading towards liquidation' - analyst - James de Villiers, Business In

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's latest note to shareholders reflects a company "heading toward liquidation", HERENYA CAPITAL ADVISORS founder PETRI REDELINGHUYS says. "The list of shareholders suing the company, it is starting to look like they believe the company will be broken up or liquidated", REDELINGHUYS said, adding that "the vultures are circling". Shareholders are typically last in line when companies pay debtors. "So these lawsuits from shareholders such as CHRISTO WIESE, [GT] FERREIRA, TEKKIE TOWN, and this is all speculation, is a means to get ahead [ in the line of debtors] when the company is liquidated". STEINHOFF yesterday said it is being sued by prominent banker GT FERREIRA for R1.5bn and by the vendors who sold it TEKKIE TOWN for R1.8bn. It is also facing a roughly R59bn claim from former chair CHRISTO WIESE, and it now expects a court hearing in Amsterdam before the end of Sep. on a claim by Dutch investor association VEB. REDELINGHUYS gave STEINHOFF a 50% chance of survival. "If you buy [STEINHOFF] shares today you must know it might be money you'd never see again". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

More money in circulation in SA - BankservAfrica - Carin Smith

More money being circulated strongly suggests that the health of the local economy is strengthening, BANKSERVAFRICA CEO CHRIS HAMILTON said yesterday. The clearing house experienced robust growth in the value and volume for real-time clearing payments in Apr. 2018 on a y/y basis. In April 2018 the value of RTCs reached R30bn, growth of 75% from a total of R22bn in Apr. 2017. Growth was also recorded in the volume of RTCs, which was 2.1m in Apr. 2018 and represented a 62% jump from the 1.3m in the same period y/y. "These figures present a picture of a substantial value and size of instant electronic payments that are taking place in South Africa", HAMILTON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pendulum swings back to new cars - Fin24

While the extended period of rand weakness a year ago drove consumers to pre-owned vehicles, new data shows the pendulum is swinging back to the new vehicle market, TRANSUNION said yesterday. The used-to-new vehicle ratio based on finance deals registered in the last quarter of 2017 indicates finance houses are financing 2,09 used vehicles for every 1 new vehicle, as compared to 2.49 in Q1 2017. The TRANSUNION SA Vehicle Pricing Index for new and used cars pricing dropped to 2.3% and 2.9% respectively in Q1 2018, from 8.8% and 3.7% respectively y/y. The pending VAT and fuel levy hikes in April led to a slight lift in demand in Q1, as purchasers looked to buy before the hikes kicked in. But the positive impact of an interest rate cut, lower inflation, a stronger rand and slow price increases from manufacturers all played important roles, TRANSUNION said. The firm urged consumers to be careful when making major purchase decisions like buying a second-hand or upgrading to a new car. "Consumers must still ensure that from a credit perspective they closely watch affordability and manage their credit health. They must make sure the total cost of ownership is worked out and calculated carefully - including insurance premiums and the petrol price", TRANSUNION said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff says hole in accounts deeper than first thought - Janice Kew, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL yesterday said a probe into the overstatement of profit and treatment of off-balance-sheet entities will result in further material impairments beyond the €6bn announced in Dec. The company has received feedback from PWC in respect of the early months of their forensic probe, and STEINHOFF is now also investigating the rules of those previously at the helm, it said. Shares in STEINHOFF closed down 3.87% at R1.74 on the JSE yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R11.6bn in fines and merger conditions secured since 2010 - Terence Creamer

Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL reports that R11.6bn has been mobilised as a result of cartel settlements and conditions placed on firms that have pursued M&As in SA since 2010, while commitments worth a further R11bn have been secured in relation to three impending deals. PATEL told MPs that, besides the financial returns, the competition authorities and EDD had, over the last four years, also protected more than 65 000 jobs and secured commitments for the creation of a further 7 400 jobs. Moves to extract financial, employment and social commitments during larger mergers are being intensified while SA considers ways to further strengthen its competition legislation to deal with high levels of concentration in certain markets. In the year ahead, the competition authorities would investigate 100 cases of cartel conduct, consider a projected 400 mergers and take on an additional two cases of abuse by dominant firms in the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Internal candidate appointed by NWK as transformation director - Marleny Arnoldi

NWK has appointed TEBOGO MODISE as transformation director, effective from June. MODISE's appointment to the role is a further step in driving the renewed NWK business strategy that aims to add significant value to the local agriculture and food value chain. "We are particularly proud that we were able to appoint an internal candidate in this key role. MODISE is well qualified for the position and knowledgeable about the extent of our diverse business", NWK CEO THEO RABE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vivo Energy attains secondary listing on JSE - Marleny Arnoldi

VIVO ENERGY yesterday attained a secondary listing on the main board of the JSE. The company listed in the speciality retails sector and had 539 958 shares worth R16.6m in issue at the start of trade. VIVO was established in 2011 and is jointly owned by VITOL and HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS. It has a network of more than 1 800 service stations in 15 countries across Africa, marketing its products to commercial customers and exporting lubricants to more than 10 African countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Equites reports strong FY18 distribution growth - Marleny Arnoldi

EQUITES PROPERTY achieved 12.2% y/y growth in distributions a share to 123cps for the FY to end-Feb. The growth in distribution for the FY was mainly attributable to like-for-like rental growth that remained strong, contributing 9% to overall distributions a share growth. Since the group's JSE listing in 2014, EQUITES has provided its initial investors with a total return of 138%. Its NAV/share grew 8.8% y/y to 1 536cps. EQUITES had 30 growth in fair value of its property portfolio, from R6.2bn to R8.1bn, comprising a total gross lettable area of 444 175m2 of mainly industrial letting property. The REIT has a committed development and acquisition pipeline of R930m in SA and R855m in the UK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA to continue lobbying US for tariffs exemption - ANA

SA will continue talks with the US in a bid to get concessions on import tariffs on aluminium and steel, Communications Minister NOMVULA MOKONYANE said yesterday. She said government was disappointed at he US decision to not exempt SA from the 10% tariff on aluminium imports and 25% on steel imports. "The South African government will continue to engage with the US authorities to find a mutually acceptable outcome... Cabinet also encourages domestic exporters to continue to lobby US buyers to apply for product exemptions, as South African companies export niche products and semi-processed products for further processing in the US". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

General improvement in business, investor confidence good for Imperial - Simone Liedtke

While it is still early days, the advent of new political leadership has given rise to a general improvement in business and investor confidence which is expected to benefit IMPERIAL HOLDINGS. But the group warns that the high unemployment rate in SA, coupled with suboptimal growth, continue to weigh on trading conditions. The impact of this environment on IMPERIAL LOGISTICS' revenues, about 31% of which will be generated in SA in the current FY, has been depressed volumes and competitive pressures resulting in the renewal of contracts at lower margins. The impact on the revenues of MOTUS remains highly competitive, where national vehicle unit sales, as reported by NAAMSA, rose by 2% in the 10 months to end-Apr. But IMPERIAL noted that the luxury brand segment remains under severe pressure. Despite all this, the company said it anticipates solid operating and financial results for the FY to end-Jun., subject to stable currencies in the countries in which it operates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Altron posts double-digit improvements for FY2018 - Natasha Odendaal

ALLIED ELECTRONICS yesterday posted double-digit growth in revenue and earnings from continuing operations for the FY to end-Feb. Revenue for the continuing operations rose 14% to R14.7bn during the FY under review, while EBITDA came in at R1.1bn, up 19% y/y on a normalised and constant currency basis. The normalised EBITDA margin improved to 7.6% compared with the prior period's 7.3%. Normalised and constant currency HEPS grew by 19% to 135cps. "We have made considerable progress in the continued divestment of noncore assets, lowering debt levels and reducing our exposure to the manufacturing sector", the company said. In terms of discontinued operations, ALTRON posted significant improvement y/y, as EBITDA swung to a profit of R8m in 2018, from a loss of R110m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA to get $400m capital injection - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

The government has promised another R5bn capital injection to help SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS meet urgent financial obligations, CEO VUYANI JARANA said yesterday. The airline has not generated a profit since 2011 and has already received state guarantees totaling nearly R20bn. "Part of that R5bn we will repay some of the creditors, suppliers, then the balance will support us for working capital until around October/November", JARANA said. The Treasury said it would follow its normal budgetary process, which entails seeking cabinet approval. "The outcome of this process is expected to be finalised in time for the 2018 MTBPS (Medium Term Budget Policy Statement)", the Treasury said. JARANA said that while waiting for the funds, the company would negotiate for some breathing space with lenders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

March manufacturing output down 1.3% y/y - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's manufacturing output contracted by 1.3% y/y in March following a revised 0.5% expansion in February, Statistics SA said yesterday. The statistics agency said factory output on a m/m basis rose by 1.3% in Mar., but shrunk by 1.7% in the three months to March versus the previous three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 11/05/2018

At 07:24 on 11 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.30 Rand/Sterling 16.62 Rand/Euro 14.66 Gold 1321.06 Platinum 924.00 Oil 77.34 All-Share Index 58005.62

Vukile grows Spanish retail investment to near €400m - Simone Liedtke

VUKILE PROPERTY FUND has, via its 98.7%-owned Spanish REIT subsidiary CASTELLANA PROPERTIES, acquired Habaneras Shopping Centre, its first shopping centre in Spain, for €80.6m. The centre is in Torrevieja, in the Alicante province on the Costa Blanca. VUKILE entered Spain in 2017 via CASTELLANA's acquisition of 11 Spanish retail parks for €193m. The subsidiary then went on to acquire a further two retail parks in Dec. 2017 for €70m. "Our Spanish retail property exposure is now nearing €400m and comprises quality assets located in territories with good growth metrics", VUKILE CEO LAURENCE RAPP said. The latest transaction is 50% funded from debt, provided by AAREAL BANK, and equally with cash from VUKILE from existing available funds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining production down in March - Simone Liedtke

The 8.4% y/y contraction in SA's mining production in Mar. is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the state of the mining industry, according to WARREN BEECH, mining head of law firm Hogan Lovells, who hopes that figures will have "smoothed out by June or July". Statistics SA yesterday reported that seasonally adjusted mining output had contracted by 3.4% m/m in Mar. This followed m/m growth of 0.5% in Feb. and 1.6% in Jan. Subsequent to this, the seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 2.5% y/y for Q1 2018, during which ten out of twelve mineral groups reported negative growth rates. PGMs, iron ore, copper and 'other' nonmetallic minerals were the largest negative contributors. The March figures, however, were down as a result of a number of factors, including the judgment and appeal against the third iteration of the Mining Charter, which is expected to be published by the end of May, global demand and the US-imposed tariff hike on steel imports. BEECH warned that growth is dependent entirely on the alleviation of the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the Mining Charter and the impending amendments to mining laws. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Santova expects higher EPS - Roy Cokayne

SANTOVA expects to record its eighth consecutive year of growth in HEPS since 2018. The logistics group this week said its HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. would be 10%-15% higher y/y. The result was achieved primarily via organic growth across its various regions in a period where the company did not make any new acquisitions and despite the significant strengthening in the rand value, which negatively impacted on the comparative translation of income from its foreign operations. Results will be published on May 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank says Ecobank produced strong performance - Sandile Mchunu

The NEDBANK GROUP has produced a strong performance for the first quarter to end-Mar., underpinned by the return to profitability by its subsidiary ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL INCORPORATED in their fourth quarter of 2017. In Q1 2018, NEDBANK's share of ETI was estimated at R198m, improving from a loss of R1.2bn reported in Q1 2017. ECOBANK's net interest income grew at low-to-mid-single-digit levels and its no-interest revenue grew just above mid-single-digit levels. Credit demand and transactional activity remained subdued, but an improvement is expected from H2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mall for Africa says on track to expand eight times in 2018 - ANA

MALL FOR AFRICA yesterday announced it notched record growth in Q1 2018, up three times from the same period y/y, and was on track to grow eight times in 2018. The e-commerce platform enables consumers on the continent to purchase products from US and UK retailers and, after an initial focus on Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, has announced its expansion into Angola, Chad, Guinea, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Egypt, the DRC, Senegal, Sierra Leone and SA. The company currently has more than 250 retailers on its platform, including EBAY, NEXT, MACY's, NORDSTROM, COTTON ON, WALMART and others. "According to the BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP, Africa will have over 1.1bn consumers by 2020, more than the populations of Europe and North America combined. Moreover, in 2020, Africa will have twice as many affluent consumers as the UK...With MALL FOR AFRICA catering to 15 African countries, it will continue to lead the pack in innovation, customer service, and sales - all while helping businesses and families succeed". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain - Zandi Shabalala

DE BEERS yesterday said it had tracked 100 high-value diamonds from miner to retailer using blockchain. The company has led industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence. "An immutable and secure digital trail was created for a selection of rough diamonds mined by DE BEERS as they moved from the mine to cutter and polisher, then through to a jeweller", the company said. Five diamond manufacturers worked with the company to develop the blockchain platform called TRACR, which will be launched and made available to the rest of the industry at the end of this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria draft oil reforms seek to establish powerful industry regulator - Paul Carsten

Nigeria's government plans to create a powerful energy regulator with broad oversight of the oil and gas industry, according to draft versions of sweeping reforms known collectively as the Petroleum Industry Bill. The draft laws are the versions intended for the Senate. The PIB aims to improve transparency, attract investors, stimulate growth and increase government revenues. After being debated for well over a decade, the unwieldly and contentious legislation was broken into sections to help it pass into law. The governance part of the bill was passed by both houses of parliament in Jan., but that section has not yet been signed into law by President MUHAMMADU BUHARI. The three PIB sections yet to be passed address fiscal and administrative issues and local communities affected by the oil industry. Senate President BUKOLA SARAKI this week told Reuters parliament aims to pass the long-delayed PIB by the end of July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Disappointing French factory output points to risks for next quarter - Cat Rutter Pooley

French factory production fell sharply in Q1 2018, adding further weight to mounting evidence of a slowdown in eurozone growth in Q1. The q/q fall was led by a quarterly drop in the manufacturing of transport equipment, including car production, and a drop in oil refining. Manufacturing output fell 1.8% from the prior quarter, while overall industrial output shed 1.3%, the French national statistics agency said. On a m/m basis, industrial output slipped more than expected in March - 0.4% lower than in Feb. compared to forecasts for a 0.4% rise and a 1.1% increase the prior month. Manufacturing output, a narrower measure, was stable, up 0.1% after a 0.5% drop in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JLR UK sales up in April - Joshua Oliver

JAGUAR LAND ROVER's UK sales rose more than a quarter in April compared to an unusually weak 2017, despite news last month that the company would retrench 1 000 workers after a contraction in March sales. Changes to the UK vehicle tax in Apr. 2017 led many buyers to bring their purchases forward to Mar., complicating the y/y comparison. But JLR said strong consumer interest in its newly introduced compact and electric SUV models contributed to a marked sales rise. It reported a 26% sales rise in the UK, beating a 10% jump in overall vehicle sales for April, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Worldwide, JLR's April sales were up by 12%, including a record-breaking month in the US and a nearly 30% jump in China. Sales in Europe fell, which the company blamed on uncertainty over the future of diesel vehicles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkey to take steps to curb inflation amid lira's fall - Laura Pitel

Turkey's President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN and his top economic advisers will take steps to curb inflation and halt the lira's slide, the presidency said yesterday after the current hit a fresh record low. ERDOGAN convened an emergency meeting at the presidential palace as the currency continued to tumble amid fears about high inflation, a wide current account deficit and a flurry of election spending promises. The announcement of the meeting caused the lira to rebound to 4.29/$ as investors bet the central bank would call an emergency meeting and announce another rate increase just weeks after it raised its key rate by 75 bps. Following lengthy discussions, the presidency said measures would be taken to reduce interest rate and exchange rate pressures, and to combat inflation. It did not specify what the measures would be. "The central bank will continue to effectively use the instruments that it has in its possession", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold earnigns drop 22% - Henry Sanderson

Shares in RANDGOLD RESOURCES dropped 7% in early trading today after it announced disappointing Q1 results. Net income fell to $67m, or 61cps in the quarter to end-Mar., well below analysts' forecasts of 68cps, while gold output slipped to 286 890oz in the quarter, from 340 958oz y/y. Revenues fell 14% to $273m, below analysts' estimates of $301m. The company still expects to meet 2018 production guidance. Shares in RANDGOLD have fallen by 18% year-to-date compared to a 0.8% rise in the price of gold, as investors fret about the prospect of higher taxes in the Congo under a new mining code being pushed through by President JOSEPH KABILA. They were down 420p at 5 680p this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodafone, Liberty Global strike $19bn takeover deal - Nic Fildes

VODAFONE has landed LIBERTY GLOBAL's cable networks in Germany and eastern Europe in a blockbuster €19bn takeover. It is VODAFONE's largest acquisition since 2000 when it acquired MANNESMANN, also in Germany, for a record figure of £112bn. VODAFONE has paid the equivalent of 11.5 times the operating cash flow of the LIBERTY assets, in line with recent smaller deals in European cable, and 12 times that figure for the German cable unit UNITYMEDIA. Once completed, the sale will leave LIBERTY GLOBAL with €10.6bn of cash which it could use to bolster its residual operations in markets including the UK and Switzerland, two countries where it does not have a mobile network. LIBERTY GLOBAL CEO MIKE FRIES said the deal to sell its cable networks to VODAFONE would create a stronger competitor to DEUTSCHE TELEKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK retail sales 'fall off a cliff' in April - Alice Woodhouse

UK retail sales "fell off a cliff" in April thanks to an early Easter and unpredictable weather, figures from the British Retail Consortium showed yesterday. Like-for-like retail sales fell 4.2% y/y in Apr., from a 1.4% rise in March and marking the largest drop since 2005. A Reuters poll had forecast a 0.8% contraction. The three-month average saw slight growth, rising 0.4%. PAUL MARTIN, head of retail for KPMG, said: "April's figures show retail sales growth falling off a cliff... That said, the three-month average is more helpful to assess, but this too points to sales only growing modestly - these are indeed testing times for retailers!" This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Safaricom accuses Kenyan regulator of playing 'Robin Hood'- John Aglionby

Kenya's SAFARICOM has accused the country's regulator of playing "Robin Hood" to help its rivals, which it said had not invested as much as they could have done. The attack is the first major response by SAFARICOM, which enjoys 69% market share in terms of subscriber numbers, to a draft competition report by the Communications Authority of Kenya. The study recommends SAFARICOM share infrastructure with rivals and limit some of its services. "The old story of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest might have worked very well in that market but with the new bows and arrows is not sustainable for modern technology-based companies", SAFARICOM chair NICHOLAS NGANGA said, adding: "You cannot take from those who have invested so you assist somebody else who has not". Rivals AIRTEL and TELKOM KENYA regularly accuse SAFARICOM of abusing its dominant position. The draft competition report did not recommend SAFARICOM be broken up into its telecom and mobile money platforms, which had been mooted. But its recommendations included that the company should share towers with rivals and only roll out services that are replicable by rivals. "The mere fact that these suggestions are being brought forward is an indication that we could be heading into an era where success, rightfully earned through well-structured market strategy, innovation and investment is penalised", NGANGA said. The regulator is collecting responses to the report and has not said when it will announce its final decisions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina seeks standby arrangement with IMF - Benedict Mander

Argentina is seeking a standby arrangement with the IMF. Treasury Minister NICOLAS DUJOVNE yesterday had an "introductory meeting" with the IMF's ALEJANDRO WERNER to discuss how negotiations will proceed, with officials estimating they could take around six weeks. Today, DUJOVNE is due to meet with DAVID MALPASS, undersecretary for international affairs at the US Treasury, and later with IMF MD CHRISTINE LAGARDE. The move came as a surprise, with analysts speculating that Argentina would seek a flexible credit line with the IMF, or otherwise a precautionary liquidity line, which carries stricter conditions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers not in a hurry to opt out of Media24 - Khulekani Magubane

NASPERS group CEO BOB VAN DIJK said the company is aware that the media scape is going through changes globally, and that its investment in the sector will be in line with changes to how news is produced and consumed. Speculation is rife about the group's investment in MEDIA24. NASPERS is building a cash war chest from selling stakes in e-commerce assets, but VAN DIJK said the company is not in any hurry to let go of its media assets. "I would say there are two considerations. When you look at traditional print, there is a format that will gradually disappear. In news, in its broadest terms there is a lot of content that is now being consumed in different ways... I am bullish about the online news going forward. We should be alive to the new ways that news is being generated and the new ways in which people consume news", VAN DIJK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zimbabweans livid as beer taps run dry - Memory Mataranyika

Social media is abuzz in Zimbabwe after DELTA CORPORATION, a unit of AB INBEV, announced it is running out of ingredients for the manufacture of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, raising fears beer could run out in the next few days. This is because DELTA is unable to import concentrates and other ingredients for its manufacturing lines due to difficulties in paying foreign suppliers. Production of the Chibuku traditional brew has also been affected, and officials say they are left with only a week's supply. Zimbabweans took to social media and WhatsApp to discuss their fears over the possibility of beer running out. They said beer is a key product in de-stressing from the country's economic woes. DELTA CORP spokesperson PATRICIA MURAMBINDA said the "supply of COCA-COLA concentrates and other imported materials remain critical... This is a similar situation with Chibuku where our supplier of Chibuku Super bottles has to import resin, a key component of the bottle". The company added that it has a foreign payments backlog, a situation business leaders say is also affecting several other companies. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe uses a priority list in clearing foreign payments for Zimbabwean companies and state entities. "This is impacting on our production operations. We continue to make presentations to RBZ and our banks for priority forex payments", MURAMBINDA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers bolsters cash war chest with another R27.7bn from Flipkart sale - Khulekani Magubane

NASPERS yesterday announced it has sold its 11.18% stake in India's FLIPKART to WALMART. NASPERS made $2.2bn from the sale and its management has indicated that this will go a long way in bolstering the group's ware chest as it continues to venture into investments in the e-commerce arena. NASPERS in March raised R116bn in a sale of 2% in TENCENT, reducing its stake in the Chinese giant to 31.2% from 33.2% previously. The sale of NASPERS' 11.18% stake in FLIPKART represents an internal rate of return at around 32%. "India is one of the most exciting markets in the world. We are proud to back Indian entrepreneurs whom we believe have what it takes to build outstanding and long-lasting businesses, and FLIPKART is a great example of this. Our decision to sell is consistent with our strategy to realise value from the businesses we help to build", NASPERS CEO BOB VAN DIJK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cautious JSE debut for Libstar - Fin24

LIBSTAR HOLDINGS debuted on the JSE main board yesterday with a listing price of R12.50/share, in what the owner of Lancewood cheese called an "historic moment". The group raised R3bn prior to the listing, made up of a primary raise of R1.5bn and a second sell-down of R1.5bn from existing shareholders. The shares fell to R11.51 shortly after opening trade, but by 10:43 they were changing hands at R12.15, down 2.8% from the listing price. "The business was established back in 2005 and we have grown it into an R8.8bn turnover company, with a compound annual growth rate of 23% over the last three years", CEO ANDRIES VAN RENSBURG said. At the time of listing, public shareholders owned 46% of the company. The balance of the shares are held by ABRAAJ with 37%, while BEE shareholders account for 11% and management 6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CCBSA to tap into solar energy - Simone Liedtke

COCA-COLA BEVERAGES SA is installing rooftop solar photovoltaic units, with a combined installed capacity of 10.4MW at 11 of its sites. Ten sites will be completed by the end of this year, and the 11th by the end of Feb. 2019. Under a 25-year power purchase agreement with MULILO GROUP, the plants will produce over 18m kilowatt-hours a year of renewable energy for CCBSA. The plants will also realise substantial savings in electricity drawn from the national grid, while cutting CO2 emissions by 14 000t/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Long4Life declares maiden dividend - Simone Liedtke

LONG4LIFE, which has raised R2bn in capital since its listing on the JSE in Apr. 2017, has declared a maiden dividend of 5.4cps for the 11 months to end-Feb. L4L yesterday said it had, in the period under review, acquired Sportsmans Warehouse, Outdoor Warehouse, Performance Brands, Sorbet and Inhle Beverages, and earned revenue of R730.66m from these acquisitions in the four months to end-Feb. The group's operating profit for the four-month period to end-Feb. totaled R117.04m. Basic earnings attributable to shareholders was R168.95m with headline earnings at R170.39m. This translates into basic EPS and HEPS of 30cps and 30.2cps, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Business confidence index declines in April - Marleny Arnoldi

The SACCI Business Confidence Index fell by 1.6 index points m/m to 96 in April. The index, which recorded a 1.1 index point y/y improvement in April, remained above the 95-mark for six months. Three of the thirteen subindices had a positive monthly impact in April, while five were unchanged and five had a negative m/m effect. Increased mechanised import volumes, real retail sales and the real value of building plans passed made the largest positive monthly contributions to the BCI. Lower merchandise export volumes, lower new-vehicle sales and the weaker rand made the most noteworthy negative monthly contributions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Irregular expenditure at water dept rockets - ANA

The office of the Auditor-General yesterday told parliament that irregular expenditure at the Department of Water and Sanitation had rocketed to R6.4bn. The AG's office said the irregular expenditure was significantly high around 2014/15 and 2016/17 financial years, and was now R2.4bn higher than the R4bn that was initially disclosed. ANDRIES SEKGETHO of the AG's office told MPs that the R2.4bn had not been disclosed by the department. He said the matter was reported to DWS when the AG's office was doing its audit and the department said that the R2.4bn was not going to be disclosed. "So the overall, the amount of irregular expenditure is R6.4bn and not the R4bn that was disclosed", SEKGETHO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint Investec African Properties commences ops - Anine Kilian

GROWTHPOINT INVESTEC AFFICAN PROPERTIES, a partnership between GROWTHPOINT, INVESTEC ASSET MANAGEMENT and the INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION, has started operations. GIAP has secured capital commitments in excess of $212m from several large institutional and international investors, with GROWTHPOINT committing $50m. GIAP will invest in income-generating commercial real estate assets in select cities across the continent. Investments will be selected on their ability to support long-term rental growth from top-tier tenants and, thereby, generate sustainable investor returns. GIAP is expected to aid in the development of local African real estate markets and to contribute to the wide-ranging developmental impact which real estate can have in such markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indluplace portfolio grows 82% y/y, despite challenging environment - Simone Liedtke

Despite having faced a challenging operating environment in 2017, INDLUPLACE has grown the value of its portfolio by 82% y/y to R4bn at the end of the HY to end-Mar. This follows the Buffet portfolio acquisition, which became effective on Oct. 1 2017, and which added 2 803 units spread across 48 properties at R1.4bn, bringing the total units owned by INDLUPLACE to 9 62, representing unit growth of 74% y/y. INDLUPLACE declared an interim dividend of 48.56cps for the period under review. Although vacancies rose from 4.5% as at Mar. 31 2017, to 6.3% in the period under review, the company said vacancies have decreased since the period end. The company's revenue, excluding straight line rental income, has increased from R195m as at Mar. 31 2017, to R334.7m in the period under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AB InBev's SA Q1 sales dip on Mar. sin tax hikes - Anine Kilian

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV saw revenue growth in SA of mid-single-digits for the quarter to end-Mar., driven by high, single-digit revenue per hectolitre growth. The company said demand was reduced during the Easter peak season due to higher sin taxes that came into effect in March. AB INBEV said the business integration with SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES was progressing well, with synergies and cost savings of $160m captured during the quarter. The company noted that group EBITDA grew by 6.6% with margin expansion of 70 bps to 38.2%. EPS fell to $0.73, from $0.74 during the y/y period, while revenue for the quarter grew by 4.7% to $13bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kinross reels as two more Africa nations seek mining payoffs - Bloomberg

KINROSS GOLD is the latest miner to be hit by changing policies in Africa as governments seem increasingly willing to tear up historic deals with foreign groups in their quest for higher revenues. Mauritania's rejection of a key permit to expand a KINROSS project, and a proposed mining code review in Ghana, dealt a double blow to KINROSS, sending its shares down the most intraday since 2014. Ghana is benefiting little from its mineral wealth and needs to review its mining code and tax policies, VP MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA said this week. Meanwhile, Mauritania's rejection of the permit could impact KINROSS's Phase Two expansion of its Tasiast mine, the company said in its Q1 earnings statement. KINROSS said its subsidiary in Mauritania received a letter from the government asking for discussions about "all of the company's activities" in the country with the aim of creating greater overall economic benefits for the nation. KINROSS shares shed 13% to C$4.66 yesterday afternoon in Toronto, after falling as much as 15%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold ends gold venture with Cradle Arc in Mali - Reuters

RANDGOLD RESOURCES has ended a JV agreement in Mali with CRADLE ARC, the latter said yesterday, adding that it would seek a new partner. Under the agreement begun in 2016, RANDGOLD held a 65% stake in the Kossanto West Gold Project licences, which will revert to CRADLE ARC, now the 100% owner. CRADLE ARC CEO KEVIN VAN WOUW said RANDGOLD had been "an excellent JV partner" that added to the firm's understanding of a project he believed contained a significant amount of gold. CRADLE ARC would actively seek a new partner for the continued exploration and advancement of the licences. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil antitrust regulator approves Vale-Yara deal - Reuters

Brazil's antitrust regulator Cade yesterday approved the sale of a VALE fertiliser unit to YARA INTERNATIONAL, sanctioning the deal that will allow the Norwegian group to produce nitrogen-based fertilisers in Brazil. Six of Cade's seven board members voted to approve the $255m deal without demanding any asset sales or behavioural restrictions. One member opted to abstain from the vote. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gilbertson takes over CEO role at Jupiter - Esmarie Swanepoel

JUPITER MINES has appointed chair BRIAN GILBERTSON as acting CEO, after PRIYANK THAPLIYAL was hospitalised for an unforeseen medical condition relating to gallstone-induced acute pancreatitis. JUPITER said that while THAPLIYAL was expected to make a full recovery, his recovery period could be extensive, and he was unlikely to be able to resume his heavy work and travel schedule in the near term. GILBERTSON will assume all of the CEO duties and responsibilities, with both JUPITER and its 49.9% subsidiary TSHIPI E NTLE MANGANESE MINING continuing normal operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Karowe process consideration, augmentation delays Elandsfontein phosphate mine - Marleny Arnoldi

AFRICAN RAINBOW CAPITAL yesterday announced delays to its 25%-owned Elandsfontein phosphate mine. It is now expected that the mine and the plant will only be fully commissioned in Aug. 2019, rather than the end of this year as previously planned. "We had to look at our processes [at the mine]. The phosphate is embedded in silica and to get the phosphate out to the required concentration, you need a particular process, such as reverse osmosis, which works well for the most part, but it does not consistently get us up to the 30% concentration that we required", ARC CEO JOHAN VAN ZYL said. Therefore, ARC and fertilised feed minerals miner KROPZ, which owns 70% of the mine, needs to augment the reverse osmosis process with an additional process, of which there are two or three options available. "We have received proposals from experts in Australia, Israel and Canada, who have weighed in on how the process can be augmented". Depending on the experts' recommendations, the cost will vary. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara Q1 loss widens - Anine Kilian

Lower revenues, higher depletion and amortisation costs and higher administrative and other costs contributed to a widening in LUCARA DIAMONDS' net loss to $7m for the quarter to end-Mar., compared with a loss of $1.5m in Q1 2017. The group achieved EBITDA of $1.4m for the quarter, compared with $4.9m y/y. Revenues earned came to $25.4m, or $401/ct, for its first regular tender, yielding an operating margin of $170/ct or 42% during the period. Operating cash costs were $43.04/t processed. Operating costs, excluding depletion and amortisation, were $17.1m for the quarter, a y/y rise of $500 000. The Karowe mine in Botswana delivered a solid performance in Q1, underpinned by production from the South Lobe, which yielded 218 special diamonds. Based on a production profile of 270 000ct/y to 290 000ct/y, primarily sourced from the South Lobe, LUCARA expects to consistently achieve average diamond values of $625/ct-$680/ct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC finalising mining rules after company concerns ignored - Bloomberg

The DRC's Mines Ministry yesterday said it is completing work on new regulations, as a draft document showed the government has thus far ignored companies' key concerns about the reforms. Miners have demanded the government dial back some aspects of the legislation. The ministry makes no mention of any of the major changes the companies seek, according to the draft document seen by Bloomberg. The Mines Ministry is required to submit a final version of the regulations to the country's Cabinet within 90 days of the president signing the code. Without extracting major concessions during the month that remains, mines controlled by RANDGOLD RESOURCES, GLENCORE and others could immediately be liable to pay higher royalties and new taxes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN says US decision on Iran may limit its ability to repatriate cash from Irancell - Arathy S Nair

MTN GROUP yesterday said President DONALD TRUMP's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord may limit the company's ability to repatriate cash from MTN IRANCELL. TRUMP on Tuesday said he would reimpose US economic sanctions on Iran. In 2018, MTN had repatriated around €88m from MTN IRANCELL, including €61m relating to the 2017 dividend due to MTN as well as a further €27m of historic dividends. The remaining balance due to MTN is around €200m, the company said, adding it was committed to its investment in IRANCELL and to repatriating the balance of legacy cash. The company said it will continue to monitor the situation, including the response of the Iranian authorities and other members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Christo Wiese relinquishes roles at Brait - Nqobile Dludla

CHRISTO WIESE has stepped down from two roles at BRAIT SE, where he is a major shareholder, citing time constraints. WIESE on Tuesday retired as a non-executive director of BRAIT's UK company NEW LOOK and as the non-executive chair of BRAIT SA PTY LTD "due to time constraints", BRAIT said in a statement without elaborating. WIESE, who holds more than 34% of BRAIT stock, will retain his non-executive directorship of BRAIT and has appointed his son, JACOB WIESE, as an alternate at the firm. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUM seeks 37% pay hike from gold miners over two years - Ed Stoddard

The NUM has submitted wage hike demands in the gold sector of up to 37% over a two-year period, according to a document submitted to the Chamber of Mines seen by Reuters. CPI currently stands at 3.8%. The document, dated Apr. 23, says the union wants the basic monthly pay for entry-level underground workers to rise to R10 500 over the next two years, which translates into annual hikes of 15%-18.5%, depending on the company. This is less than opening demands of up to 75% by the NUM in previous talks, a sign that lower inflation and food prices may be moderating expectations. The CoM negotiates in the gold sector on behalf of HARMONY GOLD, SIBANYE-STILLWATER, ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI and a smaller producer. Negotiations should kick off next month and other unions till have to submit their demands, but the NUM said it wanted the talks to be complete by Jul. 1, when the next agreements are supposed to begin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta's KCM disputes Zambia tax bill - Chris Mfula

VEDANTA RESOURCES' Zambia unit, KONKOLA COPPER MINES, is disputing a bill of almost $18m slapped on it by tax authorities after an audit, an industry source said yesterday. Zambia's revenue authority concluded audits of mining companies that prompted it to hit FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS with tax bill of $8bn. A KCM company spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, while officials from the Treasury and the revenue authority could not confirm the size of the tax bill. The source said some other mining companies were also disputing their tax bills. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Safaricom expects core profit to jump up to 12% this year - Duncan Mirri

SAFARICOM expects its EBIT to rise by 7%-12% in its current FY, with mobile money and data services helping to fuel growth. CFO SATEESH KAMATH said the Kenyan group had exceeded its EBIT guidance for its year to end-Mar. 2018, posting EBIT of 79.3bn shillings, higher than the initial guidance of 71-75 billion shillings. Revenue from M-Pesa rose by 14.2%, while mobile data revenue leapt by 24%. Growth in the traditional voice and messaging business was far slower - voice revenue grew by 2.4%, and SMS revenues by 6.2%. KAMATH said the group added 1.4m subscribers in FY2018. A dividend of 1.10 shillings was declared, up 13% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

African Guarantee Fund targeting $500m capital by 2021 - Loucoumane Coulibaly

The AFRICAN GUARANTEE FUND will aim to boost its capital five-fold to half a billion dollars by 2021, MD for West Africa ADIDJA ZANOUVI said yesterday. The fund provides local currency guarantees on bank loans to SMEs to ease their access to credit. "We are in the middle of a fundraising campaign", ZANOUVI said, adding that the continent needs "a lively ZME sector to play the role of the economic growth engine". The fund currently possesses capital of around $100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/05/2018

At 07:38 on 10 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.54 Rand/Sterling 17.00 Rand/Euro 14.88 Gold 1311.90 Platinum 911.00 Oil 75.94 All-Share Index 57915.13

Gold-backed ETFs attract strongest inflows since early 2017 - Anine Kilian

Gold-backed ETFs added 72.2t to their holdings last month, taking overall holdings to 2 481t. According to the latest figures from the World Gold Council, this is the strongest month of net inflows in more than a year. Growth in global holdings was led by significant North American and European inflows and supported by a small increase in Asia. North American and European funds saw net inflows of 44t and 26t, respectively. Total fund holdings in Asia rose by 2.4t to 80.2t, while funds in other regions had a marginal loss of 1t or 3% of assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats awarded global sustainability accolade - Anine Kilian

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUm has achieved the second-highest sustainability practice score within the metals and mining sector category of ISS-oekom's global 'Corporate Responsibility Review 2018'. ISS-oekom is an environmental, social and governance research and rating agency. The top three companies in each category are considered to have successfully and systematically integrated important sustainability topics into their activities. "Our sustainability strategy, driven in collaboration with ANGLO AMERICAN, has been a core focus for the company over many years and this ranking is recognition of our progress on our sustainability journey", AMPLATS CEO CHRIS GRIFFITH said. According to the ISS-oekom report, the mining and metals industry showed progress in key areas, such as sustainability, owing to pressure from civil society and shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NERSA's proposed regulations 'draconian' - Siseko Njobeni

NERSA has edged closer towards regulation of on-site electricity generation with the publication of rules for small-scale embedded generation. The rules set out requirements for small-scale generators' connection to the electricity distribution system. The requirements include an application for registration to NERSA and the description of the generation technology. But independent energy consultant TED BLOM poured cold water on the rules, saying they were "draconian". Under the rules, owners and buyers of small-scale electricity generators less than 1MW should apply for the establishment of the installation to their local distributor - either ESKOM or the local municipality. "I view the rules as draconian, as they apply to all small installations, whether for private or pubic use and whether they are to be connected to the grid or not", BLOM said. AFRIBUSINESS has also criticised the rules. "This is ironic, considering the fact that after the major load shedding suffered since 2008, certain consumers have heeded ESKOM's call for them to utilise less electricity. Now that they have heeded the call, there is an attempt to make an income off the dwindling electricity sales as more people and companies are going off-grid", AFRIBUSINESS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA will struggle to close revenue gap - Mfuneko Toyana

SA will struggle to raise the tax revenues needed to cut a budget deficit and support fragile GDP growth due to ongoing problems in tax administration, Treasury DG DONDO MOGAJANE said yesterday. Treasury in Feb. announced a raft of cost-cutting measures, including a hike in the VAT rate, to cap ballooning debt and close a large revenue shortfall. The move to raise VAT to 15% from 14% is expected to generate an additional R23bn of revenue in 2018/19 to fund rising expenditure, particularly the state's decision to expand free university education following months of protests around the country. "Tax revenue faces challenges from both the economy and from tax administration, and raising R60bn in one year is going to be a tall order", MOGOJANE said, referring to the amount needed to narrow the budget deficit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Disney results top forecasts - Peter Wells

WALT DISNEY's Q2 results sailed post market expectations, bolstered by the performance of blockbuster movies and its theme parks. They also provided a warning shot to any would-be acquirers considering upstaging its $52bn deal to buy the entertainment business and global assets of 21ST CENTURY FOX. Those ambitions face a possible challenger in the form of COMCAST, which has held talks with US banks to secure up to $60bn in financing for an all-cash tilt at FOX that the US cable company hopes will give it control of SKY, for which it has already submitted a formal bid. DISNEY CEO BOB IGER said he remained confident his company's deal with FOX would prevail. DISNEY reported a 9% rise in revenue to $14.5bn in the quarter to end-Mar., up from $13.3bn y/y. Reported net income rose 23% y/y in the quarter to $2.94bn, or $1.90/diluted share, from $2.4bn y/y. Revenue from DISNEY's television networks were up 3% y/y to $6.14bn, but operating income shrank 6% to $2.08bn due to losses at streaming video services BAMTech and Hulu, as well as higher programming costs at ESPN. Revenues rose 13% in the parks and resorts segment, while earnings jumped 27% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AIA announces tie-up with Tencent's WeDoctor - Don Weinland

AIA today announced it will tie up with TENCENT-backed WEDOCTOR to offer insurance products and other services as competition with rival PING AN GOOD DOCTOR intensifies in China's online healthcare industry. WEDOCTOR also said it had completed a $500m round of fundraising with AIA, NWS HOLDINGS and other investors, valuing the company at $5.5bn. GOOD DOCTOR and WEDOCTOR have been battling for investors' funds as well as market share in China' online health sector for several years. AIA's partnership with WEDOCTOR will give the insurance company exposure to some of the 110m registered customers the healthcare company claims, although AIA's operations are limited to five provinces in China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toyota forecasts 15% drop in profits, blames yen - Kana Inagaki

TOYOTA has blamed the strong yen as it forecasted a 15% drop in net profit in the year ahead. The carmaker posted record profits for FY2017-18, helped by a $2bn-plus boost from a revision in the US corporate tax rate. In addition to the yen's rise against the greenback, TOYOTA is expected to be hit by a rise in sales incentives to combat slowing car demand in the US and an increase in research costs for electric vehicles and self-driving technology. For the FY through Mar. 2019, the group expects a net profit of Y2.12tn, from Y2.5tn previously and a 1.3% decline in revenue to Y29tn. The guidance is based on the assumption that the yen will trade at Y105/$ in fiscal 2018/19, compared to Y111 in the previous year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Siemens lifts outlook - Patrick McGee

SIEMENS today raised its FY outlook following H1 results that beat analysts' forecasts. The group said Q2 revenue was €20.1bn, flat y/y and in line with forecasts. Net income in the quarter rose to €2.0bn, up 39% y/y and in the face of forecasts for a drop. The figure includes a €700m profit from "centrally managed portfolio activities", the company said. SIEMENS raised its outlook for basic EPS from net income to a range of €7.70-€8.00, versus an earlier range of €7.20-€7.70. FY revenue is still expected to see "modest" growth and profit margin in its core industrial businesses are expected between 11.0% and 12.0%. SIEMENS said profit at the power and gas unit fell 74% y/y to €114m. That contraction hurt earnings for the group's broader grouping of industrial businesses, which saw profits fall from €2.5bn a year ago to €2.3bn. The power and gas troubles were offset by growth in Digital Factory, its high-margin tech-based services unit for integrating hardware and software. The software division "sharply increased its profit on strength in its short-cycle and product lifestyle management software business", SIEMENS said, noting that revenue grew by a fifth and profits rose 40% to €682m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump withdraws US from Iran nuclear deal - Sam Fleming

DONALD TRUMP last night pulled the US out of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, vowing to reimpose sanctions on the country and defying please from close allies who had called for the agreement to be preserved. Critics of the move warned it would further endanger stability in the Middle East and have repercussions for major companies that have been doing business in Iran following the 2015 accord. In his announcement, TRUMp said the "decaying and rotten structure" of the deal could not prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. "If I allowed this deal to stand, there soon would be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East". TRUMP added that the US would reimpose nuclear sanctions and "the highest level of economic sanctions" on Iran. The US Treasury department said all nuclear-related sanctions would be snapped back into place by the end of a six-month "wind-down" period. The sanctions include prohibitions on Iranians accessing US dollars, and the TRUMP administration will resume efforts to prevent Iranian oil from circulating on the international market. Iran's President HASSAN ROUHANI said his country would now decide whether to stay in the deal or resume uranium enrichment at industrial level after talking with the other signatories over the next few weeks. For now Iran considered that the deal remained intact, he said. ROUHANI added that he had ordered the country's Atomic Energy Organisation to be ready for "unrestricted enrichment at industrial level". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Valeant rebrands as 'Bausch' after contact lens and eye-care unit - David Crow

VALEANT posted quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts and said it would change its name, sending shares higher in early trading in New York yesterday. The group said it would rebrand itself as BAUSCH HEALTH COMPANIES, after its eponymous contact lens and eye-care unit, and ditch the VALEANT moniker, which has been tarnished by associations with predatory pricing and accounting irregularities. "It became clear that BAUSCH HEALTH COMPANIES best represents the company we are today", CEO JOSEPH PAPA said. The group posted adjusted earnings of 88cps versus forecasts of 60cps, on revenues of $1.96bn. It also nudged up its FY revenue guidance to a range of $8.15bn to $8.35bn versus an earlier outlook of $8.1bn-$8.3bn. Shares in the company added 12.4% in early trading in New York, giving it a market capitalisation of $6.29bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US job openings hit highest level since 2000 - Mamta Badkar

US job openings rose to the highest level on record in March, data showed yesterday. The number of job openings rose to 6.55m in Mar., from 6.08m the previous month, according to the Department of Labour. That was higher than the 6.10m Wall Street had forecast, and the highest level since the series began in Dec. 2000. The so-called JOLTS report also showed the quits rate edged up to match the December high of 2.3%. This rate is seen as a gauge of workers' confidence in the US labour market and their ability to find a new job. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina opens talks with IMF for credit line - Benedict Mander

Argentina's President MAURICIO MACRI yesterday announced he has begun talks with the IMF to secure a credit line amid a fresh sell-off in the country's currency, debt and equity markets. "We are going to start today to secure greater support to confront the new international scenario and avoid a crisis", MACRI said. The Argentine peso had plunged more than 5% to a record low of 23.08/$ yesterday, taking its decline in the last eight trading days to 12% in spite of the central bank spending $5bn in reserves and raising interest rates to 40%. MACRI's announcement gave reprieve for the embattled peso, allowing the currency to recover briefly to 22.30. Argentina's sovereign debt also rallied, with the 100-year bond coming off its session low of 84.37c on the dollar to trade at 85.75c. "The problem that we have today is that we are one of the countries in the world that most depends on external finance, as a result of the enormous public spending that we inherited and are restoring order to", MACRI said, pointing out that the first two years of his administration were helped by a "very favourable" international context. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo to review membership of industry groups - Neil Hume

ANGLO AMERICAN has agreed to review its membership of lobby groups that support fossil fuels and might have contradictory views on issues such as climate change. "We are going to do a review, it will then be put to the board... and it will be made very clear where the various policy positions are, where we stand on them and also the financing contributions we make and so on", ANGLO chair STUART CHAMBERS said. "We are happy to, and will, going forward... make it very clear if we are a member of a body that has a policy where we don't agree", CHAMBERS added. But he said the company would not necessarily give up membership of a lobby group if there was a clash of views. "We think the best thing is to remain there and advocate and push for our view. That's our position", CHAMBERS noted. ANGLO will publish its review before its 2019 AGM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SOEs must reduce reliance on govt guarantees - Treasury - Lameez Omarjee

Treasury is working to reduce the reliance of SOEs on government guarantees, Parliament has heard. Treasury deputy DG for assets and liabilities ANTHONY JULIES said that when there is a large amount of guarantees for SOEs that expose the fiscus, the deterioration of the fiscal position impacts credit ratings. "We need to monitor the exposure and explicitly work on reducing the levels of guarantees we have on our books as National Treasury, JULIES said. He said the risk is linked to investor appetite to lend to SOEs. "What we have seen is this appetite that has not been there before, is coming back". ESKOM in particular has seen a return of investor appetite. During its 2017/18 FY the utility was able to raise R57bn. "SOEs have challenges in refinancing their own debt", JULIES said, adding that measures are in place to ensure SOEs can pay off their debt and provide comfort to lenders. This includes credible turnaround strategies, appointing the right people to the right places and an appropriate capital structure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Markus Jooste's investment vehicle hires business rescue experts - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL ex-CEO MARKUS JOOSTE's personal investment vehicle has hired two business rescue practitioners as it embarks on an asset sale to repay creditors. MAYFAIR HOLDINGS named PIERS MARSDEN and LESLIE MATUSON of MATUSON & ASSOCIATES as directors, according to a statement by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. MAYFAIR has been given until the end of the year by lenders to sell assets and pay back loans that were backed by STEINHOFF shares, which have collapsed in value amid an accounting scandal. JOOSTE quit as STEINHOFF CEO and as a director of MAYFAIR in Dec. His son-in-law, STEFAN POTGIETER, remains on the board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA CFO resigns - Marleny Arnoldi

DEAN SUBRAMANIAN will step down as executive director and CFO of ARCELORMITTAL SA on Jul. 31 to pursue an opportunity outside the company. SUBRAMANIAN served as executive director and CFO for around three years. AMSA yesterday said the process to find a successor will start immediately and the company will consider appropriate internal and external candidates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB officially launches Africa Investment Forum - Anine Kilian

The African Development Bank yesterday launched its Africa Investment Forum, which will seek to attract investment and public-private partnerships aimed at transformative development on the continent. "The AfDB is championing the AIF as a platform to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity to transform the continent", AfDB president AKINWUMI ADESINA said. He added that the AIF, which would take place in Nov., would provide a much-needed global platform that would help catalyse private-sector investments in Africa, by bringing in developers, strategic investors, venture capital funds, pension funds, global sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies. The AIF would also harmonise processes among the AfDB and its partners, reduce intermediation costs, improve quality of project information and documentation, and increase action-oriented engagements between African governments and the private sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop raises R782m in oversubscribed bookbuild - Simone Liedtke

HYPROP yesterday raised R782.6m in an accelerated bookbuild. The company had initially sought to raise around R600m to reduce its debt. "In the short term, the proceeds will be used to reduce debt and will provide HYPROP with the headroom for future acquisitions and corporate activity", HYPROP CEO PIETER PRINSLOO said. The bookbuild, priced at R105/share, represents a 4.9% discount to the 30 business day volume-weighted average price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rebosis posts solid interim results - Simone Liedtke

REBOSIS yesterday said its retail and office portfolio delivered 6.8% net property income growth in the HY to end-Feb., with positive rent uplift on renewals. The company's value in the underlying portfolio grew by 17.9% to R18.9bn in the HY under review, with like-for-like growth in the underlying retail portfolio having amounted to 7.1% y/y, while growth in the commercial portfolio was 5.5% and growth in the industrial portfolio 7%. The group's distributable income rose by 29.6% to R504.2m for the period under review. This was mainly due to the full consolidation of ASCENSION PROPERTIES. The company's property net income rose by 6.8%, with the net cost to income ration having increased from 15% to 16% as a result of higher rates and taxes. The anticipated dividend from NEW FRONTIER PROPERTIES fell from R63.2m in the prior period to R33.2m in the current reporting period, resulting from the disposal of 29.9% of the shares held by REBOSIS to a broad-based BEE consortium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

More banks needed in SA, including State-owned bank - Ramaphosa - ANA

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA yesterday expressed support for a legislative amendment to create a State-owned bank and breaking the monopoly of the big four commercial banks in SA. RAMAPHOSA said a State-owned bank was a resolution passed by the ANC and therefore had his full support. "Indeed it may well result in amendments to the Banks Act and those are the mechanisms that need to be looked at, to be pursued, so yes I support a state-owned bank... because it is through this bank that we would be able to broaden the money pool in our country". The president said the local banking sector was well regulated but needed to be "properly transformed". "In our rural areas, there is a need for something that will amount to a stokvel bank. There is a need for an agri-bank that will be focusing on financing small, medium and emerging farmers", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solidarity urges Parliament to debate SAA - Rebecca Campbell

Solidarity yesterday petitioned Parliament to hold a debate in the House of Assembly on SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS. The union also urged the government to support its application to place the airline under business rescue, and to stop bailing out the embattled national carrier. The petition to Parliament followed the release of a report on the condition of SAA drawn up by the Solidarity Research Institute. The report charged that the "constant factor" in the failure of SAA has been its sole shareholder - the government. It cited the failure of government to implement two resolutions of the then SAA board in 2014 - to place the carrier under business rescue and to find a strategic partner for it. Solidarity reaffirmed that it will, within the next two weeks, serve papers on the airline as part of the process of approaching the court to put SAA under business rescue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Emira grows US footprint - Simone Liedtke

EMIRA PROPERTY FUND has invested in its fourth shopping centre in the US. It has undertaken its fourth equity deal in the US with its in-country partner, the RAINER GROUP OF COMPANIES, by acquiring 49% of the equity of STONY CREEK MARKETPLACE, a dominant shopping centre in Indiana valued at $32m. STONY CREEK is a 204 000 ft2 modern convenience retail centre located in Indiana, near two of EMIRA's existing investments in Ohio. The asset is 97.9% leased, with 79% of its space let to national retailers including TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Best Buy and PetSmart. It has a weighted average lease expiry of 3.9 years. The investment represents a cash-on-cash return of 11.7% in dollars for EMIRA, with a net cash equity investment of $6.5m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wine prices to rise as global shortage looms - Simone Liedtke

The local wine industry needs an upward wine adjustment to ensure a sustainable supply going forward, amidst a looming wine shortage, according to Vinpro. The industry body's 'Wine Harvest Report 2018' shows that wine grape production is at 1.2mt, an almost 15% decrease y/y. This amounts to 170m litres less wine produced y/y. "The South African wine industry sold 447m litres of wine in the local market and exported 448m litres in 2017, for total sales of 895m litres - a 3.5% increase compared with 2016", VINPRO MD RICO BASSON said. The 2018 wine harvest is expected to amount to 948.3m litres, calculated at an average recovery of 777 litres per tonne of grapes. BASSON said the challenge for this year will be that the combination of lower production and stock levels that have reached equilibrium does imply a significant shortage of wine to service the local and export markets at 2017 levels. Therefore, after years of financial pressure, wine producers need an income adjustment of close to 30% to ensure a more viable and sustainable environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia concludes mine tax audits after slapping huge bill on First Quantum - Reuters

Zambia concluded audits of mining companies that prompted it to slap FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS with a tax bill of over $8bn, its revenue authority said on Monday. The ZRA said it had audited all the mining majors in the country and informed them what they owed. "Some of them are responding, while others have asked for more time which we have since granted", the revenue services said. ZRA said it would issue another update once the audit process was completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim Parliament delays Mugabe's questioning on diamond revenue - Reuters

Former president ROBERT MUGABE will not appear before Zimbabwe's Parliament as scheduled today to answer questions on diamond mining operations. TEMBA MLISWA, who leads the Parliamentary committee on mines, said the clerk of parliament hadn't written to MUGABE to invite him to appear. "It has been delayed but that resolution still stands", MLISWA said, adding that MUGABE will "will have to appear before the committee whether he likes it or not". The committee had ordered MUGABE to face legislators over his previous pronouncements that the state had been deprived of at least $15bn in diamond revenue by mining companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vast achieves record Q1 gold production in Zim - Marleny Arnoldi

VAST RESOURCES achieved record Q1 gold production of 6 326oz at its 25%-owned Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe. Production at the mine was 4% higher q/q, while gold sales increased by 14% q/q to 6 549oz. The milled gold grade also improved by1 3% q/q to 2.78g/t. VAST said an exceptionally high level of pre-stripping was undertaken in preparation for the expected increase in ore tonnages in the coming months. The high level of stripping and heavy rainfall during Feb. resulted in 28% reduced volumes of ore mined, at 65 342t, compared with the 90 874t mined q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine to reduce exposure to Edcon - Roy Cokayne

REDEFINE PROPERTIES is to reduce its exposure to EDCON as the clothing retailer seeks to cut its total retail space from about 1.5m m2 to about 1m m2 via a rationalisation process. REDEFINE COO DAVID RICE said the group would reduce its EDCON exposure by about 20 000m2 this calendar year. REDEFINE still planned to fill the space vacated by EDCON. RICE said retail vacancies in the market and REDEFINE's portfolio had been increasing, particularly in larger shopping centres, and lease negotiations were "tougher than they have ever been". He said there had been significant push back from retailers on rental escalations, specifically from national retailers, and on parking fees. "National retailers are far more clear about the space that they want in terms of their strategies and they are not scared to give up space whereas previously they may have kept more space", RICE said. Meanwhile, he noted that the office market was "very weak" and it was "musical chairs" with vacancy levels in many areas probably increasing beyond where they were. REDEFINE's focus in the industrial sector was on development as its vacancy levels were low at 2.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UD Trucks aims to offer fully electric, autonomous trucks towards 2030 - Irma Venter

UD TRUCKS has joined the global race to develop fully electric, self-driving trucks. The company launched a road map, called Fujin & Raijin, Vision 2030, that aims to deliver fully-electric and autonomous trucks over the next 12 years. By 2030, demand for parcel delivery is expected to grow 50% compared with 2014. To meet this demand, the logistics industry faces major challenges, including reducing carbon emissions, the growing scale of online commerce and driver shortages. "When delivering on our promise to provide the trucks and services the world needs today, we have always done things a bit differently from others in our industry", chair JOACHIM ROSENBERG said. "As we now look forward, we are convinced that the world needs smart logistics." Over the course of 2018, UD TRUCKS will conduct demonstrations of autonomous driving and electric drive prototypes, targeting field tests and customer trials ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show 2019. It aims to have vehicles in actual daily operation by 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA output rises as AngloGold delivers at lower cost - Martin Creamer

The smaller South African footprint at ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI delivered impressive Q1 results with rising production and reduced rand-denominated costs. Production rocketed 29% at Mponeng, where all-in sustaining costs in rands fell by 14%, and production at Mine Waste Solutions rose 17%, while AISC declined by 5%. Outgoing CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN said debt is down 14% to $1.77bn and cash flow from operating activities up 26% to $117m. With margins rising to 23% from 13%, VENKAT, who leaves at the end of Aug. to head VEDANTA RESOURCES, was able to report what he described as "a very good set of numbers". Overall, global output was 824 000oz of gold at AISC of $1 029/oz in the quarter to end-Mar., compared with 830 000oz at AISC of $1 060/oz y/y. Production at the group's international operations rose 5% y/y to 666 000oz, with AISC improving to $950/oz. ANGLOGOLD is guiding a production of 3.325moz-3.40moz for the FY at an AISC of $990/oz-$1 060/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kinross posts knock-out Q1 profit - Henry Lazenby

KINROSS GOLD has reported a 435% jump in headline profit for Q1 to end-Mar., as 30% higher y/y margins and a decrease in depreciation, depletion and amortisation boosted the bottom line. Adjusted net earnings rose to $125.2m, or 10cps, double the average Wall Street analyst forecast calling for earnings of $0.05/share, on revenue of $827.71m. Reported net earnings came to $106.1m, or $0.09/share for Q1, compared with earnings of $134.6m or 11cps y/y. Revenue from metal sales rose 13% y/y to $897.2m, compared with $796.1m during the y/y period. The operating cash flow for the period rose 41% to $293.5m, helped in part by 6% lower production cost of sales at $658/oz of gold equivalent, with all-in sustaining costs for the period down 11% to $846/oz sold. KINROSS confirmed its FY guidance to produce 2.5moz of gold equivalent at a production cost of sales of $730/oz and AISC of $975/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell sells out of Canadian Natural position for C$4.3bn - Henry Lazenby

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has agreed to sell its entire stake in CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES in a deal valued at around C$4.3bn. SHELL has reached agreement with GOLDMAN SACHS & CO, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, SCOTIABANK and TD SECURITIES to sell its 97.56m shares in CANADIAN NATURAL, representing around 7.9% of the latter's outstanding shares. SHELL said it would use the proceeds from the sale to reduce net debt. The sale is expected to be completed later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo court suspends Gecamines bid to dissolve Glencore unit - Bloomberg

The Commercial court in Kolwezi, in the DRC, suspended proceedings by GECAMINES to dissolve a unit of GLENCORE until next month. The court ordered the suspension while it awaits a Jun. 15 ruling by the Supreme Court on its competence to hear the case, FRANCOISE KENA WA TSHIMANGA, a lawyer for KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY, said. KKC sought the determination by the Supreme Court in a filing on Apr. 30, she said. GECAMINES sought the dissolution of KCC last month over what it says was GLENCORE's failure to address a capital shortfall at the company for more than a decade. KCC's total debt stood at $9.2bn at end-Dec., leading to a $4.2bn shortfall in working capital that Katanga was required by Congolese law to resolve before Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanplats signs water offtake agreement for Platreef project - Marleny Arnoldi

IVANHOE MINES' 64%-owned subsidiary IVANPLATS has signed an agreement with the Mogalakwena municipality, in Limpopo, for the supply of at least 5m litres of treated water a day for 32 years, starting in 2022, from the town of Mokopane's new Masodi treatment works. IVANHOE executive chair ROBERT FRIEDLAND said the agreement will provide treated water to supply most of the bulk water needed for the first phase of production at the Platreef mine. IVANPLATS expects to begin receiving a small quantity of processed wastewater this year, after the Masodi plant has been commissioned. The initial supply will be used in Platreef's ongoing underground mine development, including drilling and surface infrastructure construction. IVANPLATS estimates it will require around 7.5m litres a day of bulk water for steady-state production during the first phase of the Platreef project. IVANPLATS will provide financial assistance to the municipality for certified costs of up to R248m to complete the Masodi treatment works. It will then buy treated wastewater at a reduced rate of R5 per thousand litres for the first 10m litres a day to offset a portion of the initial capital contributed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF warns of rising African debt despite faster economic growth - Kwasi Kpodo

Sub-Saharan African nations are at growing risk of debt distress because of heavy borrowing and gaping deficits, despite an overall uptick in economic growth, the IMF warned yesterday. In its economic outlook for the region, the Fund projected the rate of GDP growth would rise to 3.4% this year, up from 2.8% in 2017, boosted by global growth and higher commodity prices. Slower growth in SA and Nigeria weighed on the region-wide average, but the IMF expects growth to pick up in around two-thirds of African nations. Under current policies, the rate is expected to plateau below 4% over the medium term. Meanwhile, around 40% of low-income countries in the region are now in debt distress or at high risk of it, the Fund said, adding that refinancing that debt could soon become more costly. African governments issued a record $7.5bn in sovereign bonds last year, 10 times more than in 2016. And they have issued or plan to issue more than $11bn in additional debt in H1 2018 alone, the Fund said. Foreign currency debt fell by 40% from 2010-2013 to 2017, and now accounts for some 60% of the region's total public debt on average. Average interest payments, meanwhile, rose from 4% of expenditures in 2013 to 12% in 2017. Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Congo Republic, South Sudan and Zimbabwe were judged to be in debt distress at the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/05/2018

At 06:03 on 09 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.55 Rand/Sterling 17.02 Rand/Euro 14.91 Gold 1314.69 Platinum 911.00 Oil 75.51 All-Share Index 57665.24

SA's net forex reserves fall in April - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's net forex reserves fell to $43.115bn in April from $43.384bn in March, the SARB said yesterday. Gross reserves also fell to $49.539bn from $49.979bn, central bank data showed. The forward position was lower at $1.993bn from $1.996bn m/m. "The decrease of $440m in the gross reserves reflects the foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government and the appreciation of the US dollar against most currencies", the central bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia to complete 50MW World Bank solar project in Sep. - Chris Mfula

Zambia will complete its first large-scale 50MW solar power generation plant in Sep. 2018 as the country battles a power deficit which threatens industrial output, the state-owned INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION said yesterday. The $60m project in Lusaka is being financed via a combination of equity and debt, IDC spokesperson NAMAKAU MUKELABAI said. The project is being undertaken with NEOEN/FIRST SOLAR. The World Bank programme aims to help governments deliver cheap and clean energy by helping them run competitive auctions and reduce investment risks. It includes a full suite of World Bank products and services. MUKELABAI said a second 50MW solar power project undertaken with ENEL GREEN POWER was expected to reach a financial close within Q2 2018. A second round of bidding for large-scale solar projects was planned for up to 300MW and would be spread in the Copperbelt, Central, Eastern and Lusaka provinces. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold says owed $150m in taxes by Tanzania, DRC - Ed Stoddard

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI yesterday said it is owed more than $150m in VAT and fuel refunds by the governments of Tanzania and the DRC, which are pushing mining firms over revenue and taxes. "In Tanzania, the total number is $84m of which $70m is VAT, the balance is fuel duties", outgoing CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN told Reuters. In the DRC, the company was owed $65m from its Kibali JV, he added. VENKAT said ANGLOGOLD has had VAT issues in the past in Tanzania, and was owed "north of $180m at one stage several years ago". He said what the company had done to resolve the issue previously was to negotiate offsets "with the approval of the government". VENKAT said that process "was actually proceeding until the new legislation and regulations came about, adding that ANGLOGOLD was in talks with the Tanzanian government about this and other issues. Under new regulations passed in January, Tanzania will now make it compulsory for foreign-owned mining companies to offer shares to the government and local entities. The DRC government has also revised its mining code in ways that companies say will discourage foreign investment and has offered no substantial concessions to their demands for change. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barloworld expects higher H1 profit - Patricia Aruo

BARLOWORLD LIMITED yesterday said it expected its HY profit to rise by as much as 20% boosted by its Southern African and Russian equipment businesses. It expects HEPS for continuing operations for the HY to end-Mar. of 440cps-480cps, up from 400cps y/y. BARLOWORLD last month said it would sell its underperforming Iberian equipment business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sun International to offer shares in rights offer - Tanisha Heiberg

SUN INTERNATIONAL yesterday announced it planned to offer 25.9m shares in a rights offer that the company hopes will raise some R1.5bn to repay debt. The hotel and casino operator said it plans to offer the shares at R58.82 per rights offer share in the ratio of 25.34 rights offer shares for every 100 existing SUN INTERNATIONAL ordinary shares held on May 18. It said VALUE CAPITAL PARTNERS would partially underwrite the rights offer up to a maximum amount of R750m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia assesses debt trajectory as it courts new IMF programme - Chris Mfula

Zambia has assessed its debt trajectory as part of a bid to court IMF support after the Fund rejected the country's debt management plans in Feb. The analysis provides a basis for fresh talks with the Fund on a possible financial assistance, the finance ministry said yesterday. Zambia's economy is expected to sustain growth of more than 4% this year, helped by its mining, agriculture and construction sectors. "Cabinet will be briefed on the outcomes of the exercise and on the executive decisions that are required to be undertaken to successfully finalise the engagement with the Fund... We will implement the decisions particularly as they relate to the success of our debt sustainability actions", the ministry said. The government last month said its $8.7bn foreign debt was not understated. EURASIA GROUP on Friday said the country may be facing fiscal challenges and was likely to default on its debt payments starting next year. The finance ministry yesterday said the country had never defaulted on such payments and did not intend to start now. Zambia wants a $1.3bn loan from the IMF, but analysts last month said the chance of a deal depends on how to reconcile debt management plans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA requires $400m bailout to stay afloat - Wendell Roelf

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRLINES requires a R5bn cash injection in the current FY to help it meet its financial obligations, a senior treasury official said yesterday. Treasury DG DONDO MOGAJANE told parliament the cash injection could not come from government, which has thus far pumped R20bn into the national carrier. He said Treasury was willing to consider selling a stake in SAA to a private equity partner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Union wage demands put SA's spending cuts at risk - Nene - Wendell Roelf

SA will struggle to stick to a promise to trim spending if the government fails to agree inflation-linked wage hikes with civil service trade unions, Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE said yesterday. The government and public sector unions representing teachers, nurses and the police have been locked in talks over wage hikes since late 2017. Unions are lobbying for wage increases of around 12%, while government has tabled offers linked with CPI, which currently stands at 3.8%. "There are risks to maintaining the expenditure ceiling over the medium term, which include the public service wage agreement and the financial position of several state-owned companies", NENE said. Last month the Public Servants Association declared a dispute with government, while COSATU has also threatened to pull out of talks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fall in eurozone investor sentiment slows in May - survey - Adam Samson

Eurozone investor sentiment edged lower in May, after a string of heavy falls that came amid a soft patch of data covering the currency bloc. A gauge of investor sentiment compiled by SENTIX fell to 19.2 in early May, from 19.6 in April. While the rate of decline eased, the level is now at its lowest since Feb. 2017 and has dropped dramatically from 32. at the start of 2018. SENTIX said persistent concerns over trade had weighed on sentiment. The sub-index of current conditions fell to its lowest level since Oct. 2017, while expectations dropped to the weakest point in more than three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blackstone unveils $7.6bn commercial real estate tie-up - Joshua Oliver

BLACKSTONE GROUP has reached a deal to buy commercial property asset manager GRAMERCY PROPERTY TRUST for $7.6bn. The deal prices GRAMERCY shares at $27.50, a 15% premium over Friday's closing price. BLACKSTONE will pay cash for all outstanding common shares in GRAMERCY. Shares in GRAMERCY rose 15.5% in pre-market trade in New York. The deal is expected to close in H2 2018, pending approval by GRAMERCY's shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ArcelorMittal gets EU greenlight to buy Italy's Ilva - Rochelle Toplensky

Brussels has approved ARCELORMITTAL's €1.8bn deal to buy ILVA, Italy's largest steelworks, after the company agreed to a number of conditions. European Competition Commissioner said: "Today's decision makes sure that ARCELORMITTAL's acquisition of ILVA, creating the by far largest steelmaker in Europe, does not result in higher steel prices. ARCELORMITTAL has proposed to sell a number of steel plants throughout Europe to one or more buyers, who will run them to compete with ARCELORMITTAL on a lasting basis". The combined entity will have a market share of over 40% in three main products - hot-rolled steel, cold-rolled steel and galvanised steel - which prompted concerns that he merged company would hike prices. ARCELORMITTAL has agreed to sell plants in Dudelange, Luxembourg, Galati, Romania, Liege, Belgium, Ostrava, Czech Republic, Piombino, Italy and in Skopje, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. ARCELORMITTAL has also agreed that MARCEGAGLIA, an Italian rival that makes galvanised flat carbon steel, will be removed from the consortium purchasing ILVA, to protect competition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cost pressures eat into Tyson Foods profits - Pan Kwan Yuk

TYSON FOODS has become the latest US company to be hit by higher transport and commodity costs, yesterday reporting Q2 results that missed analysts' forecasts. The company took in $9.77bn in sales for the quarter to end-Mar., a 7.6% rise from the y/y period but below the $9.87bn analysts had forecast. The sales gain was mainly driven by contributions from ADVANCEPIERRE FOODS, a company TYSON acquired last year for $4.2bn. That was not enough to prevent net income from sliding more than 7% to $315m during the quarter as margins were squeezed across its beef, pork and chicken businesses. TYSON's cost of sales rose more than $700m during the quarter and is up nearly $1.8bn for H1 2018. TYSON said it now expects freight costs to rise by $250m and chicken feed costs to rise by $100m for fiscal 2018. While the group said it plans to pass some of the higher input costs on to its customers, it also told analysts that FY adjusted EPS guidance will likely come in at the lower end of its $6.55-$6.70 range. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German industrial output perks up in March - Adam Samson

German industrial output rebounded in Mar. after a contraction in Feb. The wide-spanning gauge rose 1% in Mar. from the previous month on a seasonally and calendar adjusted basis, the Federal Statistics Office said today. February's fall was, however, revised to 1.75, from 1.6% previously. During March, production of capital goods rose 2.6%, while consumer goods output climbed 1.1%. Intermediate goods output fell 0.6%, while energy and construction production rose by 1.4% and 0.6%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hertz sputters on quarterly loss - Jessica Dye

HERTZ shares dipped last night after the company's latest earnings report showed a steeper-than-expected loss as the industry continues to search for new sources of momentum amid the rise in car-hailing apps. Shares of HERTZ fell 8.5% in after-hours trading following its results for the quarter to end-Mar., which showed an 8% y/y rise in revenue to $2.1bn. Its net loss was $202m, or $2.43/share, less than the $223m loss, or $2.69/share y/y. Analysts had been looking for sales of $1.97bn and a net loss of $114.2m, or $1.26/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comcast readies all-cash gate crash of Disney/Fox tie-up - James Fontanella-Khan

COMCAST has held talks with American banks to secure up to $60bn in financing to gate-crash WALT DISNEY's $52bn deal to buy 21ST CENTURY FOX's entertainment business and international assets, sources said. COMCAST CEO BRIAN ROBERTS is getting ready to make an all-cash offer for FOX's assets in the event that a US judge approves AT&T's agreed $108bn takeover of TIME WARNER, which the US Department of Justice is trying to block, sources said. The steps taken by COMCAST to acquire FOX come as the US cable giant has been trying to gatecrash RUPERT MURDOCH's deal to buy 61% of SKY, which would give the founder of FOX the ownership of the entire European media entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan household spending fall hints at drop in private consumption - Hudson Lockett

Household spending in Japan shrank for the second consecutive month in March, adding to the case that private consumption may have contracted in Q1. Spending fell 0.7% y/y in Mar., with growth of 0.1% in Feb. revised to a fall of 0.9%. The latest reading also ran counter to expectations, with a median estimate from economists polled by Reuters predicting a rise of 1.1%. The drop in household expenditures adds to earlier evidence suggesting Japan's private consumption fell in Q1, with a March reading for retail sales notching a fall of 0.7% y/y. CAPITAL ECONOMICS expects Japan's GDP to contract 0.1% q/q in Q1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Land committee receives 140 000 submissions, faces 'nightmare' planning for hearings - Tehillah Niselow

The parliamentary joint committee on constitutional review has thus far received 140 000 written submissions about possible changes to land ownership rights, and will request the National Assembly extend the deadline to report back by Aug. 30, according to co-chair VINCENT SMITH. The written submissions and request for oral submissions opened on Apr. 13 and will close on May 31, while the committee is left with the mammoth task of sifting through the genuine submissions and automated responses that some organisations encouraged their members to send repeatedly. SMITH is due to give an update to the 24 members of the joint committee on Thursday, where they will also adopt a plan for the public participation phase in all nine provinces as well as discuss how to handle the large volume of responses they have so far received. The public participation phase by the joint constitutional review committee was scheduled to get underway at the end of May, after written submissions close, but due to the NCOP running two weeks behind parliament, members will need to be in the house to pass budget votes and SMITH will propose that they begin on Jun. 20. The committee will split into two, and SMITH says they have allocated four days for rural provinces, including one weekend day for those who are working to attend. Inland, smaller provinces will have three days of public hearings. "It's a nightmare, it will take a lot of planning", SMITH said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom cuts ties with Nkonki Inc as voluntary liquidation continues - Khulekani Magubane

TELKOM yesterday announced that it would be cutting ties with NKONKI INC as its joint auditors following developments that have led the latter to undergo voluntary liquidation. TELKOM said, as per its announcement in Aug. 2017 it was prepared to procure from NKONKI as its external auditor services to assist with financial reporting for the period to end-Mar. 2019. However the company is undergoing voluntary liquidation following misgivings from the office of the Auditor General KIMI MAKWETU on a lack of clarity in their ownership. In an announcement yesterday, TELKOM said its AGM, set to take place in Aug., will discuss appointing PWC and SIZWENTSALUBAGOBODO to take the place of NKONKI as external auditors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China exports return to growth in April - Alice Woodhouse

Chinese exports rebounded in April with imports coming in higher than forecast as talks to avert a trade war between Beijing and Washington continue. Outbound shipments rose 12.9% in dollar terms y/y in April, the General Administration of Customs said, coming in well above a Reuters poll forecasting 6.3% growth. Imports rose 21.5% in April, beating estimates forecasting 16% growth and higher than the 14.4% growth in March. Those readings resulted in a trade surplus of $28.8bn, above estimates of a $24.7bn surplus. The trade surplus between China and the US widened by $6.8bn to $22.2bn in April following four months of declines. The US has asked China to reduce the surplus by $200bn by 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ING to expand debt capital markets business into US - Alexandra Scaggs

Dutch lender ING GROEP NV is building out its debt capital markets business in the Americas, with the aim of underwriting its clients' investment-grade US bond issuance. ING was motivated in part by the sheer size of the US market, which is nearly three times as large as European bond markets. Eventually, ING could expand its DCM business to cover high-yield bonds and "reverse Yankees", or debt issued by US companies into European or Asian markets. Its new office will provide abase from which to cover Canadian and Latin American markets as well. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire board agrees to £46bn takeover by Takeda - Sarah Neville

SHIRE's board has unanimously recommended its shareholders accept a takeover offer from TAKEDA that values the company's equity at around £46bn. SHIRE shares rose 5% in early London trade to £40.30. The offer being recommended represents a 59.6% premium to SHIRE's undisturbed closing price of £30.70 on Mar. 27. In its final offer, TAKEDA had raised the cash component of the bid, as well as the overall price per share. The deal values SHIRE at around £59bn including debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Life Aberdeen tries to cling on to Scottish Widows portfolio - Naomi Rovnick

STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN has come out fighting against a move by LLOYDS BANKING GROUP to pull £109bn of its business from the merged asset manager, arguing its client had "no right" to do so. LLOYDS in Feb. dealt SLA a blow when it announced it was ending the latter's contracts to manage its £109bn SCOTTISH WIDOWS portfolio, depriving SLA of its single biggest client. SLA today revealed it has now told LLOYDS it "does not agree" that it should lose the SCOTTISH WIDOWS business. LLOYDS discontinued SLA's contract to run the SCOTTISH WIDOWS funds by pulling the trigger on a "material competition" clause in their agreement, stating that the merged entity was now one of its rivals for UK business. SLA said it did not agree with this view, adding: "SLA does not consider that LBG, SCOTTISH WIDOWS or their respective affiliates has the right to terminate" the investment management agreements. SLA said both financial institutions are now "engaging with each other" to resolve the dispute. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Norway oil fund bolsters call for methane cuts from Kinder Morgan - Katie Martin

Norway's sovereign wealth fund is adding to the pressure on KINDER MORGAN, saying it will vote on a resolution demanding that the energy pipeline group sets rigid targets for methane emissions reductions. In a statement, the oil fund said it will support a shareholder resolution seeking a report to review KM's "policies, actions and plans to measure, monitor, mitigate, disclose and set quantitative reduction targets for methane emissions from all operations, including storage and transportation". It will vote on the matter on Wednesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Online retailer Zalando sees Q1 sales jump - Tobias Buck

ZALANDO has unveiled a 22% rise in Q1 sales to €1.2bn, after it won 3.5m new customers and increased the frequency of purchases of its 24m-strong client base. The German-based online retailer said customers were now making on average four purchases a year - more than at any time before. Adjusted EBIT fell sharply from €20.3m in Q1 2017 to €400 000 this year. ZALANDO reported a net loss of €15m, down from a net profit of €5.1m in 2017. The decline was due to investments and to the "delayed start of the spring/summer season", the company said. It confirmed its FY EBIT outlook of €220m-€270m. ZALANDO recently decided to branch out from clothing into cosmetics. It was now offering 4 000 products from 130 brands in Germany, mostly skincare products for women. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Germany's Eon posts 41% jump in profits - Tobias Buck

EON on Tuesday hailed a "strong start" to the new FY, with Q1 net earnings up 41% to €1.03bn on the back of a strong performance in the group's German retail customer business. CFO MARK SPIEKER said Q1 "seamlessly continued our positive performance of last year... We achieved significant growth by adding more than 50 000 customers in Germany". He added that all key figures and developments for the entire business are in line with plans "and we therefore affirm our forecast for full-year 2018 [results]". Adjusted EBIT rose 24% to €1.28bn - better than analysts had forecast in a Reuters poll issued ahead of the results. This came despite an 11% slide in Q1 sales to €9.33bn. Earnings at EON's renewables business rose 7% to €171m in Q1. The group reiterated its forecast for FY EBIT of €2.8bn-€3bn, and net income of €1.3bn-€1.5bn. EON's net debt load - currently at €19.7bn - would "decrease substantially" by the end of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brighter outlook for Anglophone W Africa - Ecobank - Fin24

The economic forecast for Anglophone West Africa is looking up, according to analysis by ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL's research team. The bank found that Nigeria is at last moving out of recession, Ghana's growth continues to be robust, and the region's smaller countries are picking up as they shake off the lingering effects of the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak. Data for the region shows that Nigeria accounts for an estimated 90% of regional GDP and exports mostly crude oil. The outlook for both Nigeria and Ghana is good in 2018, ECOBANK found. It noted that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone "are on the up as their recovery from the effects of Ebola gathers pace; and the positive political outlook in The Gambia is driving economic prospects". The recovery in commodity prices, notably oil and cocoa, has given a boost to economic growth, especially in Nigeria and Ghana, lifting the entire region. Provided the region's governments can maintain fiscal discipline the growth outlook is very positive, the bank added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye shares dive after deadly mine accident - Fin24

Shares in SIBANYE-STILLWATER took a beating yesterday following last week's deadly underground incident at its Driefontein mine. Shares were down 7.7% to R9.97 in afternoon trade yesterday, after opening at R10.68. A total of 13 workers were trapped underground at the company's Masakhane shaft following seismic activity. Seven workers were killed and six of the surviving workers are in a stable condition in hospital. SIBANYE-STILLWATER CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said the company and the Department of Mineral Resources will conduct a comprehensive probe into the incident to prevent similar occurrences. Blasting operations were suspended across Driefontein operations following the seismic activity, but resumed on Saturday at unaffected shafts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aspen opens R1bn high containment facility in PE - Simone Liedtke

ASPEN PHARMACARE yesterday officially opened its R1bn high containment facility, which further cements the company's position as a private investor in the local pharmaceutical sector. The facility is one of six production facilities at ASPEN's flagship manufacturing site in Port Elizabeth and the opening was officiated by Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES. ASPEN CEO STEPHEN SAAD said the facility uses complex technologies, which provides ASPEN with the opportunity to expand its products which are used for rare indications. Initial production in the facility is planned for Alkeran, Leukeran and Purinethol, which is used for late-stage cancers; Imuran, which is used for prevention of organ tissue rejection; and Benztropine, which is used in treatment of Parkinson's disease. At full capacity, the facility is expected to produce around 3.6bn tablets annually, and package some 3m bottles per month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kaap Agri sees positive H1 results despite drought - Anine Kilian

KAAP AGRI yesterday reported improved interim financial results as its ongoing retail and fuel diversification strategy helped to lessen the impact of the Western Cape's drought on the agricultural sector. The company increased revenue by 5.4% to R3.4bn in the HY to end-Mar., with a like-for-like comparable sales growth of 2.9%. The growth in the value of business transacted was driven by a 17.1% rise in the number of transactions. Product inflation is estimated at 3.7%. Recurring HEPS rose by 7.2% to 223.12cps, while HEPS grew by 7.7%. Revenue from the trading division rose by 8.3% with operating profit before tax increasing by 14.5%. Significant growth was realised in The Fuel Company, with revenue from owned and managed sites up 26% and operating profit before tax rising by 6%. A gross interim dividend of 32cps was declared from income reserves, representing an 8.8% increase on the previous interim dividend. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine maintains FY distribution growth guidance at 5% - Marleny Arnoldi

REDEFINE PROPERTIES has declared a distribution of 47.3cps for the HY to end-Feb., up 5.5% on the 44.8cps for the y/y period. Total revenue and gross distributable income grew by 9.6% and 8.6% respectively, continuing to benefit from a number of quality acquisitions made in recent years, REDEFINE said. REDEFINE's international property investments contributed 25.3% of distributable income for the HY under review. The property portfolio was independently valued by external valuers, in Feb., resulting in a net rise in value of R1.3bn. The diversified local property assets were valued at R68.6bn at end-Feb., while its international investments in the UK, Poland and Australia are valued at R17bn, which represents 19.9% of total property assets. The group's overall occupancy rate improved to 95.8% and tenant retention measured 94.7%, compared with 86% in the y/y period. REDEFINE chair MARC WAINER will be stepping down from his role in Nov., but will continue to serve as an executive director of the company's board. The group has started the process of seeking a successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bytes UK signs 5-yr deal with NHS - Natasha Odendaal

ALLIED ELECTRONICS' wholly-owned subsidiary BYTES UK has inked a five-year, £150m contract with the UK's National Health Service to roll out MICROSOFT's latest operating system, Windows 10, to all NHS computers. The £30m/year deal followed a competitive bid that included ten other companies. BYTES UK, deemed the largest MICROSOFT partner in the UK, will now be responsible for the seamless deployment of the Windows 10 licences and support as the NHS revitalises its technology infrastructure. The agreement includes the maintenance of a comprehensive inventory and the development of a portal designed to record the licensing process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Raubex closes two businesses - Anine Kilian

RAUBEX has closed two businesses - L&R CIVILS and STRATA CIVILS - as government spend on infrastructure remains low. Reporting its results for the FY to end-Feb., the company said challenging market conditions in the local construction sector require it to focus on new opportunities to supplement revenue streams and maintain growth. Te group's earnings fell by 5.1% y/y to R8.4bn. The value of construction contracts in progress fell by 15.9% to R280.9m, due to lower operating activity in the construction division, especially in H2. RAUBEX CEO RUDOLF FOURIE said orders from SANRAL halved to R962m during the period, while construction orders from provincial governments contracted by 54%, and from municipalities by 11%. The group's road services division's revenue fell by 9.1% to R3.25bn, while operating profit fell by 14.1% to R222.4m. L&R CIVILS reported revenue of R36.4m and a net loss after tax of R29.3m. RAUBEX decided to discontinue the operations of L&R. It also decided to discontinue the operations of STRATA CIVILS, which specialises in small-scale civil infrastructure projects. RAUBEX said HEPS rose by 13.3% to 228cps and the group had an order book of R8.9bn as at Feb. 28. Looking ahead, it expects conditions in the local construction sector to remain challenging. A gross final cash dividend of 33cps was declared. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod confirms planned June listing for shipping business - Anine Kilian

GRINDROD yesterday confirmed the planned separate listing of its shipping division on the Nasdaq, and a secondary listing on the JSE, for June. Subject to approval by shareholders at a meeting scheduled for Jun. 4, GRINDROD SHIPPING will list in the Industrial Transportation Services sector of the JSE on Jun. 19. The business will list on the Nasdaq on Jun. 18. GRINDROD SHIPPING in Mar. agreed to buy GRINDROD's interest in GRINDROD SHIPPING SA and GRINDROD SHIPPING PTE LTD in exchange for compulsory convertible notes valued at around $320.68m. Each of the convertible notes is expected to be converted into a consideration share at a price of $16.82, GRINDROD SHIPPING said. Apart from a separate listing for its shipping division, GRINDROD's restructuring efforts also include closing the rail assembly business and selling its rail construction business. These businesses are now all listed as discontinued operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NWK to sell Opti Agri as focus shifts to core business - Schalk Burger

4AX-listed agricultural company NWK will sell its animal feed business OPTI AGRI to COUNTRY BIRD HOLDINGS for R290m. This is in line with NWK's revised business strategy with an emphasis on greater customer focus around the core business. The proposed deal is subject to various suspensive conditions, final negotiation and the conclusion by no later than Jun. 4 of the necessary agreements, as well as being subject to all relevant and applicable competition authority and other regulatory approvals. NWK CEO THEO RABE said the OPTI AGRI business is profitable and contributed to the success of the group, adding that the proceeds of the proposed transaction can offer good value to NWK shareholders and stakeholders. "This transaction can contribute to the creation of a deeper, focused environment where farmers and other clients benefit from their relationship with NWK as their dynamic business partner". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB to roll out biometric banking points in townships - Schalk Burger

FIRST NATIONAL BANK will roll out 50 self-service kiosks that use fingerprint biometrics to verify a user's identity in local townships over the next six months, FNB Points of Presence CEO LEE-ANNE VAN ZYL said yesterday. The TouchPoint is a self-service kiosk that clients can use to conduct transactional banking such as transfers and payments, view statements, buy airtime and electricity and perform card cancellations. The device also allows for new accounts to be opened by reading a consumer's thumb print. Even though the device does not contain cash, users can also use the device for withdrawals in the form of retail credit vouchers. The device validates a customer's identity by scanning a fingerprint placed on the biometric reader and it can detect false fingerprints to prevent fraud, VAN ZYL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mosaic reports disappointing earnings - Henry Lazenby

US crop fertiliser group THE MOSAIC CO yesterday reported disappointing earnings, blaming a delayed spring and transportation bottlenecks in Canada for its woes. Excluding special items, the company reported HEPS of $0.20/share, missing analysts' forecasts of $0.28/share. It also raised its 2018 HEPS guidance to $1.20-$1.60/share, up from its earlier forecast of $1-$1.50/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP says China's shift to quality iron ore will hold - Bloomberg

BHP forecasts reforms in China's steel sector will continue to hand an advantage to suppliers of higher-quality iron ore and coking coal as consumption of the alloy keeps growing well into the next decade. Steel mills are likely to retain around two-thirds of the improvements in margins seen since a push began in China in late 2015 to reduce excess capacity and meet more stringent environmental standards, BHP chief commercial officer ARNOUD BALHUIZEN said yesterday. "This drove - and is driving - a continuous demand for higher-quality raw materials", which has resulted in wider spreads between premium and lower-grade iron ore and coking coal", BALHUIZEN said. "We think these price differentials will be sustained - for at least two-thirds of what we have seen last year". BHP forecasts "slow, but sustainable growth" in China steel consumption of about 1% a year through the mid-2020s, supported by opportunities from the Belt and Road initiative, BALHUIZEN said. "Towards the end of the next decade, we see a slow demand tapering for steel, as well as iron ore". BHP has no current plans to lift output beyond a target of 290mt, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brainworks to dispose of financial services - ANA

BRAINWORKS LIMITED yesterday said it had decided to dispose of its financial services section to focus on hospitality, leisure and real estate. "BRAINWORKS plans to restructure the company, by reducing its financial services component, focusing on leisure and real estate sectors through seeking investment opportunities in the supply chain to these sectors", the Zimbabwean company said. "It is expected that these market segments will continue to benefit from the recent political changes in Zimbabwe", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KPMG welcomes review and owns up to failings - James Macharia

KPMG SA on Sunday welcomed a review of its turnaround strategy by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, saying its failings led to a negative image of auditors. The auditor has been under scrutiny since 201 over work done for a company owned by the GUPTAS, and more recently for embattled lender VBS MUTUAL BANK. The IRBA on Friday said it had taken the unusual step of appointing a specialised team to review KPMG's turnaround strategy starting this week. The auditor said it had since Sep. 2017 undertaken far-reaching reforms which seek to put quality and integrity at the heart of the firm. "We acknowledge that failings at the firm have contributed to adverse perceptions about the audit profession and we accept responsibility to work towards redressing this situation", KPMG SA said, adding that it welcomed the review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sudan in talks with Saudi Arabia for five-year oil aid agreement - Khalid Abdelaziz

Sudan is in talks with Saudi Arabia for an oil aid agreement that would have the kingdom supply its oil needs for five years on credit, Sudan Oil Minister ABDULRAHMAN OTHMAN said yesterday. He said the deal would provide around 1.8mt of oil per year to Sudan, which has been hit in recent months by fuel shortages. A source in the president's office said the final agreement is expected to be inked within days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim miner looking at refinery upgrade for battery grade lithium - MacDonald Dzirutwe

A Zimbabwean mining company is considering upgrading a local nickel refinery to produce battery grade lithium or alternatively build a new lithium carbonate plant at a cost of up to $150m, its MD said yesterday. JOHN MCTAGGART, MD of KAMATIVI TAILINGS COMPANY, said the company is negotiating with Zimbabwean-listed miner RIOZIM to upgrade its EMPRESS NICKEL REFINERY, which is 120km west of the capital so it can produce lithium carbonate. But if this failed, KAMATIVI could look at setting up a lithium carbonate plant in Zimbabwe at a cost of $100m-$150m, MCTAGGART said. KAMATIVI is a 60%-40% JV between privately-owned JIMBALA and state mining firm ZIMBABWE MINING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION that is processing a tailings dump in western Zimbabwe. The tailings dump accumulated between 1936 and 1994 during the mining and processing of tin-bearing minerals. "We believe we have the volume of concentrate in-country to warrant a lithium carbonate plant. Africa certainly needs one with the electric vehicle revolution that's taking place", he added. The concentrator that will produce up to 19 000t of spodumene concentrate should be completed by Dec. at a cost of $25m. TSX-listed CHIMAT GOLD CORP has a right to buy into KAMTIVI if it raises the money, MCTAGGART said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's fiscal deficit seen dropping in 2018/19 - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's budget deficit is expected to fall to 5.7% of GDP in fiscal 2018/19 from 7.2% in the current fiscal year, estimates sent to parliament showed yesterday. The country has been under pressure from the IMF and other bodies to cut its budget deficit, which peaked at 9.1% of GDP in 2016/17. "This reduction will strengthen our debt sustainability position. We have carefully evaluated our external and domestic debt to ensure that we are in a position to service the same", the Treasury said. It added that the budget, which will be formally presented in mid-June, would set a net external financing target of 282.5bn shillings, equivalent to 2.9% of GDP. Local borrowing would amount to 276.1bn shillings, or 2.8% of GDP, and the government's revenue would rise to 19.6% of GDP from 19.2% this fiscal year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA farmers take AB InBev to regulator - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Farmers in SA have filed a complaint with the country's competition watchdog about ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV's decision to change its pricing formula for buying malt barley. Grain SA believes the brewer has contravened one of the conditions set when the Competition Tribunal approved its $106bn acquisition of SABMILLER. "We are aware of the complaint lodged by Grain SA and have formally responded to the Competition Commission", AB INBEV Africa spokesperson ROBYN CHALMERS said. In a letter to farmers in the barley growing region of Western Cape, the brewer said it was changing what it will pay for the 2018 crop to 97% of the price for top grade wheat (B1) from 102% of second tier wheat (B2). "We are of the opinion that they are not sticking to what was agreed at the Tribunal. AB INBEV has refused to engage any further. The Competition Commission is the only avenue we can use", Grain SA CEO JANNIE DE VILLIERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 08/05/2018

At 07:34 on 08 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.56 Rand/Sterling 17.01 Rand/Euro 14.96 Gold 1311.20 Platinum 907.00 Oil 75.51 All-Share Index 57880.72

Nutrien reports big miss on Q1 earnings - Henry Lazenby

A late start to the planting season across North America and west coal rail performance issues were to blame for a disappointing Q1 for NUTRIEN, the company said yesterday. The group reported adjusted net earnings of $105m, or $0.16/share, which came in far below average analyst predictions calling for earnings that exclude special items of $0.29/share, derived from forecasted revenues totalling $4bn. Actual revenues came to $3.7bn, largely in line with the combined revenues of NUTRIEN's constituent companies POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN and AGRIUM INC in the y/y period. Potash sales in Q1 rose 11% to 3.13mt, while the average realised price climbed 11.5% y/y to $184/t. NUTRIEN expects potash demand to remain robust as a result of high underlying consumption and relatively low inventory levels in most major markets. For this reason, it has raised its global potash shipment forecast to 64.5mt-66.5mt for 2018. NUTRIEN also increased its FY earnings guidance to $2.20-$2.60/share, with profit for H1 of $1.50-$1.65/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia Rare Earths stock jumps on Kunene campaign - Henry Lazenby

The TSX-V-listed stock of NAMIBIA RARE EARTHS yesterday rose nearly 20% to C$0.335/share following news that the company is gathering momentum with a planned exploration campaign over its early-stage Kunene cobalt/copper play in Namibia. The company has contracted SKYTEM SURVEYS to carry out a detailed airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey covering all the previously identified cobalt targets on its Kunene project. The survey will cover more than 600km2. The company said the objectives of the survey are to detect conducive horizons and sulphide accumulations associated with cobalt/copper mineralisation to depths of 300 to 400 m, and to assist with geological mapping and structural interpretations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore, QIA abandon plans to sell Rosneft stake to CEFC - Neil Hume

GLENCORE and the QATAR INVESTMENT AUTHORITY have abandoned plans to sell their stake in ROSNEFT to CEFC CHINA ENERGY, whose founder was detained by Beijing earlier this year. The mining and commodity house said they had sent a notice to terminate the $9.1bn sale agreement under the terms of the contract. The stake sale has been on hold since YE JIANMING, head of CEFC CHINA ENERGY, was detained by Chinese authorities in Feb. GLENCORE said it had agreed with the QIA to dissolve the JV that first bought the ROSNEFT stake, which will now be acquired directly by the sovereign wealth fund. That will make the QIA one of the biggest shareholders in ROSNEFT with around 19% of the company, putting it behind the Kremlin but almost on a par with BP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EM currencies slip after worst week since 2016 - Adam Samson

Emerging market currencies faced further pressure this morning, with a resurgent dollar and a slew of local issues sparking jitters among investors. In early European trading, the JPMORGAN emerging markets currency index shed 0.29%. The Turkish lira faced the heaviest fall on Monday, down 0.85% on the dollar. The ZAR was the second biggest faller, down 0.44% on the greenback while the Philippine peso, Russian rouble and Indian rupee were each off around 0.4%. Analysts reckon EM currencies will remain under pressure, while investors will watch US producer and consumer price inflation data, due out later this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German business confidence extends decline - PMI - Cat Rutter Pooley

German business is much gloomier than previously thought with confidence at its lowest ebb in more than 18 months, a final PMI reading showed last week. The services sector PMI fell to 53 in April, from 53.9 in March and weighing down the wider index. A flash reading late last month had suggested the index had risen to 54.1. April's reading was the lowest since Sep. 2016, driven by a drop in new orders and rising concerns about the outlook for the industry. The headline reading for the composite index also fell to a 19-month low at 54.6, down from 55.1 m/m and below the flash reading of 55.3. While the gauge remained above 50, sentiment among German executives has pulled back sharply from the seven-year high reached near the start of the year. The index has held above 50 for almost five years, clocking in at an average of 54.3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone retail growth sags in Mar. - Cat Rutter Pooley

Retail sales growth in the euro area stuttered in March, limping just 0.1% higher from February. The rise was much lower than the 0.5% m/m growth analysts had expected, although the Feb. monthly data were revised upwards from a 0.1% rise to 0.3%. On an annual basis, sales rose at less than half the pace expected. Retail sales rose 0.8% y/y, down from 1.8% in Feb. That compared with expectations for a slight pick-up in the rate of increase to 1.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba's Ant Financial had net loss in Q4 - Louise Lucas

ANT FINANCIAL, which is raising funds valuing it at $150bn, made a net loss in Q4, ALIBABA revealed on Friday. The Chinese tech titan, which is switching its profit sharing arrangement with ANT into an equity stake of 33%, also bore the scars of investing in capital intensive areas and buying market share. Operating margins shrank from 25% a year ago to 15% in Q4 2017. However, ALIBABA - which sold a gross $768bn of goods over its ecommerce platforms last year - continued its crowd pleasing tactics of raising revenue guidance and trouncing analyst estimates. Revenues are set to rise 60% this year, said CFO AGGIE WU. In Q4, revenues rose 61% to Rmb61.93bn, while net income attributable to ordinary shareholder hit Rmb7.56bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US unemployment rate falls below 3.9% in March - Peter Wells

The US kept creating jobs at a moderate pace last month, while wage growth was more subdued than Wall Street had forecast. Non-farm employment rose by 164 000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, recovering from an upwardly revised 135 000 in March (103 000). This fell below economists' forecasts for a gain of 192 000. The employment rate fell to 3.9%, from 4.1% in Mar., but remains at its lowest level since Dec. 2000. Average earnings grew 2.6% y/y, steady from March, which had been revised 0.1 percentage points. Economists expected growth of 2.7%. Recent data showing US private sector wages and salaries grew at its quickest pace since 2008 - up 2.9% y/y in the March quarter - have given some support to the argument that steady GDP growth and falling unemployment are finally lifting incomes and potentially inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina lifts rates for third time in a week as peso tumbles - Pan Kwan Yuk

Argentina on Friday raised its interest rate by 6.75 percentage points - its third rate hike in less than a week - in an increasingly desperate attempt to halt the country's peso from sliding further against the dollar. The central bank raised its key rate to a record high of 40%, its press office said on Friday. The move came less than 24 hours after the central bank lifted rates by 3 percentage points to 33.25%, and took the country's borrowing costs from 27.25% to 40% in the space of seven days. The latest move underscores the officials' concern over the intensifying pressure on the peso, which has fallen more than 5% since Apr. 27. "As well as using interest rates, the BCRA will continue operating with all its tools for intervention in the foreign exchange markets", the central bank said. Te peso opened modestly higher on Friday, coming off the prior day's record low of 22.39% to trade 0.5% higher at 22.25 to the dollar. Argentina's 100-year bond also reversed earlier losses to trade at 85.88 on the dollar. It had slipped to a new low of 83.31 on the dollar prior to the rate move. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Redefine, Abland launch mixed-use Loftus Park precinct - Marleny Arnoldi

City of Tshwane executive mayor SOLLY MSIMANGA last week officially launched Loftus Park - a new mixed-use green precinct in Pretoria. Anchor tenants include Checkers, Dis-Chem and PNA, as well as restaurants Casa Bella, Turn & Tender, Salsa, Rocomammas, Seattle Coffee Company and Vos Biltong. Loftus Park is located next to Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld sport stadium. The development's first phase includes an open-air piazza that is surrounded by restaurants, convenience retail, a Virgin Active health club, added parking for stadium game-goers and around 29 000m2 of A-grade office space. REDEFINE CEO ANDREW KONIG said the development furthers the company's goal to be the landlord of choice for quality space in excellent locations. ABLAND marketing director GRANT SILVERMAN said the development realises the company's passion and vision for the immense potential of the property. "It has est a new standard for quality mixed-use precincts in Pretoria", he added. Once the demand-driven development is complete, it will offer 55 000m2 of space that is centred around its community. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mark van Vuuren to succeed Da Silva as Jasco CEO - Natasha Odendaal

JASCO COO MARK VAN VUUREN is taking the helm as CEO on July 1 as PETE DA SILVA steps down to take up the position of nonexecutive director following the company's restructure. VAN VUUREN and DA SILVA have, over the past 18 months, worked closely in preparation to ensure leadership continuity within the senior management team as part of the company's succession planning. "The board is confident that MARK will successfully drive the group's growth strategy and wishes him well for the future", JASCO chair Dr ANNA MOKGOKONG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mcebisi Jonas joins MTN board - Fin24

MTN GROUP today announced that former deputy finance minister MCEBISI JONAS, and businesswoman BAJABULILE SWAZI TSHABALALA have joined its board as independent non-executive directors. JONAS served as deputy finance minister from 2014 to 2017. He is currently one of our independent Presidential Investment Envoys, appointed by President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA to attract investors to SA. TSHABALALA has over 20 years professional experience in finance, risk management, treasury and general management, MTN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FEDUSA calls on Steinhoff acting CEO to resign - John Bowker, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's acting CEO DANIE VAN DER MERWE should resign after it emerged he borrowed R26.4m backed by company shares a week before the stock collapsed, according to FEDUSA. "The timing of the loan application is highly suspicious and smacks of insider trading", FEDUSA said on Friday. "There is absolutely no way that STEINHOFF top executives, including VAN DER MERWE, could not have full knowledge of what was going on, on the eve of the share collapse". VAN DER MERWE was prompted from COO to acting CEO of the embattled retailer on Dec. 19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff acting CEO repays share-backed loan taken days before plunge - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL on Friday said acting CEO DANIE VAN DER MERWE repaid a R26.4m loan backed by company shares that he took out a week before the company's stock collapse in Dec. The timing of the loan raises questions about how much VAN DER MERWE knew about the financial malpractice that has brought the company to the brink of collapse. VAN DER MERWE's personal investment company RUBY STREET INVESTMENTS borrowed the funds from INVESTEC on Nov. 29, the same day that companies owned by former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE and his son-in-law STEFAN POTGIETER took out a R93m loan from the same bank, according to a filing by INVESTEC in Dec. Both loans were backed by STEINHOFF stock and were arranged by POTGIETER. VAN DER MERWE was used alongside JOOSTE and POTGIETER by INVESTEC days after the STEINHOFF share collapse. INVESTEC said that when the loans were agreed all three must have been aware of accounting concerns that led to the plunge in the share price and didn't inform the bank. INVESTEC has since settled the matter with the relevant parties, it said in an email, declining to comment further. Neither INVESTEC nor STEINHOFF detailed how or when VAN DER MERWE repaid the loan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dis-Chem shares dive after results - Sibongile Khumalo

DIS-CHEM PHARMACIES reported 13.3% growth in group turnover to R19.6bn, boosted by the opening of 21 new stores in the FY to end-Feb., the group said on Friday. EPS rose by 6.1% to 79.6cps y/y, while HEPS accelerated by 6.6% to the same amount. DIS-CHEM's share price took a beating, dropping 9.95% to R31.78 by 15:15 on the JSE on Friday, not only on the results but also over speculation of insider trading. Business Insider earlier in the day reported that traders were furious about suspected "inside information" as the share price started its slump already on Thursday, a day before the results announcement. The share fell more than 5% on Thursday. JSE director of market regulation SHAUN DAVIES said his department had noted the movement in the DIS-CHEM share price ahead of Friday's announcement. "If we conclude that any trades warrant further investigation, we will refer those trades to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority for their consideration", DAVIES said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Libstar raises R3bn ahead of JSE listing - John Bowker

LIBSTAR HOLDINGS on Friday sold stock at the bottom of its price range, yet still raised around R3bn to pay down debt and free up funds to pursue growth. The company placed shares at R12.50 apiece, compared with a target of R12.50-R16.00, it said on Friday. That raised R1.5bn, while existing shareholders led by ABRAAJ GROUP sold shares worth the same amount. LIBSTAR's shares are due to start trading on May 9. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Auto exports earned SA R165bn in 2017 - Irma Venter

Total earnings from local automotive exports reached R164.9bn in 2017, comprising 13.9% of SA's total export earnings. This is down from the record R171.1bn achieved in 2016, at 15.6% of total export earnings. Total automotive revenue in the local automotive business sphere amounted to more than R500bn in 2017. Meanwhile, vehicle and component production accounted for 30.1% of SA's manufacturing footprint, according to the 2018 Automotive Export Manual, published on Friday. The broader automotive industry's contribution to GDP was 6.9%, down from 7.4% in 2016. The 2018 AEM shows that seven major light vehicle manufacturers invested a record R8.2bn in 2017, with investment by automotive component manufacturers at R4bn. In comparison, 2016 investment by the light vehicle manufacturers reached R6.4bn, with component manufacturers' investment at R2.6bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hulamin responds to US import tariffs - Simone Liedtke

SA's exclusion from a list of countries exempted from tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium imports should not have an immediate impact on HULAMIN, but it has increased long-term risks, the company said on Friday. HULAMIN said markets for niche products in the US should remain strong. Outgoing chair MAFIKA MKWANAZI said efforts were under way to address regulatory issues with customers. He noted that SA's competitive position, relative to countries and regions that have been granted exemption status, was being eroded by the import tariff. MKWANZI noted that HULAMIN had a "flexible and nimble strategy" that allowed the company to adjust export destinations for its standard products in response to changing market conditions. "Long-standing market positions and customer relationships in key markets around the world remain available, should conditions in the US worsen", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agri SA launches water desk to ensure farmers get fair cut - News24Wire

AGRI SA has launched a water desk that will be dedicated to helping farmers across the country get equitable access to water, it said on Friday. Several policy proposals could increase the cost of water and reduce the amounts available to farmers, the organisation said. It was therefore crucial that engagement started early, so there could be a fair outcome. Farmers were already dealing with several challenges that included severe drought and climate change, it added. The purpose of the water desk was to focus on policies and proposals, such as the draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan and the National Water Resource Strategy. The desk would also give input on water research priorities and gather insight from top water experts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coal miners next to launch lung disease compensation claims - Simone Liedtke

The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference Justice and Peace Commissioner and Richard Spoor Attorneys say coal miners are the next in line to seek compensation for occupational lung diseases. "The battle to secure justice for sick miners in South Africa is not over. We are working with Richard Spoor Attorneys to demand compensation from coal mines on behalf of former mineworkers who contracted deadly lung diseases in the coal mines", SACBC Justice and Peace Commission chair BISHOP GABUZA said. This follows after attorney RICHARD SPOOR on Thursday said such legal action is being pursued on a company-by-company basis, including SASOL and EXXARO RESOURCES. GABUZA called on coal mining companies to emulate the example set by gold mining companies by considering "out-of-court settlements and compensation levels that are sufficient to restore dignity to former workers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo to end investment in Nautilus - Reuters

ANGLO AMERICAN on Friday announced it will end its investment in deep sea mining company NAUTILUS MINING. It was exiting the investment "as part of the prioritisation of our portfolio on our largest and greatest potential resource assets", ANGLO spokesperson JAMES WYATT-TILBY said. The mining major has a 4% stake in NAUTILUS, which mines offshore in Papua New Guinea and Australia for minerals such as copper, gold, nickel and cobalt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldman maintains buy rating on Glencore - Marleny Arnoldi

GLENCORE's strong production growth has prompted GOLDMAN SACHS to maintain its buy rating on the commodities giant. GOLDMAN says zinc remains the most preferred commodity, based on its strong fundamentals and the deficit in the market. "Prices have continued to surprise to the upside and, given the strong demand from China, they could continue to do so". Additionally, copper is one of the most preferred commodities in the broader commodity complex. Copper is forecast to remain in a deficit in the near future, with ongoing wage talks in Chile presenting an upside risk to GOLDMAN's forecasts. GOLDMAN is also confident in GLENCORE's return potential, stating that the company is generating significant free cash flow compared with its peers. It expects GLENCORE to have an average free cash flow yield of 14% over the next four years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye to start search for new audit firm - Simone Liedtke

SIBANYE-STILLWATER on Friday said it will start the search for a new independent external audit firm for FY2019 after its AGM on May 30. The company had previously proposed the reappointment of audit, tax and advisory services provider KPMG as its auditors up to the 2019 AGM. However, on Friday it noted that, following the ongoing and more recent VSB BANK developments, its board would seek to select a new independent external audit firm for the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore completes Hunter Valley acquisition - Marleny Arnoldi

GLENCORE on Friday completed the acquisition in the Hunter Valley Operations coal mine in New South Wales. The HVO operation is a JV with YANCOAL AUSTRALIA, which owns a 51% stake. GLENCORE AUSTRALIA coal business COO IAN CRIBB expects that the JV will bring significant benefits for both companies and their shareholders. The acquisition process started in Aug. 2017 and entailed GLENCORE paying $1.14bn plus a 27.9% share of $240m non-contingent royalties over five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HCI buys 10% stake in PTM - Simone Liedtke

HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INVESTMENTS will, through a subsidiary, acquire a 10% stake in PLATINUM GROUP METALS. HCI has entered into a subscription agreement of 16.77m units at a price of $0.19/unit for gross proceeds of $3.19m. Each unit will comprise one common share and one-half common share purchase warrant, with each full common share purchase warrant allowing HCI to buy one further common share of PTM at a price of $0.24/share for a period of three years from the date of closing of the private placement. HCI CEO JOHN ANTHONY COPELYN has been nominated as a director of PTM. PTM will use the net proceeds of the private placement for the repayment of debt due to LIBERTY METALS & MINING HOLIDNGS and, as permitted, for general corporate and working capital purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mantashe urges Sibanye-Stillwater to prioritise health & safety - Marleny Arnoldi

Greater attention needs to be paid to issues of safety, particularly the protection of the lives of mineworkers, Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE said on Friday after four employees died in a cave-in at the company's Masakhane mine. Thirteen miners were trapped underground on Thursday after an earthquake caused a cave-in. Ten of the workers have been rescued, with four of those having died of their injuries. The DMR's health and safety inspectors were on site as rescue operations continue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Loulo-Gounkoto still expanding - Randgold - Simone Liedtke

RANDGOLD RESOURCES' Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex, in Mali, is still expanding, with the Gounkoto superpit and new Baboto satellite pit joining the Yalea and Gara underground mines. RANDGOLD CEO MARK BRISTOW last week said the complex's all-Malian management team had made a good start to 2018, although production was expected to be lower than in the prior quarter on the back of forecast lower grades. Although slightly delayed, mining at the Baboto satellite pit was now well on track to support the complex with softer oxide ore feed. "We expect grades to pick up and production to increase through the rest of the year to deliver our production guidance for 2018", Loulo-Gounkoto GM TAHIROU BALLO said. He added that production from the underground mines had continued to show a steady improvement since the company took over the mining from contractors in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turquoise Hill wants more say in Oyu Tolgoi management - Esmarie Swanepoel

TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES is expected to increase its direct participation in the management of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, in Mongolia. The company's board told shareholders last week that it had reviewed its involvement in the project after shareholder SAILINGSTONE CAPITAL PARTNERS earlier expressed concerns that RIO TINTO had too much influence. OYU TOLGOI is jointly owned by TURQUOISE HILL (66%) and the Mongolian government (34%). RIO owns 51% of TURQUOISE HILL and has been the project's manager since 2010. TURQUOISE HILL said it had met with RIO representatives and discussed actions that the parties could take to enhance the working relationship at Oyu Tolgoi. A number of specific actions would be taken, including increasing TURQUOISE HILL management's direct participation in Oyu Tolgoi matters. The parties would also work to enhance the independence of TURQUOISE HILL's technical personnel, and establish a project management office at Oyu Tolgoi as an additional mechanism to facilitate sharing of information. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore first foreign firm to trade iron ore futures after China opens market - Reuters

GLENCORE on Friday carried out the first trade by a foreign entity for Chinese iron ore futures, the first day that the DALIAN COMMODITY EXCHANGE opened the contract to overseas investors. Iron ore is the second commodity China has opened to outside investors after launching crude oil futures in March. The move is expected to increase trading in the contract, which was launched in 2013 and is already among China's most liquid derivatives. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BP said to tap Morgan Stanley as it eyes BHP assets - Bloomberg

BP is weighing an acquisition of some of BHP's energy assets as the British oil major seeks more US shale, according to sources. BP is working with MORGAN STANLEY to advise on the plans, the sources added. The company is weighing teaming up with other suitors or swapping conventional assets with BHP. BHP is selling 800 000 net acres in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Haynseville and Fayetteville Basins it has said are worth at least $10bn. It is preparing to sell those assets in up to seven packages, including three in highly-prized Premian, sources said earlier this month. It is not clear which of those assets BP wants to buy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stellar Capital sells Cadiz to Warwick - Sandile Mchunu

STELLAR CAPITAL PARTNERS yesterday said it had sold subsidiary CADIZ ASSET MANAGEMENT to WARWICK for an undisclosed sum. The company said it would not make the terms of the deal public as the disposal fell below the threshold of the disclosure categorisation in terms of the JSE listing requirements. STELLAR said the disposal remained subject to securing all necessary regulatory approvals. CEO PETER VAN ZYL said the group had recently reviewed its future strategic direction and focus. He said STELLAR had been looking for the right strategic partner for CADIZ, adding that the sale to WARWICK "represents a very positive and important step for the future of CADIZ". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mahindra plans SA assembly - Roy Cokayne

MAHINDRA is set to announce details this month about its plans to assemble its vehicles in SA. Newly appointed CEO RAJESH GUPTA said the company would start with the assembly of the MAHINDRA PIK-UP. "This will offer us a sound footing on which to further entrench our South African sales success". The assembly would be supported by the expansion of MAHINDRA's products and services. MAHINDRA SA has not yet indicated where the assembly plant will be located. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tom Moyane served with disciplinary charges - Tanisha Heiberg

SA has served suspended SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE with disciplinary charges related to alleged misconduct during his tenure, the president's office said on Friday. President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA suspended MOYANE in March after saying he had lost confidence in MOYANE's ability to lead SARS. The president took that step after MOYANE refused to step down. Days after MOYANE was suspended, MOODY's affirmed SA's investment-grade credit rating. RAMAPHOSA's office said MOYANE would face the charges over his alleged misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities in terms of the Revenue Service Act. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia maize output to fall around 34% - Chris Mfula

Zambia's maize production for the 2017/18 crop season will drop to 2.39mt from 3.61mt produced in the prior season largely due to drought, a government survey said last week. "Dry spells have negatively affected the production of some crops in the country. In addition we had reports of army worms and stalk borers attacking maize fields", the Agriculture Ministry said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Malawi's president says economy to grow by 6% in 2019 - Frank Phiri

Malawi's economy will grow by as much as 6% in 2019 from a 4% expansion expected in 2018, President PETER MUTHARIKA said on Friday. Malawi has restored economic stability after a period when the siphoning off of funds by government officials led to donors freezing budgetary support in 2013. A former justice minister and scores of other government officials were convicted of complicity in the "Cashgate" scandal. "It has taken us three years to turn around the economy from the devastation of Cashgate, and through national disasters of floods, drought and hunger", MUTHARIKA said. Malawi aims to more than double power supply from the current 360 MW to 1 000MW by 2023, by diversifying from hydro electricity generation to coal, wind, solar and gs. The president said the country planned an international airport along Lake Malawi, as part of plans to turn the country's tourism industry into a major revenue source. The lake covers more than half of the country and is a major tourist attraction. Elections in Malawi are due in May 2019 and MUTHARIKA has declared that he will seek a second term, despite recent criticism of his age. He will be 79 next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JSE to tighten disclosure for debt issuers - Nomvelo Chalumbira

The JSE LTD is crafting tighter disclosure rules for companies with listed debt instruments, combined with a greater focus on corporate governance to increase transparency. SOEs, which are some of the biggest debt issuers, are overhauling their corporate governance after some were caught up in a recent influence-peddling scandal that rocked business and politics in SA. "Commentators are often critical why exchanges don't catch or stop a fraud etc... what they (regulators) do is they require disclosures so people are informed before they make a decision to invest", JSE CEO NICKY NEWTON-KING said last week. "That's why we are looking at disclosures for non-listed companies with debt securities as a means for investors, the media and interested shareholders to ask difficult questions". The new regulations, expected to be finalised by the end of the year, would have a strong focus on corporate governance, the JSE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growing store base lifts Dis-Chem's FY profit - Nomvelo Chalumbira

DIS-CHEM PHARMACIES on Friday reported a 13.7% rise in FY adjusted earnings, and 13.3% jump in turnover, supported by a growing store base and tight cost controls. The company said adjusted HEPS for the FY to end-Feb. rose to 78.7cps, from 69.2cps y/y. Group turnover increased to R19.6bn, from R17.3bn y/y. It declared a gross final dividend of 12.73cps, compared with 7.3cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vivo Energy floats with £2bn valuation - Libby George

VIVO ENERGY launched on the LSE on Friday with a valuation of nearly £2bn, the largest London IPO of the year. The initial offer price for the just under 30% of the company floated was set at 165pps, and the shares rose to 169.5pps in conditional trading. VIVO is the downstream fuels JV of VITOL and HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS. It sells SHELL-branded fuels and lubricants at nearly 2 000 filling stations in 15 African countries. VIVO CEO CHRISTIAN CHAMMAS said the offer was "seriously oversubscribed". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's Java House aims to spread wings under Abraaj - Maggie Fick

Kenyan casual dining and coffee chain JAVA HOUSE AFRICA, acquired last year by ABRAAJ, plans to double outlet numbers in its domestic market over the next two years before expanding in East Africa and beyond. JAVA HOUSE plans to open 25 new restaurants in Uganda and a dozen in Rwanda over the next five years, CEO PAUL SMITH said last week. It is also considering entering Nigeria, either as a wholly foreign owned enterprise or in a JV, and is looking at franchise opportunities in SA, SMITH added. JAVA's sale last year drew attention to strong private equity interest in East Africa's consumer sector. ECP reportedly received more than 10 bids, ABRAAJ declined to say how much it paid. Nine months since the takeover, JAVA is performing beyond expectations and the aim to grow by several multiples within five years is on track, ABRAAJ's East Africa MD ASHISH PATEL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 07/05/2018

At 08:03 on 07 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.53 Rand/Sterling 16.97 Rand/Euro 14.99 Gold 1316.81 Platinum 915.00 Oil 75.03 All-Share Index 57648.87

Redefine cuts ties with KPMG - Business Report

REDEFINE PROPERTIES last week announced it has cut ties with KPMG, joining a list of companies who have quit the embattled auditing firm. REDEFINE said that at its AGM in Feb. 2018, it was proposed that KPMG be re-appointed as the company's independent external auditors for FY2018. This was on the provision that "the Audit and Risk Committee actively monitor the outcomes of the investigations underway and take appropriate actions as and when further information becomes available". However, after the AGM meeting, the board said it had evaluated the recent developments by KPMG. The company reportedly added that it would begin with a tender process in order to appoint auditors to replace KPMG. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US asks China to cut trade deficit by $200bn - Gabriel Wildau

A high-level US delegation has asked China to cut the bilateral trade deficit by $200bn by 2020, reduce tariffs, and cut subsidies for emerging industries, according to a document seen by the FT. The document demands that China reduce tariffs to levels no higher than those that he US impose on the same goods. It also calls on China to cut subsidies linked to China's "Made in 2025" industrial policy plan designed to promote development of advanced industries including electric vehicles and artificial intelligence. It further calls for removing investment restrictions affecting US companies operating in China, including shareholder caps. The $200bn demand compares to last year's $337bn total deficit for goods and services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit narrows - Adam Samson

America's trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in March, with exports hitting the highest level on records that go back 26 years. The deficit slid to $48.96bn in Mar. from $57.7bn m/m, Commerce Department data showed. Exports rose 2% in Mar. m/m to $208.5bn, while imports slipped 1.8% to $257.5bn. March's figures were polished by a $1.9bn boost in exports of civilian planes and a $500m increase in soyabean exports. Crude oil and other petroleum product exports rose $700m. Yesterday's data show that the deficit with Germany fell $1.6bn in March to $5bn, but the one with China rose $700m to $35.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesla's cobalt decision could hit demand for battery metal - Henry Sanderson

TESLA's announcement that it has sharply reduced the amount of cobalt that it uses could hit demand for the battery metal, whose price has quadrupled since 2016. TESLA CEO ELON MUSK this week said the company had managed to beat other leading battery makers by reducing the amount of cobalt with its own battery chemistry. "We think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing", he added. Battery demand makes up about half of total global cobalt consumption due to the growth in electric cars over the past few years. The metal is used in the battery cathode to help maintain stability in the battery cell. Cobalt prices fell for their first time since Oct. on Wednesday to trade at between $43.50 and $44.25 per pound. The price for the metal has quadrupled since 2016. MUSK said TESLA had reduced the amount of cobalt in its Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium battery cells produced by PANASONIC below rival battery companies, who use a different chemistry. LG CHEM and SAMSUNG SDI, who produce Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt batteries, are expected to commercialise a lower-cobalt battery chemistry by next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesla shares tank after 'bizarre' earnings call - Mamta Badkar

TESLA shares were sideswiped yesterday after CEO ELON MUSK's refusal to take "boring bonehead questions" from Wall Street analysts on an earnings call that left investors uneasy about the company's cash fund needs. Shares fell 7.9% to $277.49, wiping $3.7bn off the company's market cap after the call, which analysts variously called "surreal", a "circus", "odd" and a "unique experience". "In one of the most bizarre earnings calls we have ever heard, TESLA refused to address analyst questions on capex, cash burn and other 'boring bonehead questions' while providing commentary on 'barnacle-like' third-party contractors and anecdotes on an ineffectual "flufferbot", said JEFFREY OSBORNE, an analyst at COWEN. Meanwhile, BRIAN JOHNSON at BARCLAYS said: "Elon's behaviour on the call should give even the uberbulls pause". While TESLA reported upbeat revenues and a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss for the quarter to end-Mar., its cash balances fell. This left investors uneasy about the company's cash burn as it charts an ambitious ramp-up of production of its mass market Model 3 vehicles. MUSK, who has often said that TESLA's share price is higher than it should be, said on the call: "I'm not here to convince you to buy our stock". This helped push the company's year-to-date decline to nearly 10%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VW ex-CEO charged in US diesel probe - Patrick McGee

US prosecutors have brought charges against former VOLKSWAGEN CEO MARTIN WINTERKORN for the decade-long diesel emissions scandal, listing him as one of six former VW employees who participated in the design and cover-up of illegal "defeat devices" used by the carmaker from 2006 to 2015. The indictment, dated Mar. 14 but unsealed on Thursday, was filed in a US federal court in Michigan where Judge SEAN COX has overseen the criminal case against VW. The court said WINTERKORN faces charges on conspiracy to defraud the US, wire fraud, and violating the Clean Air Act. Maximum penalties for these offences range from 5 years in prison and a $250 000 fine up to 20 years in prison and a $25 000 fine. US attorney general JEFF SESSIONS said: "If you try to deceive the United States, then you will pay a heavy price... These are serious allegations, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pearson says 2018 off to a good start - Adam Samson

PEARSON today said 2018 is off to an upbeat start, with sales rising after a decline in 2017 amid ructions in the educational publishing market. The company said total underlying revenues rose 1% in Q1 2018. In North America, underlying revenues rose 3%. Underlying sales were up 6% in the so-called "core markets" that include the UK, Australia and Italy. That figure slumped 12% for "growth markets", which encompass China, India and Brazil. PEARSON said it was making progress in providing online degrees, having signed a 10-year contract with the University of Sussex. The company said it was on track to deliver operating profit this year of £520m-£560m, with adjusted EPS between 49pps-53pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BNP Paribas revenues slip despite jolt of market volatility - Nicholas Megaw

Profits and revenues at BNP PARIBAS dropped in Q1 2018 as a spike in volatility failed to translate into a stronger performance at the French lender's investment banking division. Revenues in the group's corporate and institutional bank fell 9.8% y/y, as a "lacklustre market" left it struggling in comparison with a particularly strong Q1 2017. Overall revenues were down 4.4% to €10.8bn. The revenue decline was worse than analysts expected, but net income still came in line with forecasts, at €1.6bn. Operating expenses of €8.2bn for the quarter were also in line with forecasts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW Q1 net profit edges up despite currency headwinds - Patrick McGee

BMW profits expanded slightly in Q1 as margins climbed. The carmaker said Q1 revenues fell 5.1% y/y to €22.7bn, due to "unfavourable exchange rate effects", but net profit grew 1.2% to a record €2.3bn - slightly ahead of estimates at €2.2bn. Vehicle sales rose by 3% to a record 604 629. Excluding currency effects, revenues were down 0.7%. The results follow DAIMLER earnings that were "significantly below" last year's levels earlier this week, which led analysts to anticipate downside risk for BMW. But BMW's automotive margins improved from 9.4% y/y to 9.7%, meeting the upper range of its 8%-10% target. BMW said operating profits were 0.2% above the record level achieved last year, even as it invests more in R&D amid the transition to electric, self-driving vehicles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SocGen Q1 profit beats estimates - David Keohane

SOCIETE GENERALE saw profit beat forecasts in Q1 as it shook up its leadership team following the surprise departure of deputy CEO DIDIER VALET over the LIBOR rate rigging scandal. The French lender saw net income rise 13.8% over Q1 to €850m, above analysts' expectations of closer to €820m. It did however see revenues fall 2.8% y/y to €6.3bn and below the roughly €6.5bn expected by analysts. Investment banking held back the lender's results as net income fell 56.9% y/y, with revenue down 13.4%. Revenues from fixed income, currencies and commodities trading fell 31% in the quarter as equities and prime services revenues fell 10.7%. French retail banking suffered as revenue stayed roughly stable but net income fell 18.4% over the period. Last night, SOCGEN reappointed CEO FREDERIC OUDEA for another four years and appointed new deputy chiefs to replace both VALET, who resigned in Mar., and its head of retail banking who is also leaving the bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HSBC announces share buyback - Don Weinland

A new share buyback of $2bn at HSBC will give new CEO JOHN FLINT an easier start as the bank's adjusted profits came in slightly above expectations for Q1 2018. The bank today said it would initiate the buyback soon and it would likely be the only such repurchase of shares in 2018. Adjusted profits for Q1 hit $6.03bn, or 3% lower than the same period last year but slightly above analysts' forecasts of $6bn. Reported profits, which include one-off events and transactions, fell to $4.76bn, or nearly $1bn below analysts' expectations. "We continue to benefit from interest rate rises and economic growth, particularly in Asia", FLINT said. Revenues remained strong at the start of 2018, with adjusted revenues coming in at $13.9bn, 3% higher y/y, hitting analysts' projections. HSBC grew its loans by $17bn in Q1, or by 2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Berkshire Hathaway bought further 75m Apple shares in Q1 - Alice Woodhouse

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY snapped up a further 75m APPLE shares in Q1 2018, WARREN BUFFETT said yesterday. The famed investor called APPLE "an unbelievable company" in comments ahead of BERKSHIRE's annual shareholder meeting on Saturday in Omaha. "If you look at APPLE, I think it earns almost twice as much as the second most profitable company in the United States", BUFFETT noted. BERKSHIRE is already the fourth-largest APPLE shareholder owning 165.33m shares, or a 3.26% stake, at end-2017, according to Reuters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Caixin services PMI ticks higher in April - Alice Woodhouse

Activity in China's services sector picked up in April with a slight acceleration in new business. The CAIXIN-MARKIT services PMI rose to 52.9 in April from the 2018 low of 52.3 in Mar. Improved market conditions, higher number of tourists and new product offerings supported sales during the period. The official services PMI released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday also posted a slight increase, to 53.8. The services gauge combined with the marginal improvement in the reading for China's manufacturing sector of 51.1 resulted in the composite PMI edging up to 52.3 in Apr., from 51.8 the prior month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acting Eskom CEO soothes load shedding fears - Lameez Omarjee

While the risk of load shedding always exists, it is not likely to occur this winter, ESKOM acting CEO PHAKAMANI HADEBE said yesterday. HADEBE told a media briefing that the utility is taking steps to manage a shift in plant performance and coal stock levels to mitigate the risk of load shedding. "Plans are in place to improve stockpile levels at the power stations that are currently below minimum stock levels", he said. "We think holding all things constant, we are not going to have load shedding". ESKOM has 35 days of coal stockpiles overall, except for Medupi and Kuzile, and the utility is sourcing additional coal from suppliers to ensure there are no outages this winter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners settle for about R5bn in silicosis class action - Sibongile Khumalo

Seven mining firms yesterday reached an agreement to settle a historic class action brought on behalf of thousands of mineworkers who contracted silicosis while working underground. AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS, ANGLO AMERICAN SA, ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI, GOLD FIELDS, HARMONY GOLD, SIBANYE-STILLWATER and PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES have made a R5bn provision for the settlement. An amount of R1.4bn towards benefit payments would be made in the first two years, in what has been described as the country's largest class action. Lawyers representing the miners said the compensation covered all "eligble workers suffering from silicosis and/or tuberculosis, who worked in these companies' mines from 12 March 1965 to date". Beneficiaries will receive amounts between R70 000 for claimants in early stages of silicosis and R500 000, which will be awarded to those with a "special aggravated medical condition". A trust named TSHIAMISO will be set up before the end of the year to manage the funds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff to meet with lenders to discuss debt - Janice Kew

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS will face up to lenders in London next week to discuss a plan to reorganise $12.5bn of debt. The company will hold the meeting in private on May 18, a spokesperson said. While STEINHOFF has sold off assets to shore up its balance sheet and buy time from creditors, that strategy is unsustainable with debt levels so high. STEINHOFF managed to raise R3.75bn via the sale of 5.8% of its shares in STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL in April. On Thursday, STEINHOFF's share price opened at R2.18, and was trading at R2.11 late yesterday afternoon. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank sticking with KPMG - for now - Fin24

NEDBANK will not be cutting ties yet with disgraced auditing firm KPMG, it said yesterday. NEDBANK said it will propose to its shareholders at the next AGM on May 10 to consider DELOITTE and KPMG as its joint external auditors for FY2018. NEDBANK is required to have the same auditor as parent company OLD MUTUAL. "Any change in NEDBANK GROUP's auditors would require OLD MUTUAL's consent under our current relationship agreement", the statement said. OLD MUTUAL's shareholders supported a resolution to reappoint KPMG as its auditors for 2018 at its AGM on Apr. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN paying R1.6bn to make Benin licensing troubles go away - Lameez Omarjee

MTN yesterday said it concluded an MoU with the government of Benin following a dispute with the regulatory authorities on the frequency of fees. The MoU includes the settlement of historic frequency fees, a five-year licence extension and the addition of fibre to the loop (FTTx) to the existing licence conditions settled by the payment of XAF35BBN (R796m) in May 2018, and a second payment of XAF35bn in Dec. last year. Talks around future frequency fees are continuing and expected to be concluded by the end of Jun. 2018, group president and CEO ROB SHUTER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Treasury slams Net1 charges for SASSA as too high - Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg

Treasury has recommended that NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES be paid 24% less than it is requesting for a six-month extension to pay social welfare grants at cash pay points. Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE recommended that NET1's CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES unit be paid a monthly R51/welfare recipient at a cash pay point compared with the group's request for R66.70. He also said CPS had failed to furnish the Treasury with material information. SASSA requested the extension after it failed to make adequate arrangements for a replacement for NET1. NENE also recommended that NET1 receive R19.48 for other methods of payment and R108.75 for the enrolment of new welfare recipients. Currently, 2.25m out of 10.85m recipients are paid at cash pay points, SASSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa vows Mining Charter finalised 'soon' - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

The new Mining Charter will be completed "very soon", President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said at a Japan-Africa trade forum in Johannesburg. "The mining charter will be finalised very soon and we have set a deadline", he said without giving details of the timing. RAMAPHOSA added that SA will try to remove "blockages" to investment in a bid to attract as much as $100bn over the next five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Former Standard Bank CEO Tshabalala banked R48.5m pay in 2017 - Lameez Omarjee

Former STANDARD BANK CEO SIM TSHABALALA banked a R48.5m pay cheque in 2017, according to the lender's annual report for 2017. His salary was 9% higher than the R44.5m reported in 2016. "In a challenging environment, SIM TSHABALALA showed quiet but very influential leadership", the report read. He was commended for his unwavering commitment to implementing the group strategy. TSHABALALA was appointed as STANDARD BANK's sole CEO in Sep. 2017. He previously shared the role of joint-CEO with BEN KRUGER, who took home R46.5m. Former Treasury DG LUNGISA FUZILE took over the reins from TSHABALALA in Jan. 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan announces resignation of Transnet chair, directors - Fin24

Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN last night announced the resignation of TRANSNET chair LINDA MABASO, as well as that of non-executive directors VUSI NKONYANE and YASMIN FORBES. GORDHAN said he accepted MABASO's resignation "which took effect immediately". He added: "Under the authority of the current board, TRANSNET... became embroiled in serious allegations of flagrant corruption and state capture. These allegations will be thoroughly investigated". New appointments to the board will be announced soon, GORDHAN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont chief tech officer resigns - Lameez Omarjee

RICHEMONT yesterday announced that its chief technology officer resigned after a management overhaul instituted by the company more than a year ago. In a note to shareholders, RICHEMONT founder and executive chair said DR JEAN-JACQUES VAN OOSTEN stepped down effective May 2 for personal reasons. "We respect Dr JEAN-JACQUES VAN OOSTEN's decision to pursue his career outside the group and wish him every success in his future endeavours". RICHEMONT in Nov. 2016 introduced changes to its executive model, doing away with a company-wide CEO position and instituting a senior executive committee to run the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Airbus commissions Imperial Logistics to procure, supply tools - Marleny Arnoldi

AIRBUS has hired IMPERIAL LOGISTICS to procure and distribute metal cutting tools such as milling cutters, drills and countersinks for its German production facilities. "Thanks to our concept, AIRBUS has been able to significantly improve the processes for supplying tools within its factories", says IMPERIAL LOGISTICS INTERNATIONAL CEO CARSTEN TAUCKE. The company manages the suppliers and does not just act as the interface, but is also responsible for the complete operational purchasing process within the supply chain. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN's subscriber base, revenue grow in Q1 - Marleny Arnoldi

MTN's subscriber base rose by 1.9% q/q with net additions of 4.1m in Q1 2018, while active MTN mobile money users rose by 3.9% q/q to 22.7m. Subsequently, the company's services revenue rose by 9.1% and its data revenue by 26.9%, as it executed its dual-data strategy that ensures appropriate data coverage across the group's footprint. MTN SA's revenue rose by 2.5%, while the EBITDA margin rose by 150 bps y/y to 35%. MTN NIGERIA's revenue grew by 14.4%, while EBITDA margin increased by 340 bps to 41.8%. MTN IRANCELL's service revenue grew by 15.2%. Group voice revenue growth of 5.4% for the quarter benefited from robust growth in Nigeria and Ghana of 15.2% and 20.6%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Go Life to sell 26% stake to empowerment partner - Simone Liedtke

GO LIFE INTERNATIONAL will sell 235m shares, which represents 26% of the company's equity, to private investment holding company CALIGRAPH. CALIGRAPH, which is focused on BEE opportunities in SA, identified a unique opportunity in GO LIFE to play a significant role in the pharmaceuticals and nutraceutical industry in SA and abroad, both as an investor and as the facilitator of empowerment within GO LIFE HEALTHCARE. CALIGRAPH intends to work with management o provide GLH with the appropriate BEE credentials and to enhance the future strategy of GLH to pursue organic and acquisitive growth and extension of the value chain, both upstream via the acquisition of pharmaceutical registrations and downstream through acquisitions or the creation of start-up value-adding pharmaceutical businesses. MXOLISI MOTAU, representing CALIGRAPH, has been appointed as a nonexecutive director of GLH with effect from Apr. 3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diversification helps Sibanye-Stillwater as strong rand bites SA gold ops - Simone Liedtke

The benefits of SIBANYE-STILLWATER's commodity and geographical diversification during the last two years are clearly evident as the local mining industry is negatively hit by a strong rand, the company said yesterday. Despite the impact of the strong rand on revenues from the company's South African operations, SIBANYE-STILLWATER's adjusted EBITDA for the Mar. quarter rose by 30% y/y to R1.58bn. PGM operations delivered 76% of the group's adjusted EBITDA. Following another good operating performance, the group's US PGM operations reported an adjusted EBITDA of R942m, which was 9% higher in dollar terms than the Dec. 2017 quarter and accounted for around 60% of the group's adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA from the South African PGM operations, at R258m for the quarter, rose by 18% relative to the y/y period. Further cost reductions and a 4% higher average 4E PGM rand basket price resulted in the adjusted EBITDA margin rising from 7% in the y/y period to 9% in the quarter under review. But the South African gold operations were hit by a poor safety performance, which coupled with a2% drop in the average rand gold price received, resulted in adjusted EBITDA declining from R991m in the Mar. 2017 quarter to R374m in the quarter under review. Due to the inclusion of the US PGM operations, net debt was 8% lower than at Dec. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Five of 13 saved after seismic shock at Sibanye-Stillwater mine - Henry Lazenby

One miner has died and two injured have been brought to surface after 13 miners went missing following a fall of ground triggered by a seismic shock at SIBANYE-STILLWATER's Driefontein operations' Maskhane mine on the West Rand. SIBANYE said two of the five freed employees are still being brought to the surface, but are conscious. A further three have been located and are responding to the rescue teams. Efforts are now focused on locating the remaining employees and safely recovering everyone, the company said. It noted that the Department of Mineral Resources and all unions have been informed, and representatives are on site assisting with rescue efforts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to sign $700m coal-bed methane deal this month - Bloomberg

Harare plans to sign a $700m deal with an investor that will develop a coal-bed methane site, Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said this week. Two other similar agreements are expected in the next two months, CHITANDO said yesterday. "The coal-bed methane projects will be for power and other related products and by-products", he said, declining to name any of the investors. Most of the output from the project to be signed this month will be "channeled toward the establishment of a power plant", the minister added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa recovers largest coloured diamond from Lulo - Marleny Arnoldi

LUCAPA DIAMONDS has recovered a large 46ct gem-quality pink diamond from its Lulo mine in Angola. This is the largest coloured diamond recovered to date from the mine, beating the 43ct yellow diamond recovered in Jan. and the 39ct pink stone recovered in Sep. 2016. The 46ct stone was recovered from new Mining Block 4, which is an area planned for resource delineation in 2018 to be included in the alluvial JORC-compliant resource update. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 04/05/2018

At 07:03 on 04 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.59 Rand/Sterling 17.11 Rand/Euro 15.11 Gold 1309.02 Platinum 896.00 Oil 73.33 All-Share Index 58252.12

Sirius: Sale of business park brings R234.3m - Roy Cokayne

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE has completed the sale of its Bremen Brinkman business park for €15.5m. CEO ANDREW COOMBS this week said the property was one of two non-core sites in the company's portfolio. COOMBS said its unique structure made it overly expensive for SIRIUS to reconfigure and it was outside of the company's target regions. The buildings that were sold were uniquely configured for tobacco manufacturing. COOMBS said disposing of this asset at book value meant they had unlocked €15.5m of capital that could now be re-invested. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pembury's planned listing suspended - Sandile Mchunu

The PEMBURY LIFESTYLE GROUP on Tuesday said it would publish a trading statement within the next two weeks after the JSE suspended its planned listing for failing to comply with requirements. PEMBURY FD RIAAN VAN JAARSVELD said while the decision was not expected it was not sinister, as the bourse operator was following the rules set out for all listed entities. VAN JAARSVELD said the company expected the JSE to lift the suspension as soon as the results were published. "We expect to do a trading statement before May 15, after which the results will be published", he added. The JSE this week said PEMBURY failed to comply with the listing requirements by not submitting its provisional financial statements within the three-month period. PEMBURY last month informed the market and potential shareholders that its results would be delayed as a result of an IFRS matter relating to one of its acquisitions during the year under review. It said the matter related to the fair value issue price for the acquisition, the purchase price allocation, consideration of accounting for usufructs in relation to life rights on the retirement segment and obtaining a legal opinion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brainworks halts Zim listing to beef up books - Dineo Faku

Investment firm BRAINWORKS will prioritise beefing up its balance sheet with a view to making it more attractive to investors, and has placed the listing on the Zimbabwean bourse on ice. The company postponed its plans to pursue a secondary listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange this year, saying it would lodge and application for a 2019 listing. It said a plan to pursue a $15m capital raise exercise to help reduce its debt topped its priorities this year. BRAINWORKS also said the restructuring of short-term debt would equally be prioritised. "This would be achieved through lobbying for extended repayment terms with providers of all debt that is set to mature within the next 12 months... Should this strategy fail to yield the desired outcome, the group would seek to establish new long-tenured debt facilities from whom the short-term debt would be retired". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kellogg tops profit estimates, makes W Africa investment - Nivedita Balu

KELLOGG CO topped Wall Street forecasts for Q1 profit and sales, boosted by stronger sales of snacks. Highlighting falling demand for cereals in the US, the company yesterday announced a $420m investment in Nigeria's TOLARAM AFRICA FOODS, its distributing partner in Africa, which makes noodles in addition to cereal. The company did not disclose additional financial terms of the TOLARAM investment. "Cereal consumption remained soft, though the company made progress toward stabilising the key health and wellness brands, including Special K", KELLOGG said. Sales rose 5% in Q1 2018, the third consecutive quarterly increase, as shoppers also bought more Eggo waffles and veggie patties in addition to snacks. Overall sales of $3.4bn topped analysts' forecasts of $3.3bn. KELLOGG said it expects net sales to rise by 3%-4% in 2018 on a constant currency basis. This includes gains from the TOLARAM investment and translates to sales of $13.31bn-$13.44bn. Net income rose to $444m in Q1, from $266m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda plans to boost spending in 2018/19 - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwanda plans to raise government spending by 15.5% in the 2018/19 fiscal year to 2.44tn Rwandan francs, Finance Minister UZZIEL NDAGIJIMANA said on Monday. Donors will fund 16% of the budget, with the rest coming from revenue and debt, the minister said. "For 2018/19 fiscal year, we plan to use a 2 433.5bn francs budget, reflecting an increase of 328.2bn francs up from last year's revised budget of 2 115.3bn", NDAGIJIMANA said. Part of the budget will go to the expansion of national carrier RWANDAIR, and the ongoing construction of Bugesera airport. NDAGIJIMANA did not give details of how much of the budget will be geared towards the two projects. He added that the government will use part of the budget to create 200 000 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China signs Rmb15bn currency swap agreement with Nigeria - Reuters

The People's Bank of China yesterday said it has signed a three-year bilateral currency swap agreement with Nigeria worth Rmb15bn. The Chinese central bank said the swap deal will facilitate trade and investment, and safeguard stability of financial markets of both countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank grants Kenya $1bn loan for infrastructure projects - Omar Mohammed

The World Bank yesterday said it had given Kenya a $1bn concessional loan for energy, transport and water infrastructure projects in poorer regions in its north and northeast. Most of the money will be spent in counties which fall below national averages on development indications. "These infrastructure investments are laying the ground for additional operations that will enable suitable livelihoods with targeted support to farmers and pastoralists in the region and expanded support to the most vulnerable households through regular cash transfers", the Bank said. The funding will go to six projects including an off-grid energy access initiative worth $150m that the World Bank says will provide electricity to 1.2m people and contribute 96MW to the national grid. A further $500m will go towards a 740km stretch of the Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera road corridor in the northeast and enhance internet access there. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cambridge Analytica shuts down in wake of Facebook scandal - Aliya Ram

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA is closing its doors weeks after revelations it benefited from a massive leak of FACEBOOK data. The UK-based company lost many of its largest clients after it became mired in allegations it misused FACEBOOK data in political campaigns. The company said it had been "vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas". It decided to close because of a "media siege", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kraft Heinz organic sales soften but tax reform props up profit - Jessica Dye

Higher costs and lower US demand saw KRAFT HEINZ's organic sales drop yet again, as the company tries to revive tepid growth. KRAFT HEINZ said net sales fell 0.3% to $6.3bn in the quarter to end-Mar. Organic net sales fell 1.5% overall, falling 3.3% in the US, rising 5% in Canada, notching a 2.3% increase in the EMEA region and gaining 3% in the rest of the world. Net income attributable to common shareholders ticked up 1% to $993m, or 81cps, thanks in part to a boost from US tax reforms. Analysts had been looking for net income of $999m, or 81cps, on sales of $6.3bn. Organic sales had been tipped to fall 1.2% overall, with a 3% drop in the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore says trading profits to be in high end of range - Neil Hume

GLENCORE expects earnings for its trading arm to be in the top half of a $2.2bn-$3.2bn range, the company said today. The company said FY marketing EBIT is expected to be within the top half of the $2.2bn-$3.2bbn long term guidance range. GLENCORE said output across its mining assets was in line with expectations and FY guidance was unchanged. It said production from its Katanga mine in the DRC was 27 000t of copper and 500t of cobalt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bayer cuts profit guidance on back of strong euro - Tobias Buck

BAYER blamed currency effects for a drop in Q1 sales and earnings, and indicated that its FY profits would come in lower than previously expected for the same reason. The company reported sales of €9.14bn in the quarter to end-Mar., down from €9.68bn y/y. Net earnings fell 6% to €1.95bn. BAYER's consumer health business saw sales down 12% and EBIT down 24%. The company confirmed its "currency-adjusted forecast" for 2018 but warned that reported FY sales were now on course for a drop by a "low-single-digit percentage". Previously, it had promised to hold reported sales at the same level as last year. EBITDA are also set to decline, compared to a previous estimate of unchanged figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone manufacturing gauge drops to 13-month low - Cat Rutter Pooley

Eurozone factory bosses pointed to a further slowdown in the pace of growth in April, with a closely-watched manufacturing gauge dropping to a 13-month low. Five out of the eight countries included in IHS MARKIT's euro area manufacturing PMI - the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece - indicated that growth slowed m/m, but manufacturers in France reported stronger expansion. The final PMI reading came in at 56.2, better than a flash estimate of 56 earlier in the month, but a sizeable drop from March's figure of 56.6. The slowdown in the headline reading was mainly due to slower increases in new orders and employment, ISH MARKIT said. Growth of new export orders slowed everywhere except Germany and France. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone GDP cools in Q1 - Claire Jones

Growth in the eurozone hit its slowest pace for a year and a half in Q1 2018, confirming fears of a slowdown in the bloc after a stronger-than-expected 2017. The bloc recorded GDP growth of 0.4% in Q1, Eurostat said yesterday. That was down from 0.7% for Q4 2017. A fall in confidence indicators and weak data on German exports and industrial output had alerted economists to the possibility of weaker growth in Q1 2018. The question facing policymakers is whether the slowdown will prove to be temporary or marks the start of a more pronounced downturn in the region's economic performance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore expects to plug shortfall at DRC JV - Neil Hume

GLENCORE expects to plug a capital shortfall at its JV in the DRC that is set to become one of the world's biggest cobalt producers. GLENCORE chair TONY HAYWARD said the group was working hard to recapitalise the KAMOT OCOPPER COMPANY, which is owned by GLENCORE's KATANGA MINING subsidiary. While talks with partners GECAMINES had been "tough", HAYWARD said GLENCORE was determined to find an amicable solution. GLENCORE is likely to forgive a portion of KCC's debt in order to recapitalise the JV, according to people familiar with its thinking. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bunge to push ahead with Brazilian sugar mill IPO - Neil Hume

BUNGE is pushing ahead with plans for a stock market flotation of its Brazilian sugar mills. CEO SOREN SCHRODER said it expects to file for an IPO of a minority stake in the business later in the month. "We have committed debt financing for the business and are now in a position where we could operate on a standalone basis", he said. "To progress on the separation process, we expect to be in a position to make an initial filing in Brazil to explore the possibility of an IPO as soon as later this month". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector adds 204k jobs in Apr. - Pan Kwan Yuk

The US labour market remains robust, with the latest data showing the private sector adding more jobs than expected once again in April. Non-farm private employers added 204 000 jobs last month, according to payroll processor ADP. The figure topped expectations for a gain of 198 000 and is the sixth month in a row that job gains came in above 200 000. March jobs gains were revised own to 228 000 from the initial estimates of 241 000 however. The service sector once again drove the bulk of the April gains, adding 160 000 jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US beer buzzkill sends Molson Coors to 4-yr low - Jessica Dye

MOLSON COORS shares touched a four-year low yesterday after it reported slipping sales. The company said its sales dropped 4.8% in the quarter to end-Mar., coming in at $2.33bn. Net income was up 33% to $278.1m, or $1.28/share, thanks in part to a cash payment related to its acquisition of the MILLER INTERNATIONAL business. Adjusted for special items, earnings were down 40%, to $104.3m or 48cps. Analysts had been looking for revenue of $2.43bn and adjusted EPS of 80cps. CEO MARK HUNTER tried to assuage investors' fears, noting that Q1 is typically its least profitable and that the company did not see the current results as an omen for the remainder of 2018. MOLSON COORS said in the US, its brand volume dropped 3.8% during the quarter, driven mainly by its "premium light" segment, including some of its best-known brands like Miller Lite and Coors Light. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE says EN+ shares can keep trading until June - Neil Hume

The LSE has given EN+ a stay of execution as its battles to get crippling US sanctions lifted. The LSE said it would give the parent company of RUSAL another month to change its ownership structure before suspending trading in the group's global depositary receipts. EN+'s GDRs were listed in London in Nov., the first IPO of a Russian company in London since the 2014 invasion of Crimea. They have more than halved in value and now trade at $6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa drops KPMG - Fin24

BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP today announced it would be cutting ties with KPMG as its joint auditors. The group said it told its shareholders that it would withdraw a recommendation for KPMG to be reappointed as its joint auditor for 2018. BARCLAYS AFRICA's board initially proposed that KPMG be re-appointed as one of its external auditors for FY2018, but after careful evaluation it "decided that it is no longer able to support the reappointment of KPMG". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank to the rescue as Zim exporters struggle - Memory Mataranyika

The Zimbabwean unit of STANDARD BANK has come to the rescue of the country's forex-starved export market producers by availing a facility to cover up to 60% of their working capital needs. STANBIC ZIMBABWE on Monday said it is geared to assist exporters if proceeds of their exports would be repatriated back to the country. Zimbabwean authorities say about $1.4bn was externalised from the country over the past few years, although about $591m of this had been returned by last month. "Unlocking working capital for exporters is one of our strategies to promote exports as long as there is a guarantee that the proceeds will be sent to Zimbabwe and we monitor these funds to ensure flow of foreign proceeds", state media quoted STANBIC ZIMBABWE head of business banking PATSON MAHACHI as saying. The bank would require export documentation from qualifying firms, which would also have to meet strict creditworthy criteria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom dodges Fitch ratings cut, stays on negative watch - Fin24

FITCH yesterday affirmed ESKOM's BB- credit rating despite its liquidity challenges. This comes as South Africans are waiting to hear if load shedding will become a reality this winter. FITCH affirmed ESKOM's long-term local currency issuer default rating and unguaranteed local currency senior unsecured ratings at speculative grade of BB-. FITCH also maintained the national long-term rating at A(zaf) and the national short-term rating at F1(zaf). The ratings agency affirmed the government-guaranteed local currency senior unsecured debt ratings at BB+, in line with SA's rating. However, ESKOM's ratings, except for the government guaranteed debt, remain on rating watch negative. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US steel, aluminium tariffs to cost exporters R3bn - Sibongile Khumalo

The decision by the US government not to exempt South African steel products from import duties will cost local exporters around R3bn, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA said yesterday. "The decision by the US to reject SA's application for exemption is a travesty", SEIFSA chief economist MICHAEL ADE said. "The proclamation by the US will directly cost South African exporters roughly R3bn worth of steel products and R474m worth of aluminium products respectively", he said. According to SEIFSA, local exports of steel and aluminium to the US account for 1.4% and make up only 1.6% of US global imports. FEDUSA wants the government to appeal the decision, as it is likely to affect jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Load shedding highly likely this winter - expert - Carin Smith

The possibility of load-shedding by ESKOM this winter is larger than the Day Zero water crisis that engulfed Cape Town until last month, according to energy expert TED BLOM. ESKOM last month told Parliament that the electricity grid is "stable" as SA heads into the winter months. ESKOM yesterday said load shedding this winter is not likely as it implemented plans to manage a shift in plant performance and coal-stock levels. But BLOMm said Cape Town's Day Zero was avoided by people starting to save water ahead of time. ESKOM, on the other hand, only sent out tenders for emergency coal supplies last week after permission was obtained from the Treasury. "Chances are more than 50% that there will be load shedding this winter. Where is ESKOM going to find coal? Coal does not just fall out of heaven. You have to mine it. You need skilled miners and equipment for that", BLOM said. He suspects ESKOM had a coal shortfall of around a million tonnes per month and is of the view that, even when all is in place to obtain coal supplies, it will take three to five months to catch up on the backlog. "ESKOM's board now consists of a lovely bunch of new guys, but they don't know anything about the electricity industry. At least half of ESKOM's board should consist of people with knowledge of electricity generation and coal mining", BLOM added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trencor dodges JSE suspension despite results delay - Fin24

TRENCOR yesterday said it would delay the presentation of its annual financial results due to an accounting exercise. The company was due to an "onerous and time-consuming" exercise of converting the results of TEXTAINER GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED for IFRS to GAAP. TRENCOR has a 48% stake in TEXTAINER. The company said provisional results for the period to end-Dec. were expected to be published on May 31. TRENCOR was threatened with suspension from the JSE as a result of the delay. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

April new vehicle sales up 3.6% - Irma Venter

The South African new vehicle market grew by 3.6% in April, to 36 346 units, compared with the same month last year. The number is not the final tally as it is expected to increase by around 350 units once FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES SA submits its delayed sales tally by the middle of May. Sales numbers released by the DTI showed that April new-passenger car sales rose 6.4% to reach 23 928 units. Sales of new bakkies, minibuses and vans, at 10 580 units, contracted by 1.2%. Sales of medium trucks at 493 units fell by 12.1%. Sales of new heavy trucks and buses rose 1.3% to 1 345 units. April export sales, at 24 422 vehicles, rose by 0.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pan African closes Evander 8 underground mine - Marleny Arnoldi

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES has confirmed the closure of the Evander 8 underground mine, in Mpumalanga, resulting in the retrenchment of 1 700 employees by the end of May. It yesterday reported that it had concluded the consultation process with the relevant Evander Mines' stakeholders, as determined by the Section 189 process, under the auspices of the CCMA. An internal and external review of the existing Evander 8 underground operation concluded there was no realistic prospect of mining on a sustainable and profitable basis from this operation in the current weak rand gold price environment. The retrenched employees would be provided with opportunities for reskilling and the group reported that it was in the process of identifying employment opportunities for retrenched employees in new, lower-cost operations at Evander, such as the new Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant and also in post-closure environmental rehab works. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye wins M&A Advisor award for acquisition of Stillwater - Simone Liedtke

SIBANYE-STILLWATER has received an award for Transaction of the Year for its 2017 acquisition of STILLWATER MINING COMPANY at the recent M&A Advisor second annual EMEA Corporate Growth Award. "The recognition by industry experts of the STILLWATER acquisition, on behalf of the M&A Advisor, is pleasing", SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said. He further highlighted that the STILLWATER acquisition was transformative, and positions SIBANYE as a "truly global precious metals company and was concluded at an opportune time in the platinum-group metals price cycle". FRONEMAN said the STILLWATER operations are already providing valuable geographic and commodity diversification and making a significant financial contribution to the group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony on track to deliver FY18 guidance - Marleny Arnoldi

HARMONY GOLD MINING is on track to meet its production guidance of 1.18moz for FY2018. CEO PETER STEENKAMP yesterday said the company's performance in Q4 to end-Jun. will be boosted by the inclusion of Moab Khotsong and higher production at Hidden Valley, where production is ramping up. Following the inclusion of Moab Khotsong, HARMONY increased its gold production guidance from 1.1m to 1.18moz. The all-in sustaining cost guidance for the FY remains at R520 000/kg. HARMONY's production, excluding Moab, was steady at 816 663oz for the nine months to end-Mar., up 1% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo issues 8.3m shares in settlement to SCP - Marleny Arnoldi

KIBO MINING on Tuesday issued 8.3m new shares, valued at €0.015/share, to SANDERSON CAPITAL PARTNERS as a partial settlement on the $568 712 drawn down under a Dec. 2016 forward payment facility. Application will be made for the conversion shares to be admitted to trading on the Aim and AltX around May 8. Following admission, KIBO will have around 603m shares in issue, of which SANDERSON will hold some 31.8m shares, representing a 5.28% stake in the company. Separately, KIBO nonexecutive director MASHALE PHUMAPHI stepped down from the KIBO board due to an expanding workload as CEO of SHUMBA ENERGY. SHUMBA said it will promptly nominate a substitute board representative. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM amends LMM loan facility - Simone Liedtke

LIBERTY METALS & MINING and PLATINUM GROUP METALS have agreed to amend credit terms for an existing secured loan facility. The amended terms include an agreement that PTM must raise a minimum of $20m in subordinated debt and/or equity before May 15. In addition, provided the company applies the first $20m of net proceeds from the first required financing to reduce indebtedness under the LMM facility before May 15, PTM is not otherwise in default under the LMM facility should a previously required second financing to raise a further $20m in subordinated debt and/or equity before Jul. 31 be eliminated. The LMM facility maturity date will be extended to Jun. 30 2019, from the previous date of Sep. 30 2018, and interest will continue to accrue until the maturity date. LMM will continue to be entitled to 50% of the proceeds from future equity offerings of the company greater than $500 000 and will also be entitled to 50% of the proceeds upon exercise of any warrants or other convertible securities issued by PTM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee executes Kabwe project agreements - Natasha Odendaal

Following the reinstatement of the small-scale mining licence for the Kabwe lead/zinc/vanadium project, in Zambia, JUBILEE METALS has executed its shareholders' agreement and its operating agreement with BMR GROUP to start the joint execution of the project. JUBILEE will work to present the project business plan to the newly formed JV company for approval by the board by Jun. 15. "I will [also] be presenting the project execution plan to the Zambian authorities for approval in the coming days, as part of our ongoing engagement with the Zambian mining department. We will continue with site preparation work and confirming equipment specifications during this time", JUBILEE CEO LEON COETZER said. The group is also set to provide further loan funding of £2m for an effective 40% stake of the JV holding the Kabwe project, in addition to holding 29.01% of BMR. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia's copper production set to grow, but may be restricted by policy - BMI - Marleny Arnoldi

Although the growth prospects for Zambia's mining sector remains positive for 2018, amid rising copper prices and improved electricity supply, a worsening regulatory environment may negatively impact on the country's copper production in the coming years, BMI RESEARCH warns. BMI expects Zambian copper output growth to average 8% this year, which will amount to production of 815 000t, up 2% y/y. "While we expect copper price gains to be more limited in 2018 compared with the rally witnessed over 2017, steady demand growth will underpin continued tightness in the copper market and keep a floor under prices", BMI states. Accordingly, it revised its copper price forecast to an average of $7 000/t for 2018 from a previous forecast of $6 300/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem Diamonds appoints deputy CEO - Marleny Arnoldi

GEM DIAMONDS has appointed COO JOHNNY VELLOZA as deputy CEO with immediate effect. VELLOZA will join the company's board from Jul. 1 and will continue to be responsible for GEM's operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara appoints new MD for Botswana subsidiary - Marleny Arnoldi

LUCARA DIAMOND CORPORATION on Tuesday announced that Botswana subsidiary BOTETI MINING's CFO and director, NASEEM LAHRI, has been promoted to BOTETI MINING MD. She has served as BOTETI's CFO since 2013 and is a professional accountant with a master's degree in strategic management. As MD, LAHRI's duties will include overseeing all aspects of the business and she will be working closely with BOTETI GM JOHANE MCHIVE to help drive improved performance at the Karowe mine in Botswana. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana Diamonds, Vast to collaborate on Zim diamond mining - Marleny Arnoldi

BOTSWANA DIAMONDS has signed an MoU with VAST RESOURCES for the exchange of information derived from past exploration on areas prospective for diamonds in Zimbabwe. The parties will also establish a jointly owned SPV for developing and exploiting diamond resources in Zimbabwe. BOTSWANA DIAMONDS chair JOHN TEELING said Zimbabwe is a country with excellent diamond potential, while both his company and VAST "have extensive experience in and knowledge of the country". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Quilter ready to list on JSE, LSE - Sandile Mchunu

OLD MUTUAL subsidiary QUILTER PLC on Monday said it is ready for a separate listing on the JSE and LSE as it claimed a 14% rise in net client cash flow in Q1 as a result of resilience in assets under management and administration. QUILTER said the NCCP increased to £1.6bn during the period, from £1.4bn y/y. QUILTER was previously called OLD MUTUAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT. CEO PAUL FEENEY said the Q1 NCCF has continued with the strong momentum seen in 2017. The company had £111.6bn in customer investments under management at the end of March. QUILTER said the formal process of listing on the JSE and LSE had commenced and was expected to finalise by June. All its businesses would be rebranded to QUILTER over a period of around 24 months, following separation from OLD MUTUAL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 03/05/2018

At 07:23 on 03 May 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.59 Rand/Sterling 17.11 Rand/Euro 15.11 Gold 1309.02 Platinum 896.00 Oil 73.33 All-Share Index 58252.12

Life Healthcare expects revenue to surge - Sandile Mchunu

LIFE HEALTHCARE on Monday said it expected its revenue for the HY to end-Mar. to rise by 16.5%-18.5%, largely due to the inclusion of ALLIANCE MEDICAL GROUP. The company said it expected revenue to rise by R11.23bn-R11.42bn as a result. It expected normalised EBITDA to rise by 9.5%-11.5% y/y. In Nov. 2016, LIFE agreed to acquire ALLIANCE MEDICAL for £800m, including debt, as it expands into the British market. LIFE said its southern African operations were expected to increase revenue by 8%-10%, positively impacted by higher volumes in the acute hospital division, with paid patient days rising by 2% above last year's figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spoor expects to sign gold miners' silicosis settlement today - Ed Stoddard

RICHARD SPOOR, the lawyer acting for nearly half a million miners who contracted fatal lung diseases in mines, said an out-of-court settlement was expected to be signed laster today with those gold companies implicated in the issue. The High Court in 2016 set the stage for protracted proceedings on cases dating back decades in the largest class action suit yet in SA. "Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect to sign the silicosis agreement with the gold industry tomorrow (Thursday)", SPOOR said. The settlement would still need approval by the High Court before being implemented. Local gold producers say they have set aside R5bn in provisions for the settlement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA PMI up in April - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI rose in April, swinging back into positive terrain as new sales orders recover from a decline in the prior month, a survey showed yesterday. The index, compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research, rose to 50.9 in April from 46.9 in March. ABSA said the new sales order index has recovered from a sharp decline recorded in March, coming in at 56.5 in April from 44.5 in March. "If demand holds up in coming months, activity should follow the new sales order index into positive terrain", ABSA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

W Africa exchange targets telecoms listings, international clearing agreements - Helen Reid

West Africa's stock exchange, BRVM, targets listing by the region's telecoms firms and partnerships with international clearing houses to attract more foreign investors, CEO EDOH KOSSI AMENOUNVE said yesterday. Telecoms firms are some of the bigger companies in West Africa and the Abidjan-based bourse, on which ONATEL (Burkina Faso) and SONATEL (Senegal) are listed, hopes they will go public as a way to keep revenues in domestic hands. The exchange has already announced that it would list Mali's main mobile operator, SOTELMA, this year. MTN is currently preparing for major IPOs of MTN GHANA and MTN NIGERIA on the Ghanaian and Nigerian bourses, respectively, and AMENOUNVE suggests it consider listing West Afican subsidiaries such as MTN COTE D'IVOIRE on BRVM at a later date. He also suggested French telecoms giant ORANGE should consider listing its Ivory Coast subsidiary. AMENOUNVE said the bourse was also studying how to partner with international clearing houses such as EUROCLEAR and CLEARSTREAM. "We already have an MoU with MAROCLEAR in Morocco but we need to have it with international central deposits so that offshore investors can have their bonds in the book of only one central depositary", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSG's Jannie Mouton diagnosed with early dementia - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Local tycoon and chair of PSG GROUP JANNIE MOUTON has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, he said yesterday, adding that he was still fit to serve on the firm's board. Founded in 1995 by MOUTON, PSG has enjoyed success by betting on high-growth companies challenging entrenched actors in finance, private education and healthcare. "I have recently been diagnosed with an early form of dementia", the 70-year-old said in a letter to shareholders this week. "The implication of this is that my short-term memory does not always function as it should, the result being that I sometimes forget people's names, repeat myself, or may appear somewhat disorientated". MOUTON said he would stay on as chair of the R50bn company, and his team of doctors and advisors will monitor his condition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral Foods flags five-fold jump in H1 earnings - Nomvelo Chalumbira

ASTRA FOODS yesterday flagged am ore than five-fold jump in HY earnings, sending shares up 6%. It attributed the rise to continued favourable trading conditions and good farming performances to end-Mar. ASTRAL said it expects HEPS for the HY to end-Mar. to rise to 1 958cps-1 994cps, up from 356cps y/y. ASTRAL said it did not suffer any losses due to bird flue or listeria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta considers building zinc smelter in SA - Arathy S Nair

VEDANTA RESOURCES' ZINC INTERNATIONAL unit said it was exploring the feasibility of building a smelter to process zinc mined from its Gamsberg mine in SA. The company in Feb. said it may accelerate expansion of its African zinc operations to take advantage of higher metal prices. It could invest between $700m and $800m at the refinery. The first phase of the smelter-refinery complex is expected to have a capacity of 250 000t/y of finished zinc metal, matching Gamsberg's expected annual output by early 2019. The smelting plant will make Gamsberg a fully-integrated zinc production site. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Safaricom pilots messaging app linked to mobile money - Maggie Fick

Kenya's SAFARICOM is piloting a social messaging app that will link to its mobile money platform in a bid to move the company into the application business, it said yesterday. Bonga, meaning 'chat' in Kiswahili, will be integrated with the company's popular financial services platform M-PESA to enable the almost 28m of its users to communicate beyond sending money to one another. M-PESA users will be able to message each other on Bonga in three ways - user to user, user to business and fundraising via social groups. SAFARICOM is piloting Bonga internally before planning to launch later this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Distell sees lower crop amid drought - Wendell Roelf

DISTELL GROUP's 2018 wine grape harvest was 30% lower y/y due to the drought in the Western Cape, but grape quality was promising, its head winemaker said yesterday. "The ongoing drought in the Cape has certainly had an impact on this year's harvest. We have seen slower ripening of the grapes than usual due to smaller canopies, limited water in the soil and that which is available for irrigation", NIEL GROENEWALD said. "What is evident is that South African wine grape growers and producers needs to accelerate efforts to adapt to conditions of the drought. This is the new normal", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WhatsApp founder leaves Facebook - Hannah Kuchler

JAN KOUM, founder of WHATSAPP and board member at FACEBOOK, on Monday announced he is stepping down from the social network as the company struggles to deal with the fallout from the CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA scandal. KOUM, who sold WHATSAPP to FACEBOOK for $22bn in 2014, said he was leaving FACEBOOK to take time off to collect rare Porsches and play Ultimate frisbee. The announcement came shortly after The Washington Post reported that KOUM had clashed with FACEBOOK as it attempted to weaken the end-to-end encryption on WHATSAPP and use its personal data. When FACEBOOK acquired WHATSAPP it promised not to change its privacy policy, but later did, to allow for sharing of some information between apps. This U-turn on privacy led to FACEBOOK being fined $122m by the EU last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK factory sentiment hits 17-month low - Gavin Jackson

Activity in the UK manufacturing sector slowed at the start of Q2 2018. The UK manufacturing PMI fell to a 17-month low of 53.9 in April, down from 54.9 in March. Analysts had expected a reading of 54.8. LEE HOPLEY, chief economist at manufacturers' organisation EEF, said the weak PMI reading suggested that weak official data, published last week, was not "a temporary aberration". ROB DOBSON, director at IHS MARKIT, said: "The start of the second quarter saw the UK manufacturing sector lose further steam. The headline PMI dipped to a 17-month low as growth of production, new business and employment all slowed. While adverse weather was partly to blame in February and March, there are no excuses for April's disappointing performance, making the chances of a near term hike in interest rates by the Bank of England look increasingly remote". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE to halt trading in EN+ unless group receives sanctions reprieve - Neil Hume

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE will halt trading in EN+ later this week unless it has secured an extension to a US sanctions deadline. The bourse said it would suspend EN+'S global depositary receipts from 17:15 today so that all trades can be settled by EUROCLEAR BANK. "The exchange will continue to monitor the situation and is in communication with the UK authorities", it said in a note to clients. In a bid to prevent a suspension of it GDR's, EN+ lodged an appeal with the US Office of Foreign Assets and Control last week seeking more time to end Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA's control of the company. DERIPASKA has agreed to trim his stake in EN+ from 70% to below 50% in ab id to free it and RUSAL from crippling US sanctions. It is not clear if the plan will be approved by OFAC, which will want proof that DERIPASKA has genuinely severed his ties to the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pfizer blames sales miss on 'customer buying patterns' - David Crow

PFIZER posted Q1 revenues that fell short of Wall Street forecasts, as sales of some of its key products were hurt by what it described as "customer buying patterns". It generated revenues of $12.91bn in the period, roughly 1% higher y/y, whereas the consensus among analysts was $13.14bn. Adjusted EPS were 77cps, compared with 74cps expected by analysts. CEO IAN READ said the results were solid but that PFIZER's Essential Health business had been hurt by supply shortages at HOSPIRA, the sterile injections group it bought for $17bn in 2015. PFIZER left its financial guidance for the FY unchanged, and expected to generate $2.90-$3.00 in adjusted EPS on revenues of $53.5bn-$55.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merck lifts earnings forecast after currency boost - Peter Wells

MERCK yesterday said it expected to deliver revenue of $41.8bn-$43bn in 2018, a higher and narrower range than the previous forecast of $41.2bn-$42.7bn, thanks to a 2% boost from expected forex effects. It expects adjusted 2018 earnings of $4.16-$4.28/share, up from $4.08-$4.23/share, also due to currency effects. However, it lowered its forecast for reported earnings largely due to a recently-agreed, multibillion-dollar sales deal with Japan's EISAI. The company now forecasts $2.45-$2.57/share from $2.97-$3.12/share previously. For Q1, revenue rose 6% y/y to $10bn, just shy of the median $10.1bn forecast from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Adjusted net income of $2.84bn or $1.05/share, was up 16.7% y/y, besting expectations of $2.7bn, or $1/share. Owing to the impact of things including the EISAI deal, reported earnings a little more than halved to $736m, or 27cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADM flags improving outlook for soyabean processing - Emiko Terazono

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND flagged an improving outlook for its soyabean processing, as it posted Q1 earnings that topped forecasts. The company said adjusted earnings for the quarter to end-Mar. rose 13% to 68cps, boosted by US tax reforms and credits. The result was ahead of market forecasts. Analysts had expected ADM to report earnings of 49cps. The company said it processed record volumes of soyabeans in the Americas. While that had not immediately translated into higher profits due to losses on forward hedges, ADM said the position would reverse later in the year. Net income was up 16% to $396m, after the company paid $68m of taxes in the quarter, down from $118m y/y. The group's refining and biodiesel unit reported a 200% rise in operating profits thanks to a $120m tax rebate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US manufacturing gauge falls to lowest since Jul. 2017 - Mamta Badkar

A gauge of US manufacturing sentiment hit its lowest level in nine months in April. The Institute for Supply Management's PMI fell to 57.3 in April from 59.3 the previous month. That was weaker than the reading of 58.3 that economists had forecast and mark a second straight month of contraction. "Demand remains strong, with the New Orders Index at 60 or above for the 12th straight month", ISM said. However, a number of respondents voiced their concerns over tariffs with one noting that the recent steel tariffs "have made it difficult to source material, and we have had to eliminate two products due to availability and cost of raw material". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore wins injunction against Gertler following royalty claim - Cynthia O'Murchu

GLENCORE has won a temporary injunction against DAN GERTLER over $2.28bn of royalties he claimed he is owed from the miner's DRC operations. The company was granted the relief by a court in London on Tuesday, following legal action brought by GERTLER in a DRC court last week, which froze GLENCORE's two key mines in that country. He alleged GLENCORE has broken its agreement to pay royalties following sanctions imposed on GERTLER by the US government in Dec. There will be another hearing in London on May 11. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook gets into online dating game - Jessica Dye

MATCH GROUP shares fell sharply yesterday after FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG said the company was planning to offer a dating service to connect its single users. Shares of MATCH, the largest listed dating company, were down 17.5% to $38.85 shortly after the announcement. ZUCKERBERG said there were over 200m single people on FACEBOOK. Dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble already rely on FACEBOOK's log-in to match up users' friends of friends and pull photos from the social network. ZUCKERBERG insisted the feature would be created in a way that is mindful of privacy, with people's dating profiles kept separate from their main FACEBOOK profile. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondelez bags sales, profit beat - Anna Nicolaou

MONDELEZ beat sales and profit forecasts in Q1 2018. Net sales grew 5.5% to $6.77bn in the quarter, above analyst forecasts for $6.41bn. Organic net sales rose 2.4%. Adjusted earnings rose 10% to 62cps, just above consensus forecasts for 61cps. MONDELEZ has cut costs to boost margins, which analysts view as part of an attempt to pre-empt shareholder activism or an unsolicited takeover. Adjusted operating income margins rose 0.2 percentage points to 16.7% in the quarter, despite rising freight costs fuelled by a truck driver shortage. Still the company is rumoured as a potential takeover target for 3G as the consumer goods industry consolidates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gilead shares rattled by sharp slide in hep C drug sales - David Crow

GILEAD yesterday reported a sharp drop in sales of its blockbuster hepatitis C treatment, sending shares down by more than 5% in after-hours trading. The company sold $1.05bn of its hep C treatment in Q1, a significant drop y/y when the drug pulled $2.6bn. The sales figure fell short of Wall Street forecasts of $1.16bn. The poor performance of the hepatitis C unit resulted in GILEAD missing Wall Street's expectations for Q1 earnings and revenue. The company posted adjusted EPS of $1.48 on revenues of $5.1bn, which were 19c and $300m short of consensus forecasts, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Western Union lifts guidance as online drive pays off - Pan Kwan Yuk

WESTERN UNION raised its FY earnings guidance yesterday as it continues to reap the benefits of its investment in online payment as well as US tax reform. The group is now expecting adjusted earnings for 2018 to come in at $1.80-$1.90/share, up from the $1.78-$1.90 range it gave three months ago. Shares rose 1.2% in after-hours trading. Revenue for Q1 to end-Mar. jumped 7% y/y to $1.38bn, ahead of the $1.35bn the market had forecast. Within this, revenue generated online was up 23% and accounted for 11% of its total consumer-to-consumer business. The group's digital money transfer business posted an impressive quarter, delivering 23% revenue growth. Net income jumped nearly a third to $213.6m, or 46cps, during the quarter, topping analysts' estimates of $191m as the company also benefited from a lower effective tax rate following US tax reform. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple launches $100bn buyback, lifts dividend - Tim Bradshaw

APPLE launched a new $100bn share buyback scheme and lifted its dividend by 16%, as it reported a 30% jump in earnings and issued a confident outlook for iPhone sales. Shares in the company traded 4% higher after-hours. Revenues for the quarter to end-Mar. grew 16% y/y to $61.1bn. APPLE sold 52.2m iPhones in the period, up 3% y/y, and insisted that demand for the iPhone X remained strong in key markets. Net income was up 25% to $13.8bn, with EPS of $2.75. For the June quarter, APPLE expects revenues of $51.5bn-$53.5bn, suggesting growth of up to 18% y/y and potentially ahead of Wall Street's consensus forecasts of $52.0bn. Many investors will look past the sales figures to the group's capital returns programme, which will have paid out $210bn by the end of June. On top of that, APPLE is adding a further $100bn in share repurchases and will pay out $13bn/year in dividends. It provided no deadline to complete the share buyback. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

T-Mobile posts upbeat revenues, boosts forecast - Mamta Badkar

T-MOBILE yesterday posted upbeat quarterly revenues and subscriber growth on the heels of its merger agreement with SPRINT, and lifted its FY profit guidance. The company said it added 617 000 "postpaid" subscribers. That compared to 798 000 y/y and brought the total branded postpaid net additions to 1m. T-MOBILE touted its lowest ever postpaid phone churn of 1.075. Revenues rose nearly 9% y/y to $10.5bn, ahead of forecasts of $10.4bn. Net income fell to $671m, or 78cps, compared with $698m or 80cps y/y. The prior-year results reflected one-off tax benefits. Looking ahead, T-MOBILE expects postpaid net customer additions of 2.6m-3.3m, up from its previous estimates of 2m-3m. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $11.4bn and $11.8bn, up from the previous target range of $11.3bn to $11.7bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P pushes Turkey deeper into junk - Mamta Badkar

In a surprise move, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS yesterday pushed Turkey's credit rating deeper into junk territory, citing concerns about high inflation as the lira weakens. The ratings agency lowered Turkey's foreign currency sovereign credit rating to BB-/B from BB/B - leaving it two notches below investment grade. Turkey last month lifted one of its main interest rates for the first time this year in a bid to staunch the lira's losses. The lira is the third worst performing emerging market currency, having shed more than 7.4% against the US dollar this year. Inflation is currently running above 10%, and S&P noted that the central bank has not met its 5% CPI target since 2012. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan services PMI hits 6-month high - Alice Woodhouse

Growth in Japan's services sector rose in April to a six-month high on stronger demand, according to the NIKKEI-MARKIT services PMI. The index rose to 52.5 in April, from 50.9 m/m. Companies reported new business grew at the fastest pace in five months, with a resulting rise in employment across the sector. Higher demand prompted service providers to increase output prices while wages and shipping costs pushed up operating expenses. Combined with the manufacturing PMI of 53.8 for April, the composite PMI rose to 53.1 in April, from 51.3 in March. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Survey shows shrinking export orders at Chinese manufacturers - Hudson Lockett

The CAIXIN-MARKIT China manufacturing PMI rose to 51.1 in April, notching a modest increase from 50.9 in March. That put the headline reading for the gauge in around the same ballpark as China's official manufacturing PMI, which concentrates on larger, state-owned companies and inched down to 51.4 last month. For the CAIXIN gauge, a sub-index for production edged up, with companies surveyed crediting growth in new orders, although a sub-index tracking those indicated the slowest rise in seven months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung BioLogics tumbles after accounting breach rulingG - Song Jung-a

Shares of SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS dropped today after South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service made a tentative decision that the company violated accounting rules. The FSS yesterday said it notified the biopharmaceutical group and its accounting firms of its preliminary decision and measures it could take concerning the alleged breach. The news sent the firm's shares nearly 20% lower this morning, although the shares pared some losses later. SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS issued a statement this morning, denying the allegations, and said it would prove its bookkeeping was proper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

StanChart Q1 profits, revenues miss estimates - Don Weinland

STANDARD CHARTERED posted Q1 profits and revenues below expectations for Q1 2018 as it gradually pushed back into markets it recently shrank in. Statutory profits for the lender came in at $1.19bn in the quarter, up 20% y/y but below an expected $1.21bn. Analysts had also expected stronger growth in revenues, which hit $3.87bn and grew by 7% y/y. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected revenues of $3.95bn. STANCHART is gradually expanding back into markets it had shrunk its loan book in over the past four years, with net loans and advances up 3% in the quarter to $295bn from the start of 2018. Its financial markets business took in $724m in operating income, the unit's strongest performance since the end of 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

To keep classes full, Curro may give some parents loans to pay high-school fees - Phillip de Wet, Business Insider SA

CURRO HOLDINGS on Monday said it is considering a "school fee loan" scheme for "selected learners" in grades 9 and higher in its schools. The loans would take into consideration credit score and academic performance, as well as available capacity in the class. "A key goal for 2018 onwards will be the retention of learners", CURRO said in its annual report, adding that a detailed evaluation of all learners who leave "is now being performed". CURRO noted that learners leave "mainly for financial reasons (voluntary or involuntary)", and it is hard to fill up classrooms when older pupils depart. CURRO's major entry points are grades 1 and 8. "When learners leave as a result of financial reasons from Grade 9 onwards it is unlikely that the learner will be replaced with a new learner". At the beginning of 2018, CURRO recorded 52 233 pupils across its 145 schools, and it will soon employ around 3 000 teachers. Last year its average school fee per pupil was R41 600, but for some families the increases into 2018 were steep, at a weighted average of 9% but with some fees going up by 12.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA loses out on Trump's steel tariff exemption - Lameez Omarjee

The US has not granted SA an exemption on its increased steel and aluminium tariffs, this after the Department of Trade & Industry made representations to the US government. The DTI issued a statement expressing its disappointment on the matter on Monday. The US is imposing a 10% ad valorem tariff on imports for aluminium products and 25% ad valorem tariff on imports for steel. The DTI said it remains open to engage with US authorities to find a "mutually acceptable" outcome and encouraged domestic exporters to continue to engage with US buyers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye vows to start on clean slate at Marikana - Sibongile Khumalo

SIBANYE-STILLWATER, which is in the process of acquiring LONMIN, has vowed to do things differently when it finally takes over the company, but won't take responsibility for the Marikana massacre. "Marikana was a real disaster, and I think it is extremely difficult for the existing owners to put it behind them and move on", SIBANYE-STILLWATER CEO NEAL FRONEMAN said. His company in 2017 offered R5.17bn to buy LONMIN in an all-share offer. "We can't take on the liabilities of Marikana, we need to move forward. It's a bit like the legacy of apartheid, no one can condone what happened... we've got to move on and make sure that it never happens again... It's like starting on a clean slate", FRONEMAN told Fin24 this week. He expects the LONMIN deal to be concluded before the end of 2018. "I think we will always respect what happened there. We will bring new insight, we are here for the long term... We need to make sure that there is proper justice, that here is compensation", he added. In Mar. 2017, former police minister NATHI NHLEKO told Parliament that government had received claims totalling R1.1bn for the Marikana tragedy. But no money has been paid out yet. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aveng announces early bond redemption, rights issue - Anine Kilian

AVENG will implement a R1.8bn rights offer to raise the capital needed to fund the early redemption of a portion of its existing convertible bonds of R2bn. The rights offer will also add R300m in new capital into the business. AVENG intends to retain a portion of the proceeds to fund internal capital requirements. The balance of the proceeds raised will be used to redeem a portion of the existing convertible bonds from existing convertible bondholders on a pro rata basis. As at end-Dec. 2017, AVENG had gross debt of R3.25bn, including bank debt of R1.25bn. "These current debt levels are unsustainable and deleveraging the company to reduce the existing debt burden is critical to unlocking shareholder value. AVENG's existing convertible bonds are creating significant constraints on the company's capital structure", he stated. The proposed rights offer equates to about three times the current market cap of AVENG. Given the prevailing situation, it is highly unlikely that the AVENG share price will exceed the conversion price of R28.76 before the final maturity of the convertible bond instrument. As such, the existing convertible bondholders will be unable to exercise their conversion rights. As it stands, AVENG will be required to redeem all the outstanding existing convertible bonds at their nominal amount on their final maturity date of Jul. 24, 2019. It is expected that the early bond redemption will be settled through a combination of cash from a proposed rights offer and AVENG shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hulamin chair steps down - Simone Liedtke

MAFIKA MKWANAZI has resigned as chair of aluminium supplier and exporter HULAMIN with effect from Apr. 26. THABO LEEUW, who has served on the board as an independent non-executive director since 2007, has succeeded MKWANAZI. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi to acquire Egyptian industrial bags producer for €23.7m - Simone Liedtke

MONDI will acquire Egyptian industrial bag producer NATIONAL COMPMANY FOR PAPER PRODUCTS AND IMPORT & EXPORT (NPP) for €23.7m. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to complete during H1 2018. NPP operates one plant in Giza, near Cairo, which serves mostly regional customers. For FY2017, it generated revenues of €29m and adjusted EBITDA of €5m. MONDI said the acquisition complements its network of plants in the Middle East region and provides it with a leading position in Egypt to grow its business and better serve its customers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ASIC launches more allegations against Rio - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has expanded its legal proceedings against RIO TINTO and former executives TOM ALBANESE and GUY ELLIOTT. ASIC in Mar. launched legal action in the Federal Court against the company, ALBANESE and GUY, in relation to alleged misleading or deceptive statements contained in the company's 2011 annual report. The company in Dec. 2010 a takeover offer for RIVERSDALE MINING, which was completed in Aug. 2011 at a cost of over $4bn. Following that deal, RIO delisted RIVERSDALE and renamed it RIO TINTO COAL MOZAMBIQUE. In 2013, RIO said it expected to recognise a noncash impairment charge of around $14bn, which included some $3bn relating to RTCM, for the 2012 FY. ASIC yesterday claimed RIO's failure to recognise an impairment for RTCM in its interim 2012 financials, in accordance with accounting standards, was a breach of the Corporations Act. ASIC said that by not reporting the impairment in 2012, RIO engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct. The regulator further alleges that ALBANESE and ELLIOTT failed to take all reasonable steps to comply, or ensure RIO's compliance with the relevant accounting standards in relation to the 2012 interim financials, and in addition, by allowing RIO to engage in this conduct, had failed to exercise their powers and discharge their duties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglogold ups Pure Gold stake to 14.9% - Henry Lazenby

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI has agreed to lift its ownership stake in Canadian project developer PURE GOLD to 14.9% via a C$7.4m investment. The deal comes on the back of a parallel private placement led by SPROTT CAPITAL PARTNERS as lead underwriter to buy on a bought-deal private placement basis 11.29m PURE GOLD units, at C$0.62 apiece, for gross proceeds of C$6.99m. As part of the financing, PURE GOLD is also issuing 4m flow-through shares at C$0.75 apiece, for gross proceeds of C$3m, which brings the offering to C$9.99m. Each unit will comprise one PURE GOLD common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant, allowing the holder of each whole common share purchase warrant to acquire one common share of PURE GOLD for two years from the closing of the offering, at a strike price of C$0.85. ANGLOGOLD previously held around 11.4% of PURE GOLD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold works to recover lost output at Tongon - Simone Liedtke

With operations at RANDGOLD RESOURCES' Tongon mine back at full capacity after a series of work stoppages, the company is making a "determined effort" to recover most of the lost output. RANDGOLD on Monday warned that the mine's production guidance of 290 000oz for 2018 has been impacted on as a result of the work stoppages. To mitigate the downtime effect and lost plant throughput, Tongon processed ore from the RoM and scats stockpiles during the stoppages and used the opportunity to upgrade parts of the plant to achieve a higher and more consistent throughput going forward. The mine's management had been supported in resolving the situation by the highest level of government, as well as Parliamentary members and union leadership, the parties had agreed on a constructive process to workshop solutions and prevent similar issues in future. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sylvania Q3 output down after 'challenging' Jan. - Anine Kilian

A difficult January has resulted in SYLVANIA PLATINUM's 4E PGMs production decreasing by 3% q/q to 16 857oz for Q3 to end-Mar. "January was a particularly difficult month due to the impact of the delays with a licence at our newly constructed Millsell tailings facility. When the permissions were eventually received to use the new tailings facility, nearly barren waste slime on top of the dump had to be processed first", CEO TERRY MCCONNACHIE said. Millsell experienced lower PGM feed grades and feed instability during Q3. Production issues at the host mines resulted in lower-than-planned current arisings at Millsell and Mooinooi, as well as lower-than-planned RoM feed during the quarter, negatively impacting on PGM plant feed grades and ounce production. Nevertheless, most operations performed well, and SYLVANIA delivered its highest monthly PGM ounce production to date, of 6 631oz in March, putting the company in a position to meet its revised FY production guidance of 71 000oz-75 000oz. Despite lower ounce production, SYLVANIA recorded a 3% rise in revenue from $14.1m to $14.5m owing to the increase in the basket price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kore progresses DFS for RoC project - Nadine James

KORE POTASH continues to make progress with the definitive feasibility study for its flagship 97%-owned Sintoukola Potash project, in the Republic of Congo. The DFS, which is being undertaken by a French consortium, has moved from design engineering to estimating final construction costs and the execution schedule. The DFS schedule was slightly revised, owing to additional redesign work related to further optimisation of the flotation area of the process plant. Third-party testing of the optimised design have been completed with results supporting an improved recovery from the prefeasibility study. Further, the final test results for the optimised float circuit have been received and have shown positive results that support the inclusion of the optimisations in the DFS. KORE expects to publish the final results of the DFS by Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yanfolila ramp-up sees 9 912oz of gold poured in March - Schalk Burger

HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES has successfully ramped up gold output at its Yanfolila mine and plant in Mali, with 9 912oz poured in March. The project produced 18 785oz of gold in the quarter to end-Mar., with the mine and plant operating at nameplate capacity by the end of the quarter. Commercial production was declared on Apr. 1. HUMMINGBIRD CEO DAN BETTS said the focus remains on continually refining and improving Yanfolila into a consistent low-cost operation. Additionally, an immediate priority this year is to aggressively explore and develop the near-mine resources to look to convert opportunities and resources into reserves and extend the mine life. "We have committed to spend up to 15% of our free cash flow into this activity, which is anticipated to be about $8m", BETTS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP sells Minerva plant to Cooper Energy, partners - Esmarie Swanepoel

COOPER ENERGY, in JV with AWE and MITSUI E&P AUSTRALIA, has struck a deal with BHP to acquire the latter's 90% stake in the Minerva gas plant, in Victoria. COOPER ENERGY, which already holds a 10% stake in the gas plant, would hold a 50% interest following the deal, with AWE and MITSUI each holding 25%. BHP will retain its 90% stake in the offshore Minerva gas field and gas pipeline, with COPPER retaining its 10% interest in those assets. The Minerva plant has a processing capacity of 150 TJ/d, as well as hydrocarbon liquids processing facilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MAS acquires Romanian shopping centre - Simone Liedtke

MAS REAL ESTATE will acquire the Bucharest-based Militari shopping centre for €95m. The property will be acquired from MD CE HOLDINGS and ATRIUM TURKEY SAMSUN, two wholly-owned subsidiaries of ATRIUM EUROPE REAL ESTATE. With 53 tenants spread across 56 416m2 of gross lettable area, the annual net operating income of Militari is €7.1m at a weighted average rental of €10.60/m2 a month. MAS said the asset provides stable underlying income over the medium term, with good prospects for future growth that will drive the company's direct investment return. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No agreement yet in Eskom's talks with Optimum BRPs - Simone Liedtke

ESKOM says it is considering a proposal by Optimum Coal's business rescue practitioners to reduce the monthly coal supply tonnage from the mine from 400 000t to 200 000t for the remainder of the contract. However, the utility stressed that it has not agreed to any price adjustment with the BRPs, as alleged by some newspapers over the weekend. ESKOM said that, should it agree to a reduction of the coal supply tonnage from Optimum, such will be done at the current coal supply contract price, which is R201.46/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court dismisses NCR bid to overturn Lewis Group ruling - Tanisha Heiberg

The High Court dismissed an appeal by the National Credit Regulator against a ruling that had cleared LEWIS GROUP of breaching credit rules with fees it charges customers, the retailer said on Monday. The regulator lodged an appeal last year after the National Consumer Tribunal cleared the furniture retailer. The Tribunal's ruling meant LEWIS effectively avoided a fine that could have totalled up to 10% of annual sales. "The High Court handed down judgment in LEWIS' favour with regard to the appeal by the NCR. The matter was dismissed with costs against the NCR", the company said. The NCR in 2016 referred LEWIS to the National Consumer Tribunal, accusing it of contravening credit rules when charging customers for warranties and club membership fees that entitled them to special deals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's trade balance swings to surplus in Mar. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's trade balance swung to a R9.47bn surplus in March from a revised deficit of R603m in Feb., data from SARS showed on Monday. Exports rose by 9.2% to R98.3bn on a m/m basis in Mar., while imports contracted by 2% to R88.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit demand growth quickens in March - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Growth in private-sector credit demand in SA rose to 5.96% in Mar. from 5.74% in Feb., SARB data showed on Monday. Expansion in the M3 measure of money supply slowed to 6.42%, from 6.89% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Quantum Global cries foul as Angolan fund seeks more asset freezes - Michael Shields

QUANTUM GLOBAL accused Angola's sovereign wealth fund of harassment on Sunday after more court-ordered asset freezes in a widening legal row. Angola's $5bn FSDEA fund on Friday said it was sacking QUANTUM GLOBAL as its asset manager as it was concerned about the way its funds were being invested. QUANTUM GLOBAL responded by saying all Angola's money under its management was accounted for. The asset manager on Sunday said a British court had reportedly on Friday granted an FSDEA application "for a worldwide freezing order on several QUANTUM GLOBAL GROUP companies", although it had not yet been served with court papers. "QUANTUM GLOBAL continues to be dismayed that FSDEA has resorted to intimidation by launching legal action in multiple jurisdictions rather than seeking a negotiated settlement or arbitration in accordance with the contractual arrangements", it said. It reiterated that it wanted to resolve the matter with FSDEA in an amicable manner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Guinea gives preliminary go-ahead for new bauxite project - Saliou Samb

Guinea's government on Friday said it had approved plans to award a mining contract to a Dutch company to develop a $1.4bn bauxite mine and alumina refinery. SOCIETE DES BAUXITES DE GUINEE, a subsidiary of METALCORP GROUP, plans to develop anew concession in northwestern Guinea that the company says has more than 300mt in proven bauxite reserves. According to a government statement, a cabinet meeting on Thursday authorised the drafting of a mining contract that would allow SBG to begin production by the end of 2022. The mine is expected to produce 3mt of bauxite annually for export, and 5mt to refine into alumina at a nearby factory. "It is a big project that will require a minimum investment of $1.4bn", SAADOU NIMAGA, secretary of the mines ministry, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paramount in talks to boost Saudi arms industry - Alexander Cornwell

South African defence company PARAMOUNT GROUP is in talks with the government of Saudi Arabia to establish production facilities in the kingdom, its chair said on Monday. "We are in negotiations with various governments in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, with a view to transferring technology and establishing production in those countries", PARAMOUNT chair IVOR ICHIKOWITZ said. He declined to disclose what the company was in talks to manufacture in Saudi Arabia but said the kingdom would be a focus for the group over the next few years. PARAMOUNT manufactures military vehicles, aircraft, ships and weapon systems. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF approves new three-year loan arrangement for Malawi - Frank Phiri

The IMF has approved a new three-year $112.3m loan arrangement for Malawi to assist the country's economic and financial reforms. In a statement on Monday, the Fund said the approval would enable the immediate disbursement of around $16m, with the remaining amount to be phased over the duration of the programme, subject to semi-annual reviews. "Malawi has shown progress in achieving macroeconomic stabilisation following two years of drought, with a rebound in growth and inflation reduced to single digits", IMF deputy MD TAO ZHANG said. "However, the fiscal position has deteriorated and the public debt to GDP ratio has risen. Increased debt service pressures have reduced space for needed infrastructure and social spending". Malawi's economy is estimated to have expanded 4% last year from growth of 2.3% in 2016. The country has a total public debt of $3.5bn, with about a third of that in external debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agarwal told Anglo not to sell SA assets - Ed Stoddard

VEDANTA RESOURCES chair ANIL AGARWAL, who is also ANGLO AMERICAN's largest shareholder, on Monday said he had convinced the company not to sell off key South African assets. AGARWAL has an almost 20% stake in ANGLO via his family trust VOLCAN INVESTMENTS and has played down speculation that he is seeking a tie-up with ANGLO. But in an interview with Reuters, he made it clear that he has not been a passive investor. "I always believed that South Africa has a lot of potential, and ANGLO management may not have always believed that... and they wanted to sell some assets", he said. "When I became the biggest shareholder I advised them (not to sell). And I am very pleased that hey have not sold those assets. And personally I was right because the share price is now up 50% and the profits are getting better". AGARWAL said he wanted ANGLO to focus on the Indian market. "India is a huge market for them, they can sell all the coal there, they can sell platinum there, they can sell iron ore there, they are selling 80 to 90 percent of diamonds there". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF approves next disbursement under Ghana's aid deal - Kwasi Kpodo

The IMF's board on Monday approved the next disbursement of around $191m under Ghana's aid programme, while urging the country to take further steps to address its high debt. Ghana will begin a road show this week to market a $2.5bn eurobond issuance to restructure debt and support the government's 2018 budget, a senior government official said. Ghana is in its final year of the $918m credit deal signed in Apr. 2015 to fix its economy. "As the debt burden remains elevated, continued prudence in debt management is essential to reduce the risks associated with market-based borrowing", IMF deputy MD TAO ZHANG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank approves loan guarantee for Kenya's energy sector - Omar Mohammed

The World Bank on Monday approved a $180m loan guarantee for KENYA ELECTRICITY GENERATION COMPANY to help strengthen the financial position of the utility, which produces more than 70% of the country's electricity. The guarantee will help in long-term commercial financing of up to $300m to refinance part of KENGEN's existing commercial loans, enhance its credit quality and promote further development of renewable energy in the country, the World Bank said. The Bank said in a statement that the project would "ultimately... lower the cost of electricity". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK, EU financial regulators to examine hard Brexit impact - Jim Brunsden

Britain and the EU on Friday announced that their top regulators will work together on how to minimise financial market turmoil should Brexit talks break down. HM Treasury and the European Commission said they have asked the ECB and the Bank of England "to convene a technical working group on risk management in the period around 30 March 2019". The group will study how to minimise the danger were the UK to crash out of the EU on Brexit day without a withdrawal agreement, so forfeiting its transition period and instead finding its market access suddenly reduced. The UK and Brussels said the working group's remit would be limited to exit issues, and that it would not turn into a forum to discuss post-Brexit market access arrangements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US GDP growth cools in Q1 - Sam Fleming

The US expansion lost some of its momentum in Q1 2018 as consumers reined in spending on cars and other products, but growth was still quicker than economists had expected. GDP rose at a 2.3% annual pace in Q1, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said last week, a slowdown from the 2.9% expansion clocked in Q4 2017. This was still stronger than the 2% annualised GDP gain forecast by analysts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanofi misses forecasts as diabetes unit weighs on performance - Harriet Agnew

SANOFI last week disappointed analysts after sales continued to drop in its struggling diabetes division and the company suffered unfavourable exchange rate moves in Q1. SANOFI reported net sales of €7.9bn and net income of €1.0bn during Q1 2018, missing forecasts of €8bn in sales and €1.4bn in income. Net sales fell 0.4% at constant currencies and were 8.7% lower on a reported basis. The company's diabetes franchise continues to face difficulties, with sales in the unit down 15.7% at constant currencies. The company confirmed its outlook for the FY and said it expects 2018 EPS to grow between 2% and 5% at current exchange rates. However, it flagged a possible 7% hit to EPS for the 12 months because of a negative forex environment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sainsbury's, Asda forge pact to create UK grocery leader - Jonathan Eley

British retailer J SAINSBURY has struck a deal to take over WALMART subsidiary ASDA to create the UK's biggest grocer by market share. WALMART will get nearly £3bn in cash and 42% of the newly combined entity in return for selling ASDA, which is valued at £7.3bn under the terms of the deal announced this morning. WALMART paid £6.7bn for ASDA in 1999. The US retail giant has agreed to not hold more than 29.9% of the total voting rights in the combined business. The combined business will be chaired by SAINSBURY's chair DAVID TYLER and led by SAINSBURY's CEO MIKE COUPE and CFO KEVIN O'BYRNE. ASDA will continue to be run from Leeds with its own CEO. Both the SAINSBURY's and ASDA brands will be maintained and the companies said there were no planned store closures as a result of the combination. Some analysts believe up to 15% of the combined store estate may need to be sold to rivals in order to secure regulatory approval. SAINSBURY's believes that buying benefits and the opening of new ARGOS branches inside ASDA stores will generate at least £500m of annual synergies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Telekom rises on T-Mobile, Sprint merger - Alice Woodhouse

DEUTSCHE TELEKOM rose as much as 3.2% today after subsidiary T-MOBILE agreed a merger with SPRINT, uniting the US's third- and fourth-largest carriers following years of talks. T-MOBILE and SPRINT agreed the deal on Sunday valuing the combined entity at $146bn, including debt, and giving the new company more than 127m wireless subscribers. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM and SOFTBANK, controlling shareholder of SPRINT, entered talks about a merger as early as 2014, but a deal remained out of reach for years. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM will own around 42% of the combined entity with SOFTBANK owning 27%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German retail sales slip for 4th month in a row - Edward White

German retail sales edged lower for a 4th straight month in March. Turnover in retail trade fell 0.6% last month from Feb., the Federal Statistics Office said. The reading was wide of the 0.8% gain forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and comes after a 0.2% fall in Feb. It also marked the 4th month of declines for the gauge after it swung into reverse in Dec. On a y/y basis, monthly sales were 1.3% higher, ahead of a 1% gain forecast by Reuters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AccorHotels to buy Movenpick Hotels - Simeon Kerr

ACCORHOTELS has agreed to acquire MOVENPICK HOTELS & RESORTS from Saudi Arabia's KINGDOM HOLDING COMPANY for €482m in cash. The deal, announced on Monday, comes as KINGDOM HOLDING, which bought into MOVENPICk around 20 years ago, has been selling off hotel assets for several years, offloading stakes in Beirut and Damascus hotels in recent months. ACCORHOTELS CEO SEBASTIEN BAZIN said: "By joining the group, it (MOVENPICK) will benefit from ACCORHOTELS' power, particularly in terms of distribution, loyalty-building and development". MOVENPICK operates in 27 countries with more than 20 000 rooms across 84 hotels, with a strong presence in Europe and the Middle East. It plans to open 42 more hotels by 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China manufacturing gauge falls less than expected in Apr. - Hudson Lockett

China's official manufacturing PMI edged down 0.1 points to 51.4 in April, coming in above a median forecast of 51.3 from economists surveyed by Reuters. A sub-index tracking factory gate prices rose 1.3 points to 50.2, returning to growth after two months of contraction, and that for output held steady at 53.1. A reading on new orders dipped 0.4 points to 52.9 as that for new export orders fell 0.6 points to 50.7. The official non-manufacturing PMI rose 0.2 points to 54.8 as a key sub-index tracking services sector growth edged up the same amount to 53.8. That for construction fell 0.1 points to 60.6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble AGM blocked by Goldilocks lawsuit - David Sheppard

A judge in Singapore last week granted an injunction against NOBLE GROUP's AGM after GOLDILOCKS INVESTMENT filed suit in the city state. The decision will raise questions about NOBLE's restructuring plan the company says is its only viable route to survival. NOBLE requested a trading halt for its shares. NOBLE and GOLDILOCKS have been locked in an increasingly acrimonious battle over the restructuring plan for the commodities trader. GOLDILOCKS sued to block the NOBLE AGM on Monday and a subsequent vote on the deal, which would see shareholders left with only 15% of the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gertler seeks $3bn freezing order on Glencore's DRC assets after sanctions - Henry Sanderson

DAN GERTLER has launched legal action against GLENCORE, his former partner in the DRC, seeking almost $3bn of royalties he claims he is owed. GERTLER has applied to have GLENCORE's key copper and cobalt assets in the DRC frozen, citing its failure to pay the money. GERTLER'S company, VENTORA DEVELOPMENT SASU, is seeking $695m of royalties and $2.28bn of damages from MUTANDA MINING and KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY, GLENCORE said. GLENCORE said the freezing orders authorise the Kolwezi court in the DRC to "freeze certain bank accounts, tangible moveable assets and intangible moveable assets", as well as the mining titles up to the amount of the freezing order. GLENCORE said MUTANDA and KCC "will vigorously contest the freezing order and any subsequent proceedings". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deripaska agrees to relinquish control of Rusal - David Sheppard

Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA has agreed in principle to relinquish control of RUSAL by selling down his stake in parent company EN+, as he tries to release the companies from crippling US sanctions. The proposal, announced on the LSE on Friday, has yet to be accepted by the US Treasury. In the statement EN+ said: "Mr OLEG DERIPASKA has agreed in principle to the chairman's request that Mr DERIPASKA reduce his shareholding in the company to below 50%". Under the proposed deal he would reduce his stake in EN+, which serves as the holding company for his assets, from above 70% to below 50%. The company listed on the LSE last Nov. in a $1.5bn flotation. EN+ would also overhaul the board under the proposal, removing DERIPASKA and adding new directors without links to the oligarch. EN+ would also give up its rights to nominate the CEO of RUSAL and manage the business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC execs purged as more deals questioned - Dewald van Rensburg

The PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION has fired its executive head of risk for "incompetence" and suspended other senior officials, seemingly in relation to media leaks and allegations against CEO DAN MATJILA. At the same time, more apparently ill-conceived PIC deals are coming to light, costing its clients billions of rands. The PIC's head of risk was reportedly sacked last week, after having been placed on suspension in Mar. The charge against him was incompetence. According to a source, he had, among other things, produced sub-par paperwork and did not foresee the implosion of VBS MUTUAL BANK, in which the PIC is a shareholder. City Press has also learned that that PIC company secretary BONGANI MATHEBULA, executive head for IT VUYOKAZI MENYE, and one other senior person in the IT department have also been suspended. amaBhungane last week revealed losses on a PIC investment in a Nigerian oil venture that was incredibly risky, but benefited a friend of former president JACOB ZUMA, KASE LUKMAN LAWAL. That R4bn investment in ERIN ENERGY might be worth nothing now after Nigerian police shut down the company's operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to bail out Gupta mine - Yolandi Groenewald

ESKOM is believed to be willing to more than double the rate that it is paying for coal in a bid to rescue the GUPTA-owned Optimum coal mine. Optimum's business rescue practitioners last week finalised a business rescue plan which affected parties will now vote on. According to the plan, the best option is to make the mine profitable again and sell it off. Talks with ESKOM's lawyers indicate that he utility is willing to pay up to R450/t of coal from the mine, more than double the R200 it is currently paying. Optimum's BRPs also want to reduce the mine's supply to ESKOM from 400 000t/month to 200 000. The difference would be exported at a much better rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA cellphone users will soon be allowed to carry over unused data - ICASA - Sibongile Khumalo

Cellphone companies will now be required to provide customers with an option to rollover unused data as part of a set of new regulations announced by ICASA on Thursday. The End-User and Subscriber Service Charter is expected to change the way mobile phone customers conduct business and ensure optimum use of data communication by customers. The regulations require companies to notify subscribers when their data falls below 50%, 80% and 100% depletion levels, to rollover unused data, allow transfer of data and prohibit service providers to charge out of bundle charges without the customer's consent. ICASA said all mobile phone service providers would be "required to provide an option to customers to rollover unused data, to ensure that customers do not lose unused data as is the current practice". Companies would be given 30 days to comply with the rules once the regulations have been gazetted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SASSA gets new acting CEO - Fin24

SASSA has appointed ABRAHAM MAHLANGU as acting CEO, replacing PEARL BHENGU who took up the position in July last year. MAHLANGU is a former Chief Information Officer at SASSA,and will become the agency's fourth CEO in less than two years. BHENGU had requested to be sent back to her provincial position in KZN, SASSA spokesperson PASEKA LETSATSI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MC Mining's Q3 output falls on equipment availability challenges at Uitkomst - Anine Kilian

Equipment availability challenges resulted in an 18% q/q drop in production at MC MINING's Uitkomst colliery to 115 750t for the quarter to end-Mar. "The contract miner experienced equipment availability challenges during the quarter, resulting in reduced run-of-mine production and, as a result, the company is in discussions with the mining contractor to resolve these issues", CEO DAVID BROWN said. BROWN noted that the contract with the supplier expired during the quarter and replacement sources are being sought. Overall sales for the quarter fell by 51%, comprising a 33% reduction in sales of RoM coal produced at Uitkomst and a 41 548t reduction in sales emanating form bought RoM coal. Despite revenue being hit by a 12% stronger rand/dollar exchange rate, the relative revenue per tonne improved due to the change in sales mix. To meet the requirements of the South African Mining Charter, the company concluded the process of selling an additional 21% interest in Uitkomst to BEE shareholders on a vendor financed basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats reports 17% rise in tonnes milled in Q3 - Marleny Arnoldi

A stronger mining performance at IMPALA PLATINUM's Impala Rustenburg and Marula operations resulted in a 17% rise in tonnes milled to 4.59mt for Q3 to end-Mar. IMPLATS CEO NICO MULLER said the steps implemented at the operations to improve production and cost performance are starting to deliver positive results. "However, the elimination of high-cost production at Impala Rustenburg remains our key imperative and good progress is being made with this operation's strategic review to align the business with our lower future metal prices outlook", MULLER said. Mill grades across all operations rose by 3% to 3.87g/t platinum during the quarter. Consequently, platinum in concentrate produced during the period across all IMPLATS' mining operations rose by 7% to 309 000oz, compared with 290 000oz y/y. Despite a much-improved operational performance, refined platinum output fell by 5% to 316 000oz, compared with 331 000oz in the prior period, owing to a temporary pipeline stock build-up at the IMPALA smelting operation, as a result of an electric failure at the Number 5 furnace in Feb. IMPLATs reported an increase in tonnes milled at ZIMPLATS, with a6% rise to 1.65mt, compared with the 1.56mt milled y/y. ZIMPLATS' mill grade was largely maintained at 3.48g/t, which resulted in platinum produced in concentrate rising by 5% to 69 000oz, compared with 65 000oz in the previous corresponding period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM completes Maseve mine sale - Anine Kilian

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has concluded the sale of its equity in MASEVE INVESTMENTS, the holding company of the Maseve mine, to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM. The aggregate consideration for the sale comprised 4.871m RBPLAT common shares, which have been delivered, and the agreement to the release of an environmental bond posted by the company, currently worth around $4.7m, following RBPLAT's replacement of the environmental bond for MASEVE. Of the common shares issued in connection with the sale of MASEVE, 347 056 were delivered in trust for a minority shareholder of MASEVE. PTM intends to use the net proceeds from the deal, which may take several months to be fully realised into cash, to reduce its debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat CFO resigns - Anine Kilian

MARTIN PRINSLOO has resigned as CFO and executive director of ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM, effective Aug. 10. He has been with the company for nine years and is leaving to pursue other opportunities. The company has started the process to recruit a suitable successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin moves to mothball Langer Heinrich mine - Esmarie Swanepoel

PALADIN ENERGY last week announced it was unlikely to resume physical mining activities at its Langer Heinrich operation, in Namibia, and has taken preparatory steps to place the operation under care and maintenance. PALADIN previously said the medium-grade ore stockpiles currently being used as feed for the processing plant would be exhausted before mid-2019, necessitating a decision on the project's future. Last week it said that given the continued deterioration of macro factors it was becoming less likely that it would be in a position to resume physical mining in 2018, or that processing low-grade stockpiles would be a viable option. PALADIN said it had started consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including representatives for the 600 staff directly employed by the operation, as well as government and customers. Other preparatory works include changes in supplier arrangements and staffing, which PALADIN said could result in initial redundancies. It would make a formal decision on the future of the mine within the next two months, with the care-and-maintenance process expected to take between one and two months, after which the operation would cease uranium production. PALADIN produced 670 456 lb of uranium oxide from Langer Heinrich in the quarter to end-Mar., a 23% drop q/q, with C1 cash costs rising by 32% over the same period to $29.82/lb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gem lifts Q1 production, sales - Anine Kilian

GEM DIAMONDS' carat recoveries rose by 32% y/y to 33 526ct for the quarter to end-Mar., compared with the 25 479ct recovered y/y. Carat recoveries also rose by 10% on the 30 560ct recovered in the Dec. 2017 quarter. GEM sold 32 412ct in the Mar. quarter, up 38% y/y and 3% q/q. Prices improved by 98% y/y to $3 276/ct, which was also 48% higher than the average price of $2 217/ct achieved in the Dec. quarter. At the end of the quarter, the company had a net cash position of $48.1m, a $46.7m improvement on the previous quarter/s net cash position of $1.4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara recovers 327ct diamond from Karowe - Anine Kilian

LUCARA DIAMONDS has recovered a 327ct, top white gem diamond from its wholly-owned Karowe mine in Botswana. Eight diamonds greater than 100ct have now been recovered at Karowe since the start of the year, including a 472ct diamond. LUCARA will hold an exceptional stone tender in Jun. that will include for sale the 327ct and the 4872ct diamonds, alongside other qualifying diamonds that have been recovered since the start of 2018. Viewings will be held in Gaborone from Jun. 10 to 19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale unsure if New Caledonia ops will continue - Reuters

VALE hopes to find a partner for its struggling New Caledonia nickel mine by the end of 23018 but it is not clear if the company will continue nickel operations there, executives said last week. Company executives last week said they were not satisfied with nickel prices, but added that nickel would become an industry motor when electric vehicles become a reality. Over-budget and years late when it started up in 201, the New Caledonia project accumulated nearly $1.3bn in losses from 2014 to 2016. Last week, VALE said it was curbing base metal output to boost returns, though the company hopes the area will one day represent a greater part of earnings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff sells half of POCO to Andreas Seifert - Karin Matussek, Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL last week agreed to end a bitter dispute by selling half of German furniture chain POCO to former business partner ANDREAS SEIFERT. The impetus for the deal with SEIFERT came from a German nudge who, on Wednesday, urged both sides to settle for an amount that is a multiple of POCO's earnings. Eventually they valued POCO at €532.5m, amid a fractious hearing that was stayed twice to allow private talks. SEIFERT, owner of XXXLUTZ, has battled on many fronts against his former partners, filing lawsuits in three countries as well as criminal complaints. The German cases, filed in 2015, concentrated on who owned POCO. SEIFERT and STEINHOFF initially each held 50% and both claimed to have kicked out he other partner under company rules. In Feb., an Amsterdam court ruled that STEINHOFF couldn't claim full ownership. At last week's hearing in Dortmund, the court also hinted that STEINHOFF's position has weakened. STEINHOFF had argued POCO needs to be valued at €650m, whereas SEIFERT saw it at €472m. The deal is preliminary and details will be finalised in the coming weeks, including sorting out anti-trust concerns. The sale price includes POCO's real estate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff quits Hungarian retailer - Bloomberg

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS NV sold out of Hungarian electronics retailer EXTREME DIGITAL after its partners moved to cut ties with the embattled South African retailer. Hungary's Competition Authority approved the disposal of a 50.4% stake to the company's two founders for an undisclosed sum, EXTREME DIGITAL said last week. STEINHOFF bought the controlling stake in 2015 as part of an aggressive expansion through Europe, the US and Australia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RDI dividend grows as strategies boost earnings - Alistair Anderson

Asset sales helped RDI deliver dividend growth in the HY to end-Feb. The company received £211.8m for assets disposed of at an average premium of 8.7% to Aug. 2017 market values. An interim dividend of 1.35pps was declared, which represented an increase of 3.9%, fully covered by a payout ratio of 92.5%. Underlying EPS of 1.46p were achieved, ahead of target. CEO MIKE WATTERS said RDI's strategies were helping to generate steady EPS for investors. "We continue to make good progress against our strategic priorities, with underlying EPS growth of 8.2%, which is well ahead of target". WATTERS said RDI expanded its hotel portfolio and had recently moved into London serviced offices. It had also cut its exposure to UK retail in light of negative sentiment given uncertainty about how the Brexit process will work. RDI increased its stake in the £104.4m IHL hotel portfolio to 74.1% from 17.2% at end-Aug. The deal was concluded at a net initial yield of 6.9% and a yield on equity of more than 10%. RDI's overall retail exposure was reduced to 45.3% from 60% at the end of August. UK shopping centres accounted for 18.8% of its assets by market value. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya picks Wood Group for oil pipeline design - Duncan Miriri

Kenya has picked WOOD GROUP PLC to design an estimated $2bn oil pipeline to pump crude from fields in the north of the nation to an Indian Ocean port. Kenya discovered commercial oil reserves in its Lokichar basin in 2012 and the 800km pipeline is expected to be built before production is due to start in 2021/22. ANDREW KAMAU, the principal secretary at the Petroleum and Mining Ministry, said the design work would take eight months. The government had invited engineering design bids in Jan. for the pipeline, which is expected to cost $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Choppies H1 profit up 19% on SA operations - Tanisha Heiberg

CHOPPIES ENTERPRISES H1 profit rose 19%, buoyed by an improved performance at its South African operations, the company said on Thursday. The budget retailer posted HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. of 5.36 thebe (cents) compared with 4.52 thebe y/y. This fell short of the 5.42 thebe to 5.88 thebe per share it previously flagged to the market. Revenue from the retailer's South African operations grew 43% for the period, boosted by an improved performance at its stores in the North West province. In the HY under review, the Botswana retailer opened 33 new stores, bringing its total number of stores to 235 in Africa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA fuel prices to rise in May - Mfuneko Toyana

The retail price of petrol in SA will rise by 3.4% from May 2, while the price of wholesale diesel will increase by 4.6%, the Department of Energy said on Thursday. The price of petrol will rise by 49c to R14.97/l in Gauteng, while diesel will go up by as much as 59c to R13.34/l. The Central Energy Fund said the depreciation of the rand against the dollar in the past month, coupled with higher crude prices globally had contributed to the rise in local pump prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NNPC illegally paid $707m in fuel subsidies in 2017, Senate probe finds - Camillus Eboh

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION illegally paid 216bn naira in fuel subsidies last year, according to a Senate investigation, the finds of which were published on Thursday. The probe by the upper legislative house said parliament had not approved those payments by the NNPC last year, and any further spending on subsidies should be halted with immediate effect. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia to pare back Kudu power project - Nyasha Nyaungwa

Namibia will reduce the size of the planned Kudu Power Station after off-take agreements with ESKOM and COPPERBELT ENERGY CORPORATION failed to materialise, NAMPOWER CEO SIMSON HAULOFU said on Friday. The offshore Kudu Gas Fields have proven and probable recoverable reserves estimated at more than 3.3tn cubic feet and is key to Namibia's plans to reduce its dependence on electricity imports. HAULOFU said the decision to resize the power plant from 850MW to 442.5MW was made considering the power demand load forecast for the country. "The decision was also made to address the need for the project's reliance on export agreements to reach financial close. The export agreements were one of the issues that delayed the project as they took forever", he added. Kudu will no longer rely on export agreements to offload surplus capacity as there won't be any under the resized project. The plant is now expected to cost an estimated $9.4bn Namibian dollars, down from the previous estimate of N$15.6bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya energy minister orders electricity tariffs review after complaints - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's energy minister ordered the energy regulatory commission to review electricity tariff after consumer complaints that monthly bills from KENYA POWER had jumped in H2 2017. Energy Minister CHARLES KETER, whose ministry is represented on the board of KENYA POWER, last week said the utility was ready to be audited. "We are open for any scrutiny from any quarter". A group of Kenyan electricity consumers filed a class action suit against KENYA POWER in Jan., saying their monthly bills jumped, some tripling, in H2 2017. A court hearing is set for May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania asks bank to finance hydropower project in heritage site - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania has approached the African Development Bank to finance a 2 100MW hydroelectric plant in a World Heritage site, despite concerns from conservationists. The government considers the project at Stiegler's Gorge in the UNESCO-designated Selous Game Reserve to be vital in its bid to diversify its energy mix and end electricity shortages. The project would more than double the country's power generation capacity. Critics say securing financing for it could prove difficult as construction of a dam on a major river that runs through the Selous reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats downstream. Tanzania's finance ministry on Saturday said President JOHM MAGUFULI was personally pushing for the project to advance, and made the financing request to AfDB President AKINWUMI ADESIN during talks in Dodoma over the weekend. The AfDB confirmed it was reviewing MAGUFULI's request but did not way how much the project would cost. The government invited bids on Aug. for the Stiegler's Gorge project and hopes construction work will begin as early as July. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wiese sues Steinhoff for $5bn - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

CHRISTO WIESE has launched a $5bn lawsuit against STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL, the embattled company in which he was chairperson and biggest shareholder until earlier this year, his company TITAN GROUP said on Thursday. WIESE resigned as chair in Dec. 2017, days after the group uncovered accounting irregularities that sent its shares crashing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KPMG urges spot sale system to address Ivory Coast cocoa defaults - Ange Aboa

KPMG has urged Ivory Coast to introduce a spot sales system for local cocoa exporters who were responsible for defaults on 148 000t of contracts in the last growing season. The country sells forward the bulk of its anticipated harvest to be able to set a minimum price for farmers at the start of its Oct.-Sep. growing season. But world market prices fell 40% over the course of 2016/17 and exporters were unable to honour their commitments to suppliers, forcing Ivory Coast's cocoa marketing board to resell their contracts at a loss. KPMG on Friday said the PMEX/COOPEX exporter group was responsible for two-thirds of the 220 000t of contracts in default during the 2016/17 season. The total value of the contract defaults was 399bn CFA francs and the Ivorian government lost 199bn CFA francs reselling them, KPMG said. "Their difficulty getting export permits leads them to take risk", the report said, adding that PMEX/COOPEX members went from buying 11% of forward sold contracts in 2014 to 23% in 2017. It recommended that Ivory Coast no longer sell forward cocoa contracts to small exporters and instead limit them to buying on spot markets, where speculation is limited, sales or in partnership with multinational companies in which they export the beans but the partner buys the contract. Exporters would earn smaller margins on these kinds of sales, requiring action by the government to boost heir access to international contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola's SWF says to remove Quantum Global as asset manager - Ed Stoddard

FSDEA, the sovereign wealth fund of Angola, is taking steps to remove QUANTUM GLOBAL as its asset manager, it said on Friday. "FSDEA has great concerns about QUANTUM GLOBAL's approach to investment of the FSDEA funds, as it believes that is not fully aligned with the principles for which the FSDEA was established", it said in a statement. The move comes two weeks after Mauritius froze bank accounts and suspended business licences linked to QUANTUM GLOBAL INVESTMENTS AFRICA MANAGEMENT. QGIAM is run by JEAN-CLAUDE BASTOS DE MORAIS, a business partner of JOSE FILOMENO DOS SANTOS and the director of QUANTUM GLOBAL INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT. DOS SANTOS was until recently the head of Angola's sovereign wealth fund. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Erin Energy files for bankruptcy protection - Houston Business Journal

ERIN ENERGY CORP. and some of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 25. The company listed total assets of nearly $247.54m and total debts of more than $628.72m, according to court documents. Court documents show ERIN is looking for a source of debtor-in-possession financing to provide working capital for company operations during the Chapter 11 process. It also plans to file a plan of reorganisation with the court "in the near term' with the goal of emerging from Chapter 11 as soon as possible. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 30/04/2018

At 08:02 on 30 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.32 Rand/Sterling 16.99 Rand/Euro 14.94 Gold 1321.22 Platinum 907.00 Oil 73.66 All-Share Index 57453.04

Australia's Healthscope surges on takeover offer - Alice Woodhouse

Shares in Australian private hospital operator HEALTHSCOPE LIMITED rose today after it said it was assessing a $3.1bn takeover offer from a consortium led by private equity firm BGH CAPITAL FUND. HEALTHSCOPE said it had received an unsolicited proposal from a consortium including BGH CAPITAL FUND, AUSTRALIANSUPER and CAROB INVESTMENT PIVATE LIMITED for A$2.36/share, a 16.2% premium on the group's closing price on Wednesday. AUSTRALIANSUPER currently has a 14% stake in HEALTHSCOPE. Shares in the group surged as much as 16.3% today to its highest intraday level in more than a year and making it the best performer on Sydney's S&P/ASX200. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble vows to fight shareholder attempt to block restructuring - Edward White

Shares in NOBLE GROUP fell today after the company said it will fight a last-ditch bid from one of its major shareholders to halt a controversial restructuring. GOLDILOCKS INVESTMENT, which last year acquired an 8.1% stake in NOBLE, filed two lawsuits in Singapore on Wednesday seeking to block NOBLE's chair from progressing a restructuring deal that would see existing shareholders retain 15% of the cash-strapped commodity trader. NOBLE said it would "vigorously defend" each of the claims by GOLDILOCKS, adding that they were "without merit and are an intentional attempt to obfuscate, delay, derail and/or prevent the implementation of the restructure". The case is expected to be heard in Singapore on Friday, with a judge to rule on whether NOBLE's AGM could go ahead on Monday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung delivers record profits on strong chip demand - Song Jung-a

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS today reported record operating profits for the sixth straight quarter on the back of robust demand for memory chips, defying concerns about the semiconductor outlook. It expects its semiconductor business to remain strong in Q2 but cautioned that it will be challenging to generate overall earnings growth in the current quarter due to falling display panel prices and weakening profitability of its mobile business. The group posted Won11.7tn in Q1 net profit, up 52% y/y. Its operating profit for Q1 jumped 58% to Won15.64tn while sales rose nearly 20% to Won60.56tn. The company remained upbeat on H2 outlook. Analysts say memory chips were the main driver of SAMSUNG's earnings, accounting for around 70% of its operating profit, despite concerns that the industry cycle may have peaked. Operating profit from the seimiconductor business amounted to Won11.55tn as strong D-ram demand for computer servers offset falling prices of Nand flash memory chips. The display unit posted just Won410bn in Q1 operating profit, hit by falling prices of LCD and slow sales of APPLE's iPhone X. SAMSUNG's mobile business beat market estimates, with an operating profit of Won3.77tn, helped by stronger-than-expected sales of the Galaxy S9 smartphone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PayPal rings up revenue beat - Jessica Dye

PAYPAL saw quarterly revenue and adjusted profit beat analysts' estimates and reported stronger-than-expected growth in payments volume during Q1 2018. For the quarter to end-Mar., revenue grew 24% to $3.69bn, or 22% when adjusted for currency effects. Net earnings rose by a third over last year, to $511m, or 42cps. Adjusted for special items, earnings came in at $692m or 57cps. Analysts had expected $3.58bn in revenue and net income of $527.8m, or 42cps. On an adjusted basis, analysts had pencilled in net income of $658.1m, or 54cps. Total payment volume rose 32% in the quarter to $132bn, ahead of $128.3bn analysts had anticipated. PAYPAL's mobile payment volume rose 52% y/y to $49bn, and it added 8.1m new active users in Q1, a 35% rise y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Springer Nature eyes €3.6bn valuation in planned Frankfurt listing - Olaf Storbeck

SPRINGER NATURE is aiming for a valuation around €3.6bn, when it makes its planned listing in Frankfurt next month, according to a prospectus published last night. The German academic publisher has set a price range for the share between €10.50 and €14.50. Its shares are scheduled to start trading May 9 on the Frankfurt stock exchange. After the IPO, the free float will stand at up to 45%. SPRINGER NATURE will offer 113m new shares, seeking to raise €1.2bn in fresh capital that it intends to use to pay down existing debt. Depending on market conditions, private equity group BC PARTNERS could lower its stake from 47% to just under 19% This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook blows through analysts' ad revenue forecasts - Hannah Kuchler

FACEBOOK's earnings and revenue soared in Q1, showing its advertising business continued to grow even as it deal with controversy over content and privacy on the social network. Shares gained more than 7% in after-hours trading following last night's results. Net income was almost $5bn in the quarter, up 63% y/y. EPS were 25% higher than analysts had expected at $1.69, compared with average forecasts of $1.35. Sales rose 49% to almost $12bn, higher than the consensus forecast for revenue of $11.4bn. Mobile contributed 91% of all advertising revenue. FACEBOOK said it would increase the amount of its profits it is returning to shareholders, adding $9bn to a share buyback programme which was originally authorised at $6bn. The original programme had almost finished repurchasing shares. FACEBOOk had 2.2bn monthly active users at the end of March, up 13% y/y. It said 1.5bn of them log on to the site or app every day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche to trim US operations as cost cuts gather pace - Olaf Storbeck

DEUTSCHE BANK CEO CHRISTIAN SEWING has decided to prune the group's ailing investment bank in the US and has announced significant job cuts to meet the lender's cost cutting target for this year. DEUTSCHE today said it has agreed on "strategic adjustments" to its Corporate & Investment Bank, planning to reduce its corporate finance activities in the US and Asia and to scale back its activities in US rates sales and trading. The global equities business is also poised to make cuts in global prime finance. In corporate finance, DEUTSCHE said it will focus on offering "global industry expertise to corporate, financial institutions and financial sponsors whose activities are closely aligned with the strengths of the German and European economies. Meeting the 2018 cost target of bringing adjusted costs below €23bn will require additional cost cuts, with the investment bank's front, middle and back office facing the axe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Roche upgrades growth forecast after new drugs boost sales - Ralph Atkins

ROCHE has revised its 2018 sales growth forecast higher after new drugs helped power a 6% rise in Q1 y/y. The company said it now expects FY sales growth in the "low single-digit" range in constant currencies. Total sales were SFr13.6bn in Q1 2018. The main pharmaceutical division reported a 7% rise to SFr10.7bn compared with a year ago, with US sales in the division rising by 15%. ROCHE said a key growth driver had been Ocrevus, a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Perjeta, a new cancer treatment, had also performed strongly. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HKEX to appoint Laura Cha as chair - Hudson Lockett

HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING has selected LAURA CHA as its new chairperson, pending approval from Hong Kong's CEO. CHA has served both as deputy chair of the local Securities and Futures Commission and as vice-chair of the China Securities Regulatory commission. HKEX said a second announcement would be issued upon obtaining written approval from CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong's chief executive. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Visa raises FY profit outlook after solid Q2 - Alistair Gray

VISA yesterday provided further evidence that it is shrugging off any potential threat of disruption to global payments as executives raised their profit outlook for the year. CEO ALFRED KELLY described the performance as "terrific" and said revenue growth had been better than expected. The company handled almost $2tn of payments globally during its fiscal Q2. Credit and debit card volumes each rose about a tenth from a year ago, at constant currencies. The higher spending helped VISA generate $2.6bn of net income in the period. Stripping out one-time items that hit the results a year ago, EPS rose 30%, more than forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Intu accepts hopes for Hammerson deal have faded - Cat Rutter Pooley

INTU yesterday said it accepted its agreed takeover by larger rival HAMMERSON would not go ahead after the latter's board last week withdrew its recommendation for shareholders to approve the deal. INTU said there would now be no shareholder vote on the deal. "The board of INTU is entirely confident of INTU's standalone commercial future and prospects", it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stronger pound weighs on GSK revenues - Sarah Neville

GLAXOSMITHKLINE delivered sales of £7.2bn in Q1 2018 but faced pressures due to the strengthening of the pound against the dollar. Revenues were in line with market expectations, but analysts expressed concern about the level of decline in the sales of Advair, the group's long-time respiratory blockbuster drug, which has lost patent protection. GSK is now expecting sales of the drug in the US to fall around 30%, having previously expected a 20%-25% decline. GSK's guidance remained unchanged, although it was contingent on whether a generic version of Advair is approved. The company said in the event that no substitutable generic competitor entered the US market this year, it "continues to expect 2018 adjusted [EPS] growth of 4 to 7 percent at [constant currencies]". Overall Q1 sales met analysts' expectations, sliding 2% in sterling terms, but up 4% when the effect of currency movements was stripped out. Adjusted EPS slightly beat market consensus, coming in at 24.6p, an 11% rise in constant currencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Comcast makes £22bn cash bid for Sky - Matthew Garrahan

US cable company COMCAST has made a formal £12.50/share cash offer for SKY that values it at £22bn, setting the stage for a takeover battle with RUPERT MURDOCH's 21ST CENTURY FOX. FOX has offered £10.75/share and has separately agreed to sell its entertainment assets, including SKY, to WALT DISNEY. COMCAST CEO BRIAN ROBERTS said its SKY offer was a "significant premium" to the FOX proposal and pointed to "significant opportunities for growth by combining our businesses". SKY said it welcomed the news from COMCAST and was withdrawing its recommendation for FOX's bid. COMCAST expects to generate annual synergies of around $500m via a combination of revenue benefits and recurring costs across the enlarged entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fuel prices could hit record levels in May - Fin24

There is a strong likelihood of a fuel price hike to record levels in May, the AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION said yesterday. It believes this is because the rand is weakening against the dollar and international petroleum prices are rising. The AA said the rise in toll fees across SA by 6%-7% signals yet another financial blow to already cash-strapped South Africans. It said the increases come at a time when fuel is touching record high levels, in part due to the hefty increases to indirect taxes added to fuel prices at the start of April. At the beginning of the month, fuel levies rose by 52c/l and VAT went up by one percentage point to 15%. The AA said constantly increasing costs make everything more expensive and will certainly have a direct impact on consumer inflation. The AA said the toll increases are also counter-productive, given SANRAL's admission in Parliament last year that the compliance rate for e-toll users in Gauteng is only 30%. "If the majority of users are already not paying, how is increasing the tolls on this road specifically going to ensure more compliance? SANRAL has again missed an opportunity to meaningfully engage with the motoring public in Gauteng. Instead it is forging ahead with a system the majority of people in the province are not supporting", the AA noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CAC to decide Standard Bank forex appeal against Commission - Carin Smith

The Competition Appeal Court yesterday heard arguments on an appeal by STANDARD BANK to a decision by the Competition Tribunal that the bank was not yet entitled to have access to the Commission's investigation record in a case in which 18 banks are respondents. The matter relates to the so-called forex case in which the 18 banks are accused of being involved in global price-fixing and market division in terms of currency trading. The matter was heard in the Western Cape High Court by a panel of three judges, led by Judge DENNIS DAVIS. STANDARD BANK in Sep. requested the Tribunal to compel the Commission to hand over its record of investigation. It applied in terms of the Commission's rules of procedure, which allows any person access to the record of investigation. The Tribunal agreed with the Commission's argument that the bank was not allowed to gain access to the record via this route, as it was a litigant in the matter and should wait until the discovery phase during the pre-trial proceedings. Advocate ARNOLD SUBEL SC, for STANDARD BANK, argued that being a litigant in a matter does not take away the unqualified right of public access to the record of investigation in terms of the Competition Commission procedure rules. Adv TEMBEKA NCUKAITOBI, on behalf of the Commission, argued that the bank wants access to the data at this stage in order to know how to plead later. The judges will now deliberate the merits of STANDARD BANK's application. No indication was given as to when judgment could be expected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nissan's Rosslyn investment decision draws nearer - Irma Venter

NISSAN SA expects to announce the decision on the production of a new model at its Rosslyn plant in the next three months, NISSAN GROUP OF AFRICA MD MIKE WHITFIELD said yesterday. NISSAN in 2013 postponed its plan, announced in 2012, to start production of a new one-tonne pick-up at the Rosslyn facility in 2014. WHITFIELD said the group had invested close to R1bn in the Rosslyn facility over the past three years, with R150m of this targeted at skills and people development and more than R500m at improving and modernising production facilities. The plant was now capable of producing 180 vehicles per shift, with another upgrade over the coming long-weekend to move this to 200 cars per shift. This will take annual capacity, on a single shift, to 44 000 units a year. NISSAN SA production will, in the foreseeable future, also continue to focus on the NP200 half-tonne bakkie and NP300 one-tonne bakkie. WHITFIELD said production of the two models was expected to end in 2019, but would now continue beyond 2022. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R Water, partner launch innovative wastewater treatment demo plant - Shirley le Guern

MURRAY & ROBERTS WATER, together with European tech partner ORGANICA WATER, yesterday launched an innovative, environment-friendly wastewater treatment plant that closely resembles a greenhouse at the eThekwini municipality's Verulam Wastewater Treatment Works. The plant not only eliminates the unpleasant odours usually associated with wastewater treatment facilities but also produces 30% less sludge, uses 30% less energy and has a 50%-75% smaller geographic footprint. With no odour or splash, the treatment plant can be located virtually anywhere, thus substantially lowering infrastructure costs to connect to customers and enhancing land value around the facility, ORGANICA WATER senior manager OSCAR PALOMINO said. The Verulam-based prototype cost R20m to build and is located alongside the existing wastewater treatment plant. It will process a sample of the wastewater conventionally treated there, mirroring volume and quality fluctuations and allowing for comparative studies of its performance over the next year. Performance testing will begin next month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN commits to creating 1 000 jobs in support of YES initiative - Creamer Media Reporter

MTN GROUP has committed to the creation of 1 000 jobs within the first year of the Youth Employment Service initiative. The company plans to create the committed 1 000 jobs across its South African business and its group head office, covering both operational and functional roles. "YES is an innovative social partnership that has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic growth and development", MTN GROUP president and CEO ROB SHUTER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro to fund R100m road upgrade in Limpopo - Marleny Arnoldi

EXXARO RESOURCES and the Roads Agency Limpopo yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement for the R100m upgrade of a road in Lephalale. The project, to be jointly implemented, is for the upgrade from gravel to tar of road D2001, which stretches 9.56km. The upgrade will benefit commercial development in Lephalale and contribute towards reducing the cost of doing business in the area. It will also assist with providing easy access to the EXXARO operations, while benefiting all other road users in the area by reducing travelling time and improving road safety. EXXARO will provide the funding for the upgrade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global crude steel output up in Mar. - Marleny Arnlodi

Global crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to worldsteel was 148.33mt in Mar., up 4% y/y. Global crude steel production for the quarter to end-Mar. also rose by 4.1% y/y to 426.55mt. Asia produced 294.07mt of crude steel in the quarter, up 4.6% y/y. China's output in the quarter rose by 5.4% y/y to 212.15mt. The EU produced 43.07mt of crude steel in Q1, up 0.9% y/y. North America's production for Q1 was 29.49mt, an increase of 1.9% y/y. Africa's crude steel output for the period rose by 9.1% y/y to 3.62mt. In SA, production for the quarter rose by 1.4% y/y to 1.6mt. The crude steel capacity utilisation ratio of the 64 countries stood at 74.5% in Mar., 2.2 percentage points higher than Mar. 2017 and 0.9 percentage points higher than Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom dealing with coal shortages - Marleny Arnoldi

ESKOM yesterday said it had put measures in place to deal with the coal shortages at seven of its power stations, in Mpumalanga, and has assured the public that this will not result in load-shedding. It described the coal shortages as "not ideal", especially as it prepares for the traditionally higher electricity use period in winter. But it noted that the level of coal stock days at more than half of its 15 coal-fired power stations was above the grid code target of 20. Still, it is necessary to have all stations at the required stock levels and ESKOM has implemented a recovery plan to secure additional coal suppliers for the affected power stations, as well as to redirect coal stock from some of its other stations with higher stocks to the affected power stations in Mpumalanga. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint issues maiden eurobond, lists on JSE green bond segment - Marleny Arnoldi

GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES has successfully priced its maiden US dollar-denominated eurobond, the proceeds of which will be used to fund its expansion in Central and Eastern Europe. "The eurobond proceeds will be used to refinance certain of GROWTHPOINT's existing CEE investments and to fund its investment into Warsaw-listed pure-play Polish property investor GRIFFIN PREMIUM, which is focused on office and mixed-use assets", the company said. The $425m bond matures on May 2, 2023, and carries a fixed interest rate of 5.8% that is payable semi-annually. Meanwhile, the JSE yesterday celebrated GROWTHPOINT's listing on the bourse's Green Bond Segment. GROWTHPOINT is the first corporate in SA to issue a green bond on the local bourse. The R1.1bn Green Bond will be used to refinance funding for the green office buildings in the GROWTHPOINT THRIVE portfolio and specifically the THRIVE platinum portfolio, which includes its top green-rated office properties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Consol pulls JSE listing - Marleny Arnoldi

CONSOL HOLDINGS no longer plans to relist on the main board of the JSE, citing challenging market conditions. The glass packaging manufacturer earlier this month said it planned to list on the local bourse on May 4 and raise around R3.5bn via an IPO. "In light of challenging market conditions, the board of directors and shareholders of CONSOL have resolved that the prevailing environment is not conducive to the offer achieving their valuation objectives and that it would not be in the best interest of the company to proceed with the offer", CONSOL said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Southern Copper says Tima Maria issue resolved - Reuters

SOUTHERN COPPER CEO OSCAR GONZALEZ yesterday said the company had reached a settlement with a company in Peru that blocked development of its $1.4bn Tia Maria project with a legal injunction. GONZALEZ said he hoped the new government of Peruvian President MARTIN VIZCARRA would issue a permit "soon" to allow construction work on the project to begin this year. It was unclear of VIZCARRA's administration believed the project had sufficient support from surrounding communities, however. Tia Maria has been derailed twice - in 2011 and 2015 - due to deadly protests by farmers who fear the proposed open-pit mine will damage crops in the Arequipa region. SOUTHERN COPPER yesterday said it believed the government would work to ensure "equitable investment conditions" that allow construction of Tia Maria to start this year. SOCIEDAD MINERA VANIA, the company that had filed a suit against SOUTHERN COPPER arguing that the Tia Maria concession overlapped with land it controlled, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. GONZALEZ said SOUTHERN reached a settlement with the other company in early April. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale's Q1 earnings slump despite record sales volume, as price tumbles - Henry Lazenby

VALE yesterday reported a bigger than expected drop in profit attributable to shareholders for the quarter to end-Mar. It blamed a 12.4% slide in iron ore prices in the period for the disappointing performance, despite reporting record sales volumes. VALE reported Q1 net income of $1.59bn, compared with $2.49bn y/y. Adjusted EBITDA fell nearly 8% y/y to $3.97bn. Net operating revenue rose 1% to $8.6bn y/y, while costs and expenses rose by nearly 10%. Iron ore fines rose 11.2% to 70.8mt, a record for Q1. VALE slashed net debt to $14.9bn in the quarter from more than $18bn at the end of 2017, taking it to the lowest level in nearly seven years. VALE has guided for FY output of 390mt of iron ore. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldcorp earnings slide on lower output, sales - Henry Lazenby

GOLDCORP has reported a sharp decline in Q1 profit, as higher gold prices failed to offset lower production, sales and rising costs. The miner reported profit of $67m, or $0.08/share, far removed from the $170m or $0.20/share reported y/y. Revenues fell 4% y/y to $846m, mainly due to decreases in gold and silver sales volumes of 14% and 11%, to 466 000oz and 6moz, respectively, and an 8% lower average realised silver price of $14.21/oz. These decreases were partially offset by a 30% rise in zinc revenues, driven by a 14% rise in the average realised price and lower treatment and refining charges, and an 8% rise in the average realised price of gold to $1 334/oz. GOLDCORP advised that gold output came in at 590 000oz, at a cost of $810/oz, compared with 655 000oz at a cost of $800/oz in the y/y period. It has confirmed its FY guidance of 2.5moz at a cost of $800/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats raised R390m to fund Maseve, Styldrift I projects - Marleny Arnoldi

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUm has successfully placed around 17.3m ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM ordinary shares at R22.50 apiece with qualifying investors, raising R390m. It will use some of the proceeds to fund its share of the JV Maseve concentrator plant, which borders RBPLAT's Styldrift project and will treat its ore. The balance will be used to fund Rustenburg Platinum Mines' share of ongoing funding requirements in respect of the Bafokeng Rasimone platinum mine JF Styldrift I project. Following the placing, AMPLATS will, through RPM, hold around 2.6% of RBPLAT shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin launches community grievance system - Marleny Arnoldi

LONMIN has introduced a community grievance mechanism called Buang le Rona, Thetha Nathi, meaning "Talk to Us". The mechanism was started last year with a pilot project and LONMIN stakeholder engagement and regulatory affairs executive VP THANDEKA NCUBE yesterday expressed her excitement with the company launching a full-service grievance system. The system is aimed at improving two-way communication between communities and LONMIN and resolving grievances within the greater community. The company has invested in an awareness campaign to educate communities and employees on how they can access the system and submit a grievance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia may scrap black ownership requirements for mining companies - Reuters

Namibia may scrap requirements for black ownership in the mining sector as it seeks to woo investors to an industry that is rebounding with the commodities cycle, Mines Minister TOM ALWEENDO said this week. "I am not going to withdraw them (black ownership requirements) unilaterally, obviously we first have to discuss and see if they are really serving the purpose of why they exist. If the answer is, they don't, then maybe we should change", ALWEENDO said. Under the current policy, there must be a minimum 20% representation of historically disadvantaged in the management structure of a company that applies for an exploration licence. At least 5% of the company must be owned by Namibian persons or by a company wholly owned by Namibians. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro to dispose of remaining stake in Tronox - Tanisha Heiberg

EXXARO RESOURCES yesterday said it plans to dispose of its remaining stake in TRONOX to fund capital commitments, repay debt and distribute capital to shareholders. The company said it plans to further divest from its remaining 24% stake "in a thoughtful, efficient and staged process over time". The miner, which holds 28.7m shares in TRONOX, said its remaining stake is valued at around $476m assuming a share price of $16.57/share. EXXARO completed its sale of 22.4m shares in TRONOX in Oct. 2017 and paid a special dividend of R4.5bn from its income reserves after the stake sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana looking to sell debt in 7% coupon range - minister - Daniel Bases

Ghana is seeking to issue up to $2.5bn worth of eurobonds in the coming with a coupon in the 7% range, a rate well below previous sales, Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA said yesterday. The debt offering coincides with government plans to leave a $918m credit programme with the IMF by year-end. Asked why an investor would put money to work by purchasing bonds of a highly leveraged nation that is exiting the IMF programme with still high inflation, OFROI-ATTA said: "Why wouldn't you want to give us money? You are looking for yield? I'm giving you yield". He also highlighted improving economic data. Inflation was at 15.4% when the new government of President NANA AKUFO-ADDO took over in Jan. 2017. Last month, annual CPI was 10.4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/04/2018

At 06:41 on 26 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.44 Rand/Sterling 17.32 Rand/Euro 15.12 Gold 1322.40 Platinum 913.50 Oil 72.99 All-Share Index 56987.19

Libstar Holdings granted JSE listing in May - Sandile Mchunu

LIBSTAR HOLDINGS is set to make its debut on the JSE in May after it was granted permission to list a maximum of 681 921 408 ordinary shares in the food products sector of the JSE, amounting to a market capitalisation R8.52bn. The offer price range per ordinary share is between R12.50/share and R16.00. LIBSTAR said it would offer a minimum of 237 653 915 ordinary shares to qualifying investors based on a minimum free-float of 40% and raising R1.5bn in the process. LIBSTAR said it operates 27 business units across the country. The group, which owns brands such as Denny, Lancewood, Cape Herb and Goldcrest, prides itself on being a Level 6 BEE contributor as it is committed to transformation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vunani reports higher HEPS - ANA

VUNANI LIMITED yesterday said its headline earnings per share rose to 25.2cps in the FY to end-Feb., compared with 19.2cps y/y. Revenue jumped to R350.9m from R184.2m y/y, while its profit edged up to R45.6m from R40m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barloworld to sell Iberian equipment business - Nqobile Dludla

BARLOWORLD LIMITED yesterday said it will sell its underperforming Iberian equipment business to Italy's TESA S.P.A. following a strategic review. Shares in BARLOWORLD fell more than 7% after the announcement, in which the company said the overall proceeds of the transaction are estimated to be R2.4bn. Spain and Portugal fall under IBERIAN EQUIPMENT, which has represented CATERPILLAR there for the past 26 years. As part of the deal, BARLOWORLD acting through UK subsidiary BARLOWORLD UK LIMITED, will sell 100% of the issued shares in BARLOWORLD INTERNATIONAL, the holding company of the Iberian businesses, to TESA. "The proceeds will remain offshore to be used to fund future growth initiatives that are currently under consideration", the company said. The sale price will be determined at the closing date, which is expected to be no later than Jul. 2 after all conditions have been met, BARLOWORLD said, adding that it had provided specific warranties and indemnities as well as a guarantee in respect of its obligations post-closing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields' quarterly output falls, South Deep woes continue - Ed Stoddard

GOLD FIELDS reported lower output for the quarter to end-Mar. and flagged more challenges at its South Deep mine, sending its share price lower on Wednesday. South Deep as faced various obstacles in a tough geological setting 3 km below the surface, and made a loss of R337.6m in 2017. Group gold output slipped to 490 000oz for the Mar. quarter compared to 497 000oz y/y. "South Deep had a tough start to 2018, with production in Q1 2018 4% higher y/y but 41% lower q/q at 48 000oz", GOLD FIELDS said. "We do not expect the production guidance provided at he start of the year"(321oz) to be achieved and we are currently forecasting production of 244 ounces this year", GOLD FIELDS said about its South Deep outlook. It added that South Deep had concluded a three-year wage agreement with unions for average annual increases of 7.3%. Shares in GOLD FIELDS fell 5.2% yesterday morning, compared to a 2.4% drop in the JSE's Gold Mining Index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lux Island Resorts 9-month pretax profit down - Jean Paul Arouff

Mauritius hotel group LUX ISLAND RESORTS yesterday said pretax profits for the first nine months of its FY fell 16%, hurt by an extended construction of one of its resorts. The luxury hotel group said pretax profit fell to 509.27m rupees in the nine months to end-Mar. Group revenue was up 10% to 4.50bn rupees and EPS dropped to 3.31 rupees from 3.99 rupees y/y. It said visitor numbers to Mauritius rose 4% to 1.07m in the period under review, while arrivals to the Maldives increased by 12% to 1.2m. Shares in LUX were unchanged at 71.25 rupees on Wednesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom says forex-rigging trial likely to begin in 2019 - Wendell Roelf

Court proceedings against 18 banks accused of rigging the rand currency are likely to start early next year, as prosecutors need time to prepare the case, Competition Commission head of cartels MAKGALE MOHLALA said yesterday. "Our case against the banks is very strong and we want to deal with all these technicalities so the matter can go on trial, maybe by the second quarter of next year", MOHLAA said. Authorities will first hold a series of "exception hearings" to discuss the possible exclusion of banks on technical grounds. SA said last Aug. that it would no longer offer deals to banks cooperating with investigations into the alleged currency rigging, a blow to some lenders that had discreetly approached the Commission for a settlement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Markus Jooste gets creditor reprieve - Wendell Roelf

Disgraced former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE has agreed to settle a $120m civil claim against his company by three lenders by Dec., ABSA said yesterday. JOOSTE resigned from STEINHOFF in Dec. after the company uncovered accounting irregularities that sent its share price crashing. The out-of-court settlement comes after INVESTEC, ABSA and SANLAM had turned to the Cape High Court to liquidate one of the entities that holds JOOSTE's personal wealth in a bid to recoup their money. The entity, MAYFAIR SPECULATORS, asked lenders to give it until Dec. to raise money through asset sales to pay back what it owes, ABSA spokesperson PHUMZA MACANDA said. Court papers who MAYFAIR owes ABSA around R226m, SANLAM CAPITAL MARKETS around R800m and INVESTEC roughly R250m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple to start paying Ireland €13bn in back taxes - Arthur Beesley

APPLE will start paying €13bn in back taxes to the Irish government from May in a move that comes 19 months after Brussels ruled that the company received a quarter-century of illegal aid from Dublin via a tax scheme unavailable to other groups. The start of the tax repayments follows an agreement between Dublin and APPLE to set up an escrow account to hold the money pending their appeals in Europe's highest court against the ruling from EU competition commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER. "This is a very, very significant day now in terms of dealing with this issue", Irish Finance Minister PASCHAL DONOHOE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlas Mara appoints new CEO - Martin Arnold

BOB DIAMODN has finally found someone to take charge of ATLAS MARA, the pan-African banking business he created. The former BARCLAYS CEO yesterday said he had hired JOHN STALEY, a 53-year-old South African banker, to become CEO of ATLAS MARA. STALEY was until last year chief officer of finance, innovation and payments at EQUITY GROUP, the Kenyan bank. ATLAS MARA has been without a CEO since Feb. 2017, when JOHN VITALO quit amid growing investor concerns over its faltering performance and sliding share price. ATLAS MARA yesterday reported a more than five-fold increase in net profits to $45.4m, boosted by a one-off gain of $20.6m from increasing its stake in UNION BANK OF NIGERIA. Revenues rose 7.8%. Costs shrank as a proportion of revenues from 97% to just under 85% - still below the mid-60s target. Bad debts fell from 13.3% of its loan book to 11.8%. RoE more than trebled to 5.6%. ATLAS raised $213m of fresh equity last year by selling a large minority stake to Canada's FAIRFAX HOLDINGS. On Tuesday, it said it aimed to raise $37.5m from issuing convertible bonds secured against its stake in Nigeria's UBN. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUMSA vows to continue court battle against IPPs - Sibongile Khumalo

NUMSA has vowed to continue its legal challenge against the R56bn renewable energy contracts which were concluded this month between the government and independent power producers. The union in Mar. lost its bid to block the signing of contracts with 27 companies that will supply the country with clean energy for a period of 20 years. According to NUMSA, the contract is costly and the entry of IPPs could potentially lead to job losses in the coal sector. "The signing of these contracts was reckless, at a time when ESKOM has excess energy capacity", NUMSA secretary IRVIN JIM said. He added that the union has instructed its legal team to take the IPP case for review, stating it only lost the urgent interdict in the Northern Gauteng High Court on a technicality. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi Arabia looks to raise $10bn by 2020 in privatisation scheme - Simeon Kerr

Saudi Arabia hopes to raise around $10bn by 2020 by selling state assets, according to a new privatisation plan. The privatisation programme eyes sales of 35bn-40bn Saudi riyals via the privatisation of football clubs, four flour mills and a water desalination production facility. The National Centre for Privatisation's 2020 programme document, released yesterday, also targets SAR25033bn in net savings to government operational and capital expenditures for the privatisations and 14 new public private partnership contracts worth SAR24bn-28bn. The plan envisions 10 000-20 000 new jobs in the private sector. The government has a longer-term target of boosting the private sector's contribution to GDP from 40% to 65% by 2030 and lowering unemployment from 12.8% to 7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Linde sales stung by strong euro - Patrick McGee

LINDE blamed currency headwinds for a drop in overall revenue but still managed to grow operating profits in Q1. The German chemicals group said revenues fell by 7.8% from a year ago to €4.04bn. It blamed a strong euro for the drop, adding that in constant currencies revenues had gained slightly by 1.4%. Despite the headwinds, estimated at €305m, operating profit grew by 12.1% in constant currencies to €1.08bn, or by 3.8% before adjusting for currencies. Operating margins rose by three percentage points to 26.7%. LINDE confirmed a 2018 target for revenue to increase by up to 4% from 2017, with operating profit growing up to 5%. Meanwhile, the pending merger between LINDE and US rival PRAXAIR is "in full swing" as the companies engage in talks with regulators and potential buyers of assets it must dispose for the deal to get a green light. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Statoil earnings rise on higher prices, output - Andrew Ward

Higher oil prices and rising output helped STATOIL increase earnings by a third in Q1, although the results lagged slightly behind analysts' consensus expectation. STATOIL's production was up 2% at 2.18m bpd. This allowed the company to lift adjusted net earnings to $1.47bn from $1.11bn y/y. Analysts had, on average, expected $1.61bn. Cash flow from operations rose by a fifth to $7.1bn and the group's net debt ration fell from 29% to 25.1% in a reflection of the strength returning to balance sheets across the oil and gas sector as prices rise. STATOIL said its rising cash flows were offset by higher transportation costs and royalty payments, while a $100m increase in depreciation expenses for a Norwegian production field also weighed on the results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse posts stronger than expected Q1 profits - Ralph Atkins

CREDIT SUISSE posted a stronger-than-expected 57% rise to SFr1.1bn in reported pre-tax income in Q1 2018, which CEO TIDJANE THIAM said would be the bank's "third and final year" of restructuring. The SFr1.1bn in reported pre-tax income compared with SFr670m in the same quarter a year earlier, and analysts' average expectations of SFr942m. Adjusted pretax income rose by 36% compared with a year earlier to SFr1.2bn. The biggest profits generator was the group's Swiss banking operations, which lifted adjusted pre-tax profits by 15% to SFr554m y/y. CREDIT SUISSE said revenues in the division had also returned to growth, rising by 3% on an adjusted basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Takeda strikes deal to buy Shire - James Fontanella-Khan

TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL has reached a preliminary agreement to buy SHIRE for around $65bn, according to the two companies, in a deal that could spark a renewed wave of "big pharma" deals. After rebuffing several proposals made by TAKEDA, the board of SHIRE finally gave in to the Japanese company's latest bid, which would effectively give shareholders of SHIRE around 50% ownership of the new entity. Under TAKEDA's revised takeover proposal, SHIRE shareholders would be paid about £49/share, £5 more than under the first bid made by the Japanese company. The new offer values SHIRE shares at a 59.6% premium to their close of £30.70 on Mar. 27, before the Japanese group revealed its stake in the company. The deal remains preliminary and could still fall apart as the parties have agreed to conduct further due diligence. TAKEDA has the right to make a lower offer than the current one or can walk away from the deal if SHIRE agrees a higher bid from a rival buyer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Freeport flags further problems in Indonesia - Neil Hume

Shares of FREEPORT-MCMORAN were down more than 14% yesterday after the group flagged further problems at its Indonesian gold and copper deposit. CEO RICHARD ADKERSON said Jakarta has imposed new environmental standards on its Grasberg mine, which he slammed as "shocking" and not "feasible". For the past two decades, FREEPORT has been able to dispose of tailings produced by the Grasberg mine on land and via local river system. This is used to carry the waste to another deposit area at sea level. The government now wants the company to retain 95% of the tailings on land, rather than 50%. "You can't revisit a system that was agreed to 20 years ago and has been operating effectively over 20 years with no unexpected environmental consequences', ADKERSON said. "We had an agreement with the government that over the life of the mine, we would retain 50% of the tailings on land. They're now saying it should be 95%, which just cannot be done". ADKERSON added that it was "outrageous" that FREEPORT might have to pay a financial fine "for doing something that the government approved". Shares in FREEPORT were down 14% at $16.16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ATON's wooing of M&R shareholders continues - Marleny Arnoldi

As it continues to seek support from MURRAY & ROBERTS shareholders for its R15/share buyout offer, ATON yesterday released salient information related to its buyout offer to address "stakeholder concerns". This followed after some of M&R's largest shareholders said they would reject the German group's offer. ATON said its offer constitutes an FDI of up to R6.7bn into SA and reiterated that it does not plan to delist M&R from the JSE. It added that it has a proven record and experience in the mining industry and also in service-oriented B2B businesses. "Additionally, ATON can provide complementary technology-based expertise to M&R to unlock future growth", it said. It added that ATON and mining services affiliate REDPATH's raise-boring competency is "best-in-class" and can leverage M&R's profile, especially in SA. Moreover, ATON said a potential future combination of REDPATH into M&R's mining platform would contribute to the latter's geographic expansion and size, and that M&R would benefit through ATON's financial strength and scale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cartrack achieves robust subscriber, revenue growth for FY2017 - Marleny Arnoldi

CARTRACK recorded robust subscriber and revenue growth in the FY to end-Feb. It grew its subscriber base by 25% to 751 380 members. Subsequently, subscription revenue rose by 19% and now represents 88% of the company's total revenue. CEO ZAK CALISTO said post the financial year-end, a further 30 000 subscribers have been added, taking CARTRACK's subscriber base to around 780 000. During the FY, the company generated further improvements in its operating profit, which rose by 18% to R434m. EBITDA also increased by 25% to R652m. CARTRACK reported a return on equity rate of 58%, compared with 55% in FY2017, and a return on assets rate of 33%, compared with 35% y/y. HEPS rose by 17% to 100cps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agri SA spent R331m on transformation in 2016/17 - Anine Kilian

Members of AGRI SA spent R311m on transformation during FY2016/17 and reached an estimated 108 307 beneficiaries, including 55 000 farmers. This is according to the 2018 AGRI SA transformation report, which was published yesterday. "There is a great deal of energy within the agricultural sector to make transformation work, but we must also ensure that the resources that flow towards these aims lead to truly sustainable farms", AGRI SA deputy director CHRISTO VAN DER RHEEDE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commuter bus firm Hosken lists on JSE - Nadine James

HOSKEN PASSENGER LOGISTICS & RAIL, which operates the Golden Arrow bus service, yesterday became the second company this year to list on the JSE's main board. HOSKEN's current portfolio is rooted in the commuter bus and luxury coach segments. Through its principal subsidiary GOLDEN ARROW BUS SERVICES, the company intends to pursue further prospects in bus and coach operations and potential inroads into freight, rail and logistics operations. HOSKEN CEO FRANCOIS MEYER said the listing complemented the company's future growth outlook. He said the group was ideally placed to diversify its interests and grow within the sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hyprop FD resigns - Anine Kilian

LAURENCE COHEN has resigned as FD of JSE-listed HYPROP with effect from Aug. 1, to pursue personal interests. The appointment of a new FD will be announced in due course, the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Union at Escondida says no advance deal likely - Reuters

The labour union at BHP's Escondida mine in Chile yesterday said it had made little progress on an early contract deal with management, making it "highly likely" that no agreement would be struck before official talks begin in June. The union accepted an offer to begin early talks with the miner in March in a bid to avoid another strike at the mine. Failure to reach a deal caused a 44-day strike at the mine last year, jolting global copper markets. Union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES said it was "highly likely" that talks would extend into June as the company had made only "marginal and insufficient" concessions to union proposals. "Our workers are empowered and will act with even more force than last year in defence of our rights. Given... the price of copper, the cost of a conflict will be even greater", ALLENDES added. BHP yesterday said it had recently extended talks by a week in as how of its desire to reach a deal with the union. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US aluminium trade group calls on govt to avoid quotas - Reuters

A US aluminium trade group says US manufacturers rely on foreign metal and called on the government to avoid quotas on nations exempted from tariffs on aluminium imports. US industries that use the metal were under threat due to dependence on imported metal, HEIDI BROCK, CEO of the Aluminium Association, told the CRU Aluminium conference in London. "US jobs and aluminium manufacturing sectors today rely significantly on imported metal. Quotas will chill investment in growth and jobs", she said. The US aluminium industry creates $186bn in economic activity, the association said. "To its credit, the administration has taken some good first steps on temporary exemptions for trading partners, but we want to see certainty about that trading landscape", BROCK said. "Avoid quotas in any form on imported aluminium coming from exempted countries". BROCK said tariffs should target only China due to overproduction there and a monitoring system should be set up to ensure that "unfairly traded metal" does not evade controls by moving via third countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KPMG now faces US shareholder protests - Fin24

KPMG, which has been under fire in SA for its audits of GUPTA-owned companies and its role in the so-called SARS rogue unit report, is facing possible shareholder revolt in the US. The Financial Times yesterday reported that KPMG would face protests over its audits of major clients WELLS FARGO and GENERAL ELECTRIC. According to the FT, the auditor has come under scrutiny over fake accounts and other scandals at WELLS FARGO. The scandal included the opening of around 2m bank accounts in customers' names without their approval or knowledge. Meanwhile, shares in GE have declined sharply over the past year due in part to "financial difficulties including a need to prop up reserves over unexpected insurance liabilities". KPMG did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSG satisfied with results - Carin Smith

PSG GROUP is satisfied with its financial results for the FY to end-Feb., released on Tuesday. "There have been good performances by CAPITEC and PSG KONSULT, while it has been a tough year for ZEDER because of the lagging impact of the drought", PSG CEO PIET MOUTON said. During FY2018, PSG's recurring EPS rose by 7% to 994cps compared with 927cps y/y. This was mainly due to resilient performance from the majority of PSG's core investments but was offset by ZEDER's weaker performance. The group's sum-of-the-parts value amounted to R255.17/PGS GROUP share as at Feb. 28 compared to R240.87 in 2017. A final dividend of 277cps was declared for a total of 415cps, representing an increase of 11% for the period under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Walmart close to $12bn+ deal for Flipkart - Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

WALMART is close to finalising a deal to buy a majority stake in India's leading e-commerce company for at least $12bn and may complete the acquisition in the next two weeks. All major investors in FLIPKART ONLIEN SERVICES PVT are now on board with the WALMART move, after an earlier debate over an AMAZOM.COM acquisition, sources said. TIGER GLOBAL MANAGEMENT will sell nearly all of its 20% stake in FLIPKART, while SOFTBANK GROUP will offload a substantial part of its 20%-plus holding. WALMART will likely end up with 60%-80% of FLIPKART, valued at around $20bn, the sources said. SOFTBANK and TIGER GLOBAL are currently FLIPKART's largest shareholders, followed by NASPERS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KIO on track to meet FY guidance after stable Q1 - Nadine James

KUMBA IRON ORE is on track to meet its FY production guidance of 30m-31m tonnes of iron ore, on the back of a stable performance in the quarter to end-Mar. KUMBA's output rose by 4% y/y to 10.86mt, driven by a 26% y/y rise in production at Kolomela to 3.5mt as a result of increased plant throughput. Iron ore output at Sishen fell by 5% y/y to 7.3mt as a result of lower dense media separation plant production, owing to short-term mining feedstock constraints. Waste stripping rose by 24% y/y to 42.mt. Production and waste stripping rates are expected to be maintained at the level needed to meet the FY guidance. Meanwhile, KUMBA's export sales fell by 1% y/y to 9.95mt, while domestic sales rose by 6% to 885 00t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Commissioning of automated underground mine drives growth at Randgold's Kibali mine - Anine Kilian

The successful commissioning of the automated materials handling system at RANDGOLD RESOURCS' Kibali underground operation is supporting the mine's planned ramp-up pin production, CEO MARK BRISTOW says. The mine, in the DRC, is on track to achieve its output guidance of 730 000oz this year, a 22% rise y/y. RANDGOLD invested $2.7bn to make Kibali one of the continent's most automated gold mines and the project is now ready to move from underground mining by contractors, to owner-mining. "Aside from the continuing optimisation of the underground system and the construction of the mine's third hydropower station, which is scheduled for commissioning towards the middle of this year, the Kibali project is now complete", BRISTOW noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's changes outlook on Glencore's ratings to positive - Nadine James

MOODY's INVESTOR SERVICES has assigned GLENCORE a Baa2 long-term issuer rating with a positive outlook. It says GLENCORE's improved credit profile was driven by higher commodity prices and consistently low production costs. MOODY's added that GLENCORE's improved EBITDA, reduced leverage and higher funds from operations, supported by its adjusted dividend policy, enables the commodities giant to better withstand volatility in the commodity markets. Based on the high point of the range for commodity price assumptions for copper, zinc and thermal coal, MOODY's expects GLENCORE's EBITDA to improve to around $16.1bn this year, from $13.4bn in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Minas Rio disruptions to cut Anglo's earnings by up to $400m - Anine Kilian

ANGLO AMERICAN expects the continued disruptions at its Minas Rio mine in Brazil to result in a drop in EBITDA of $300m-$400m for this year. Production was suspended at the mine in Mar., after leaks were discovered in the pipeline that transports iron-ore from the Minas Gerais mine to the port in Rio de Janeiro state. "Our own technical teams are working alongside two specialist teams in Brazil, from the Institute of Technological Research and the Federal University of Minas Gerais, to identify the specific causes of any weakness in certain sections of the pipeline", ANGLO CEO MARK CUTIFANI said yesterday. Following a full inspection, ANGLO expects operations to restart upon the receipt of regulatory consent. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caterpillar ups profit outlook on doubling Q1 profit, record earnings - Henry Lazenby

CATERPILLAR has reported record Q1 profit as strength in many of its end markets and an emphasis on cost control boosted margins. The company reported adjusted profit of $2.82 - up 120% on the $1.28 reported y/y. Revenue for the quarter to end-Mar. jumped 31.6% y/y to $12.9bn, compared with $9.8bn y/y. CATERPILLAR increased its FY profit outlook by $2 to a range of $9.75-$10.75/share, on the back of strong and growing demand for its products and services. The company advised that the outlook includes around $400m of restructuring costs. The revised outlook range for adjusted profit is $10.25-$11.25/share. CAT FINANCIAL said revenues rose $28m to $690m, an increase of 4% compared with Q1 2017. Profit was 21% lower y/y at $91m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldplat increases gold equivalent sales - Nadine James

GOLDPLAT sold and transferred 28 534 gold-equivalent ounces during the nine months to end-Mar., compared with the 27 714oz sold and transferred in the y/y period. Gold-equivalent production for the nine months under review fell by 27 212oz, compared with the 28 063oz produced in the y/y period. GOLDPLAT's gold and gold-equivalent production reached 6 966oz for the quarter to end-Mar., with operating profitability continuing at GOLDPLAT's recovery operations in SA and Ghana and a continued reduction in losses at the Kilimapesa gold mine, in Kenya. The South African operations produced 4 533oz of gold and gold equivalents in Q3. GOLDPLAT RECOVERY GHANA produced 1 192oz, while Kilimapesa produced 1 241oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MC Mining appoints new board members - Anine Kilian

MC MINING has appointed CFO BRENDA BERLIN as an executive director to its board and also announced two nonexecutive director appointments. BERLIN was named CFO in Nov. and joined MC from IMPALA PLATINUM. AN CHEE SIN and BRIAN HE ZHEN will join MC as nonexecutive directors. CHIN SEE is an accredited tax practitioner with the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals and is also a chartered accountant, while ZHEN holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Sichuan University and is currently marketing and PR executive at PAN AFRICAN MINING. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo reports 4% rise in Q1 output - Anine Kilian

ANGLO AMERICAN yesterday reported a 4% y/y rise in total output on a copper equivalent basis in Q1. It said it had a "solid start to 2018", despite the suspension of operations at the Minas Rio mine. Total thermal coal output fell by 23% to 11.95mt, with export production from SA dropping by 9% to 4.3mt. Domestic thermal coal production in SA fell by 34% to 4.97mt, primarily due to the completion of the sale of ESKOM-tied operations. Domestic, non-ESKOM production rose by 41% to 1.3mt. Copper production rose to 154 900t, with strong operational performances at Los Bronches and Collahuasi. Production from Los Bronches rose by 12% to 85 000t, while Collahuasi attributable output rose by 5% to 60 600t. Nickel production fell by 13% y/y to 8 600t as a result of a planned 40-day stoppage to replace the rotary kilns refractories. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers reports rise in Q1 output - Rebecca Campbell

DE BEERS yesterday reported that its total output had increased by 15% to 8.5m ct during Q1 2018. This rise was largely credited by the group to the ramp-up in output at the Gahcho Kue project in Canada and greater production at the Orapa operation in Botswana. In Canada, Gahcho Kue saw a 69% rise in production during the first quarter of 2018. This resulted in an output of 1.1m ct. Botswana, where DE BEERS operates via the DEBSWANA JV, saw production rise 12% to 5.8m ct. Output at the Orapa operation jumped 26% to 2.8m ct. Production in Namibia rose by 12% to 528 000ct. This was the consequence of mining higher grade ores at the land-based operations. In SA, production was pretty much static y/y at 1.1m ct. Diamond sales during Q1 came to 8.8m ct, or 8.4m ct on a consolidated basis. The group's production guidance for FY18 is unchanged at 34m-36m ct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats lifts Q1 PGM output 8% y/y - Nadine James

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM achieved an 8% y/y rise in PGM production to 1.2moz for the quarter to end-Mar., owing to improved operational performances across its portfolio. Palladium production was up 9% y/y, at 407 400oz, and platinum output up 7% y/y at 613 800oz on the back of "exceptional performances" from AMPLATS' own operations. The company's total JV PGM output rose by 14% to 298 000oz, due to improved stoping efficiencies at Mototolo, improved stoping efficiencies and plant recoveries at Modikwa and operational efficiency improvements at Kroondal. AMPLATS noted that, following the strong Q1 production, its FY output is expected to be at the top end of the guidance range of 4.7m-5m PGM ounces, including 2.3m-2.4m oz of platinum and 1.5m-1.6moz of palladium. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim committed to clearing debt obligations - Moyo - Claire Milhench

Zimbabwe is committed to clearing its debt obligations with the World Bank, African Development Bank and other financial institutions, Foreign Minister SIBUSISO MOYO said yesterday. Zimbabwe needs to clear around $1.8bn in arrears with the World Bank and the African Development Bank before it can tap other sources of development financing. "We are committed to engaging with these key institutions as partners for growth in Zimbabwe, committed to clearing the outstanding debt with the World Bank and the African Development Bank, among others", MOYO said, speaking at an event at Chatham House in London. "We believe that we are going to be able to meet all of our obligations". MOYO added that the country was in the process of re-establishing its membership of the Commonwealth, to which it believed it would belong again in due course. Zimbabwe left the organisation in 2003 after then-president ROBERT MUGABE was criticised over disputed elections and land seizures from white farmers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shares in Katanga slump on legal threat in DRC - Nicole Mordant

Shares in DRC copper and cobalt miner KATANGA MINING LTD lost nearly a third of their value on Monday after the company said GECAMINES had taken steps to dissolve one of its units. KATANGA late on Sunday said GECAMINES had begun legal proceedings against KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY, which is 25% owned by the state-owned miner and 75% by KATANGA, due to an ongoing capital shortfall at KAMOTO. A court hearing is scheduled for May 8. KATANGA, which is 86%-owned by GLENCORE, is ramping up output in the DRC that could see it become the world's biggest producer of cobalt, one of the hottest commodities of the past year. "GECAMINES appears to be seeking a meaningful capital injection into KCC which would lower the entity debt burden and unlock value for the state-owned miner", MACQUARIE analysts said in a note. KATANGA's shares listed in Toronto fell as much as 30% to C$1.25 even as the company said it was assessing options to fix the capital shortfall and ensure KAMOTO keeps operating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to drop local listing requirement from mining bill - Claire Milhench

Zimbabwe will drop a requirement that mining companies must list on the local stock exchange from a new mining act, Foreign Minister SIBUSISO MOYO said yesterday. Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines had expressed concerns about he proposal for mining companies to list locally, warning that the exchange might not be deep and liquid enough for companies to raise capital. "Previously there was an indication that the new mining act would have a requirement to list on the local exchange. But we can assure you that this qualification will be taken out", MOYO told an event held at Chatham House in London. The original proposal was part of efforts under President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA to boost investment and local ownership of Zimbabwe's vast mineral resources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 25/04/2018

At 07:31 on 25 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.34 Rand/Sterling 17.26 Rand/Euro 15.09 Gold 1328.00 Platinum 926.00 Oil 72.99 All-Share Index 57675.21

Trematon eyes more investment in education - Sandile Mchunu

TREMATON CAPITAL is eyeing more investments in education and property as it entrenches its tentacles in those sectors. The company this week said it would focus on the GENERATION education investment, which has four of its six school sites in operation and two under development. The group said it had increased its student population to 833 during the HY to end-Feb. from 500 students in Aug. 2017. The two largest schools are in Sunningdale and Hermanus. The Sunningdale campus is complete and at full capacity, while the Hermanus campus is still under construction and operating at current capacity. Once completed, the campus will be able to accommodate 350 students. TREMATON said GENERATION was developing ancillary businesses in high growth areas of the education market. TREMATON posted a 93% rise in revenue to R154m in the period under review, largely due to increased rental income in Aria and increased school fees. It reported a 76% drop in profit after tax to R24.8m, and an HLPS of 0.9cps, from HEPS of 1.8cps y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim may launch $3.5bn sovereign bond issue post election - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe is considering issuing between $2.5bn and $3.5bn in sovereign bonds after elections set for July, and will use some of the money to clear arrears to foreign lenders, Deputy Finance Minister TERRENCE MUKUPE said yesterday. MUKUPE said the nation would use export receipts from tobacco, gold and horticulture to repay the bond. "The position that we have is that post election we should be able to put in place a sovereign or export-related bond", MUKUPE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA says it needs capital injection 'now' - Wendell Roelf

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS needs a new capital injection "now" to stay afloat and is in talks with banks and the Treasury for "an open credit line", CEO VUYANI JARANA said yesterday. JARANA told parliament that the national carrier needs access to capital "to sustain the operations and we are having discussions with Treasury, as well as the banks around how we have an open credit line". Asked by an opposition lawmaker when the airline would need to access billions of rands of extra state support, JARANA said "now". He later said SAA would need around R5bn this year to pay down debts and for operational costs. The struggling carrier has not had credit facilities since Aug. when bank lenders pulled the plug after a debt repayment scare. The R5bn amount included arrear payments. SAA's results for the FY to end-Mar. 2017 showed a deepening loss of R5.6bn, a more than threefold increase from the prior year's R1.5bn loss. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mauritius bank SBM to put $60m of extra capital into Kenya's Chase - John Ndiso

Mauritius' banking group SBM HOLDINGS yesterday said it aimed to inject an additional $60m of capital into Kenya's CHASE BANK in a month's time. The Central Bank of Kenya has been seeking a strategic investor for CHASE, which has been in receivership since Apr. 2016 after failing to meet its financial obligations. The central bank last week said it and state-run KENYA DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION had signed a deal with SBM BANK KENYA LTD for SBM to take 75% of certain assets and deposits of CHASE BANK, as first agreed in Jan. SBM chair KEE CHONG LI KWONG WING yesterday said the deposits SBM is taking on would amount to around $600m. LI said SBM had already injected $26m into CHASE BANK after signing an agreement on Monday to take over some of its assets. Under the deal, CHASE will be renamed as SBM BANK KENYA LTD. LI said SBM would retain CHASE's property and staff and the bank would target SMEs seeking to trade with Asian markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sea Harvest moves step closer to buying Viking Fishing assets - Nqobile Dludla

SEA HARVEST moved a step closer to acquiring the fishing business of VIKING FISHING, saying the government had approved the transfer of the fishing rights. SEA HARVEST in Dec. announced that it was head of a consortium of BBBEE investors that was in talks to acquire VIKING's entire fishing business and a stake in VIKING AQUACULTURE. VIKING FISHING is a privately owned local fisheries company. SEA HARVEST said it was pleased to have received the approval of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the transfer of the fishing rights to the respective members of the BBBEE consortium. As part of the deal, the consortium will purchase stakes in various assets and businesses from VIKING FISHING, including 51% of the issued share capital of VIKING AQUACULTURE. The deal is still subject to other approvals including from competition authorities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast bank assets up on solid economic growth - Loucoumane Coulibaly

Ivory Coast's banking assets reached 9.51tn CFA francs in 2017, up nearly 11% y/y as a result of robust economic growth, an industry group said on Tuesday. The country registered 7.6% GDP growth in 2017, down from 8.5% in 2016 but still enough to drive solid banking sector growth. "By December 31, 2017, the banking sector had collected more than 9.5tn francs in resources", GUY KOIZAN, president of the Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, said. Banking assets stood at 8.59tn CFA francs in 2016. KOIZAN said that if economic growth remained strong, bank assets would reach around 13bn CFA francs in in 2020, but added that only around 16% of the population currently has a bank account. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Halliburton swings to Q1 profit - Petre Wells

HALLIBURTON wrote off its entire investment in Venezuela during Q1 due to the country's recent decision to devalue its currency as well as continued political and economic challenges there, but still managed to report a profit thanks to "robust market conditions" in North America. The $312m charge weighed on Q1 earnings for the group, which reported net income from continuing operations of $46m, or 5cps, in the quarter to end-Mar. Delays in deliveries of sand needed for its shale oil operations also held back earnings. Excluding impairments, adjusted income for the quarter was $358m, compared to a loss of $32m y/y. That was on a 34% y/y rise in total revenue to $5.7bn, which was just $42m short of the median estimate in a Thomson Reuters survey. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Louis Dreyfus expands management team - Emiko Terazono

LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY is reorganising its top management team as it looks for new growth opportunities in a rapidly changing market. It is adding eight new members to its senior leadership team, including the head of orange juice businesses and the head of finance. The announcement comes as the commodities group has been reorganising its operations to address difficult market conditions that have depressed margins and profits across the industry. LDC sold its metals business at the end of 2017, allowing it to free up capital for investment in its core agricultural businesses and has moved to tackle long-running problems at its Brazilian sugar subsidiary BIOSEV by agreeing to underwrite a $1.45bn recapitalisation. As part of the changes, the company has grouped its grains and oilseeds platforms with its freight and finance units, while ringfencing its juice business in order to attract potential investors. The new members of the senior leadership group include new strategy chief IAN MCINTOSH, who headed up the LDC group's asset management arm EDESIA. In addition, LDC named ANDREA MASERATI as its COO. He was previously head of regions and functions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME to end free access for high speed traders - Neil Hume

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE has fired a broadside at high-speed traders with plans to end an incentive programme that allowed computer-driven funds free access to its market for six months. CEO MATT CHAMBERLAIN said the new participant programme had attracted algorithmic funds that "probably don't have the long-term interest our market at heart... So we are proposing to change those programmes, such that you can no longer come and trade for free, yo have to pay from day one". CHAMBERLAIN said the proposal had generated a "really strong" response from a number of stakeholders. High-frequency trading uses computers and fast internet connections to place large numbers of orders at lightning speeds. They have long been a bugbear of some LME members and customers, who view them as a threat to the exchange's unique structure, which is based around physical users such as miners and smelters. The LME is also weighing plans to increase tick sizes, or trading increments, as a way of reining in some of the more aggressive computer-based traders by forcing them to take more risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola hires banks for dollar bond sale - Kate Allen

Angola has hired banks for its first international bond sale since securing IMF support for a programme of economic reforms earlier this month. The country will hold a series of investor meetings in the US and Europe this week to promote the sale of a new 10-year, dollar-denominated bond. It will be Angola's first international debt sale in nearly a year - it sold $379m of 10-year paper last May. Angola has hired GOLDMAN SACHS, DEUTSCHE BANK and ICBC as lead managers and bookrunners on the deal. The banks will also seek to canvass investor feedback on whether there is appetite for a longer-dated tranche. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alphabet boosts spending as revenues soar - Richard Waters

ALPHABET yesterday called on investors for renewed patience as it reported another rise in spending to keep track with the breakneck growth in its advertising business. Shares in the GOOGLE parent were largely unchanged in after-hours trading, even as its profit margins came in below expectations at 22%, five percentage points below the y/y period. Gross revenues notched up growth of 26% in Q1, with all but 0.5% of its business coming from the GOOGLE division. Annualised gross revenues now stand at $125bn. Even after deducting traffic acquisition costs - the fees paid to other companies to carry its search service and adverts - Wall Street expects the company to add $17bn in net revenue this year. Net revenues rose by 24% in Q1 to $24.9bn, with growth driven by advertising from mobile search and YouTube. Revenue from the group's non-advertising businesses, driven by cloud computing, rose 36% and now account for 17% of the total. ALPHABET's profits in Q1 benefited from an accounting change which required it to recognise unrealised investment gains in equity securities for the first time, including its stake in UBER. The gains added $3.40 to its EPS. Stripping them out, earnings would have climbed by $9.97/share, up from $7.73 y/y and above the $9.30 analysts had been expecting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff shares drop over 15% - Jan Cronje

STEINHOFF shares had fallen by 13% yesterday afternoon in the wake of the group's AGM on Friday. Shares in the group opened at R2.49 and were trading at R2.25 at 14:55. The shares closed down 15.33% at R2.21 on the JSE. At Friday's AGM, a number of new board members were appointed. This came after several directors, including former chair CHRISTO WIESE, stepped down in the wake of former CEO MARKUS JOOSTE's abrupt resignation and the share price plunge it precipitated in Dec. On Friday, all STEINHOFF's motions for the appointment and reappointment of directors were adopted, as well as motions on remuneration and retaining auditors DELOITTE for the current FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue eyes pick-up in Chinese steel demand after soft Q1 - Edward White

FORTESCUE METAL GROUP has predicted a seasonal boost in Chinese steel demand for the current quarter after its shipments slipped in Q1 2018, pushing down its shares in Sydney. The company reported a 2% y/y drop in its total iron ore shipments for the quarter to end-Mar. after a "slower than expected" rebound in steel demand following the Chinese New Year holiday. "Profit margins for China's steel mills have declined from the peaks reached in the December 2017 quarter and there are now signs that steel mills are refocussing on costs resulting in increased demand for FORTESCUE's high value-in-use lower iron content ores", FORTESCUE said. Shares in the company were down 4.2% in Sydney following the latest quarterly results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal soars after US says sanctions could be eased - Alice Woodhouse

RUSAL surged as much as 33% in Hong Kong today after the US signalled it could ease sanctions against the company. The US Treasury yesterday said it could cut or ease the sanctions imposed earlier this month if Kremlin-backed OLEG DERIPASKA sold his stake in the company. It also extended the time US and non-US citizens have to wind up business with the company to Oct. 23. RUSAL shares had fallen by around 70% since the US announced the sanctions on Apr. 6. Shares were up 26.3% in morning trading on Tuesday, against a 0.4% rise for the Hang Seng index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAP profits jump 33% despite flat revenue, forex headwinds - Patrick McGee

Profit at SAP rose by a third in Q1 even as revenue was flat y/y. The German group today reported that profit after tax rose 33% y/y to €708m. Operating profit rose 52% to €1.03bn, though about €200m reflected new accounting measures. CEO BILL MCDERMOTT said the numbers reflected the group's "trifecta" of a "fast growing cloud, strong software sales, and operating income expansion". New cloud bookings rose 25% in constant currencies to €245m. Taking currency effects into account, the gain was only 14%. Could subscription and support revenue rose 18% to €1.1bn. Total revenue was flat at €5.26bn, though on SAP's preferred non-IFRS measure in constant currencies, revenue was up 9%. Software revenue fell 10% y/y to €625m, while operating cash flow also contracted by 10% to €2.58bn, reflecting higher tax payments, currency headwinds and higher capital spending. S/4 HANA added 400 customers in the quarter, placing the total at 8 300 - up 43% from 12 months ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC said to oppose two Steinhoff directors - Janice Kew, Bloomberg

The PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION, STEINHOFF's biggest shareholder, opposed the reappointment of STEVE BOOYSEN and ANGELA KRUGER-STEINHOFF to the retailer's supervisory board, according to a source. BOOYSEN was retained at Friday's AGM for a further four-year period with 56% of the vote. KRUGER-STEINHOFF, daughter of founder BRUNO STEINHOFF, got 59% support. The PIC voted against both reappointments, the source said. The PIC holds 7.2% of STEINHOFF, according to Bloomberg data. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME plans nickel closing price experiment - Reuters

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE is planning to move end-of-day pricing of the benchmark three-month nickel contract from open outcry to its electronic trading platform for a trial period, LME CEO MATT CHAMBERLAIN said yesterday. The move is designed to test the practicality of electronic pricing after some LME members asked the exchange to consider closing the ring, one of the world's last open-outcry trading venues. It is likely to happen early next year and last for three months, after which pricing will return to the ring. Fund investors have complained that trading bursts in the ring just before the close have distorted closing prices, while traders of physical metal support it. CHAMBERLAIN said nickel had been chosen because it was a liquid contract but not as important to the market as aluminium and copper, which have the highest volumes. Trading of other nickel contracts and the official ring where settlement prices are set will remain unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe reaches Platreef Shaft 1 milestone 750 m below surface - Henry Lazenby

IVANHOE MINES has reached a significant development milestone at its Platreef platinum/palladium/gold/nickel/copper discovery on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, after Shaft 1 has reached a depth of 750 m. Lateral development will take place from here to create the first underground access to the high-grade orebody, which will enable the development team to continue with mine development while the main production Shaft 2 is being built. Shaft 1's 750 m station will allow access for the first raise-bore shaft that will provide ventilation to the underground workings during the mine's ramp-up phase. The first of the mine's planned fleet of mechanised, mobile, underground mining equipment has arrived on site and will be used for off-shaft station development work on the 750-, 850- and 950-m levels, IVANHOE said. Shaft 1 is expected to reach its projected, final depth of 980 m below surface in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP, Vale given 66 days to resolve Samarco dispute - Henry Lazenby

A Brazilian federal court has given BHP and VALE an additional 66 days to resolve a multibillion-dollar settlement regarding their SAMARCO JV's tailings dam failure in 2015. The companies must negotiate a settlement of the $47.6bn and $6.1bn public civil claims relating to the dam failure by Jun. 25. The companies also stand to answer federal criminal proceedings against 22 individuals - 21 of which face charges related to 'qualified homicide'. The two sides in Nov. also received a 150-day extension to negotiate the settlements. The partners have also agreed to an interim security bond valued at around 4395m in insurance bonds, $30m in liquid assets and a charge of $245m over SAMARCO's assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats procures energy storage system for Amandelbult - Anine Kilian

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM has contracted energy storage system provider PRIMUS POWER to supply its Amandelbult mine with eight EnergyPod battery systems. The EnergyPods will provide the mine, based in Limpopo, with 200 kW of power and 1 000 kWh of energy. The batteries are charged when demand for, and cost of, grid electricity is low. During peak times, the charged batteries release stored energy and reduce the mine's draw from the national grid. "EnergyPods will allow Amandelbult to realise an immediate monthly reduction in electricity costs and an improvement in energy security", AMPLATS PGMs investment programme CEO ANDREW HINKLY said yesterday. AMPLATS, PRIMUS and SOLAFRICA are closely cooperating on testing four EnergyPods at ESKOM's large-scale energy storage test facility in Rosherville, Johannesburg. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrum Crescent appoints Spanish consultancy at Toral - Creamer Media Reporter

FERRUM CRESCENT has engaged the services of Spanish consultancy MINING SENSE to complement the existing operational team at the Toral lead/zinc/silver project. The consultancy will assist with the preparation of exploration drilling sites and contracting drilling operators, as well as undertaking the first desktop study on the local area and industrial operations. MINING SENSE will work with FERRUM CRESCENT to provide a preliminary economic assessment and conceptual mine plan for the Toral project, while assessing development pathways for potentially bringing the project into production. While the consultancy has already begun work for FERRUM in respect of the Toral project, agreement on contractual payment terms for the work is subject to the company receiving approval at the May 21 AGM for the issue of new ordinary shares to raise up to £1m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian power stations told to stock up coal for monsoon season - Ajoy K Das

India's Coal Ministry has requested thermal power generation companies to raise plant level coal stocks to around 30mt, from 16.5mt at present, ahead of the monsoon season starting in June. Coal Secretary SUSHEEL KUMAR has said a production and supply plan is being prepared to avoid a repeat of last year's situation, when thermal power stations grappled with coal shortages during the rainy season. "We are fully geared because we have 55.5mt of pithead stocks. What we need to stock at power plants is about 30mt and that's the goal". KUMAR said there was adequate stock, as per Central Electricity Authority guidelines that require power plants to stock 22 days of coal consumption. According to data available from the CEA, 22 thermal power plants faced coal shortages in early April. Of these, 11 stations had stocks equivalent to seven days' consumption and were categorised as 'critical stocks' and the balance with coal stock of less than four days equivalent consumption, categorised as 'super critical stocks'. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola satellite inoperative, Russia to build another one - Herculano Coroado

Russia's space agency yesterday said Angola's first national telecoms satellite, AngoSat-1, was inoperative and Russia would build another one for launch in 2020. Launched in Dec. from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the satellite has been plagued by problems including the loss of communications and is now regarded as a write-off, Russian and Angolan officials said yesterday. "We are going to start the AngoSat-2 construction", IGOR FROLOV, a representative for ENERGIA, a unit of Russia's space agency, said. The written-off satellite was insured and Russia will pay the rest of the undisclosed costs for the second satellite. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AYO says no relationship with Sagarmatha - Fin24

JSE-listed AYO TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIOSN yesterday said it has had no relationship with SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES. This came after its stock fell by more than a third to end the day at R26.00/share. AYO said it noted "with dismay and serious concern" media articles about its relationship with SAGARMATHA and IQBAL SURVE. AYO took aim at an article it described as "defamatory, false and inaccurate information" published by amaBhungane at the weekend. amaBhungane had raised concerns ahead of the planned listing of SAGARMATHA, arguing that GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND money would be used to "artificially boost" its value. It argued that GEPF money had also been used in the AYO listing, saying the JSE listing "was propped up with R4.3bn of government pension fund cash". amaB argued that both AYO and SAGARMATHA were effectively controlled by SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT HOLDINGS, "a vehicle for the SURVE family trust". "Pointing out a common indirect shareholder is only useful to paint a particular narrative, which is mischievous in the extreme", AYO said. It said that neither SURVE nor SEKUNJALO were shareholders in AYO, and that SURVE did not have a management position at the group. "AYO remains committed to transforming an industry that is in dire need of transformation and is determined to make a real difference in the sector". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile's Copec to buy stake in Peru copper project - Reuters

Chilean industrial conglomerate EMPRESAS COPEC on Monday said it had reached an agreement with Peru's MINSUR to buy a 40% stake in a holding company that owns a Peruvian copper mine project for $168.5m. MINSUR will retain 60% ownership in CUMBRES ANDINAS, the company that controls the Mina Justa project, COPEC said. Mina Justa, which is expected to require investment of around $1.6bn, is due to begin construction in H2 2018, with output starting in 202 or 2021, COPEC said. It should produce around 100 000t/y of copper for 18 years, it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barrick beats Q1 earnings call - Henry Lazenby

BARRICK GOLD yesterday said it had halved its debt loan in the past three years, from $13.1bn at end-2014 to $6.4bn by end-2017. It advised that its goal remains to trim total debt from $6.4bn at present to around $5bn by the end of this year. At end-Mar., BARRICK had a consolidated cash balance of around $2.4bn. It reported less than $100m in debt due before 2020, and more than three-quarters of its outstanding total debt of $6.4bn does not mature until after 2032. BARRICK yesterday reported a better-than-expected profit for Q1 to end-Mar. It reported headline earnings of $170m, or $0.15/share, slightly higher y/y and beating average Wall Street analyst forecasts calling for profit of $0.14/share. Net earnings attributable to shareholders came to $158m, or $0.14/share, compared with net earnings of $679m or $0.58 y/y. BARRICK booked a net impairment reversal of $522m after tax and non-controlling in Q1 of 2017. BARRICK reported a 10% drop in Q1 revenues to $1.79bn as gold and copper sales plunged 18% and 8.6%, respectively. Gold all-in sustaining costs rose 4.14% in the period to $804/oz, while the same metric for gold rose by 19% to $2.61/lb. Gold output for Q1 amounted to 1.05moz, down about 20% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bralirwa profit lifted by lower financing costs - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwandan brewer BRALIRWA yesterday said its pretax profit rose to 7.709bn francs in 2017, from 2.67bn francs y/y, helped by lower financing costs that cushioned a slight revenue drop. The company said sales volumes fell by 12% to 1.5bn francs in 2017, hurt by the impact of price rises of both soft drinks and beer and strong competition. EPS rose to 3.75 francs from 1.36 francs in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unions, employers to meet with minister in bid to end bus strike - Terry Bell

In a last-ditch bid to broker a settlement to the national bus strike, union and employer negotiators will meet with Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT in Johannesburg later today. With pay and benefit talks still deadlocked, it was agreed on Monday to call for OLIPHANT's intervention. Employers want a multi-year deal and have upped their offer to 8.5% for the first year and 8% for the second. The unions have compromised on the two years, but are holding out on 9.5% in year one, followed by 9%. The unions initially demanded a 12% pay hike while employers offered 7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vavi: SAFTU strike a fight about life and death for unions - Sibongile Khumalo

The South African Federation of Trade Unions yesterday urged workers to support the upcoming nationwide strike called to protest labour law amendments, regardless of their union affiliation. The one-day strike is set o take place on Wednesday. SAFTU has strongly rejected a raft of amendments which would result in the implementation of a R20/h minimum wage and curb certain union rights to protest. The federation has maintained that the proposed level for the minimum wage would "lower the workers' living standards and widen income inequalities". SAFTU is SA's second largest union federation after COSATU, and represents 30 unions, including NUMSA. If passed, the National Minimum Wage Bill would make R20/h a basic minimum pay for workers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mantashe to appeal court ruling on black ownership of mines - Paul Burkhardt

Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE has sought leave to appeal a court ruling earlier this month over a crucial black-ownership principle in the Mining Charter, the Chamber of Mines announced yesterday. The High Court in Pretoria on Apr. 4 ruled that the first two versions of the Mining Charter didn't require producers to top up black-shareholding levels in perpetuity if they previously met the minimum 26% requirement. "The Chamber is currently reviewing the specified grounds of appeal, although the DMR's appeal appears to centre on the majority judges obiter dictum comments about the legality of the 2010 charter and the enforceability of the charters", the industry group said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom boosts corporate bond sales - Colleen Goko, Bloomberg

ESKOM's comeback in the domestic bond market may propel corporate debt sales in SA to another record year. Year-to-date issuance by local companies, including SOEs, has edged ahead of the amount sold in the y/y period, according to Bloomberg data. Issuers have raised R36.9bn this year, up 1.7% y/y. Companies sold R148bn in the whole of 2017. The YTD increase is mostly related to borrowing by ESKOM, which increased to R6.4bn, compared with R716m in the y/y period. The biggest issuer in 2018 so far is STANDARD BANK, which raised R25bn in 23 sales. ESKOm issued a total of R3.8bn of debt in 2017, according to Bloomberg data. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Manyi settles Gupta loan after amount due lowered - Fin24

MZWANELE JIMMY MANYI claims he has paid the GUPTAS in full for ANN7 and The New Age, the Sunday Times reported at the weekend. It reported that MANYI said in a statement released on Saturday that the original amount owed has been lowered after renegotiations. He said he made full settlement of what he still owed the notorious family. MANYI said he released the statement to save hundreds of jobs by putting to rest "any suspicions of lingering involvement" by the GUPTA family in the media company. The GUPTAS' OAKBAY company had sold TNA and ANN7 to MANYI for R450m. OAKBAY INVESTMENTS in Aug. 2017 said MANYI-owned LODIDOX bought ANN7 for R300m and TNA for R150m via vendor financing. The GUPTAS lent him the money for the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Octodec H1 results hit by higher finance charges - Anine Kilian

Pressure on rental income growth, the lag effect of the let-up period at recent developments and higher finance charges negatively impacted on OCTODEC's results for the HY to end-Feb. "The political and economic uncertainty experienced during the period did not lend itself to a supportive operating environment", OCTODEC CEO JEFFREY WAPNICK said. He noted that residential vacancies was a key focus area for the group. "Marketing efforts and an enhancement of the tenant offering to address the increased competition are bearing results with a reduction in residential vacancies achieved", WAPNICK said. Vacancies in the sector decreased from 7.2% as at Aug. 31, 2017, to 3.7% post Feb. 28. Finance costs for the period amounted to R213.9m, up 7.5% y/y. The all-in weighted cost of borrowings was maintained at 9.2%/year, while the group's loan-to-value was at 37.1% at end-Feb. OCTODEC's R12.9bn portfolio realised like-for-like growth of 3.2% in rental income and had a total core occupancy level of 89.2% for the period under review. Ten noncore or underperforming assets were sold, with six transferred during the period, returning R43.8m. The remaining four properties totaling R44.8m, are expected to transfer during FY2018. A distribution of 101.7cps was declared for the HY under review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAB, AB InBev on track with 5-yr public interest investments - Marleny Arnoldi

SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES and parent AB INBEV has spent R209m of its R1bn budgeted Public Interest Commitments in 2017, with investments in agriculture, enterprise development and societal benefit programmes in SA. Of the funds invested in 2017, R117m was earmarked for agriculture, R67m for enterprise development and R25m for societal benefits. The companies consider agriculture to be the area of greatest opportunity for economic renewal and impact. Therefore, about 61% of the total R1bn PIC investment will be invested in growing the country's agricultural sector to become a net exporter of barley and hops. The PIC investment was intended to create 2 600 jobs in the agri sector. SAB has expanded this commitment to create 10 000 jobs across other sectors, primarily via entrepreneurship, over the five-year period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tower Property's refurbished Cape Quarter Plaza set to launch end-April - Simone Liedtke

The refurbishment of the Cape Quarter Plaza, which will be renamed the Old Cape Quarter upon completion, will be launched by TOWER PROPERTY FUND's subsidiary CAPE QUARTER COMPANY at the end of April. The Cape Quarter precinct is situated in De Waterkant and is a highly desirable residential area with strong demand and high selling prices. Upon completion, the Old Cape Quarter will comprise parking, two floors of retail and office space and 55 apartments. The retail offering will be focused towards a unique food market type offering, while the offices are expected to be let to strong local and national tenants given the current high demand in the area. The apartments will be upmarket with budgeted selling prices in the region of R79 000/m2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bursary 'deal breaker' removed as precondition for gaining YES employment credit - Terence Creamer

The Department of Trade & Industry has agreed to remove an onerous bursary target previously set as a precondition for any firm seeking to receive empowerment credit for their participation in the newly launched Youth Employment Service initiative. In an unusual step the DTI made the adjustment in the middle of a 60-day public-comment period until May 29. Comments are being sought on proposed changes to the BBBEE Codes of Good Practice, which are specifically designed to incentivise YES involvement by offering BBBEE points in return for such participation. But a precondition stating that firms seeking YES-related BBBEE scorecard credit should contribute 2.5% of payroll to bursaries for black students at higher-education institutions has reportedly been described as a "deal breaker" by a number of potential participants. The DTI says the decision to delink the bursary criteria from the YES initiative is designed to "create certainty and ensure rapid take up". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest gets approvals for tailings plan - Esmarie Swanepoel

NEWCREST MINING has been given approval to use the first 200m of the old Cadia Hill openpit operation as a tailings storage facility. The Cadia Hill facility would be used in lieu of the Northern tailings facility, where a breakthrough of tailings material was reported in Mar., which resulted in NEWCREST suspending operations at the project. Operations were restarted at the end of last month, with the Northern tailings facility remaining off limits. NEWCREST yesterday told shareholders that it was now installing the pipeline infrastructure to enable the storage of tailings at Cadia Hill to occur, with the use of the openpit expected to start in the first week of May. Coupled with the current Southern tailings facility, the new permit will create sufficient storage capacity to enable Cadia to progressively return to full production rates for around 16 months, NEWCREST said. As a result of the use of the Cadia Hill openpit as a tailings storage facility, it was likely that he existing ore reserve, containing some 1.5moz of gold and 13 000t of copper, and a mineral resource of around 3moz of gold and 27 000t of copper, will be foregone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivory Coast minister views local processing as crucial to sector - Ana Ionova

Boosting cocoa processing in Ivory Coast is central to improving the sustainability of the country's cocoa sector, Trade Minister SOULEYMANE DIARRASSOUBA said yesterday. Increasing the volume of cocoa that is processed locally was a necessary step to help protect producing countries from volatility on the global market, the minister said. A large global surplus of cocoa in the 2016/17 season sparked a drop in New York futures in April 2017 to a more than nine-year low. This prompted Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Council to cut the price it paid farmers for their cocoa to 700 CFA francs per kg from 1 100 CFA francs. "Our government wants to establish a resilient and sustainable cocoa economy that can withstand price volatility and that generates a living income for the farmers, who are the weakest link of the chain", DIARRASSOUBA said. The country has set a goal of increasing local processing from 30% to 50% by 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 24/04/2018

At 06:21 on 24 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.32 Rand/Sterling 17.19 Rand/Euro 15.05 Gold 1325.94 Platinum 917.00 Oil 74.31 All-Share Index 57679.51

SA pork industry could lose R1bn due to listeriosis outbreak - FNB economist - ANA

SA's pork industry and its value chain could suffer losses of up to R1bn as the price of the meat continues to drop in the fallout from the recent listeriosis outbreak, FNB economist PAUL MAKUBE said yesterday. MAKUBE said while the lower prices were concerning for the industry, they were a blessing for consumers feeling the pinch of rising food costs, who were likely to settle for pork as a cheaper alternative. This trend would likely continue over the short term. MAKUBE said the loss to the value chain so far could exceed R1bn. "Even though demand for processed and cold meats fell sharply due to the health and safety concerns from the listeriosis outbreak, pork farmers have now had to redirect the pigs for the fresh meat market thereby creating a surplus and in so doing have further increased pressure on low prices". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Corobrik embarks on major investment - ANA

COROBRIK yesterday announced it has embarked on a multi-billion rand investment roll-out to grow its business and develop new markets over the next five to six years. COROBRIK CEO DIRK MEYER said the lion's share of the initial R1bn allocated during 2017/18 would go towards an R800m megafactory that will be built alongside its existing Driefontein factory in Gauteng. It is due to be commissioned in 2020. MEYER said this was likely to be followed by another megafactory on the East Rand, with future expansion in KZN and the Western Cape within the next 5-6 years. COROBRIK currently operates 13 clay brick factories and 14 kilns countrywide. The new Driefontein facility would produce around 100m bricks per year, double that of the existing facility there, and use only a third of the energy currently used by its predecessor where the 30 year-old kilns are outdated and not fuel efficient. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agreement opens way for R1.8bn oil services hub at Saldanha port - Terence Creamer

A private port terminal operator has been selected to build and operate SA's first offshore supply base (OSSB) at the Port of Saldanha, in the Western Cape. The facility, which will involve investments of R1.8bn over the coming five years, will provide services to offshore oil and gas companies operating along the African coastline. The OSSB is to be developed by SALDEHCO, owned by HARPS HOLDINGS, which has energy, property and marine interests in several countries, as well as black-woman-owned company SEMONA. As port landlord and planner, TRANSNET NATIONAL PORTS AUTHORITY is providing berth infrastructure for the OSSB, at the port's general maintenance quay. SALDEHCO is responsible for providing warehousing, workshops, office facilities, as well as equipment such as cranes and other rubber-tyred equipment to operate the terminal. The OSSB will offer services to vessels supporting offshore exploration and production activities along the West and East coasts of Africa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US grants reprieve to Rusal, says will weigh impact on allies - Reuters

The US yesterday opened the door to sanctions relief for RUSAL, saying it was considering a company bid to avoid US sanctions and would weigh the impact on American allies and partners. The news sent shares in RUSAL up more than 13%. In a statement, the US Treasury Department said Americans have until Oct. 23 to wind down their business with RUSAL and that the US was not trying to harm those who depend on the company. "RUSAL has felt the impact of US sanctions because of its entanglement with OLEG DERIPASKA, but the US government is not targeting the hardworking people who depend on RUSAL and its subsidiaries", Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN said. He added that the US could provide sanctions relief if DERIPASKA ceded control of the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Industry hopeful DRC code issues can be resolved - Simone Liedtke

Mining companies operating in the DRC are hopeful that their current engagement with civil society and other key interest groups will contribute to a better understanding of certain issues that need to be dealt with before the country's new mining code is implemented. Companies that are currently in talks with civil society and the government include RANDGOLD RESOURCES, GLENCORE, IVANHOE and ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI, among others. The industry submitted a formal proposal to the country's Ministry of Mines on Mar. 29, which was aimed at addressing concerns about the new mining code. The industry's proposal includes provisions to explicitly preserve mining agreements entered into previously by the government, while proposing a sliding scale on royalties for copper, cobalt and gold which, in the industry's view, would be a more effective mechanism for government to share in higher commodity prices than the windfall tax and strategic minerals stipulations contained in the new mining code. The Ministry has not yet formally responded to the industry's proposals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petra's value over volume production strategy paying off - Simone Liedtke

The make-up of production at PETRA DIAMONDS is transforming, with higher-value run-of-mine production having represented around 82% of the company's carat volume during the quarter to end-Mar. This was in line with the group's focus on value rather than volume production. PETRA's production rose by 20% to 1.19m ct Q3FY18, representing a record quarterly production performance for the group. RoM production for the quarter rose by 29% to 981 201ct. Revenue for the quarter rose by 44% to $172m, from the sale of 1.37m ct. Shortly after the period ended, net debt was reduced to around $622m, which is in line with management expectations, following the receipt of sales proceeds from diamond debtors of $70.2m. Net debt as at Mar. 31 was $685.9m. "PETRA has recorded strong results in both production and sales, as well as a continued improvement in our safety performance", CEO JOHAN DIPPENAAR said, adding that the future focus of the company will move away from volume targets to value optimisation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Road/Gold Fields JV flags Gruyere delay, possible cost increases - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Gruyere gold project in Western Australia is likely to be late in delivering first gold, project developers GOLD ROAD RESOURCES and GOLD FIELDS warned yesterday. The JV partners said abnormal weather events during the March quarter had impacted on the project schedule and costs, with first gold now likely to be poured in the June quarter of 2019, rather than the March quarter of 2019, as previously forecast. The project's capital cost estimates have also increased to the upper end of the forecast range of A$506m-A$585m, compared with a previous budget of A$532m. The causes of the potential cost increases are being reviewed for classification as either a scope change, force majeure due to weather issues, or cost overruns. Under the terms of the JV agreement, GOLD FIELDS will be responsible for the first $50.1m of project cost overrun, which will exclude a scope change or force majeure costs. At the end of the March quarter, the overall project engineering and construction was 84% and 44% complete respectively, with EPC of the project plant and associated infrastructure some 17% complete. Guyere will have a capacity to handle 7.5mt a year of fresh ore, and up to 8.8mt/y of oxide ore, over a mine life of 13 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual unveils final details of four-way split - Oliver Ralph

OLD MUTUAL has unveiled the final details of its four-way split. The break-up will be finalised by the middle of 2018 when the company floats its to main businesses. OLD MUTUAL on Friday gave details how the South African business - OLD MUTUAL LIMITED - will be split from QUILTER. Shareholders in OLD MUTUAL will receive one share in QUILTER and three shares in OLD MUTUAL LIMITED. The two companies will start trading on Jun. 25 and 26, respectively, with both dual listed in the UK and Johannesburg. There will also be a placing of 9.6% of QUILTER shares to new investors. Based on BERNSTEIN's £2.6bn valuation of QUILTER, that stake could raise around £250m. The money raised will go to OLD MUTUAL LTD. Part of the group's stake in NEDBANK will be distributed to OML shareholders later this year. Shares in OLD MUTUAL PLC will cease trading on Jun. 22, and the London head office will be wound down over the rest of the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nissan to lay off hundreds of workers from UK plant - Petre Campbell

NISSAN will lay off hundreds of workers from its Sunderland car plant after a collapse in diesel sales led to a drop in the facility's output. The move comes days after JAGUAR LAND ROVER cut 1 000 jobs from its largest factory, citing "headwinds" from the slide in demand for diesel cars. Around a quarter of the vehicles made at the NISSAN site, which employs 7 000 people, run on diesel. The UK's car industry is heavily exposed to diesel technology, with more than 1m engines and 725 000 diesel cars made in Britain last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Takeda sweetens bid for Shire to £42.8bn - Eric Platt

Japan's TAKEDA raised its offer for rival SHIRE by roughly £455m on Friday and shifted a significant portion of its proposal from stock to cash in a bid to win over the Irish group's board. TAKEDA said it had presented SHIRE with a new takeover offer for £47/share, valuing its rival at £42.8bn - above the £46.50/share offer SHIRE had previously rejected. The new offer was comprised of £21 in cash and £26 in new TAKEDA stock, lifting the cash component of the bid to just over £19bn, from around £16bn previously. SHIRE on Friday said its board was "considering its position" on the offer and would make an announcement in due course. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R1bn in PnP food credit shows consumers in dire straits - Sibongile Khumalo

PICK N PAY says it has granted R1bn for its credit cards facility which was launched last year, in a scheme that allows customers to purchase food on credit. "The figure refers to the total credit facility that has been granted. In fact, customers using our store card have taken up a small fraction of their total credit facility, well below R200m", said DAVID NORTH, group executive for strategy and corporate affairs at the retailer. PNP last week announced that 56 000 customers had taken up the store credit card since it was launched in Sep. 2017. DEBT RESCUE CEO NEIL ROETS described the figure as "bad news" for consumers. "What for many was clearly a last resort, the PICK N PAY credit line was clearly a last-ditch effort to feed their families", ROETS said. He said the VAT increase which came into effect at the start of April, coupled with fuel price hikes had placed consumers in an "exceptionally difficult economic cycle", with more than half of economically active people falling behind by three months or more in credit repayments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PetroSA saved for the moment - City Press

PETROSA has been saved from an imminent R7.4bn cash crunch by Environmental Affairs Minister EDNA MOLEWA. MOLEWA on Friday gazetted an amendment to the financial provisioning regulations of the National Environmental Management Act. It gives companies with offshore oil and gas exploration or production rights granted before 2015 an additional five years to put up the cash for their rehabilitation obligations. Up to 2024 these rights holders will be deemed to be compliant, even if they are not. The deadline had been set for 2019, and PETROSA was virtually guaranteed to require a bailout as a result. It was R8.4bn short on its R9.6bn rehab liability, and had total cash of only R2.4bn at the end of its previous FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No qualifications recorded for RAF acting CEO - Khulekani Magubane

The case of Road Accident Fund acting CEO LINDELWA JABAVU's academic qualifications escalated as it emerged that the South African Qualification Authority has indicated to the RAF that she does not have matric, let alone the banking management qualifications she claims to have on her CV. This means RAF chair NTUTHUKO BHENGU and his delegation misled Parliament's portfolio committee on transport last week when they said they would enlist the services of SAQA to verity her qualifications. According to sources, BHENGU not only misled Parliament about the status of JABAVU's qualifications, but knew about them before she was appointed. Sources said this lie strikes at the hear of a close relationship between BHENGU and JABAVU primarily aimed at keeping a patronage network and state capture project going at the RAF. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent and WWF announce digital partnership - Fin24

TENCENT and conservation group WWF last week announced a partnership to develop digital-based ecological projects to create what has been termed "beautiful China" in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. The themed projects will use digital technology to create exhibitions in public spaces in the area, including conservation awareness and wildlife protection. The initial phase of the collaboration will focus on "igniting public awareness of ecological conservation, nurturing conservation talent and combating internet-based illegal wildlife trade". "By bringing together the physical and virtual worlds, and a series of vivid interactions, members of the public will be able to learn more about the stories behind the local wildlife", TENCENT said. Landmark buildings and sculptures will be transformed into digital art exhibitions, allowing citizens and tourists to view the work as they stroll along Shenzhen Bay. "When they scan the landmarks with the QQ app on their phones, beautiful scenery will be reflected on their screens", TENCENT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Schlumberger says oil sector will see supply challenges this year - Ed Crooks

SCHLUMBERGER has said the oil market will face growing supply challenges over the coming years, following the steep drop in investment in recent years. CEO PAAL KIBSGAARD said that three consecutive years of "dramatic underinvestment" in oil exploration and production worldwide had resulted in declining output in various countries. He added that there were "production challenges" emerging in the US shale oil industry, including constraints on pipeline capacity and other infrastructure, and weaker production from wells drilled close together. "A significant increase in global E&P investment will be required to minimise the impending deficit". For Q1 2018, the company reported revenues down 4% at $7.8bn, while net income was $525m, an 88% jump y/y. EPS excluding one-off items were 38cps, down 5% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump blasts OPEC over high oil prices - David Sheppard

President DONALD TRUMP has blasted OPEC for driving oil prices to the highest level since 2014, saying that crude prices have been driven "artificially" high. TRUMP on Friday tweeted: "Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted". Brent crude fell slightly after the tweet, slipping 0.4% on the day to $73.49/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore studying recapitalisation of DRC copper unit - Henry Sanderson

GLENCORE is studying options to recapitalise one of its copper projects in the DRC to resolve a dispute with the country's state-owned miner that threatens to dissolve the company. GLENCORE said its KATANGA MINNG subsidiary is looking at converting debt into equity or forgiving a portion of the company's debt to resolve the legal dispute. This month state-owned GECAMINES started legal action to dissolve the KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY, saying it had failed to address its previous disclosed capital deficiency. GECAMINES is a JV partner in the company. GECAMINES has complained that foreign mining companies in the DRC have failed to pay sufficient dividends from their projects. The KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY is one of GLENCORE's two key copper assets in the DRC, and is expected to produce 150 000t of copper and 11 000t of cobalt this year. "KCC has made numerous attempts to engage in constructive negotiations with GECAMINES regarding the recapitalisation plan. However, GECAMINES has, instead of meaningfully engaging with the Company, unilaterally commenced the proceeding", KATANA MINING said. A court hearing is scheduled for May 8. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UBS profits beat expectations in Q1 - Laura Noonan

UBS this morning reported a larger-than-expected 17% rise to SFr1.97bn in reported pretax profit for Q1 2018, boosted by strong investment bank results. CEO SERGIO ERMOTTI described the beginning of 2018 as "excellent", adding that "momentum in our business is good". UBS said its global wealth management division had had a "very strong quarter". The division's pretax profit rose by 7% to SFr1.13bn but missed analysts' expectations marginally. It reported net new money of SFr19bn for the quarter across the newly merged global wealth management division. UBS in Jan. announced plans to create a $2.3tn private bank by merging its wealth management and wealth management Americas division. The group's investment banking division posted adjusted pretax profit of SFr629m, compared with SFr558m y/y. Equities revenues were up 17% y/y, or 25% in dollar terms. Fixed income, rates and credit were down 11%, or 6% in dollar terms, worse than the US banks' total 1% fall. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Translating masses of Steinhoff docs from English slows German criminal probe - Jan Cronje

German authorities are struggling to analyse a wealth of financial documents seized from a STEINHOFF subsidiary in late 2015 as the documents are written in English. NICOLE NADERMANN, a spokesperson for the public prosecutor's office of Oldenburg said its criminal probe was set to expand, despite delays caused by translating the documents from English. NADERMANN said the findings of an initial analysis of the seized documents showed the need for further investigations. "The investigation has been complicated by the fact that the documents are to a large extent written in the English", she said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff pleads to save 'burning building' - Bloomberg, Fin24, City Press

HEATHER SONN, acting chair for STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL likened the retailer to a burning building when the accounting scandal broke four months ago, and appealed for shareholder support for an ongoing probe into the smoldering wreckage. "We want to uncover the truth, show the world what has happened, prosecute any wrongdoing and reinstate trust in the company", SONN said. She reiterated that former CEO MARKUS JOOSTE has been referred to law authorities. STEINHOFF said a probe by PWC had uncovered a pattern of transactions being undertaken over a number of years across a variety of asset classes that led to the material overstatement of income and asset values. More than 320 000 documents have been studied and 4.4m records gathered in a bid to find out what happened and who's to blame. STEINHOFF said it expected the PWC probe to be completed before the end of 2018 and any release of results would be on hold until the investigation is complete. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alrosa's Q1 production slumps - Mariaan Webb

ALROSA on Friday reported a 17% y/y drop in Q1 production as the shutdown of the Mir underground division weighed on its performance and lower-grade ores were processed from the Jubilee pipe. The miner produces 7.42mct in the quarter, compared with 8.93mct in the y/y period, and 10.07m ct in the preceding quarter. ALROSA is targeting diamond production of 36.6mct in 2018, first deputy CEO IGOR SOBOLEV said on Friday. The Aikhal division, comprising the Komsomolskaya pipe, Aikhal underground mine and the Jubilee pipe, delivered 2.81mct in Q1, an 8% drop on production of a year earlier. This was mainly due to a decline in diamond output at the JUBILEE pipe, where lower grade ore was processed. ALROSA said it sold 13.3m ct of diamonds in Q1. This included 10.1m ct of gem-quality diamonds at an average price of $154/ct and 3.2m ct of industrial diamonds at an average price of $8/ct. Rough and polished diamond sales amounted to $1.58bn and $23.7m, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Changes give PSG Konsult a lift - Sandile Mchunu

PSG KONSULT has said that the improved economic outlook and political leadership changes in SA have made its clients more optimistic and confident of their financial wellbeing. This sentiment was reflected in the group's annual results as it posted 16% growth in recurring HEPS to 43cps, and achieved a 24% RoE for the FY to end-Feb. The board decided to declare a 21% rise in the final gross dividend to 12.3cps, up from 10.2cps y/y. PSG KONSULT's total income rose 11% to R4.2bn during the period from R3.84bn, while profit increased 16% to R566.48m from R486.86m y/y. PSG KONSULT said its divisions performed in line with expectations. PSG INSURE reported 4% growth in recurring headline earnings, while the unit's gross written premiums now amount to R3.30bn. PSG ASSET MANAGEMENT recorded the best performance during the year, achieving 20% growth in recurring HEPS, while PSG WEALTH reported 18% growth. The company said management and other fees rose 11% and clients' assets managed by WEALTH's 539 advisers rose by 14% to R163bn, which included R11.8bn of positive net inflows. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Minimum wage bill now with Labour Dept - Thabi Madiba

The National Minimum Wage Bill is now with the Department of Labour to be redrafted with public input agreed to by the Labour Portfolio Committee. The committee's acting chair SHAROME VAN SCHALKWYK said the department will now take time to rework the Bill for submission again to the committee. "This piece of legislation is critical in our country, not only in fighting inequality, but also addressing abuse of the vulnerable workers in some sectors", VAN SCHALKWYK said. Last week, the committee deliberated on the Bill clause by clause and made changes, taking into consideration the input received during public hearings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi acquires two KZN plantations - Simone Liedtke

MONDI has acquired the Draycott and Greytown timber plantations, in KZN, from WORLD HARDWOOD. The Competition Tribunal approved the deal last week after the Competition Commission said it was unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any market. The relevant market in this merger was for the production and supply of hardwood pulp and untreated hardwood poles in KZN in a 250km radius from the two plantations, as well as the national market for the production of hardwood pulp and treated telephone, transmission, fencing and building poles. In addition, the proposed deal does not raise any public interest concerns, the Commission said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI opposed to temporary scrapping of EV duties, but open to EU tariff re-set - Terence Creamer

The Department of Trade & Industry has confirmed that it is opposed to reducing protection on the import of electric vehicles as a way of increasing domestic demand, arguing that automotive firms should, instead, use the duty offsets available to them via production rebate credit certificates to increase EV imports. The DTI estimates that the original equipment manufacturers have accumulated R6bn worth of production rebate credit certificates. Industrial division automotive unit director TINYIKO MAFUWANE says the government views EVs as a future industrialisation opportunity and that a level of protection to ensure the viability of any move to manufacture EVs locally. The DTI is thus not supportive of a proposed temporary scrapping of EV tariffs, describing such a move as contrary to the local-production objectives of the Automotive Production and Development Programme, which will remain policy until 2020. At present, a tariff of 25% is in place for electric passenger vehicles, while electric buses and trucks carry a duty of 20%. BMW SA has submitted an official request to the International Trade and Administration Commission of SA for a scrapping of duties on pure EVs for a period of three years. Thereafter, a 10% import duty is proposed. ITAC is yet to make a determination, but the DTI has confirmed that it has outlined its opposition to the proposal during ITAC consultations. BMW SA has described the main aim of the application as being to stimulate the growth and uptake of EVs in SA by making them more affordable to a wider customer audience. The DTI counters that, in applying for temporary relief, the OEMs have failed to provide clarity on how the scrapping of protection will affect demand and what the associated socioeconomic benefits could be. Also, in the absence of a firm OEM commitment to produce EV's locally, government believes lowering protection could limit the space for future industrial policy interventions. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

DTI invites public to comment on proposed amendments to BBBEE codes - Marnely Arnoldi

The Department of Trade & Industry is inviting the public to participate in a public commentary process on a proposed amendment to the BBBEE Codes of Good Practice on or before May 29. The proposed amendments aim to promote innovative ways to increase the participation of black South Africans and particularly black youths in the economy. Key to these amendments are the Youth Employment Service (Yes) that was launched last month and the introduction of a ring-fenced point indicator on the skills development scorecard for a 2.5% spend target on bursaries for black students attending higher educational institutions. The introduction of a ring-fenced 2.5% target for skills development expenditure on bursaries for black students at higher educational institutions is a critical intervention to enable the raising of funds for the education of needy and deserving black youth. Both these initiatives are critical policy revisions that are deliberately targeting youth empowerment through work opportunities and critical skills development. To create certainty and ensure rapid take-up in Yes, the DTI has considered to delink the Yes and the 2.5% bursary target, meaning that the bursary contributions will not be a precondition to obtain BEE recognition as a Yes participating entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat receives govt approval for Maseve acquisition - Simone Liedtke

The Department of Mineral Resources has been granted consent in terms of Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Development Act for the transfer of the entire issued share capital of MASEVE INVESTMENTS 11 to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM. With the approval, all conditions precedent to the completion of PLATINUM GROUP METALS' sale of the Maseve mine to RBPLAT have now been met. The companies first announced the transaction in Sep. 2017, with RBPLAT CEO STEVE PHIRI stating, at the time, that the mine, which borders its Styldrift I project, will provide RBPLAT with immediate access to an operational concentrator to treat Styldrift I ore. He added that the deal would also provide RBPLAT with early access to its Frischgewaagd orebody at the Styldrift mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cochilco forecasts Chile's 2018 copper output up 4.3% - Reuters

Chilean copper commission COCHILCO on Friday forecast that the country would produce 5.76mt of the red metal in 2018, up 4.3% from 2017, while estimating copper prices at $3.06/lb this year. The projections follow a difficult year for the country in 2017 after workers at BHP's Escondida mine downed tools for a month and a half, putting a dent in Chile's economy and sending shock waves through the market. COCHILCO said numerous pending labour talks at mines in Chile and Peru this year continue to unnerve the market and raise the spectre of supply shortages, but added it was hopeful these would be resolved without issue. The agency said Chile's copper production would jump to 5.94mt in 2019, boosted by increased output at mines such as ANTOFAGASTA's Antocuya, KGHM's Sierra Gorda and LUMINA COPPER's Caserones. COCHILCO expects copper prices to rise to $3.11/lb next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vast acquires 23.75% economic stake in Zim mine - Simone Liedtke

VAST RESOURCES' 25%-owned group company DALLAGLIO INVESTMENTS has acquired a 95% stake in the Eureka gold mine in Zimbabwe. DALLAGLIO acquired a 95% stake in DELTA GOLD ZIMBABWE, which owns the Eureka mine, from ALPHA RESOURCES and SA's INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, thereby providing VAST with an indirect 23.75% stake in Eureka. The $4.49m purchase price is financed by a loan from SUB-SAHARA GOLDIA INVESTMENTS from DALLAGLIO. SSGI has an effective 24.99% stake in DALLAGLIO and, therefore, funding for the acquisition has been sourced by VAST's associated entities in Zimbabwe without recourse to VAST. In light of the transaction and of anticipated further transaction opportunities, VAST is giving consideration to the current holding structure of its Zimbabwe assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trans Hex to dispose of LOR operations - Simone Liedtke

TRANS HEX subsidiary TRANS HEX OPERATIONS has entered into an agreement to sell its Lower Orange River operations - the Bloeddrif and Baken mines - to black women-owned LOR DIAMONDS for R72m. The agreement includes the disposal of the business conducted by THO relating to the exploration, prospecting, mining, recovery, treatment, production and disposal in respect of the LOR operations. TRANS HEX said the transaction provides it with an opportunity to implement its strategy for the LOR operations. It also provides the company with additional capital that can be applied to fund its working capital requirements. The purchase consideration will be settled via an initial payment of R50m within seven business days of the signature of the agreement and subsequent deferred payments of R2.75m each, totalling R22m. The aggregate deferred payment of R22m is payable over a period of eight months, starting five months after the date of signature of the agreement. THO and LOR DIAMONDS have also entered into a contract mining agreement in terms of which LOR DIAMODNS will be appointed as an independent contractor to THO and will undertake and conduct, for its own account and benefit, mining operations on the land and property forming part of the LOR operations pursuant to the LOR mining right. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Independent board advises M&R shareholders to reject ATON bid - Ed Stoddard

MURRAY & ROBERTS on Friday said an independent board had recommended that its shareholders reject a takeover bid by Germany's ATON,t he latest rebuff to the acquisition attempt. M&R reported interim profits that more than doubled, in part due to higher earnings for its underground mining activities. "It was clear to the Independent Board upfront that ATON's approach was opportunistic and timed to coincide with unprecedented weakness in the company's share price", M&R said. "The Independent Board, having taken the advice of (an) independent export, communicated to shareholders its view that the ATON offer materially undervalued the strategic platforms and business prospects of MURRAY & ROBERTS", the company added. M&R's share price closed at R15.20 on Thursday, almost double its 2018 low of R8.70 hit on Mar. 22. When the planned buyout by ATON was announced on Mar. 26, M&R's share price was close to a two-year low, according to Reuters data. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia plans Zim expansion - Zandi Shabalala

CALEDONIA MINING plans to buy gold assets in Zimbabwe and increase its stake in the Blanket mine after the removal of the country's tough ownership rules. CALEDONIA has been encouraged by its investors to look at expanding in Zimbabwe for the first time in years, head of corporate development MAURICE MASON said. At end-Dec., CALEDONIA had a cash balance of $12.8m. MASON said it was ready to tap equity markets for cash for larger deals, but in the meantime the company will focus on low-cost acquisitions. It plans to target mines that had previously been forced to shut due to a lack of investment. "There were many mines that closed because the operating environment was too tough", MASON said, adding that CALEDONIA was evaluating a few mines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia - minister - Abdi Sheikh

Somalia's foreign minister on Friday said Dubai's DP WORLD should reconsider its contract with the breakaway region of Somaliland and work with federal authorities so Somalia's sovereignty is not violated. "We are asking DP WORLD to reconsider these agreements, particularly the one in Berbera port since Somaliland is claiming to be a state independent from Somalia", AHMED ISSE AWAD, Somalia's foreign minister, said. He said DP WORLD's agreement to develop an economic zone and port in Somaliland's Berbera "bypassed the regitimate authority" of Somalia, triggering "misunderstanding and disagreement" that remained unresolved. Somaliland's Ambassador to the UAE, BASHE AWIL OMAR, said the deal was not up for discussion as the government of Somalia "has nothing to do with this agreement". Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto state since then but is not internationally recognised. The Dubai government owns DP WORLD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom Tanzania bets on data, mobile money - Omar Mohammed

VODACOM TANZANIA is focusing on growing its data business, mobile payments system and cloud services to stay on top of that country's competitive telecoms market. Investment in the areas will ensure the company retains first mover advantage, MD IAN FERRAO said. VODACOM controls 32% of the country's 40m mobile subscribers, ahead of companies including TIGO TANZANIA and a local unit of India's BHARTI AIRTEL. In 2016, VODACOM launched a payment system enabling its 8m mobile money subscribers to make payments to more than 10 000 merchants, from small shops to restaurants. "I'd like to see this get to 100 000 merchants in the next couple of years, so that everywhere we go you can pay using M-Pesa", FERRAO said. Another growth area is data, he said. More than 50% of the country's mobile phone users are accessing the internet using their phones, according to the regulator. VODACOM allocated around three quarters of the 600bn Tanzanian shillings it spent on network infrastructure over the past three years on expanding mobile broadband services. It is subsidising devices on its network so that consumers can buy cheaper smartphones, FERRAO said, because the issue keeping many people from accessing the internet is the cost of smartphones. He added that the government could help to address this issue by reducing the tax on imported phones. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN appoints investment firms for Nigerian unit's IPO - Chijioke Ohuocha

MTN has appointed Nigerian investment firm CHAPEL HILL DENHAM as lead issuing house for the IPO of its Nigerian unit in Lagos later this year, sources said on Friday. RAND MERCHANT BANK, RENAISSANCE CAPITAL and VETIVA CAPITAL were picked as joint issuers. The telecoms firm also appointed seven placement agents that would help market the offering, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo Republic says it has met criteria for IMF deal - Joe Bavier

Congo Republic on Friday said it fulfilled the criteria for a deal with the IMF and had reached an agreement on a three-year programme aimed at turning around its economy. The announcement appeared to contradict an earlier statement by the IMF, which said a programme would only be proposed to the Fund's board once Congo was in compliance with IMF policies. IMF officials were not available to react to the Congolese statement. The delay is largely due to the Fund's call for the government to restructure its debt, which stood at $9.14bn, or around 110% of GDp, by the end of July - a level the IMF says is unsustainable. The government's statement did not give the expected size of the IMF package, but it said that conclusion of the programme would unlock an additional 135m euros from France. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 23/04/2018

At 07:44 on 23 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.07 Rand/Sterling 16.93 Rand/Euro 14.83 Gold 1333.65 Platinum 923.00 Oil 73.07 All-Share Index 57581.73

Angola opens bids for Cobalt's former oil blocks - Alexander Winning

SONANGOL is inviting bids for stakes in two offshore oil blocks in Angola, the state-run oil firm said on Friday. The bids are for parts of SONANGOL's stakes in blocks 21/09 and 20/11. The company said it would share information on those blocks with investors via "data showrooms" in Luanda and Houston. Development of the blocks had been complicated by a dispute between SONANGOl and COBALT INTERNATIONAL ENERGY, which until recently was the operator of the blocks and owned a 40% stake in them. After a deal to sell the licences to SONAGNOL for $1.75bn collapsed in 2016, COBALT last year took the company to international arbitration over its failure to extend licence deadlines, which COBALT said negatively impacted its search for another buyer. SONANGOL in Dec. 2017 said it had reached a settlement with COBALT in which it would pay $150m by Feb. 23 and a further $350m by Jul. 1. In its 2016 results, COBALT said it had made seven discoveries in the blocks with a total of 750m gross boe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's 2018 maize output seen up 3% on prior estimate - Patricia Aruo

SA is expected to harvest 3% more maize in 2018 than previously estimated after late rains in the western part of the maize belt boosted yields, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee is seen pegging the harvest at 12.75mt, up from the 12.42mt it forecast in March. "Rain the past couple of weeks will add to confidence that the current crop expectation could be met and may even be exceeded', RIDDERMARK CAPITAL trader and director WARREN LANGRIDGE said. The poll expects the harvest to consist of 6.51mt of white maize, a slight increase from 6.36mt in the CEC's March estimates, and 6.14mt of the yellow variety. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gabon to invest $277m in fibre optic network - Loucoumane Coulibaly

Gabon will invest 150bn CFA francs over three years to expand its fibre optic telecoms network to improve digital connections, the country's minister of communication said last week. The first step of the project is already completed, linking the capital Libreville to Franceville, said ALAIN-CLAUDE BILIE-BY-NZE on the sidelines of a telecoms forum in the commercial capital Abidjan. KOREA TELECOM was chosen to do the second half of the project connecting up the north of the Central Africa country, after a tender process. BILIE-BY-NZE said 99% of the people in Gabon have access to the internet on mobile phones. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World has 'capacity' to absorb high oil price - Ahmed Al Omran

Saudi Arabia's energy minister KHALID AL-FALIH today said the global economy had the capacity to absorb higher prices. "I have not seen any impact on demand with current prices. We have seen prices significantly higher in the past, twice as much as where we are today", FALIH said before the start of a technical meeting in Jeddah to review the impact of OPEC and non-OPEC supply cuts. The supply deal is officially due to expire at the end of this year but its extension is widely expected to be under discussion at the next official meeting of OPEC ministers and large producers in June. FALIH said producers in the deal needed to be careful not to "jump the gun", saying OPEC was now targeting other metrics alongside inventories, including boosting investment in future supplies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Reckitt Benckiser misses estimate on key sales gauge - Scheherazade Daneshkhu

RECKITT BENCKISER today reported like-for-like sales growth of 2% in Q1, similar to the previous quarter and up on zero growth in sales in 201. The company reported revenues of £3.1bn in Q1 2018, up 49% on the same quarter last year due to the inclusion of the $18bn MEAD JOHNSON infant nutrition business. The like-for-like growth missed analyst estimates of 2.6% and sent RECKITT shares down 5% in early trade in London. Pro-forma sales, including MEAD, were up 3% thanks to a 6% rise at MEAD. RECKITT held to its FY target of 2%-3% like-for-like growth in revenues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays CEO fined in whistleblower probes - Caroline Binham

UK regulators say they will fine BARCLAYS CEO JES STALEY after a probe into his efforts to uncover a whistleblower in 2016, but said he would not be banned over the affair. In a landmark decision, BARCLAYS will avoid any sanctions by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority for sloppy whistleblowing systems after the bank moved to tighten up processes. STALEY apologised last year for his mistake in ordering the bank's security team to try to identify a whistleblower who had made allegations about a recently recruited colleague. The PRA and FCA said they had wrapped up their probes into the matter. Each levied an unspecified fine on STALEy for failing to act with due skill, care and diligence in a confidential draft warning notice, but said he did not lack the fitness and propriety to continue in his job. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HKEX targets tech IPOs with new listing rules - Emma Dunkley

HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING is to publish final rules next week that will allow for 'innovative' companies ranging from biotechnology businesses to tech giants to list on the bourse. HKEX will unveil its new listing regime on Tuesday following seeks of consultation with market participants, including banks, lawyers and investors. The new rules are expected to enable biotech firms that have yet to generate a revenue to list on the exchange for the first time. The rules are also set to permit companies deemed 'innovative' to list with dual-class share structures, which give founders of companies greater voting rights over ordinary shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Qualcomm to cut 1 500 jobs across California - Mamta Badkar

QUALCOMM yesterday disclosed it was cutting 15 00 jobs across its California offices as part of a plan to trim annual costs by $1bn. Some 1 231 of the cuts will come from San Diego, where the company is headquartered. Meanwhile, a further 269 jobs will be cut from offices in San Jose and Santa Clara. The cuts are expected to begin in June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dublin quashes bonus plan at AIB - Arthur Beesley

Irish Finance Minister PASCHAL DONOHOE has struck down a share bonus plan at ALLIED IRISH BANK but has initiated a review of stringent pay caps in place since Dublin rescued local lenders at the height of the financial crisis at a cost of €64bn. DONOHOE has refused to vote in favour of a deferred share plan at AIB, in which the government retains a 71% stake, at its AGM next week. Although Ireland's growing economy has turned the corner since the crisis, banks remain deeply unpopular amid public outrage at a mortgage overcharging scandal that led to a political backlash against the sector late last year. The minister's move to review bank pay policy in light of Brexit has already stirred political resistance. "I fear today's announcement marks the beginning of the return to the days of runaway salaries and bonuses at the banks", Sinn Fein spokesperson PEARSE DOHERTY said. AIB had proposed a package worth up to 100% of salary in a bid to curtail the risk of key executives defecting to institutions with higher pay. The scheme would have kicked in only if the government sells down more of its AIB shares but DONOHOE said the time was not right at present to remove a €500 000 pay cap and a ban on bonuses in banks backed by the government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aluminium retreats amid speculation of Rusal nationalisation - Neil Hume

Aluminium yesterday surrendered earlier gains to trade lower amid talks of a state-backed rescue deal for RUSAL. The metal, which had traded as high as $2 718/t on the LME, was down 0.5% at $2 540 on reports that RUSAL could be temporarily nationalised. Western consumers have been scrambling to find alternative sources of supply since RUSAL and its owner OLEG DERIPASKA was hit with US sanctions earlier this month, pushing the price of the metal up 30% to a seven-year high. But traders said it was not clear how a deal would work and if any US or European customers would risk dealing with a Kremlin-controlled entity in the current political climate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire shares down after Allergan rules out bid - Federica Cocco

Irish drugmaker SHIRE's share price fell 3.7% in early trading today after botox-maker ALLERGAN pulled out of making a competing bid for the FTSE100 company. SHIRE yesterday rebuffed a £42.3bn takeover offer from Japan's TAKEDA. ALLERGAN had made it known that it contemplated an offer but then decided against it, which sent SHIRE's share price down at 3 823p from yesterday's close at 3 831p. TAKEDA shares fell by 4.67%. If a takeover of SHIRE did take place at current valuations, it would rank as one of the largest the pharmaceutical sector has ever seen. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA distances itself from Steinhoff accounting fiasco - Lameez Omarjee

ABSA yesterday said its role as STEINHOFF's JSE sponsor was strictly to ensure the company met the requirements of the JSE and it had no role in scrutinising the retailer's financial statements. It issued the statement following a report by City Press that Dutch investor association VEB planned to target ABSA in a class action suit against STEINHOFF. VEB was going after ABSA and two other lenders for providing services to STEINHOFF when the company was compiling two prospectuses in 2015 ahead of its listing in Frankfurt. The information in the prospectuses had been found to be misleading and had resulted in losses to shareholders. ABSA yesterday said it had not received a notice from VEB, requesting the bank to reach a settlement with the firm or be subject to the class action law suit. It also distanced itself from the accounting irregularities by adding that its role as JSE sponsor was to ensure that the JSE's listing rules were complied with. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon moves to decentralised model - Ntaoleng Lechela

EDCON has confirmed that it does not plan to list on the JSE anytime soon. CEO GRANT PATTISON yesterday said it is up to shareholders, and not the business executives, to decide when the company will be listed, but this is not one of the group's short-term goals. "EDCON has been run very centralised in the past... and as a team we have tried to decentralise it. EDCON is now four very specific businesses". EDGARS CEO MIKE ELLIOT said the fashion retailer will be using more digital spaces to reach customers. It will also try to "own our South Africanness" through brand position, ELLIOTT said. JET STORES CEO URIN FERNDALE said his unit would not be absorbing the VAT changes on its cheapest items, and would add such increases on slightly higher-priced items. CNA GM JULIE DAY said the store aims to be one of the best stationery businesses in the local market. It plans to build up its stationery departments and trim back on other departments. The toy department will decrease by 66%. CNA will also in future only stock toys for educational purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pita's resignation from Transnet does not absolve him - DPE - Fin24

Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN last night welcomed the resignation of TRANSNET CFO GARRY PITA, but made it clear that his stepping down does not absolve him of accountability for possible wrongdoing. Acting deputy DG for the Department of Public Enterprises MAKGOLA MAKOLOLO said: "TRANSNET has been faced by a series of allegations of deep corruption and malfeasance with highly suspicious and questionable financial transactions to the detriment of TRANSNET and its reputation... The current board is yet to provide credible explanations of how such transactions were approved or indeed condoned over successive financial years". MAKOLOLO added that PITA's resignation "does not absolve him of accountability should he be found to have had a role in any way or form". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet CFO Garry Pita resigns - Jean le Roux

TRANSNET yesterday announced the resignation of CFO GARRY PITA. PITA joined the utility in 2006 and was appointed group CFO in Feb. 2016. TRANSNET said PITA advised it that he would tender his resignation on Mar. 31 due to ill-health and strain from the job. MARK-GREGG MCDONALD will act as interim CFO. PITA's appointment as group CFO saw him replace ESKOM CFO ANOJ SINGH. PITA gained notoriety when he was implicated in endorsing a memorandum, drafted by SINGH, to engage in a contract with NEOTEL in Feb. 2015. That deal was tainted with allegations of nearly R66m in kickbacks, paid by NEOTEL with the help of a letterbox company called HOMIX, which was linked to the GUPTAS. PITA in 2016 signed off on invoices authorising TRANSNET to pay R74m to TRILLIAN CAPITAL PARTNERS for work done between Feb. and Jun. 2016. It later became evident that PITA's involvement with GUPTA family businesses started even before he signed the TRILLIAN invoices. An agreement between SAP and an unknown company called CAD HOUSE included a timeline involving PITA as far back as 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Union to demand that Steinhoff appoint new board at AGM - Jan Cronje

FEDUSA yesterday announced it will picket the AGM of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL to demand the appointment of a new board. STEINHOFF is holding its AGM in the Netherlands later today. It will be live-streamed to a venue in Cape Town, which FEDUSA said it would picket. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB launches mobile bank account - Ntaoleng Lechela

FNB has launched a mobile bank account aimed at the 11m customers they say are not catered for. The bank on Wednesday announced that an extended version of eWallet will be launched at end-May. eWallet eXtra will act as a mobile bank account, offering services that a bank account would have and making it more than just a send money account. FNB's product head of Inclusive Banking GUGU ZIKHALI said eWallet eXtra users will be able to access their money at various FNB ATMs and retail tills. Users will not be able to perform debit orders with the mobile accounts, and will pay transaction charges. All that is needed to open an account is a cellphone and a South African ID number. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell laments import duties on steel, tyres - Irma Venter

BELL EQUIPMENT CEO GARY BELL believes local manufacturers are paying 22% too much for their steel. BEL says his company has to pay a 10% import duty on steel, with another 12% safeguard duty added to protect the local steel industry. BELL EQUIPMENT uses local steel, made by ARCELORMITTAL SA, but also imports high-performance steel that ensures the highest structural strength with the lowest possible weight. "The duty on steel is not good for manufacturers in South Africa. It is good for one steel producer, and that's it. I think government needs to look at what they need to do to make manufacturing competitive and sustainable in South Africa". BELL EQUIPMENT also pays duties on the tyres it imports for the vehicles it manufactures in Richards Bay. "On the ADT there are six tyres. Combined they are the most expensive part of the truck - more so than the MERCEDES-BENZ engine. We pay import duties on these tyres in order to protect the tyre industry in South Africa, which predominantly makes car tyres. But the reality is that no company in Africa manufactures the tyres we need". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria plans power tariff overhaul by 2021 to attract investment - Reuters

Nigeria plans to overhaul its energy tariff system by 2021 to try to attract investment and improve power supply, the vice chair of the country's electricity regulator said. Only around half of the 190m people in Nigeria have access to power. SANUSI GARBA, vice-chair of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, said the regulator had devised a "recovery plan" that would fix the tariff issue. Under the plan, by 2021 regular tariffs will reach parity with cost-relative tariffs. GARBA said increasing tariffs was difficult given the lack of regular power supply and the relatively few paying customers on the system. There are currently just 8m customers on the billing platform. GARBA said the reset plan would bring in more investors in order to add generation capacity, diversify power sources away from gas, expand the transmission system and add 10-20 million customers to the billing system. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando awarded PEC contract for Nigeria pipeline - Anine Kilian

OANDO, together with OILSERV, have been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction mandate for the Ajaokuta-Abuja portion of the $727m Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline system by the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION. The contract award follows an extensive due diligence process conducted by the NNPC following a submission by OANDO and OILSERV in 2013 in response to an expression of interest for a contractor-financed EPC development of the project. The development of the 214 km AKK grid is a manifestation of the Gas Infrastructure Blueprint in the Nigerian Gas Master Plan, which seeks to extend the existing gas transmission network and achieve connectivity between the east and the north, serve new customers and bridge the shortfall in the western region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 hikes manganese guidance, lowers coal - Esmarie Swanepoel

SOUTH32 has increased its manganese production guidance from its Australian and South African operations to take advantage of favourable market conditions. The company increased its production guidance at he Australian manganese operations by 6% to 3.3mt and its South African operations by 5% to 2.15mt. This follows a record operating performance at the Australian operations during the Mar. quarter, when saleable ore rose by 15% q/q to 830mt. Manganese saleable ore output from the South African operations fell by 5% q/q to 539mt in Q3. SOUTH32 said it increased its 2018 FY guidance despite planned major maintenance at the Wessels underground mine in the Jun. 2018 quarter. SOUTH32 also reported a production record at its Mozal aluminium operation, delivering a record 204 000t of output in the nine months to Mar., and delivering 67 000t during Q3. Alumina output for the nine month period was reported at 3.7mt, with the Mar. quarter contributing 1.28mt. SOUTH32 also lowered its production guidance for its Illawarra metallurgical coal operation by 9% to 4.1mt as the company continued rehabilitation activities at the Appin colliery. Metallurgical coal output for the nine months to end-Mar. fell by 51% y/y as production from both the Australian and South African operations fell by 2.08mt. Q3 output fell by 45% to 794 000t. Metallurgical coal output for the nine months to Mar. reached just over 2mt, with 1.43mt produced in the March quarter. Energy coal output was also down 7% in the year-to-date to over 21mt, with 6.8mt delivered in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shanta reports lower Q1 gold output - Simone Liedtke

SHANTA GOLD remains on track to achieve its guidance of 82 000oz to 88 000oz in 2018 at an all-in sustaining cost of $680-$730/oz, despite the New Luika gold mine in Tanzania reporting lower output. Production in the Mar. quarter reduced to 17 663oz, from 21 288oz in the Dec. quarter, but was in line with the company's revised mine plan and its FY production guidance. Overall, a total of 142 784t of ore, grading 4.4g/t gold was mined, compared with 143 092t of ore grading 4.7g/t gold in Q4. The gold was produced at an AISC of $776/oz, which is in line with the reduced gold production during the period. SHANTA lowered its gross debt by $3.8m to $49.2m, while its net debt fell by $2m to $37.5m. EBITDA for the company were $9.1m during the period, with cash flows from operating activities of $7.1m. SHANTA reported quarterly gold sales of 17 691oz at an average price of $1 329/oz. Capex decreased to $3.3m from $6.3m in Q4, while the cash operating costs rose to $599/oz, from $591/oz y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Letseng mining lease to be extended - Gem - Anine Kilian

The Lesotho government has announced its intention to renew GEM DIAMONDS' Letseng mining lease until 2034. The lease may be further extended if necessary in relation to any underground development of the mine thereafter. "I would like to thank the government of Lesotho for its ongoing support, which will allow GEM to continue to extract some of the world's largest and most valuable diamonds from this remarkable resource", GEM CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said. The full terms of the renewed mining lease are subject to a statutory negotiation process with the Lesotho Mining Board and, when agreed, will be contained in a new mining lease agreement. A further announcement will be made once the statutory negotiations have been concluded and a new Letseng mining lease issued. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Firestone sees high recoveries in Q1 - Anine Kilian

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS recovered 192 604ct of diamonds from its Liqhobong mine in the quarter to end-Mar. Recoveries at the Lesotho mien were 6.6% higher q/q, resulting in a year-to-date total of 572 320ct. The company expects to achieve its annual production target at the lower end of guidance of 800 000ct-850 000ct, as mining progresses in the higher-grade ore. During the quarter, Liqhobong treated 869 126t of ore at an average throughput rate of 509t/h, while 93 specials were recovered. FIRESTONE sold 217 380ct at an average of $81/ct in the quarter, yielding proceeds of $17.6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maatla Energy gets environmental approval for Botswana mine - Marleny Arnoldi

MAATLA ENERGY's subsidiary MAATLA RESOURCES has received approval for the environmental-impact assessment for it Mmamabula export coal mine, in Botswana. MAATLA RESOURCES has also submitted a mining licence application to the Botswana authorities. The Mmamabula mine is located in one of the country's main coalfields and contains more than 90mt of high-grade thermal coal. The mine has a life in excess of 25 years and is targeting initial output of 50 000t/m, ramping up to 100 000t/m within the first year of production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP cuts guidance at Olympic Dam, Pilbara - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP has reduced its FY production guidance for its Pilbara and Olympic Dam operations in South Australia. The miner yesterday posted a 6% drop in iron ore output during the quarter to end-Mar. q/q, reflecting the impact from Cyclone Joyce and unplanned car dumper maintenance. Total iron ore output for the nine months to end-Mar. rose by 2% to a record 175mt. But the company trimmed its iron ore production guidance for the FY from a previous estimate of 239mt-243mt to between 236mt and 238mt. BHP said petroleum production for the quarter to end-Mar. was down 8% q/q to 45m boe. Petroleum production for the nine-month period was down 8% to 143m boe. Copper production for q3 was up 6% q/q to 457 000t, with year-to-date output reaching 1.29mt, up 37% y/y. At Olympic Dam, copper output fell by 18% y/y as a result of a planned major smelter maintenance campaign in H1. BHP also reduced the production guidance for the operation from 150 000t to around 135 000t due to slower ramp-up during Q3. For FY2018, BHP expected copper output to be between 1.65mt and 1.79mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massmart hopes for higher sales - Siseko Njobeni

MASSMART is hoping for improved sales performance in 2018 as the stronger rand, low inflation and lower interest rates look set to lift consumer sentiment and spending. CEO GUY HAYWARD this week said that while the country's new political leadership and direction would improve many economic factors, there were still policy, structural and public sector impediments. MASSMART's sales for the first 12 weeks of 2018 had been soft, "a trend noted by other participants in South African retail", HAYWARD said. CFO JOHANNES VAN LIEROP said the group's total sales for the FY to end-Dec. rose by 1%. "Food and liquor sales were better than those of durable goods", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer Foods flags higher H1 profit - Nqobile Dludla

PIONEER FOOD GROUP yesterday said it expects HY operating profit and headline earnings to increase by up to 44% and 32%, respectively. PIONEER said it expects operating profit for the HY to end-Mar. or R922m-R991m versus R688m y/y. Adjusted HEPS is expected to increase to 309.1cps-334.5cps, from 253.4cps y/y. PIONEER said sales volumes in the period were 4.3% higher while group turnover fell by 2.8% y/y to R9.9bn, largely due to sales price deflation in soft commodities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia Mining posts lower Q1 earnings, maintains FY targets - Zandi Shabalala

ACACIA MINING yesterday posted a drop in Q1 earnings after reducing operations at its flagship gold mine but stuck to its FY production and costs targets. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter to end-Mar. fell to $44m from $82m y/y. ACACIA is caught up in a tax dispute with the government that forced it to reduce operations at its flagship mine last year. Gold output fell to 120 981oz, down 45% y/y, mainly due to lower output at the Bulyanhulu mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania names chair for new mining commission - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzanian President JOHN MAGUFULI this week appointed a chair and commissioners for the country's new mining commission, paving the way for the issuance of new mining licences. MAGUFULI appointed IDRIS KIKULA, a former vice chancellor of a state university, as chair of the new mining commission, and also named eight commissioners to serve under him. The presidency said the appointments would take effect immediately. Under legislation passed in Jul. 2017, the commission has been given extensive powers to regulate and monitor the mining industry and mining operations in Tanzania. It is charged with curbing smuggling and tax evasion by mining companies and has powers to suspend and revoke mining exploration and exploitation licences and permits. The commission will also monitor and audit both the quality and quantity of minerals produced and exported by large, medium and small-scale miners to determine their tax liabilities. The commission will be required to audit capital investment and operating expenditures of large mines, soft and assess values of minerals produced for tax purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strike halts gold output at two Randgold mines in Mali - Tiemoko Diallo

A workers' strike in Mali has halted gold output at two mines run by RANDGOLD RESOURCES since Wednesday, a senior union official said yesterday. The strike at the Loulo ad Gounkoto mines was related to the payment of bonuses and would continue until the issue was resolved, MAMADOU N'DAOU, the administrative secretary of industry and mines union SECNAMI, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo Republic debt restructuring will not affect bondholders - Christian Elion

Congo Republic's current efforts to restructure its external debt will not affect multilateral creditors or holders of its eurobond and regional bond, PM CLEMENT MOUAMBA said in a statement this week. In the statement, he said ongoing talks with the IMF, which has said the country's debt is unsustainable, will "rapidly lead to the adoption" of a three-year programme with the Fund. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court stops Kenya regulator's fake mobile monitoring plan - Humphrey Malalo

Kenya's High Court yesterday stopped the country's telecoms regulator from monitoring mobile phone networks to detect counterfeits, saying the regulator had flouted the constitution and failed to involve the public when it rolled out the plan. Operators including market leader SAFARICOM strongly objected to the plan when it was made public last year, saying it would give the regulator access to other customer data including calls, messages and financial transactions. A private citizen challenged the regulator's decision in court and Judge JOHN MATIVO ruled against the regulator in a judgment delivered yesterday. There was no immediate reaction from the operators or the Communications Authority of Kenya. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's fresh produce export earnings up 11% in 2017 - Duncan Miriri

Kenya earned 115.25bn shillings from exports of cut flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables in 2017, 11% higher y/y. FOKESEGERE OJEPAT, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, said cut flowers accounted for 70% of the earnings with the rest coming from fresh fruit and vegetables. He said the sector had shown resilience in the face of a drought, a drawn-out presidential election and sluggish private sector credit which curbed Kenya's economic expansion in 2017. OJEPAT said the fresh produce sector faced several challenges including high costs of production and insufficient cooling facilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers rolls out app to clean up Sierra Leone diamond supply chain - Ed Stoddard

DE BEERS is rolling out an app to help small-scale artisanal diamond miners in Sierra Leone certify that gems they pry from the soil are legal, the company said yesterday. Called GEMFAIR, the DE BEERS pilot app project is a partnership with NGO Diamond Development Initiative, and will target several small-scale mine sites in Sierra Leone in