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WBHO subsidiary building tallest residential buildings in Australia - Anine Kilian

WILSON BAYLY HOLMES-OVCON's Australian subsidiary, PROBUILD CONSTRUCTIONS, is building the tallest residential buildings in Sydney and Melbourne. The A$340m Greenland Centre in Sydney, is a 235 m tall residential building with 479 apartments and a 2 000m² creative hub. The company is also building Aurora Melbourne Central, which WBHO MD PAUL FOLEY says is unique due to its direct access to the CBD underground rail loop. Aurora's 92 storeys include 941 residential apartments, three levels of resident facilities, 250 serviced apartments, office suites and retail space. The $400m project will be the tallest building undertaken by PROBUILD to date. WBHO entered the Australian market in 2001 after acquiring an initial 40% stake in PROBUILD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA remains attractive destination for investment - Megan van Wyngaardt

SA is still an attractive investment destination and the Department of Trade & Industry's InvestSA initiative still has a good investment pipeline, says InvestSA head YUNUS HOOSEN. HOOSEN noted that the initiative had a "number of investment projects that we will be working on again this year". It aims to attract and facilitate more domestic and foreign direct investments in the country this year. Last year, SA attracted a number of significant investors, including BEIJING AUTOMOTIVE INTERACTIVE CORPORATION, which invested R11bn; R5bn from ACWA POWER and a R2.5bn investment from FORD, besides others. "This provides evidence that South Africa has not lost its lustre as an investment destination of choice for multinational companies from various parts of the world". InvestSA aims to provide a one-stop-shop service to investors, which includes investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare, all of which are geared at fast-tracking projects and reducing government red tape. This news brief represents a

Peru economy grew 3.22% y/y in Nov. - Reuters

Peru's economy grew by 3.22% in Nov. y/y, with strength in sectors including mining and manufacturing outweighing a slide in construction, government data showed this week. The annualised economic growth rate was 4.14% in Nov., state statistics agency Inei said. In the first 11 months of 2016, the economy grew 3.91% y/y. Surging copper and gold output at new and expanded mines has driven growth, but domestic demand has slowed on slumping public and private investments. Economic activity grew at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.5% in Nov. from Oct., Inei said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldcorp details growth plan - Reuters

GOLDCORP yesterday detailed an ambitious growth plan that includes increasing output as well as yet-to-be-mined reserves by 20% over the next five years from existing operations and deposits, lifting its shares. At an investor day event, the company focused on the exploration potential at its mine sites and projects in the Americas, a turnaround from recent years when most miners' attention was on reducing costs, not growth. GOLDCORP CEO DAVID GAROFALO warned that the bullion industry risked becoming irrelevant if it did not reverse a trend of falling output and reserves. The company this week said it expected to increase gold output by a fifth over the next five years to around 3moz, driven by capacity ramp-ups at its Cerro Negro mine in Argentina, and the Eleonore mine in Canada. Its gold reserves are forecast to rise 20% to 50moz in the same period from the conversion of existing resources in Canada, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. GOLDCORP forecast its all-in sustaining costs falling by 20% to $70

Cerrejon's Colombia coal exports, output fall in 2016 - Reuters

Output and exports of coal by CERREJON, Colombia's biggest coal producer, fell in 2016 for the second consecutive year, the company said yesterday. Production reached 32mt, down 3.6% y/y when output was 33.2mt. No reason was provided for the decline. Exports slipped 2.99% to 32.4mt, from 33.4mt y/y. CERREJON is a JV between BHP BILLITON, ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro concludes R3.6bn share repurchase scheme - Natasha Odendaal

EXXARO RESOURCES yesterday said all conditions precedent to the specific repurchase of shares from BEE partner MAIN STREET 333 have been met. EXXARO will acquire nearly 44m ordinary shares from MS333 in a deal valued ar around R3.5bn. The delisting and subsequent cancellation of the shares will occur on Friday. The share repurchase follows the unwinding of its previous BEE deal with MS333, which held 50.19% of the issued ordinary shares of EXXARO, on Nov. 28. The new scheme will result in a 30% BEE shareholding in EXXARO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana's 2017 gold production off to a strong start - Anine Kilian

Ghana's gold sector has had a strong start this year due to the start of gold production at a new mine, rising gold prices and a favourable investment environment, according to BMI RESEARCH. "We expect the steady growth rate of the country's gold output to continue from 2017 to 2021", the FITCH-affiliated market analyst said. Commercial output has started at GOLDEN STAR RESOURCES' Wassa underground mine, which is expected to produce 160 000oz of gold this year. GOLDEN STAR's Prestea mine is also set to start production in mid-2017, further lifting the country's gold production. "We forecast the precious metal to steadily increase from an average of $1 300/oz in 2017 to $1 500/oz in 2020, largely owing to rising inflation pressures", BMI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile to invite bids on value-added lithium tech in Apr. - Reuters

Chile will hold a tender in Apr. to encourage companies to use its vast lithium resources to move it up the value chain with cathode or battery production. It is pressing ahead on deals with international firms as relations remain bitter with local lithium producer SQM, where royalties arbitration is expected to take at least another year, said EDUARDO BITRAN, executive VP of CORFO, which manages Chile's lithium leases. The tender to develop value-added lithium technology in Chile should conclude by Nov. with two Chinese companies and a Korean associate having shown interest, BITRAN said this week. The country currently exports high-grade lithium carbonate but the process of turning it into cathodes and batteries takes place elsewhere. Companies bidding in the tender will have access to cheaper lithium. CORFO recently inked a deal with global lithium leader ALBEMARLE to allow it to boost output at its Salar de Atacama facility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria needs to close gap between official, black market rates - Dmitry Zhdannikov

Nigeria needs to close the gap between the official and black market rates for the naira against the dollar "very soon", Vice President YEMI OSINBAJO said yesterday. "The gap between the official and parallel market... it isn't helpful... If you look at economic recovery and growth plan it is the expectation that this is a conversation we are having with central bank", OSINBAJO told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA carmakers see sales growth in 2017 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's automotive sector expects a slight increase in new vehicle sales this year as economic growth gains pace thanks to commodity price rises and a recovery in farming. New vehicle sales are expected to rise by 2.5% to 3.5% in 2017, NAAMSA director NICO VERMEULEN said. The increase follows three successive years of decline and a drop of 11.4% in 2016 to 547 442 units. VERMEULEN said the growth projects were based on an assumption of economic growth of over 1% this year. Despite the recent decline in domestic new car sales, exports have improved, hitting a record of 344 822 units in 2016, and are expected to rise to 375 000 units this year. Europe would remain the key export market but manufacturers were closely watching developments in the US, where President-elect DONALD TRUMP has vowed to hit companies that shift production from America to other countries with a 35% border tax. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom signs deal with municipalities over unpaid bills - Tanisha Heiberg

ESKOM has signed agreements with 21 of the 34 defaulting municipalities to recoup unpaid bills worth R10.2bn and ease the pressure on businesses, the utility said yesterday. "Municipalities need to make arrangements or they will have to face the repercussions of having power interruptions", ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said. The utility said it was within its power to cut electricity completely according to the Electricity Regulations Act and municipality supply agreements, but will only implement scheduled interruptions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's Econet to raise $130m - MacDonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's largest mobile telephony company ECONET WIRELESS plans to raise $130m from shareholders to pay foreign loans it is struggling to settle due to a severe dollar crunch, it said yesterday. the company said that to avoid defaulting on external obligations, it had decided to raise money via a rights issue, adding that foreign currency shortages made it difficult for the group and its subsidiaries to pay foreign loans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DAWN issues trading statement - Sens

DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING NETWORK yesterday said it expects basic EPS for the FY to end-Mar. to be at least 20% better than the 318cps loss reported y/y, and an LPS of 254cps is anticipated. HEPS for the FY is expected to be at least 20% worse than the HLPS of 66cps reported y/y, with an HLPS of 79cps expected. DAWN said its board had implemented various actions to lower costs and improve profitability. An update on these actions, together with a further trading statement will be published in due course. Final results will be published on Jun. 14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cashbuild increases revenue following expansion - BDpro

CASHBUILD yesterday said its revenue from the 20 new stores it has opened since Jul. 2015 have contributed to a 4% jump in revenue for H2 2016. It said that while new stores contributed to the increase, existing stores remained at similar levels to that of the comparable period a year ago. The company had 219 stores before it opened the new ones. CASHBUILD said revenue, which included that of P&L HARDWARE, amounted to growth of 14% for Q2 and 15% growth for H1 of the FY when compared with that of the previous year. It said the total number of items it had sold over the period, from new and old stores, had risen by 6%, from 7% in the preceding half. Old stores had contributed a 1% increase. CASHBUILD said selling inflation was 3% higher at end-Dec. when compared to the prior year's prices while gross profit percentage margins remained at similar levels to those reported for the full prior financial year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite expects interim turnover to rise 14% y/y - Andries Mahlangu

SHOPRITE yesterday said total turnover lifted 14% to R71.3bn in the first half of FY2017, with like-for-like turnover up 8.6%. The company said sales in the supermarket operation in SA rose 10.7%, supported by "good festive trading". Growth on a like-for-like basis was 7.4%, with internal inflation averaging 7.4% for the period. Sales growth on the African continent, excluding SA, rose 32%, assisted by higher inflation. Growth on a like-for-like basis was 14.2%. Taken at constant currencies, sales grew 51.7%. The furniture division grew sales by 10% for the period. Other operating segments achieved growth of 10.5%, driven mainly by the performance of its OK franchise. Interim results will be published on Feb. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mining output plunged 4.2% in Nov. - Pericles Anetos

Mining output plunged 4.2% in Nov. y/y, Statistics SA said yesterday. October's figure was revised to a 2.6% drop from a decline of 2.9% previously reported. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast an annual drop of 0.9%. The total value of mining products sold in Oct. came to R37bn, down from September's R39bn. The main contributors to the drop in production were PGMs, which declined by 10.8%, followed by gold (9.4%) and iron ore (8.7%). Manganese ore output was up 26.9%, boosting November's figures. Seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 1.5% in the quarter to end-Nov. compared with the previous three months. Sales figures for Oct. increased by 12.4% y/y, with the sale of coal, iron ore and chromium ore being the largest contributors. The increase was less than the 17% surge experienced in Sep. Seasonally adjusted mineral sales at current prices were up 1.5% in Oct. 2016 m/m due to a rise in commodity prices that started in Aug. This news brief represents a summary of the original

Rockwell posts poor Q3 results - Allan Seccombe

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS levelled accusations of "malicious legal attacks" and "sabotage" at third parties and blamed its poor Q3 performance on these factors. ROCKWELL has agreed to sell its Saxendrift and Remhoogte/Holsloot asset5s to NELESCO 318 for R45.5m, reduce its workforce, cut liabilities by more than 80% and inject $8m into the company to bring its Wouterspan operation in the Northern Cape into production from Mar. The R45.5m will be paid in three tranches as various conditions are met, with the first R20m payment expected before the end of Jan. ROCKWELL will cut its workforce to 297, down from 604. Operationally, Q3 to end-Nov. had been difficult, with disruptions to the development of Wouterspan caused by a disgruntled contractor attempting to secure the mining fleet via a spoliation order from the courts, which ROCKWELL successfully defended with costs. The cost of production in Q3 shot up by 67% y/y and 78% q/q due to "suspended operations and delays in the development of Wouterspan caused by mali

Market indicators for 18/01/2017

At 07h27 on 18 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.48 ZAR/EUR 14.42 ZAR/GBP 16.64 Gold 1215.13 Platinum 979.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.63 All Share 52817.73

Indonesia may issue new tax rules for mineral exports next week - Reuters

Indonesia may issue new tax rules for mineral exports next week, a Finance Ministry official said today, after talks with the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, which recently changed rules on domestic and mineral processing. "We want the export duties to push domestic processing. That's the principle", said SUAHASIL NAZARA, head of the Fiscal Policy Office at the Finance Ministry, adding that the taxes were "not just for increasing state revenues". "There's a high possibility we will continue with a scheme that has layers, depending on completion of smelters", NAZARA added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto hits 2016 output target - Esmarie Swanepoel

RIO TINTO has delivered a strong production quarter in the three months to end-Dec., helping the company achieve its targeted iron ore shipments for 2016. The company produced 85.5mt in Q4, taking 2016's production to 329.5mt. This is in line with the group's revised guidance of shipping between 325m and 330m tonnes in the year. RIO expects iron ore shipments to be in the 330mt-340mt range in 2017. The company's Q4 and FY2016 output were 4% and 6% higher, respectively, than their previous corresponding period, with the strong production performance attributed to the ramp-up of expanded mines, operational productivity improvements and minimal disruption from weather events. Copper production for Q4 rose by 20% y/y to 133 800t, while FY output rose by 4% to 523 300t. Hard coking coal output for Q4 rose 15% y/y to 2.2mt, and FY hard coking coal output was up 4% to 8.1mt. For Q4 2016, semi-soft and thermal coal production reached 5.22mt and FY production came in at 21.35mt. Aluminium production for Q4 ros

Acacia jumps in London on $4bn Endeavour merger talks - Bloomberg

ACACIA MINING hit its highest in almost two months after the company confirmed it is in early-stage talks with ENDEAVOUR MINING CORP. about a possible merger of the two companies which have a combined value of around $4bn. ACACIA rose 4% to close at 435p in London yesterday, the highest since Nov. 21, after earlier rising as much as 7.7%. A merger would allow BARRICK GOLD to reduce its 64% stake in ACACIA to around 30%, sources said. The deal could be structured as a reverse takeover with ACACIA buying ENDEAVOUR, and the combined company keeping its London listing. The plans are not concrete and the structure may change, a source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Net R1bn inflow for PPC - Business Report

PPC has seen a net R1bn inflow after it implemented its new empowerment scheme. The cash will be used to further reduce debt and fund capex, especially the Slurry kiln 9 project. The company also bought back and cancelled 48.6m shares at 10c apiece. This means its net stated capital is now at 1.6bn shares as its net capital dropped by 33m shares. PPC noted that the deal reduced its empowerment credentials, and it is working on a new deal which will be communicated by June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 17/01/2017

At 11h57 on 17 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.48 ZAR/EUR 14.38 ZAR/GBP 16.39 Gold 1214.01 Platinum 990.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.12 All Share 52855.23

Santander to be granted exemption in US stress test - Martin Arnold

Spain's BANCO SANTANDER is set to pass the US stress test at the fourth attempt as the Federal Reserve prepares to make the lender's struggling US offshoot one of several groups granted an exemption from the most demanding part of the process. The move is the result of proposed changes to the Fed's annual stress tests of the biggest US lenders. The regulator is expected to exclude smaller US lenders and several foreign groups from the most onerous part of the exercise. SANTANDER and a handful of other banks that have US operations below certain size thresholds are expected to be excluded from the qualitative part of the test. They will still be subjected to the quantitative element of the test, which assess whether a bank has a strong enough financial position to continue trading through a catastrophic shock to the system. The Fed and the banks declined to comment. The US operation is again set to be the worst performer of the group's main business units in 2016. It suffered a 42% drop in net profits f

Carlyle to buy Africa's leading rating agency - Joseph Cotterill

CARLYLE has agreed to buy GLOBAL CREDIT RATINGS, Africa's largest rating agency by customers, in a bet on future growth in the continent's capital markets. The acquisition of GCR, which rates more credits in Africa than global rivals FITCH, MOODY's and S&P, shows how private equity funds are seeking to capitalise on the need for banks and insurers to understand the credit risk of local counterparties. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Unlike global agencies which focus on producing internationally comparable corporate gradings, GCR specialises in national-level ratings, which rely less on a country's sovereign rating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE dismisses report on moving clearing to Germany - Philip Stafford

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP has hit out at an academic report commissioned by merger partner DEUTSCHE BORSE that highlighted the benefits of moving the LSE's prized clearing business to Frankfurt. The LSE said it had no intention of relocating "certain of its businesses" if the €28bn tie-up with its German rival receives regulatory approval. No such action was being considered and "any statements suggesting otherwise are inaccurate and misguided". The statement came in response to a study published by DEUTSCHE BORSE last week that talked up the benefit of the merger to Frankfurt as a financial centre. The study said that "clear improvements in the conditions for issuers and investors can be expected... and regulatory bodies will retain their ability to intervene in London's financial centre... especially if clearing and settlement processes were to be integrated in Frankfurt". The report was written by DIRK SCHIERECK, chair of corporate finance at Technische Universitat Darmstadt. Euro-denominated

Dollar slips as Trump says currency is 'too strong' - Mehreen Khan

The US dollar is weakening this morning after comments from President-elect DONALD TRUMP that the greenback was "too strong" against China's renminbi. "Our companies can't compete with them [Chinese companies] now because our currency is too strong. And it's killing us", TRUMP told the Wall Street Journal. TRUMP's election has propelled the greenback to 13-year highs with his promises to spend big on infrastructure and cut taxes ramping up expectations for higher US economic growth and a faster pace of interest rate hikes this year. The currency has gained nearly 5% since his election in late Nov., raising concern that its strength will hamper emerging market economies by leading to a tightening of global credit conditions. In the interview, TRUMP said the renminbi was "dropping like a rock". CHRIS TURNER at ING said: "Timing the TRUMP backlash against the strong dollar was always going to be difficult, but it seems to have started. Rhetoric from TRUMP's White House will slow, rather than reverse, the d

Hyundai mulls new US factory - Alice Woodhouse

HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP and affiliate KIA MOTORS said it is to increase investment in the US to over $3.1bn over the next five years and will consider opening a new factory in the country. HYUNDAI MOTOR president CHUNG JIN HAENG said the carmaker is weighing building the upscale Genesis model in a new US factory and would increase investment from $2.1bn in the last five-year period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BAT agrees deal to buy Reynolds - Mehreen Khan

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO has agredd a $49.4bn deal to acquire its unowned stake in REYNOLDS AMERICAN, a move that will create the world's largest listed tobacco company by sales. In a release this morning, BAT said it has completed the terms of a deal to buy the 57.8% stake in REYNOLDS it did not already own for $59.64/share - a 26% premium on its closing price on Oct. 20 last year. The deal has been agreed to by the boards of both companies and returns BAT to the US cigarette market for the first time in 12 years. REYNOLDS' shareholders will receive $29.44 in cash and 0.5260 of BAT ordinary shares for each REYNOLDS share. BAT said the cash component of the deal was $24.4bn, with the remaining $25bn comprising of BAT shares. REYNOLDS is the second largest player in the US cigarette market with a 34% market share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AccorHotels in talks to sell HotelInvest - Harriet Agnew

ACCORHOTELS is pushing ahead with plans to divest the majority of its property arm HOTELINVEST. The French group yesterday said the division is valued at €6.6bn, as of Dec. 31, adding that it has "entered into discussions with potential investors". Analysts expect that ACCOR will use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and make further acquisitions as it responds to pressure from online accommodation services such as AIRBNB. Under the leadership of ACCOR chair and CEO SEBASTIEN BAZIN, the group has reorganised its business model, separating HOTELSERVICES, its hotel business, from HOTELINVEST, its property arm. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF lifts post-Brexit UK growth forecast - Mehreen Khan

The IMF has upgraded its UK growth forecast for the second time after the Brexit vote as it predicted global growth will pick up from its slowest pace since the aftermath of the financial crisis. The IMF now expects the economy to expand by 1.5% this year from an earlier forecast of 1.1% - the biggest single upgrade of any major economy in its Jan. update for 2017. Growth in 2016 was also nudged up to 2% from an Oct. projection of 1.8% - making the UK the fastest growing developed economy in the world. But expansion in 2018 would come in lower at 1.4% from an earlier forecast of 1.8%, the Fund said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil price recovery boosts Reliance Industries - Simon Mundy

India's RELIANCE INDUSTRIES enjoyed the impact of stronger crude prices in the last quarter of 2016. RELIANCE yesterday reported net profit up 3.6% y/y to Rs75.1bn in the final quarter of 2016, on revenue up 16.1% to Rs842bn. Rising oil prices were the main driver for the turnover boost, RELIANCE said, noting a 13% jump in Brent prices for the period. Earnings growth was strongest for RELIANCE's petrochemicals business, where EBIT rose 26% y/y despite slower domestic demand prompted by the government's withdrawal of high-denomination bank notes. Meanwhile, RELIANCE claimed its JIO telecoms venture's 4G mobile data network was already the most extensive in India, and pointed to a Dec. test that showed it had average download speeds twice as fast as any other operator. But it complained that the number of interconnection points made available by rival operators was "way below requirement", meaning that 17.5% of calls from JIO to AIRTEL customers resulted in failure. JIO launched a free promotional service

Sinochem denies ChemChina merger plans - Lucy Hornby

The head of Chinese SOE SINOCHEM has denied plans to merge with rival CHEMCHINA after reports of discussions unnerved investors betting that CHEMCHINA will buy Swiss rival SYNGENTA. In response to a question of whether SINOCHEM planned to acquire CHEMCHINA, NING GAONING told a forum in Hong Kong: "No, this rumour is very old". Media in Oct. reported that the two firms were in talks for a merger, in line with an effort by the State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission to streamline the number of SOEs controlled by the central government. The reports added to the uncertainties around CHEMCHINA's $44bn bid for SYNGENTA, as a successful merger of the two Chinese companies would have changed CHEMCHINA's ownership after the deal had cleared Washington's Committee on Foreign Investment review process. CHEMCHINA this month submitted remedies to Brussels for its SYNGENTA bid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan upgrades Indonesia after govt spat - Mehreen Khan

JPMORGAN CHASE has upgraded its view on Indonesian stocks just weeks after a negative stance prompted the government to sever all ties with the US investment bank. Jakarta refused to use JPMORGAN as a primary dean and underwriter for its bonds after a Nov. decision by JPMORGAN analysts to slash their equities outlook by two categories to "underweight". In research sent to clients yesterday, JPMORGAN said it was partially reversing its stance, upgrading its outlook to "neutral" from "underweight" after Asian equities had proven "resilient in the post-TRUMP bond volatility shock". It also praised the country's "strong" economic fundamentals "with high potential growth rate and low debt/GDP with economic reform". A spokesperson for the bank denied there was any link between Indonesia's affront and its analysts' changed views. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC cuts may not need to be extended beyond Jun. - Saudi minister - David Sheppard

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, KHALID AL FALIH, yesterday said the supply cuts agreed by oil producers at the end of 2016 may not need to be extended beyond June as rising demand and strong compliance should have pushed the market towards balance by then. "Based on my judgment today it's unlikely that we will need to continue (the agreement) - demand will pick up in the summer and we want to make sure that the market is supplied well. We don't want to create a shortage or squeeze", he told an industry event in Abu Dhabi. But he added that the group could still extend the six-month deal "if there was a need". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone goods trade surplus beats expectations - Nicholas Megaw

A weaker euro helped exporters in the eurozone in Nov., lifting the bloc's trade in goods surplus closer to the record highs hit earlier in the year. European companies sold €22.7bn more than they imported on a seasonally adjusted basis in Nov., ahead of the €20.8bn surplus predicted by economists. Exports were 3.3% higher than in Oct., while imports rose by only 1.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony Gold's H1 output up 8% - Allan Seccombe

HARMONY GOLD today said its gold output in the first half of FY2017 was 8% higher than the six months to end-Jun. 2016. It attributed the increased output to its grades remaining above 5g/tonne. HARMONY will publish interim results on Feb. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Holdsport reports rise in interim sales - Sens

HOLDSPORT today advised that total sales for the four months to end-Dec. rose by 5.0% y/y, with retail sales for comparable stores decreasing by 0.7% over the period. Sportsmans Warehouse sales increased by 0.5%, while comparable sales fell by 2.3% y/y. Outdoor Warehouse sales rose by 8.4%, and by 4.3% on a comparable basis. The wholesale division's total sales rose by 46.7%, while external sales rose by 110.8%. Weighted retail trading space rose by 4.4% relative to the y/y period and the retail division experienced price inflation of around 8.5% for the period. Results for the FY to end-Feb. will be published on May 5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No Christmas cheer for Mr Price - Robert Laing

MR PRICE suffered a 0.5% decline in sales to R6.1bn over the Christmas period even before taking into account high product inflation of 10.8%. Including other income of R284.4m from interest and insurance charges along with cellular airtime sales, the company managed to report a small rise of 0.4% in revenue to R6.4bn for the 13 weeks to Dec. 31 y/y. Excluding new stores, sales dropped 2.9%. Sheet Street was the group's only chain to report comparable store growth. The adjusted figures showed Sheet Street grew overall sales 5%. Its trading space decreased 0.2% y/y, while comparable store sales growth was 4.8%. MR PRICE Apparel suffered a 1.1% drop in sales. It grew its trading space 4.9% and its comparable sales growth was 3.3%. Sales were down 0.6% at Miladys, while comparable sales dropped 1.2%. MR PRICE Home grew total sales 1.2% while comparable sales fell 1%. MR PRICE Sport grew floor space by 6%, while its total sales grew 2.6% but comparable growth fell 4.9%. Cash sales decreased by 0.5%, wh

Tough holiday environment for Truworths - Fin24

TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL yesterday said it experienced a difficult trading environment during the 26-week period to Dec. 25. Factors contributing to the tough environment included low economic growth, high product inflation resulting from rand weakness, reduced foreign revenues when translated into rand arising from sterling weakness, and the negative impact of the credit affordability assessment regulations in SA. Group retail sales for the period rose by 21% to R10.2bn y/y, while cash sales grew by 53%. Credit sales remained unchanged, and comprised 50% of group retail sales for the period - inclusive of the non-comparable retail sales of the company's UK business, OFFICE, which was acquired with effect from Dec. 4 2015. TRUWORTHS said the reason for the change in the credit cash sales metric is that OFFICE generates cash sales only. Excluding the contribution from OFFICE, retail sales at R7.4bn as well as cash and credit sales for the period remained unchanged y/y. Relative to the prior period adjuste

Motorists should brace for petrol pain - Fin24

The Automobile Association on Monday warned motorists to brace for another hike in fuel prices at the end of this month. Commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the CENTRAL ENERGY FUND, the AA said the R/$ exchange rate has firmed slightly since the start of 2017, but international oil prices have surged ahead by a far greater margin. The AA is predicting that petrol is set to jump by 44c, diesel by 37c and illuminating paraffin by 31c. "There is always the hope that the spike in international oil prices will not persist, but that seems unlikely", the AA said, adding that motorists "should already be thinking of trimming any unnecessary expenses to accommodate a series of fuel price hikes which seem likely in the medium term". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA report has 'number of errors' - Kganyago - Matthew le Cordeur

SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said there are a number of errors in the public protector's leaked preliminary report that recommends that ABSA should pay back R2.25bn it received as part of an unlawful apartheid-era bailout. Public Protector BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE used a 1997 report by CIEX, a British company founded by former British spies that approached the democratic South African government to help it recover "billions" looted from state coffers during apartheid, Huffington Post reported. CIEX sold an operation called "Spear" to government, which claimed it can recover an amount of R3.2bn from ABSA, between R3bn and R6bn from SANLAM and the then-REMBRANDT CIGARETTE COMPANY and up to R5.5bn from AEROSPATIALE/DAIMLER-CHRYSLER. Three years after the CIEX report, the Davis Panel of experts appointed by former SARB governor TITO MBOWENI found that ABSA's shareholders did not derive any undue benefit from the central bank's intervention, and as such no claim of restitution could be pursued against ABSA. KGANYA

Ford SA recalls Kuga - Anine Kilian

FORD SA has recalled its 1.6 litre FORD Kuga model. CEO JEFFREY NEMETH yesterday said the recall was limited to 1.6 litre models manufactured in Valencia, Spain, between Dec. 2012 and Feb. 2014. This comes after at least 47 FORD Kuga's in SA caught fire and one person died after his Kuga caught alight. NEMETH said that, to date, 39 incidents have been officially reported to FORD SA, although "there may be some incidents that have not yet been reported us. We are not aware of any injuries resulting from the fires". He said the cause of the fires was owing to the overheating of the engine, which could lead to a broken cylinder head and oil leak. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW SA to escape effects of Trump's 35% duty threat - Irma Venter

BMW SA yesterday said it would not suffer any negative effect from President-elect DONALD TRUMP's threat to implement a 35% import duty on German vehicles. BMW GROUP SA exports the 3 Series to the US. Group communications GM DIEDERIK REITSMA said TRUMP's threat was only aimed at vehicles imported from Mexico. He added that BMW SA would, in the near future, move to production of the X3 model, which would not be exported to the US. BMW is investing R6bn to produce the SUV in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clover buys olive oil manufacturer - Megan van Wyngaardt

CLOVER INDUSTRIES has aquired the OLIVE PRIDE business from SOUTHERN CANNED PRODUCTS, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECI. SCP will dispose of OLIVE PRIDE to the newly formed CLOVER PRIDE, in which CLOVER SA holds 51% and AECI the balance. CLOVER will provide all services to the new entity, including merchandising, sales, marketing and distribution. CLOVER CEO JOHANN VORSTER said the company was excited about the deal, which provided further momentum to the group's objective of expanding its value-added product offering. OLIVE PRIDE imports, bottles and distributes olive and seed oils, balsamic vinegars and olives. CLOVER PRIDE will continue to distribute, market aned sell products under the OLIVE PRIDE brand, which holds a 37.5% share in the olive oil category. The deal, which has already been approved by the Competition Commission, is scheduled to take effect on Mar. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

York Timbers appoints interim chair - Megan van Wyngaardt

YORK TIMBERS yesterday appointed DINGA MNCUBE as acting chair with immediate effect. MNCUBE takes over the reins from Dr JIM MYERS, who has undergone an operation and will be recovering. MNCUBE is an independent, nonexecutive director at YORK. He will also assume MYERS' responsibilities on the company's remuneration and nomination committee, chairing the nominations discussions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rolfes to post higher H1 earnings - Natasha Odendaal

ROLFES yesterday said it expects to report double-digit increases in earnings for the HY to end-Dec. HEPS for the period are expected to rise to 37.1cps-38.5cps, up 31%-36% on the 28.3cps reported y/y. EPS are expected to increase from 28.4cps in the HY to end-Dec. 2015 to between 37.2cps and 38.6cps in the period under review. Interim results will be published on Feb. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Plant shutdowns impact Vedanta's Q3 output - Megan van Wyngaardt

Despite lower output at its zinc operations in Q3 FY2017, VEDANTA RESOURCES says it is on track to achieve its stated guidance of higher mined metal production for the FY. Its total production across operations for the quarter to end-Dec. fell to 33 000t, 35% lower y/y, mainly due to the closure of the Lisheen mine in Ireland in Nov. 2015. However, VEDANTA said it had made "substantial operational progress" at its Zinc India operations during the quarter, with mined metal output up 21% to 276 000t. Production was 17% lower q/q mainly due to technical issues at Skorpion and Black Mountain Mining. Skorpion produced 17 000t, 34% higher y/y but 25% lower q/q, as increased upstream material handling challenges to treat wetter-than-anticipated ore through the refinery arose. BMM produced 15 000t in the quarter under review. Integrated zinc production during the quarter stood at 205 000t, up 38% q/q. At its iron ore operations, VEDANTA produced 2.3mt of ore at its Goa mine in India, as well as generated sales

Rockwell navigates difficult Q3 as litigation, suspensions take toll - Henry Lazenby

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS has reported a C$5.5m net loss for Q3 to end-Nov., impacted by litigation and the suspension of mining operations. The company said rough diamond revenues declined by 65% y/y to C$2.4m, and 77% q/q, owing to suspended operations and delays in the Wouterspan development as a result of litigation. Total revenues fell by 51% to C$3.5m. On Sep. 12 a decision was taken to suspend the Remhoogte-Holsloot Complex indefinitely, as it did not fit the realigned business model. Also during Sep., ROCKWELL decided to suspend operations at Saxendrift indefinitely because all economic ore had been depleted. ROCKWELL said its plant construction schedule at the Wouterspan project had been delayed as a result of litigation by former contractor C-ROCK MINING LIMITED, which resulted in ROCKWELL temporarily losing possession of its Wouterspan project, Saxendrift, Saxendrift Hill Complex, Niewejaarskraal operation, RCH and Holsloot assets on Nov. 7. However, a Dec. 6 judgment dismissed the spoliation applica

Goldcorp FY output down on altered strategy - Henry Lazenby

GOLDCORP yesterday announced a 17% y/y drop in gold output during 2016, to 2.87moz. Despite the 2017 guidance calling for even less output, forecast at 2.5moz gold, the company outlined a prodigious five-year growth profile that will see GOLDCORP boost output by 20% to 3moz, lift gold reserves by 20% to 50moz and reduce all-in sustaining costs by 20% to $700/oz. Over the past few years the company has been streamlining its asset base to focus on core low-cost, high-grade mines in stable jurisdictions, divesting from noncore assets to strengthen the balance sheet. The new reserves are expected mainly from the conversion of existing resources at the Century project, Penasquito and Pueblo Viejo. AISC are expected to be around $850/oz for 2017 as GOLDCORP continues to realise savings from its $250m target in annual sustainable efficiencies. The company also announced preliminary gold output for Q4 of 761 000oz, down 16% y/y. FY2016 results will be published on Feb. 15. This news brief represents a summar

Vale loads first iron ore shipment from S11D - Henry Lazenby

VALE has loaded the first ore from its largest-ever mine, the S11D project in Canaã dos Carajás, at the Ponta de Madeira docks. VALE on Friday loaded its first 26 500t of commercial ore produced at the $14.4bn mine, divided into three vessels with capacity ranging between 73 000t and 380 000t. The company noted the surplus vessel capacity was filled with high-grade iron ore fines from other mines in its northern operations (CARAJAS IOCJ). CARAJAS IOCJ, with 65% of iron content, represents 40% of VALE's sales. Until 2020, CARAJAS IOCJ will account for more than half of VALE's output. S11D is expected to reach full output by 2018, enough to fill 225 Valemax ships. The mine will boost VALE's current 109mt capacity to 230mt/year, while having a smaller environmental footprint than existing operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Competition authorities approve Kalagadi Manganese takeover - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Tribunal has approved the merger between KGALAGADI ALLOYS and KALAGADI MANGANESE without conditions. KGALAGADI ALLOYS will acquire KALAGADI MANGANESE. KGALAGADI ALLOYS is a shelf company with no operations or business activities. KALAGADI MANGANESE owns new-order mining rights covering an area of 6 300ha and spanning three farms in the Kalahari basin. The three farms are believed to hold around 960mt of manganese ore, with exploration programmes having identified 102mt of mineral resources. Before the merger, KALAGADI MANGANESE was 50% held by ARCELORMITTAL SA, 40% by KALAHARI RESOURCES and 10% by the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrum, BVI in talks over delayed Moonlight BFS - Megan van Wyngaardt

A farm-in and JV agreement between FERRUM CRESCENT and BUSINESS VENTURE INVESTMENTS has stalled, after the latter failed to complete the first phase of bankable feasibility study at FERRUM's Moonlight iron ore project in Limpopo. In Oct. 2015, BVI agreed to fund the BFS in return for a 43% stake in the project's holding company FERRUM IRON ORE. However, in Jan. 2016, FERRUM said the completion of the BFS had been extended to Jan. 2017. FERRUM yesterday said BVI had not met the extended deadline of Jan. 12 for the study. "While reserving our rights under the agreement, we are in ongoing discussions with BVI and are considering options in relation to the potential development of the Moonlight project", FERRUM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IHL buys hotel in Edinburgh - Siobhan Cassidy

AltX-listed INTERNATIONAL HOTEL PROPERTIES LIMITED yesterday announced it had completed the acquisition of the Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre for £17.7m plus costs. This is the ninth hotel purchase since Aug. 2015 for IHL, whose primary listing is on the Euro MTF Market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. The company said the deal added a further 161 hotel bedrooms to its portfolio for a total of 1 135. IHL CEO JON COLLEY called the acquisition a "high quality asset", adding that it consistently trades at a very high occupancy rate and is a mature stable business having been open for more than 12 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's economy to grow at slower pace in 2017 - IMF - Duncan Miriri

Kenya's economic growth rate will slow in 2017 from around 6% last year due to sluggish credit growth and as investors take a wait-and-see attitude before presidential elections in Aug., IMF country representative ARMANDO MORALES said yesterday. The Kenyan government capped commercial lending rates at 400 bps above the central bank's lending rate last Sep., hurting already stressed private sector credit growth. After September, banks' lending grew by just 5% y/y, down from 17.8% in Dec. 2015. The IMF's 2017 growth forecast for Kenya will be published later this month after its board meets to review a $1.5bn precautionary arrangement that was agreed in 2015 and is set to run until Mar. 2018. MORALES said investment delays due to concerns over the election were to be expected, but that the government's investments in infrastructure would support demand and economic growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania seeks $200m World Bank loan to clear TANESCO arrears - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania is seeking a loan of $200m from the World Bank for debt-ridden state power supplier TANESCO, the energy ministry said yesterday, two weeks after President JOHN MAGUFULI refused to allow the utility to hike prices to cover costs. Any struggle to secure the loan would underline the constraints faced by MAGUFULI as he tries to push though an ambitious economic reform agenda 14 months after he arrived in office. TANESCO has debts of $363m, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals said, up from $250m at end-2015. The ministry said there was no agreement at this point with the World Bank to raise tariffs in return for the loan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz dollar bonds fall after saying it won't pay coupon - Claire Milhench

Mozambique will not make a Jan. 18 payment to holders of its 2023 bond because of its deteriorating economic and fiscal situation, the finance ministry said yesterday. The country said its financial difficulties made its ability to repay debt this year "extremely limited". The 2023 dollar-denominated bond fell over 2c after the announcement. It was down 2.02c to trade at 57c in the dollar, according to data from MarketAxess. Mozambique's total foreign obligations are roughly equivalent to its GDP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Italian consortium wins $95m bridge contract in Botswana wildlife refuge - Reuters

Botswana has awarded a 1bn pula contract to a JV between Italian companies ITINERA and CIMOLAI to build a bridge in the Okovango Delta. The project, which will be fully funded by the government and involves the construction of a 1.1km long road bridge and pedestrian walkways, is expected to be completed in Jul. 2019. It will replace a pontoon service across a section of the Delta. "An environment impact assessment was done since the Okavango Delta area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will make sure construction will not disturb the environment", said ELIAS MAGOSI, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 17/01/2017

At 07h12 on 17 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.58 ZAR/EUR 14.46 ZAR/GBP 16.41 Gold 1207.30 Platinum 987.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.69 All Share 53158.54

Luxottica, Essilor confirm €50bn merger plans - Nicholas Megaw

Eyeware groups LUXOTTICA and ESSILOR have confirmed plans for a €50bn merger deal, in one of the largest ever European cross-border transactions. LUXOTTICA is the world's largest consumer eyewear group, while ESSILOR is the world's leading manufacturer of lenses. The combined entity is expected to have revenues of over €15bn, and said it expects to achieve "significant synergies" of €400m-€600m in the medium term. LUXOTTICA founder and executive chair LEONARDO DEL VECCHIO will serve as executive chair and CEO of a combined ESSILORLUXOTTICA, while ESSILOR chair and CEO HUBERT SAGNIERES will serve as executive vice-chair and deputy CEO "with equal powers" to DEL VECCHIO. DEL VECCHIO will become the largest shareholder in the combined entity, with 31%-38% of shares. His company DELFIN has agreed to exchange its 62% stake in LUXOTTICA for newly-issued shares in ESSILOR at a ratio of 0.461 LUXOTTICA shares per ESSILOR share. ESSILOR will then make a mandatory offer to acquire the remaining shares in

Burberry confirms Gobbetti to become CEO - Mehreen Khan

Luxury retail veteran MARCO GOBBETTI will take up the post of CEO at BURBERRY in July, replacing current CEO CHRISTOPHER BAILEY. GOBBETTI, who joins from French leather group CELINE, will report to BURBERRY chair SIR JOHN PEACE. He will initially hold the post of executive chair for Asia Pacific and Middle East until Jul. 4 2017 before becoming CEO. BAILEY will move into a newly created role of President and Chief Creative Officer from the summer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo receives 2nd-stage environmental approval for MCPP - Megan van Wyngaardt

Tanzania's National Environmental Management Council has approved KIBO MINING's Mbeya coal mine and power plant's environmental- and social-impact assessment scoping reports. This concluded the second stage of three required during the statutory ESIA approval process and paves the way for final ESIA certification of the 350MW Mbeya coal-to-power project. KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE said the company expects the third stage - the certification process - "to be completed in a shorter timeframe than usual, given that the preparation work for an accelerated conclusion of stage three was done while awaiting approval of the scoping reports". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's top coal province to cut 20mt of capacity this year - Reuters

China's top coal-producing province Shanxi will cut 20mt of output capacity this year, Xinhua reported at the weekend. The reductions should be achieved through market and law-based means, Shanxi Governor LOU YANGSHENG said, while mergers and acquisitions in the sector would also be encouraged. Shangxi accounts for about a quarter of coal production in China. The province shed 23.25mt of output capacity and shut down 25 coal mines last year, Xinhua said. Shanxi plans to cap output and consolidate the industry around big producers over the next four years in a bid to boost efficiency. The province's annual coal output would be capped by 2020 at 1bn tonnes and capacity at 1.2bn tonnes annually by 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foschini sales up 14.6% - Sens

THE FOSCHINI GROUP today said Christmas trading was above expectations with sales growth for Dec. or 14.6%. Growth for TFG International was 47.9% in sterling and growth for TFG Africa was 11.5%, with same-store growth of 5.6%. TFG sales for the nine months to Dec. 24 increased by 14.5%. Merchandise inflation for the nine month period in TFG Africa averaged 8.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massmart sales growth outstrips inflation - Robert Laing

MASSMART's sales grew 7.7% to R91.2bn in the 52 weeks to Dec. 25, beating product inflation of 6.7%. This morning's sales update showed decelerating sales growth following rising product inflation compared with 2015. For the 52 weeks to Dec. 27 2015, MASSMART reported 8.4% sales growth and 3% product inflation. The fastest sales growth was reported by MASSWAREHOUSE, which houses Makro. It grew sales 11%, outpacing product inflation of 6.5%. The next fastest-growing division was MASSCASH, which grew sales 8.5% on product inflation of 9.3%. MASSDISCOUNTERS grew sales 5.3% against product inflation of 4.8%, while MASSBUILD grew sales 5.6% on inflation of 4.7%. MASSMART will publish FY results on Feb. 26. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 16/01/2017

At 11h19 on 16 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.62 ZAR/EUR 14.44 ZAR/GBP 16.42 Gold 1202.91 Platinum 985.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.35 All Share 52965.90

Gupta allies clear hurdle to buy bank - Matthew le Cordeur

The GUPTAS could be a step closer to solving their banking dilemma after the Competition Commission approved a merger between HABIB OVERSEAS BANK and a company set up by GUPTA allies SALIM AZIZ ESSA and HAMZA FAROOQUI. The Commission said it approved the intermediate merger without conditions "whereby VARDOSPAN intends to acquire HABIB OVERSEAS BANK". VARDOSPAN, a company set up by ESSA and FAROOQUI, paid the bank R450m for the merger to take place. The GUPTAS have been using the BANK OF BERODA to conduct business, but the Indian bank has come under pressure and was mentioned several times in the Public Protector's State of Capture report last year. Currently, the HABIB BANK is controlled by PITCAIRNS, a company registered in Luxembourg. The Commission said the proposed transaction "is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any market. Further, there are no public interest concerns arising as a result of the proposed transaction". This news brief represents a summary of the origin

African financial service firms link up - Siobhan Cassidy

LETSHEGO HOLDINGS on Friday said it had bought AFB, a financial services firm that provides innovative credit products to consumers in Ghana. A statement from the company said AFB had a profitable business model focused on government deduction-at-source lending. AFB offered credit products to more than 60 000 customers via a network of more than 25 branches and customer access points. LETSHEGO said it would look to leverage the deposit-taking capability to enhance its financial inclusion agenda in Ghana. The deal comes after the acquisition of LETSHEGO NIGERIA MFB (formerly FBN MICROFINANCE BANK) in 2015. LETSHEGO now has operations in 11 sub-Saharan African countries and a customer base of over 480 000 people. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump takes swipe at EU as 'vehicle for Germany' - Henry Mance

DONALD TRUMP has taken his strongest swipe yet against the EU, labelling it "a vehicle for Germany" and predicting that other countries will follow the UK in leaving the bloc. TRUMP also warned that his trust for ANGELA MERKEL "may not last long at all", ranking the German chancellor alongside VLADIMIR PUTIN as a potentially problematic ally. TRUMP's stance contrasts sharply with that of BARACK OBAMA, who said on a farewell tour of Europe in Nov. that he "could not ask for a steadier or a more reliable partner" than MERKEL. TRUMP said he was "a big fan of the UK" and would "work very hard" to secure a bilateral trade agreement in what would be another rebuke to the EU, with which the US has been engaging in trade talks for the past four years. Under EU rules the UK cannot negotiate a trade agreement with another country until it leaves the union. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Walmart to ramp up ecommerce drive - Lindsay Whipp

WALMART is beginning the next stage of its plan to overhaul its ecommerce operations, as online head MARC LORE sets about integrating key elements of its internet business with JET.COM to further reduce prices and better compete with AMAZON. LORE on Friday announced a new management structure in an internal memo to staff, including passing on day-to-day running of JET.COM to focus on expanding all WALMART's ecommerce businesses in the US. The memo outlines the leadership team LORE has put in place whose responsibilities will include data analytics and shared product purchasing. It will also tie the supply chains of JET.COM and the other online businesses with WALMART's network of warehouses and distribution centres, which serve physical and online stores. WALMART is also working towards using JET.COM's proprietary system of "basket economics", whose technology automatically changes the final cost of a customer's online purchase based on the type of payment used, number of items bought and where those ite

Wells Fargo sets out plans to close 400 branches - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO has laid down plans to close at least 400 branches over the next two years as part of a cost cutting exercise. The US lender, which operates more than 6 000 branches across the country, is accelerating closures as it aims to reduce about $2bn in expenses by the end of 2018. WELLS FARGO's retail network is the largest in the US, with a branch or cash machine within two miles of about half the households in the country. The bank on Friday said it shut 84 branches in 2016, mainly in H2, and plans to axe 200 this year. Most of those targeted were located near another branch, and CFO JOHN SHREWSBERRY said WELLS did not expect a significant impact on revenue or jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Infosys, TCS warn of Trump impact on US hires - Simon Mundy

Indian outsourcing companies are bracing for DONALD TRUMP's administration to clamp down on a controversial visa class that they have used heavily in their rapid US expansion. The chief executives of TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES and INFOSYS last week said they had already started taking pre-emptive steps ahead of anticipated tighter measures on foreign hires. During his campaign, TRUMP promised to raise the minimum permissible wage for H-1B visas, issued to highly skilled people. Holders of these visas have been hired particularly intensively by Indian groups such as TCS and INFOSYS, both of which generated more than half their revenues in the US in the past FY. INFOSYS CEO VISHAL SIKKA said it is adapting to "a changing political landscape as a new administration takes office... A strong focus on local hiring, on local contributions to the economy, will be needed" to mitigate the impact of regulatory tightening. TCS CEO NATARAJAN CHANDRASEKARAN also last week predicted "visa regulatory changes", while simi

PETA takes stake in LVMH - Harriet Agnew

Animal rights organisation PETA has taken a stake in French luxury house LVMH as it steps up its fight against the luxury industry's use of exotic animal skins. The move, which follows similar action by PETA at HERMES and PRADA, will give the organisation access to the shareholder meetings of LVMH. A statement from PETA said: "In the wake of an exposé revealing that reptiles on crocodile farms in Vietnam... are confined to tiny pits and sometimes hacked into while they're still alive and thrashing, PETA has become a shareholder of LVMH on the Euronext Paris to put pressure on the company to stop selling exotic skins merchandise". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU, US reach deal on transatlantic insurance regulation - Rochelle Toplensky

The EU and US have agreed to a deal expected to free up nearly $40bn for European reinsurance companies and simplify regulatory requirements. The European Commission said it was a win-win deal set to benefit insurers, reinsurers and policyholders on both sides of the Atlantic. America secured the primacy of home oversight for their insurers' global operations, limiting foreign regulators to matters of solvency, capital reporting and governance. Foreign authorities can also seek information about global group activities that risk their market's financial stability or policy-holders. In return, European giants such as MUNICH RE and LLOYDS will no longer have to hold collateral against American reinsurance policies issued from their home market. The opportunity cost of the collateral is estimated at $400m annually. Congressional approval is required and the deal could take up to five years to come into force. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank to ban text messages on work phones - James Shotter

DEUTSCHE BANK is to stop its staff from using work mobile phones for text-messaging as part of a broader drive to improve compliance. The lender announced the step to staff on Friday, and the text-messaging function is due to be switched off on staff phones during Q1 2017. Banks are required to keep a record of employee interactions both within and outside the bank. DEUTSCHE CEO JOHN CRYAN has been leading a push to improve compliance at the lender, which has been hit by a string of misconduct penalties in recent years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAP raises fears over EU data privacy rules - Guy Chazan

German software group SAP has criticised a landmark EU law on data protection, saying the penalties it imposes are so high it could hobble the development of Europe's start-up culture. The data privacy regulation, which will be implemented by May 2018, says companies in the EU can be fined up to 4% of global revenues or a maximum of €20m, whichever is bigger, for significant breaches of data privacy. SAP head of products and innovation BERND LEUKERT said the penalties were too high, "especially for just a single violation". "If you have 25 violations your entire revenue is gone", he said, adding this would act as a drag on European start-ups. LEUKERT also said there was a danger that EU regulations were falling out of step with laws in other jurisdictions. "We might have local regulations, but we need these issues solved on a global basis", he said. The data privacy regulation was adopted by the European Parliament in 2016 and dictates how companies can gather and use digital data generated by consume

Wells Fargo ends tough year with earnings drop - Alistair Gray

Profits have declined for a second year at WELLS FARGO after Q4 earnings fell short of analyst forecasts. Net income at the US lender fell 4.4% to $21.9bn in 2016 after a 1% decline y/y. For Q4 2016, EPS came in at $0.97, down from $1.02 y/y and shy of consensus analyst forecasts of $1.00. The figures included an accounting hit of $592m caused by hedging. CEO TIM SLOAN said: "While we have more work to do, I am proud of the effort of our entire team to make things right for our customers". Net interest margins came in at 2.87% in Q4, down from 2.92% y/y. However, loan growth boosted net interest income by 7% to $12.4bn. Despite recent difficulties, the bank's financial performance is still better than big rivals. Quarterly return on equity fell from 11.93% y/y to $10.94% - but double-digit returns elude large peers. Net income in Q4 fell from $5.6bn y/y to $5.3bn - even as revenue held steady at $21.6bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US retail sales rise less than expected in Dec. - Jessica Dye

US retail sales grew at a slower than expected pace last month, underscoring the challenge some retailers have faced despite improving consumer sentiment in the wake of DONALD TRUMP's election victory. Bloomberg data had tipped headline retail sales to rise 0.7% in Dec., but the actual rise fell just shy of that mark, clocking in at 0.6% from the previous month at $469.1bn, the US Census Bureau said on Friday. The largest gains were seen in the vehicle sector, which rose 2.4% m/m. Electronics and appliance stores and general merchandise stores were down about 0.5% apiece m/m. So-called control retail sales clocked in a smaller-than-expected monthly increase of 0.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan profit jumps - Ben McLannahan

Investment bankers and traders at JPMORGAN CHASE delivered a near-doubling of profit in Q4, helping the bank overcome a more lacklustre performance from its core retail unit. Net income at the corporate and investment banking unit came to $3.4bn, up 96% y/y, boosted by a surge in trading following DONALD TRUMP's election victory in Nov. The bank saw a slight drop in net revenues from its credit cards and auto loans division and a modest rise in non-interest expenses. All told, net revenues for Q4 were $23.4bn, missing analysts' forecasts of $24.16bn. EPS came to $1.71 on a fully diluted basis, well ahead of forecasts of $1.43 and up from $1.32 y/y. For FY2016, JPMORGAN's return on equity came to 10%, well short of its mid-teens target and less than the 11% return of 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BofA steps up share buyback after earnings beat - Laura Noonan

BANK OF AMERICA is buying back an additional $1.8bn of its shares after high trading volumes and lower costs control drove a 48% rise in the bank's Q4 profits. BOFA on Friday said it would now buy back $4.3bn of shares in H1 2017, up from the $2.5bn it had earlier forecast. It posted EPS of $0.40, higher than the $0.27/lshare the bank earned y/y. BOFA's global markets business made net income of $658m in the quarter, up from $171m y/y, as costs fell and DONALD TRUMP's election victory drove a surge in sales and trading revenue. Overall revenue was $20bn, up around $500m y/y but worse than the $20.76bn expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Friday's results show that BOFA's net interest income was $10.3bn for the quarter, up from $9.9bn y/y and $10.4bn q/q. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nickel hit by relaxation of Indonesian ban - Henry Sanderson

Nickel was down for a second day on Friday after Indonesia surprised markets by relaxing its ban on exports of the raw metal. Nickel prices fell 2.47% on Friday on the LME to $10 070/t, the biggest loser of the metals traded on the metals bourse. Jakarta on Thursday said it would reverse the prohibition on the export of nickel ore that had been in place since 2014. That's likely to upset mining companies who have started to invest in smelters in the country in order to process raw nickel ore before it could be exported. Shares in VALE's Indonesian arm, PT VALE, fell 16% on Friday on the news. The lifting of the ban could see Indonesia's state-owned producer PT ANTAM ship around 70 000t/y of nickel ore over the coming years. "Such volume would have a negative impact onthe nickel ore price", analysts at MACQUARIE said. That could see nickel prices of $9 000-$10 000/t "becoming more like the norm", they said. Nickel prices rebounded by 17% last year, after hitting their lowest level since 2003 early in

BlackRock ups dividend amid record 2016 inflows - Miles Johnson

BLACKROCK on Friday said it would raise its quarterly dividend after reporting the largest net inflows of new client money in its history in 2016. Reporting Q4 and FY results, the company said it had seen a total net inflow of $202bn in 2016 as total assets under management rose by 11% y/y to $5.14tn. Revenues for the year fell by 2% y/y, and operating income came in at $4.57bn, also dropping by 2% y/y. Diluted EPS fell 2% for the FY to $19.29/share. At the same time, BLACKROCK's operating margin for FY2016 rose by 10 bps to 41% y/y, and by 270 bps in Q4 y/y. The firm said it would hike its quarterly cash dividend to $2.50/share, up 9%, and would buy back an additional 6m shares under its current repurchase programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French authorities launch emissions probe into Renault - Anne-Sylvaine Chassany

French authorities have started a preliminary probe into RENAULT amid suspicion the company may have "cheated" to conceal abnormal emissions of pollutants from some of its diesel engines. The decision comes after France's independent anti-fraud authority referred the company to state prosecutors in Nov., after completing its own probe. Three judges were appointed to lead the investigation. Last year, three RENAULT sites in France were raided by authorities as part of a sprawling investigation linked to the VOLKSWAGEN emissions scandal. RENAULT has denied using software to cheat emission testing, saying its models "conformed to the laws and norms in each market where they are sold". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Prosecutors seek arrest warrant for Samsung chief - Bryan Harris

Special prosecutors in Seoul today requested an arrest warrant for the de facto head of SAMSUNG as a corruption scandal that toppled President PARK GEUN-HYE ensnared another powerful South Korean figure. LEE JAE-YONG, vhice-chair of SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS and heir to the company, is wanted on charges or bribery, according to prosecutors. SAMSUNG was unable to comment immediately, but the development will likely be a stunning blow to the company as it tries to solidify the succession of LEE and to reform its corporate governance structure. The request to arrest LEE comes amid allegations that the company donated millions to a close confidant of PARK in order to secure the government's backing of a contentious merger between two SAMSUNG affiliates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW's new Mexican plant can survive without making US sales - Peter Campbell

BMW has said its new Mexican plant can survive without making any sales to the US. President-elect DONALD TRUMP at the weekend said the German carmaker would face a tax when selling vehicles from a new Mexican facility in San Luis Potosi into the US market - echoing similar threats made to TOYOTA and GENERAL MOTORS. BMW board member IAN ROBERTSON defended the company's decision to manufacture in Mexico. "It's a full blown operation to produce cars for anywhere in the world", ROBERTSON said. When asked if the plant could survive without selling any cars to the US, he said "absolutely". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA report leak may be politically motivated - Lameez Omarjee

The leaked report on Public Protector BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE's probe into ABSA may be perceived as being part of an extended political agenda, analysts said at the weekend. The Mail & Guardian on Friday revealed that the preliminary report by MKHWEBANE recommends the bank pay back R2.25bn for an unlawful apartheid-era bank bailout. The money pertains to the bank's acquisition of BANKORP in 1992. BANKORP started receiving assistance from the SARB in 1985. In a statement, ABSA said all obligations to the central bank had been discharged in full by Oct. 1995. Professor DARYL GLASER, head of political studies at Wits University, said it is inevitable that people would assume the probe may be politically motivated. "The signal sent out suggests the public protector wants to turn the attention away from corruption in high places, such as government and towards different objects of public complaint". However, instead of probing "everyday" citizen complaints, these developments suggest there is an extended politic

Alex Forbes eyes opportunities in Africa - Lameez Omarjee

Since taking the help at ALEXANDER FORBES last Sep., CEO ANDREW DARFOOR will be looking to deliver on the company's value proposition, while building a successful business in an uncertain political and economic climate. Under DARFOOR the company hopes to reach its goal in becoming a thriving African business. ALEX FORBES delivered a profit of R416m for the HY to end-Sep. However, DARFOOR expressed his frustration with the company's underperforming share price. He believes the share price is undervalued and that there is still potential left to unlock. Going forward, defining a clear value proposition is important. DARFOOR said that some people regarded ALEX FORBES as a retirement company, others an actuarial consultant firm. "I want to clarify internally and externally who is ALEXANDER FORBES and what we stand for". DARFOOR was bullish about the company's plans to expand into emerging markets, mainly in Africa. Growth opportunities have been identified in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, while expansion int

Treasury battles to fill SAA vacancy - Erika Gibson

Treasury is battling to appoint an extra SAA board member with aviation experience. An advert calling for aviation specialists to apply was placed by the Treasury in Dec. Last week, spokesperson YOLISA TYANTSI told Rapport that the post was vacant and applications were being considered. Despite hopes that a new board would begin turning around the situation at the national carrier, critical management posts have still not been filled. The posts for CEO and for strategic, personnel and financial heads are all filed by acting personnel. The posts of chief commercial officer, head of AIR CHEFS and the CEO position at MANGO are also vacant. SAA spokesperson TLALI TLALI declined to say how many applications were received for the CEO position, but the closing date was extended last week to Jan. 18. An advert for the position of CFO appeared only last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM aims at positive Maseve cash flow by midyear - Henry Lazenby

To achieve positive cash flow and maintain its working capital covenants under existing loan facilities, PLATINUM GROUP METALS estimates it will need to source between C$5m and C$15m of additional funding. It will weigh options including refinancing its existing debt, issuing new debt, private or public offerings of equity, or the sale of project or property interests. PTM said its objective will be to turn the Maseve mine to positive cash flow in H1 of calendar 2017. At end-Nov., the company held $27.51m in cash. PTM said development to other blocks near the initial high-grade Block 11 is scheduled to continue during the year. The company has forecast the 12-month total output guidance for 2017 at 100 000oz-120 000oz 4E. The other key objective for fiscal 2017 will be to advance the Waterberg project through feasibility and into preparations for a mining right application. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye to hit DMR with R26m claim for Section 54 stoppage - David McKay

SIBANYE is to issue the Department of Mineral Resources with a R26m legal claim following the application of a number of Section 54 stoppages at Kroondal Platinum Mines in 2016, according to market speculation. The legal action is thought to be based on the notion that the DMR operated outside the scope of its authority following a fatal accident in Sep. The mine was shut after the department issued initial and subsequent follow-up Section 54 notices. SIBANYE PLATINUM ascribed the accident at Kroondal to non-compliance by employees to existing safety policies and procedures. It added the accident was avoidable if only procedures had been followed and as such it was not considered to be a wide ranging threat to employee safety. However, the initial Section 54 order given by the DMR stopped production at Kroondal's five shafts which impacted significantly on the operations. In a founding affidavit, SIBANYE PLATINUm argued that the blanket stoppage would result in a revenue loss of around R13.5m/day and th

DRC c.bank doubles rates to tackle inflation - William Clowes

The central bank in the Democratic Central Bank doubled its base interest rate of 14%, from 7% previously, the central bank said on Saturday. Inflation for Dec. was 11.2%, well above the central bank's target of 4.2%. The DRC has been battered by low commodity prices that have hit the Congolese franc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria Dec. inflation rises for 11th month running - Paul Carsten

Annual inflation in Nigeria rose in Dec. to 18.55%, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, its highest in more than 11 years and the eleventh consecutive monthly rise. The increase from 18.48% in Nov. was driven by surges in housing, water and electricity, while a separate food index also rose to 17.39% from 17.19% in Nov. The soaring cost of living in Nigeria, where the UN estimates that 70% of the population live on a dollar a day, has prompted widespread anger at President MUHAMMADU BUHARI's handling of the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 16/01/2017

At 07h11 on 16 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.55 ZAR/EUR 14.38 ZAR/GBP 16.31 Gold 1202.96 Platinum 984.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.65 All Share 52794.81

Equites sells CT office block - Anine Kilian

EQUITES PROPERTY FUND has sold its D'Urban Square office building, in Bellville, Cape Town, to private property investment company GAMLAN INVESTMENTS for R50.82m. The disposal forms part of EQUITES' strategy to sell its office assets and focus on logistics property assets. Proceeds will be used to reduce the company's debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tower expects 10% growth in core earnings for FY2017 - Anine Kilian

TOWER PROPERTIES has revised its distribution guidance for the FY to end-May to exclude one-off earnings, which it believes should be redeployed by the company to grow distributable income rather than be distributed to investors. TOWER had previously expected to grow its distributions by 6% y/y to 97.5cps for the FY to end-May, of which 81.5c comprised core earnings and 16c one-off earnings. The anticipated one-off earnings were to be realised via R240m in profits from the sale of newly-built residential apartments in Napier street in Cape Town. These units will be completed in Nov. TOWER further plans to sell seven noncore properties, which is expected to generate aggregate sales proceeds of more than R450m, which will be used to reduce gearing and rebuy TOWER shares. It expects core earnings to increase by 8%-10% y/y and has revised its guidance for distributions for FY2017 to 80cps-82cps, excluding one-off earnings. Further, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals, TOWER is considering spinning off

Nigeria bourse says working with MTN to list shares in 2017 - Reuters

Nigeria's stock exchange is working "very closely" with MTN on a listing of its shares this year, the bourse operator said on Thursday. "The pressure on MTN has never been higher to list", NSE CE OSCAR ONYEMA told a business conference, adding that a project team was working with the mobile operator. ONYEMA also added that local airline MED-VIEW would list its shares on Jan. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial acquires stake in FS bus company - Anine Kilian

IMPERIAL LOGISTICS has acquired a 55% stake in transport company INTERSTATE BUS LINES. IMPERIAL LOGISTICS CEO NICO VAN DER WESTHUIZEN said the company identified INTERSTATE as a fit with the company's current core business activities and culture. INTERSTATE provides public transport services to commuters in and around Bloemfontein on behalf of the Free State provincial government. It transports 50 000 passengers daily and its buses travel 17m kilometres annually. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Output up 17% at Rio's Era subsidiary - Esmarie Swanepoel

ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUSTRALIA has reported a 17% jump in output for the FY to end-Dec., despite a drop in Q4 production. The RIO TINTO subsidiary yesterday reported that uranium oxide output in Q4 reached 603t, down from the 666t mined q/q. Total production for 2016 rose to 2 351t, from 2 005t y/y. ERA reported that output during the quarter to end-Dec. had been impacted by scheduled mill maintenance activities, which resulted in lower volumes of ore milled. The mill head grade and recoveries were consistent with the Sep. quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldcorp unloads more assets - Henry Lazenby

GOLDCORP on Thursday announced the sale of its Los Filos mine, in Mexico, to LEAGOLD MINING for $438m. GOLDCORP CEO DAVID GAROFALO said the sale "is consistent with our strategy of focusing on our core camps to drive increasing net asset value per share". The payment consists of $279m in cash, $71m in LEAGOLD common shares and $88m in tax receivables. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2017. A day earlier, GOLDCORP also announced the sale of the Cerro Blanco gold/silver project in Guatemala to BLUESTONE RESOURCES. BLUESTONE will pay for the asset with $18m in cash, a 1% net smelter return royalty on production and with common shares representing 9.9% of the issued and outstanding stock. GOLDCORP will receive a further $18m in cash upon BLUESTONE declaring commercial production at Cerro Blanco. GOLDCORP has also granted BLUESTONE a right of first refusal on certain assets and equipment at the Marlin mine, also located in Guatemala, which is winding down operations as it nears depletion. This news bri

Wescoal leaps into 2017 following successful 2016 - Natasha Odendaal

With a successful 2016 under its belt, WESCOAL is optimistic of the year ahead as it leverages various milestones and initiatives to support its aspirations for 9mt/y RoM and its revenue diversification strategy. During 2016, WESCAL concluded contracts with ESKOM and export coal sale contracts and secured an equity injection via a BEE deal. The company's five-year coal supply agreement with ESKOM, which commenced on Nov. 1, will see the delivery of around 7.8mt of coal beneficiated at the company's processing plant, which equates to 165 000t/m RoM coal from Elandspruit. WESCOAL also concluded export contracts for more than 1mt/y for the next three years, significantly derisking and diversifying its future revenue streams. In Dec., a five-year 51% direct BEE deal was successfully concluded and implemented, with the R178m capital injection earmarked for acquisitions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's NNPC proposes changes to increase deepwater oil revenues - Camillus Eboh

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION has proposed legal amendments aimed at enabling the government to increase royalties and other revenues from deepwater oil production. The proposed amendments relate to the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract At. NNPC said the calculation of what was due to the government should be "based on production and price to guarantee fairness and balance between PSC contractors and government". NNPC COO for upstream operations BELL RABIU said the current graduated royalty scale should be scrapped. "It is our opinion that the proposal to increase the royalty rate for terrains beyond 1 000 meters, from zero percent to 3%, is commendable but it is necessary to also make corresponding adjustments in other categories". The company also said some incentives should be removed, including the investment tax credit, investment tax allowance and capital allowances to PSC contractors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Truworths flags lower H1 profit - TJ Strydom

TRUWORTHS INTERNATIONAL on Thursday said it expects lower HY profit as in-store credit sales stalled due to tougher regulations. The company said diluted HEPS for the 26 weeks to Dec. 25 will decrease to 380.6cps-397.9cps, up to 6% lower y/y. New credit affordability assessment regulations weighed on sales. TRUWORTHS said its total retail sales rose 21% to R10.2bn, but cash sales accounted for all of the growth, while credit sales remained unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's manufacturing output up in Nov. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's manufacturing output rose by 1.9% y/y in Nov., beating analysts' forecasts, after contracting by 2.7% in Oct., Statistics SA said on Thursday. On a m/m basis, factory output rose 0.3% but edged down 1.1% in the three months to Nov. compared with the previous three months. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.9% y/y decrease in manufacturing volumes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia confirms merger talks with Endeavour - Reuters

ACACIA MINING on Friday said it was in early talks about a possible merger with Canada's ENDEAVOUR MINING. It added that there was no certainty of a deal. ACACIA had a market cap of £1.72bn as of Jan. 12, while ENDEAVOUR had a market value of C$2.18bn. ENDEAVOUR bought TRUE GOLD MINING for around C$240m in Mar., giving it access to a low-cost gold mine in Burkina Faso. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DiamondCorp embarks on £1m raising for Lace - Natasha Odendaal

DIAMONDCORP has embarked on a conditional placing to raise the capital needed to fund critical expenditure requirements of the Lace mine during the Phase 1 business rescue process. The expected gross proceeds of £1m from the bookbuild, if successful, will pave the way for the resumption of mining operations and recommencement of the ramp-up of output from the UK4 mine. In the interim, net proceeds of the placing, together with the group's current cash, will be used to start care and maintenance and mine remediation, cover the costs of the business rescue process and contribute to a cash settlement of the agreement to be reached with labour. Should an agreement with trade union AMCU not be finalised in the "very near term", the company will likely face insolvency proceedings. Meanwhile, DIAMONDCORP's insurance claim is ongoing, with its insurance policy providing sufficient flood damage coverage to carry out the repairs necessary to the damaged longhole drill rig, which will need to be conducted off-site.

Slight stir in SA residential property market - Fin24

The Q4 of 2016 showed estate agents surveyed in the FNB Estate Agent Survey as perceiving a slightly stronger level of activity in the residential property market. This was even with the exclusion of seasonal factors. The Q4 2016 Residential Activity Indicator rose slightly to 5.75, from the previous quarter's 5.59. A one quarter improvement in the Activity Rating doesn't yet mean a lot, and it would take significant further improvement in activity levels in order to see any meaningful growth acceleration in house prices or in new mortgage lending, according to JOHN LOOS, household and property sector strategist at FNB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN 'gives away' 50GB and 10 000 minutes every month - Fin24

Mobile operator MTN said today it was giving away 50GB and 10 000 minutes to new and existing customers for duration of their 24 month contract. "New and existing MTN customers who sign up for a new contract or perform an upgrade on specific price plans with a device on Friday, 13 January, will receive an additional 50GB of data and 10 000 MTN-to-MTN minutes per month for the duration of the 24 month contract," the mobile operator said. The promotion is free additional value over and above the provisioned data and airtime in accordance with the price plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/01/2017

At 12h59 on 13 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.52 ZAR/EUR 14.39 ZAR/GBP 16.52 Gold 1196.80 Platinum 974.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.06 All Share 52773.67

Probe into corruption at SAA supported by COPE and ANCWL - BDPro

The Congress of the People (COPE) today said it "is in full support" of the call by the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) for a probe "into the lack of transformation and chronic corruption at the SAA". COPE spokesman DENNIS BLOEM said the opposition party was "very excited that the call for investigation comes from a strong ally of the SAA chairperson DUDU MYENI". "We believe such an investigation is long overdue‚" he said. "The ANCWL always came out in her defence but this time it has made an important call to help root out corruption within the SAA." Yesterday‚ BusinessLIVE reported that the league called for an investigation into alleged internal and external forces at SAA that are purpotedly seeking to derail transformation at the airline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom: 'Nothing further from the truth' - Linda Ensor

ESKOM has dismissed a claim made in an affidavit that it managed "to usurp the nuclear procurement from the Department of Energy". ESKOM divisional executive of corporate affairs CHOSE CHOEU was commenting today on a supplementary affidavit made by Earthlife Africa's Johannesburg branch co-ordinator‚ MAKOMA LEKALAKALA. CHOEU claimed he had been either "grossly misconstrued" or the affidavit was part of "a deliberate story … written to cast Eskom and the nuclear new build in a negative light". The supplementary affidavit was submitted to the Western Cape High Court in support of the case brought by the anti-nuclear lobby group and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (Safcei) to have two determinations made by Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON declared unlawful and unconstitutional. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Changes coming to competition law this year - Linda Ensor

Proposed changes to the Competition Act will be announced this year‚ Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL said today‚ though he did not provide much detail as to the nature of the proposed amendments. The minister said in a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA economic development spokesman MICHAEL CARDO that the proposed changes had emerged from engagements with practitioners towards the end of 2016. "The review covers areas such as the efficacy of the administration of the Competition Act‚ procedural aspects in the investigation and prosecution of offences‚ matters relating to abuse of dominance‚ more effective investigations against cartels and the current public interest provisions of the act‚" PATEL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim reverses data tariff hikes - Malcom Sharara

Zimbabwe has reversed the latest data tariff hikes which caused a furore among consumers, who considered them not only steep but also an attempt to clamp down on social media. In statements released late yesterday and early today, the government, the telecoms regulator and ECONET WIRELESS issued separate statements informing subscribers that the new tariffs have been reversed. First to issue a statement was ICT Minister SUPA MANDIWANZIRA. He said while it was conceivable that the price of data might go up, "the margin by which the prices have gone up is shockingly high and can only reflect insensitivity to fellow Zimbabweans and gluttonous corporate greed". He added that "unreasonable data prices, especially in a high literacy country like ours, undermine our huge investments in human capital, broadband infrastructure and the ability to attract investment". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SIG shares jump despite 'disappointing' year - fastFT

Building supplies company SIG is on track for its best day of trading in more than four years, despite reporting a "disappointing" year. At publication time shares in the company were up 10.2%, their biggest one-day increase since Jun. 2012. The company endured a difficult 2016, with a post-Brexit vote slowdown in construction contributing to a 28% decline in the company's shares. In a pre-close trading update today, SIG said it expected to report an 11.2% increase in sales for the year, but underlying profits would be in line with forecasts that were lowered in a profit warning in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bundesbank seeks temporary home - fastFT

Germany's BUNDESBANK is searching for a temporary home for 2,000 of its employees as its Frankfurt headquarters undergo renovation for the first time in the building's near half a century history. A revamp of Germany's central bank building and spiritual home of monetary orthodoxy is set to be completed in 2030 with employees being shipped out from 2019. JOHANNES BEERMANN, BUNDESBANK board member said the renovation would, in typically German style, help improve the central bank's "efficiency". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK unemployment could stay below 5% - fastFT

Britain's more than decade-low unemployment rate could stay below the 5% mark in the coming years, one of the Bank of England's (BoE's) policymakers has said, defying warnings that joblessness will climb markedly after the UK's Brexit vote. MICHAEL SAUNDERS, the newest member of the BoE's nine-strong monetary policy committee, said that despite the central bank's Nov. forecast showing a rise in unemployment, "it seems quite possible to me that the jobless rate will stay below 5% this year". The UK's current unemployment rate stands at a 2005 low of 4.8%, with economists forecasting a slight uptick in the rate when the latest labour market figures are released next week. SAUNDERS said the UK's equilibrium unemployment rate - the level at which falls in joblessness do not push up inflation - may have fallen below 5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fiat Chrysler accused of excess diesel emissions - Reuters

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday accused FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES NV of illegally using hidden software to allow excess diesel emissions to go undetected, the result of a probe that stemmed from regulators' investigation of rival VOLKSWAGEN AG. FIAT shares plummeted as the maximum fine is about $4.6bm. FIAT action affects 104,000 US trucks and SUVs sold since 2014, about one-sixth the vehicles in the VOLKSWAGEN case. EPA and California Air Resources Board told FIAT it believed its undeclared auxiliary emissions control software allowed vehicles to generate excess pollution in violation of the law and each issued notices of violation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Absa implicated in leaked report - Business Report

ABSA said today it was cooperating with a Public Protector investigating around its purchase of BANKCORP. In a statement issued today, the company said it was in receipt of a provisional report, but that this report might change materially following further submissions. This, it said, was because the provisional document was "a confidential provisional document released to a limited number of parties for comment and further input". ABSA noted it had fully cooperated with the Public Protector's investigation since it began. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brikor finally to release results - Nicola Mawson

BRIKOR says its results for the year to Feb. 2016 will be out by the end of the month. The company was meant to - under JSE rules, publish its figures within 3 months of the end of the period. BRIKOR is a diverse manufacturer and supplier of building and construction materials and operates in three segments, namely bricks, aggregates and coal through its subsidiary, Ilangabi Investments. In Nov., the company said it was in the process of finalising its results for the year and expected basic EPS to between 5c and 5.5c, up from 1.5c in the year to Feb. 2015. In addition, HEPS should be between 5.2c and 5.8c, compared with headline earnings of 2.7c previously, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netcare warns of jobs scam - Business Report

Healthcare group NETCARE has issued a warning to the public regarding on-going job offer and training scams advertised on social media platforms or via SMS or emails. Group human resources director PETER WARRENER says the advertisements or messages claim that NETCARE and NETCARE 911 are seeking to employ nurses, paramedics or fill other positions. Similarly, learnerships and internship vacancies within NETCARE and NETCARE 911 are also being advertised. WARRENER says the names of NETCARE and emergency services provider, NETCARE 911, are being fraudulently used in these scam advertisements, with the aim of soliciting money from the public. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiger Brands appoints grains business executive - Natasha Odendaal

TIGER BRANDS has appointed former GWK GROUP CEO PIETER SPIES as its business executive for grains, effective Feb. 1. SPIES has worked in sales, logistics, commercial and general management for a number of local and international companies, including CADBURY, COCA-COLA, DIAGEO and BRANDHOUSE, over the past 25 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Astral says electricity cuts 'catastrophic' - Megan van Wyngaardt

ESKOM'S plans to cut power to the Lekwa local municipality, in Mpumalanga, will interrupt poultry producer ASTRAL'S feed and poultry operations in Standerton with "catastrophic" results, the company has warned. ASTRAL has received notification that ESKOM plans to start interruptions of its bulk electricity supply to the Lekwa municipality on Jan. 23 as a result of outstanding payments to ESKOM. The North Gauteng High Court last week dismissed an application by AfriForum to prevent ESKOM from cutting power to more than seven municipalities that owe the utility about R10.2bn. Interruptions in power supply to these municipalities will initially be for a few hours a day, but supply may be cut entirely should the municipalities not settle their debts to ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China exports contract in December - fastFT

The dollar value of China's exports fell markedly more than expected last month and import growth more than halved, while revisions to Nov. data erased what had appeared to be a long-hoped-for return to growth for outbound shipments. Exports shrank 6.1% y/y in dollar terms to $209.42bn in Dec., according to figures from the General Administration of Customs. That fall was 2.1 percentage points more severe than a median of economist estimates and worse than a revised drop of 1.6% (previously 0.1% growth) in Nov. Imports grew 3.1% y/y in dollar terms to $168.6bn in Dec. after growing a revised 4.7% (previously 6.7%) the previous month. That rate was roughly in line with a median forecast of 3% growth. Trade flows brought China's balance of trade to $40.82bn, roughly $7.2bn below expectations and down about $3.6bn from Nov's revised level of $44.23bn (previously $44.61bn). That balance came to Rmb275.4bn in local-currency terms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nintendo announces Switch launch date - fastFT

NINTENDO'S next console with launch in less than two months and at a price on par with those of rivals SONY and MICROSOFT. The Kyoto-based games and console company announced today afternoon that the Switch would launch globally on Mar. 3 at a price of $299.99. The price point comes in roughly at the level some analysts think is required to make the new console competitive against incumbent devices like SONY'S PlayStation 4 and MICROSOFT'S Xbox One. NINTENDO shares had closed the morning session in Tokyo down 1.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Takata shares jump on US settlement reports - fastFT

Shares in Japanese airbag maker TAKATA rose 16.5% on reports the company was expected to settle a lawsuit with regulators in the US. Sources said the automotive supplier, which was at the centre of a global recall for exploding airbags, would agree to a criminal settlement with the Department of Justice today. Media reports have put the settlement at $1bn. The exploding airbags were linked to at least 17 deaths worldwide and more than 100 injuries. TAKATA'S stock hit the allowable daily limit rising in morning trading to reach ¥1,061/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Countrywide expects slowdown this year - fastFT

UK estate agent COUNTRYWIDE said it expected to report a 6% fall in transactions for 2016 and a further slowdown this year following its warning of the impact of changes to stamp duty and uncertainty following the Brexit vote. In a trading statement today, COUNTRYWIDE - which runs the UK's largest chain of residential estate agents - said activity in Q4 of 2016 would also be lower than the same three months of 2015. COUNTRYWIDE notched up total group income of £737m last year, a small rise from 2015's £734m, with Q4 income dropping to £179m compared to £196m last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SpiceJet strikes $22bn leasing deal - fastFT

SPICEJET, one of India's biggest budget airlines, has struck a $22bn deal for up to 205 new aircraft from US-based BOEING just two years after the low-cost carrier was rescued from the brink of bankruptcy by its former owner. AJAY SINGH, the airline's founder who took back control after a severe liquidity crunch brought it close to collapse, said that the deal will form part of a turnround plan to return the company to sustained profitability. The move marks an ambitious step for the carrier, which faces fierce competition in India's aviation market and has struggled with high costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon to add 100,000 US jobs - Financial Times

AMAZON plans to create more than 100,000 jobs in the US over the next 18 months, making it the latest company to deliver job and investment announcements ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration next week. The ecommerce giant said yesterday it would create an additional 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in the country by mid-2018. While the new jobs will help AMAZON curry favour with the incoming administration, they do not represent an acceleration in hiring for a company that was already in the midst of an explosion in headcount. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hwange Colliery still working on debt plan - BDPro

HWANGE COLLIERY‚ a Zimbabwean coal supplier listed on the JSE‚ is still in discussions with its creditors to deal with its crippling debt. The company said today that its debt management plan was in the process being finalised. The company had previously said that a plan would be finalised in the final quarter of 2016. HWANGE was given leave by the High Court of Zimbabwe to meet its creditors and present a plan to repay its debt in a structured way. Business Day previously reported that the Zimbabwean government had agreed to convert short-term obligations of $88m into long-term financial instruments. HWANGE had nearly $13m of debt due in the next 12 months and $17m in longer-term loans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont reports Christmas boost on watch rebound - Corinne Gretler

RICHEMONT reported an unexpected gain in Christmas-season revenue, boosted by demand for luxury jewellery and a rebound in watch sales at its own stores. Revenue rose 5% excluding currency shifts in the quarter to end-Dec., the company said. Analysts had predicted flat sales for Q3 to end-Dec. Sales improved in all regions and businesses, giving the group some respite after revenue fell 12% in H1FY2017. Wholesale sales of watches remained negative, leading to a 2% decline in revenue at the unit at constant currencies. Revenue in Asia Pacific gained 10%, the first increase in two years. RICHEMONT's retail sales rose 12%. Wholesale revenue dropped 3% compared with a 20% decline in H1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers strike at Harmony Gold - Fin24

Around 1 700 miners refused to return to the surface of HARMONY GOLD's Khusasalethu mine yesterday, with the company saying they have embarked on an illegal sit-in. "No formal demands have been made by the participating employees. Management has sought to engage with union leadership with the purpose of resolving the matter and returning all employees to surface", HARMONY said. The workers gathered at level 73, which is 2.4km below the surface of the mine. The NUM said it was trying to establish what the workers' demands are, while AMCU has yet to make a statement and has not responded to media queries. HARMONY's three-year wage deal with unions expires in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Woolies suffers sharp slowdown in festive sales growth - Robert Laing

WOOLWORTHS suffered a sharp slowdown in Christmas sales growth. Excluding a R3.8bn windfall from the sale of DAVID JONES' Sydney head office, the chain expects to post a drop in interim earnings. Basic earnings for the 26 weeks to Dec. 25 are expected to be boosted by 30%-40% from the y/y period's 253.7c by the A$360m sale of the Sydney property in Aug. But HEPS were expected to decline by up to 7.5%, the retailer said this morning. Interim results will be published on Feb. 16. Overall group sales growth for the period was 6.7% - less than half the y/y period's 17.7%. WOOLWORTH blamed the exclusion of Boxin Day from the H1 2017 figures for part of its lacklustre sales growth. Clothing and merchandise sales growth slowed to 3.5% from the 11.7% reported y/y. Excluding new stores, sales grew 1.2%. Net retail space allocated to clothing and general merchandise expanded by 2.9%. Food sales were up 9.5%, down from 12.1% y/y. Excluding new stores, food sales grew 5.6% and retail space by a net 7.9%. Th

Updated market indicators for 12/01/2017

At 12h07 on 12 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.53 ZAR/EUR 14.39 ZAR/GBP 16.61 Gold 1203.18 Platinum 987.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.39 All Share 52648.58

Pressure mounts for MPS to disclose problem loans - James Politi

MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA may be forced to reveal the source of its largest problem loans as part of a €6.5bn state-led bailout. Italian politicians are discussing whether to require MPS to disclose a list of problem exposures on its balance sheet. Such a move would set a precedent for "naming and shaming" in European banking, sidestepping confidentiality rules that protect banking clients. The political pressure on MPS has increased sharply since it admitted last month that it would need public funds to plug most of an estimated €8.8bn capital shortfall. Last month, Italy's government approved a €20bn bailout fund to inject funds into MPS and potentially into other smaller banks. Italy's financial sector is divided over the proposal. ANTONIO PATUELLI, president of the Italian Banking Association, said naming the sources of large troubled loans would bring new "clarity" to Italian banking by showing whether some customers took out loans on the basis of false statements to the bank. The Italian Fe

China slaps higher-than-expected duty on US animal-feed ingredient - Emiko Terazono

China has slapped higher-than-expected anti-dumping tariffs on a US animal-feed ingredient made by a by-product of maize ethanol production. Trade tensions between the US and China are expected to increase after Beijing announced duties on distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) ranging from 42.2% to 53.7%, sharply higher than the 33.8% figure in the Commerce Ministry's preliminary decision in Sep. Anti-subsidy tariffs will be 11.2%-12%, the ministry said. DDGS is used by the livestock industry as a feed substitute for maize and soya meal. US DDGS exports have exploded from 1mt in 2006 to 11.7mt in 2016. Of that, China accounted for about 30% of the export market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China groups take out insurance against blocking of foreign deals - Henny Sender

Chinese companies facing tighter US scrutiny of their overseas deals are being offered a novel solution - insurance policies that pay out if a takeover is blocked on national security grounds. A wave of Chinese acquisitions in the US and other overseas markets is drawing intensified attention from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, lawyers say. Last month, China's FUJIAN GRAND CHIP INVESTMENT said it had dropped its €670m offer for German chip equipment maker AIXTRON after failing to win CFIUS approval. Earlier in 2016 a Chinese consortium's $3bn deal to buy a lighting unit from Dutch conglomerate PHILIPS was also thwarted by the US regulator. Now several insurance groups, led by AON, are marketing products that compensate foreign bidders in full for their "reverse break-up" fees they would have to pay a target company if the US regulator thwarted a deal. Experts believe the DONALD TRUMP administration heralds an even more hostile environment for Chinese bidders. As a consequence, any comp

City of London lobbying group drops demand for EU passport - Jonathan Ford

The City of London has retreated from demanding continued access to the single market in any post-Brexit deal with the EU, according to principal lobbying group TheCityUK. The group abandoned the ideal of fighting to retain the financial "passport", which allows companies to sell their services throughout the market from a single location. Previously its desired outcome was for the UK either to remain in the EU's single market, or to strike a special agreement preserving existing passporting rights. TheCityUK is now pinning its hopes on building a deal around "equivalence", a relatively new legal concept embedded in some but not all EU financial regulation. This allows companies form markets that are deemed to have "equivalent" regulatory standards to trade freely across borders with each others' customers under their home country's laws and regulations. TheCityUK CEO MILES CELIC said a "bespoke deal" tailored to the needs of the UK should be achievable. "It would protect London as a market and those Eu

Saudi Arabia to cull billions of dollars of projects - Simeon Kerr

Saudi Arabia is planning to cull billions of dollars of projects as part of its latest cost-cutting measures to narrow a gaping budget deficit and balance the books by 2020. The government has awarded a contract to PwC to identify between SR50bn and SR75bn in savings, according to sources. The focus of the cuts will be on capex, such as infrastructure projects, as Riyadh hopes to avoid any politically sensitive spending reductions after austerity measures last year triggered an outburst of public discontent. PwC and the government declined to comment. The project review is another blow to construction companies and other businesses that have come under financial strain since Riyadh began tightening its belt after oil prices fell in mid-2014. Cuts to the Saudi project pipeline have echoed across Gulf states, deepening the pain for regional contracting companies. The value of infrastructure contracts awarded in the Gulf last year fell 44% to $100bn, compared with $178bn in 2015, according to data from the

VW admits guilt, pays $4.3bn emissions scandal penalty - David J Lynch

VOLKSWAGEN agreed to plead guilty to three felonies and pay $4.3bn to settle a US Department of Justice probe as six of its executives were indicted for their role in the diesel emissions scandal that has engulfed the German carmaker for 16 months. The six executives, all based in Germany, include OLIVER SCHMIDT, the group's former US head of compliance, who was arrested in the US on Monday. Officials said the indictments validated the DoJ's strategy of targeting individuals in corporate crime prosecution, which has been criticised as ineffectual since its Sep. 2015 launch by SALLY YATES, deputy attorney-general. Up to 11m vehicles worldwide were fitted with the "defeat devices" to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions in laboratory tests. The penalty, which includes a criminal fine of $2.8bn, is the second-largest criminal environmental settlement in US history, behind BP's Deepwater Horizon case. VW pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and commit wire fraud, obstruction

Iraq sticks to OPEC oil output cut target - Simeon Kerr

Iraq has cut oil output by 170 000 bpd and will this week trim a further 40 000, Oil Minister JABBAR AL-LUAIBI confirmed yesterday. AL-LUAIBI confirmed Iraq's adherence to a 210 000 reduction is in line with the country's commitments to OPEC's attempts to shore up crude prices through a coordinated production cut. He said Iraq was not content with oil prices that have been hovering around the $55/barrel market, saying he preferred "$65 a barrel of something like that". OPEC and non-OPEC members have agreed to reduce output by around 1.6m bpd this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford discusses compensation with suppliers after scrapping Mexico plant - Peter Campbell

FORD is in compensation talks with companies that had been due to supply its cancelled Mexican car plant. The carmaker last week cancelled plans for a $1.6bn plant in San Luis Potosi, and said it would move production of the Focus to an existing Mexican site and invest $700m in its facility in Michigan. FORD had lined up suppliers for the Mexican plant, and had been due to begin production at the site in 2018. Work had already begun on the site, with some of the foundations poured. However, the carmaker did not own the land, which would go back to the Mexican government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil slashes rates to 13% in surprise move - Jonathan Wheatley

Brazil's central bank yesterday cut its policy interest rate by 75 basis points, exceeding the consensus call for a 50 bps cut and sharply picking up the pace on an easing cycle it began with two back-to-back cuts of 25 bps each in Oct. and Nov. The central bank said economic activity had fallen below expectations and that a recovery would take longer than anticipated. It also noted data released earlier in the day showing inflation falling faster than expected to 6.3% in the FY to end-Dec. - the fist time in two years it has been within the central bank's target range of 4.5% plus or minus 2 percentage points. Economists expect it to end 2017 at 4.81%. Consensus forecasts for GDP growth in 2017 have fallen from 1.4% in Sep. to 0.5% yesterday, according to the central bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merck shares up as cancer drug gets priority review - Jessica Dye

MERCK & CO shares rose 5.4% yesterday after it got a welcome boost from US regulators in its battle to lead the way on a next-generation group of cancer drugs. The company late on Tuesday announced the US FDA had accepted its application for expedited review of its drug Keytruda to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer, in combination with chemotherapy. The FDA has set a target action date of May 10 on the application, which is the first involving Keytruda in combination with another treatment, MERCK said. If approved, it would be the first regimen to combine conventional chemotherapy with an immuno-oncology agent to treat non-small cell lung cancer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude inventories rise more than forecast - Adam Samson

US crude inventories rose last week by a far larger margin than analysts anticipated. Stocks were up by 4.1m barrels last week, according to the US Department of Energy. That compares with analysts' estimate of 930 000 barrels. Inventories of gasoline rose by 5m barrels, also beating forecasts for a build o 2.1m. The rise highlights growing concerns that energy companies eager to pad their bottom lines will ramp up production, with WTI hovering around the $50/barrel level. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi capital flight overshadowing reform efforts - Nicholas Megaw

Capital outflows continue to overshadow efforts at economic reform in Saudi Arabia, according to analysis from BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH. Recent data on the kingdom's balance of payments suggest financial outflows accelerated compared to the same period last year, when adjusting for the issue of a $10bn syndicated loan. Outflows put further pressure on the riyal, which is pegged to the US dollar but has come under pressure from investors betting the kingdom will be forced to revalue it. BAML stressed that the size of outflows are difficult to ascertain, but said outward investment from the kingdom's PUBLIC INVESTMENT FUND "needs to be carefully managed in order not to pressure reserves". "If outflows persist, authorities may consider resorting to administrative measures as the commitment to an open capital account is central to attracting foreign investment under the economic reform programme". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uranium soars after Kazakh cutback - Henry Sanderson

The market for uranium may be finally looking up after years of oversupply. Spot uranium rose $2.25, or 10%, to close at $24.25/lb on Tuesday, the highest level since Sep. The surge came after state-owned KAZATOMPROM, the world's biggest supplier of uranium, announced a 10% production cut, equivalent to around 3% of global output. Kazakhstan accounts for around 40% of the world's supply of the material. Shares in the Global X Uranium ETF jumped by 9% following the announcement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump blasts US intelligence on Russia dossier - Sam Fleming

A defiant DONALD TRUMP lashed out at the US intelligence community in his first press conference as president-elect, accusing it of allowing the leak of claims that Russia sought to compromise him and likening the behaviour to "something that Nazi Germany would have done". TRUMP angrily denied the allegations in a leaked dossier containing lurid but unverified claims about his personal conduct and his team's ties to Moscow, saying the allegations were "fake news" and the product of "sick people". TRUMP's combative stance sets up a potentially historic confrontation between the commander-in-chief and US spy agencies from the start of the new administration. Despite the hostility, TRUMP for the first time said he accepted spy agencies' conclusion that Moscow hacked Democratic party computers during the election, releasing damaging information about HILLARY CLINTON's campaign. Intelligence agencies have not confirmed the veracity of the dossier, which has been circulating for months among politicians and the

Hisense mulls doubling SA staff as TV sales soar - Gareth van Zyl

China's HISENSE could double its South African staff numbers after becoming the country's biggest TV seller for the first time in 2016. This is according to HISENSE GM for SA YOUBO LI. The brand first come to the local market in 1996. It had a TV making factory in Midrand, but later moved this capacity to a facility in Atlantis, Cape Town. LI said while HISENSE is selling more televisions than any other manufacturer in SA, the company is still not tops yet in terms of sales value. But amid its total sales volumes growth, the company is holding talks to possibly double or even triple its factory size in SA. HISENSE also intends to launch all its latest televisions, debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, to the local market. Last week, HISENSE said it plans to sell a 100-inch, R176 000 4K laser projection TV system later this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA merger: Comair's Venter raises questions - Carin Smith

COMAIR CEO ERIK VENTER said it is unclear what a merger between SAA, MANGO and SA EXPRESS would achieve that cannot be achieved by each carrier individually. This was in reaction to a parliamentary response by Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN. BROWN this week said it will cost government R12.1m to make use of the services of BAIN & CO to manage the merger. "MANGO is already a 100% subsidiary of SAA and SAA ensures that its flights to not overlap with those of SA EXPRESS. So I do not see any structural change to the network or capacity arising from the merger", VENTER said. BROWN said the scope of BAIN's work entails the development of an "optimal corporate structure to re-align the state-owned airlines" and that the consultancy will take cognisance of industry best practices. VENTER noted that a merger might consolidate three boards of directors into one and might concentrate control under one CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan to act against indebted municipalities - Fin24

Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said the Treasury will act against municipalities which have failed to settle their debt to ESKOM. In a letter to DA MP for the Free State DAVID ROSS, GORDHAN raised his concern over the utility's planned power cuts on Jan. 16, saying Treasury would consider withholding national grants to the non-paying municipalities. Judge HANS FABRICIUS last week ruled that ESKOM may cut off power supply to the eight indebted municipalities as a means to recover outstanding debt. "The people of these municipalities have been let down by dishonesty, corruption and maladministration, which has led to non-payment to ESKOM and major debt", DA MP KEVIN MILEHAM said, adding that the planned power cuts will not only "severely undermine basic service delivery, but will also collapse local economies and cause a jobs blood-bath". All eight affected municipalities are under ANC rule. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rise in passenger demand among African airlines - Carin Smith

African airlines experienced an 8.2% rise in demand in Nov. 2016 y/y, the International Air Transport Association said yesterday. "The upward trend in seasonally-adjusted passenger traffic has, however, reasserted itself more recently, supported by strong demand on routes to and from Asia and the Middle East", IATA said. Among African airlines capacity rose 5.1% and loan factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 66.3%. In Nov., African carriers posted the largest rise in freight demand among the global regions - 10.9% y/y - and the seasonally-adjusted growth remains strong. As for the global picture, IATA said passenger traffic results for Nov. showed the strongest demand growth in nine months. Total revenue passenger kilometres rose 7.6% compared to Nov. 2016. Capacity increased by 6.5% and loan factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 78.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma signs 7 new finance bills into law - Fin24

President JACOB ZUMA has signed seven new finance bills into law, the Presidency said yesterday. The Bills have been passed by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in the past year and sent to ZUMA for ratification. The laws include: the Taxation Laws Amendment Act; the Finance Act; the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws (Administration) Act; the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act; the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act; the Adjustments Appropriation Act; and the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stellenbosch wine grand ranked fastest growing worldwide - Lameez Omarjee

Stellenbosch's 4th Street wine brand, owned by DISTELL, is ranked the top growing internationally for 2016, according to the International Wine and Spirit Research report. The IWSR report, released at the end of 2016, takes an overall market outlook across different channels and borders to compile its rankings. Among the factors contributing to the growth of 4th Street is its appeal to millennials, expecially young women. The brand is currently available within Africa and the majority of volumes sold were in SA. The wine was originally launched in 2009 as a natural sweet rosé and in 2011 it expanded its offering to include natural sweet red and natural sweet white wine. The brand is spearheading a trend of natural sweets among consumers, especially those in urban townships and student campuses. "DISTELL is likely to build on this in the years to come", the report stated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Guptas fail to sell SA companies by end-2016 - Matthew le Cordeur

The GUPTAS' intention to dispose of their shares in all their South African businesses by the end of 2016 has not come to fruition. A spokesperson for the family said it "remains committed to disposing of its shareholdings in South Africa as soon as is practically possible, and discussions continue". The family decided to exit their OAKBAY INVESTMENTS company, and its subsidiaries, after SA's four biggest banks blacklisted their accounts in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cell C blames rand, CPI for data price hikes - Kyle Venktess

CELL C has moved to hike its mobile data tariffs in SA. "Rising inflation, the rand, US dollar exchange and uncertainty in the industry over the allocation of spectrum, have all contributed to an increase in the cost to provide mobile services to consumers", CELL C said. It added that despite best efforts to keep prices stable, the rising cost to supply mobile network services has necessitated a hike in the price charged to the end consumer. In a statement to clients, the company said it would submit the amended tariff plan information to ICASA as per the current regulations. The price of CELL C's SmartData Bundles has increased with the cheapest 25MB bundle rising by R2 to R10, and the biggest 500MW bundle increasing by R9 to R99. SmartData Contracts have also increased with 500MB now costing R45, up from R39. Meanwhile, 1GB now costs R75 and 10GB, which previously cost R299, is now priced at R349/month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CSIR responds to Eskom claim of R9bn renewables-related economic loss in 2016 - Terence Creamer

The CSIR has responded to ESKOM's claim that buying power from renewable energy producers resulted in a net economic loss of R9bn in 2016. The CSIR stresses that its methodology, which measures only the immediate fuel-saving effect on the existing fleet and underestimates the value of new investments, had been developed for a constrained power system and for when the use of diesel generators was high. "When the power system is less constrained and diesel turbines are not operational most of the time, the methodology underestimates the diesel-fuel savings. It needs to be adjusted to give the correct fuel-saving value". It further notes that only the most expensive REIPPPP projects, mostly from bid windows 1 and 2, were operational during 2016, with the lowest-cost projects of the latter rounds still to be introduced. The average solar PV tariff fell from 356c/kWh in bid window 1 to 62c/kWh in bid window 4, while onshore wind fell from 151c/kWh to 62c/kWh over the same period. The real value, the CSIR arg

COSATU demands urgent govt intervention in poultry industry - ANA

COSATU yesterday said it was deeply concerned by the pending jobs blood bath in the poultry industry, and alarmed by government's "deafening silence" on the matter. This comes after RAINBOW CHICKEN indicated it would be retrenching 1 350 farm workers and close four farms in KZN. Reports also indicated that a total of 50 000 food and farm jobs could be lost following the influx of cheap chicken imports from EU countries. COSATU said this could be at the levels of jobs lost when government allowed cheap Chinese imports to collapse the local textile industry in the 1990s. The union federation called on government to wake up and provide the necessary leadership to save the industry. "We cannot afford for government to continue sleeping on the job. It needs to come with a clear programme and plan to save and protect our fragile and strategic poultry industry." COSATU proposed that Pretoria holds an urgent meeting with the poultry industry to develop an action plan to save jobs and put in place and enforce p

Eskom expects net economic loss to SA from renewables for next five years - Megan van Wyngaardt

Amid growing frustration around the pending amendments to the Integrated Resource Plan and the impact this will have on future renewable-energy projects in SA, ESKOM yesterday revealed that the economy has suffered a R9bn net loss for 2016, owing to a surplus of electricity capacity from solar photovoltaic and wind energy projects. ESKOM added that this net economic loss could last for the next five years, forecasting that there will be a surplus of electricity capacity to 2021. In a statement, ESKOM explained that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Reserach had developed a methodology quantifying the net economic benefit of renewables. This is achieved by calculating the benefits of reduced unserved energy, as well as cost savings to ESKOM. These benefits are then offset against the total tariff paid to renewable energy IPP projects, resulting in a net benefit or loss. For the first six months of 2015, ESKOM bought 2 TWh of wind and solar PV energy. The CSIR calculated a total financial benefit

SACCI BCI drops 0.1 index points - Megan van Wyngaardt

While SA continues to struggle to grow the economy, SACCI's Business Confidence Index remained steady in Dec., recording only a marginal m/m decline of 0.1 index points to 93.8. SACCI noted that the 10-point y/y decline of Dec. 2015 had reversed, with a y/y increase of 1.6 index points recorded in Dec. 2016. This is the first time since Feb. 2015 that the BCI improved on a y/y basis. Five subindices made positive m/m contributions to the Dec. figure, while six subindices made negative contributions and two remained unchanged. Positive contributions came from merchandise export and import volumes, the rand exchange rate and the real value of building plans passed. The dollar price of precious metals, credit to the private sector, real retail sales and share prices made the largest negative m/m impacts on the BCI in Dec. The y/y comparison in Dec. reflects a more restrained business climate with three of the 13 subindices improving y/y. SACCI noted that while 2016 was a tough year, which saw the BCI reac

BHP wage showdown has copper watchers weighing strike risk - Bloomberg

The wage negotiations at Chile's Escondida mine is showing the downside for copper producers of recovering prices - workers want their share. Talks began in earnest on Tuesday at the BHP BILLITON-owned mine. In a preliminary phase of the collective bargaining process, management rejected demands by Union Number 1 for a 7% pay rise and a bonus of 25m pesos, union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDES said. Workers are scheduled to vote on a final proposal by Jan. 24. Unions are emboldened by a 25% price surge since mid-Oct. amid shrinking global stockpiles. But prices and earnings are still a long way from the super-cycle heyday of 2011 and companies' shareholders are also looking for a payday by urging management to keep costs in check to maximise profit. Escondida will serve as a precedent for the other 15 contracts coming up for renewal in Chile, BTG PACTUAL said in a note to clients this week. "A potential strike at Escondida would have an effect on the mining sector in Chile and in the rest of the world bec

Brazil court extends Samarco deadline - Reuters

A Brazilian judge has extended the deadline for SAMARCO and its owners, RIO TINTO and BHP BILLITON, to make a R$1.2bn payment related to a dam spill to Jan. 19, a statement from the court in the state of Minas Gerais said yesterday. The payment was initially due on Monday, but the companies applied for the deadline to be pushed back. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yanfolila on track for first production at year-end - Anine Kilian

HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES' Yanfolila project in Mali remains on track for first gold production at the end of 2017. The plant will have capacity to process 1.24mt/year, producing 132 000oz of gold in its first FY of production. Average production over the life-of-mine is expected to be 107 000oz/year. Civil works on the project were under way and on track for steel work to start in the coming weeks, HUMMINGBIRD said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Obama plan to shake up coal leases could restrict Trump - Bloomberg

The outgoing OBAMA administration issued a blueprint for overhauling the way coal on federal land is sold, making it tougher for President-elect DONALD TRUMP to resume sales under decades-old procedures. A report released yesterday lays out a menu of potential options for policymakers to consider, including tacking a carbon fee onto coal leases to account for climate change, requiring payments into a fund that could help out-of-work miners and devastated communities, and even halting sales altogether. TRUMP can disregard the report's recommendations and stop the environmental review that was slated to take three years, but the document bulks up a record of evidence that changes are needed - information that would make it harder for future coal lease sales to withstand legal challenges. About 40% of US coal now comes from federal land, much of it from the Powder Riven Basin in Wyoming and Montana. Demand for the fossil fuel and new federal coal leases has fallen as environmental regulations and competition

Brikor set to release long-delayed results - Nicola Mawson

BRIKOR yesterday said its results for the FY to end-Feb. 2016 will be published by the end of this month. The company was meant to publish the figures within three months of the end of the reporting period. In Nov., BRIKOR said it was in the process of finalising its results for the FY and expected basic EPS of 5cps-5.5cps, up from 1.5cps y/y. HEPS should be between 5.2cps and 5.8cps, up from 2.7cps y/y. BRIKOR at the time said it expected to publish its results by the end of Nov. Its share price is flat at 9c with no activity over the past year. The company escaped liquidation in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda, Tanzania award crude pipeline design contract - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda and Tanzania have awarded a contract for designing a crude oil pipeline running through both countries to US-based GULF INTERSTATE ENGINEERING, an official document seen by Reuters showed yesterday. Early last year, Uganda agreed with Tanzania to jointly develop a $3.55bn pipeline to help ship Uganda's crude to international markets. The pipeline will start in Uganda's western region and terminate at Tanzania's Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga. The statement by Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development showed the contract for the Front-End Engineering Design was awareded to GULF INTERSTATE ENGINEERING last month. Among the tasks, the firm's contract involves helping with "project construction specifications", a plan for project execution, the implementation schedule and writing bid documents for a process to select a contractor to develop the pipeline. Uganda estimates overall crude reserves at 6.5bn barrels, while recoverable reserves are seen at 1.4bn-1.7bn barrels. GULF is expected to d

Nigeria to sell diaspora bonds in Mar. - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria will look to issue a debut diaspora bond by Mar. to raise funds from Nigerians abroad, after completing a $1bn eurobond sale this month, a finance ministry source said yesterday. It first announced plans to sell diaspora bonds in 2013 to raise $100m-$300m, but the government at the time could not finish appointing bookrunners for the sale before an election that swept the opposition into office. The government plans to borrow up to 410bn, with about half of that coming from foreign sources as it seeks to boost overseas loans to plug funding gaps and lower costs. In Dec., the government appointed CITIGROUP, STANDARD CHARTERED and STANBIC IBTC BANK to manage the $1bn eurobond sale, which it hopes to begin marketing this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats plans to sell chrome business - Tanisha Heiberg

IMPALA PLATINUM plans to sell its chrome business to focus on its core business, the company said. IMPLATS has a 65% stake in IMPALA CHROME and plans to dispuse of it, the group said in an advertisement this week inviting potential purchasers. "We are only potentially selling our interest in a chrome extraction venture at IMPALA RUSTENBURG", IMPLATS spokesperson JOHAN THERON said. The proposed sale will take place in a single transaction via a competitive tender process. "We have also prioritised local business entities to try and further integrate our business activity with local communities around the Rustenburg operation", THERON added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Africa Finance Corp plans maiden sukuk - Davide Barbuscia

AFRICA FINANCE CORP, a pan-African multilateral institution based in Nigeria, is likely to make a debut US dollar sukuk issue by early Feb., sources said yesterday. If AFC makes a final decision to go ahead with the proposed debt sale over coming days, the sukuk will be issued in two or three weeks via a private sale, a banking source said. The sukuk would be structured with a murabaha format, a popular cost-plus structure in Islamic finance, and use Nasdaq Dubai's platform for murabaha transactions, according to a report by MOODY's, which assigned a provisional A3 credit rating to the Cayman-domiciled SPV. AFC obtained a 15-year, $50m line of finance from the Saudi Arabia-based ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK in 2015. It issued a debut $750m conventional bond in 2015, a five-year deal that offered a 4.375% coupon. Last year it issued a $100m Swiss franc bond. That paper, with a maturity of three years and 150 days, pays a 0.85% coupon and was arranged by DEUTSCHE BANK and UBS. This news brief represents a

Market indicators for 12/01/2017

At 07h04 on 12 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.72 ZAR/EUR 14.55 ZAR/GBP 16.75 Gold 1196.91 Platinum 982.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.06 All Share 52437.91

Stronger rand likely boosted Comair EPS - Carin Smith

COMAIR today advised that it expects EPS and HEPS for the HY to end-Dec. to be at least 20% higher y/y. The expected increase is due to the strengthening of the rand against the dollar, resulting in a reversal of unrealised translation losses on a dollar denominated aircraft loan amounting to R98m. Furthermore, all loss-making open oil hedges had matured by end-Dec. and no further hedges were entered into. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa confident of meeting FY PGM, chrome output guidance - Megan van Wyngaardt

THARISA today said its operations remain on track to meet the 2017 FY production guidance of 147 000oz of PGMs and 1.3mt of chrome concentrates, of which 300 000t will be speciality grade chrome concentrates. During Q1 to end-Dec., THARISA mined consistently above the combined plant processing capacity of 400 000t/m at its Tharisa mine in the Bushveld Complex, bringing the total reef mined from the open pit to 1.22mt for the quarter. Further, 1.2mt were milled during the quarter, notwithstanding planned routine maintenance, including yearly mill relining. PGM recoveries, at 80.5%, remained well above the targeted recovery of 70%, resulting in PGM output of 34 800oz on a 6E basis. Total chrome concentrate production was 322 000t at a recovery rate of 64.3%, edging closer to the targeted recovery of 65% for chrome. Of that, 77 000t was higher-value speciality grade material. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP executives meet with Trump, Pence - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has confirmed a meeting between its management and US President-elect DONALD TRUMP and his VP, MIKE PENCE. BHP said chair JAC NASSER and CEO ANDREW MACKENZIE "had a productive meeting" with TRUMP and PENCE, and discussed "a wide range of subject areas, including the global resources sector, and BHP BILLITON's investment in the US. The company looks forward to working with the new administration". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia's Blanket delivers year-end output record - Natasha Odendaal

CALEDONIA MINING's 49%-owned Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe has delivered another record production quarter in the three months to end-Dec. 2016. on an all-time production high. During Q4 2016, gold output rose 18% y/y and 1.2% q/q to 13 591oz, taking FY output to 50 351oz, up 17.6% y/y. Blanket is now aiming for a 20% output rise in 2017, targeting gold production of 60 000oz at an estimated on-mine cost of $600/oz-$630/oz and an all-in sustaining cost of $810/oz-$850/oz. Blanket remains on track to increase production to 80 000oz/y by 2021. CALEDONIA will publish FY results on Mar. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 11/01/2017

At 13h22 on 11 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.70 ZAR/EUR 14.42 ZAR/GBP 16.62 Gold 1187.93 Platinum 979.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.04 All Share 51893.53

EU privacy proposal could dent Facebook, Gmail ad revenue - Julia Fioretti

Online messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Gmail will face tougher rules on how they can track users under a proposal presented by the EU executive on Tuesday which could hurt companies reliant on advertising. The companies would have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers' conversations and get their consent before tracking them online to target them with personalised advertisements. Services such as Gmail and Hotmail will not be able to scan customers' emails, to serve them with targeted advertisements without getting their explicit permission. Spending on online advertising in 2015 was €36.4bn, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. The EU proposal extends some rules that now apply to telecom operators to web companies offering calls and messages using the internet, and seeks to close a perceived regulatory gap between the telecoms industry and mainly US service providers FACEBOOK, GOOGLE and MICROSOFT. Online advertisers say the rules would undermine many websites'

Walmart plans to cut hundreds of jobs this month - Sruthi Ramakrishnan

WALMART STORES plans to cut hundreds of jobs before the end of Jan., the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday citing sources. The retailer plans to eliminate jobs at its headquarters and regional personnel that support stores. Many of the retrenchments will affect WALMART's HR department, a large team that some senior executives believe should be more efficient or whose duties could be handled by outside consultants. Other departments would also be affected. WALMART in Sep. said it would cut around 7 000 back-office jobs, mostly in accounting and invoicing positions at its US stores, par part of a programme announced in June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China vows to contain corporate debt levels - Kevin Yao

China yesterday vowed to contain high company debt levels and further cut excess coal and steel capacity as Beijing tries to maintain solid and more balanced economic growth while avoiding destabilising asset bubbles. China's credit growth has been "very fast" by global standards, and without a comprehensive strategy to tackle the debt overhang there is a growing risk it will have a banking crisis or sharply slower growth or both, the IMF said in Oct. "Although the domestic economy is stable and improving, it still faces contradictions and problems", said XU ZHAOSHI, the top official at the National Development and Reform Commission. "We have the confidence, conditions and ability to ensure the economy operates within a reasonable range". XU said Beijing will not allow debt of non-financial firms to rise beyond current levels, and will step up efforts to encourage companies to restructure their debts. China's corporate debt has soared to 169% of GDP. This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Updated market indicators for 11/01/2017

At 11h12 on 11 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.70 ZAR/EUR 14.47 ZAR/GBP 16.67 Gold 1190.72 Platinum 982.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.76 All Share 51838.97

Phumelela in R284m rights offer - Business Report

PHUMELELA GAMING & LEISURE intends to raise R284m via an offer of 16.3m shares at R17.39/share to partly finance its 50% stake in fixed odds sports betting company SUPABETS, the company said today. The R17.39/share offer represents a 21.3% discount to yesterday's closing price. PHUMELELA announced its intention to acquire a stake in SUPABETS in Dec. 2015. It said shareholders had already approved the acquisition of the 50% stake in SUPABETS and the rights offer. The deal, worth R437m, is expected to boost PHUMELELA's EPS. The purchase price is based on SUPABETS's generated net profit after tax for the FY to end-Feb. of R94.5m. In details issued after the initial announcement of the deal, PHUMELELA said 35% of the R437m would be settled through the issue of new PHUMELELA ordinary shares, while 65% would be in cash. The cash portion would be financed through the issue of new PHUMELELA ordinary shares by way of the rights and any remaining balance will be settled via debt. This news brief represents a

Bidvest deal gets green light - Business Report

The Competition Tribunal today said it had unconditionally approved the merger of BIDVEST BANK and the FULCRUM GROUP, after previously conditionally approving the merger. The Competition Commission had recommended that the merger be approved without conditions. In Dec., the Tribunal said it had conditionally approved the merger. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish current acc deficit swells - Mehreen Khan

Turkey's current account deficit swelled by $590m in Nov. to $2.27bn, heaping further pressure on the economy. The current account deficit came in lower than an average forecast of $2.75bn from polled economists ahead of the release. However, the swelling deficit is another sign of fragility in an economy which is suffering from a toxic mix of slowing growth, sharply declining tourism revenues, security fears and a record low exchange rate. Nov. data from the Turkish central bank showed the trade deficit grew to $2.88bn on the back of slightly lower exports, while the surplus in trade in services also contracted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China probes bitcoin exchanges amid capital flight fears - Gabriel Wildau

Chinese regulators have taken steps to ensure bitcoin is not used to facilitate capital flight, even as investors in the cryptocurrency say they doubt it is being used to transfer large amounts of cash out of China. The apparent correlation between a depreciating renminbi and bitcoin's price surge in recent months has prompted suspicion that the virtual asset is contributing to outflows. Bitcoin's Chinese price rose 145% in 2016, as the renminbi suffered its worst year on record, weakening 6.5%. Renminbi transactions accounted for 98% of global bitcoin trading volume over the past six months, according to data from bitcoinity.org. The People's Bank of China last week met with the country's three largest bitcoin exchanges to remind them to "strictly" follow relevant regulations on risk control and to "clean up" any irregular practices, according to the central bank. Bitcoin has fallen 9% since the PBoC announcements. In meetings with HUOBI.COM and OKCOIN, the PBoC instructed the two exchanges not to ment

Oil companies prepare to ramp up investment again - Andrew Ward

Oil companies are preparing to ramp up spending this year as the recovery in crude prices given them confidence to revive some of the projects postponed over the past two years. Brent has been trading at around $55/barrel - double the 12-year low hit in early 2016 - after producers nations agreed last Dec. to their first production cut for more than a decade. This, coupled with deep cost cuts made by oil companies since prices crashed in 2014, has improved cash flow generation across the industry and made the economics of many prospective developments look more attractive. Global capex by leading exploration and production companies will total $450bn in 2017, up 3% compared to 2016 and ending two years of steep declines, according to forecasts by WOOD MACKENZIE. Meanwhile, the number of final investment decisions by these 60 E&P companies on new upstream projects will double to more than 20 in 2017, from nine in 2016. According to WOOD MAC, there are 40 large upstream projects awaiting investment decisi

VW close to $4.3bn US criminal settlement - David J Lynch

VOLKSWAGEN yesterday said it was in advanced talks to pay $4.3bn in penalties and plead guilty to criminal charges to settle with the US Department of Justice over the carmaker's diesel emissions scandal. VW would also be subject to supervision by an independent monitor for the next three years. VW said the settlement could result in the company's financial obligations stemming from the scandal exceeding its "current provisions". In Oct., it said it had set aside more than €18.2bn. The final agreement is subject to approval by VW's management and supervisory board, which are expected to meet later today. In a statement yesterday evening, the carmaker said it had reached a "concrete draft" of the settlement that will see t pay $4.3bn. The total is expected to be broken into three parts - a criminal fine well below $4bn, civil and environmental fines, and customs-related penalties covering the import of cars under false pretences. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump says Russian dossier claims are fake - Catherine Belton

US President-elect DONALD TRUMP has denied claims that Russia sought to cultivate and compromise him, after unverified allegations about his personal conduct and ties to Moscow spilled out into the open yesterday. CNN reported that US intelligence agency officials shared a written synopsis of a dossier containing lurid but unsubstantiated personal claims about TRUMP, allegedly compiled by Moscow, when they met the president-elect on Friday to brief him on their assessment that Russia interfered in the US election. TRUMP quickly responded with a tweet, writing: "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!" His team did not immediately comment further on CNN's reporting, or the details of the report, which was published in full by BuzzFeed. Intelligence agencies have not confirmed the veracity of the dossier, which has been circulating for months. The report in question contains memos written by a former British intelligence officer whose work US officials have said they believed to be credible. This news

Turkish lira hits record low - Peter Wells

The Turkish lira has hit a record low, weakening beyond 3.8 to the dollar for the first time as investors continue to fret over the country's political and economic outlook. The lira fell by as much as 0.5% to 3.81/$ in morning trade in Asia. In yesterday's session it traded within a whisker of the 3.8 level. Down 7.4% against the dollar this year, it is the world's worst performing currency. The combination of faltering growth, rising bank liabilities and concerns about national security and democratic standards are all weighing on the lira and the economy at large. The central bank yesterday said it would cut lenders' forex reserve requirements and reduce bank borrowing limits to free up an additional $1.5bn in liquidity for today's session. The central bank also said additional steps would be taken "if necessary" to "safeguard price stability and financial stability". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANZ sells UDC Finance to HNA - Alice Woodhouse

ANZ BANKING GROUP has agreed to sell its New Zealand asset finance arm UDC FINANCE to Chinese conglomerate HNA GROUP for NZ$660m as the bank continues its plan to simplify its business. The sale comes amid the Australian lender's effort to complete $3bn worth of disposals, mostly in Asia, which had been acquired over the past decade. Last week, ANZ sold its 20% stake in SHANGHAI RURAL COMMERCIAL BANK for A$1.838bn to two Chinese state-owned businesses last week, and in Oct. offloaded the retail and wealth management units in a number of Asian countries that it purchased from ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND in 2009. UDC is the asset finance business of the lender's wholly-owned subsidiary ANZ BANK NEW ZEALAND. ANZ said the sale price represents a price-to-book ratio of 1.6 UDC's net assets as at Sep. 2016, with a net gain on the sale of A$100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US oil output to rise 1.3% in 2017, EIA says - Gregory Meyer

US oil production has turned a corner after a long period of weak petroleum prices, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday, with volumes rising for the first time since early 2015. The EIA forecast that oil output from the US will increase 1.3% to 9m bpd in 2017, abandoning an earlier prediction of a 0.9% contraction. It said US crude output will rise by 3.3%, or 300 000 bpd, to 9.3m bpd. Higher estimates of oil demand in industrialised countries led EIA to estimate that global oil stocks drew down in Q3 2016 - the first quarterly decline in inventories since late 2013. However, uncertainty over future output from countries such as Libya and Nigeria "could delay consistent global inventory withdrawals until the second half of 2018". The EIA said total US liquid fuels production will rise by 300 000 bpd in 2017 and by a sharp 700 000 bpd in 2018 "in response to rising oil prices and increases in drilling productivity". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coty buys $600m stake in Younique - Scheherazade Daneshkhu

US cosmetics group COTY has begun 2017 with its appetite for acquisitions undiminished. It yesterday announced that it would pay $600m for a controlling stake in YOUNIQUE, a four-year old start-up. YOUNIQUE founders DEREK MAXFIELD and MELANIE HUSCROFT will retain a 40% stake in the online cosmetics retailer, which they will continue to run as a separate entity within COTY's consumer beauty division. COTY is to pay $600m cash for a 60% stake, funded with a mix of cash on hand and debt. YOUNIQUE sells cosmetics online, mainly on mobile devices, and had 4.1m consumers in 10 countries. The company had net revenues of $400m last year and is profitable. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Argentina clinches deal for shale investment - Benedict Mander

President MAURICIO MACRI is pushing to revamp flagging output at Argentina's massive shale reserves, with companies yesterday agreeing to invest as much as $15bn/year in exchange for lower labour costs and extended state subsidies. The drive to increase investment and productivity in the Vaca Muerta shale deposit is part of Argentina's attempt to recover energy self-sufficiency and emulate the shale boom in the US. MACRI said a "new era" was beginning for the country's languishing energy sector, which will see foreign companies as well as Argentina's state energy company YPF, invest an initial $5bn in 2017, rising to $15bn in subsequent years. In return for the investment commitments from the private sector, the national government committed to extending a subsidy being gradually phased out that enables companies to sell gas for three times the international price, with the local price currently fixed at $7.50 per million BTU. MACRI also announced the elimination of a 15-year-old export duty on oil and oi

Cargill profit boosted by turkey, beef demand - Gregory Meyer

CARGILL yesterday reported its best adjusted quarterly profit in six years, powered by strong demand for meat and other foodstuffs. The company said adjusted operating earnings totalled $1.03bn in Q2 to end-Nov., up 80% from $574m y/y. The results exclude items such as divestitures. Revenues were down 1% at $26.9bn. The animal nutrition and protein division stood out, boosted by robust sales of Thanksgiving turkeys and demand for beef. CARGILL packing plants process both. CARGILL's global poultry group also shined, "led by good results in Asia". "We are energised by the results across our businesses, which are due to the hard work and commitment of our teams worldwide", CARGILL chair and CEO DAVID MACLENNAN said. "Our increased profitability gives us confidence that we are achieving the broad-based structural improvements we have sought". On an unadjusted base, CARGILL's net profit fell 29% to $986m in the quarter, down from $1.39bn y/y. The prior-year figure was inflated by "large gains from busine

EU proposes rules allowing media companies to freeze out ad blockers - Duncan Robinson

Media companies will be allowed to ban customers who use ad blockers under new online privacy rules proposed yesterday. To combat the rise of ad blocking technology many publishers have opted to ban users who refuse to see ads. More than 200m people are estimated to use ad blockers, which stop online adverts from showing up on websites. The technology used to ban ad blocking users from websites is in a legal grey area. Websites are obliged to ask for permission to "access" a device. Some privacy activists argued that the technology used to detect an ad blocker amounted to "access" and was thus illegal. Yesterday, the European Commission unveiled a proposal that mere detection of an ad blocker does not require such consent. EU digital policy head ANDRUS ANSIP admitted that some online privacy activists will recoil at the idea of the plan, but dismissed them as freeloaders who wanted access without a care for editorial costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US small business optimism jumps most since 2004 - Adam Samson

US small business optimism surged to the highest level in more than a decade in Dec. amid hopes that business conditions will improve when DONALD TRUMP takes office later this month. The National Federation of Independent Business sentiment index rose by 7.4% - marking the sharpest rise since 1980 - to 105.8 last month, easily exceeding Wall Street forecasts for a rise to 99.5. The reading was the highest since 2004. The rise was led by an increase in expectations among small businesses, which account for around half of American private-sector employment, that conditions will improve. The sub-index surged from 12 to 50. The sharp increase comes as executives reckon TRUMP will look to cut the corporate tax rate and loosen regulations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish c.bank tweaks FX rules - Mehreen Khan

Turkey's central bank has shifted its forex reserve requirements and said it was "closely monitoring" financial market volatility as the lira's rout has intensified this week. Legislators said they would slash lenders' forex requirements and lower bank borrowing limits to free up $1.5bn in additional liquidity today. Further steps would be taken "if necessary" to "safeguard price stability and financial stability" in the country. The lira hit fresh lows against the dollar in the last 48 hours, taking its 2017 slump to more than 7%. The central bank raised rates for the first time since 2014 in Nov. 2016, with analysts expecting further hikes in a bid to protect the exchange rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clearing ban would impose 'de facto' currency controls in eurozone - Mehreen Khan

A move by eurozone authorities to repatriate euro clearing to the continent after Brexit would impose a system of "de facto" currency controls in the continent, LSE CEO XAVIER ROLET said yesterday. ROLET said any decision to revive a case to remove clearing activity from the UK would be a "momentous decision" with long-term implications for the EU's operations in other forex clearing. "They would impose de facto, indirect currency controls. [The EU] would lose the right most likely to clear renminbi, dollars, Japanese yen", ROLET told MPs at a Treasury Select Committee hearing. Should clearing businesses have to leave London, ROLET said New York, rather than other major eurozone capitals, would likely be the "most attractive" option for the LSE's clients. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual to redeem perpetual preference shares - Robert Laing

OLD MUTUAL intends using cash raised from its recent divestments to redeem £350m worth of perpetual preference shares listed in London, the company said yesterday. OLD MUTUAL is offering holders of its perpetual preference shares a 3% premium to their par value. CAPITEC, INVESTEC and other JSE-listed banks have bought back preference shares recently. They've been prompted to do this because under Basel III, the contribution of perpetual preference shares to capital adequacy limits is gradually being phased out. This did not apply to OLD MUTUAL, said investor relations manager SIZWE NDLOVU. "We're using cash that has become available to reduce borrowing", NDLOVU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Banks in Africa still have liquidity, risk gaps - Moody's - Liesl Peyper

Although banks in Africa have done a lot to improve regulation and supervision that have strengthened their financial stability, progress has not been uniform and serious gaps remain, MOODY's said yesterday. MOODY's said African banking regulators have strengthened corporate governance rules, updated banking laws and implemented measures to mitigate risk. Significant progress has also been made in the areas of enforcement and cross-border coordination. Despite this, further improvements are needed in some areas. For example, SA is the only African country to have implemented the Basel III reforms. "Implementing Basel III would be a catalyst for improved capital and liquidity management and internal risk management procedures across the continent", MOODY's said. African countries have broadly adopted international standards on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, but compliance is still evolving. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R12m for foreign firm to manage SA's airline mergers - Liezl Peyper

It will cost government R12.1m to make use of the services of BAIN & CO to manage the merger of SAA, MANGO and SA EXPRESS, Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN said in response to a parliamentary question this week. BROWN said the scope of the work entails the development of an "optimal corporate structure to re-align the state-owned airlines" and that the consultancy will take cognisance of industry best practices. Both SAA and SA EXPRESS are surviving on state debt guarantees at a time when the government is trying to rein in spending and raise revenue amid slowing economic growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nersa gets new boss - Fin24

CHRISTOPHER FORLEE will take over the helm as CEO of NERSA. The energy regulator on Monday announced that Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON made the appointment for a period of five years, effective from Jan. 1. FORLEE will also be a full-time regulatory member of NERSA. FORLEE, an electrical engineer, was responsible for regulation of the petroleum pipelines industry within NERSA. JOEMAT-PETTERSSON also announced two acting appointments. MBULELO NCETEZO will act as the full-time regulatory member primarily responsible for electricity, while NOMFUNDO MASETI will act as the full-time regulatory member primarily responsible for petroleum pipelines regulation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Move to make Eskom nuclear procurer unlawful, court told - Matthew le Cordeur

The groups taking the Department of Energy to court over the nuclear procurement programme claim its decision in late 2016 to make ESKOM the nuclear energy procurer was unlawful. This view is contained in an answering affidavit filed by Earthlife SA and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute on Monday. It forms part of the Western Cape High Court case preparation for the nuclear energy court hearing, which has been postponed to Feb. 22. It is also in response to Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON's responding affidavit signed on Dec. 22. In her response, the minister said she was "not aware of any legal rule or court order" preventing her from amending the 2013 nuclear procurement determination. "In this regard, I have taken note of some wild, unfounded and irresponsible accusations that this time amendment to the 2013 determination was calculated and times to derail the present litigation", JOEMAT-PETTERSSON said. Yesterday, Earthlife and SAFCEI said their court papers "revea

World Bank warns rand could take hit amid global policy flux - Terence Creamer

The World Bank has issued a warning that the rand could come under pressure in 2017 due to heightened policy uncertainty in the US and Europe, which could constrain capital flows to emerging markets. However, the bank's baseline projection is for the local economy to expand by 1.1% in 2017, up from its estimate of only 0.4% growth in 2016. Global growth is expected to rise to 2.7% this year from 2.3% in 2016, mainly driven by improvements in EMs. But the bank's 'Global Economic Prospects' report stressed that the risks to the outlook for SA and sub-Saharan Africa are heavily tilted to the downside. "Externally, heightened policy uncertainty in the US and Europe could lead to financial market volatility and higher borrowing costs or cut off capital flows to emerging and frontier markets. A reversal of flows to the region would hit heavily traded currencies, like the South African rand, hard". SSA's growth is expected to rise modestly to 2.9% in 2017 from an estimated 1.5% last year, as the region continue

New car prices jumped 11% in 2016 - Irma Venter

New car prices jumped by some 11.03% in 2016, WESBANK said this week. The increase has been measured based on the average transaction value the bank recorded on new vehicle sales last year. Using the same information for 2013, it would appear as if new vehicle prices have risen by around 27% from Jan. 2013 to Dec. 2016, far outstripping CPI. Used-car price inflation was significantly more moderate in 2016, at 6.83%, driving consumers to the pre-owned market where they could secure better value deals. Evidence for this is the fact that WESBANK's used-car finance applications rose 4.2% during 2016, resulting in 2.39 used-car applications for every one new car finance application. WESBANK received 12.1% fewer applications for new vehicle finance in 2016. Total new vehicle sales in the local market were down 11.4% in 2016 y/y, ending the year on 547 442 units. WESBANK warned that, should the price of oil move anywhere near the historical benchmark level of $80-$100/barrel, compounded by the prevailing weak

KAP concludes largest acquisition to date - Natasha Odendaal

KAP INDUSTRIAL has concluded its R4.1bn aquisition of Sasolburg-based polypropylene and high-density polyethylene manufacturer SAFRIPOL. The deal, effective Jan. 1, was funded via a combination of debt and equity, including R1.5bn in new equity through a clawback offer, nearly R1.4bn through private and public three- and five-year bonds and R1.2bn through three-year term debt and revolving credit facilities. The deal would increase KAP's annual revenue by more than 20%, CEO GARY CHAPLIN said yesterday. KAP will publish interim results on Feb. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mineral wrongs righted - Martin Creamer

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that AQUILA STEEL SA is entitled to the mineral right that the Department of Mineral Resources has been denying it. The DMR has been exercising persistence in doing the bidding of the PAN AFRICAN MINERAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, even though this triple-government-owned organisation failed to convert old order rights into new order rights in the area concerned. PAMDC is a tripartite mining company registered in SA and owned in equal shares by SA, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has mineral rights over 1 700 000ha of land that has manganese, iron ore, lead, zing, copper, nickel, platinum, uranium, diamond and limestone potential. The issue first went public in 2013 when AQUILA RESOURCES said its application for a mining right at the Gravenhage manganese deposit was being hampered by an alleged overlapping prospecting right. It said it had received documentation that PAMDC was the holder of the overlapping right and lamented that this conflicting right had been granted nearly a ye

KZN to get another retail, logistics park - Megan van Wyngaardt

A multimillion-rand logistics and retail park being developed by M&F GIURICICH DEVELOPMENTS and FORTRESS PROPERTY FUND in KZN will be built this year. The park, located between the King Shaka International Airport and Durban, will form part of the N2 Business Estate, located on the northern edge of the Cornubia development. Once completed, the total estate could create 2 400 permanent jobs and generate R45m/y in rates income for the city. M&F GIURICICH DEVELOPMENTS co-founder FLORIAN GIURICICH said that, of the 200 000m² of space available, half would e allocated for logistics warehousing facilities and the balance for retail. He noted that the retail component would be attractive given the visibility from the highway, noting that there was considerable interest form large retail destination-based tenants who enjoy the prominent exposure and easy access to site from the N2. Construction is expected to be completed in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MMG hedges on higher prices - Esmarie Swanepoel

MMG has taken advantage of the strong rise in copper prices during Q4 2016, hedging some 112 000t of the red metal at a net price of $2.50/lb. The company this week said the decision to enter into the hedging was considered in the best interest of MMG, and was taken to provide additional certainty in relation to the company's financial performance and cash flows for the 2016 FY, following the increase in copper prices. MMG has also flagged potential further hedging, saying it will continue to monitor commodity prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold ETF holdings 4% lower m/m in Dec. - Anine Kilian

Holdings in physically-backed gold ETFs decreased by 96.9t, or 4% m/m to 2 142.4t in Dec., the World Gold Council said yesterday. In value terms, total holdings stood at $78.9bn, 7% lower m/m. The majority of the decline was borne by funds in North America and Europe, partly due to a high base effect. Their respective holdings were 1 181.45 and 849.1t, down 6% and 3% m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drilling at Kashitu delivers 'encouraging' results - BMR - Creamer Media Reporter

BMR GROUP has reported "extremely encouraging" results from a drilling programme at its Kashitu project in Zambia. Sample drilling of 183 holes had allowed BMR to delineate three distinct surface mineralised zones, including a 900 m by 300 m area with mineralisation at greater than 1% zinc and two areas with mineralisation at greater than 2.5%. Silver was also detected in 19 samples. "These preliminary results indicate that the company may have significant potential further resources in the large-scale mining licence, further underpinning the asset value of the company", BMR chair ALEX BORELLI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold hits highest in over a month - Zandi Shabalala

Gold rallied to its highest level in more than a month yesterday as the dollar dipped ahead of a news conference today by President-elect DONALD TRUMP. The pound and stocks also slid on fears of a "hard" Brexit after British PM THERESA MAY said at the weekend she was not interested in Britain keeping "bits" of its EU membership. Spot gold hit its highest since Dec. 5 at $1 187.61/oz and was up 0.2% at $1 184.46/oz by midday yesterday. US gold futures were flat at $1 183.70/oz. Strong physical demand from the Chinese new year also buoyed prices, MAREX SPECTRON's head of precious metals DAVID GOVETT said. Holdings of SPDR GOLD TRUST, the world's largest gold-backed ETF, fell 1.06% to 805.00t on Monday. The holdings have dropped about 15% since the Nov. US presidential elections. Platinum rose to a two-month high of $981.90/oz in the last session. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 11/01/2017

At 07h40 on 11 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.77 ZAR/EUR 14.52 ZAR/GBP 16.73 Gold 1188.35 Platinum 978.00 Brent Crude Oil 53.73 All Share 51740.17

CRG secures $1m loan - Megan van Wyngaardt

CENTRAL RAND GOLD's share price on the JSE and LSE rose by 10% this morning after the company announced it had secured a $1m loan from an investor and appointed a new chairperson. CRG has entered into a $1m loan agreement with investor JIA BANG WANG, which will provide the company with sufficient working capital for the immediate future and for the procurement, shipping, installation and commissioning of a concentrator circuit. The loan will be provided in two tranches, with the first of $500 000 having already been received by CRG and a further $500 000 to be made available on ore by Mar. 31. The principal accrued interest on the loan is repayable by Jul. 9. Meanwhile, CRG has appointed SIMON CHARLES as independent nonexecutive chairperson, with immediate effect. He succeeds interim chair NATHAN TAYLOR. CRG has also appointed LOLA TROLLIP as CEO. She previously served as acting CEO and MD of CRG NETHERLANDS ANTILLES and, in the past nine months, also as acting CEO of CRG SA. This news brief represe

IMF warns Tanzania of downside economic growth risks - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

The IMF has warned Tanzania that the country's economic policies threaten its forecast for growth in fiscal 2016/17 (July-June) of around 7%. President JOHN MAGUFULI promised when he was elected last year to reform the economy, but the IMF said progress has been slow and lack of public spending is curtailing liquidity. "There are risks that could adversely affect economic growth going forward, arising from the currently tight stance of macroeconomic policies, the slow pace of credit growth that may become protracted, slow implementation of public investment, and private sector uncertainty about the government's new economic strategies", the IMF said late yesterday. Tanzania projects growth of 7.2% for 2016, up from 7.0% in 2015, led by mining, telecoms, construction and financial services. "Monetary policy should be eased to address the tight liquidity situation and support credit to the private sector", the Fund said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gildan wins American Apparel auction with $88m bid - Jessica DiNapoli

GILDAN ACTIVEWEAR has won a bankruptcy auction for AMERICAN APPAREL after raising its offer to around $88m, a source said yesterday. GILDAN will not take any of AMERICAN APPAREL's 110 stores, but will own its brand and assume some of its manufacturing operations, the source said. The deal is subject to a bankruptcy judge approving it on Thursday. AMERICAN APPAREL declined to comment, while GILDAN did not immediately respond to a request for comment. GILDAN plans to assume ownership of some of AMERICAN APPAREL's manufacturing plant in southern California, one of the largest garment-making operations in the US with about 3 500 employees, sources have previously said. GILDAN makes most of its garments offshore, with close to 90% of its 42 000 employees in low-cost CAribbean and Central American countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/01/2017

At 12h29 on 10 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.67 ZAR/EUR 14.49 ZAR/GBP 16.60 Gold 1183.70 Platinum 970.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.23 All Share 51412.74

Brazil's S11D a reality check for Australian politicians - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy has warned that the commercial start of the $19.7bn Eliezer Batista S11D iron ore mine, in Brazil, is a reality check for Australian politicians looking to use the sector as a bottomless cash cow. CME CEO REG HOWARD-SMITH today said commercial operations at the world's largest iron ore mine was expected to start this month, with VALE taking advantage of Brazil's lower-cost taxation and royalty regime. VALE inaugurated the project in Dec., with the mine ramping up to 90mt/y by 2020. Once the ramp-up is completed, some 2 700 direct and 10 000 indirect jobs will have been created. "At the same time as the world's largest mine creating thousands of jobs is getting under way, BRENDON GRYLLS and Western Australia Nationals are proposing a new iron ore mining tax, which will make us even more uncompetitive on the world stage against our major competitor Brazil, destroy 3 400 Western Australian jobs and kill off investment", HOWARD-SMITH said. GRYLLS has prop

Vector buys into DRC gold - Esmarie Swanepoel

VECTOR RESOURCES has acquired a 70% stake in the Maniema gold project in the DRC in exchange for 2bn of its shares. A further 250m shares in VECTOR were issued to the company's advisers in consideration for services provided in relation to the acquisition. VECTOR in Sep. announced the deal, under which it agreed to acquire AFRICAN ROYALTY COMPANY's rights to acquire a 70% JV interest in the Maniema project from WB KASAI INVESTMENT CONGO SRL. Under the terms of the deal, VECTOR has also executed a royalty agreement for the payment of a 1% royalty to AFRICAN ROYALTY COMPANY and WBK of the gross revenue on all bullion or other mineral sales made by the JV. Over the coming weeks, VECTOR would be looking to strengthen its management team capabilities to enable the company to implement its planned gold exploration programme at Maniema, which would start later this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

L'Oréal snaps up three US skincare brands - Harriet Agnew

L'OREAL is pushing further into skincare with the acquisition of three US skincare brands from Canada's VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS. The French company today said it has agreed to buy the skincare brands CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi from VALEANT for $1.3bn. The three brands have annualised combined revenue of around $168m. L'OREAL USA CEO FREDERIC ROZE said: "These three brands, built on strong relationships with health professionals and widely distributed, will nearly double the revenue of our Active Cosmetics Division in the US and will help us satisfy the growing demand for active skincare at accessible prices". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Korea forms unit to kill Kim Jong Un in event of war - Bryan Harris

South Korea is creating a hit squad with a mission to eliminate KIM JONG UN and his top command in the event of war. The formation of the military unit, initially set for 2019, has been brought forward to this year amid increasing bellicosity from North Korea, the defence ministry in Seoul confirmed yesterday. The hit squad, which could include as many as 2 000 troops, would be modelled on special forces operations in the US, according to state-run news agency Yonhap. The defence ministry said it would form part of a broader strengthening of the country's military forces in the face of North Korean aggression. Seoul will also enhance its three-pillar conflict strategy, which involves pre-emptively striking North Korean nuclear facilities, shooting down ballistic missiles and launching retaliatory air strikes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pakistan launches first submarine-based nuclear cruise missile - Kiran Stacey

Pakistan has successfully fired its first nuclear-capable submarine-based cruise missile, in a move that escalates tensions with neighbouring India. The Pakistani navy said yesterday afternoon that it had launched a nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450km, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. It said the missile was "capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence". The move comes with tension still high on the de facto border with India. Hours before the announcement of the test, India said three civilians had been killed when militants crossed the line of control between the two countries in Kashmir and attacked an army camp. Experts said Pakistan was thinking of developing a sea-based nuclear missile programme in case India succeeded in damaging or eliminating its land-based weapons. Pakistan's test comes two weeks after India test-fired its long range ballistic missile Agni-V, w

India cash recall spars job crunch - Kiran Stacey

India's small service companies cut a third of their jobs and lost half of their revenues in the month after demonetisation, according to a report, giving an early sense of the economic upheaval caused by the government's radical move. The survey by the All India Manufacturers' Association suggests a dramatic drop in business in the 34 days since PM NARENDRA MODI announced his plan to scrap 86% of banknotes in circulation. The report was based on a survey of 8 000-10 000 companies and found that small service companies had not only shed 35% of their staff, but expected to shed a further 25% in Mar. Larger companies have been similarly hit, but small manufacturers had seen revenues fall by a relatively modest 15%, and had cut just 5% of their workers. The figures add to evidence that the economic experiment launched by MODI on Nov. 8 has caused significant damage, in the short term at least, to the Indian economy. Ministers insist, however, that the economy is still on track to achieve growth of more than

WeChat launches alternative to Apple App Store - Yuan Yang

TENCENT has chosen the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the iPhone to launch a rival to APPLE's App Store. WeChat yesterday started offering "miniprograms" within the app from third-party developers. Users can now book a shared ride with Didi, order a gift from JD.COM, or rent a bicycle from MOBILE - and use over 100 other apps within the app - without leaving the WeChat platform. The new miniprogram function makes WECHAT the first big platform to provide an alternative to the App Store from APPLE, which has tightly controlled what programs can be installed on an iOS device. While TENCENT said the launch of the feature was timed to pay tribute to APPLE and STEVE JOBS, it is likely to be seen more as a challenge by the US company to its smartphone app dominance. Rather than the 30% cut that APPLE takes from App Store purchases, developers have not been asked to give any cut to WeChat. In addition, miniprograms are "device-neutral", meaning they will run in exactly the same way on Android and iOS. In

Deutsche turns to social media to hire young talent - Laura Noonan

DEUTSCHE BANK has turned to social media feeds to find promising millennials who could be persuaded to consider a career in finance. The German lender launched a programme last year to monitor the online activity of university students to identify those who might be a good fir rot the bank but would not apply via traditional channels such as on-campus recruitment drives. In the first two weeks of the initiative in late Nov., a special team at the bank identified 250 potential hires, who were then encouraged to take part in the bank's UK graduate recruitment programme. FAYE WOODHEAD, head of graduate recruitment and HR at DEUTSCHE, said the bank started looking at students in certain clubs and societies at about 30 UK universities from which the bank already recruits. It then uses publicly available social media to build a profile of the students it would like to target, similar to the digital headhunting that is common for hiring experienced professionals. JAMES REED, chair of recruitment group REED, que

EM portfolios suffer largest quarterly outflows since 2009 - Nicholas Megaw

Emerging market portfolios suffered their largest three-month outflows in seven years in Q4, but JPMORGAN suggests the outlook for EMs may not be as bleak as some are predicting. After notching up strong returns for most of 2016, DONALD TRUMP's victory in the US presidential election prompted fears that rising protectionism could hit global trade, while plans for higher infrastructure spending have raised expectations of faster interest rate hikes, piling pressure on EM assets. Investors pulled $38.4bn from EM equity and debt portfolios in the quarter to end-Dec., the highest outflow since 2009. But JPMORGAN analyst ALEX DRYDEN highlights the fact that, despite the gloom, "fundamental economic data has been surprisingly strong". DRYDEN notes that "the Citi Economic Surprise Index for EM economies is at its highest level since April 2011. For this reason, in 2017 emerging markets could be less vulnerable to a stronger dollar compared with what we have seen in the past". The MSCI EM index has recovered ar

Tesco to cut 1 000 jobs - Paul McClean

TESCO has announced plans to close two of its distribution centres, creating 1 000 redundancies as it looks to simplify its supply-chain operations. The grocer's Welham Green and Chesterfield distribution centres will both close, resulting in over 650 job losses, while over 350 management roles will also be cut. Some of the losses would be offset by plans to increase capacity in TESCO's centres in Reading and Middlesbrough, which is expected to create 500 jobs. The retailer also said it was looking to bring all of its warehouse services in-house, part of which is currently outsourced to logistics experts DHL and WINCANTON. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

May rejects claims govt is committed to hard Brexit - Nicholas Megaw

British PM THERESA MAY has denied committing her government to a "hard Brexit", criticising media reports after her comments in an interview over the weekend prompted sterling to fall to its weakest level against the dollar since Oct. Speaking to reporters after a speech on mental health policy yesterday, MAY said: "I don't accept the terms 'hard' or 'soft' Brexit... I'm tempted to say that the people who are getting it wrong are those who print things saying I'm talking about a hard Brexit". She insisted the government will secure the "best possible deal for the United Kingdom in terms of trading with an operating within the single European market", but said it will have to have an entirely "new" relationship, rather than "trying to keep bits". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Breitbart to launch business site - Matthew Garrahan

BREITBART NEWS, the digital network chaired by STEVE BANNON, is launching a business site that will focus on the rise of economic nationalism much as its parent site covered the populist surge that led to the election of DONALD TRUMP. The business site will be edited by JOHN CARNEY, a Wall Street Journal journalist and former CNBC reporter, and feature contributions from a wide range of writers. It will cover markets, trade and regulatory issues that are likely to come into focus as TRUMP's agenda takes shape. BREITBART is expanding its news presence in Europe with plans to launch local versions of its site in France and Germany. It already has a US and UK operation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese conglomerate buys cancer drug from Valeant - Tom Hancock

VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS today said it will sell controversial prostate-cancer drug maker DENDRON PHARMACEUTICALS to Chinese conglomerate SANPOWER GROUP CO for $819.9m in cash. VALEANT said it would use the proceeds to repay its term loan debt. The Canadian company has lost more than 90% of its value since the summer of 2015 and is languishing under a $30bn net debt load amassed during a years-long acquisition spree. DENDRON, known for prostate-cancer treatment Provenge, filed for bankruptcy in 2014, before VALEANT bought its assets at an auction for $495m. Provenge, approved in 2010, pioneered the use of patients' immune systems to fight tumours but its sales failed to live up to expectations as it was difficult to administer and carried a price tag of over $90 000. SANPOWER has been on an acquisition binge over the past three years. It snapped up 89% of HOUSE OF FRASER in 2014 in the biggest Chinese foreing retail deal in history. SANPOWER has also made healthcare acquisitions, snatching up Israel's N

Yahoo says Mayer to resign board seat after Verizon sale - Jessica Dye

YAHOO CEO MARISSA MAYER will resign her seat from ALTABA, the investment company that will be left after YAHOO completes its $4.8bn deal with VERIZON, after the transaction closes. MAYER will be one of six YAHOO directors who intend to resign from the board following the deal's closure. The investment company that will remain following the VERIZON deal will be called ALTABA, a regulatory filing said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LVMH, Alibaba chief said to talk US jobs with Trump - Jessica Dye

Following a meeting with President-elect DONALD TRUMP, the CEO of LVMH said it is considering expanding its manufacturing presence in the US. When asked by reporters what he discussed with LVMH chairman and CEO BERNARD ARNAULT, President-elect TRUMP replied: "Jobs. A lot of jobs". ARNAULT elaborated that the company was considering expanding existing factories in California and was eyeing possibly two more in the US, potentially in North Carolina or, per TRUMP's suggestion, "maybe in the midwest". Also on Monday, TRUMP met with ALIBABA CEO JACK MA. Afterwards, TRUMP told reporters that the two of them are "going to do some great things. Small business, right?" ALIBABA said in a tweet that MA was planning to discuss with TRUMP its plans to create 1m US jobs by helping 1m small businesses export to consumers in Asia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FDIC hits BofA with lawsuit over premium payments - Ben McLannahan

BANK OF AMERICA owes at least half a billion dollars in unpaid premiums to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the US regulator claimed in a suit filed on Monday. BOFA has paid tens of billions of dollars in legal settlements since the financial crisis, but the FDIC yesterday added to the lender's legal woes by claiming that, for a roughly five-year period, it failed to access its own risks correctly and thus short-changed the Deposit Insurance Fund. To finance the fund, the FDIC runs a "risk-based" assessment system, under which banks reckoned to represent a greater risk of collapse pay more in premiums. According to the regulator, BOFA under-reported its counterparty exposures by tens of billions of dollars each quarter by failing to consolidate them properly at the holding-company level. As a result, it paid much less in premiums than it should have done. The FDIC is focusing on seven quarters between 2013 and 2014, in which the average alleged under-payment was $77m. In its complaint, it said

Total ups stake in Uganda oil project via $900m deal with Tullow - Nathalie Thomas

TOTAL will raise its stake in a significant oil development in Uganda via a deal with TULLOW OIL. TOTAL has agreed to buy a further 21.57% stake in the Lake Albert oil project, situated close to Uganda's border with the DRC. The deal is a further sign of confidence returning to the global oil and gas industry following two and a half years of low oil prices. TOTAL's interest in the project will increase to 54.9% following completion of the deal, which also involves the transfer of operating licences. TOTAL will pay TULLOW $100m in cash upon completion of the deal, which will be subject to government approval, plus two further cash payments of $50m each at other milestones, including when the final investment decision is reached. TULLOW will also receive a $700m deferred payment, which it intends to use towards its remaining share of the development costs and the costs of an associated pipeline scheme to export oil via Tanzania. TULLOW will retain an 11.76% stake in Lake Albert and the pipeline, although

Fiat Chrysler may close Mexican plants, CEO says - Peter Campbell

FIAT CHRYSLER may close its Mexican car plants if DONALD TRUMP imposes sufficiently stringent tariffs on vehicles coming into the US, CEO SERGIO MARCHIONNE said yesterday. "It's possible that if economic tariffs are imposed... and are sufficiently large, it will make production of anything in Mexico uneconomical and we would have to withdraw", MARCHIONNE said. TRUMP has called for tariffs of 35% on cars imported from Mexico to the US, and has criticised companies that move manufacturing south of the border. CHRYSLER produces 503 000 vehicles in Mexico a year at two sites and is heavily dependent on exports to the US, with 86% of its cars sold to US and Canada in 2015. Some car makers, such as NISSAN and VOLKSWAGEN, use Mexico as a base to export to Europe or Latin America, but MARCHIONNE said it would be too costly to repurpose CHRYSLER's existing Mexican site to export all over the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Takeda to buy Ariad in $5.2bn deal - Adam Samson

TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL yesterday said it plans to buy ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS in a $5.2bn tie-up as the Japanese company looks to bolster its cancer-drug portfolio. TAKEDA will pay $24/share for US-based ARIAD, representing a premium of almost 75% to the company's closing price on Friday. ARIAD makes drugs aimed at rare cancers, including acute leukemia and lung cancer. "The acquisition of ARIAD is a unique opportunity that will enable us to positively impact the lives of more patients worldwide, advance our strategic priorities and generate attractive returms for our shareholders", TAKEDA CEO CHRISTOPHE WEBER said, adding that the acquisition will broaden the group's hematology portfolio and transform its global solid tumor franchise via the addition of two innovative targeted therapies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DTI commits to helping poultry industry - Siphelele Dludla

The Department of Trade & Industry yesterday said the government had been working with local poultry producers to address the challenges in the industry as a result of European chicken imports. The DTI was responding to a plea made by trade union FAWU for government to tighten regulations of imported chickens in a bid to save jobs locally. The DTI said government, via the Department of Agriculture, had initiated measures to protect local poultry producers against unfair competition. "The actions vary from increase in tariffs covering a number of poultry products in line with South Africa's international commitments, imposing trade remedies where evidence indicates dumping of poultry in the South Africa market of where there is a surge in imports... As a result of a safeguard investigation on the surge of imports of frozen bone-in chicken pieces from the EU... a provisional safeguard duty of 13.9% was imposed on 15 December 2016", the DTI said. "This provisional safeguard duty will stay in place until 3 Ju

Old Mutual completes sale of Italian arm - Kabelo Khumalo

OLD MUTUAL has completed the sale of its Italian unit, OLD MUTUAL WEALTH ITALY to PHLAVIA INVESTIMENTI, previously ERGO ITALIA, for €278m. OLD MUTUAL WEALTH CEO PAUL FEENEY yesterday said the sale was the final part of the divestment of the company's European businesses and would allow it to focus on its core UK and cross-border markets. "This represents an important landmark for our business as it completes OLD MUTUAL WEALTH's exit from continental Europe", FEENEY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ageng, Kutana talks ongoing - Manyane Manyane

AVENG yesterday said talks for an empowerment deal between AVENG GRINAKER-LTA and black women-owned company KUTANA CONSTRUCTION are ongoing. AVENG GRINAKER-LTA agreed to sell a 51% beneficial stake and an initial 45% economic interest to KUTAN for R756m in Oct. 2016. The group had said KUTANA would ensure that AVENG GRINAKER remained relevant in transforming the construction sector. It previously said the deal would culminate in the introduction of a black women-owned participant and emerging black contractors into the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA to defend Hlongwane's legal claim over closed accounts - Matthew le Cordeur

ABSA will defend a legal bid by FANA HLONGWANE, who is suing the bank for R7m after it closed his business bank accounts in 2013. The closure followed the bank's review of HLONGWANE's firms in terms of its policy on politically exposed people. The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal called HLONGWANE - an adviser to former defence minister JOE MODISE - to testify after allegations he facilitated the transfer of R24m to secure a deal for an arms company. In papers filed in the North Gauteng High Court last month, HLONGWANE said ABSA acted unreasonably and in bad faith, with an improper motive and/or in abuse of its rights when it closed the bank accounts of his six business on Dec. 9 2013. HLONGWANE is aiming to get his accounts reopened and his six companies and himself awarded R1m. He also wants ABSA's closure of the accounts declared unlawful and unconstitutional. ABSA said it "intends to defend the action". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

House price growth likely to slow - Carin Smith

The average house price growth in SA during 2017 as a whole is expected to be slower than in 2016, FNB strategist JOHN LOOS said yesterday. LOOS anticipates the average nominal house price growth will be around 3%. The FNB House Price Index for 2016 as a whole rose by 5%, slower than the 7.2% and 6.5% for 2014 and 2015, respectively. "What is noticeable in these past eight months is that the pace of slowdown in growth has been more rapid than any slowing growth phase of the past five years or so. The rate ended the year sharply lower than the 2016 high of 6.9% in April", LOOS said. In his view, the slowdown is the lagged impact of residential demand that has been slowing for some time. In real terms, for 2017 the house price growth will be negative. LOOS said he ultimately thinks the market has to correct quite a bit. "SA residential property is still expensive. House prices now do not really reflect a weak economy. We are a very low growth economy these days, so I do think over the next few years w

What govt can do to help boost SA trade - Carin Smith

The Consumer Goods Council of SA is cautiously optimistic about an improved trading outlook in the consumer goods sector during 2017, despite tight household budgets and muted economic growth prospects. According to CGCSSA CEO GWAREGA MANGOZHE creating policy certainty is one of the most important things the government could do for trade. "Policy certainty will encourage companies to invest if policies are consistent, red tape is reduced and there is cooperation between government, big labour and companies. SA must not forget that there are a number of other territories that have the potential to attract capital away from the country", MANGOZHE said. The CGCSA hopes for a better performance of the economy as output in key sectors is expected to improve. It also hopes that over time the end of the drought will have a positive impact on food prices and food inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New vehicle sales drop 11.4% in 2016 - Irma Venter

Data published by the Department of Trade & Industry shows that SA's new vehicle sales declined for the third consecutive year in 2016. Sales contracted by 11.4% to 547 442 units, compared with 617 648 units in 2015. New vehicle sales fell 4.1% in 2015 and 0.7% in 2014. New passenger car sales fell by 12.4%, sales of light commercial vehicles dropped by 8.9%, medium trucks by 18.7% and heavy trucks and buses by 7.4%. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA said sales figures were pushed into the red by above-average new vehicle price jumps, increases in interest rates, pressure on disposable income and low consumer confidence. NAAMSA said a preliminary estimate of 2016 motor industry new vehicle related sales turnover indicated a decline of around 2% compared with 2015 - taking into account factors such as sales volumes and an estimated increase of about 14% in new vehicle prices - to reach around $233bn for the year. New vehicle export sales are estimated to have added a further R105

DoE extends comment period for energy plans to end-Mar. - Terence Creamer

The Department of Energy has formally extended the period for public comment on the draft Integrated Energy Plan and the draft Integrated Resource Plan base case until Mar. 31. The closing date for written comment was initially set as Feb. 15 after the two plans were formally Gazetted on Nov. 25. The DoE said the decision to extend the comment period followed requests from a number of stakeholders. Various stakeholders expressed dismay at the short notice period provided for preparing oral submissions and the restricted timeframe for the submission of written comments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz ratifies WTO trade facilitation agreement - Megan van Wyngaardt

Only five more WTO members need to ratify the trade facilitation agreement to bring it into force, after Mozambique became the 105th member to ratify the agreement. Mozambique's instrument of acceptance was submitted to the WTO on Jan. 6. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership have formally accepted the agreement. Concluded at the WTO's 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues, while containing provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area. According ot a 2015 study carried out by WTO economists, full implementation of the TFA would reduce members' trade costs by an average of 14.3%, with developing countries having the most to gain. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

Kenya Power says technical fault causes blackout in Nairobi, other regions - Reuters

KENYA POWER yesterday said a technical fault at one of its substations in the north of the capital has caused an electricity outage that was affecting Nairobi, Mount Kenya and Coast regions. The utility said technicians were working to restore the supply as soon as possible. Industrial consumers in Nairobi and neighbouring Thika, both affected by the outage, generate 60% of KENYA POWER's revenues. Many firms in Kenya run stand-by generators to address frequent power interruptions, adding to their costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shell battles Nigerian communities in London lawsuit - Reuters

A court in London will decide in coming weeks whether ROYAL DUTCH SHELl can face trial in the UK over oil spill allegations in Nigeria. The High Court will decide whether members from the Bille and Ogale communities in the Niger Delta region can sue SHELL in British courts. The communities say Nigerian courts are unfit to hear the case against SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OF NIGERIA. The company says the case should be heard in Nigeria as the matter is "uniquely a Nigerian problem". SHELL also denies responsibility for the spills, which it says were due to sabotage and illegal refining. If the Court rules in favour of the communities, some legal experts say other claimants against British-based multinationals would be emboldened to pursue legal action through the British courts. The Bille and Ogale groups launched their claim just months after SHELL agreed a £55m settlement in 2015 with Nigeria's Bodo community. That case covered two pipeline leaks in 2008, which SHELL accepted were its fault d

Samarco requests extension for dam disaster guarantee - Reuters

Brazilian miner SAMARCO and shareholders BHP BILLITON and VALE have requested to extend until Jan. 19 a deadline to pay 1.2bn real in guarantees related to the collapse of a tailings dam in 2015, VALE said yesterday. The payment was meant to be made to a court in Minas Gerais state by Monday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Guyana Goldfields sales hit high-end of improved guidance - Henry Lazenby

TSX-listed GUYANA GOLDFIELDS has celebrated the first year of commercial operations at the Aurora gold mine, in Guyana, by hitting the top-end of its upwards revised guidance for 2016. For the year under review, the company sold 156 000oz at Aurora, close to the top end of its guidance of 140 000oz-160 000oz in the mine's first year of commercial production. "With commissioning, ramp-up and over a year of operations successfully behind us, Aurora has proven to be a strong, high-grade asset with exceptional cash flow generation", president and CEO SCOTT CALDWELL said. GUYANA GOLDFIELDS said it was well positioned to grow near-term production and ramp-up exploration, with an unaudited cash balance of around $70m, compared with a total debt balance of $80m. The 2017 production guidance is higher at 160 000oz-180 000oz gold, produced at all-in sustaining costs of $775/oz to $825/oz. The company plans to publish an updated feasibility study for Aurora later this month, reflecting an expansion of the mill from

Auryn stocks jumps as Goldcorp takes strategic stake - Henry Lazenby

The TSX-listed stock of AURYN RESOURCES yesterday jumped nearly 21% to C$3.67/share after it announced that GOLDCORP will buy a stake in the company for C$35m. AURYN owns the 380 000ha Committee Bay gold project, in Nanavut, and the Homestake Ridge gold project, in British Columbia, as well as several gold assets in Peru. GOLDCORP will buy 9.5m shares in AURYN at C$3.67 apiece. AURYN president and CEO SHAWN WALLACE commented that the company was now fully funded to complete an extensive exploration programme in 2017. The programme will include a planned 55 000 m of exploration drilling across six projects in Canada and Peru and expect to make several advances that could potentially contribute to the realisation of multiple major gold discoveries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrum Crescent appoints new project manager - Megan van Wyngaardt

FERRUM CRESCENT has entered into a contract of employment with executive chair JUSTIN TOOTH to replace interim arrangements agreed at the time of his appointment in Dec. The contract has no fixed term and may be terminated by either party on three months' notice, with TOOTH eligible to participate in employee incentive schemes operated by FERRUM. Further, the company has appointed MERLIN MARR-JOHNSON as project manager, with his principal responsibilities being the progression of the lead-zinc portfolio of projects, in Spain, held by the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's net foreign reserves fall in Dec. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's net foreign reserves fell to $40.809bn in Dec. from $41.07 7bn in Nov., the SARB said yesterday. Gross reserves rose to $47.356bn, from $47.043bn previously, the central bank said. The forward position fell to $1.771bn in Dec. from $2.412bn in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 10/01/2017

At 07h30 on 10 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.62 ZAR/EUR 14.45 ZAR/GBP 16.55 Gold 1184.83 Platinum 977.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.04 All Share 51049.71

Oil prices fall as Iran's exports surge - Henning Gloystein

Oil prices fell today as increased exports from Iran undermined efforts by other oil producers to curb a global fuel supply glut and as US drillers increased activity for a 10th consecutive week. Brent crude fugtures were trading at $56.70/barrel early this morning, down 40c from their previous close. US WTI crude futures were trading at $53.59, down 40c. Iran has sold more than 13m barrels of oil held on takers at sea, capitalising on an OPEC output cut deal from which it is exempted, according to industry sources and data, reducing the quantity of oil it stores on tankers from 29.6m barrels last Oct. to just 16.4m barrels now. Meanwhile, US energy companies last week added oil rigs for a tenth week in a row, extending a recovery in activity into an 8th month as crude prices remained at levels at which many drillers can operate profitably. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indonesia bars JPMorgan from next dollar sukuk issuance - Hidayat Setiaji

Indonesia has barred JPMORGAN CHASE & CO from submitting an underwriting proposal for its next issuance of dollar-denominated Islamic bonds, a financial ministry official said today. The government has asked other banks to submit proposals by Thursday for a planned dollar sukuk offering. The exclusion of JPMORGAN comes shortly after the Finance Ministry said it was penalising the US bank following its issuance of a negative report on the Indonesian economy in Nov. Indonesia is planning to issue a rule to ensure primary bond dealers produce only "factual" research, senior government officials said last week. In 2015, JPMORGAN was one of the lead managers for a dollar sukuk offering for Indonesia that raised $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Morgan Stanley, UBS to raise stakes in China securities JVs - Sumeet Chatterjee

MORGAN STANLEY and UBS GROUP are set to raise their stakes in separate Chinese securities JVs to 49%, sources said, betting on strong deals momentum in the world's second-largest economy. China allowed foreign banks to boost holdings in securities JVs to a maximum 49% in 2012 from the previous cap of a third to help modernise its capital markets. But foreign investment banks did not raise their stakes as most of the securities JVs in China were small or struggling to break even due to sluggish onshore deals. But the prospect of China soon allowing global banks to own majority stakes in securities JVs and growing volumes of equity issuance and trading businesses have motivated some foreign bans to explore raising their holdings. MORGAN STANLEY and Chinese partner HUAXIN SECURITIES have agreed to a proposal to raise the US investment bank's stake in their JV to 49% from 33.3%, sources said, adding that this is awaiting approval from the Chinese securities regulator. UBS is in talks to hike its stake in UBS

European shares dip, pound falls on Brexit comments - Nigel Stephenson

The British pound fell this morning on PM THERESA MAY' shint at no membership of the EU's single market. Sterling was the big mover on currency markets, falling against the dollar and the euro, in reaction to weekend comments from MAY that were interpreted as suggesting the country could face a "hard Brexit" without access to the single market when it leaves the EU. Sterling fell 0.9% to $1.2172, having touched its lowest level since late Oct. at $1.2163, and dropped more than 1% against the euro to an eight-week low of 85.65p. This followed comments from MAY that she was not interested in keeping "bits of membership" of the EU when the UK leaves the bloc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana's new president to name investment banker as finmin - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana President NANA AKUFO-ADDO is likely to name investment banker KEN AFORI-ATTA as finance minister, sources said yesterday. AKUFO-ADDO defeated incumbent president JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA in elections last month and assumed office on Saturday, pledging to cut taxes to boost the struggling economy while protecting the public purse. OFORI-ATTA, co-founder of the Africa-wide investment banking group DATABANK GROUP, was AKUFO-ADDO's nominee to assess the health of the economy during the transition period after the election. Ghana is halfway through a three-year $918m aid deal with the IMF to restore fiscal balance to the economy. The appointment could come as early as this week, one source said. A graduate of Yale and Columbia universities, AFORI-ATTA previously worked with Wall Street investment bank SALOMON BROTHERS and MORGAN STANLEY on debt and equity management. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim bank suspends local use of Visa cards - Bloomberg

CBZ HOLDINGS, Zimbabwe's largest lender, last week suspended the use of VISA cards for local deals as the country struggles to cope with cash shortages. Charges on making transactions were very expensive for customers, CBZ CEO NEVER NYEMUDZO said. Money also had to be settled outside the country for accounts that were held abroad in foreign currency. The measures would take effect from Jan. 15, although customers would be able to make transactions abroad, with daily limits of $250 at ATMs, $100 for point-of-sale business and $500m for payments over the internet. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields applies for St Ives expansion - Esmarie Swanepoel

GOLD FIELDS has applied to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority to extend the life of its 400 000oz/y St Ives gold mine to 2028. In its Beyond 2018 plan, submitted to the EPA, GOLD FIELDS is seeking approval to disturb an additional 5 000ha of land in the Lake Lefroy area, around 20km south-east of Kambalda. The plan is not expected to require a change to the current mining or processing methods, but GOLD FIELDS noted in its application that alternate methods for cost-effective and safe mining were always under consideration. GOLD FIELDS siad the plan will see the continuation over the next 3-5 years "of the current investment in exploration of approximately A$38m per annum". The company believes that through this investment, St Ives will continue to maintain a production profile of around 350 000oz/y to 400 000oz/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia offers financial support for crippled Alcoa plant - Reuters

The Australian government has offered "substantial" financial support to help repair ALCOA CORP's aluminium smelter in Victoria that was crippled last month by a state-wide power blackout. The outage, which caused molten aluminium to solidify, disrupted some production at the 300 000t/y Portland smelter and raised questions about the facility's long-term future. Ongoing negotiations between the government, energy provider AGL ENERGY and ALCOA suggest the smelter may eventually resume full production. Ministers declined to comment on the scale of financial support offered, but Australia's Fairfax Media reported that ALCOA received an offer of A$240m, comprised of $200m in state funds over four years and a $40m interest-free loan from Canberra. To seal the deal, pressure is now on AGL ENERGY to agree to provide cheaper power to the plant as a result of the government's financial support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Record resource, energy export earnings forecast for Australia - Esmarie Swanepoel

Australia expects is resource and energy export earnings to rise by 30% to a record A$204bn in 2016/17 on the back of higher export volumes and earnings as the mining boom continues to move from the construction phase to the production phase. In its latest Resources and Energy Quarterly report, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science chief economist MARK CULLY said continued demand growth from China's steel sector and disruptions to the supply of a number of resource commodities had boosted commodity prices. While the surge in bulk commodity prices had lasted longer than initially expected, given the temporary nature of many of these factors, the prices of metallurgical and thermal coal and iron ore are expected to decline in early to mid-2017. But CULLY noted that the production phase of the mining boom would continue in Australia, with export volumes forecast to rise in each of Australia's top five resource and energy commodities in 2017/18, most significantly for LNG exports, which were forec

Updated market indicators for 09/01/2017

At 12h57 on 09 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.78 ZAR/EUR 14.49 ZAR/GBP 16.73 Gold 1176.30 Platinum 971.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.13 All Share 51177.47

ZTE shares fall almost 5% after report it will cut 3 000 jobs - Hudson Lockett

Shares in Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE fell as much as 4.7% today following a report stating the company plans to axe 5% of its workforce. The report from Reuters cited unnamed sources as saying the company was planning to trim 3 000 positions, including a fifth of employees at its handset unit. Hong Kong-listed shares in ZTE were down 3% in afternoon trade at HK$12.38 after dipping as much as 4.7% earlier in the day. Shenzhen-listed shares in the company fell as much as 4.6% before paring back to Rmb15, a drop of 3.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German industrial production beats forecasts - Nicholas Megaw

Growth in Germany's industrial sector picked up pace in Nov., with output expanding for the second consecutive month after September's surprisingly severe contraction. Industrial output rose by 0.4% in the month, slightly below expectations, but figures for the prior month were also revised upward from 0.3% to 0.5% growth. The boost brought the sector's y/y growth rate to 2.2%, compared to the 1.9% forecast by economists. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German trade surplus surges - Nicholas Megaw

Germany's seasonally adjusted rate of export growth, which had been forecast to slow to 0.4% in Nov., expanded by a whopping 3.9% in the month, helping the country's trade surplus beat forecasts by more than €2bn. The rise was helped by a big turnround in exports to countries outside the eurozone, which increased by 7.6% in Nov. after shrinking the previous month. Imports also increased ahead of forecasts, rising by 3.5%. In total, German companies exported €22.6bn more goods and services than they imported in the month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK govt cuts Lloyds Bank stake, no longer largest shareholder - Nicholas Megaw

The UK government is no longer the largest shareholder in LLOYDS BANKING GROUP after the Treasury cut its stake in the bank below 6%. The government had considered taking advantage of resent rises in bank shares by offloading the remainder of its stake via a placement with institutional investors, but confirmed this morning that it sold a further 700 094 622 shares in the bank through a "trading plan" that allows its advisors to slowly drip-feed shares into the market. The Treasury described the sale as a "significant milestone". The government now holds 5.95% of the bank's shares. The latest tranche of shares sold were worth around £481m at Friday's closing price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fed official says strong jobs data rule out fiscal boost - Sam Fleming

The US does not need a short-term fiscal boost from Congress given it is already at full employment and inflation is close to the Federal Reserve's target, a senior policymaker said at the weekend. San Francisco Fed president JOHN WILLIAMS told the FT that strong hiring and higher wage inflation showed "the stars are aligning" in the US labour market, as he signalled support for forecasts of three quarter-point interest-rate hikes this year. With DONALD TRUMP set to take office next week, Republicans have been discussing radical tax reforms that by some estimates could drive up the federal debt by trillions of dollars over a decade. Given the rebound in the US economy, some within the Fed question whether a budgetary loosening is needed. While WILLIAMS has factored a modest lift to growth from potential tax and spending changes into his forecasts, he said economic policy would be best helped by federal action that ensures a sustainable budget deficit and boosts long-term productivity. He also warned Cong

China capital controls help slow cash outflows - Charles Clover

Measures taken by Beijing to stem capital flight proved partially effective in Dec. as China's forex reserves continued to fall but at a slower pace than in previous months. The central bank announced a lower than expected drop in forex reserves for Dec., which fell by $41bn to $3.01tn. A Reuters poll predicted a $51bn fall for the month after reserves contracted by $70bn in Nov. Monetary authorities recently deployed a series of new capital controls designed to slow capital outflows. The continued capital outflow heightens the possibility that Beijing will either increase measures to keep cash in the country, such as cracking down on personal exchange limits, or make a one-off devaluation to relieve pressure on the renminbi. HSBC estimated the central bank sold off around $26bn in Dec. in its continued struggle to prop pu the flagging renminbi, while $15bn of the drop in the value of reserves was due to a rising dollar. That was lower than in Nov. when $35bn of the decline was due to intervention by th

Chinese reform plans highlight reluctance to cede control - Gabriel Wildau

Two of China's largest state-owned companies have announced plans for partial privatisation, indicating their intention to seek private capital without substantially relinquishing control over corporate strategy. The Communist party wants to improve the performance of the country's state-owned enterprises, where returns on assets trail far behond those of privately-owned groups. "Mixed-ownership reform" will be a critical pillar of SOE reform efforts in 2017, according to a statement by top Communist party leaders at their annual economic planning meeting in mid-Dec. The statement named electricity, petroleum, natural gas, railways, civil aviation, telecoms and defence as the focus of mixed-owner reforms. But plans from CHINA RAILWAY CORPORATION and CHINA NORTH INDUSTRIES GROUP provide the latest evidence that the leadership intends to use privatisation mainly as a fundraising tool rather than a way of diluting government influence over strategy and management. Weapons manufacturer NORTH INDUSTRIES last

Morgan Stanley in talks to sell oil tanker stake - Gregory Meyer

MORGAN STANLEY is separating more pieces of its once-sprawling commodities empire as Wall Street faces scrutiny over dealing in oil, gas and electricity. The investment bank is in advanced talks to sell its stake in oil tanker operator HEIDMAR. A deal could be announced within weeks. Subsidiaries of MORGAN STANLEY have also sold two US power stations that were part of its lucrative energy trading business, leaving just one mothballed Nevada plant in its portfolio. Bank regulators have grown concerned about the risks of handling hazardous commodities, historically the domain of commercial companies. The Federal Reserve has proposed steep capital charges on banks in the sector, citing dangers of "environmental catastrophe" from spills and explosions. MORGAN STANLEY once had the biggest physical footprint among the banks, but is shifting towards dealing commodity derivatives to clients. The value of its commodities inventories had dropped from $10.3bn in 2011 to less than $200m, filings at the Federal Res

Fiat Chrysler touts $1bn investment - Patti Waldmeir

FIAT CHRYSLER yesterday said it would invest an additional $1bn in the US and create 2 000 new US jobs at a time when global auto manufacturers are under pressure from President-elect DONALD TRUMP to boost US jobs and investment. FIAT CHRYSLER insisted the move had nothing to do with pressure from TRUMP. But over the past week, the president-elect has ratcheted up his Twitter assaults against carmakers for producing cars and investing in Mexico rather than in the US. CHRYSLER insisted its decision to invest $1bn in Michigan and Ohio was unaffected by TRUMP's recent tweets, and that the 2 000 planned jobs had never been destined for Mexico. It said the move was part of a "continuation of efforts already under way to increase production capacity in the US of trucks and SUVs to match demand". Industry analysts said the timing of the announcement might suggest it is part of CHRYSLER's PR plan to pre-emptively deflect potential criticism from TRUMP. This news brief represents a summary of the original arti

Banks risk missing 2019 ringfence deadline - Emma Dunkley

British regulators are concerned that banks may fail to meet a 2019 deadline for separating retail money from riskier investment banking activity, under rules aimed at preventing a sequel to the financial crisis. The Prudential Regulation Authority has written to banks' senior management to gain assurance that their plans to comply with ringfencing rules can be achieved by the deadline, sources said. One source said the watchdog is considering ordering an independent probe, called a "skilled persons' review", into at least one lender over its "competence and ability" to execute its plans on time. Under the UK's ringfencing rules, banks with more than £25bn of deposits must hive off their consumer-facing business from riskier investment banking. It is the biggest structural reform ever imposed on British banks and is forecast to cost the industry billions of pounds to hit the deadline of Jan. 2019. The Treasury has previously estimated it will cost the banks up to £3bn to set up, with annual running cos

ETFs hit record high for third consecutive year - Chris Flood

Exchange traded funds pulled in record inflows for a third consecutive year in 2016, intensifying competitive pressure on investment managers that try to beat the market. Investors worldwide ploughed $375bn into ETFs in 2016, according to a preliminary estimate from BLACKROCK. The final figure is likely to be even larger once data are gathered from all countries. The strong rally for the US equity market following DONALD TRUMP's election victory was accompanied by a surge of inflows into US-listed equity ETFs in Nov. and Dec. BLACKROCK gathered the most ETF assets for a second year. BLACKROCK's iShares ETF arm registered record inflows of $140bn, beating the $130bn gathered in 2015. PwC has predicted that ETF assets under management globally will double in size to $7tn over the next five years. Around $8tn of traditional actively managed assets will be "up for grabs", over the next decade, creating a new battleground for low-cost index fund providers, according to McKinsey, the consultancy. This new

China warns US of retaliation if Trump imposes tariffs - Shawn Donnan

Senior Chinese officials have warned the US that Beijng is ready to retaliate if President-elect DONALD TRUMP imposes new tariffs. Outgoing US commerce secretary PENNY PRITZKER told the FT that Chinese officials had informed their US counterparts in a meeting after November's election that they would be forced to respond to trade measures taken by the TRUMP administration. PRITZKER said the new administration needed to decide "the fine line between being tough and a trade war", cautioning that such a confrontation would have "enormous consequences" for the US. TRUMP has put a tougher stance on trade at the centre of his economic policy and appointed a team of China hawks and avowed protectionists to oversee his trade policy. He has pledged to label China a currency manipulator and threatened to impose punitive tariffs of up to 45% on Chinese goods, although incoming members of his administration have played down both commitments since the election. This news brief represents a summary of the original a

Biggest banks each set to be hit with $200m regulatory costs - Laura Noonan

Some of the world's largest lenders are set to spend more than $200m each to implement new regulations that will dramatically increase capital demands for some parts of their trading businesses. Consultancy Oliver Wyman came up with the new estimate of implementing the fundamental review of the trading book rules after studying the plans of 20 European, US and Asian lenders with large trading businesses. The consultants' latest figures dwarf the $43m to $129m estimates they came up with 12 months ago. "Last year, banks were in the early stages of costing. Some of them clearly misunderstood how big the effort would be", said Oliver Wyman's AUDE SCHONBACHLER. The fundamental review of the trading book, set out by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, overhauls the way banks treat the risks of the bonds, stocks, commodities and other assets they hold in the short term so they can facilitate clients' trading. Consultants put the industry-wide costs of implementation at $5bn, including more than $500m

EM companies' profitability rises above developed world - Steve Johnson

Emerging market companies are once again generating higher profits than their developed world peers, reversing a two-year period during which their returns lagged behind global norms. Across EMs, the average ROE rose to 10.55% in Dec., up from a low of 10.2% in Apr., according to calculations by UBS. Although modest, the recovery in profitability has allowed EM companies to once again pull ahead of their developed world rivals, which had an average ROE of 10.22% at end-Dec. The improving financial health of EM companies has clearly been partly driven by the rally in the price of many commodities from the multi-year lows reached in early 2016. The rise in and of itself will have elevated the ROE of energy and natural resources companies, but STEPHEN PARR, a senior EM equities fund manager at ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT, says many companies have also taken steps to reshape themselves. PARR argues that the likes of VALE have focused on cost-cutting, deleveraged their balance sheets and slashed R&D costs and

Citic, Carlyle to buy McDonald's China and HK franchise - Peter Wells

China's CITIC GROUP CORP and US private equity group CARLYLE have announced they will take a controlling stake in MCDONALD's operations in China and Hong Kong for a total consideration of $2.08bn. MCDONALD's initially intended to sell its parts of its Asian franchise for as much as $3bn, but was forced to downsize its plans after failing to find a suitable buyer for its South Korean operations. After making changes to the deal, to just put the China/HK stake on the block, the transaction was expected to fetch $1bn-$2bn. The 20-year old franchise spans some 2 400 stores in Hong Kong and the mainland. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Venezuela's Maduro raises minimum wage 50% - Andres Schipani

Venezuela's President NICOLAS MADURO yesterday hiked the minimum wage by 50% in another hapless bid to face a festering economic crisis teetering on hyperinflation. This is one of many hikes over the last year. With the increase, a Venezuelan worker will earn 40 683 bolivars a month. This is $60/month at the weakest legal exchange rate, or roughly $12/month at the black market exchange rate. That, coupled with a hike in the mandatory food subsidy, brings the total minimum wage to 104 358 bolivars, or $31 at the unofficial rate. According to Reuters calculations, this means MADURO has raised the minimum wage by a cumulative 322% since Feb. 2016. Critics argue this will do little for impoverished Venezuelans to alleviate the dual perils of food shortages and galloping inflation forecast by the IMF to top four digits in 2017. Inflation reached 181% in 2015, according to the most recent data published over a year ago. Meanwhile, the annual general level of inflation in Dec. 2016 was 290%, according to thi

US wage growth fastest since 2009 - Adam Samson

US wage growth accelerated to the quickest pace since 2009 in Dec., while the jobless rate remained at less than half of the Great Recession peak. Wages rose 0.4% in Dec. m/m, beating expectations for a 0.3% pick-up, the Labour Department said on Friday. The figure climbed by 2.9% from Dec. 2015, marking the swiftest y/y growth since 2009. The unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage point to 4.7%, matching forecasts. America added 156 000 jobs last month, missing Wall Street forecasts of 175 000. The Nov. figure was revised higher to 204 000, from 178 000 previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aussie mining stocks fall as govt predicts lower iron ore demand - Alice Woodhouse

Commodity stocks fell in Australia after the government said high iron ore prices seen in 2016 driven by Chinese demand were not expected to last. By lunchtime in Sydney, shares in FORTESCUE MINERALS slid 3.4%, while RIO TINTO fell 1.0%. BHP BILLITON was flat but had been down by as much as 1%. The price of iron ore futures for May delivery fell to Rmb544.5/t today on the DALIAN COMMODITY EXCHANGE, from Rmb547 on Friday, but are hovering around their lowest level in six weeks. Futures prices have pulled back by 14.3% since mid-Dec. Australia is the world's top iron ore exporter. The country's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science forecasts the price of ore for 2017 at $51.60/t, and $46.70/t in 2018. It said iron ore rose in 2016 on Chinese demand for steel for residential construction and speculative trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cofco top executive resigns - Emiko Terazono

China's COFCO faced its latest setback in its plans for international expansion as MATT JANSEN, CEO of its international grain trading arm, resigned. JANSEN's departure comes as the Chinese company, which spent more than $4bn over the past few years buying Dutch trader NIDERA and the agricultural trading arm of NOBLE GROUP, has been trying to combine the operations. The integration process has been beset with problems, however, not least due to issues at NIDERA. COFCO at the end of last year discovered a financial hole of $150m at NIDERA's Latin American operations, while in 2015 it faced losses due to unauthorised trading. COFCO announced JINGTAO CHI as the new CEO of COFCO AGRI. CHI is the former chair of CHINA AGRI INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, which is part of the COFCO group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Holland & Barrett holding company poised for private equity sale - Javier Espinoza

NATURE's BOUNTY, the parent company of HOLLAND & BARRETT, could be sold for up to $6bn after private equity owner CARLYLE GROUP announced plans to sell it. CARLYLE has already held initial discussions with possible advisers about selling the business, sources said on Friday. The business has received" significant interest" fro potential buyers in the US, Europe and Asia. CARLYLE is looking to spin off HOLLAND & BARRETT to create a separate entity, and may also include some well-known retail brands within this new business. NATURE's BOUNTY manufactures, markets and retails nutritional products worldwide. With revenues of around $3bn/year, it is one of the largest and most established players in supplying vitamins, sports nutrition products, minerals and herbs. Through HOLLAND & BARRETT, it retails its products in close to 620 stores in Europe alone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Teva cuts 2017 forecast - Pan Kwan Yuk

TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS, the world's largest generic drugs producer, on Friday cut its sales and profit expectations for 2017. The Israeli firm said net revenue for FY2017 will now be between $23.8bn and $24.5bn, compared to the $25.2bn-$26.2bn range it gave in July. Expectations for EPS have also been sharply trimmed to $4.90-$5.30, down from a previous forecast of $6.00-$6.50. Concerns have been mounting over the future of TEVA's flagship drug Copaxone, used to treat multiple sclerosis, which accounted for around 20% of group revenues last year. TEVA lost three patents that protected the drug from copycat versions during the summer. TEVA on Friday said the 40mg dose of the drug is not expected to face generic competition in the US in 2017. However, the entry of two generic rivals in the US in Feb. could reduce revenues by $1bn-$1.2bn, and hurt adjusted profit by 65c-80c/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New laws on gap cover and hospital cash plans - Susan Erasmus

After four years of consultation, Treasury gazetted final demarcation regulations in late Dec., ending years of uncertainty on the future of gap cover, hospital cash plans and primary healthcare policies. Government published the final demarcation regulations under the Long-term and Short-term Insurance Acts in Dec. Gap cover, which covers clients for co-payments/shortfalls incurred for in-hospital private doctors' bills, and hospital cash plans, which pay clients a lump sum per day spent in hospital, will continue to exist, but strict regulations will be enforced from Apr. 1 with regards to maximum payouts allowed to be made by both these products to their clients. Existing policies will have to comply with the new regulations from Jan. 2018, and new policies from Apr. 1 2017. The new regulations stipulate that hospital cash-back plans are limited to paying clients a maximum of R3 000/day, or a total lump sum of R20 000/year. There are currently no limits in place for these payments. Gap cover policies

India sees GDP growing faster after cash ban - Archana Chaudhary

Indian PM NARENDRA MODI's cash clampdown may hurt the economy less than economists predicted. GDP will grow 7.1% in the year through Mar., the Statistics Ministry said on Friday, compared with a 6.8% median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts. However, that's slower than last year's 7.6% growth and the 7.7% expansion predicted before MODI's Nov. 8 decision to ban high-value bank notes. The marginally brighter outlook may stanch record outflows from Indian stocks and help MODI win support before key state elections next month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA needs radical economic transformation - Zuma - Mike Cohen

The ANC pledged to ensure SA's black majority secures a bigger stake in the economy and do more to create jobs. The ruling party marked the 105th anniversary of its founding at a rally in Soweto yesterday, where it outlined its policy priorities for the year. "Radical economic transformation remains at the core of our economic strategy", President JACOB ZUMA told attendees. "More decisive steps must and will be taken to promote greater economic inclusion and to advance ownership and control and real leadership of the economy by black people... Too many of our people continue to suffer from the historic injustice perpetrated by the horrendous land disposession", ZUMA said. "This year we shall begin to utilise the expropriation of land act to pursue land reform and land redistribution with greater speed and urgency, following the prescripts of our constitution". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Weakening rand helped boost vegetable exports - Lameez Omarjee

The weakening rand during 2015 and 2016 helped boost demand for vegetable exports during the period. According to the ABSA Agricultural Outlook 2017, the rand weakened as much as 29.4% during Q1 2015 and Q2 2016. This, coupled with the rise in prices for staple products such as maize, helped contribute to the greater demand for vegetables, ABSA economist WESSEL LEMMER said. Potato prices are expected to come down from May onwards. At Aug. 2016, potatoes were trading at R40.72/10kg. Improved weather conditions are expected to be beneficial for production. Tomatoes reached prices as low as R34.88 in Aug. 2016. This is down from R58.75 recorded in Aug. 2015. The price of tomatoes is expected to decline to reduce the oversupply. Onion prices rose from R23.17/10kg in Sep. 2015 to R61.62 by Jun. 2016. Prices fell to R55.42 in Aug. Onion prices, which do not correlate with the rand's movements or the white maize prices, are expected to rise in 2017. The price of beef may be higher during 2017 as farmer r

Eldorado defers Turkey, Brazil project development on lower price outlook - Henry Lazenby

Canadian miner ELDORADO GODL has pulled the plug on two of its development projects in Turkey and Brazil, citing a lower long-term price outlook. The company has assumed a more bearish outlook for the gold price to $1 150/oz, from $1 300/oz in Sep. This has prompted ELDORADO to reconfigure the pit design at the Kiþladað mine, in Turkey, and to indefinitely defer the completion of the mine's expansion, freeing substantial sustaining capital that would otherwise have been needed. Kiþladað output is expected to average 285 000oz during 2018 and 2019, ELDORADO advised. Meanwhile, ELDORADO also announced that it will defer taking a construction decision at Tocantinzinho, in Brazil, until all permits are in place and with an improved gold price outlook. The company cut the development budget to $35m in 2017, down from $95m to $105m earmarked previously. ELDORADO is otherwise on track ot start commissioning of the Greece-based Olympias Phase II this quarter and construction at Skouries continuing on track

Rainbow Chicken on knife edge - Mervyn Naidoo

RAINBOW CHICKEN is selling 15 of its 5 farms in Hammarsdale to stay afloat after fighting years of dumping by importers. Because of the cutbacks, parent company RCL FOODS is retrenching 1 350 workers from the end of Jan. Limpopo-based MIKE's CHICKEN has already closed, putting more than 1 000 people out of work. Meanwhile, COUNTRY BIRD is retrenching 1 500 workers, mainly in the Free State and North West provinces. RCL MD SCOTT PITMAN last week said he no longer knew what to do to save jobs in the poultry industry. "Letting 1 350 people go at the end of the month will be the saddest day in my career. How do you get rid of people who have given you loyal service, some as long as 40 years?" PITMAN said the government was doing nothing to tighten import controls on frozen chicken, and the EU and Brazil, especially, were capitalising on this with large-scale dumping. "Our company's troubles could end and jobs saved overnight if the government placed tighter regulations on imports", PITMAN said. FAWU gene

Sirius sells EU property - IOL reporter

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE is selling its Rupert Mayer street business park in Munich for €85m and has agreed to lease back and manage the asset for six years. SIRIUS on Friday said: "Over the eight years since the Rupert Mayer Str. site was acquired, SIRIUS's asset management activity has increased net operating income from €4.4m to €5.3m with the value of the asset increasing by 48% from the €57.5m it cost to acquire". The sale price of €85m represents a 9% premium to SIRIUS's book value of €78.1m as at end-Sep. The site is being sold to FIDUCIARY CAPITAL, which is based in Munich. There is a secured loan of around €42m outstanding on the asset for which SIRIUS has the option of repaying with a small penalty fee or substituting the Munich asset with other assets into the facility. "The leaseback enables SIRIUS to retain the difference between the rent it pays and the income from the site in addition to an annual management fee of €100 000 per year for the term of the lease". Completion is expe

Angola's Unitel ups stake to majority in Banco BPI unit - Herculano Coroado

Angola's UNITEL has increased its stake in Portuguese lender BANCO BPI's Angolan operation BANCO FOMENTO ANGOLA to a majority holding, the telecoms firm said last week. UNITEL bought a further 2% of BFA, lifting its stake to 51.9%. The ECB required BANCO BPI to reduce risk by lessoning its exposure to BFA, UNITEL said. BANCO BPI retains a 48.1% stake, the Portuguese lender said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 09/01/2017

At 07h46 on 09 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.77 ZAR/EUR 14.50 ZAR/GBP 16.84 Gold 1174.93 Platinum 973.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.83 All Share 51216.00

EFF backs Eskom in clash with Exxaro - Fin24

The EFF has come out in support of ESKOM over its concern over EXXARO's new ownership structure. "We encourage ESKOM to instruct EXXARO and all its other suppliers to have 51% black ownership through workers' ownership schemes, and must never retreat on the demand that EXXARO most be empowered at minimum of 51%", EFF spokesperson MBUYISENI NDLOZI said yesterday. Last Friday, EXXARO shareholders approved a deal that will result in its black ownership dropping from 50% to 30%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian sovereign fund in credit tie-up to unlock infrastructure funding - Claire Milhench

Nigeria's sovereign wealth fund is setting up a company in partnership with London-based local currency guarantee firm GUARANTCO to enable pension funds to invest in Nigerian infrastructure bonds, NIGERIAN SOVEREIGN INVESTMENT AUTHORITY CEO UCHE ORJI said yesterday. The new business will be launched within weeks and aims to overcome some of the challenges facing the financing and infrastructure projects in the country. GUARANTCO facilitates infrastructure development in low income countries by providing credit guarantees denominated in local currency to financial institutions and bond investors. It is funded by the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia, and specialises in frontier market infrastructure. ORJI noted that at present, when municipalities want to issue bonds to fund infrastructure projects, most pension funds won't y them because the credit rating of the issuer isn't strong enough. The new venture will provide a form of manoline insurance, giving a guarantee and allowing pens

Shell shuts African pipeline - Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has shut its Trans Niger oil pipeline following a fire. The line can transport around 180 000 bpd to the Bonny Export Terminal in the Niger Delta. It was shut on Tuesday due to a blaze at Kpor on Ogoniland. The company declined to comment on the impact on production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 06/01/2017

At 11h35 on 06 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.64 ZAR/EUR 14.45 ZAR/GBP 16.90 Gold 1176.23 Platinum 963.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.91 All Share 50914.90

Sales surge for global carmakers in China - Jake Spring

Sales surged for global carmakers in China last year as consumers rushed to buy vehicles to make the most of a tax incentive, with HONDA MOTOR seeing a particularly brisk pace of business ahead of FORD and TOYOTA. TOYOTA has traditionally led HONDA in China, but last year HONDA sped past with a y/y sales growth of 2.4% to 1.25m vehicles, helped by a steady stream of new models in the SUV segment. TOYOTA posted an 8.2% rise in 2016 sales, and expects to sell at least 1.2m units this year. FORD reported growth of 11.9% to 1.24m units in 2016, not including sales of its premium Lincoln brand. All three continued to lag sales by NISSAN in China - sales grew 8.4% to 1.35m units in the country last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba to meet banks Tuesday, loan waiver expected - Taiga Uranaka

TOSHIBA CORP plans to meet with creditor banks on Tuesday to explain how it is addressing a massive change that the Japanese company says it must take on its US nuclear business, three bankers briefed with the meeting said. The bankers expect creditors will agree not to call in loans while they discuss steps to aid the conglomerate. Syndicated loans could be endangered because credit-ratings downgrades put TOSHIBA in violation of loan covenants, the bankers said, adding that it was routine for them to grant a waiver in such a case to avoid a funding crisis. Tuesday's "explanatory session" is also meant as a show of support for TOSHIBA, as major creditors present a united front for the borrower hit by a series of scandals and losses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verizon exec says company unsure about Yahoo deal - Aishwarya Venugopal

Senior VERIZON executive MARNI WALDEN yesterday said the company was unsure about its proposed acquisition of YAHOO's internet business. YAHOO came under renewed scrutiny by federal investigators and lawmakers last month after disclosing the largest known data breach in history, prompting VERIZON to demand better terms for its planned purchase. "I can't sit here today and say with confidence one way or another because we still don't know", WALDEN, president of product innovation and new businesses, said at the Citi 2017 Conference in Las Vegas. WALDEN added that the merits of the deal still made sense and that there were certain aspects of the probe that had yet to be completed. She did not provide a time-frame for the completion of the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple plans first retail store in S Korea - Nataly Pak

APPLE said it was planning to open a retail store in South Korea, its first in the country. The US group listed hiring notices for 15 positions dated Thursday on its website, including a store leader and business manager. The listings did not specify the exact location or when those who are hired will begin working. "We're excited about opening our first APPLE STORE in Korea", APPLE told Reuters in a statement today. "We're now hiring the team that will offer our customers in Seoul the service, education and entertainment that is loved by APPLE customers around the world". The tech giant declined to comment on where in Seoul the store would be or when it would open. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

J&J, Actelion approach Swiss takeover board over deal structure - Joshua Franklin

JOHNSON & JOHNSON and ACTELION have asked Switzerland's takeover board about the viability of a complicated takeover deal the US healthcare company is discussing with the Swiss biotech firm, the Tages-Anzeiger reported today. The parties asked about the proposal under which J&J would acquire ACTELION while separating its commercialised portfolio from its R&D assets, a deal structure first reported by Reuters last week. The panel's preliminary review was still going on, the paper reported. The proposed deal structure would allow J&J to acquire ACTELION with a cash offer in the region of $260/share, a little more than what it had offered when it walked away from talks earlier in Dec. It would also allow ACTELION investors to benefit financially from the company's R&D pipeline. In return for a minority stake in the remaining business to develop new drugs, J&J could invest $1bn-$2bn over several years into the Swiss firm's research activities as part of the deal. This news brief represents a summary of th

Japan defends Toyota after Trump hit over Mexico plant - Thomas Wilson

The Japanese government today defended TOYOTA as an "important corporate citizen" of the US after President-elect DONALD TRUMP singled out the carmaker and threated to slap punitive tariffs on its Mexico-built cars. The attack overnight on TOYOTA is TRUMP's first against a foreign automaker. "TOYOTA MOTOR said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US. NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax", TRUMP tweeted overnight. Shares in TOYOTA fell more than 3% before recovering, while HONDA and NISSAN shares slid around 2%. Chief Cabinet Secretary YOSHIHIDE SUGA told reporters that TOYOTA was an "important corporate citizen", while Trade Minister HIROSHIGE SEKO stressed the contribution of Japanese companies to US employment. JPMORGAN analyst AKIRA KISHIMOTO noted that TOYOTA's exposure to Mexico is limited, adding that even an "extreme case" tariff of 20% would hit its operating profit by around 6%. TRUMP has threatened a 35% tariff on cars imported from Mexico. NISSAN has

Retail, factory sales add to picture of robust German economy - Mehreen Khan

November looks to have been another solid month for the German economy, with latest figures showing activity rising in parts of its manufacturing and services sectors. Retail sales and factory orders both expanded in Germany in Nov. y/y, growing at a clip of 3.2% and 3% respectively despite registering m/m falls, according to figures from Destatis. German economic growth is expected to have accelerated at end-2016 after a disappointing Q3. Uenmployment has continued to tumble while inflation soared to 1.7% in Dec., raising expectations that German wages will follow suit in 2017. Factory order growth eased back from the bumper 6.3% climb registered in Oct. and declined 2.5% on a m/m measure. Foreign demand slipped by 2.3%, with eurozone orders falling 2.7% after an impressive Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump turns ire on Toyota's Mexico car plant plans - Peter Campbell

DONALD TRUMP has turned his Twitter ire on TOYOTA, telling the carmaker that it will face heavy penalties if it opts to make cars for the US market in Mexico. "TOYOTA MOTOR said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US. NO WAY! Build plant in U.s. or pay big border tax", TRUMP wrote on Twitter yesterday. TOYOTA responded that no US jobs would be lost as a result of its planned new plant, which is in the central state of Guanajuato, more than 1 700km away from its existing manufacturing facility in Baja, where it builds the Tacoma pick-up truck. The Japanese carmaker said it "looks forward to collaborating with the TRUMP administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry". Mexico's car industry is heavily dependent on exports to the US market. In 2015, TOYOTA announced plans to spend $1bn building a new facility in Guanajuato that will make Corollas from 2019. The Corolla is the second-best selling car in the US, and TOYOTA currently manuf

Wave of spending tightens China's grip on renewable energy - Andrew Ward

China is strengthening its grip on the global renewable energy industry after increasing investment in green technology overseas to more than $32bn - far in excess of the amounts deployed by any other country. The 60% surge in Chinese capital last year highlights the country's increasing economic commitment to low-carbon forms of energy even as DONALD TRUMP threatens to weaken Washington's backing for the move away from fossil fuels. China is already investing more than $100bn/y in domestic renewable energy projects - more than double the US figure - and the latest data show that Chinese money also dwarfs US green finance globally. Chinese companies made 11 outbound investments in excess of $1bn in 2016, adding up to a combined $32bn, compared with eight deals for a combined $20bn in 2015, according to research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Four of the five biggest renewable energy deals globally in 2016 were made by Chinese companies, and the IEEFA predicted this trend wo

US intelligence chief rejects Trump doubts on Russian hacking - David J Lynch

Leaders of the US intelligence community have forcefully rejected DONALD TRUMP's dismissal of their findings that Russia interfered in the presidential election. JAMES CLAPPER, the director of national intelligence, told a Senate committee hearing that US intelligence agencies were more "resolute" in their conclusion that President VLADIMIR PUTIN ordered pre-election hacks of Democratic party servers than they had been in Oct. when they first indicated Russian involvement. Senator JOHN MCCAIN joined CLAPPER and two other leading US intelligence officials in blaming the Kremlin for the pre-election cyber attacks. "Every American should be alarmed by Russia's attack on our nation", MCCAIN said as he called for a new US strategy to deter future cyber attacks. TRUMP has scoffed at the intelligence community's finding that the Kremlin directed last year's attacks on Democratic party computers and this week embraced WIKILEAKS leader JULIAN ASSANGE's statement that the hacks could have been carried out by a "14-

Magazine group Meredith renews interest in Time Inc - Shannon Bond

Magazine group MEREDITH CORPORATION has renewed its interest in TIME INC, the publisher of People and Sports Illustrated, according to sources. MEREDITH, whose titles include Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Steward Living, has contacted TIME INC, but no talks have taken place. TIME has also received interest from a number of private-equity groups. TIME in Nov. rejected an unsolicited $1.8bn bid from a consortium backed by LEN BLAVATNIK, the billionaire owner of WARNER MUSIC GROUP, along with EDGAR BRONFMAN JF, former CEO of WARNER MUSIC, and YNON KREIZ, who ran MAKER STUDIOS until its $500m sale to WALT DISNEY. BRONFMAN and KREIZ remain interested in TIME, according to sources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung guides to better-than-expected Q4 figures - Peter Wells

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has forecast its best quarterly profit in more than three years, projecting that operating profit in Q4 2016 surged 50% as strong sales of chips and display panels offset the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. The company estimated its Q4 operating profit at Won9.2tn, well above the Won8.3tn average of a Bloomberg poll. Sales slipped 0.6% to an estimated Won53tn. SAMSUNG did not provide a divisional breakdown but analysts estimate that more than half of its earnings came from the semiconductor business, whose operating profit is estimated at Won4.7tn. Final results are due later this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia posts surprise trade surplus - Peter Wells

A jump in commodity prices has helped Australia post a surprise trade surplus in Nov., its largest since 2014. The country chalked up a surplus of A$1.243bn in Nov. 2016, a sharp swing from the revised A$1.12bn deficit recorded in Oct., the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today. The number blew out of the water the A$550m deficit expected by analysts. It was the first trade surplus since Mar. 2014 and the biggest since Feb. 2014. The value of exports rose by 8% to A$30.08bn, while the value of imports was roughly steady at A$28.84bn. PAUL DALES at CAPITAL ECONOMICS said the surprise surplus is mainly due to higher commodity prices boosting export values, and that volumes probably still fell during Q4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone producer prices rise for first time since 2013 - Nicholas Megaw

Producer prices in the eurozone increased for the first time in more than three years in Nov. in a further sign the bloc's persistently low inflation rate is finally gaining some momentum. Industrial producer prices rose 0.3% during Nov. and were 0.1% higher y/y. Economists had expected the annual rate of declines to slow but remain in deflationary territory. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Copper industry uncertain ahead of key labour talks - Neil Hume

The attention of the copper industry is firmly focused on Chile as contract talks at the Escondida mine rumble towards an uncertain conclusion. Many investors believe a tightening copper market is just one labour dispute away from a big price spike. As such they are closely following talks between unions at the mine, which is jointly owned by BHP BILLITON and RIO TINTO via MINERA ESCONDIDA. "Over 1.1m tonnes of [annual] production is at risk should negotiators fail to reach agreement on a new long-term labour contract", BARCLAYS analysts said yesterday. The latest reports from Chile suggest formal talks will start in the coming days, with a final proposal from MINERA ESCONDIDA expected on Jan. 23. This will be voted on by workers on Jan. 24. In previous years, the agreement had set a benchmark for the rest of the industry. A union spokesperson this week told Reuters that the company had already rejected all the workers' demands - a 7% pay hike and bonus of $25 000 - and wanted to cut the benefits they

Pace of US private sector job growth cools in Dec. - Jessica Dye

The US private sector added fewer jobs in Dec. than analysts had predicted, pointing to signs that the pace of job growth has slowed as the labour market nears full employment. The non-farm private sector added 153 000 jobs in Dec., according to data from payroll processor ADP. That's below the 175 000 analysts had forecast, and a fall-off from the 215 000 jobs added in Nov., a figure that was revised down from the 216 000 ADP had initially reported. The figures bring last year's average private-sector job growth to 174 000 a month, down from 209 000 in 2015. The manufacturing industry shed 16 000 jobs in Dec., while the services industry tacked on 169 000 jobs. US labour statistics yesterday showed that the number of initial unemployment claims fell to 235 000 in the week ending Dec. 31, a decrease of 28 000 from the prior week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US service sector growth tops estimates in Dec. - Adam Samson

The rate of expansion in the US services sector held steady in Dec. at the highest level since Oct. 2015. The Institute for Supply Management's services PMI came in at 57.2 in Dec., unchanged m/m. The figure topped analysts' forecasts of 56.8. New orders and production continued to rise at a quick pace, a good indication for the broader US economy which relies heavily on the services sector. But growth in employment slowed sharply - a trend many economists have predicted with the jobless rate near levels that are considered normal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil falls even as US crude stocks drop by most since Sep. - Mamta Badkar

Stockpiles of US crude fell for the first tine in three weeks and logged their biggest weekly draw in four months, but prices turned negative after the report also showed a large build in refined crude products, with gasoline inventories rising by the most in nearly a year. Inventories of US crude fell by 7.05m barrels in the week ended Dec. 30, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Stockpiles of oil at the Cushing delivery hub rose by a larger than expected 1.07m barrels, compared with estimates of a build of 563 500 barrels. Inventories of gasoline climbed by 8.3m barrels - the biggest weekly rise since Jan. 2016 - compared with expectations for a 1.2m barrel rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amgen blocks competitors from selling rival cholesterol drug - David Crow

AMGEN won a court ruling that blocks its competitors from selling a rival to its new cholesterol-lowering medicine, sending shares in the biotech up by 4.66% in after-hours trading. A US district judge in Delaware ordered SANOFI and REGENERON to stop selling their Praluent drug as it infringes on patents protecting AMGEN's Repatha treatment. Shares in REGENERON, which discovered the drug, were halted, while American depository receipts of SANOFI were down 3.98%. Sales of both drugs have been sluggish since they were launched, although analysts predict they will surge in future years if they are proven to reduce heart attacks and other "cardiovascular events" in soon-to-be-published studies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Recovery in GDP on cards, but political risks remain - Fin24

Although there are significant risk factors that could impact the local economy, SA is not as risky as its emerging market peers, NOMURA analyst PETER ATTARD MONTALTO said. In a note issued yesterday, MONTALTO said he expected SA to outperform Turkey "at least for the first half of 2017 or longer" if the Central Bank of Turkey fails to regain some credibility. "We see (GDP) growth broadly constant through 2017 in y/y terms after a step-up in first quarter economic data in March", MONTALTO said, but cautioned that negative per capita income growth and total factor productivity growth could be "lowlights" of the year. CPI is expected to drop from its Dec. peak in Jan., but should start rising again after July to the top end of the SARB's target. NOMURA is of the view that politics in SA will remain "noisy", although the markets have become "bored of attempting to follow the intricacies of the ANC's internal machinations", MONTALTO said. A review of SA's credit rating still present a fiscal risk - although t

ACSA airport charges cut long overdue, not enough - Comair CEO - Carin Smith

The reduction in tariffs announced by ACSA is welcome relief to airlines and the public, but does not go far enough, COMAIR CEO ERIK VENTER said yesterday. ACSA earlier yesterday announced a cut in airport charges of 35.5% for FY2017/18, to be implemented from Apr. 1. It will be followed by an increase in charges of 5.8% in FY2018/19, and an increase of 7.4% in FY2019/20. VENTER said the reduction is long overdue in terms of the regulating formula in the ACSA Act that determines the parastatal's revenue. "It does not, however, address the super profits ACSA has made over the past two years, when it underspent its capex budget, but continued to collect tariffs at exorbitant rates set for the FIFA World Cup. These World Cup increases saw tariffs rise by around 160%", VENTER said. He pointed to a provision in the ACSA Act for the regulator to "claw back" excess profits resulting from over-collection of tariffs or under-spending of budget. "We hope this legal provision is applied and the claw back is used

Fire breaks out at Vale fertiliser unit - Reuters

A fire broke out at a VALE fertiliser unit in Sao Paulo state yesterday, the company confirmed. It was not immediately clear what, if any, damage there was, but output at the facility has been halted. Globo TV reported that an explosion was heard just before the fire broke out and that ammonium nitrate was spewing from the facility in the industrial city of Cubatao. There was no immediate word on deaths or injuries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore studying 'strategic options' over DRC's Mutanda - David McKay

GLENCORE yesterday said it was considering its options in respect of its $1.8bn MUTANDA MINING COMPANY in the Katanga province of the DRC. This was after GLENCORE had received "certain incoming press inquiries in relation to the potential acquisition of a further stake in MUTANDA". It didn't provide further details. MUTANDA is a JV between GLENCORE and DAN GERTLER's FLEURETTE GROUP. It produced around 200 000t of copper and about 18 000t of cobalt in GLENCORE's 2015 FY. The mine has attracted negative attention because of GLENCORE's links to GERTLER, who was identified in a US probe as a person who had paid bribes to secure business in the DRC. GERTLER has denied the claims. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK, China, SA downgrade calls loom for Moody's - Marc Jones

MOODY's is likely to make key rating calls on the UK, China and SA among others this year as rising political risk and debt levels push the number of countries on a downgrade warning back to a record high. "A quarter of the sovereigns are on a negative outlook, which is the highest proportion we've had since 2012", MOODY's MD of sovereign risk ALASTAIR WILSON told Reuters. The immediate pressure may not be quite so acute but the geographic spread of the negative ratings is now much wider, WILSON said, adding: "I think in some ways (that) is more concerning". MOODY's is due to review the UK on Jun. 2 and Sep. 22. China has been on a negative outlook since Mar. 2016 as it grapples with over-indebted state firms and over-heated big city property prices and heads towards a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle this year. Meanwhile, MOODY's rates SA one notch higher at Baa2 than S&P and FITCH, which have it on one rung above junk. "Certainly it's fair to say (political) noise has risen in recent months, but tha

Nigerian union orders Total fuel depot strike - Alexis Akwagyiram

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers this week ordered a strike at TOTAL fuel truck depots across the country in protest against retrenchments. "We have stopped the operation of TOTAL. We are at the table with TOTAL discussing the situation of the workers", union chairperson TOKUNBO KORODO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fastjet to sell stake to Solenta - Rahul B

FASTJET PLC yesterday said South African carrier SOLENTA would become a 28% shareholder in the company, and that it would also raise at least $28.8m via a share placement. FASTJET said it would buy an SPV held within SOLENTA by issuing nearly 95.6m shares. The SPV has three wet-leased aircraft and the supply of other services over the next five years. The share issue is priced at 16.3pps, representing a nearly 2% discount to FASTJET's Wednesday close of 16.625p. The proceeds would be used for working capital purposes, allowing the company to implement new revenue generating measures and reach cash flow break-even by Q4 2017. SOLENTA would have the right to nominate two members to FASTJET's board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 06/01/2017

At 07h27 on 06 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.64 ZAR/EUR 14.44 ZAR/GBP 16.89 Gold 1177.48 Platinum 965.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.82 All Share 50474.95

Vaal Dam rises for 10th week running - BDpro

The Vaal Dam's water level has risen for a 10th consecutive week, the City of Johannesburg reported, but asked residents to persist with water-saving measures. The city yesterday tweeted that the dam's water level had risen to 44.36% on Jan. 2 - up from 42.12% on Dec. 26. However, this morning it retweeted a tweet from TREVOR BLAZER of the Department of Water and Sanitation, noting that in the past 24 hours it had dipped again, to 42.22%, as "abstraction & evaporation" exceeded inflow. The increase was helped by overcast, cool and wet weather in Gauteng last week. Thunderstorms were expected to arrive in the province by Friday and continue until Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim sets price floors for mobile tariffs - Malcom Sharara

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has set floor prices for voice and data services including promotional packages. "The floor price for traditional voice services shall be set at 12 US cents per minute", POTRAZ said in a statement reported by The Herald. The floor price for data shall be set at 2c/MB. POTRAZ said the floor price "shall go a long way in addressing the apparent under-pricing of voice and data services that was characteristic of data bundles and promotions that were being offered by operators". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court rules Eskom can cut power - Lameez Omarjee

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that ESKOM may cut off power supply to eight municipalities as a means to recover outstanding debt. Judge HANS FABRICIUS made the ruling on an urgent matter submitted by AfriForum, which sought to stop the utility from cutting power supplies. The application by AfriForum was dismissed with costs. ESKOM yesterday said it would delay turning the lights off in the affected areas from today until next week Tuesday. FABRICIUS noted that ESKOM does not have an obligation to supply power to ratepayers, as that obligation lies with municipalities. Acting ESKOM CEO MATSHELA KOKO said it "pains ESKOM to cut supply of electricity". KOKO said debt is currently at R9bn and is projected to amount to R12bn by the end of the financial year. "We cannot borrow money to generate electricity to give to municipalities that don't pay", KOKO said, adding that it is important to recover debt as "responsible citizens". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA private sector activity rises in Dec. - Reuters

Activity in SA's private sector rose in Dec., bolstered by higher output and new orders, according to the latest STANDARD BANK/MARKIT PMI. The PMI rose to 51.6 in Dec. from 50.8 in Nov. "The overall upturn was bolstered by faster expansions of output and new work in December. Both rose to the greatest extent in 21 months, with anecdotal evidence highlighting a general improvement in client demand", MARKIT said. "That said, growth of total new work was dampened by falling exports. The amount of new orders from abroad dropped for the second straight month, despite reports of orders from Russia and some African countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 05/01/2017

At 11h18 on 05 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.59 ZAR/EUR 14.28 ZAR/GBP 16.69 Gold 1173.51 Platinum 952.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.30 All Share 50829.25

HSBC raises world economic growth, inflation forecasts - Jamie McGeever

Economists at HSBC yesterday raised their forecast for global growth and inflation over the next two years based on robust manufacturing activity, a resilient China and the fiscal boost expected to come in the US. HSBC now sees the global economy expanding at a 2.5% pace this year compared with its 2.3% forecast in Sep., and 2.6% in 2017, up from September's 2.5%. Global inflation looks set to be 3.0% this year and 2.7% next year, compared with their previous forecasts of 2.7% and 2.5%, respectively. "All of the above help explain why we can offer a rare treat: for the first time since early 2012, we are increasing our forecasts for both global growth and inflation for the next two years", HSBC's chief global economist JANET HENRY said. "Unfortunately, it is still a world where global growth is likely to hover around the mediocre growth rates of the past few years". Among the most notable changes to the growth forecasts - US growth next year of 2.7% versus 2.2%; UK growth this year 1.2% vs 0.7%; Japan 1.

Indonesia tries to assure banks they won't be penalised if research is 'credible' - Hidayat Setiaji

Indonesia's finance ministry yesterday sought to assure banks and research firms that they will not be sanctioned for their assessment of the country, as long as it is "credible". The country cut business ties with JPMORGAN CHASE earlier this week because its research was "not credible and not objective", SUAHASIL NAZARA, head of the Ministry of FInance's fiscal policy office, said. Analysts have said the decision raised concern about whether the government would penalise other research providers for reports that are deemed to be negative. NAZARA dismissed such worries. "The point is, don't worry, go ahead with an analysis of Indonesia's economy that is as credible as possible, by using the available data and facts". Indonesia has dropped JPMORGAN's services as a primary dealer for domestic sovereign bonds and as an underwriter for bonds sold to global markets, NAZARA said. The investment bank is allowed to continue its business in the private sector. The government assurances are unlikely to dispel wo

Maersk, Alibaba team up to offer online booking of ship places - Brenda Goh

Container shipping line MAERSK has teamed up with ALIBABA to allow customers to reserve space on its vessels through the Chinese company, illustrating growing cooperation between e-commerce and logistics firms. MAERSK began offering the service to Chinese shippers on ALIBABA's OneTouch booking site on Dec. 22. MAERSK said the move was part of the line's strategy to provide digitised services for customers and that it plans to launch more pilot programmes on third party portals. OneTouch targets small and medium-sized Chinese exporters with online services such as customs clearance and logistics. It also allows them to book air freight and parcel delivery services and supports ALIBABA's business-to-business marketplace. MAERSK said the launch of the service was not about bypassing the industry's traditional middleman freight forwarders, as the OneTouch platform still used such firms to provice services such as haulage. The service is currently offered on routes from eight Chinese ports, including Shangha

Deutsche Bank to pay $95bn to end US tax fraud case - Nate Raymond

DEUTSCHE BANK agreed to pay $95m to resolve a US government lawsuit accusing it of tax fraud for using "insolvent" shell companies to hide significant tax liabilities from the IRS in 2000. Under the accord described in papers filed yesterday with the federal court in Manhattan, DEUTSCHE also admitted to trying to stick the shell companies with the tax bill for its then-new stake in BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB. "The government, through this action and settlement, has made DEUTSCHE BANK admit to its actions designed to avoid taxes", US Attorney PREET BHARARA in Manhattan said in a statement. The settlement marks the latest step in DEUTSCHE BANK's bid to resolve legal matters that in recent months caused investors to worry about its future, and whether it had sufficient capital. The bank last month reached a $7.2bn settlement in principle to resolve a US probe of its sale of toxic mortgage securities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba chair says banks ready to offer conditional financial support - Makiko Yamazaki

TOSHIBA chair SHIGENORI SHIGA today said its creditor banks are ready to provide financial support to the Japanese conglomerate, with conditions attached, following disclosures that it faces a multi-billion dollar writedown of a US nuclear business. SHIGA said banks' support would be conditional upon TOSHIBA giving them "solid explanations" about the potential writedown and hot to improve its financial health. TOSHIBA last week revealed that it may have to book several billion dollars in charges related to its WESTINGHOUSE acquisition in the US. The group said it would finalise the losses by mid-Feb. TOSHIBA is expected to inform its main creditors on the finalised writedown figures by the end of this month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Suntory not considering IPO of US unit - Ritsuko Shimizu

SUNTORY HOLDINGS is not planning to lost its US spirits unit, BEAM SUNTORY INC, on the NYSE, a top executive said today. SUNTORY HOLDINGS president TAKESHI NIINAMI said the company is not considering any listing in the US, denying a Japanese media report. BEAM SUNTORY was formed in 2014 when SUNTORY bought its US rival BEAM for $14bn. The Mainichi daily reported that the company was in talks with foreign investment banks about a listing of BEAM SUNTORY, seeking funds to expand its footprint in emerging markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Initial Samsung production target is 10m Galaxy S8 phones - Se Young Lee

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has set an initial production target of 10m Galaxy S8 smartphones, South Korea's Electronic Times reported today, citing unnamed sources. SAMSUNG is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 model last year in one of the biggest product safety recalls in tech history. The company has yet to disclose what caused some Note 7 phones to catch fire on their own. The publication said SAMSUNG would start production in Mar. and planned to start selling the new phones in Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China to send thousands of workers to Israel - AFP

China has agreed for thousands of migrant workers to go to Israel in a bid to alleviate a housing crisis in the Jewish state, the Israeli government said yesterday. The agreement would see 6 000 Chinese workers arrive in Israel in the six months after the formal signature of the deal expected at end-Feb. Finance Minister MOSHE KAHLON said the arrival of the Chinese workers would "energise efforts to solve the housing crisis." Housing costs in Israel have been rising steeply since 2008, significantly impacting the cost of living. Nearly 9 000 foreign construction labourers work in Israel, all of them from east European countries and half of them under bilateral agreements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New twist in sale of Chevron's SA assets - Andy Hoffman with Fin24

Oil trader GUNVOR GROUP is suing CERBERUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, alleging the latter is refusing to pay its share of costs incurred when the two companies made a failed $650m bid for CHEVRON's South African assets. While a relatively small sum is at stake, the suit sheds light on the acquisition campaign now under way after GUNVOR sold the bulk of its Russian assets following the 2014 US sanctions on its co-founder, billionaire GENNADY TIMCHENKO. GUNVOR claims it entered into an agreement with CERBERUS in Sep. to prepare a joint bid for the CHEVRON assets and that CERBERUS agreed to pay half the cost of evaluating an offer. GUNVOR said it spent some $1.6m hiring advisers and consultants to help it perform due diligence on the assets. The Department of Energy was last year caught off-guard when its Strategic Fuel Fund announced its interest in buying CHEVRON's assets. Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON said she would probe why the Fund did not get her consent before making the move and said it was not ap

Bauba to reopen Moejelijk mine after chrome price rebound - Robert Laing

The chrome ore price rebounding from a low of $80/t to around $380/t has prompted BAUBA PLATINUM to reopen the Moejelijk mine, the company said today. Shares in BAUBA jumped 18% to 45c following the news. BAUBA placed the mine on care and maintenance in Jan. 2016 after the chrome ore price fell under $120/t. Moejelijk is expected to resume mining 20 000t of chrome ore per month within three months, with the expected chrome grade to be between 39% and 41%. BAUBA reported a loss of R6.4m on R78.7m sales for the FY to end-Jun.. This was partly due to a bad debt provision of R15m for 20 000mt of chrome ore it delivered to a client which then filed for business rescue. The company has since managed to recover 17 000mt from this client after taking legal action. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Top US oil industry group lobbies Trump for lighter regulation - Ed Crooks

The American Petroleum Institute has highlighted deregulation, increased access for offshore drilling and more support for pipeline construction as priorities for the administration of President-elect DONALD TRUMP and the new Republican-dominated Congress. API president JACK GERARD yesterday said the US had a "once in a generation opportunity" to create more middle-class jobs, reduce income inequality and strengthen national security by increasing oil and gas production. "We must break from the recent past [and] re-examine the regulatory onslaught of the last few years that has proposed or imposed some 145 regulations and other executive actions on our industry, and instead work to implement smart energy regulations", GERARD said. TRUMP has argued that the administration should do more to help oil and gas production, and he has selected several industry executives, investors or supporters to his team. EXXONMOBIL chief REX TILLERSON is TRUMP's pick for secretary of state, and SCOTT PRUITT, attorney-general

China services PMI rises to 17-month high - Alice Woodhouse

China's services PMI rose in Dec. to a 17-month high as activity and new work expanded. The CAIXIN-MARKIT services PMI rose marginally to 53.4 from 53.1 in Nov. The seasonally adjusted services PMI tracked growth in China's manufacturing sector, which grew more than expected in Dec. to 51.9 from 50.9 in Nov. The official National Bureau of Statistics manufacturing PMI slipped to 51.4 in Dec. from 51.7 m/m. CAIXIN's composite PMI covering the manufacturing and services sectors rose to 53.5 in Dec. from 52.9 in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple, Qualcomm invest in SoftBank fund - James Fontanella-Khan

ORACLE founder LARRY ELLISON will joint APPLE, QUALCOMM and FOXCONN in backing SOFTBANK's record-setting tech fund, allowing the latter to hit its $100bn goal weeks ahead of schedule. Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund is also in talks to invest in SOFTBANK's Vision Fund, according to sources. The fund will reportedly remain open to additional investment until the end of this month as demand from both large companies and sovereign funds remained robust. MASAYOSHI SON, the billionaire who built SOFTBANK into a global internet powerhouse, announced the launch of the fund in Oct. after securing the support of Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN. He agreed to invest up to $45bn via the kingdom's PUBLIC INVESTMENT FUND. Since DONALD TRUMP won the US election in Nov., SON has been actively courting the president-elect by vowing to invest as much as $50bn in US start-ups. The Vision Fund will be headed by RAJEEV MISRA, a former debt-trader at DEUTSCHE BANK and UBS. The fund's main focus will

UK picks career diplomat as new man in Brussels - Alex Barker

British PM THERESA MAY has moved swiftly to end an escalating row with Britain's top civil servants by appointing career diplomat SIR TIM BARROW to replace SIR IVAN ROGERS as the country's ambassador to the EU. SIR IVAN quit this week amid claims MAY's aides did not like the advice he was giving on Brexit. MAY decided to draw a line under the dispute by immediately appointing SIR TIM, ambassador to Moscow from 2011-2015, to the highly sensitive role. SIR TIM, political director at the Foreign Office, is a safe option for MAY and will allay concerns among officials about the risk of alleged politicisation of the civil service. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global cartel fines hit new high - Catherine Belton

Antitrust fines levied across the globe hit a new high of $6.7bn in 2016, but the two biggest markets took divergent approaches, with the European Commission imposing record fines while penalties fell sharply in the US. Brussels meted out a record $4.1bn in penalties - a tenfold rise y/y. The total included the biggest cartel fine in EU history of $3.2bn levied against five truck producers charged with colluding for 14 years in pricing trucks while passing the cost of environmental compliance on to consumers. Fines imposed by the US fell sharply in 2016 to $386m from record levels of $2.85bn y/y, research by Allen & Overy, a London-based law firm, found. The drop came as new investigations remained in "gestation period', while the blockbuster probes of the previous year into forex rate manipulation had come to a close. Regulators in Brazil, SA and South Korea also kicked enforcement against cartels up a notch, with SA levying a record $110.7m fine against ARCELORMITTAL SA for allegations it was involved

Apple removes NY Times app from China store - Leslie Hook

APPLE has removed the New York Times app from its app store in China at the request of mainland authorities, furthering a clampdown on foreign media outlets that has worsened since President XI JINPING came to power. APPLE pulled the Times' app from the store in China late last month after being informed that it violated local regulations. The Times' Chinese and English language websites have both been blocked in China for several years, and the company has struggled to obtain visas for new China-based reporters. EILEEN MURPHY, spokesperson for the paper, said the company had asked APPLE to reconsider its decision, noting that Beijing's request "is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country - coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world, including the United States". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US auto sales hit new high in 2016 - Adam Samson

The US auto industry closed 2016 on a high note, notching Dec. sales figures that exceeded estimates and posting their best year on record. US light vehicle sales came in at 17.47m last year, according to data from WARDSAUTO, topping the all-time high reached in 2014 by 0.4%. For December, the annualised sales rate was 18.29m, far ahead of expectations of 17.7m. Analysts and economists have questioned whether sales have peaked, having rebounded substantially from just 10.4 in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession. "The surge in sales could be due to increased incentives from the car manufacturers... and we continue to view the long-run sustainable level of car sales as being about 16.5m units", BARCLAYS economist ROB MARTIN said, referring to the strong Dec. figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Macy's to axe more than 10 000 jobs - Mamta Badkar

MACY's yesterday announced it would lay off around 6 200 workers as part of a move to boost efficiency and reduce costs in early 2017, and lowered its FY earnings outlook, sending shares in the retailer down more than 8% in extended trading. The chain also announced the closure of 68 stores that were part of the 100 closings announced by the company back in Aug. Sixty-three of the closures will be completed in early spring, while two will be completed in mid-2017. Three were completed last year. The company added that 3 900 associates will be displaced as a result of the closured, and that some may be offered positions in nearby stores when possible. The news accompanies disappointing same-store sales results during the key holiday period. Like-for-like sales fell 2.1% in Nov. and Dec. y/y. The store closures are expected to generate annual savings of around $550m starting this year, making room for MACY's to invest about $250m in its e-commerce operations. Sales for the year are expected to decline b

Fed officials cite rate rise uncertainty over Trump tax cuts - Sam Fleming

Many officials of the US Federal Reserve said the central bank could be forced to lift rates higher than expected if Congress passed tax cuts this year, according to minutes of the Fed's final policy meeting of 2016. Almost all officials meeting on Dec. 13-14 said the risks of growth surpassing their forecasts had grown because of the possibility of more "expansionary" fiscal policy under President-elect DONALD TRUMP and a Republican-controlled Congress. But "participants agreed that it was too early to know what changes in these policies would be implemented and how such changes might affect the economic outlook", the minutes showed. "Many participants emphasized that the greater uncertainty about these policies made it more challenging to communicate to the public about the likely path of the federal funds rate", the minutes added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinmetz released from detention in connection with bribery probe - Tom Burgis

Israeli police have released BENY STEINMETZ from house arrest two weeks after the billionaire was detained in connection with a probe into allegations of bribery involving the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. The allegations relate to the 2008 award of iron ore rights in Guinea to BSG RESOURCES, the mining arm of STEINMETZ's family empire. BSGR yesterday said STEINMETZ "has fully co-operated with the Israeli authorities, and will continue to do so if and when required". He remains subject to certain restrictions and must notify the authorities if he wishes to leave the country. BSGR maintains that it is the victim of a plot by business rivals and the Guinean government to seize its rights to half of the Simandou deposit. The Guinean government cancelled those rights in 2014 after a two-year probe found that BSGR had won them by paying bribes to the wife of the dictator of the day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump nominates Wall Street lawyer to head SEC - fastFT.com

President-elect DONALD TRUMP yesterday nominated JAY CLAYTON, a partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, to be the next head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. CLAYTON worked on ALIBABA's IPO in 2014 and includes GOLDMAN SACHS among his clients. CLAYTON would become the latest Wall Street denizen to join the new administration. He has no prior government experience. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FxPro scraps IPO plans - Chloe Cornish

Online currencies trader FXPRO has scrapped plans to float on the London bourse after a regulatory clampdown sent a chill through the sector late last year. FXPRO has told prospective investors that it will remain private. "The FC consultation paper, published last month, has naturally put a spotlight on the retail trading industry and created a more uncertain regulatory backdrop. That is evident for all to see in the valuations of firms with a strong exposure to the UK market place. As such, it makes sense for us to wait until the UK regulatory environment is clearer before deciding on our future plans", the company said. FXPRO offers contracts for difference - financial instruments that have come under scrutiny by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. The regulator was alarmed at the proportion of customers losing money on CFDs, and questioned "whether binary bets meet a genuine investment need". It wants to limit the scale of risk that users can assume, and ensure they understand the potential losse

Eurozone businesses in strongest health since 2011 - Nicholas Megaw

Germany's manufacturing sector was once again the engine behind the eurozone in Dec., with the final readings of IHS MARKIT's PMI surveys reporting an even stronger end to the year than previously predicted. The composite PMI for the eurozone rose to 54.4 compared with early predictions and a flash reading of 53.9. Any number above 50 indicates growth. Although respondents reported a decline in service sector growth, the final slip was smaller than previously thought, with better than expected final readings from both Germany and France. The figures imply a quarterly economic growth rate of 0.4% for the are. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone inflation leaps to 1.1% - Claire Jones

Eurozone annual inflation has soared to its highest level since 2013, climbing to 1.1% in Dec. on the back of a surge in energy prices. The y/y reading exceeds an average forecast of 1% from economists ahead of the release and marks the first tine inflation has crossed 1% since Sep. 2013. Despite the headline numbers climbing from November's 0.6%, a measure of core inflation inched up slightly to 0.9% from 0.8%. Economists had expected it to remain unchanged for the fifth consecutive month. Figures from Eurostat showed energy prices in the eurozone climbed 2.5% in Dec., having fallen by 1.1% in Nov. The price of services and food, alcohol and tobaccom climbed 1.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuma, ANC hindering progress - Numsa - Lameez Omarjee

President JACOB ZUMA and the ANC are an obstacle to progress in economic transformation, NUMSA said yesterday. The union said the ANC has not done enough to transform the economy over the past 22 years. "The ANC has run out of ideas, and morals. It has no clear strategy on how to radically transform the economy", NUMSA said. The union indicated that because of its stance against ZUMA, it had been expelled from COSATU. NUMSA noted that the fact that the ANC controls only one metro in Gauteng - Ekurhuleni - shows the "growing discontent" of South Africans against the ruling party. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom to meet Exxaro over drop in BEE ownership - Reuters

ESKOM will meet with EXXARO RESOURCES after the latter approved a transaction that will see its black ownership drop to 30% from over 50%, the utility said yesterday. ESKOM's policy requires new contracts with suppliers that have more than a 50% black shareholding. Spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said old contracts such as EXXARO's would not be affected but it was seeking a meeting with the company about the issue. A spokesperson for EXXARO declined to comment beyond saying it anticipated a meeting with ESKOM shortly. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angolan lawyers to appeal ruling on president naming daughter Sonangol CEO - Reuters

Angolan lawyers, who argue that President JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS' billionaire daughter ISABEL was illegally appointed as CEO of SONANGOL, have applied for their case to be heard in the Constitutional Court. Angola's Supreme Court on Dec. 27 rejected an application by 12 human rights lawyers to have ISABEL DOS SANTOS removed as CEO of SONANGOL. The lawyers asked the Supreme Court this week to allow the Constitutional Court to hear an appeal against its ruling. "Nobody should get advantage based on their origin", said DAVID MENDES, one of the lawyers involved. ISABEL DOS SANTOS was given the job in June, prompting critics to accuse the president of trying to control state resources. She argues that she was given the job due to her business acument, and has pledged to root out waste and corruption at a company that was struggling to stay afloat even before oil prices plunged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tough talks could lead to strike at Escondida - Reuters

Workers at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine in Chile could go on strike next month if collective contract talks with the company are unsuccessful, union spokesperson CARLOS ALLENDE said yesterday. The warning came after BHP rejected all the workers' demands. ALLENDE said the company's proposals would cut the benefits workers receive in their current contract. BHP countered that its proposal "maintained almost all of the benefits of the current contract, adjusting it to the current reality of the company, industry and country". The company said it hoped to reach a mutual agreement during negotiations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo not bothered by Tanzanian changes - Siphyelele Dludla

KIBO MINING has said it was not phased by the ongoing changes and restructuring at the TANZANIAN ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY, which were seen as threatening to the Mbeya Coal to Power Project. This comes after President JOHN MAGUFULI sacked TANESCO MD FELCHESMI MRAMBA after the country's Department of Minerals and Energy revoked an 8.5% rise in power charges that was to come into effect on Sunday. KIBO said it viewed the announcements regarding management changes and tariff reviews as part of an ongoing reform and restructuring process. KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE said the latest announcements with regard to TANESCO would not in any way affect the MCPP. "Through our close and transparent relationship with the Tanzanian government, we will continue to diligently progress the further development of the MCPP and we will promptly update shareholders should any changes materially impact the current work programme of the MCPP", COETZEE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania current acc gap narrows - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's current account deficit shrank by 61.6% in the year to Oct. 2016, helped by a drop in imports and improved performances by the tourism and mining sectors, the central bank said yesterday. The gap narrowed to $1.84bn in the year to end-Oct., from $4.79bn y/y. The Bank of Tanzania attributed the change to a fall in imports of goods and services to $10.69bn, from $13.23bn, and a 7.5% rise in goods and services exports to $9.47bn. Tourism revenues grew to $2.22bn from $2.01bn y/y, while gold exports rose to $1.39bn from $1.18bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 05/01/2017

At 07h31 on 05 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.58 ZAR/EUR 14.30 ZAR/GBP 16.76 Gold 1173.68 Platinum 954.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.33 All Share 50760.24

Exxon, Tillerman agree to sever all ties - Subrat Patnaik

EXXONMOBIL and REX TILLERSON have agreed to sever all ties to comply with conflict-of-interest requirements as the company's former chair and CEO awaits confirmation as US Secretary of State. If his appointment is confirmed, the value of more than 2m deferred EXXONMOBIL shares that TILLERSON would have received over the next 10 years will be transferred to an independently managed trust. The share awards will be cancelled and TILLERSON will also surrender entitlement to more than $4.1m in cash bonuses, scheduled to pay out over the next three years, and other benefits. Separately, TILLERSON also committed to the State Department that, if confirmed, he would sell the more than 600 000 EXXON shares he currently owns. EXXON last month said president DARREN WOODS will become CEO and chair this month following TILLERSON's retirement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US banks gear up to fight Volcker rule - Olivia Oran

Big US banks are set on getting Congress to loosen or scrap the Volcker rule against using depositors' funds for speculative bets on the bank's own account, a test case of whether Wall Street can flex its muscle in Washington again. Lobbyists told Reuters they began meeting with legislative staff after the Nov. election to discuss matters including a rollback of Volcker, part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform that Congress enacted after the financial crisis. Lobbyists said they plan to present evidence to congressional leaders that the Volcker rule is actually bad for companies, investors and the US economy. While an outright repeal of Volcker may not be possible, small but meaningful changes tucked into other legislation would still be a big win, lobbyists said. Bankers say Volcker is inherently flawed as it can be challenging to tell whether a trader is speculating or filling customer demand. Changing the rule in Congress would require 60 votes in the Senate, including support from at least eight Demo

EU regulators delay ChemChina/Syngenta merger decision to Apr. - Julia Fioretti

EU antitrust regulators have extended the deadline for a decision on CHEMCHINA's proposed buy of Swiss rival SYNGENTA by 10 working days to Apr. 12. SYNGENTA yesterday said the parties had asked for the extension to allow "sufficient time for the discussion of remedy proposals". Brussels opened an in-depth probe into CHEMCHINA's $43bn bid in Oct., saying the companies had not allayed concerns over the deal. The European Commission's website showed the deadline had been extended by 10 days on Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's NNPC awards 2017 crude term contracts to 39 firms - Alexis Akwagyiram

State-run NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION has awarded its 2017 crude oil term contracts to 39 companies, the company said yesterday. The contracts covering some 1.31m bpd of crude were awarded to 18 Nigerian companies, 11 international trading houses, five foreign refineries, three national oil companies and two "NNPC GROUP trading arms", NNPC said. The contracts, worth a total of more than $72m/day at yesterday's crude prices of around $55.60/barrel, were each for 32 000 bpd, apart from NNPC subsidiary DUKE OIL, which was for 90 000 bpd. Contract holders include JSE-listed GLENCORE and SACOIL, as well as OANDO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KCM workers strike over delayed pay talks - Chris Mfula

Zambian workers have downed tools at a mine and copper processing plant belonging to VEDANTA's KONKOLA COPPER MINES in a dispute over the pace of wage negotiations, a union official said today. "The day shift workers have not entered the plant, they are protesting the slow pace of salary negotiations", National Union of Mine and Allied workers representative JONATHAN MUSUKWA told Reuters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 04/01/2017

At 11h05 on 04 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.70 ZAR/EUR 14.28 ZAR/GBP 16.81 Gold 1163.99 Platinum 938.75 Brent Crude Oil 56.06 All Share 50538.42

Britvic to acquire Brazilian drinks business - Lauren Fedor

BRITVIC is set to buy Brazilian juice business BELA ISCHIA in its latest bid to expand in the world's largest concentrates market. The maker of Robinsons squash yesterday said it had agreed in principle to acquire BELA ISCHIA for R$218m. The Brazilian business posted revenues of R$160m and EBITDA of R$18.5m in the past 12 months. It operates mostly in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. The deal - expected to complete by end-Mar. - marks the second acquisition for BRITVIC in Brazil in less than two years. In Sep. 2015 it snapped up EBBA, another Brazilian concentrates business, for £114m. BRITVIC CEO SIMON LITHERLAND said BELA ISCHIA was an excellent complementary fit with the company's existing business. Analysts at CITI said the deal was "strategically sensible" and "shows management's commitment to internationalisation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ireland sees FDI rise as investors shrug off Brexit, tax fears - Vincent Boland

Foreign firms are continuing to flock to Ireland despite the twin shocks of Brexit and a €13bn adverse tax ruling against APPLE last year. Ireland saw a record 99 new investments in 2016 that helped to create jobs at the fastest rate for 15 years, according to figures from IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency. IDA said there had been a "significant volume of specific queries" from the UK, US and Asian companies following the Brexit referendum. Companies were making "detailed due diligence of a small number of locations within Europe" to ensure they had continued access to the European single market, and "Ireland is among those locations", it said. In 2016, Ireland attracted 244 inward investment projects, of which 99 were new investors. Foreign companies invested $5.5bn in the country in 2015, with the 2016 figure expected to be higher. They employ some 200 000 people in Ireland, about 10% of the workforce. Figures show that Ireland attracted 4.3% of alL FDI coming into the EU in 2015, although

Intel buys stake in Here - Tim Bradshaw

INTEL is stepping up its ambitions in the automotive industry by taking a stake in HERE, the former NOKIA mapping unit that is now owned by a consortium of German carmakers. INTEL did not disclose pricing details for its 15% share of HERE, which was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday. If HERE's valuation had remained the same since BMW, DAIMLER and AUDI paid $3.1bn for the asset in 2015, INTEL would be paying between $400m and $500m for its stake. INTEL is the world's largest chipmaker by revenues but specialist NVIDIA has taken an early lead in making processors for autonomous driving. HERE's HD Live Map offers centimeter-level detail and is updated in real-time to reflect traffic or road conditiosn. By teaming up with INTEL, HERE is also hoping to expand its maps' applications beyond the automotive industry to the broader "internet of things". The deal is expected to close in Q1, depending on regulatory approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original ar

Rise of electric cars accelerates race for lithium assets - Henry Sanderson

A scramble for lithium assets is emerging after an ASX-listed miner sold a deposit in west Africa to a Chinese buyer for almost 2 000 times what it paid less than a year ago. BIRIMIAN on Monday announced a deal to sell its Bougouni Lithium project in Mali for $78m in cash to SHANDONG MINGRUI GROUP. It acquired the project from a "local vendor" for just $40 000 in Feb., according to its annual report. The purchase by SHANDONG MINGRUI is a further indication of the desire of Chinese companies to buy lithium deposits as the world's largest electric car market expands its production of lithium-ion batteries. Meanwhile, ASX-listed lithium producer GALAXY RESOURCES yesterday halted trading in its sales after reports that it may sell up to 40% in its $1.4bn Sal de Vida lithium project in Argentina. Shares in GALAXY rose 357% last year. Almost 70% of new lithium-ion battery cell production capacity is being built in China, according to London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Raw lithium extraction is curr

India services PMI dips in Dec. - Alice Woodhouse

India's services sector contracted for a second consecutive month in Dec. as the decision by PM NARENDRA MODI to scrap high value banknotes continued to weigh on sentiment. The NIKKEI-MARKIT services PMI stood at 46.8 in Dec., little changed from the 46.7 recorded m/m. Enterprises surveyed blamed the rupee demonetisation implemented in Nov. for the decline in economic conditions as service providers saw a solid drop in new work. The services PMI had been in expansionary territory from Jul. 2015 to Oct. 2016. Hotels and restaurants performed the worst, the survey found, and data showed services activity fell on an accelerated drop in new business in Dec. Data earlier this week showed a marked deterioration in the manufacturing sector, with the PMI falling to 49.6 in Dec. compared to 52.3 in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basel postpones bank reform vote - Caroline Binham

European banks have won a reprieve from new post-crisis reforms they fear will disproportionately hit their balance sheets. A meeting of the world's top bank supervisors and central bankers scheduled for this weekend to consider the reforms package has now been postponed, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said yesterday. The meeting was expected to sign off a series of reforms intended to make it harder for banks to avoid the higher Basel III capital requirements that were put in place following the financial crisis. The meeting has been delayed because key parts of the reforms are still not agreed. The main sticking point between supervisors in the US and their European counterparts is the so-called output floor that limits the extent to which banks can use their own models to calculate the riskiness of their lending. The floor in effect prevents them from using risk estimates that are too far below the outputs of a standardised model devised by regulators. The delay is a blow to the Basel com

Toshiba swings on reports of further investigations into accounting scandal - Kana Inagaki

Shares in TOSHIBA fell more than 5% in early trading amid reports Japan's securities watchdog is continuing its probe to pursue criminal charges against former executives at the company. The share decline came after the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission plans to present new findings to Japanese prosecutors that alleged TOSHIBA padded profits by Y40bn over a three-year period through Mar. 2014. Following an initial drop, the stock is now up 2.2%. The SESC and TOSHIBA declined to comment. The SESC will aim to use the new evidence it uncovered to convince prosecutors to pursue a criminal case against former TOSHIBA executives for their alleged role in inflating the company's profits, according to the report. Former chief executives at the company have denied giving instructions to their subordinates to cook the books. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford scraps Mexico plant plans on back of Trump shift - Adam Samson

FORD yesterday said it will scrap plans to build a new $1.6bn plant in Mexico and invest some of this funds at a US factory instead. The carmaker said it has cancelled plans to build a new facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, which had been slated to open its doors in 2018. Instead, it will manufacture next-generation FORD Focus vehicles at an existing factory in Mexico. The company said it will invest $700m over the next four years at a facility in Michigan to create a Manufacturing Innovation Centre that will focus on electric and automated vehicles. The move will create 700 new US jobs. President-elect DONALD TRUMP has publicly criticised companies that have shifted production to lower-cost areas outside the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory sector grows at quickest pace in 2 years - Adam Samson

The US factory sector expanded at the quickest clip in two years in Dec., underscoring the rebound in US manufacturing in the tail end of 2016. The Institute for Supply Management's PMI rose to 54.7 in Dec. from 53.2 m/m. That topped analysts' forecasts of 53.8 and was the highest level since Dec. 2014. The rise reflected an increase in growth of new orders and production. Meanwhile, the prices paid for manufactured goods increased at the fastest clip since Jun. 2011, highlighting the rising inflationary pressure across the US economy. Economists have noted that the continued strength of the dollar since the election of DONALD TRUMP could pose a fresh headwind to manufacturers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump sounds fresh protectionist note with Lighthizer nomination - Shawn Donnan

DONALD TRUMP has chosen ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, a longtime advocate of greater protectionism, as his US trade representative in yet another signal that his administration is poised to take the aggressive trade policies he advocated during the campaign into government. LIGHTHIZER served as deputy US trade representative in the administration of RONALD REAGAN at a time when the office was renowned for its trade battles with Japan. He has long represented the US steel industry in trade cases as a partner at law firm Skadden Arps and in recent years has been a vocal advocate for a protectionist shift in the Republican party. "I am fully committed to President-elect TRUMP's mission to level the playing field for American workers and forge better trade policies which will benefit all Americans", LIGHTHIZER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Crude oil price surges at OPEC cuts kick in - Mehreen Khan

Global oil prices surged yesterday, gaining further momentum on the back of a landmark output cut agreed by the world's major producers. Brent rose 2.3% to hit $58.18 yesterday, while WTI hit $55 for the first time since Jul. 2015. Local media reports yesterday suggested that Kuwait has cut its output by 130 000 bpd to 2.75m bpd, holding up its part of the deal to limit production among OPEC's 13 members and the 11 countries outside the cartel, including Russia. Brent has now more than doubled since hitting a 10-year low of $27/barrel in Jan. 2016. The much-awaited production deal means "the variations between despair and euphoria should be much less extreme and thus so should the variations in oil prices [in 2017]", said BJARNE SCHIELDROP, chief commodities analyst at SEB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK manufacturing at highest level since Jun. 2014 - Mehreen Khan

British factories enjoyed their best month in two and a half years in Dec., helped along by a weaker pound. IHS MARKIT's manufacturing PMI hit 56.1 in Dec., accelerating from the 53.6 recorded in Nov. - the best reading since Jun. 2014 and defying economists' expectations of a fall at the end of the year. "Companies benefited from stronger inflows of new work from both domestic and overseas clients, the latter aided by the boost of competitiveness from the weak sterling exchange rate", IHS MARKIT said. The pace of expansion in new orders and output was the fastest in the survey's 25 year history, MARKIT economist ROB DOBSON noted. December's figures suggest the manufacturing sector expanded by 1% in the final quarter of 2016, following a 0.8% contraction in Q3. Despite the boost for manufacturers, a weaker exchange rate is expected to stoke inflation, leading to higher import costs and placing a squeeze on consumer spending in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

France asks bond holders to take long-term view - Elaine Moore

France is asking bond investors to take the long view in what is expected to be a difficult year for the country as it braces for a bruising presidential election. France will tomorrow tap an existing 50-year bond that matures in 2066, in the latest sign that investors are still willing to prioritise higher yields amid low global interest rates and in spite of a sharp uptick in market volatility ahead of the country's Spring vote. The spectre of rising populism has led investors to question whether far-right leader MARINE LE PEN might echo DONALD TRUMP's surprise win in last year's US election, adding to the litany of recent political upsets. "We have seen speculators and hedge funds using futures to take views on political uncertainties", said OLIVIER DE LAROUZIERE, head of interest rates at NATIXIS. "We have been cautious on French bonds for a while... everyone is talking about France because of the political situation". However ANTHONY REQUIN, CEO of AGENCE FRANCE TRESOR, which manages French governme

Modi unveils handouts, tax breaks after cash ban - AFP

Indian PM NARENDRA MODI recently unveiled a series of cash handouts, cheaper loans and tax breaks for women, farmers and businesses as he defended the move to ban high-value banknotes. In a New Year's Eve address, MODI thanked people for their "patient sacrifice, discipline and resolve" in supporting the withdrawal of some 85% of all bills in circulation, which he said had laid the foundation for a better India. In a bid to appease those most affected by the cash crunch, MODI said the government would offer cheaper loans to home buyers and farmers as well as cash handouts for pregnant women. He also unveiled tax breaks for small and medium-sized businesses. India's main opposition congress party was quick to dismiss MODI's announcement and demanded clarifications and figures from him on the exact benefits of the move to reduce cash in use. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Surge in manganese price boosts Pallinghurst - Sandile Mchunu

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES gained 11.9% on the JSE last month after the company said it had benefited from a strong surge in manganese prices last year. PALLINGHURST has been boosted by its subsidiary TSHIPI E NTLE MANGANESE MINING. TSHIPI's successful production ramp-up and the robust market environment in manganese prices during the year improved dramatically. The price of manganese rose from less than $1.50 per dry metric tonne unit in Jan. 2016 to recent prices of more than $7/DMTU, representing a five-fold increase. An independent trader, who did not want to be named, said PALLINGHURST benefited from "a strong uptick in the manganese prices in 2016 as well as a weakened South African currency". The company said its NAV/share was R5.62 as at end-Jun. 2016. The trader believed the company was still undervalued at R4.70/share, based on yesterday's price on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom's Koko in Twitter row with Exxaro - Siseko Njobeni

Acting ESKOM CEO MATSHELA KOKO yesterday took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with EXXARO's move to reduce its empowerment ownership from more than 50% to 30%. EXXARO in Nov. announced a new BEE scheme after the expiry of the previous empowerment scheme's 10-year lock-in period. But EXXARO's decision has raised eyebrows due to ESKOM's coal procurement policy, which states that all mines that supply coal to the utility must have a black ownership target of more than 50% throughout the life of the mine. Until Nov. 28, BEE entity MAIN STREET 333 owned 50.19% of EXXARO. "So EXXARO decides to show [ESKOM] a finger instead of radically transforming and has no decency to even engage on this matter", KOKO tweeted. Soon after EXXARO's announcement of its planned BEE scheme, ESKOM said it would seek a meeting with the coal supplier "in an effort to understand how they plan to comply with the 50%-plus policy requirements". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB safety deposit boxes targeted in New Year's Eve burglary - Adiel Ismail

FIRST NATIONAL BANK suffered a robbery on New Year's Eve as hundreds of customers were still reeling from a separate break-in. The bank yesterday confirmed that a burglary incident occurred at its Parktown branch on the evening of Dec. 31. FNB Points of Presence CEO LEE-ANNE VAN ZYL said FNB customers will be notified once the relevant law enforcement authorities have completed their preliminary investigation. More than 300 safety deposit boxes were stolen during a heist at the FNB branch in Randburg on Dec. 18 when robbers apparently overpowered a security guard. Just days later, a tip-off led the police to finding some 250 deposit boxes in a veld near the FNB Stadium in the south of Johannesburg. VAN ZYL noted that there is no indication at this stage that the Parktown branch burglary is related to the Randburg one. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China to cut coal capacity by 2020 - AFP

China has set a target of reducing its annual coal capacity by 800mt, according to a government plan reported by state media at the weekend. Despite the target, Beijing expects total coal output to rise to around 3.9bn tonnes by 2020, compared to 3.75bn tonnes in 2015, Xinhua reported. The plan aims to "improve coal production safety and efficiency, as well as reducing impact on the environment". The reduction in outdated capacity reflects the slowdown in demand in China. By 2020, the country will burn around 4.1bn tonnes of coal compared with 3.96bn tonnes in 2016 - a very moderate growth rate. Beijing has promised to reduce its coal output capacity by an estimated 250mt this year and to reduce the share of coal in its energy mix by 62.6% by 2016. The country also intends to modernise its coal-fired power plants by 2020 to reduce emissions of "major pollutants" by 60% and is committed to stabilising its CO2 emissions "around 2030". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sharp drop in imports despite stronger rand - Lameez Omarjee

The container market took a knock in Q3 2016, mainly due to a 9% drop in imports. According to the MAERSK GROUP Trade Report for Q3, the container market contracted 6% y/y. In turn, the decline in imports as driven by low demand by consumers. "The decline is linked to South African consumers purchasing less consumables, which are imported in containers", MAERSK LINE SOUTHERN AFRICA trade manager MATTHEW CONROY said. Demand remained low despite the stronger rand. However, CONROY said the low level of imports contributed "positively" to trade surplus in the container market. Export container trade is still positive, only declining 2% y/y. "We will likely see a market decline for imports in the 7% to 8% range, unless the rand was to strengthen considerably", CONROY said. The market for exports is expected to continue in its "current stable trend", falling within the -2% and 0% growth range. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Households less vulnerable to economic shocks - Lameez Omarjee

Declining household debt has reduced households' vulnerability to economic and interest rate shocks, FNB's consumer and retail barometer showed yesterday. The report stated that household sector debt to disposable income ratio declined to 74% in Q3 2016. This is down from an all-time high of 87.8%, reported in Q1 2008. Factors contributing to the drop include cautious borrowing by consumers and more stringent lending requirements by banks and financial institutions. FNB strategist JOHN LOOS said lower consumer stress was also as a result of the current economic slowdown not being as "severe" as that experienced during the global financial crisis. "We do expect household credit growth to remain subdued through the year at rates where we could see further gradual decline in the Household Sector Debt-to-Disposable Income Ratio", LOOS said. Household savings as a percentage of GDP fell from 1.2% in Q2 2016 to 1.1% in Q3. The net savings rate in Q3 was negative at -0.8% of disposable income, weaker than th

Tencent shares losing R480bn shows depth of China gloom - Kana Nishizawa

TENCENT shares have tumbled 13% from their September record, wiping $35bn off the company's market cap, as overseas funds pulled money from Hong Kong and Chinese equities. The company's large weighting on the Hang Seng - at 10% - helped make Hong Kong's benchmark stock gauge one of the world's worst performers last quarter. TENCENT is a victim of fund redemption pressures, according to ASSET MANAGEMENT ONE. Investors pulled about $409m from ETFs that buy Chinese and Hong Kong stocks in the week through Dec. 21 as concern grew over a weakening renminbi and tighter liquidity. The selloff hasn't shaken analysts' faith in the stock. TENCENT has 43 buy ratings, 2 neutral recommendations and zero sells, according to analysts tracked by Bloomberg. The average 12-month target price implies a 26% advance over the next 12 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CT ranked among top cities for FDI - Fin24

Cape Town has been listed as one of the top cities worldwide on the Global Cities of the Future winners 2016/17 for foreign direct investment strategy, according to fDi Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times. Cape Town has been ranked 21st for its FDI strategy and is the only African city listed in this category by fDi Intelligence. Other cities listed include Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Chicago. Cape Town Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman IAN NEILSON, said the accolade "is indeed a massive feather in Cape Town's cap... Attracting investment has been part of our strategy since 2006 where we set out to engage with the international community to promote Cape Town as an ideal place to invest in so that we can create much-needed jobs for our people". The City of Cape Town recently launched Invest Cape Town, an initiative aimed at sharing the economic successes and attractiveness of Cape Town as a globally competitive business destination with the world. This news brief represents a summary of the orig

SARB forfeits R14.5m from Gupta-linked firm to state - Matthew le Cordeur

The SARB yesterday announced it would forfeit about R14.5m belonging to HOMIX to the state, three days after amaBhungane reported how it appeared to be a GUPTA letterbox company. A letterbox company is a firm set up with the intention of circumventing legal and conventional obligations. For more than a year, amaBhungane investigated how HOMIX "secreted away hundreds of millions; apparent kickbacks from companies doing business with TRANSNET", Huffington Post reported on Dec. 8. Three days later, SARB deputy governor KUBEN NAIDOO signed an order forfeiting money HOMIX held in MERCANTILE BANK to the state. The order was published in the government gazette on Dec. 30, the day the money and any interest was seized. "The money specified... shall be disposed of by deposit thereof to the National Revenue Fund", NAIDOO ordered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia declares dividend, confirms 2017 guidance - Henry Lazenby

CALEDONIA MINING has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.01375, supporting its position as one of only a handful of junior gold miners on the LSE able to afford rewarding its investors. The company's dividend is in line with established policy, initiated in Jan. 2014, and subsequently increased in Jul. 2016, of paying an annual rate of $0.055c/quarter. CALEDONIA said it is targeting output of 60 000oz of gold in 2017 as it ramps up to the longer term objective of 80 000oz/y by 2021. The company's investment plan at the Blanket mine in Zimbabwe is now past its peak capital exposure and with a cash balance of $12.4m as at end-Sep., combined with rising output levels and declining unit costs, CALEDONIA is expected to be positioned "to take advantage of further investment opportunities", CEO STEVE CURTIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alcoa to permanently shutter Suriname smelter - Henry Lazenby

ALCOA yesterday said it will permanently shut the Suralco aluminium smelter in Suriname, which has been languishing since Nov. 2015. Pending completion of negotiations with the government regarding the smelter's remaining activities in Suriname, ALCOA will continue to operate the Afobaka hydroelectric facility, which supplied power to the Suralco operations. ALCOA said it expects to book after-tax Q4 charges of $90m related to the restructuring exercise, with its share of the total costs associated with the closure estimated to be $151m over five years, with $27m to be spent in 2017. ALCOA said it would record a $31m non-cash, after-tax charge associated with its interest in a Western Australia gas field. The total impact of the charges is estimated to be $0.66/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kumba director steps down - IOL Reporter

KUMBA IRON ORE yesterday announced the resignation of LITHA NYHONYHA as an independent non-executive director at the end of last month. The company said NYHONYHA joined the board in 2011, and during his tenure has served as the chair of the Risk Committee, and as a member of the Audit Committee and the Nominations and Governance Committee. KUMBA chair FANI TITI wished NYHONYHA "well for the future". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia cuts fuel prices on oil fall, stronger currency - Chris Mfula

Zambia's retail fuel prices fell at midnight due to subdued oil prices and a stronger kwacha currency, the energy regulator said. The price of petrol fell to 12.50 kwacha per litre from 13.70, while diesel dropped to 10.72 kwacha per litre, from 11.40/l previously. In Oct. 2016, Zambia hiked the retail price of petrol and diesel by 39% and 33%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 04/01/2017

At 07h28 on 04 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.74 ZAR/EUR 14.29 ZAR/GBP 16.82 Gold 1160.48 Platinum 930.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.88 All Share 51020.66

Glaxo pays Aspen R761m to end collaboration - Matthew le Cordeur

ASPEN PHARMACARE today announced that GLAXOSMITHKLINE paid the JSE-listed firm £45m to end its sub-Saharan African collaboration. The payment officially ended the collaboration between the two companies, after it announced on Sep. 12 2016 that GSK would end its collaboration. The announcement of the end of the collaboration was followed by the Sep. 29 announcement that GSK would dispose all its shares in ASPEN, worth around R8.47bn. ASPEN at the time said the disposal would in no way affect the ongoing collaboration between ASPEN and GSK in SA and a number of other trading relationships between the two companies. ASPEN GLOBAL also announced today that it had exercised its option to acquire FRAXIPARINE and ARIXTRA in certain countries to which GSK retained the rights, most notably China, for a consideration of £45m. Both transactions were completed on Dec. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil prices rise as markets eye OPEC, non-OPEC production cuts - Jane Chung

Oil prices rose in the first trading hours of 2017, buoyed by hopes that a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut output, which kicked in on Sunday, will be effective in draining a global supply glut. International Brent prices were up 35c at $57.17 a barrel early this morning - close to last year's high of $57.89/barrel hit on Dec. 12. US benchmark WTI was up 31c/barrel at $54.03, not far from last year's high of $54.51/barrel reached on Dec. 12. Market watchers said Jan. will serve as an indicator for whether the output agreement will stick. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New drug approvals hit 6-yr low in 2016 - Ben Hirschler

Last year turned out to be a disappointing one for new drug approvals with the US Food and Drug Administration clearing just 22 new medicines for sale, the lowest number since 2010 and sharply down on the 45 approved in 2015. Across the Atlantic, the European Medicines Agency recommended 81 new prescription products against a 2015 total of 93. Unlike the FDA, the EMA includes generic drugs in its list. Notably, five new drugs that had been scheduled for approval in 2016 ended up winning an early green light at end-2015. There were also a decline in drugs being filed for approval and the FDA rejected or delayed more applications in 2016 than in the previous two years. Some of the delayed drugs may yet go on to win approval in 2017, including ROCHE's MS treatment Ocrevus and SANOFI and REGENERON's sarilumab for rheumatoid arthritis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple to cut iPhone production in Q1 2017 - Aishwarya Venugopal

APPLE will trim production of iPhones by about 10% in the Jan.-Mar. quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily reported last weak, citing calculations based on data from suppliers. The company had slashed output by 30% in Jan.-Mar. 2016 due to accumulated inventory, the paper said. An APPLE spokesperson declined to comment on the report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Smithfield skips middlemen in grain supply chain - Michael Hirtzer

SMITHFIELD FOOD INC, the world's biggest pork producer, is buying grain elevators and purchasing grain directly from farmers, a move that hits grain traders already reeling from multiyear lows in maize and soyabean prices. The company bought two Ohio grain elevators in Sep. For he first time, it can ship grain directly from Ohio to feed the pigs SMITHFIELD slaughters at its Tar Heel, North Carolina, packing plant. The company now buys 65% of its animal feed directly from farmers, up from the 10% feed it bought directly in 2010. SMITHFIELD, purchased by China's WH GROUP in 2013, plans to continue reducing reliance on grain handlers, said ROBBIE MONTGOMERY, SMITHFIELD's grain origination manager. The company's push to go directly to farmers comes as ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND, CARGILL and other leading grain handlers are facing sharp drops in maize and soy prices following record US harvests. SMITHFIELD buys around 150m bushels of maize, soyabeans, wheat and sorghum per year to feed its 16m pigs, according t

China policymakers pledge stability for 'complex' year ahead - Elias Glenn

China's economy is on a steady growth path as 2016 ends, supported by a housing boom and billions in government investment, but the mood of policymakers is more cautious than celebratory as they face "complexity" in the new year. The central bank on Friday said it would pay more attention to maintaining a "neutral" stance and ensure that it is "neither too tight nor too loose". Policy insiders expect monetary policy to tilt towards slight tightening in 2017 as the government tries to strike a balance between supporting the economy with ample credit and preventing a destabilising build-up in debt. The People's Bank of China said it would push reforms of the renminbi CNY=CFXS regime, while keeping the currency basically stable. The renminbi ended 2016 with its biggest annual loss since 1994, putting it on track to be the worst-performing major Asian currency for 2016. Meanwhile, the state planning agency on Friday said China would seek to open up, in an "orderly way", sensitive areas such as telecoms, educ

Indonesia penalises JPMorgan for rating bonds 'underweight' - Nilufar Rizki

Indonesia has penalised JPMORGAN CHASE & CO after the investment bank's research arm recommended a smaller exposure to the country's sovereign bonds. "After we did a comprehensive review, we said no need to use JPMORGAN's services as a primary (bond) dealer and a perception bank", SUAHASIL NAZARA, head of the finance ministry's fiscal policy office, told Reuters. A 2006 government decree says a perception bank is one appointed by the finance minister to receive transfers of state revenue not related to imports, including tax, onshore excise and non-tax revenue. NAZARA said the penalty on JPMORGAN has already taken effect. The decision was taken after JPMORGAN issued a note in Nov. downgrading its rating for Indonesian bonds to "underweight" from "overweight". A JPMORGAN spokesperson yesterday said it continued to operate its business in Indonesia as usual. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 03/01/2017

At 10h50 on 03 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.71 ZAR/EUR 14.33 ZAR/GBP 16.86 Gold 1153.06 Platinum 909.00 Brent Crude Oil 57.07 All Share 51103.45

Euronext bids €510m for LSE's French clearing arm - Mehreen Khan

EURONEXT has made a €510m offer to buy the LSE's French clearing arm, LCH. Following an announcement the LSE had entered exclusive discussions with EURONEXT last month, the parties said an all-cash deal had been agreed "adjusted for surplus regulatory capital". The move should pave the way for the LSE's £20bn merger with DEUTSCHE BORSE, which has been the subject of concern from EU antitrust officials over competition in repo and equities clearing. EURONEXT's acquisition of LCH SA, formerly known as CLEARNET, will also be subject to a review from the European Commission. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GIC buys into UK commercial property - Jeevan Vasagar

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC has indicated that its appetite for US commercial property is undimmed after Brexit, with a £48.5m deal to invest in a development owned by retail property group HAMMERSON. HAMMERSON is selling 50% of the Watermark development in Southampton to GIC. The parties jointly own the adjacent Westquay shopping centre. HAMMERSON, which will manage the two Southampton centres, revealed a £51m decline in the value of its British property portfolio in the HY to end-Jun. 2016, which it blamed partly on the increase in stamp duty in Apr. The Southampton deal is the latest move by GIC to extend its UK exposure. About 7% of GIC's portfolio is based in UK assets, its third biggest geographical exposure outside Asia. The Watermark development opened last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French luxury hotels woo daytime lovers - Michael Stothard

Room rental by the hour has been the preserve of seedy establishments in the past, but luxury hotel groups have now embraced the hourly model in France. Chains, including ACCOR and MARRIOTT, have signed up to a French start-up online booking platform called DAYUSE.COM, with the number of hotels in France using the service doubling to 600 this year. "Hotels in France have been struggling, but we are offering them another source of revenue', DAYUSE.COM founder and CEO DAVID LEBEE said. According to DAYUSE, which launched in 2010, 70% of rooms are empty during the day and it says it has generated more than $20m in revenue for those hotels signed up to its service. MAUD RUAULT, the manager of independent Paris hotel LES PLUMES, says the site brings in 30 to 40 bookings a month, and has been a "great source of new business" at a "difficult time", referring to a drop in bookings prompted by a spate of terrorist attacks in France. On the site customers can, for example, rent an €800/night room at the four-sta

China fantasy role playing game has 50m active players - Tom Hancock

Fantasy role-playing game Honor of Kings has attracted 50m active daily users, after adding 5m/month since it was launched by TENCENT last year, making it more popular than NINTENDO's Pokemon Go. Although the game is virtually unknown outside of China, Honor of Kings now has an army of players roughly equal to the total population of South Korea. The rise in the dragon-battling game underlines the transition in Chinese gaming away from PCs towards mobile phones, and the continued reliance of top Chinese titles on imported designs. Honor of Kings is essentially a mobile version of the world's most played game, League of Legends, which was created by US developer RIOT GAMES. TENCENT bought a controlling stake in RIOT in 2011 and acquired all its remaining shares in Dec. 2015. Honor of Kings was responsible for much of TENCENT's reported 87% jump in revenue from mobile games in Q3 2016, which contributed to a 43% rise in net profits y/y. About half of TENCENT's total revenues comes from its games business.

Venezuela issues $5bn in bonds - Andres Schipani

Venezuela has issued $5bn in new bonds to state-run BANCO DE VENEZUELA in a private placement as it seeks cash for imports of food and medicine. France-based GLOBAL EMERGING MARKETS GROUP said it advised on structuring and executing the deal. The deal was underwritten by China's HAITONG SECURITIES. "GEM anticipates this bond issue will boost the economy and ease the food and medical supply shortages many perceive exist in the country", CHRISTOPHER BROWN, founder and director of GEM North America said. The bond matures in 2036 and has a coupon of 6.5%. This was Venezuela's first sovereign issue in five years, according to Bloomberg. The central bank could not yet confirm the deal. Local analysts said the deal could unlock funds for the cash-strapped government to pay creditors and suppliers. Others suggested funds might also be used to make good on more than $9bn in bond payments coming due in 2017, or to guarantee loan payments to China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Venezuelan distiller inks distribution deal with Bacardi - Andres Schipani

Venezuela's SANTA TERESA has inked a deal with BACARDI, the world's largest privately-held spirits company, for global distribution. Despite an economic crisis in Venezuela, the country's run industry appears to be the only one thriving. Sources said the deal will grant the family-owned SANTA TERESA "a significant market expansion from the existing 34 markets, aiming for double-digit growth for its portfolio of aged rums within the next three years". The company will retain distribution rights in Venezuela. SANTA TERESA is one of Venezuela's top rum companies. International sales have risen steadily in recent years, from 160 000 boxes in 2014 to 200 000 boxes in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BP opts out of Iran deals - Andrew Ward

BP has opted out of the first wave of agreements to develop oil and gas reserves in Iran after the lifting of international sanctions. Iran has struck a series of deals with foreign energy groups in recent weeks, including TOTAL and ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, and plans to award more contracts soon. However, BP is taking a more cautious approach ahead of a DONALD TRUMP presidency which threatens renewed diplomatic tensions with Tehran. The oil major has not applied to take part in a forthcoming tender of exploration and production rights in Iran, and has no immediate plans for separate agreements of the kind reached by SHELL and TOTAL. Sources acknowledged the continued existence of some US sanctions against Iran - and the prospects of a hardline stance against Tehran by the TRUMP administration - was a particular deterrent for BP. Although based in the UK, BP has the biggest US exposure of any European group. US citizens are barred from commercial activities in Iran under Washington's bilateral sanctions agains

China tightens control of personal forex purchases - Yuan Yang

China has tightened checks on citizens exchanging foreign currency in anticipation of renewed downward pressure on the renminbi in the new year. Banks have been asked to improve standards for verifying customers' identities and to report "large or questionable transactions", the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said at the weekend. Policymakers have clamped down on capital flows leaving China in recent weeks, imposing fresh restrictions on outbound corporate acquisitions and investments. European companies have reported difficulties in remitting dividends to stockholders abroad. The restrictions are partly an attempt to keep the renminbi from steep falls in the future after it depreciated almost 6% against the dollar in 2016. Beijing's capital controls limit individuals to buying no more than $50 000/year in foreign currency, a quota which reset on Jan. 1. The People's Bank of China is trying to ensure the renminbi's value stays above the red line of Rmb7/$, a symbolic number for the country's p

China expands currency basket - Jennifer Hughes

China's central bank has quietly expanded the currencies included in its official basket, against which it measures the renminbi, to 24 from 13. The basket, first made public in 2015, is designed to reflect the renminbi's value against its main trading partners. Additions include the Korean won and the South African rand, as well as the Mexican peso and Norwegian krone. The new basket, announced on Friday, came into effect on Jan. 1. The US dollar's weighting in the new basket falls to 22.4% from 26.4% previously. The euro's weighting drops by 5.05 percentage points to 16.34% while the yen drops 3.2 points to 11.53%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ANZ sells stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank - Peter Wells

ANZ BANKING GROUP has agreed to sell its 20% stake in a Chinese lender to CHINA COSCO SHIPPING and SHANGHAI SINO-POLAND ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT for A$1.838bn. The sale continues the Australian lender's exit from a decade-long overseas push, particularly into Asia. ANZ in Oct. sold its retail and wealth management units in a number of Asian countries that it purchased from ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND in 2009. ANZ said the sale price of the SRCB stake represents a price-to-book ratio of about 1.1 times the Chinese lender's net assets as at Dec. 2015, and will boost ANZ's common equity tier one capital ratio by 40 basis points to 10%. The sale of the SRCB stake is one of four minority stakes in Asian banks that ANZ's management recently flagged as being for sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's manufacturing sector grew more than expected in Dec. - Peter Wells

China's manufacturing sector continued to show signs of recovery as it expanded more than expected in Dec. The CAIXIN-MARKIT manufacturing PMI rose to 51. 9 in Dec., from 50.9 m/m. The sector was in contractionary territory from Mar. 2015 to Jun. 2016. Production grew at the fastest rate in nearly six years, underpinned by a solid rise in total new work, CAIXIN-MARKIT said. The official reading from the National Bureau of Statistics, released at the end of Dec., slipped to 51.4 from 51.7 in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's foreign assets continue to exceed foreign liabilities - BDpro

SA's foreign assets continue to exceed its foreign liabilities, the SARB said on Friday. The positive net international investment position declined from R452bn at end-Jun. to R378bn at end-Sep. as SA's foreign liabilities rose and foreign assets declined somewhat, the central bank said. The SARB said the market value of SA's foreign liabilities advanced for a fourth consecutive quarter up to end-Sep., but the pace of the increase slowed to 0.7% in Q3 q/q. While the JSE's all-share index declined 0.5% from end-Jun. to end-Sep., portfolio investment liabilities rose mainly on nonresident acquisitions of domestic debt securities. The increase in SA's foreign liabilities was countered by a 5.7% appreciation of the rand against the dollar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GDP growth, jobs priority for 2017 - Zuma - ANA

Igniting economic growth to create more jobs would be top of government's agenda for 2017, President JACOB ZUMA said in his New Year's message to South Africans. The president described 2016 as a fruitful year in which government worked hard to fight poverty, inequality, unemployment and reversing the "legacy of apartheid colonialism" through extending services like water and electricity to citizens. "The year 2017 must be a decisive one for the country as we take the reconstruction and development programme forward", ZUMA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME warehouse rents rises to slow - Reuters

Warehouse firms in the LONDON METAL EXCHANGE's network or more than 600 warehouses in 37 locations have announced significantly lower rent rises for the year starting in April, the LME said on Friday. The LME said it would freeze the maximum rate for five years to curb surging costs, the final reform in a three-year series of changes at the exchange. The average increase for 2017/18 will be 3% for rent and 2% of free-on-truck charges, compared with increases of 7% and 9% respectively set for last year. The LME had previously said that once the freeze ended, rates would rise annually based on the CPI in each country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim misses deadline for paying World Bank, AfDB - Peta Thornycroft

Zimbabwe has officially gone back on its agreement to pay its four main international debtors simultaneously and has said it does not know when it will clear its massive bill to financial institutions so it can borrow again. Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA adopted a plan in 2015 to repay the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank more than R30bn by late 2016. So far, Harare only managed to clear its debt with the IMF, and agrees it needs to urgently clear other debts particularly to the World Bank, which it owes more than R20bn. Over Christmas the IMF confirmed that Zimbabwe would no longer clear its main debts to international financial institutions simultaneously. It did not say when it expected Zimbabwe would settle its debts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxaro shareholders approve BEE repurchase scheme - David McKay

Shareholders in EXXARO RESOURCES on Friday approved the R3.52bn repurchase of shares held in the company's empowerment company MS333, paving the way for a replacement empowerment structure. EXXARO said a majority of 99.37% shareholders had approved the transaction at a general meeting in Pretoria. Some 75% of total share capital voted directly or via proxy votes. A second special resolution that was set down to revoke the buy-back should the first special resolution fail was not exercised. EXXARO on Nov. 22 unveiled a new BEE scheme in which its existing 50.19% BEE structure was to be unwound and replaced with new empowerment investors owning 30% of the company. The deal requires EXXARO to repurchase shares owned in it by BEE partner MAIN STREET 333, a company in which former CEO SIPHO NKOSI and current CEO MXOLISI MGOJO are shareholders. This will enable MS333 shareholders to settle their bank debts and then provide them with options to either reinvest in EXXARO's new BEE structure or take the cash.

Libya's oil production rises to 685 000 bpd - NOC - Ahmed Elumami

Libya was producing 685 000 bpd of crude oil on Sunday, up from around 600 000 bpd in Dec., an official from the National Oil Corporation said. Output has risen after a two-year blockade was lifted two weeks ago on major pipelines leading from the western fields of Sharara and El Feel. Production has been resuming gradually at Sharara, which has a capacity of 330 000 bpd. There has been no announcement of a restart at El Feel, which can produce 90 000bpd but where a group of guards has been blocking operations. National output remains far below the more than 1.6m bpd that Libya was producing before its 2011 uprising. The NOC says it hopes to raise output to nearly 900 000 bpd by Mar, but this remains at risk from political conflict. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania's GDP grows 6.2% in Q3 - Funbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's economy grew 6.2% in Q3 2016, compared with 6.3% y/y, Finance and Planning Minister PHILIP MPANGO said yesterday. Tanzania's economy has been growing robustly, helped by expansion in the mining, transport, communication and finance sectors. MPANGO reaffirmed a forecast of 7.2% growth for the fiscal year to end-Jun. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania says seeking $300m loan from Credit Suisse - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania is in talks with CREDIT SUISSE for a $300m loan that would go towards financing infrastructure programmes, Finance Minister PHILIP MPANGO said on Saturday. MPANGO said the county was also in separate talks with other lenders for an unspecified amount of loans. The country plans to borrow a total of $936m from external non-concessional sources in 2016/17 fiscal year to end-Jun. to support domestic revenues and finance public spending. The finance and planning ministry earlier in Dec. said Tanzania aims to issue its first eurobond in fiscal 2017/18 to fund new infrastructure projects after repeated delays as the country sought a credit rating. The government has not said how much money it wants to raise in the eurobond sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Lagos state sells 47bn naira of bonds - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's Lagos state has sold 47bn naira of bonds maturing in 2023 to help finance its efforts to improve basic infrastructure in the country's commercial hub, Governor AKINWUNMI AMBODE said on Saturday. The debt issue, with a 16.5% coupon, was the first tranche of a 500bn naira debt issuance programme approved by the state's parliament in Sep. 2016. Lagos had offered 60bn naira of the bonds. "Lagos state government remains committed to improving the physical and social infrastructure base of the state...", AMBODE said. Lagos is the first state to issue a bond since Nigeria slipped into recession in Q2 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania hikes power tariffs - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania's energy regulator has approved a power tariff hike of 8.53% by the state-run TANZANIA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY, less than half of what the utility said it needed to stem losses. TANESCO had sought an 18.19% tariff hike to snap a loss-making trend and clear debts to independent power producers and fuel suppliers. The tariff hike takes effect from Jan. 1., the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority said on Saturday. "The proposed tariff increase intends to cover TANESCO's cost of operation and fund its capital investment programme... The increase will also enable TANESCO to demonstrate its bankability to donors offering concessionary loans or grants", the regulator said. The average tariff would now be increased from 242.34 Tanzania shillings ($0.114) per kWh to 263.02 shillings/kWh. TANESCO said it was currently selling power at a loss, causing it to be unable to clear its long-standing arrears and invest in new power plants. The regulator said the tariff hike initially sought by the u

Rwanda's GDP growth slows in Q3 - Clement Uwiringiyimana

Rwanda's economy grew by 5.2% in Q3 2016, down from 5.4% in Q2 and 5.9% in the y/y period, according to data published by the statistics office. The country has posted soaring growth rates in recent years, mostly fuelled by business-friendly policies and robust inflows of foreign investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana oil importers say govt owes them $384m - Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Ghana's domestic oil importers on Friday said they may take legal action against the government to recover interest on an outstanding debt of $384m that presents as early headache for the incoming government. The debt was accumulated mainly between 2013 and 2015 when the cedi halved in value against the dollar, hitting importers who buy oil products on international markets in dollars but sell them in cedis to consumers at home. The gap between the contract price the government pays importers and the lower sale price set by the National Petroleum Authority left the importers short as the currency fell. "We will initiate steps, legal action not excluded, to engage GoG (government) on the payment of interest on the verified claims", said the letter by SENYO HOSI, CEO of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, adding the interest amounted to up to $250m. The debt amounts to around 1% of GDP and is a problem for banks that loaned money to oil companies on the basis of the contract price and have yet to be repaid

Market indicators for 03/01/2017

At 07h25 on 03 January 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.72 ZAR/EUR 14.39 ZAR/GBP 16.88 Gold 1157.20 Platinum 913.00 Brent Crude Oil 57.16 All Share 50653.54

SA Nov. M3 money supply down - Charlotte Mathews

The SARB grew the M3 measure of money supply by 4.76% in Nov., below October's 6.62% growth and less than consensus expectations. The consensus forecast for Nov. was for an increase of 6.5%. The 6.62% increase in October's M3 had been above expectations, and was also above the 5.64% annualised rate in Sep. The rate of total domestic credit extension slowed to 6.03% in Nov. from 7.60% in Oct., which was revised from a previous 6.31%. Mortgage advances edged up to R1.29bn, from R1.284bn in Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Economists expect euro to fall to dollar parity in 2017 - Claire Jones

The euro is on course to hit parity with the dollar for the first time in more than 14 years, helping the eurozone maintain its recovery by making exports more competitive, according to an FT poll of economists. Over two-thirds of the 28 experts polled said the dollar would attain the same value as the euro during the course of the year, buoyed by higher US interest rates, in accordance with President-elect DONALD TRUMP's plans to shift from monetary to fiscal stimulus. The economists expressed relative confidence that after a year of upsets, the eurozone would avoid major shocks. But they also worried about TRUMP's policies once in office and what they saw as low-probability, high-risk, possibilities, such as a victory for the far-right MARINE LE PEN in France's presidential elections next year. The euro traded at $1.05 yesterday evening, far below its 2008 peak of $1.5979. It has not fallen to $1 or below since Dec. 2002. More than 75% of those polled said the ECB would stick to its plan to buy €780

Italian finmin attacks 'rigid' ECB - James Politi

Italy's finance minister PIER CARLO PADOAN has attacked the ECB for being "rigid" and "opaque" in its calculation of the capital shortfall at MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA, exposing tensions over the rescue of Italy's third-largest bank. On Monday, the ECB told Italian officials that MPS would require €8.8bn in new capital. That figure was significantly higher than the €5bn target that the Italian bank had been seeking in recent months in the wake of Europe-wide stress tests in July. The ECB's calculation means Italy will have to plough more taxpayer money than expected into MPS as part of a government bailout that will hurt the country's public finances and risks damaging the government led by PM PAOLO GENTILONI. "The ECB opted for a very rigid approach both in terms of timing and risk valuation, which led to a request for €8.8bn of fresh capital... [This] will make MPS an excessively capitalised bank", PADOAN said. The ECB declined to comment on PADOAN's remarks. This news brief represents a summa

Final quarter of blockbuster deals boost M&A activity - Arash Massoudi

A final flurry of large takeovers during the last months of 2016 lifted global dealmaking to its second-best annual level since the financial crisis as appetite for corporate acquisitions continued in spite of political turmoil and heightened regulatory scrutiny. M&A activity in Q4 reached $1.2tn, the busiest period for dealmaking in 2016. A slowdown in the aggressive acquisitions by Chinese firms in earlier quarters was offset by the year's largest deal in Oct. - AT&T's agreed purchase of TIME WARNER for $108bn, including debt. In total, the volume of global M&A was $3.6tn in 2016, a 17% drop from last year's record $4.37tn but enough to make the year the second highest for dealmaking since 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data. Blockbuster M&A of more than $5bn in size, alongside the higher activity in the US, have been the main features of the takeover boom of the past two years. But both categories suffered a y/y drop in 2-16. Large scale deals slipped by almost a third to total $1.4bn of global v

US mortgage refinancing heads for 17-yr low - Alistair Gray

US mortgage lenders are heading for the quietest year for refinancings since 2000 as rising interest rates are expected to turn some borrowers off the deals, hitting what has been an important source of revenue for the industry. American homeowners have rushed to take advantage of the drop in interest rates to historic lows via refinancings, which allow them to lock in cheaper mortgages in return for a fee. About $8.2tn worth of refinancings have been completed through an estimated 30m transactions since 2009. About $901bn are set to be done in 2016, an annual rise of 16%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. However, the boom is set to end in 2017. The MBA forecasts that the value of refinancings will almost halve to $479bn, the lowest in 17 years. It predicts that some $50bn of the drop will be due to the Federal Reserve's plans to raise rates. Based on the average refinancing value of $273 000, that equates to a reduction of about 183 000 transactions. The MBA estimates refinancings will

US goods trade deficit widens; labour market near full strength - Jason Lange

A drop in US exports last month pushed the country's trade deficit in goods higher while the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week in a positive sign for the labour market. In an initial estimate that does not include trade in services, the Commerce Department said the country exported $1.2bn less in Nov. than in Oct. Imports rose by $2.2bn during the month. The full trade report for Nov. is due on Jan. 6. Further details in the report showed an increase in retail and wholesale inventories in Nov., which could provide a temporary boost to economic growth. Meanwhile, initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10 000 to a seasonally adjusted 265 000 for the week ended Dec. 24, the Labour Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 264 000 in the latest week. The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 63 000 to 2.1m in the week

J&J discussing breaking up Actelion in acquisition - sources - Carl O'Donnell

JOHNSON & JOHNSON is negotiating a deal to acquire Swiss biotech ACTELION LTD that would separate its commercialised portfolio from its R&D assets, sources said yesterday. The deal structure would allow J&J to acquire ACTELION with a cash offer in the region of $260/share, a little more than what it had offered when it walked away from talks earlier this month. It also would allow ACTELION shareholders to benefit financially from ACTELION's R&D pipeline, the sources said. Under the deal being discussed, ACTELION's R&D pipeline would be placed in a new publicly traded company. The exact ownership of the new company, and whether ACTELION CEO JEAN-PAUL CLOZEL would head it, are among the details still being negotiated, sources said, adding that a deal could be finalised by late Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude oil stocks rise, while products draw down - David Gaffen

US crude oil stocks unexpectedly rose last week, while gasoline and distillate product inventories dropped, the US Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Crude inventories were up 614 000 barrels in the week to Dec. 23, compared with expectations for a decrease of 2.1m barrels. Gasoline stocks fell 1.6m barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3m barrel rise. Distillate stockpiles fell 1.9m barrels, versus expectations for a 1.8m barrel increase, the EIA said. US crude imports fell last week by 374 000 bpd. Crude stocks at the Cushing delivery hub rose 172 000 barrels, the EIA said. Refined crude runs fell by 101 000 bpd as utilisation rates fell 0.5 percentage points to 91% of total capacity, EIA data showed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massive petrol price hike for New Year - Fin24

South Africans will be hit hard at the fuel pumps next week, the Department of Energy announced late last night. The retail price of 93 octane petrol will increase by 50c/l, and that of 95 octane by 48c/l. The wholesale price of diesel will go up by 39c/l, while the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin will rise by 43c/l. The DoE said the economic factors which impacted fuel prices included an increase in the average international product prices of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin. The Automobile Association yesterday warned of a series of fuel price hikes in the new year. It advised motorists to review their energy use and commuting patterns, and consider alternatives to single-occupant vehicle use, such as car-pooling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R1bn trade deficit for Nov. - ANA

SA recorded a trade deficit of R1.09bn for Nov., SARS said yesterday. This was a deterioration on the surplus of R0.24bn recorded in Nov. 2015. SARS said the trade balance deficit "is attributable to exports of R99.64bn and imports of R100.73bn". Exports for the eleven months to end-Nov. grew by 5.8%, from R948.37bn in 2015 to R1 003.51bn in 2016. The revenue service said the year-to-date deficit of R14.61bn was lower than the R59.28bn deficit for the same period last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hummingbird awards Yanfolila mining contract to AMS - David McKay

HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES this week announced it had appointed a $112m mining contract for its Yanfolila project in Mali to AFRICAN MINING SERVICES, a subsidiary of AUSDRILL LTD. The contract, which is for three years with an option to extend to a fourth, will be HUMMINGBIRD's largest contract for Yanfolila where plant construction has begun. First gold is scheduled to be poured in Q4 2017. The pricing of the contract represented a 5% discount on the budgeted amount in the definitive feasibility study for Yanfolila. AMS said it anticipated incurring $38m in capex, mainly on the acquisition of new equipment and that it will employ around 450 workers for the contract. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria sells $1bn to help clear backlog in biggest dollar sale since Jun. - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's central bank sold around $1bn on the forward market last week to clear a backlog of dollar obligations in selected sectors, traders said yesterday, its largest special auction since a currency peg was removed in Jun. Outstanding dollar demand was around $4bn before Jun., when the 16-month-old peg was removed. "The central bank sold $1bn at last week's special forex auction and directed banks to issue fresh letters of credit to reflect the amount sold in favour of the affected sectors", a senior currency trader said. Traders said the central bank sold 30-day and 60-day forwards at the auction. On Dec. 19, the central bank instructed commercial lenders to submit their backlog of dollar demand from fuel importers, airlines, raw materials and machinery for manufacturing firms and agricultural chemicals for the special forex intervention. The naira was trading at around 305.25 to the dollar on the interbank market yesterday, and was quoted at 490/$ on the black market. This news brief represents

Rates on Uganda's three, 15-yr T-bonds up at auction - Elias Biryabarema

Yields on Uganda's three-year and 15-year Treasury bonds rose at this week's auction, where a total of 160bn shillings worth of debt was on offer. Results from Wednesday's auction showed the weighted average yield on the three-year bond climbed to 16.914% from 16.865% at the last sale on Dec. 2. The rate on the 15-year bond rose to 17.185%, from 16.593% fetched on Oct. 5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 30/12/2016

At 07h42 on 30 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.61 ZAR/EUR 14.33 ZAR/GBP 16.71 Gold 1159.99 Platinum 904.00 Brent Crude Oil 57.10 All Share 50682.08

Updated market indicators for 29/12/2016

At 10h30 on 29 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.72 ZAR/EUR 14.34 ZAR/GBP 16.82 Gold 1149.48 Platinum 907.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.85 All Share 50610.30

Tencent heads for high score in gaming M&A - Robyn Mak

TENCENT's M&A could hit new levels in 2017. The $233bn Chinese tech giant will likely follow its purchase of mobile-games maker SUPERCELL with similar-sized deals abroad. A bolder move would be buying US heavyweight ACTIVISION BLIZZARD. TENCENT is dominant in gaming in China, accounting for half of industry revenue. However, it is weak abroad, with many games lacking global appeal. If it is truly ambitious about long-term growth, it will need to tap gamers abroad. So far, TENCENT has taken stakes in small outfits from South Korea's CJ GAMES to GLU MOBILE in San Francisco. In June it agreed to buy SUPERCELL, the Finnish company behind "Clash of Clans", in an $8.6bn deal. The real prize would be $27bn ACTIVISION BLIZZARD, whose gaming stable runs from Call of Duty to Candy Crush. TENCENT already owns 5% of ACTIVISION. The remainder, with a 30% takeover premium to November's volume-weighted average stock price, would cost just under $39bn, including assumed debt. If TENCENT borrowed the whole amount,

SEC probes banks that sold Mozambique's tuna bond - Manuel Mucari

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the sale of $850m in bonds issued by Mozambique by CREDIT SUISSE, VTB GROUP and BNP PARIBAS, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Mozambique in Oct. said its debt was unsustainable and the IMF suspended assistance to the country when evidence of $2bn in secret loans emerged. The bonds were sold in 2013 to finance a Mozambican state-owned firm's plans to develop tuna fishing in the nation, but the government later said it had also bought military equipment with the funds. The SEC in Nov. asked bondholders for documents provided by the banks during the sale of the bonds, the WSJ reported, citing a letter sent to bondholders. The letter also asked investors to share with the SEC all communications with the banks related to the bonds. The SEC declined to comment to both the WSJ and Reuters. Financial watchdogs from Switzerland and Britain are also looking into CREDIT SUISSE's and VTB's involvement. This news brief represents a summary of t

Venezuela says to cut 95 000 bpd crude output in OPEC deal - Fabian Cambero

Venezuela this week said it will cut 95 000 bpd of oil output in the New Year in fulfillment of an OPEC deal to trim crude production. Jan. 1 marks the start of the pact by OPEC and several non-OPEC members to lower output by almost 1.8m bpd. Venezuela currently produces just over 2.4m barrels of crude and condensates per day. Oil Minister EULOGIO DEL PINO said the output deal should lead to a re-balancing of inventories, after which he forecast Brent crude would settle at a price range of around $60-$70/barrel and Venezuela's crude basket between $45 and $55 a barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alibaba entertainment affiliate to invest over $7.2bn over next three years - Cate Cadell

ALIBABA DIGITAL MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, the entertainment affiliate of ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING, plans to invest more than Rmb50bn over the next tyree years, CEO YU UONGFU said this week. Yu pledged to invest in content, saying he "didn't come to play". ALIBABA's entertainment business underwent a major shuffle in Oct., marking a total consolidation of the company's media assets. At the same time, YU, former CEO of ALIBABA unit UCWEB INC, became the chairman and CEO of the new operation. It is not immediately clear whether the Rmb50bn figure includes a previously disclosed Rmb10bn fund for new projects in the unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Abbott gets US antitrust approval to buy St. Jude Medical - Diane Bartz

ABBOTT LABORATORIES has won US antitrust approval for its proposed $25bn acquisition of medical device maker ST. JUDE MEDICAL, the US Federal Trade Commission said this week. ABBOTT agreed to divest two medical devices used in cardiovascular procedures to resolve FTC concerns the acquisition would stifle competition, the commission said. The company will selL ST. JUDE's vascular closure device and ABBOTT's steerable sheath to Japan-based TERUMO CORP. In Oct., ABBOTT said the companies would sell some of their medical device businesses to TERUMO for about $1.12bn as a step toward completing the deal. European antitrust enforcers agreed to the deal in Nov. provided the companies divest the two devices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

WTI prices fall on surprise build in US crude stocks - Mark Tay

US oil prices fell today after an industry report showed a surprise build in crude inventories. US benchmark WTI futures were down 20c or 0.37% at $53.86/barrel, after settling 16c higher at $54.06 in the previous session. Brent futures were 3c, or 0.05% higher at $56.25/barrel after falling 21c in early trade. Data published by the American Petroleum Institute late yesterday showed a 4.2m barrel build in US crude stocks in the week to Dec. 23, while analysts polled ahead of the weekly inventory reports had forecast, on average, that inventories would decline 2.1m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US regulator requires divestitures in Boehringer-Sanofi deal - Doina Chiacu

BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM agreed to divest five types of animal health products to settle charges that a proposed asset swap with SANOFI would harm competition, the US Federal Trade Commission said yesterday. The proposed asset swap involved BOEHRINGER's acquisition of SANOFI's $13.5bn animal care subsidiary and SANOFI's obtaining the German group's consumer health care business unit, valued at nearly $8bn, plus $5.5bn in cash, the FTC said in a statement. Without the divestitures, the proposed swap "would harm competition in the US markets for various vaccines for companion animals (pets) and certain parasite control products for cattle and sheep", the FTC said. The sale of the US pet vaccine assets will occur shortly after the closing of the BI-SANOFI swap transaction, which the company anticipates to close by early 2017, a BOEHRINGER spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US refiners face severe labour shortage for deferred maintenance - Jarrett Renshaw

After years of running at full capacity, US Gold Coast refiners are lining up repairs to plants in 2017, while facing a severe labour shortage that could delay work, drive up costs and raise accident risks. Fuel producers such as MARATHON PETROLEUM and VALERO ENERGY CORP have delayed routine work in the past 24 months amid high margins. This margins collapsed this year in a global fuel supply glut, providing an incentive for refiners to undertake the shutdowns necessary for maintenance. But refiners are now competing for pipe fitters and ironworkers with a host of billion-dollar energy projects, including CHENIERE ENERGY's LNG export terminals and a new petrochemical unit for DOW CHEMICAL. US refiners are expected to spend $1.26bn on planned maintenance next year, up 38% from this year and the highest level since at least 2010, according to data provided by INDUSTRIAL INFORMATION RESOURCES. Many will struggle to execute those plans, IIR VP ANTHONY SALEMME said, adding: "Refiners are going to have trouble

US mutual fund launches hit by changing landscape - Stephen Foley

The number of new mutual funds launched in the US fell sharply in 2016, reflecting the crisis of confidence in active management and the shift by investors into ETFs. The number of mutual funds shutting down has also jumped to levels not seen since the financial crisis, according to figures from research group MORNINGSTAR. The result is that the total number of US mutual funds is on course to fall in 2016 for only the fourth year of the past 20. From 8 190 funds at the start of 2016, MORNINGSTAR recorded just 8 061 at end-Nov. The industry has only previously shrunk after large stock market sell-offs, but the reduced interest in mutual funds this year comes even as investors have enjoyed decent returns from stocks and bonds. The difference this time is that investors have absorbed years of data showing that most active managers fail to keep up with the passive, index-tracking funds which are more commonly available in ETF form. Asset managers launched 269 mutual funds in the first 11 months of 2016, on

Indian banks warn against lifting cash withdrawal limits - Kiran Stacey

Indian banks warn they will struggle to cope with a sudden rush for cash if the government lifts the limits on customer withdrawals on Friday. Customers can currently withdraw just Rs2 500 from an ATM per day, or Rs24 000 over the counter per week. The government has said its demonetisation policy, which allows citizens to deposit old large-denomination notes with banks and withdraw new ones, will come to an end on Dec. 30. But neither the government nor the Reserve Bank of India have confirmed expectations that this will also be the date on which withdrawal limits are lifted, and bankers say they do not have enough cash to meet a potential sudden increase in demand. "If the government lifts the limits on Friday and there is a sudden rush, banks will be totally dependent on the central bank to give them enough liquidity", said SOUMYAJIT NIYOGI, associate director at INDIA RATINGS AND RESEARCH. "The Reserve Bank of India has been giving assurances that it has enough cash but reports of how much currency t

Toshiba shares sink for 3rd day as financial worries deepen - Robin Harding

Shares in TOSHIBA fell another 15% to Y263.5 this morning, taking the total loss of equity value to more than 40% since the company announced it was facing a multibillion-dollar writedown at US nuclear subsidiary WESTINGHOUSE. Shares in some of Japan's biggest banks slid after TOSHIBA raised the prospect of losses on their loans. SUMITOMO MITSUI TRUST, which has a particularly large exposure to TOSHIBA as a share of equity, fell 4.6% while megabanks MUFG, MIZUHO and SMBC were each down 2.3%. TOSHIBA declined to comment today. The company has said it does not expect to announce the precise size of the write-off until Feb., leaving analysts speculationg that it could fall into negative equity, and investors unwilling to trust its disclosure. TOSHIBA's banks have repeatedly bailed out the company after a succession of business woes and accounting issues in recent years. According to SMBC NIKKO analyst SHINICHRINO NAKAMURA, MIZUHO, SMBC and SUMITOMO MITSUI TRUST each have outstanding loans to TOSHIBA of mor

Bid battle heats up for UK's Lavendon - Peter Campbell

LAVENDON, the British equipment rental group whose lifts are used to erect the Christmas decorations in London's Regent Street, has seen its shares lit up by a flurry of bids from two European suitors. The latest offer, made yesterday, was for 260pps by French rental group LOXAM, valuing LAVENDON at £442m, a premium of 87% on its undisturbed Nov. share price. That followed a series of offers and counter-offers during a five-week tussle between LOXAM and Belgium's TVH. Both suitors want the business to expand their operations in Britain and the Middle East, where LAVENDON has contracts that will see it work on projects ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. LAVENDON's board has recommended the LOXAM offer, while TVH said it was "considering its options" and urged LAVENDON shareholders to "take no action". LAVENDON's share price rose just over 2% to 263.25p yesterday. It has risen by around 90% since the first bid was made. It is the market leader in the UK for rentals of cherry pickers, access plat

Weir considers moving production to UK after Brexit - Michael Pooler

Engineering firm WEIR is examining whether to move production of some equipment from abroad to the UK to benefit from the weaker pound. The British group's Todmorden foundry in West Yorkshire casts metal components for heavy-duty pumps found in mines in countries including Chile, Finland and Russia, as well as in Canada's tar sandS. Before the UK's EU referendum, the site in the Calder Valley had already benefited from its status as one of the most cost-effective facilities run by the company, with a significant manufacturing workload transferred there this year. CEO JON STANTON said the lower exchange rate following the Brexit vote would figure in calculations about whether more should follow. WEIR operates foundries in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia and SA as well as the UK. STANTON said a sustained weaker pound would make Britain a "relatively more attractive" place to invest, balanced against any possible trade tariffs under a final Brexit settlement. This news brief represents a summary of th

BP buys 527 Aussie fuel stations for $1.3bn - Nathalie Thomas

BP has made its biggest downstream acquisition since 2001, spending almost $1.3bn on 527 fuel stations in Australia in the latest of a string of deals announced by the oil major before the end of 2016. BP is acquiring the petrol stations with convenience stores from WOOLWORTHS, Australia's largest grocery chain. The A$1.78bn deal, which includes a further 16 sites that are under construction, is the latest of a number of spending commitments announced by BP in the past month as it pursues growth opportunities following years of retrenchment after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. In the fortnight leading up to Christmas, BP agreed to invest almost $1bn in a partnership with KOSMOS ENERGY of the US to develop offshore gasfields in west Africa and struck a $2.4bn deal for a 10% stake in Abu Dhabi's largest onshore oilfields. Of the estimated 6 800 retail fuel stations in Australia, about 1 400 are branded BP but only 350 are owned and operated by the oil major, with the remainder independently owned and

UK corporate finance chiefs shrug off Brexit fears - Gemma Tetlow

Optimism among the UK's largest businesses reached an 18-month high at the end of this year as concerns about the short-term effects of the Brexit vote and worries about the global economy receded. A new survey of the CFOs of major British businesses has found that on balance, CFOs were more optimistic about their companies' prospects compared with three months ago. However, two-thirds still believe that Brexit will have an adverse impact on the business environment in the longer term. "Buoyed by a backdrop of continued UK growth, CFOs have become markedly more positive on the outlook for their businesses and enter 2017 in better spirits than at any time in the past 18 months", DELOITTE chief economist IAN STEWART said. In Q4, 27% of respondents said they were more optimistic about business prospects q/q, while 22% were less optimistic, giving a net balance of +5. This compares with a net balance of -31 in Q3 and -70 immediately after the Brexit vote. However, CFOs still report a very high level of unce

Expect big fuel price hike for New Year - Fin24

Independent agricultural economist FANIE BRINK yesterday warned that fuel prices could increase in Jan. BRINK said that, according to Department of Energy data, the price of petrol in Gauteng could possibly increase by 47.2c/l next week, while the price of diesel with 0.005% sulphur content could go up by 34.9c/l. BRINK said the production curbs recently agreed by OPEC has caused the price of Brent to increase to almost $56/barrel over the last couple of weeks. This has increased the international petroleum product prices at some of the largest international refineries on which the landed cost of domestic fuel prices are based. Meanwhile, the rand/dolllar exchange rate had only a small positive impact on the prices in Dec. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenmare sees Moma arbitration close with $5m Aveng award - David McKay

KENMARE RESOURCES has to pay $5m to AVENG following an arbitration tribunal decision which found the latter was entitled to R206m for work conducted at Moma, KENMARE's Mozambique-based mineral sands facility. Whilst AVENG claimed R206m, KENMARE issued a counter-claim for losses resulting from AVENG's alleged contractual breaches which it said were "substantially in excess of AVENG's claims". But the tribunal found that AVENG's liability, under contractual limitations provisions with KENMARE, was capped at R150m. The net outcome was the R69m payment due to AVENG. The dispute relates to the under-performance of the engineering, procurement and construction contract of the $200m Moma expansion which was awarded to AVENG. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia withholding $243m in tax refunds owed to mining firms - Chris Mfula

Zambia is withholding 2.4bn kwacha of the 5bn kwacha owed to mining companies in tax refunds because the correct documentation has not been provided, the tax authority said yesterday. The government began paying up to 800m kwacha a month in VAT refunds to mining companies in June, aiming to put an end to a long-running dispute in which companies were owed some $700m. Some funds are being withheld because companies have not provided documents showing the export destination, Zambia Revenue Authority head KINGSLEY CHANDA said. GLENCORE's Mopani Copper Mines, FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS, BARRICK GOLD and VEDANTA RESOURCES all have operations in Zambia. Zambia is also withholding 40m kwacha every month from South African-based exporters of petroleum products as they do not qualify for tax exemption under a regional agreement. Most of the petroleum products coming from SA were initially imported from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, countries that don't have a trade agreement with Zambia, CHANDA said. This news brief rep

Ghana Q3 GDP growth rises to 4% y/y - Kwasi Kpodo

Ghana's GDP in Q3 2016 rose to 4% y/y, up from 3.6% the prior year due to increased oil production, the statistics office said yesterday. "We saw the resumption of oil production from the Jubilee field... and this contributed to the increase in GDP for the quarter", acting government statistician BAAH WADIEH said, adding that the start of oil from the TEN field also boosted growth. The government of outgoing President JOHN MAHAMA set an FY GDP target of 4.1% and says growth will jump to around 8% next yera as new offshore oil and gas comes onstream. MAHAMA lost a Dec. 7 election to NANA AKUFO-ADDO, who will take power in Jan. The MAHAMA government said the economy was hurt by a fall in global prices for the country's gold and oil exports. Ghana is following an IMF programme to reduce inflation and the deficit and restore fiscal balance. PPI rose to 11.9% y/y in Nov., from a revised 9.7% the prior month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda c.bank lowers repo rate to stimulate lending - Clement Ulwiringiyimana

Rwanda's central bank yesterday lowered its repo rate to 6.25% from 6.5% to help stimulate credit growth, governor JOHN RWANGOMBWA said. RWANGOMBWA said while moderate pressure was expected on inflation and the local currency, authorities needed "to give a signal... to the financial sector to continue supporting the financing of the economy". November's y/y overall inflation fell to 6.4% from the 7.4% booked in Oct. and the governor said the rate would likely stand at 6% for Dec. In Q1 2017 inflation was seen averaging 5.8% compared to an average of 4.5% in Q1 2016. Credit to the private sector grew 7.4% in the first 11 months of 2016, compared with 26.9% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 29/12/2016

At 07h47 on 29 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.78 ZAR/EUR 14.41 ZAR/GBP 16.87 Gold 1148.98 Platinum 907.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.83 All Share 50322.72

Toshiba plunges on prospect of fresh multibillion-dollar hit - Leo Lewis

Shares in TOSHIBA sank by their daily limit of 20% this morning as investors scrambled to reassess the company's financial stability and questioned the future of one of Japan's most celebrated industrial names. The stock plunge followed the company's warning to the market last month that it could book multibillion-dollar impairment losses on part of its WESTINGHOUSE nuclear business in the US. The scale of the potential impairment loss could be at least as large as the $2.3bn writedown TOSHIBA took on its nuclear business earlier this year, and threatens to derail efforts by new CEO SATOSHI TSUNAKAWA to rebuild market trust. Before the company formally announced its need for a writedown, its stock closed 12% lower on Tuesday on the heels of local media reports that a fresh crisis was looming. TOSHIBA yesterday acknowledged that it may reconsider the future of its nuclear business, and some speculate that a possible restructure could even involve the sale of its flagship NAND memory business. TOSHIBA's la

Lloyds to set up European arm if UK loses access to single market - Emma Dunkley

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP is planning to establish a subsidiary in Germany or the Netherlands if the UK leaves the EU without retaining access to its single market, sources said. The London-based bank is the only British high street lender without a subsidiary in another EU country. LLOYDS is now drawing up plans to ensure that it can maintain its relatively small number of German and Dutch retail clients and keep access to the European payment system. The LLOYDS OF LONDON insurance market last week became the first major financial services firm to outline a timetable for moving some of its operations to the EU in preparation for Brexit. The most likely option for LLOYDS BANKING GROUP is to convert one of the two EU branches it has in Frankfurt and Amsterdam into a subsidiary, according to a person briefed on the plans. That would require the bank to allocate more capital and a small number of staff. LLOYDS declined to comment. LLOYDS has a Dutch mortgage branch with about £8bn of loans and a German online

US steel industry expected to return to growth - Michael Pooler

The US steel industry is expected to return to growth next year, with production predicted to rise on lower imports and buoyant demand from the construction and energy sectors. Crude steel output in the US will increase by 4.4% in 2017 - reversing almost two years of contraction, according to an average of forecasts from an FT survey of 20 analysts. US steelmakers were hurt by a collapse in prices for the grey metal last year - triggered by global oversupply, depressed raw material prices and cheap imports from countries including China. However, steel prices have risen throughout most of 2016, while the protectionist backlash has prompted authorities in the US, the EU and other regions to clamp down on inflows of unfairly traded materials. JEFFERIES analyst SETH ROSENFELD said the brokerage was modelling a recovery in US steel demand in 2017, driven by strong activity in non-residential building and oil and gas. Globally, the FT's survey suggests another year of subdued output, with production increasin

Tencent invests in mapping company - Yuan Yang

TENCENT has bought a stake in a German-owned mapping company in a bid to win market share froM BAIDU and ALIBABA, as the three gear up to compete for driverless cars' navigation systems. TENCENT, along with Chinese mapping provider NAVINFO and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, will jointly buy a 10% stake in HERE at a price of up to €241m, the companies announced yesterday. The purchase would reduce the shareholdings of HERE's owners - AUDI, BMW and DAIMLER. "With the benefit of HERE's technology, we're mainly planning to advance our in-car navigation systems and mapping services for driverless cars", said a spokesperson for NAVINFO, which provides map data for TENCENT. HERE had net assets of €1.87bn at the end of H1 2016, and the parties to the deal estimate the company's enterprise value to be €3.1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ukrainian steelmaker launches debt restructuring - Neil Hume

Troubled Ukrainian steelmaker METINVEST has launched a debt restructuring. The deal will see the company's three eurobonds, which mature in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, combined into a new $1.2bn note that will come due for payment in 2021 with a coupon of almost 11%. METINVEST is also restructuring its $1.1bn pre-export finance facility. The company has been hit hard by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and volatile steel and iron ore markets. It's been unable to access capital markets for several years and refinance its heavy debt load. It was forced into a restructuring after defaulting on one of its eurobonds in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vitol, Helios take full control of Vivo Energy - Neil Hume

VITOL and private equity partner HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS are to take full control of an African petrol station JV in a deal that values the business at $1.25bn. The parties have agreed to buy ROYAL DUTCH SHELL's 20% stake in VIVO ENERGY for $250m and also agreed a long-term brand licensing pact with the oil major. VIVO ENERGY operates 1 700 petrol stations across 16 African countries. VITOL and HELIOS intend to invest $300m in the business over the next three years. The sale of its minority stake in VIVO ENERGY is part of a $30bn divestment programme launched by SHELL following its £35bn takeover of BG GROUP, completed in Feb. Earlier this month, SHELL announced the sale of its Australian jet fuel business to another VITOL JV for $250m. The VIVO ENERGY deal is expected to close during H1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 28/12/2016

At 10h07 on 28 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.91 ZAR/EUR 14.56 ZAR/GBP 17.09 Gold 1143.45 Platinum 906.00 Brent Crude Oil 56.80 All Share 50097.79

Cristina Fernandez charged in Argentina corruption case - Benedict Mander

CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER, Argentina's former president, has been charged over corruption accusations in public works projects, marking the most significant legal setback for the embattled populist leader. Judge JULIAN ERCOLINI yesterday cleared the way for legal proceedings against FERNANDEZ in what is the second of several cases being investigated to go to trial. FERNANDEZ was indicted in May over allegations of manipulating the central bank's sale of future dollar contracts in the final months of her presidency. Judge ERCOLINI approved FERNANDEZ's trial for alleged illicit association and administrative fraud. The case is connected to infrastructure projects awarded to a company owned by LAZARO BAEZ, a close associate now in jail. ERCOLINI's resolution ordered that around $640m of FERNANDEZ's assets be frozen, and indicted JULIO DE VIDO, a former planning minister, and JOSE LOPEZ, a former public works secretary. The latter was imprisoned this year after trying to hide bags containing around $9m

Gazprom moves to settle Brussels antitrust probe - Jim Brunsden

GAZPROM has submitted proposals to Brussels in a bid to bring to an end a five-year long antitrust probe into the company, it said yesterday. The Russian group, which did not disclose details of its offer, said the plan sought to address the European Commission's concerns "to the extent it is reasonable and possible". "We hope that the commission - and ultimately the markets - will respond positively to our proposal", thus allowing the case to be closed in the near future, GAZPROM said. Should Brussels accept the offer, it would mean that GAZPROM escapes fines or any imposed terms from the Commission, an outcome that may well anger the Baltic states and other central and eastern European countries that have campaigned for a tough line. Sources have suggested that the deal will, in part, codify evolutions in GAZPROM's pricing strategy since the start of the EU probe in 2011. GAZPROM has already made contractual changes that remove restrictions on reselling gas and that require the company to forgo any adv

Price tag rises on MPS rescue - James Politi

Italy is planning to inject some €6.5bn into MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA, officials said yesterday, after the ECB estimated that the country's third-largest bank had a larger capital shortfall than initially thought. The need for a government rescue of MPS became apparent last week when an effort by the bank to raise funds from private investors collapsed. The expected price tag of the intervention increased on Monday night after the ECB told Italian regulators that MPS had a capital shortfall of €8.8bn, much larger than the €5bn in capital the bank had been seeking recently. Italian officials yesterday sought to dismiss the importance of the ECB's calculation, saying the sum Rome wiwll have to spend will fit comfortably within a €20bn bailout fund approved by the Italian parliament last week. Rome will not have to cover the entire capital shortfall at MPS, but only about €6.5bn, officials said, with the balance coming from a hit to private investors in the bank's junior debt, in line with new EU

LSE set to sell French clearing arm to Euronext - Philip Stafford

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP is expected to announce the sale of its French clearing arm to rival EURONEXT within days in a cash deal worth about €510m. The LSE hopes the sale will smooth the path for its merger with rival DEUTSCHE BORSE. The LSE and EURONEXT had hoped to unveil a deal before Christmas but a late disagreement over terms meant the announcement was put on hold. That has now been resolved and a formal statement is expected to come this week. LSE offered to sell LCH SA, the Paris-based unit formerly known as CLEARNET, three months ago to allay concerns from European Commission officials that its tie-up with DEUTSCHE BORSE could curb competition in the European fixed income markets. Eleven days ago, LSE and DEUTSCHE BORSE received a "statement of objections" from Brussels which laid out concerns about the clearing of trades in derivatives and fixed income markets. A sale would resolve the majority of problems the EC has with a merger between the two entities, leaving only issues related

Argentina finmin axed on economic uncertainty - Benedict Mander

Argentina's finance minister ALFONSO PRAT-GAY is stepping down amid tensions in the government and growing disappointment over the speed of the country's economic recovery. President MAURICIO MACRI on Monday requested PRAT-GAY's resignation as "differences" between officials were compromising the "coherence" of the government's economic team, according to cabinet chief MARCOS PENA. The ministry of treasury and finance led by PRAT-GAY will now be split into two. NICOLAS DUJOVNE, a former chief economist at BANCO GALICIA, will become treasury minister. LUIS CAPUTO, the finance secretary who played a key role in Argentina's triumphant return to the international capital markets earlier this year, will be promoted to minister. After a strong start as finance minister, PRAT-GAY has faced growing criticism as the economy has taken longer to recover than he initially predicted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FIC opposes Gupta demand - Carol Paton

The Financial Intelligence Centre has refused to provide OAKBAY companies with access to the 72 records of suspicious transactions reported to it, which are believed to have prompted the closure of OAKBAY's accounts by all four major banks in H1 2016. In an affidavit lodged in the North Gauteng High Court a week ago, FIC director MURRAY MICHELL states that OAKBAY is not entitled to the records, firstly because the law prohibits it and secondly because OAKBAY has not established a legal basis to obtain the records. The FIC affidavit is in response to a court application launched by OAKBAY earlier in Dec. to compel the release of the records. MICHELL said the Financial Intelligence Centre Act prohibits the disclosure of suspicious transaction records. These records are never released, his affidavit said, not even to law enforcement agencies, which were presented with reports based on the records. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ellies expects H1 headline loss - BDpro

ELLIES HOLDINGS today said it is expecting an HLPS of 9c-14c per share for the HY to end-Oct. 2016. This compared with a headline loss of 1.02cps reported y/y. Interim results will be published on Dec. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin CEO takes no increase for 2nd consecutive year - Charlotte Mathews

LONMIN CEO BEN MAGARA declined a salary increase in the FY to end-Sep. for the second consecutive year although the company turned from an underlying loss of $134m in 2015 to a profit of $7m after a rights issue and restructuring. Although his basic salary was flat, MAGARA's total remuneration rose significantly due to the vesting of retention awards granted when he was appointed in 2013, some of which were deferred. JIM SUTCLIFFE, chair of LONMIN's remuneration committee, said in the company's annual report that the committee was prepared to award MAGARA an annual salary increase of 2%, partly to take inflation into account since his salary was last adjusted. However, MAGARA had waived the increase. MAGARA is paid in sterling. His basic salary was the same, at £462 150, for 2016 and 2015, but there was a 9.4% increase in the value of his taxable benefits. He received another £357 480 in short-term and other incentives, making his total remuneration for the year £939 603. This news brief represent

Bonatla to acquire Grande Roche Hotel - BDpro

BONATLA PROPERTY HOLDINGS is to acquire GRANDE ROCHE ESTATES and the renowned Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl for a total consideration of R54m. The hotel and conference facility is one of the most prestigious boutique hotels in SA. The hotel has recently been operating at a loss due to certain non-performing assets and interest charges which BONATLA said it expects to eliminate and return the hotel to profitability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA boosts power capacity as new unit linked to grid - Joe Brock

ESKOM yesterday said the first unit of its Kusile coal-fired power plant has been connected to the national grid. Unit one of the plant will add 800MW of power capacity. When fully completed, the plant will have total output of 4 800MW, making it one of the largest coal-fired plants in the world. ESKOM has been in talks with ANGLO AMERICAN about supplying coal to the plant. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Libya's oil output at 622 000 bpd - Ahmed Elumami

Libya's oil production stood at 622 000 bpd on Monday, up slightly from levels recorded before an armed faction agreed to lift a two-year blockade on major western pipelines on Dec. 14, the NATIONAL OIL CORPORATION said. Before the agreement, Libya's output stood at some 600 000 bpd, having doubled since Sep. The NOC said it could add a further 175 000 bpd to production within a month, and 270 000 bpd within three months, after the pipelines from the Sharara and El Feel fields were reopened. Output remains well below the more than 1.6m bpd Libya was producing before its 2011 uprising. Libya is one of two members of OPEC exempted from a recent pledge to trim production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers on strike at AngloGold's Guinea mine - Saliou Samb

Workers at ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI's Siguiri mine in eastern Guinea are on strike in a dispute over year-end bonuses, mines ministry secretary-general SAADOU NIMAGA said on Sunday. Miners barricaded the mine's entrances and stopped a plane loaded with gold from taking off, in pursuit of their demand for a two-month bonus rather than 50 days. "We are demanding the departure of the mine's director general", a worker told Reuters. There was no immediate comment from ANGLOGOLD, which holds an 85% stake in Siguiri. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC c.bank cuts 2016 GDP growth forecast to 2.5% - Aaron Ross

The DRC's central bank cut its 2016 GDP growth estimate to 2.5% from an earlier forecast of 4.3% due to low commodity prices, it said recently. Congo recorded 6.9% growth in 20165 but output of copper, cobalt and gold have all fallen this year. The mining and oil sectors account for around 95% of export revenues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 28/12/2016

At 07h37 on 28 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.91 ZAR/EUR 14.56 ZAR/GBP 17.09 Gold 1142.07 Platinum 907.50 Brent Crude Oil 56.67 All Share 49400.55

Yamana completes Brio spin-out deal - Henry Lazenby

YAMANA GOLD has completed the spin-out of its 85%-owned subsidiary BRIO GOLD, forming a standalone public entity focused on a portfolio of noncore YAMANA assets in Latin America and Canada. While YAMANA continues to be a significant shareholder of the company, BRIO will be managed by a separate management and an independent board of directors and start trading on the TSX today under the ticker symbol 'BRIO'. YAMANA transferred 17.32m BRIO shares at a price of C$3.25 apiece, for total proceeds of C$56.3m in cash, which it will use to reduce debt. BRIO president and CEO GIL CLAUSEN pledged to continue with the company's optimisation programmes at existing mines and expect increased output y/y as the Riachos dos Machados mine ramps up production in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bonatla gets loan - IOL reporter

BONATLA PROPERTY HOLDINGS has secured an R800m loan from KINFEDI INVESTMENTS. The loan forms part of a broader partially underwritten rights offer and is intended to assist BONATLA to enhance its profile as a property entity and investment holding company. KINFEDI's interest in BONATLA is due to its shareholding or deals around its activated carbon business, which relate to manufacturing and green energy, as well as other targeted property and hospitality investment opportunities. KINFEDI will also partner with BONATLA in its socially responsible business endeavours to create additional employment via socio-economic development, backed by property investment and property development initiatives and a strong balance sheet. The deal will also enable BONATLA to recapitalise its balance sheet, have access to larger transactions and enable BONATLA to inject assets and capital into the company. The R800m will be used to acquire properties and plant and machinery and for working capital. The loan period will b

Tawana gets Bald Hill blessing - IOL reporter

TAWANA RESOURCES on Friday said shareholders have given the go-ahead for a new Australian venture. This follows a statement on Dec. 20 in which it said it had completed due diligence on Bald Hill Mine and decided to exercise its option to acquire LITHCO. TAWANA will become the JV partner of ALLIANCE MINERAL ASSETS in the Bald Hill Lithium and Tantalum Project. TAWANA said LITHCO had entered into a farm-in and JV with AMAL for the purpose of exploration and joint exploitation of lithium and other minerals at Bald Hill, which includes a processing plant, existing infrastructure and premitted mining licences. TAWANA said the acquisition of LITHCO "potentially allows TAWANA to become an Australian spodumene producer in the second half of 2017". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rockwell sells Remhoogte, Saxendrift for R45m - David McKay

ROCKWELL DIAMONDS has pressed ahead with its restructuring programme, announcing last week that it had signed an agreement to sell its Remhoogte and Saxendrift mines to NELESCO PROPRIETARY 318 for R45m. The sale and purchase agreement also allows ROCKWELL to be released from environmental and tax liabilities totalling R99m as well as the transfer of 98 employees. As a result of the sale process, ROCKWELL will book an impairment of around C$1.25m. ROCKWELL CEO TJAART WILLEMSE said the transaction "represents a significant milestone in our repositioning plans for the 'new ROCKWELL'. It not only brings in cash in addition to the recently announced funding by two of the key shareholders and a third party, but also disposes of non-core assets and associated liabilities". The company would focus on completing the ramp-up of Wouterspan mine and processing plant as well as progress its exploration properties. Payment for the assets will be in three tranches of R20m and then R15m on completion of suspensive cond

AZ bags initial $550m from antibiotics sale - Katie Martin

ASTRAZENECA has wrapped up the sale of rights to its small molecule antibiotics business to PFIZER, snagging $550m in an initial payment before further payments in the coming years. The sale of the commercialisation and development rights to its small molecule antibiotics business was announced back in Aug. In addition to the initial payment, PFIZER will pay $175m in Jan. 2019, up to $250m in certain other milestones, and $600m in sales-related payments, as well as some royalties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Italian govt approves bailout of MPS - James Politi

The Italian government has approved a bailout of MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA at a late night cabinet meeting in Rome, led by PM PAULO GENTILONI. The state rescue of the lender became necessary after it failed to raise sufficient capital in the wake of European-wide stress tests published in July. A last-ditch effort to gather funds in the last few days only yielded around €2.5bn, well short of the €5bn target needed. In a decree approved early today, Rome also announced a compensation scheme for retail investors in junior debt who would be hit under EU rules on burden sharing, saying that they would be able to receive senior debt of the equivalent value in exchange for the subordinated bonds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MPS confirms private recapitalisation has failed - Rachel Sanderson

Italy's MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA yesterday confirmed that a private capital plan to raise €5bn in new equity and hive off €28bn of bad loans "had not closed with success". The bank said the deal had floundered as it had not found an anchor investor to back the recapitalisation, a key plank of the proposed deal. The lender raised €2.5bn from a liability management exercise to swap subordinated debt into equity, exceeding expectations but still not enough to meet capital requirements demanded by EU bank regulators. These funds would now be returned to the owners, MPS added. The failure of the recapitalisation meant a cross-conditional deal to sell €28bn of non-performing loans had also foundered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US sues Barclays over residential MBS - Jessica Dye

The US Department of Justice yesterday filed a lawsuit in New York federal court that accuses BARCLAYS of deceiving investors about the quality of loans backing tens of billions of dollars of residential mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The suit said the conduct at issue took place between 2005 and 2007 and involved deals including $31bn worth of mortgage loans that turned out to be "catastrophic failures". The government's lawyers called BARCLAYS' due diligence on the deals a "sham". "BARCLAYS' strategy throughout was to 'jam things in, you know, bob and weave and hope for the best'", the lawsuit said, quoting what it said was an exchange in 2007 between two employees. "BARCLAYS rejects the claims made in the compliant", a spokesperson said, adding that it will "vigorously defend the Complaint and seek its dismissal at the earliest opportunity". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nokia expands patent battle with Apple to 11 countries - Tim Bradshaw

NOKIA yesterday broadened its legal challenge to APPLE by adding intellectual property lawsuits in the UK, Hong Kong, Japan and Europe, after the companies reignited their patent battle this week. Combining patents from its own portfolio with those it acquired from ALCATEL-LUCENT and NOKIA SIEMENS NETWORKS, NOKIA's litigation now encompasses 40 patents, which it claims relates to technologies including display, user interface, software, antennas, video coding and chips. In an antitrust suit filed earlier this week, APPLE accused two companies associated with NOKIA of conspiring to "extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly and anticompetitively." NOKIA has now filed complaints against APPLE in 11 countries. In the US, it is taking its case to the International Trade Commission, which has the power to block imports of infringing devices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Currency, reduced discounting bite into ConAgra sales - Jessica Dye

Food giant CONAGRA saw net sales fall 11% during the most recent quarter thanks to reduced discounting activity and forex headwinds. Revenue for the quarter to Nov. 27 was $2.08bn, in line with analysts' expectations but down 11% y/y. The company said the comparison to the y/y period was impacted by last year's volume boost for its Egg Beaters "egg substitute" products, which were not impacted by an outbreak of avian flu that weighed on other egg products. The falling sales were largely driven by efforts to build "a higher quality revenue base", CONAGRA said. It also cited an impact from recent divestitures and forex, which it said represented a 5.5% negative impact on revenue. Earnings per diluted share attributable to CONAGRA BRANDS were 28c on a net income of $122.1m, a fall-of of more than 20% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi Arabia plans to slash budget deficit by a third - Simeon Kerr

Saudi Arabia plans to cut its budget deficit by a third next year to 198bn Saudi riyals as the kingdom aims to balance its books over the next four years. The finance ministry yesterday said it would issue new debt to fund the deficit, which this year declined to SAR297bn, compared to the record SAR366bn deficit of 2015. Riyadh tapped global markets earlier this year to raise a $17.5bn bond. The ministry said non-oil related economic growth was expected to reach 0.99% in 2016, one of the lowest levels for years. Overall economic growth slowed to 1.4% of GDP, well below average. The 2016 budget showed that spending in 2016 is expected to reach SAR825bn, once expenses related to previous years including construction contracts, are removed. The budget projects spending of SAR890bn in 2017, an increase on 2016, once late payments to contractors are discounted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US Q3 growth revised up - Pan Kwan Yuk

The US economy grew at a far faster pace than previously thought during Q3, according to a revised report published yesterday. The economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.5% for the quarter to end-Sep., according to a final reading of GDP issued by the Commerce Department. That compares with analysts' expectations for 3.3% growth and the previous two readings of 2.9% and 3.2%. The data represents a sharp pick-up from the 0.8% and 1.4% pace logged in Q1 and Q2, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US capital goods orders rise by most since Aug. - Adam Samson

Orders for US capital goods rose last month by the most since Aug., widely beating expectations. US non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft rose by 0.9% on a m/m basis in Nov., better than the 0.2% notched in the prior month and higher than the 0.4% rise Wall Street anticipated. Orders for long-lasting goods fell by 4.6% in Nov., slightly better than the 4.8% expected. Excluding the volatile transportation component, durable goods orders were up 0.5%, topping estimates of a 0.2% rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Credit Suisse agrees to pay $5.28bn to settle DoJ probe - Peter Wells

CREDIT SUISSE has agreed to pay $5.28bn to resolve a probe by US authorities into the alleged mis-selling of mortgage securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis. CREDIT SUISSE said it will pay the Department of Justice a civil penalty of $2.48bn and provide consumer relief to the tune of $2.8bn over the course of five years following the settlement. The Swiss lender said it will take a pre-tax charge, to be taken in Q4 of FY2016 results, of about $2bn in addition to existing amounts it has set aside for these matters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank agrees DoJ settlement - Peter Wells

DEUTSCHE BANK has agreed to pay $7.2bn to resolve the Department of Justice's probe into the alleged mis-selling of mortgage securities - about half the sum authorities had originally claimed. The German lender today said it agreed "in principle" to pay a $3.1bn civil penalty and also provide $4.1bn in relief to consumers. The figure compares with the DoJ's opening request of $14bn. The $4.1bn in consumer relief is expected to come primarily in the form of loan modifications and other assistance to homeowners and borrowers, and other similar initiatives to be determined, and delivered, over a period of at least five years, DEUTSCHE said. As a result of the penalty, the lender said it expects to record pre-tax charges of some $1.17bn in Q4 of its financial year. It added that the financial consequences, if any, of the consumer relief component are subject ot the final terms of a settlement with the DoJ and are "currently not expected to have a material impact on 2016 financial results". This news brief

IHS Materials Price Index hits 18-month high - Henry Lazenby

IHS MARKIT reports that its Materials Price Index rose for a sixth consecutive week, increasing 1.4% to hit a fresh 18-month high. Ferrous metals drove the index higher, gaining 3.3%. However, rubber provided the largest boost by jumping 10.6%, capping off two months of continuous gains. Global Insight Pricing & Purchasing senior economist BEN ORHAN said: "Commodity prices are beginning to look rich given US dollar strength, a position that looks even more exposed should the Fed become more aggressive in lifting interest rates in 2017". IHS noted Chinese industrial output for Nov. increasing 0.5% m/m, maintaining an annual growth rate of just above 6%. On the negative side, US manufacturing for Nov. slipped 0.1%, as declines in automotives pulled the measure lower. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMSA, Highveld conclude manufacturing agreement - Megan van Wyngaardt

ARCELORMITTAL SA has concluded a contract manufacturing agreement with EVRAZ HIGHVELD STEEL & VANADIUM and its HSM subsidiary whereby AMSA would supply blooms and slabs to HSM for processing into heavy structural steel. This will result in the reopening of the HIGHVELD heavy structural mill. The agreement is dependent on the implementation of duties on the products to be manufactured in the heavy section mill, and the application that has been submitted to ITAC in this regard will need to be finalised. The agreement will operate for an initial period of two years with an option to extend for a further period of one year. AMSA also has an option to purchase the HSM's business and land or share, subject to certain further regulatory and governance approvals that may be required. It is envisaged that the heavy sections mill will start operations next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petrol price relief in Jan. - Megan van Wyngaardt

The prospect for lower fuel prices in Jan. currently looks "fairly good", according to agricultural economist FANIE BRINK. The Department of Energy yesterday released its adjustment on fuel prices for the new year, which showed that the price of petrol could possibly be reduced by 41.5c/l on Jan. 4 to R12.85, while the price of diesel with a 0.005% sulphur content could drop by 32.2c/l to R11.02 in Gauteng. "The reasons for the possible reductions in the prices can be attributed mainly to the lower international petroleum product prices, while the rand/dollar exchange rate only had a small negative effect on the prices over the period from December 2 until yesterday", BRINK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Iamgold gobbles up JV partner Merrex - Henry Lazenby

Canada's IAMGOLD has agreed to buy MERREX GOLD, thereby consolidating its interest in the Siribaya gold project in Mali. Siribaya is operated by IAMGOLD under a 50/50 JV with MERREX, in which it already owns a 23% stake. IAMGOLD has signed a definitive agreement to buy all issued and outstanding MERREX shares in an all-scrip deal valued at some C$41m. It will exchange shares at a ration of 0.0433 IAMGOLD shares for each issued and outstanding MERREX share. All outstanding warrants have been valued at C$0.02 apiece and will be exchanged based on 0.0043 of an IAMGOLD common share for each warrant. IAMGOLD expects to issue 6.9m shares in connection with the deal, which is expected to close in Q1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Refined copper widens 9-month deficit - Henry Lazenby

The latest data from the International Copper Study Group shows a copper output deficit of 84 000t for the first nine months this year, wider than the deficit of around 28 000t in the y/y period. The ICSG's preliminary data for Sep. world copper supply and demand showed a refined copper apparent production deficit of around 15 000t. When making seasonal adjustments for world refined production and usage, Sep. showed a production surplus of about 25 000t. In the first nine months of 2016, world apparent refined usage is estimated to have risen by around 3% to 565 000t y/y. Chinese apparent demand increased around 7% in the first nine months based on a 2% increase in net imports of refined copper and 7% growth in refined production. Net refined copper imports have been on a declining trend in 2016, with the monthly average in Q3 40% below that of H1. The ICSG estimated world mine output to have increased by about 6%, or 820 000t in the first nine months, over the y/y period. This news brief represents

Global platinum production to rise marginally to 2020 - Megan van Wyngaardt

Global platinum mine or metal content in ore production is set to rise from 6.4moz in 2015 to 6.7moz by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 1.7%, the latest report from research and consulting firm GlobalData reveals. According to the firm, 42.1% or 3.9moz of platinum will be consumed in production of autocatalysts in 2020, followed by its use in jewellery, with 3.3moz, and the remaining 2.1moz for uses such as industrial applications. China is the largest consumer of platinum, accounting for 28% of global platinum consumption in 2015, followed by Europe with 27%. Japan and North America account for 14% each. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue beats competitors to secure exploration leases - Reuters

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP secured 42 mining and exploration leases in the Pilbara last financial year ahead of competitors being notified the land was even available, parliamentary documents show. FORTESCUE secured the exploration ground in the Pilbara by paying Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum for numerous electronic information requests on land parcels. The requests were made ahead of the free, daily public release of data that details which leases had become available earlier that day. "It is irritating but, thankfully, not yet widespread", said LES LOWE, president of the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association of Western Australia, which represents prospectors and smaller miners. "If it catches on there will be a problem because we won't be able to compete with those with big exploration budgets". "In acquiring tenements FORTESCUE operates in compliance with the Mining Act, and in terms of government material accesses the same information at the same time as is available

Market indicators for 23/12/2016

At 08h34 on 23 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.03 ZAR/EUR 14.66 ZAR/GBP 17.25 Gold 1131.61 Platinum 908.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.85 All Share 49833.77

Botswana GDP contracts 0.8% in Q3 - Mfuneko Toyana

Botswana's economy contracted 0.8% q/q in the quarter to end-Sep. versus a revised 0% growth in Q2, data from the statistics office showed today. On a y/y basis, GDP growth was at 4.5% in Q2 after expanding by 1.3% in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 22/12/2016

At 11h23 on 22 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.93 ZAR/EUR 14.56 ZAR/GBP 17.21 Gold 1131.47 Platinum 913.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.64 All Share 49819.94

Nokia takes aim at Apple in new patent challenge - Jessica Dye

NOKIA opened up a new front in the patent wars yesterday, bringing legal actions in the US and German alleging that APPLE products infringe on a number of its patents. The actions collectively encompass 32 patents, and relate to video coding, increasing battery life and remotely locating phones, among other applications. NOKIA said in one of the lawsuits that use of its "patented innovations enable APPLE to sell smaller, more efficient, more capable and more appealing products." According to a statement yesterday, APPLE agreed to license some patents from NOKIA's portfolio in 2011. But since then, APPLE has declined offers made by NOKIA to license other patents that are allegedly now being used in APPLE products. NOKIA's actions come a day after APPLE filed a separate lawsuit in California federal court against a number of smaller companies accusing them of conspiring with NOKIA to "extract and extort exorbitant revenues" from asserting patents. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

Actelion, J&J in exclusive talks - Adam Samson

ACTELION PHARMACEUTICALS has entered into exclusive negotiations with JOHNSON & JOHNSON about a "strategic transaction" just a week after the latter backed out of talks over a potential takeover deal. ACTELION last week said it had engaged in talks with another party regarding a possible strategic deal after J&J's withdrawal and had been in discussions with SANOFI over a potential tie-up. The reason for the change of course was not immediately clear, with ACTELION providing scant details in a statement yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MPS set for state bailout after private sector rescue fails - Rachel Sanderson

MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA is set to be taken over by the Italian state with a €20bn bailout package after a last-gasp private rescue plan looked set to fail. A complex private sector €5bn recapitalisation plan led by JPMORGAN collapsed yesterday after the bank failed to find an anchor investor, a crucial plank of the deal. To avoid a winding down of the bank, the Italian parliament yesterday approved a crisis decree to unlock up to €20bn in public funds to rescue the country's most fragile banks. The approval came after the ECB refused to extend a deadline on a €5bn recapitalisation before the end of the year and fears mounted the lender's liquidity levels were becoming unsustainable. Rome is set to take a stake ovre 50% and up to 70% in the bank as a result of the state capital injection. A backlash against the move was immediate. Italian consumer lobby group Codacons said the estimated €20bn would cost each Italian family €833. This news brief represents a summary of the original articl

EU looks to bolster trade links with Turkey - Arthur Beesley

Brussels is taking steps to reinforce EU trade links with Turkey despite disunity over Ankara's stalled membership bid and months of rancour with President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN. A week after Austria tried and failed to halt EU accession talks with Ankara, the European Commission is seeking to stablilise relations by advancing long-delayed plans to deepen the bloc's customs union with Turkey. Trade Commissioner CECELIA MALMSTROM is now seeking the approval of member states to begin talks to update the 20-year old arrangement with Turkey, which covers industrial goods but not agriculture, services or public procurement. Including such sectors, Brussels is seeking to boost €140n in annual trade with Ankara. "Modernising the Customs Union to reflect current EU-Turkey trade relations would bring substantial economic benefits for both partners... [and] unlock further opportunities for EU companies in the agri-food and services sectors and the public procurement market". This news brief represents a summary

Greek bailout setback could risk further ECB QE delay - Mehreen Khan

Greece's latest negotiating setback with its EU creditors risks further delaying the country's inclusion into the ECB's stimulus programme, HSBC warned yesterday. In the wake of unilateral plans to spend a one-off €617m on the country's low-earning pensioners and schoolchildren, Athens has come under fresh criticism from its bailout monitors who have shelved planned debt relief measures for the economy. Escalating tensions risk pushing back the timetable for Greece to pass the second phase of its bailout review, which will have knock-on effects for its bonds' eligibility for buying by the ECB, HSBC European economist FABIO BALBONI said. Greece does not face a major credit crunch until Jul. 2016 when it is due to pay back €6.2bn to private and international creditors. With this deadline more than seven months away and tensions frosty, it will "push back the timing of Greece accessing QE, possible IMF participation, and the removal of capital controls [in the Greek economy]", BALBONI said. Meanwhile, G

New bill proposed to prevent unwanted toll roads - Matthew le Cordeur

A private member bill was gazetted on Dec. 15 that proposes amendments to a roads act that will ensure SANRAL can't impose toll roads without consent from its local authority. This follows the road agency's contentious e-toll system in Gauteng and its failed Cape Winelands toll route in the Western Cape. The bill, tabled by DA MP MANNY DE FREITAS, will impose a duty on SANRAL to identify an alternative route to every road declared a toll road. It will also compel SANRAL to consult with the premier of a province and the municipal council before declaring a national road a toll road, and to provide for matters connected therewith, DE FREITAS said in the gazette. The SANRAL and National Roads Amendment Bill aims to amend the SANRAL and National Roads Act 1998, in order to address the public outcry that arose as a result of the implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. It also seeks to require that an alternative road to every toll road be identified and continuously maintained to allow tho

Abil announces latest results, name change update - Fin24

AFRICAN BANK INVESTMENTS reported a net profit after tax of R491m for the FY to end-Sep. HEPS for 2016 were 34cps compared to 85.7cps y/y. The change in earnings was mainly due to STANDARD GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, the group's 100% owned operating subsidiary, exiting its relationship with AFRICAN BANK LIMITED, effective Apr. 1 2016. Continuing operations generated a profit for the year of R84m before taking into account a discretionary actuarial liability of R189m. Meanwhile, the name AFRICAN PHOENIX INVESTMENTS has been registered by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, although the ISIN and JSE ticker code changes have not yet occurred at the bourse, ABIL said. The board continues to work with the JSE to ensure the lifting of the suspension in the trading of its ordinary and preference shares occurs as soon as possible. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom welcomes judgment around Koeberg tender - Megan van Wyngaardt

ESKOM yesterday welcomed the decision by the Constitutional Court to dismiss the application by WESTINGHOUSE to review the award of the tender for the replacement of the six steam geneators at the Koeberg power station. ESKOM had, in Jun. 2012, called for expressions of interest for the replacement of the generators for Koeberg and in Jun. 2014 decided to invite WESTINGHOUSE BELGIUM and AREVA for tender negotiations. The utility awarded the tender to AREVA in Aug. 2014. WESTINGHOUSE subsequently brought a review application in the High Court to have the tender award reviewed and set aside. The Court dismissed this application with costs. The Supreme Court of Appeal turned down WESTINGHOUSE's plea that the tender be awarded to it and instead remitted it to ESKOM for reconsideration. AREVA and ESKOM then applied to the ConCourt for leave to appeal against the decision of the SCA. Justice RAYMOND ZONDO noted the minority judgment by deputy chief Justice DIKGANG MOSENEKE with acting Justice RONNIE BOSIELO,

Kibo secures forward payment facility for Mbeya - Ilan Solomons

KIBO MINING has entered into a binding term sheet with UK-based SANDERSON CAPITAL PARTNERS for a new $2.9m foward payment facility. The facility provides for KIBO to be advanced part of the $3.6m development cost recovery, which is payable to the company by China's SEPCO III on achieving financial close of the Mbeya coal-to-power project. The facility has the effect of forward selling the MCPP at a 20% discount. KIBO will issue new ordinary shares to SANDERSON to the value of $732 036 at the volume weighted average price for KIBO shares over the 30 days prior to the date of signing of the term sheet, which was signed on Tuesday. SANDERSON has the right to convert up to £1.5m of the amount drawn down on the facility into KIBO shares at the 30-day VWAP prior to the repayment date of the total facility amount. In addition, KIBO will also pay a £71 442 corporate advisory fee to the company's broker BEAUFORT SECURITIES. This advisory fee is payable on signing of the term sheet in KIBO shares at 6.97p for a

Guyana Goldfields restructures debt - Henry Lazenby

GUYANA GOLDFIELDS has successfully refinanced its $160m debt facility with a consortium of existing lenders comprising lead arrangers ING CAPITAL and THE BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA, and Export Development Canada. The new $80m facility will be repaid over 16 quarterly principal repayments of $5m over a four-year period starting Mar. 31 2017. The refinanced facility provides the company with increased financial flexibility as it removes various covenants and restrictions, including the release of $23m of restricted funds held by the lenders in the overrun equity account, the elimination of cash sweeps, and a reduction of 1.3% in the interest rate. The facility will continue not to require gold hedging or other similar provisions. GUYANA GOLDFIELDS expects to book a one-time, non-cash charge of $8m to pay for deferred financing costs in Q4, which is expected to negatively impact EPS. The group estimates annual cost savings of the new operating facility will amount to some $4.5m/year over the course of the new faci

Xtract to raise general working capital via placement - Megan van Wyngaardt

XTRACT intends to raise £220 000, before expenses, via the placement of 1.33bn shares at 0.01pps. The funds raised would be used for general working capital purposes at its 48 000oz Manica gold mine, in Mozambique, the company said yesterday. Further, XTRACT would issue 666m placing warrants to the placees on a one-for-two basis, exercisable in whole or in part at 0.02p. XTRACT chair COLIN BIRD intends to subscribe under the proposed placing for 393m shares, enlarging his holding to 483m ordinary shares, or 2.5% of the company. In addition, AFRICAN PIONEER, of which BIRD is a director and 9.05% shareholder, also intends to subscribe for 121m shares, representing a holding of 0.6% of the enlarged share capital of the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ConCourt rules in favour of Eskom on Koeberg contract - Ed Stoddard

The Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that a generator contract for the Koebert nuclear power plant that was awarded by ESKOM to France's AREVA was valid, striking down a decision by a lower court. WESTINGHOUSE had contested ESKOM's decision to award the contract to AREVA, saying the process was flawed. It was ordered by the court to pay costs in a televised decision. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 22/12/2016

At 06h35 on 22 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.98 ZAR/EUR 14.60 ZAR/GBP 17.28 Gold 1131.40 Platinum 917.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.63 All Share 50163.92

Zambia scraps planned import duty on copper concentrates - Chris Mfula

Zambia will scrap a plan to impose a 7.5% import duty on copper concentrates from Jan. 1, Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said yesterday. "We have taken the decision that the 7.5% be deleted", MUTATI told parliament. Industry has complained that the planned tax would have put a kink in the global copper supply chain by forcing neighbouring DRC to send surplus mine output elsewhere. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CEMAC bloc revises down 2016 growth to 1% - Sylvain Andzongo

Central Africa's six-nation CEMAC eocnomic bloc will see economic growth of 1% this year, the regional central bank said, revising down an Oct. forecast of 1.7%. The slowdown is due mainly to a prolonged slump in oil prices, the BEAC bank said in a statement this week. The zone includes Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo Republic and CAR. Growth was 1.6% in 2015, according to the IMF. The Fund in Aug. projected 1.9% growth in 2016 but said that from 2017 onward it was expected to reach 3.5%/year as oil prices gradually recover. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CEO of Angola's state-run oil company sacks subsidiary's board - Herculano Coroado

SONANGOL CEO ISABEL DOS SANTOS has fired the executive committee of subsidiary SONANGOL EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION, the company said this week. DOS SANTOS has told the Financial Times she plans to split the company into three units. The company cited "management weakness" and financial concerns for the dismissals. "This decision is in line with the stance of the new Board of Directors of the oil company to be consistent with the principles of rigour and transparency", its statement said. The FT quoted DOS SANTOS as saying SONANGOL would be split into three units - exploration and production; logistics; and a division that handles its concessions to international oil companies. Non-oil interests will be placed in a fund. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo forces kill 8 in mining hub - Aaron Ross

Congolese security forces killed eight civilians and wounded 35 others in the mining hub of Lubumbashi this week during protests against President JOSEPH KABILA, a local NGO said yesterday. KING KASONGO, a lawyer and activist for Humanism and Human Rights, said the killings took place in the Katuba district of the city. Several local government offices, health centres and gas stations were also attacked by demonstrators, KASONGO said, and one policeman was wounded. The government spokesman said he did not have information on casualties from protests outside of the capital Kinshasa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mistry asks tribunal to replace Tata Sons board - Simon Mundy

Ousted TATA SONS chair CYRUS MISTRY has filed a legal petition asking India's National Company Law Tribunal to replace the board of directors of the holding company of the country's largest conglomerate. Investment companies controlled by MISTRY have asked the tribunal to appoint an administrator to take over TATA's affairs, pending the appointment of a new board to be led by a retired Supreme Court judge. MISTRY's petition also asked the tribunal to take action against RATAN TATA, his predecessor, who has returned as interim chair. He specifically demanded that the tribunal bar TATA from attending TATA SONS board meetings or otherwise "interfering" in its affairs. TATA SONS said it would contest the allegations. It said MISTRY's removal as chair "was approved by an overwhelming majority of the directors and it is unfortunate that Mr MISTRY has not been able to graciously accept the decision of the very same board that appointed him". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone current acc surplus creeps up in Oct. - Mehreen Khan

The eurozone's current account surplus grew by €700m in Oct., hovering at levels seen in the summer. A measure of the eurozone's balance of goods and income reached €28.4bn in the 12 months to Oct. and was revised up to €27.7bn from an initial estimate of €25.3bn in Sep., according to ECB figures. The eurozone's current account has swung dramatically from a deficit in the wake of the financial crisis, swelling to new records in Apr. 2016. October's surplus was made up of a €26bn surplus in goods, a €9.3bn services surplus and a primary income balance of €6.1bn. The headline balance was offset by a €13bn deficit in the secondary income measure. On a non-seasonally adjusted measure, the surplus grew to €344bn - or 3.2% of the eurozone's GDP - in the 12 months to Oct. from 3.1% in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 21/12/2016

At 10h00 on 21 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.94 ZAR/EUR 14.51 ZAR/GBP 17.23 Gold 1136.70 Platinum 921.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.65 All Share 50164.48

Linde, Praxair reveal terms of $65bn gas merger - Arash Massoudi

LINDE and PRAXAIR unveiled the preliminary terms of a $65bn merger to create the world's largest supplier of industrial gas, if they can successfull close a deal that is expected to face severe regulatory scrutiny. The companies yesterday said they reached an agreement on a "non-binding term sheet" to pursue a merger of equals. The combination would allow the companies to significantly reduce costs, with an eye on $1bn of synergies annually. The combined group is to be headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, with a dual stock listing in New York and Frankfurt. It will be led by PRAXAIR CEO STEVE ANGEL, with LINDE chair WOLFGANG REITZLE retaining his role. The new company would be domiciled in a "neutral member state of the European Economic Area". Other functions will be "appropriately split" between Danbury and Munich. The announcement offered few other details such as the fate of LINDE's engineering unit, which accounted for €2.6bn of the group's €17.9bn in revenue last year. People involved in t

Brussels voices concerns over Greek spending plans - Mehreen Khan

The European Commission has raised concerns over a one-off spending pledge by the Greek government to boost incomes for poor pensioners but admitted the plans would not be enough to derail Athens' budget targets over the next two years. Following a decision by eurozone bailout monitors to freeze planned debt relief for Greece after a €617m spending promise from PM ALEXIS TSIPRAS, Brussels warned the policy had raised "significant concerns on the process and substance" of Greece's three-year bailout deal. TSIPRAS has vowed to plough ahead with measures to top up pensions for low-income retirees, freeze VAT hikes for Greek islands dealing with the refugee crisis, and provide free school meals for the poorest children. In total, Syriza's spending plans amount to around 0.4% of Greek GDP. The Commission said that taken alone, the pledge would not have a significant impact on Greece hitting its bailout targets in 2017 and 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Scotland will seek to stay in EU single market after Brexit - John Murray Brown

SCOTLAND is looking for a "differentiation solution" in its relationship with the EU after the Brexit vote, inside the single market but outside the customs union, first minister NICOLA STURGEON said yesterday. Outlining the options for Scotland to protect its place in Europe following the UK referendum, STURGEON said Scotland would seek to remain in the single market through membership of the European Free Trade Agreement and European Economic Area "even if the UK chooses to leave". "I accept there is a mandate in England and Wales to take the UK out of the EU. However I do not accept there is a mandate to take any part of the UK out of the Single Market", STURGEON said, adding that it would make "no economic sense whatsoever for the UK to leave the EU's internal market and it would be entirely democratically justifiable for the UK to remain within it". However she accepted that "at this stage that seems an unlikely outcome" given the priority the Tories were making of controlling immigration. The Scott

Allergan moves into cell regeneration with $2.9bn LifeCell deal - Pan Kwan Yuk

Eight months after its planned $160bn merger with PFIZER fell through, ALLERGAN is sticking by its plans to boost growth via smaller bolt-on acquisitions. ALLERGAN yesterday said it has agreed to buy regenerative medicine company LIFECELL for $2.9bn in cash. LIFECELL is expected to generate some $450m in revenue for 2016 and will help boost its own range of plastic surgery products. "The acquisition of LIFECELL is both strategically and financially compelling to ALLERGAN and serves as our entry point into regenerative medicine as we create a world-class aesthetic and regenerative medicine business in plastic surgery", ALLERGAN chair and CEO BRENT SAUNDERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

General Mills earnings spoiled by yoghurt sales slump - Jessica Dye

Yoghurt troubles continue to sour sales and profits at GENERAL MILLS. The company saw its shares slide 3.5% yesterday after it announced quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street's estimates, as demand for its Yoplait yoghurt slumped. The company said net retail sales in its largest market, the US, were down 9% during the quarter to Nov. 27. Improving sales for its Annie's natural and organic products, Old El Paso line and Totino's frozen hot snacks were not enough to offset the 18% fall in sales of Yoplait products, and declines in Pillsbury refrigerated dough and Progresso soups. International sales were also down by 4% y/y, GENERAL MILLS said, with the strong dollar cutting into the value of its overseas sales. GENERAL MILLS reported an overall 7% drop in net sales y/y to $4.1bn, short of analysts' expectations of $4.22bn in revenue. Net income for Q2 came in at $481.8m, a 9% all y/y and shy of the $523.16m that analysts had expected. That translated to diluted EPS of 80cps, 8% lower y/y and short

Nike shares bounce after earnings beat forecasts - Jessica Dye

NIKE posted better-than-expected profits and sales thanks in part to strong overseas businesses in western Europe, China and emerging markets despite battling headwinds from a strong US dollar. Shares rose 3% in after-hours trading following its release of earnings for the quarter to end-Nov. NIKE said revenues were up 8% y/y to $8.2bn, marginally better than the $8.1bn predicted by analysts. Diluted EPS were up 11% y/y to 50cps on net income of $842m. Analysts had expected EPS of 43cps on net income of $734.9m. Sales in North America rose 3% during the past three-month period. Sales from its footwear division grew 5% y/y to $4.82bn, NIKE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FedEx delivers earnings miss - Mamta Badkar

FEDEX shares slid in extended trading yesterday after the group delivered disappointing earnings for Q2. Shares fell nearly 3% in after-hours trade as the group said quarterly profits rose to $700m, or $2.59/share, up from $691m or $2.44/share y/y, but below expectations for $2.68/share. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings were $2.80, falling short of expectations for $2.90/share. The group's ground segment had been impacted by network expansion, with operating income falling 12% y/y even as revenues rose 9%. Sales jumped nearly 20% y/y to $14.9bn, in line with analysts' estimates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coke buys stake in Africa ops from AB InBev - Peter Wells

COCA-COLA will pay $3.15bn for AB INBEV's 54.5% stake in COCA-COLA BEVERAGES AFRICA. CCBA's operations cover various African countries. The parties have also reached an in principle agreement for COCA-COLA to buy AB INBEV's interest in bottling Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount. "We will move forward with our long-term strategic plan in these important growth markets. We are continuing negotiations with a number of parties who are highly qualified and interested in these bottling territories and look forward to refranchising these territories as soon as practical following regulatory approval", COCA-COLA chair and CEO MUHTAR KENT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alex Forbes announces disposal of stake in LCP as part of Pan African expansion - Michelle Gumede

ALEXANDER FORBES has reached an agreement to sell its 60% stake in LANE CLARKE & PEACOCK LLP, together with its subsidiaries in Ireland and the Netherlands. "I concluded earlier this year that our operations outside of Africa were non core, and that meant LCP", CEO ANDREW DARFOOR said. The sale will be to the LCP individual partners and funds managed by INFLEXION PRIVATE EQUITY for £75.4m which includes £6.4m of profit distribution will be made in two tranches during the course of the 2017/18 FY. DARFOOR said the price would allow the company to use proceeds for a share repurchase, subject to shareholder approval. They also sought to reinvest anything left over in accelerating growth of the group in Africa. DARFOOR said shareholders could expect the company to focus on the African continent and its ability to grow the business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Recent good rain lifts wheat crop expectations - Charlotte Mathews

The expected commercial production of SA's wheat crop was likely to be 6.2% greater, at 1.876mt, than the Crop Estimates Committee forecast last month, the CEC said yesterday. It said in its fifth estimate for SA's winter crop of wheat, malting barley and canola that the main reason for a bigger wheat crop was that farmers harvested better-than-expected yields, especially in the Western Cape. The total yield is expected to be 3.69t/ha, which is above last month's forecast of 3.47t/ha and 2015's 3.67t/ha. The CEC also forecast the malting barley crop would be 9.5% higher than expected in Nov., at 339 135t, although the canola crop would be 3.0% lower at 108 860t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Why Trump will be good for SA's diamond sector - Susanne Barton

Yet another commodity that stands to benefit from DONALD TRUMP's policies is diamonds. "It's likely to be positive, certainly in the short-term - lower taxes, more jobs, translates into more disposable income and translates into more diamond purchases", DE BEERS CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said yesterday. If TRUMP's policies do lead to increased demand for luxury items in the US, it would give a further boost to a modest recovery forecast for diamonds. DE BEERS expects sales to be flat or slightly lower this year, partly because of US dollar strength, before increasing "a little bit" in 2017. Longer term, the market will be supported by the prospect of demand growth outstripping supply expansion by 2018 and 2019, CLEAVER said. Exploration is difficult and DE BEERS is unaware of any discoveries that would change a flat supply curve. CLEAVER expects some consolidation in the cutting and polishing and retail parts of the diamond industry, although mergers and acquisitions among diamond miners will be unlikely. Th

Anchor buys stake in AG Capital - Sandile Mchunu

ANCHOR GROUP yesterday announced it has acquired a 50% stake in AG CAPITAL for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will take effect this month. ANCHOR said it fell outside the JSE listing requirements, and the announcement was voluntary. The acquisition will be financed with debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia, France welcome Eskom's nuclear request - Matthew le Cordeur

Russia and France welcomed ESKOM's release of the request for information, which officially starts the nuclear procurement programme for 9.6GW of nuclear power. ESKOM yesterday announced that the RFI was available to bidders. Russia and France, as well as South Korea, China and the US have signed intergovernmental agreements required to take part in the bidding process. Russia's ROSATOM said it "welcomes the release of the Request for Information and remains an interested bidder". The French government said it was not possible to comment on the document as they have not yet studied its content. However, it said Paris has taken all necessary measures to support the French offer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Life Healthcare to fund alliance deal with R10bn offer - Janice Kew

LIFE HEALTHCARE GROUP HOLDINGS plans to raise as much as R10.7bn via arights issue as the company seeks to reduce debt after it expanded into the UK market. The fully underwritten offer will cut LIFE's debt to "the appropriate level of gearing for the company to restore its investment grade credit rating", the group said yesterday. The funds will enable the company to pursue a capital investment programme and pay dividends, it said. LIFE in Aug. agreed to buy ALLIANCE MEDICAL GROUP of the UK for as much as £800m including debt. The rights offer will refinance a portion of the bridge facility that LIFE extended to secure the deal and take care of financing costs linked to the ALLIANCE acquisition. The offer is subject to shareholder approval at the company's AGM on Jan. 25, with details to be announced after that date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA in per capita recession - Carin Smith

Although SA is not yet in a recession, it is in a per capita recession, according to the Nov. BANKSERVAFRICA Economic Transaction Index report. Per capital income has been in decline for a long period due to economic growth being slower than population growth. "With South Africans poorer than they were in 2012 in real terms, the BETI should be closely monitored for any signs of a turnaround. At present, however, the November BETI suggests that the economic slowdown is getting deeper", BANKSERVAFRICA said. The BETI indicates that Q4 2016 may in actual fact be weaker than Q3, although it will be a close call. "Domestic spending and domestic production were both in the doldrums in 2016 and the big collapse in mining in the first quarter hit other sectors in the economy. If it wer enot for tourism and a pick-up in international commodity prices, the economy would have been even further in the doldrums". Although the volume of transactions in Nov. increased by 7.5%, the actual value in nominal transactions

Eskom fires starting gun on nuclear plan - Matthew le Cordeur

ESKOM officially started the process to procure 9.6GW of nuclear energy yesterday when it released the request for information. Interim CEO MATSHELA KOKO announced the release of the RFI on Twitter, saying the information is now available on the ESKOM bulletin. The RFI forms the non-financial part of the overall request for proposals, which requires Treasury's sign-off before it can be published. That is due to be released in H1 2017. The RFI requests countries which wish to submit bids to supply nuclear power station technology to SA to indicate that they are intending to bid, by answering a number of questions. The questions relate to localisation of construction and fabrication technology, training schemes, intellectual property sharing and exposure, and a number of other issues which will form the basis of any large scale mutually beneficial construction programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JP Morgan-led fund rewarded as Glencore survives 'darkest days' - Luzi Ann Javier

When shares of mining companies were collapsing last year, a small fund run by JPMORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT chose to hold on. Now, it is reaping the rewards of a metals rebound. OLD MUTUAL-JPM NATURAL RESOURCES FUND has delivered a return of 79% this year, beating all but two of the 150 funds it competes with in North America and Western Europe that are tracked by Bloomberg. GLENCORE, one of its biggest holdings, has tripled after plunging 70% in 2015. FREEPORT-MCMORAN lost about as much last year, only to double in 2016. Shares of FREEPORT rallied this year as the company sold assets and lowered costs. Last week, COWEN & COMPANY analysts named FREEPORT as their top pick for 2017. The outlook for the shares is positive "as the current copper price being discounted is below the current spot price", according to a Dec. 13 report. Among the investors adding GLENCORE to their holdings were VANGUARD GROUP, DIMENSIONAL FUND ADVISORS, FMR and ALLAN GRAY, which boosted holdings in Q3, according to data compiled by

Eskom gets more power from Medupi - Fin24

Medupi's Unit 5 is closer to commercial operation, ESKOM announced yesterday. The utility said power from the unit "will go a long way in strengthening the power supply to the country". Unit 5, which was successfully synchronised in Sep., was loaded to full load with 796MW of power generated on Saturday. "We commend the Project Team for their hard work and level of commitment in delivering the project and this achievement confirms our quest to ease the pressure on he national power grid", acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO said. Unit 5 will not be progressively tested and fine-tuned further until the project is satisfied that the systems are fully operable and reliable for final handover. ESKOM said Unit 5 is not expected to stay on load for long periods of time and will deliver power intermittently during its final optimisation and testing phase. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz cuts power supplies to Eskom - Matthew Hill

Mozambique has further cut electricity supplies to ESKOM after a fault at the Cahora Bassa dam. ESKOM is receiving 900MW of power from the hydropower dam out of a possible 1 300MW due to a fault at one of the turbines, the utility said yesterday. That's a drop from the 1 150MW Cahora Bassa had already reduced supplies to because of falling water levels at the dam. "While it does reduce ESKOM's supply capacity, it is not sufficient to materially change our national current supply-demand balance", the utility said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook launches group video call via Messenger - Kyle Venktess

FACEBOOK this week announced that users of its Messenger app would be able to chat via video in groups. "Group Video Chat in Messenger makes it simple and seamless to stay connected face-to-face. Group Video Chat is rolling out to Android and iOS devices, and the desktop version of Messenger, worldwide", FACEBOOK said. The Group Video Chat function allows up to 50 FACEBOOK friends to join in and choose to just listen in and join via voice, or be on camera. Once more than 6 people are on the call, just the dominant speaker is shown to all participants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's retains Bidvest's investment rating, outlook negative - Ilan Solomons

While MOODY's has kept BIDVEST's investment rating at Baa2 for the local currency global scale long-term outlook, it has changed the outlook to negative. However, it also kept the company's Prime-2 short-term issuer ratings as well as affirmed its Aa1.za national scale long-term and Prime-1.za short-term issuer ratings. MOODY's VP DION BATE said that while this affirmation reflected BIDVEST's stable operational, financial profile and diversified mix of businesses within SA, the company's concentration in the country reflected strong credit linkages that exist between it and government, which stands at Baa2 negative. BIDVEST's operations were correlated to the political, social and economic environment in SA. BATE said that subject to government's bond rating, MOODY's would consider an upgrade if BIDVEST was able to grow in size and geographic diversification and if BIDVEST maintained positive sustainable free cash flow. He also warned that MOODY's would consider downgrading BIDVEST if the erosion in oper

Ghana govt renews Goldplat licence - Martin Creamer

The government of Ghana has granted GOLDPLAT a three-year licence renewal to buy and deal in gold in the country. GOLD RECOVERY GHANA, the company's wholly-owned recovery subsidiary in Ghana, recovers gold from by-products of the mining process, providing an economic method for mines to dispose of waste materials and adhere to environmental obligations. As with previous licences, the renewal grants GOLDPLAT the right to purchase and process waste products for the purpose of recovering and exporting gold and concentrates. Its terms require GRG to pay a 5% royalty to the Ghanaian government on all minerals obtained from its operations and to maintain the licence, GRG must implement its previously announced plans to install an elution plant. The licence stipulates that the elution column must arrive in Ghana by Jun. 30, be installed by Dec. 31 and begin producing by Jun. 30 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank lends Zambia $100m to tackle mining pollution - Reuters

The World Bank has agreed to lend Zambia more than $100m to reduce environmental health risks in polluted mining areas and support economic diversification. The bank said that $65.6m would be spent on reducing environmental health risks and $40m to support economic diversification via agribusiness and trade projects. "The project is very significant for Zambia because it will contribute to clean up some parts of the old mining town of Kabwe which still has unacceptably high levels of lead in the soil", the World Bank said. This diversification project is expected to reach 4 000 farmer households and 300 small- and medium-sized enterprises. The project would have at least 30 000 direct beneficiaries, the bank added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale to allow use of its pit for Samarco tailings - Reuters

VALE yesterday said it signed a non-binding agreement with BHP BILLITON to allow the use of its Timbopeba pit to deposit tailings from SAMARCO when that company restarts operations. The deal, which will become definitive pending commercial negotiations and government approvals, is the latest step for SAMARCO to resume operations suspended in 2015 after the collapse of a tailings dam. In compensation for the transfer of the pit, SAMARCO will supply VALE with non-processed ore for some time, VALE said. SAMARCO expects to receive a preliminary environmental licence in Q1, an important step in its effort to resume operations by mid-2017, CEO ROBERTO CARVALHO said recently. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria finmin says c.bank will eliminate naira black market - Felix Onuah

Nigeria's central bank will try to eliminate the currency black market, where the naira trades around 40% below the official rate against the dollar. The central bank in June scrapped a 16-month-old peg of 197 naira to the dollar, but it continues to trade in the official market, so that the naira remains far stronger against the dollar there than on the parallel market. The government has blamed the black market for damaging the already shaky economy. The central bank "has been directed to do this and CBN has promised to do something by putting a system in place to eliminate the black market because it's damaging the economy", Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said. CBN spokesperson ISAAC OKORAFOR said the central bank was working towards "ensuring that the forex market operates as effectively as we would envisage". OKORAFOR said the aim was to "ensure there is no black market" but did not give details of how this would be achieved. The currency has traded around 305.5 naira to the dollar on the official i

Market indicators for 21/12/2016

At 07h14 on 21 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.96 ZAR/EUR 14.54 ZAR/GBP 17.29 Gold 1136.00 Platinum 922.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.50 All Share 50343.24

British court orders KCM to pay Zambian govt $100m - Chris Mfula

KONKOLA COPPER MINES to pay the Zambian government more than $100m for a claim related to the copper price, a state-owned company involved in the dispute said. The claim relates to outstanding payments under a 2013 copper price participation settlement agreement between KCM and ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENTS HOLDINGS, the latter said yesterday. In Jun. 2016, ZCCM-IH filed the claim with the English High Court to recover over $100m it said was owed to it from KCM in terms of the 2013 agreement. "We now advise that ZCCM-IH has been successful in its application for default judgment. KCM has been ordered to pay all sums owed to ZCCM-IH", the state company said. The total amount to be paid by KCM amounts to around $103m. KCM has also been ordered to reimburse ZCCM-IH 80% of the costs it has incurred in pursuing its claim. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Intu completes sale - Roy Cokayne

INTU PROPERTIES yesterday said it had now completed the sale of its 63.523% stake in INTU Bromley shopping centre. The centre is located in London's largest borough and was sold to ALASKA PERMANENT FUND CORPORATION for £177.9m. As part of the deal, APFC has also acquired AVIVA's 21.475% stake in the centre. The London Borough of Bromley is retaining its 15% interest and freehold of the centre, which will cease to be called INTU Bromley. INTU in Oct. said it was selling its stake in the centre for £2m more than its June valuation. The transaction was in line with the company's stated strategy of recycling capital into its £600m UK development pipeline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mara Delta advances loan - Roy Cokayne

MARA DELTA yesterday reported that it had advanced the €12.5m convertible loan and required portion of the €9m committed shareholder loan to BEACHCOMBER HOSPITALITY INVESTMENTS. The advancement of these loans is related to the planned acquisition by MARA DELTA of a 44.4% stake in BHI. MARA DELTA said, following the fulfilment of certain conditions, the convertible loan would be converted into the 44.4% shareholding in BHI. The company said it had identified the BEACHCOMBER transaction as an opportunity to partner with NMH and gain access to leasure property assets to strengthen its portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CSG acquires Stallion's armed response division - Roy Cokayne

CSG GROUP has acquired the armed response and monitoring division of STALLION REACTION for R55m. The acquisition by INVICTUS RISK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSG, includes individual client and commercial contracts plus specific assets and employees and the armed response and monitoring services provided by STALLION REACTION on an outsourced basis. The deal excludes the domestic guarding and CCTV monitoring divisions. The effective date of the acquisition will be Feb. 1. CSG said the deal aligns with its strategy of expanding its services in its Facility Management division. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tawana wraps up Oz project research - Business Report

TAWANA RESOURCES has completed due diligence on Bald Hill mine. The company today said, subject to approval by its shareholders at a general meeting, scheduled for Dec. 23, it has decided to exercise its option to acquire LITHCO. This will result in TAWANA becoming the JV partner of ALLIANCE MINERAL ASSETS in the Bald Hill Lithium and Tantalum Project. TAWANA said LITHCO had entered into a farm-in and JV with AMAL for the purpose of exploration of lithium and other minerals at the Bald Hill Mine, which includes a processing plant, existing infrastructure and permitted mining licences. "The acquisition of LITHCO potentially allows TAWANA to become an Australian spodumene producer in the second half of 2017". TAWANA's research found high spodumene recoveries and high concentrate grades from initial metallurgical test-work. As a result, there are early indications of a highly profitable operation and rapid payback period at Bald Hill. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE enters into sales talks with Euronext over LCH - Philip Stafford

EURONEXT has confirmed it is in exclusive talks with the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP to buy the French clearing arm of LCH, which is up for sale as part of the LSE's £20bn merger with DEUTSCHE BORSE. The LSE has offered to sell LCH SA, formerly CLEARNET, to allay concerns from Brussels' antitrust officials that the German deal could curb competition in repo and equities clearing. EURONEXT said there was no certainty the discussions would lead to a deal - in part as the LSE's sale is dependent on its own deal with DEUTSCHE BORSE going ahead. NASDAQ and CME had also shown an interest in LCH SA but their interest has cooled in recent weeks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Italy seeks up to €20bn to prop up fragile lenders - James Politi

The Italian government has asked parliament to authorise up to €20bn to prop up the country's most fragile banks, as it prepares to mount a possible state rescue of MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA by the end of the week. After a cabinet meeting late on Monday, Finance Minister PIER CARLO PADOAN said the funds could be used to ensure liquidity and to reinforce capital for Italian banks. Italy is still hoping to avoid injecting public funds into its banks, but that will depend on the outcome of a last-ditch attempt by MPS to raise up to €5bn in private capital over the next few days. The latest twist in MPS's travails came after the country's private bank rescue fund expressed "strong reservations" over the terms of a bridge loan that is key to the deal. MPS said it is in contact with QUAESTIO CAPITAL MANAGEMENT "to identify possible solutions" to the disagreement over the bridge loan. Bankers fear any rescue of MPS by the government could have a knock-on effect on up to seven other struggling Italian financ

Russia's ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara - Mehul Srivastava

Russia's ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed by a lone gunman in Ankara yesterday just as the two countries have been rebuilding their relationship and reaching an agreement over the conflict in Syria. The shooting, captured by television cameras, came after a week of mass protests outside Russia's diplomatic mission in Turkey over the country's role in the siege of Aleppo and is supported by Syrian President BASHAR AL-ASSAD. The gunman, a 22-year-old riot policeman named MEVLUT ALTINTAS, shouted about Aleppo after shooting ANDREI KARLOV in the back, declaring: "Whoever plays a part in this cruelty will pay for it". He was later shot dead by Turkish police as they stormed the contemporary arts centre where KARLOV had been opening an exhibit of photographs by Turkish photographers in Russia. Turkish President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN agreed to form a joint investigation into the attack when he spoke with Russian counterpart VLADIMIR PUTIN following the attack. This news brief represents a summary of th

Twelve killed as truck ploughs into Berlin Christmas crowd - Guy Chazan

A truck plughed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin yesterday evening, killing 12 people and injuring almost 50 others. Police described the attack as deliberate. The driver fled the scene but was later arrested by police. German media reports said a passenger in the lorry was among those killed. Sources said there was evidence suggesting the arrested suspect was from Afghanistan and Pakistan and entered Germany in Feb. as a refugee. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's warns of renewed Greek credit risk after bailout spat - Mehreen Khan

Greece faces a flare-up in credit risk following a hardening of positions from the country's creditors over the terms attached to Athens' three-year bailout, MOODY's has warned. In the wake of the decision by EU creditors to freeze planned debt relief measures for Athens last week, the ratings agency said any "material delay" in talks over Greece's €86bn bailout would "raise the credit risk to bondholders". MOODY's said the setback reflected a "hardening in creditors' positions toward Greece, which we expect will prolong negotiations over the second review of the programme". Passing the country's latest bailout hurdle would allow Greece to unlock the creditor cash it needs to meet a series of debt repayments in the summer of 2017. Athens needs to pay back €2.3bn to private sector bondholders and €3.9bn to the ECB in July next year. Without a fresh injection of rescue funds, Greece will be highly challenged to meet these redemptions, MOODY's analyst KATHRIN MUEHLBRONNER said. This news brief repr

Updated market indicators for 20/12/2016

At 11h29 on 20 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.16 ZAR/EUR 14.70 ZAR/GBP 17.52 Gold 1133.15 Platinum 915.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.97 All Share 50015.71

BoJ keeps monetary policy on hold, strikes optimistic tone - Peter Wells

The Bank of Japan has kept monetary policy steady at its final meeting for the year and remained upbeat about the economic outlook. The central bank left interest rates unchanged at -0.1%. Amid an overhaul of its asset purchase programme in Sep., the BoJ said it would hold the yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds around 0% and allow inflation to overshoot its 2% target on purpose. Today, policymakers maintained that yield anchor, and kept in place the Y80tn annual pace of their asset purchase programme and also its Y6tn ETF purchases. Policymakers also struck a more upbeat tone, noting the y/y change in the CPI "has been slightly negative" although inflation expectations "have remained in a weakening phase". That former might be considered a slight improvement from their previous meeting where the BoJ said price momentum appeared "somewhat weaker than the previous outlook". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Volvo Cars set for IPO - Richard Milne

VOLVO CARS set itself on the road to returning to the stock market as the Swedish carmaker raised fresh capital for the first time under Chinese ownership. The company raised SKr5bn in convertible preference shares from three Swedish institutional investors. The shares can convert into listed ordinary shares, implicitly confirming long-held rumours that VOLVO wants to seek a listing after more than a decade of ownership under FORD MOTOR and now ZHEJIANG GEELY of China. VOLVO says there are no current plans to seek a stock market listing but people close to the carmaker say that is the clear target. Swedish investors AMF, FOLKSAM and AP1 will take small stakes described as "very mildly dilutive" to GEELY's current 100% holding of VOLVO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India imposes new rules on cash deposits - Kiran Stacey

Bank customers in India will barred from depositing more than Rs5 000 of now defunct banknotes into their bank accounts unless they first answer questions by officials as to why they did not deposit them earlier. The Reserve Bank of India announced the latest change to the rules surrounding the country's demonetisation programme on Monday, with just two weeks remaining for people to exchange their old Rs500 and Rs1 000 notes, which were cancelled overnight last month. Since PM NARENDRA MODI announced the measure on Nov. 8, the rules surrounding what can be deposited and what can be withdrawn have changed several times as officials work out the best way to get India's cash flowing again. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Apple's Irish tax rate not backed by data, says EU Commission - Arthur Beesley

Ireland gave APPLE an ultra-low tax rate without requiring the company to substantiate its claim for such treatment, breaking EU law, according to an European Commission document that lays out the thinking behind Brussels' demand for Dublin to recoup a record €13bn from the company. The finding is contained in a 130-page ruling that the commission published on Monday, which explains its judgment that the group's tax treatment in Ireland violated state aid rules. The ruling added that APPLE provided reports justifying the profit allocation methods in the tax rulings only after Brussels issued preliminary findings against the scheme in 2014. Although the commission said APPLE's tax rate in Ireland was as low as 0.005%, the company rejects that finding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mistry to resign from all six Tata listed companies - Simon Mundy

CYRUS MISTRY is to resign from all six TATA listed operating companies where he remained a director, he said yesterday. In a statement issued following a board meeting of TATA SONS on Monday, MISTRY said he was stepping down from the companies in order to shift his campaign against alleged corporate governance problems in the group "to a larger platform". The companies in question include TATA STEEL, TATA MOTORS, TATA CHEMICALS, INDIAN HOTELS, TATA GLOBAL BEVERAGES and TATA POWER. MISTRY said he had concluded that "the objective and effective reform would be better served by my moving away from the forum of the extraordinary general meetings", saying that he would now move to a platform "where the rule of law and equity is upheld". "I had initially not through that one would need to seek an external forum to adjudicate issues that should never have arisen in the first place", MISTRY said, without giving details of his intended next steps against what he described as an "illegal coup". TATA SONS has dismi

Theresa May leaves door open to UK budget contributions to EU - Mehreen Khan

British PM THERESA MAY has said the UK would continue to meet its commitments to the EU's budget if it represents "good value for money" for the government after the country's exit from the bloc. Following reports that Britain could face a bill of as much as £60bn as part of its exit deal and would need to pay to secure market access for some companies after Brexit, MAY left the door open to continued financial contributions into the EU's pot after 2019. MAY said she was confident the government would invoke Article 50 by the end of Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico 2017 FDI forecast to drop sharply after Trump win - Jude Webber

CITIBANAMEX, the Mexican unit of CITIBANK, has taken a big pair of scissors to its 2017 FDI forecast for the country, slashing its expectation by a third to $25bn from a previous forecast of $35.8bn for 2017. "We are revising our FDI estimate to $25bn from $35.8bn previously and we expect a shift from manufacturing to extractive industries (oil and gas) and electricity, gas and water, among others", it said, calling this a "conservative" estimate. CITI expects FDI of $31bn this year, up from $28.4bn in 2015. It noted that for the past decade, 48% of FDI has gone to the manufacturing sector - most to integrated regional supply chains at risk if NAFTA is scrapped. CITI's analysis is based on four scenarios for NAFTA under DONALD TRUMP's presidency - no change to the status quo; and improved NAFTA; a "rebalanced" NAFTA; and exit from NAFTA. CITI defined a "rebalanced" NAFTA as one in which the US requires stricter national content rules and tax changes to counteract what CITI said was the "erroneous premise

Intesa Sanpaolo says involvement in Rosneft deal 'still under evaluation' - Rachel Sanderson

INTESA SANPAOLO yesterday said its possible involvement in the financing of a purchase of a 19% stake in ROSNEFT by a consortium that includes the QATAR INVESTMENT AUTHORITY and GLENCORE "is still under evaluation". In a statement, the Italian lender said "to our knowledge, this transaction is not currently subject to any investigation by the relevant Italian and European authorities". Financial regulators in Rome are examining whether INTESA SANPAOLO's financing of a €10.2bn investment in ROSNEFT complies with sanctions, sources said. GLENCORE and QIA are taking a 19.5% stake in ROSNEFT. INTESA SANPAOLO is providing most of the $7.4bn of finance for the deal. Within the context of the privatisation of ROSNEFT, INTESA SANPAOLO said it was an advisor to the parent company, ROSNEFTGAZ, an entity that is not subject to any sanctions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Boeing announces voluntary job cuts next year - Patti Waldmeir

Weak demand for twin-aisle jets is taking its toll on aircraft makers with BOEING yesterday announcing it is launching a voluntary redundancy scheme next year and that it hopes to trim about 6 500 commercial aircraft jobs this year, deeper cuts than previously expected. "By the end of this year, we anticipate a reduction of 8% in total employment since January. This includes a 10% reduction of executives and managers", BOEING said. Most of the cuts have already been implemented, with employment in the commercial aircraft division already down by 6 100 jobs by end-Nov. BOEING last week said slack demand for its widebody 777 aircraft means output will have to be cut to 5 per month from Aug. The company said further emp0loyment reductions "will be necessary and will continue to come from a combination of attrition, leaving open positions unfilled where appropriate and offering a voluntary layoff programme in early 2017... involuntary layoffs may occur in some instances". This news brief represents a summa

IMF expresses full confidence in Lagarde - Mamta Badkar

The IMF board yesterday expressed its "full confidence" in CHRISTINE LAGARDE, hours after she was found guilty in a case regarding fraudulent payments made to a businessman while she was finance minister of France. LAGARDE was found guilty of negligence in public office by a special Parisian court, but the judge did not impose a sentence. The IMF board said it took all relevant factors into account in its discussions, including LAGARDE's "outstanding leadership of the Fund and the wide respect and trust for her leadership globally". Immediately after the IMF statement was publishes, US Treasury Secretary JACK LEW said the US "joins the IMF Executive Board in reaffirming our full support of Managing Director LAGARDE". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bidvest Bank, Fulcrum merger gets the nod - Fin24

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed merger between BIDVEST BANK and FULCRUM GROUP be approved. "The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any market". In addition, it said the vertical overlap between the merging parties is unlikely to result in any foreclosure concerns. The Commission found that the proposed transaction "does not raise any public interest concerns". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Arrowhead gets go ahead to acquire Synergy - Fin24

The Competition Commission yesterday approved a proposed transaction for ARROWHEAD to acquire SYNERGY, but set out some conditions. "The Commission found that SYNERGY may be used by VUKILE [PROPERTY FUND LIMITED] and ARROWHEAD as a platform to exchange competitively sensitive information regarding VUKILE's and ARROWHEAD's properties that are outside SYNERGY", the Commission said. In order to remedy these concerns, the Commission recommended the imposition of the condition to address these concerns. Separately, the ARROWHEAD board yesterday announced the passing of CEO GERALD LEISSNER at the weekend. The board will meet in Jan. to consider the position of CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

White maize up on dry weather fears - Kevin Crowley

White maize futures rose by the daily limit for a second day as dry weather and forecasts for two weeks without rain raised concern about the strength of a recovery from last year's dismal harvest. Dry weather has returned to the Free State this month, BRINK VAN WYK, a trader at BVG, said yesterday. "We were all lulled by the good rains last month but now the forecasts shows very little until at least the New Year... In some areas, the crop is covered with sand - it's that dry", VAN WYK said. White maize for Mar. delivery rose by as much as R100 to R3 895/t by 09:38 on SAFEX yesterday. The most actively traded contract touched a low this year of R3 428 on Oct. 10. Agri SA warned that the country is still in the grip of the worst drought this decade, and urged the government and private sector "to contribute so that we can again be in a position to support these communities in their battle for survival". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo inks EPC contract with SEPCO III - Megan van Wyngaardt

Following months of talks, KIBO MINING has awarded the engineering , procurement and construction contract for its Mbeya coal-to-power project to SHANDONG ELECTRIC POWER CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION III. KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE said the company awarded the contract within its time schedule. "With certainty on the EPC price now we can confidently state that the MCPP is not only definitely viable, but also very robust and that it has exceeded all our expectations to date", COETZEE said. The final EPC price will now also allow KIBO to finalise the integrated financial model for the MCPP, as well as finalise the power purchase agreements with the local government when it concludes its policy changes on the procurement of power projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CAR diamond audit mooted - Martin Creamer

A request for proposals was issued yesterday for the audit of rough diamond stockpiles in the Central African Republic. A key condition is that the audit be conducted under the supervision of the Kimberley Process monitoring team to ensure full transparency. A requirement is that it must be done in accordance with criteria set forth in the Kimberley Process' operational framework agreement as well as the administrative annex on resumption of exports from CAR. The selected auditor will be expected to report to the Kimberley Process' monitoring team on results in a written report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom's delay in approving PPAs could cost SA 15 000 jobs - Ilan Solomons

The economy is in jeopardy of losing 15 000 possible jobs, associated with 26 Department of Energy-approved renewable energy plants, if ESKOM does not follow through with its legal obligations to finalise power purchasing agreements with the private firms who have been earmarked to build and run these plants, warns the South African Renewable Energy Council. SAREC yesterday stated that through the government's REIPPP, a series of renewable power plants were set to feed 6 500 MW of power onto the grid, adding that since conception, half of these had been built and were already operational. However, the council noted that the construction of the next 26 plants were on hold as ESKOM had delayed signing the contracts which set the price for how much it would pay for the power. SAREC also noted that this price had been subject to a competitive bidding process and had already been approved by the DoE. "ESKOM refusal to sign PPAs despite this due process being concluded, has delayed indefinitely the financial cl

Diamondcorp secures repayment standstill - Martin Creamer

DIAMONDCORP is being given a repayment breather by the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The company yesterday said the IDC had agreed a loan repayment standstill until the completion of the business rescue process. The IDC owns 74% of DIAMONDCORP's Lace mine, which was placed in business rescue last month following production disruption. The mine flooded following severe storms in the area. Talks are now under way with other lenders to achieve formal agreements for similar repayment standstills. DIAMONDCORP lender LAURELTON DIAMONDS has agreed to roll up its interest until Nov. 1 2017, or the completion of refinancing, whichever is earlier. Capital repayment has also been deferred until Mar. 1 2018, with interest accruing at an agreed rate of 9%/year plus a 2% premium in the interim. DIAMONDCORP has repaid £290 000 of a £700 000 Shariah-compliant loan to RASMALA, which has agreed to extend the repayment of the balance until end-Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

Commission approves Afrimat, Diro deal - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission yesterday approved AFRIMAT's intention to acquire DIRO IRON ORE and DIRO MANGANESE. AFRIMAT is marking its entry into the manganese and iron ore mining sector via the R276m majority stake in DIRO's distressed assets. It is acquiring 60% of DIRO MANGANESE and DIRO IRON ORE, the operations of which had been halted under financial distress and subsequent business rescue procedures initiated in Jun. DIRO had accumulated some R483m in debt, but had a proven iron ore reserve of 5.6mt, along with 1.3mt of sellable fine ore stockpiles. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale sells fertiliser unit to Mosaic - Reuters

VALE's $2.5bn sale of its fertiliser business to MOSAIC CO also makes it the US company's biggest shareholder. MOSAIC, which made the deal to improve its access to Brazil's vast agricultural markets, will pay $1.25bn in cash and $1.25bn in newly issued shares for the unit. In return, VALE will receive an 11% stake in MOSAIC, bigger than those held by investment companies including VANGUARD, FRANKLIN ADVISERS and BLACKROCK. After the deal closes, expected by late 2017, VALE will have the right to name two members to MOSAIC's board. It will have to keep the stake for at least two years. "This deal enhances MOSAIC's position as the leading phosphate producer in the world", CEO JOC O'ROURKE said. "We're getting first rate assets at a valuation reflecting the downside of the cycle and we will have the ability to benefit from a strongly growing Brazilian agricultural market as business conditions improve". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Universal to start opencast mining at NCC - Megan van Wyngaardt

UNIVERSAL COAL has received sufficient debt funding to start 2nd phase opencast operations at the New Clydesdale Colliery in Witbank. The company now aims to start operations in Jan., following the start-up of underground operations, which delivers quality thermal coal, in Sep., The underground operations is set to achieve nameplate capacity of 900 000t/y RoM by the end of the current quarter, while the opencast operations will deliver a further 2mt/y RoM of premium quality domestic thermal and low phos metallurgical coal from the adjacent Roodekop pit once steady state is achieved in mid-2017. Once steady-state production is achieved, UNIVERSAL will be delivering in excess of 4mt/y sales over its operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore outlines $1.1bn pricing of tender offers - Ilan Solomons

GLENCORE has priced the offers to purchase up to a maximum tender amount of outstanding notes of $1.1bn. The total offer consideration relates to the individual number of $1 000 principal amount of notes that have been accepted for purchase. The total offer consideration includes the early tender premium of $30 per every $1 000 principal amount of notes that have been accepted for purchase. The applicable total offer consideration plus the accrued interest will be paid to holders of notes that have been validly tendered and n ot validly withdrawn at, or prior to the early tender date and accepted for purchase. Subject to the terms of the offers, all notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn at or prior to the early tender date have been accepted for purchase. GLENCORE also noted no notes tendered after the early tender date had been or would be accepted for purchase. The offers will expire on Dec. 29 at 11:59pm New York City time. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petmin may delist on private equity bid - Megan van Wyngaardt

PETMIN yesterday said that if an offer by BIDCO to acquire all or a portion of the issued ordinary shares in the company is implemented, it would propose to delist from the JSE. PETMIN said it had, last week, entered into an implementation agreement with CAPITALWORKS, acting in its capacity as BIDCO's general partner of the special purpose acquisition partnership. The offer will be settled at a price of R1.55/PETMIN share. CAPITALWORKS will fund BIDCO by advancing a loan of up to R150m. CAPITALWORKS believes that PETMIN and reinvested shareholders will benefit from its support, via BIDCO, as a key shareholder. It also noted that all costs with maintaining a listing on the JSE would be eliminated, realising more value for shareholders. Shares in PETMIN rose 9.63% to 148c on the JSE yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gemfields rakes in $30.4m at latest auction - Megan van Wyngaardt

GEMFIELDS has achieved auction revenues of $30.4m at its latest rough ruby auction from its 75%-owned Montepuez deposit in Mozambique. Running between Dec. 12 and 16, the company sold 1.09m ct from the 1.37m ct on offer, translating ton an average realised price of $27.29/ct. The seventh auction of Montepuez rubies saw 39 companies placing bids for the high and commercial grade rough rubies in both untreated and treated form. The proceeds of the auction will be repatriated to Montepuez, with the royalties due to the Mozambique government being paid on the full sales price achieved at the auction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 ups coal production guidance, costs for 2017 - Megan van Wyngaardt

SOUTH32 yesterday changed its 2017 FY guidance for the production of saleable coal from its Illawarra metallurgical coal operation from 7.9mt to 8.1mt. The company noted that while it has stabilised ground conditions at the mine's Appin Area 9 longwall, additional work was being undertaken to recondition the maingate roadway to ensure the safe extraction of the 901 panel. The mine will also see production at its Appin Area 7 be progressively ramped-up to ensure safe levels of gas are maintained. SOUTH32 did not foresee the coal price stabilising, adding that "hard coking coal sales price will continue to reflect the premium low volatile index on a month -1 basis". Further, the company anticipates an average operating unit cost of $86/t for the FY, up from its previous forecast of $75/t. This could decline towards $80/t in H2 2017, at an average operating unit cost of $83/t for the FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue says chances of tie-up with Vale dimming - Reuters

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP yesterday said a potential tie-up with VALE to customise orders for Chinese steelmakers was unlikely to proceed. "Negotiations are continuing between the parties on an amicable and commercial basis, however, it is looking less likely that any transaction will be completed", FORTESCUE said. The parties in Mar. said they were in discussions to blend up to 100mt of their ore in China. The aim was to win a bigger share of the market by matching the quality of the ore produced by RIO TINTO, which is seen as the Chinese benchmark. VALE would also buy 5%-15% of FORTESCUE's shares on market under the proposed tie-up, and would be able to take stakes in FORTESCUE's existing or future mines. A source familiar with the talks said the venture had become less attractive as prices started to rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi cleared of anti-competitive issues - Business Reporter

MONDI says Russian authorities have stopped probing MONDI SYKTYVKAR for an alleged violation of the country's antimonopoly law. In a statement yesterday, the company said it was alerting shareholders to the probe as it is an issue that must be disclosed under exchange rules. MONDI says it has been alerted by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation that, on Dec. 15, the authority announced that the probe into MONDI SYKTYVKAR for violation of the antimonopoly law in respect of the pricing of offset paper has been terminated due to the absence of a dominating market position of MONDI SYKTYVKAR during the investigation period. The probe was initially announced in Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 20/12/2016

At 07h44 on 20 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.16 ZAR/EUR 14.72 ZAR/GBP 17.54 Gold 1135.72 Platinum 918.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.83 All Share 49880.99

Motsepe turns down Sanlam - Fin24

PATRICE MOTSEPE has turned down the role as SANLAM chairperson and asked former CEO JOHAN VAN ZYL to take on the role, the company said today. This comes as current chair DESMOND SMITH announced he would retire at the AGM in Jun. 2017 after serving in the position since 2010. SANLAM said MOTSEPE will retain his position as deputy chair. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom lends BCX R1bn - Business Report

TELKOM today notified shareholders that it had granted BUSINESS CONNEXION financial assistance worth R1bn. This is as BCX requires working capital, needs to settle certain debt commitments and provide for further expansion. TELKOM said its board approved the amount as it is aligned with "our announced strategy of integrating our Enterprise Business with BCX as our go to market entity providing a truly converged business offering end to end solutions to our Enterprise customers". TELKOM acquired BCX in 2015 for R2.67bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ukraine nationalises largest lender - Roman Olearchyk

Ukraine's government moved late yesterday to nationalise PRIVATBANK, the country's largest and most systemically important commercial bank, amid concerns over the state of its balance sheet. The government pledged to fully protect depositors and said the takeover, proposed by the central bank and approved by the national security council, was needed to "preserve stability of the country's financial system". The transaction, which placed 100% of the bank into state ownership, was agreed with IGOR KOLOMOISKY and GENNADY BOGOLUBOV, PRIVATBANK's oligarch majority co-owners, Kiev said. The development follows growing concerns that have spread in government and banking circles over related party lending, and PRIVATBANK's ability to keep commitments to clean up its loan book and meet capital ratio requirements. All are central to a bank sector clean-up plan being implemented as part of a $17.5bn IMF loan programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Danone downgrades profit forecast - Harriet Agnew

DANONE has adjusted down its expected profits for 2016 due to difficult conditions in European markets for dairy. The French group said Activia's performance as well as aggravated market conditions in Spain have impacted on dairy results in Europe. "As a result, DANONE now expected 2016 sales growth to be slightly below target (initially ranging from 3% to 5%) and to deliver recurring operating margin improvement above target (previously ranging from 50bps to 60bps). DANONE is in the process of acquiring WHITEWAVE, an American food maker, and in Oct. sold a €6.2bn bond to help finance the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India lawmaker calls for prosecution of Ratan Tata - Simon Mundy

A controversy engulfing TATA GROUP has deepened after a senior ruling party lawmaker filed a complaint calling for the prosecution of its chairperson, RATAN TATA, in connection with a fraud allegation. The complaint by former justice minister SUBRAANIAN SWAMY accuses criminal investigators of having failed to follow up evidence linking TATA to an allegedly corrupt telecoms deal. His filing included a preliminary report apparently produced in 2013 by officials at India's Serious Fraud Investigation Office. The report states that TATA and several other TATA GROUP executives were liable to prosecution for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property - an offence with a maximum prison sentence of seven years. Group holding company TATA SONS said allegations about the transaction "had been thoroughly inquired into by the CBI and no evidence was found which could attribute any criminality or violation of any law or regulation". The document in question accused TATA GROUP companies of having conspired

Jury orders Gilead to pay Merck $2.54bn in damages in patent trial - Jessica Dye

A US jury last week ordered GILEAD SCIENCES to pay a subsidiary of MERCK & CO $2.54bn in damages in a patent-infringement trial over two of GILEAD's hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni. The damages awarded represent 10% of the total dollar value of US sales of GILEAD's Sovaldi and adjusted sales of Harvoni through Aug. 2016. The suit was brought by IDENIX, which MERCK purchased in 2014 in order to boost its portfolio and treatments for hepatitis C. GILEAD had disputed that it had relied on IDENIX's intellectual property in making its blockbuster drugs, and said the patent was invalid. But jurors found that GILEAD had wilfully infringed the patent at issue. "GILEAD respectfully disagrees with the jury's verdict and damage award, and intends to vigorously challenge this outcome through the appeal process", a GILEAD spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Monetary policy 'powerless' in fight to revive eurozone - Weidmann - Mehreen Khan

Record amounts of central bank stimulus are proving "powerless" in reviving eurozone growth, Bundesbank head JENS WEIDMANN said on Friday. WEIDMANN said governments rather than central banks should bear the responsibility for rejuvenating growth in the eurozone, warning of competing "objectives" faced by policymakers who have responsibilities to lift inflation but also to ensure financial stability. "Today, as in the past, the weakness of growth is mainly due to structural reasons", he said, adding that growth in several countries in the region was also weighed down by heavy debt burdens. "We are therefore not primarily concerned with a weakness in demand, but with a low rate of growth. Monetary policy is largely powerless here. The key to more growth is in the hands of politicians, not the central bank". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia holds interest rate at 10% - Katie Martin

Russia's central bank has met expectations with a decision to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 10%, but said it may cut rates in H1 2017. "Price growth has slowed down noticeably in all key groups of goods and services and monthly seasonally adjusted inflation indicators have declined as well", the central bank said. "A good harvest still facilitates a reduction in food inflation. At the same time, a more confident drop in non-food price growth is necessary for sustainable inflation decline". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deterioration in Japanese imports, exports slows in Nov. - Peter Wells

The pace of import growth in Japan improved to -0.4% y/y in Nov. from a 10.3% contraction in Oct. This was a better result than the average 2.3% decline expected by economists. Similarly, there was also an improvement in export growth last month, which showed a contraction of 8.8% y/y, almost half the 16.5% decline in Oct. Economists expected a 12.1% drop. Imports have contracted for 23 months in a row, and had previously shown positive growth in Dec. 2014. November was still the smallest contraction since Aug. 2015. November was the 14th month in a row that exports have contracted, and also the best result since Sep. 2015, the previous time exports grew. The trade surplus narrowed to Y152.5bn last month from a revised Y496bn in Oct. On an unadjusted basis the trade surplus rose to Y536.1bn last month from a revised Y466.8bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cullinan weathers challenging year - Pericles Anetos

CULLINAN HOLDINGS last week reported a 16% rise in revenue to R1.04bn for the FY to end-Sep. Aftertax profit was up 21% to R71m y/y. The company also generated R236m in cash from operations compared with R60.3m. A final dividend of 1cps was declared. CULLINAN said there was a "particularly strong upturn and performance [in 2016] in our inbound tourism businesses. The marine division performed well and our local travel and outbound tourism businesses generally held up well despite a weaker rand and in some areas gained further market share". CULLINAN said forward bookings were positive and the group was expecting its inbound tourism market to strengthen during 2017. Significant capex is planned for the group's coach fleet. The company would "continue to look for acquisitions in the tourism and financial services sectors" in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Arrowhead Properties CEO dies - BDpro

GERALD LEISSNER, CEO of ARROWHEAD PROPERTIES and a doyen of the local listed property sector, passed away on Friday at the age of 72. Notice of LEISSNER's death was emailed by VUKILE CEO LAURENCE RAPP on behalf of the SA Real Estate Investment Trust Association on Friday. TEXTON PROPERTY FUND CEO ANGELIQUE DE RAUVILLE said LEISSNER "was one of the strongest property operators in the country. GERALD was a property purist, tough but fair in business and always unquestionably principled. A great loss for the South African property sector". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPI up 6.9% y/y in Nov. - BDpro

SA's PPI rose 6.9% in Nov. y/y, after October's revised 6.6%, Statistics SA said on Thursday. The Bloomberg consensus was for a 6.9% rise. The drought has led to dramatic sugar inflation, which slowed to 24.1% from October's 28.2%, the statistics agency said. Annual grain mill products inflation slowed to 14.3% in Nov. from 15.7% in Oct. Higher oil prices was petroleum product inflation accelerated to 4.9% from 2.2%. On a m/m basis, the PPI increased 0.4% in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank in bid to block Zuma's Gupta intervention - Fin24

STANDARD BANK GROUP last week asked the North Gauteng High Court to prevent President JACOB ZUMA and any of his ministers from intervening in its decision to close company accounts associated with OAKBAY. This is according to an affidavit filed by the lender in the court on Wednesday, which details how the company came under pressure after closing accounts belonging to OAKBAY entities. "The public campaign and political pressure brought to bear upon STANDARD BANK to review and reverse its decision... was orchestrated by OAKBAY and its associated entities which relied on their apparent political connections and influence in government to mount them", said STANDARD BANK's general counsel IAN SINTON. "The pressure brought to bear on STANDARD BANK... is unprecedented, and to the best of my knowledge has not been experienced by it or any of the members of the STANDARD BANK group, in connection with or arising from a decision to terminate a banker-customer relationship, with any of its erstwhile customers", SINTO

BP inks $2.2bn Abu Dhabi oil deal - Fin24

BP secured a 10% share in an onshore oil concession in Abu Dhabi in a deal worth $2.2bn, the companies said yesterday. BP inked an agreement with ABU DHABI OIL COMPANY to take a stake in the ABU DHABI COMPANY FOR ONSHORE PETROLEUM OPERATIONS which operates the 40-year concession. "This agreement will provide BP with long-term access to significant and competitive resources that we already understand very well", CEO BOB DUDLEY said. The oil major said it would pay Abu Dhabi with new shares worth $2.2bn, leaving the emirate with a 2% stake in the British company. BP will second up to 50 technical staff to ADCO, whose oilfields produce 1.4m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK firm in R1.37bn buy-out bid for Astrapak - Fin24

ASTRAPAK has received a R1.370m offer from RPC to acquire all of its ordinary shares, it said on Thursday. The proposed deal is expected to be done through a section 114 scheme or arrangement on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The RPC is an international plastic products design and engineering company listed on the LSE. It has a market cap of £3.5bn and a turnover of £2.5bn. The deal, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, will see RPC take over the nine operations that represent the Forming and Moulding Divisions of ASTRAPAK and comprise its continuing operations. ASTRAPAK outlined two measures it will take in order to facilitate the deal and to satisfy the relevant conditions precedent. It will propose a scheme of arrangement to voluntarily repurchase the 1.5m preference shares in circulation at a price of R100/share, which process will go ahead regardless of whether the proposed deals is implemented or not. "All accrued preference share dividends to the date of repurchase wi

Fat fine for Absa - Fin24

The SARB last week slapped ABSA BANK and SOCIETE GENERAL E with a collective R12m fine, it said in a statement on Thursday. This was after the central bank conducted inspections in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act and found weaknesses in SOCGEN's and ABSA's anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism control measures. SARB imposed administrative sanctions on both banks and directed them to take remedial action. ABSA, which got a financial penalty of R10m, was directed to take remedial action relating to certain identified weaknesses in the bank's controls and working methods pertaining to transaction monitoring. The local branch of SOCGEN got a financial penalty of R2m, but it was suspended subject to the lender adhering to certain records as prescribed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FAWU promises protests against poultry imports in 2017 - ANA

Trade union FAWU on Friday promised to continue mass protests against poultry imports in 2017, dismissing a recent import tariff hike as being too little, too late. FAWU national secretary KATISHA MASEMOLA on Friday said it welcomed a recently gazetted 13.9% safeguard duty on imports of bone-in chicken on imports from the EU and UK. However, while being "a step in the right direction" it was not enough. MASEMOLA said a review of the Economic Partnership agreement between SA and the EU should result in imported chicken being priced at the average cost of production and not a subsidised cost of production. Such a review should result in barriers to SA poultry exports to the EU and the UK or that SA should be allowed to apply similar barriers to import from the EU and UK. MASEMOLA said the cumping of chicken on the local market affected the country's foot security, eliminated local manufacturing jobs and contributed to unemployment. He said FAWU would stage protest marches going to offices of the Departme

Hudaco buys two new businesses - Creamer Media Reporter

HUDACO INDUSTRIES has acquired two businesses to complement its existing offerings in a deal valued at around R111m. HUDACO, which will pay an initial combined R28m, will absorb voice and data solution provider SST TELECOMS and core IT systems and infrastructure provider COMMERCIAL ICT, effective Dec. 1. The final total consideration will depend on the average profits over a three-year earn-out period. SST specialises in PBX, communication management software, voice recording, handsets and telephone management, provides mobile technology solutions and manufactures certain specialised products for fleet management and voice routing. COMMERCIAL ICT has exclusive agencies for the supply, management and maintenance of communication products for the security industry, as well as their infrastructure within cellular networks in SA and other African countries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold's Tropicana JV gears up for accelerated mining rate - Esmarie Swanepoel

Gold production from ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI's Tropicana mine in Australia is expected to improve considerably next year, when grade streaming is reintroduced. ANGLOGOLD, which owns 70% of the mine, and JV partner INDEPENDENCE GROUP, which owns a 30% stake in the project, last week said the mine would produce at a rate of 450 000oz/y and 490 000oz/y from H2 2017. Grade streaming was adopted at Tropicana in its first three years of operation and came to an end last year. The bankable feasibility study envisaged a production rate of 320 000oz/y over the initial three-year gold streaming period. The mine produced 296 000oz in the first nine months of 2016. To resume grade streaming for at least the next two calendar years, a 600t shovel has been introduced to accelerate mining rates and the processing plant throughout has been increased from 5.8mt/y to 7.5mt/y. Further tuning of the circuit is anticipated to increase throughput to 7.9mt/y over the next 12 months. This news brief represents a summary of the or

Pallinghurst considers maiden dividend distribution - Megan van Wyngaardt

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES expects to receive about $10m in Mar. 2017 as part of Tshipi e Ntle Manganese Mining's previously announced decision to distribute R1bn to its shareholders. In turn, JUPITER MINES, a 49.9% shareholder in Tshipi, has ersolved to distribute $55m to its shareholders. PALLINGHURST is an 18.45% shareholder in JUPITER MINES. The company would consider allocating a material portion of these funds as a maiden distribution to shareholders. Tshipi's optimisation of its core base has also contributed to its expectation of record profits during its FY to end-Feb. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrochrome price settled for Q1 - Merafe - Megan van Wyngaardt

MERAFE RESOURCES on Thursday said the European benchmark ferrochrome price for Q1 2017 has been settled at $1.65/lb. This would be an increase of 50% from the $1.10/lb price in Q4 2016. In Aug., MERAFE said it expected to benefit from renewed positive ferrochrome demand trends, as well as from the fact that only four of the seven South African ferrochrome producers were in production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paladin holds fire sale - Esmarie Swanepoel

PALADIN ENERGY has divested of a number of its noncore Australian exploration assets to URANIUM AFRICA for A$2.5m. The assets included the Oobagooma and Angela/Pamela projects in Australia, as well as PALADIN's interest in the Bigrlyi project in the Northern Territory. PALADIN said the assets were considered to be non-core, and it was unlikely that the company would be in a position to conduct any meaningful work developing these assets within the next decade. The sale was expected to result in annual savings, owing to the reduction in rates, rentals and statutory commitments payable to keep the tenements in good standing. PALADIN also sold its 257.5m shares in DEEP YELLOW for A$2.6m, with shares priced at 1c/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue repays more debt - Esmarie Swanepoel

FORTESCUE METALS has issued a $1bn repayment notice for its 2019 senior secured credit facility, resulting in annual interest savings of around $38m. "This $1bn payment is a continuation of our focused debt repayment strategy and further lowers our total cash position. FORTESCUE's nearest debt maturity is in Jun. 2019, and is now less than $2bn with gross gearing falling below our targeted 40% level once this payment is made", FORTESCUE CEO NEV POWER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers to flood Snap Lake mine a year after closure - Henry Lazenby

DE BEERS has announced that it will flood the mothballed Snap Lake mine in Canada in Jan., more than a year after it was placed on care and maintenance on the back of lower diamond prices. The company said flooding will take about six to eight weeks to complete, thereby preserving the long-term viability of the ore body and reduce costs while mitigating environmental risks associated with maintaining dormant operations. Once completed, the group expects to lay off about 20 employees to a level of some 35. DE BEERS said employees who are displaced will be considered for alternative placement at other DE BEERS facilities where skill sets and vacancies match. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's distributable revenue fell by 7.8% in November - Camillus Eboh

Nigeria's distributable revenues to the government fell in Nov. by 7.8% to 387bn naira as militant attacks shut down Niger Delta oil pipelines and cut earnings. Militantsw have carried out attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta energy hub since Jan., cutting oil production, which stood at 2.1m bpd at the start of the year, by more than a third earlier this year. The frequency of attacks has slowed in recent months amid talks between the government and community leaders. Repairs on damaged facilities are underway. "The total revenue distributable... including VAT - 75.579bn naira - is 386.852bn naira", accountant general AHMED IDRIS said on Thursday. He noted that the impact of repairs and maintenance were the reason for the fall from 420bn naira in Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

West Africa bloc urges Nigeria, others to reform economies - Paul Carsten

A West African bloc called on Nigeria and other countries to undergo "necessary structural reforms" to improve their economies, as a collapse in oil and commodity prices continues to cripple economic growth. Nigeria and other member countries should "take appropriate economic and financial stimulus measures in order to be less vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations and improve their economies' fluctuations and improve their economies' resilience to exogenous shocks", the Economic Community of West African States, meeting in the Nigerian capital on Saturday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank units add $517m to Ghana oil, gas project financing - David Lawder

The World Bank Group last week said two of its units would provide another $517m to support the $7.7bn Sankofa oil and gas project developed by ENI SPA and VITOL GHANA. The financing adds to a $700m World Bank guarantee package announced in July and brings the institution's total financing to around $1.217bn for the offshore project. The International Finance Corporation has committed a loan of $235m to VITOL GHANA and is arranging another $65m in debt. Guarantees by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency will support VITOL GHANA's commercial borrowing needs for the project and will be issued for up to 15 years. The new pledges bring the World Bank Group's financing share of the Sankofa project to around 16%. ENI holds a 44.4% stake in Sankofa, VITOL holds 35.6% and GHANA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION holds a combined carried and participating interest of 20%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria interbank lending rate eases on budget cash injections - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's overnight lending rate fell last week to around 3% on Friday from an average of 3.9% the prior week on expectations that budget cash will be injected into the banking system on Friday or Monday, traders said. On Thursday, Nigeria distributed 387bn naira revenue among the three tiers of government. A portion belonging to state and local governments is passed through the banking system. Though Nigeria raised 147.48bn naira worth of treasury bills and 69.2bn naira in bonds maturing in five, 10 and 20 years' time at auctions on Wednesday, the market remains liquid enough to support the prevailing rate, traders said. They expected the cost of borrowing among commercial lenders to stay flat in the coming days as banking activities slow ahead of the festive season. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz bails out major bank - Manuel Macri

Mozambique's central bank last week bailed out the country's fourth largest commercial lender in a bid to prevent the failure of the banking system. Central bank governor ROGERIO LUCAS ZANDAMELA said the central bank had injected 8bn meticais ($111m) to recapitalise MOZA BANCO, which is owned by Portugal's NOVO BANCO, to avoid a run from depositors and creditors. "It would have had a cost of incalculable dimensions. It is frightening when such an institution falls into bankruptcy", ZANDAMELA said. The central bank has guaranteed all deposits at MOZA BANCO, fired its board and taken over its day-to-day operations. It said it would appoint an evaluation committee and set up a general meeting for the recapitalisation or sale of MOZA BANCO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 19/12/2016

At 07h57 on 19 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.02 ZAR/EUR 14.67 ZAR/GBP 17.49 Gold 1139.25 Platinum 926.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.58 All Share 49691.30

Shell CFO to step down - Katie Martin

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL's CFO is stepping down after seven years in the role and over 30 years with the company. SIMON HENRY will remain on the board in his role until Mar., before handing over to JESSICA UHL, who is currently a VP for finance in the gas business. SHELL CEO BEN VAN BEURDEN described UHL as a "highly regarded executive", highlighting her track record in areas such as mergers and acquisitions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese consortium wins approval for Chicago Stock Exchange takeover - Nicole Bullock

The CHICAGO STOCK EXCHANGE has won approval for a takeover deal by a consortium led by China's CHONGQING CASIN ENTERPRISE GROUP from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, a spokesperson of the Chicago exchange said. CFIUS said the power to block any deal that jeopardises US national security. The deal still needs the green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Chicago bourse voluntarily submitted it for review by CFIUS. The rationale for the deal is to provide a way for Chinese companies to list in the US as well as open the door for Chinese investors to buy US-listed shares. Chinese investors are set to own 49.5% of the exchange after the purchase. Other owners would include private investment company RAPTOR and SALIBA, the private company of ANTHONY SALIBA, former CEO of LIQUIDPOINT, a Chicago-based options technology company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yahoo says third party stole data of 1bn user accounts - Adam Samson

YAHOO yesterday revealed that an intruder absconded with account details from more than 1bn users in a data theft that occurred in Aug. 2013. The revelations come after YAHOO disclosed in Sep. that information on 500m users had been stolen by a "state-sponsored actor". It yesterday said it "believes this incident is likely distinct from the incident the company disclosed on September 22, 2016". It added that it has not been able to identify the intrusion associated with the theft. The data may include names, email addresses and birth dates. It also included passwords that were scrambling using an encryption technology called MD5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Exxon appoints new CEO - Mamta Badkar

EXXONMOBIL has named DARREN WOODS as its new CEO, as current head REX TILLERSON leaves to serve as president-elect DONALD TRUMP's new secretary of state. TILLERSON will retire by the end of the year. He was originally set to retire in Mar. 2017. WOODS has led EXXON's refining business since 2012 and will take the help on Jan. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Yellen says rate hike 'a vote of confidence in the economy' - Jessica Dye

Federal Reserve chair JANET YELLEN yesterday said the central bank's move to hike interest rates for the first time in 12 months was "a vote of confidence in the economy". The move to raise interest rates for the first time since Dec. 2015 is a "reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and our judgment that that progress will continue. The economy has proven to be remarkably resilient". YELLEN expects a "relatively small effect" on market rates as a result of the higher federal funds rate, with "very modest changes" for average Americans. She also looked to push back on speculation that she might favour allowing inflation to rise above the Fed's 20% target, saying: "I have not recommended running a hot economy". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude stocks drop for 4th straight week - Mamta Badkar

Inventories of US crude declined for the fourth consecutive week, prompting oil to pare its losses. Stockpiles of US crude fell by a larger-than-expected 2.6m barrels in the week ended Dec. 9, the Energy Information Administration said. That compared with economists' expectations for a drop of 1.4m barrels. At 483.2m barrels, stocks are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year. Inventories at the Cushing delivery hub rose by 1.2m barrels, larger than the 1m barrel build that economists had projected. Gasoline stockpiles climbed by 497 000 barrels, shy of the 1.9m barrel forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU rows back on Greek debt relief after Tsipras pledges additional spending - Mehreen Khan

Eurozone finance ministers have rowed back on their pledge to grant short-term debt relief measures to the Greek government, citing a series of spending promises made by PM ALEXIS TSIPRAS in the latest setback for the country's €86bn bailout deal. In a statement yesterday, Eurogroup head JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM said new spending plans from the government "appear not to be in line with our agreements", scuppering plans to grant a series of measures to alleviate the country's debt agreed only last week. Following objections from some member states, there is "no unanimity now for implementing short-term debt measures", according to a statement tweeted by DIJSSELBLOEM's spokesperson. The fresh setback comes after the Syriza government announced it would give €617m to over 1.5m low-income pensioners to replace a Christmas bonus scrapped by its bailout monitors. In a surprise move, TSIPRAS also announced a series of VAT tax breaks for the country's islands for sheltering thousands of migrants. Cutting out tax

US industrial output falls most since Mar. - Adam Samson

US industrial output declined in Nov. by the widest margin in eight months, as a decline in production at American factories and utilities offset a rebounding mining sector. US industrial production fell 0.4% in Nov. m/m, missing Wall Street expectations of a 0.3% decline and marking a turnaround from October's 0.1% rise. The fall comes as manufacturing activity edged lower following two months of gains, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Output at utilities skidded 4.4%. Mining production rose 1.1%, extending a 1.9% rise in the previous month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC: Oil market won't balance until H2 2017 - David Sheppard

OPEC still does not expect the oil market to move back into balance until H2 2017, despite agreeing a global supply pact with Russia and other countries to cut output. In its monthly outlook, the cartel pegged demand for its crude at 32.6m bpd next year, just 100 000 bpd above the group's new output target of 32.5m bpd, and said further supply cuts agreed with non-OPEC members would contribute to mopping up excess supplies, but only slowly. The cartel's view of the market is more conservative than some other forecasters. On Tuesday the International Energy Agency said it now expects the oil market to start moving into balance in H1 2017. OPEC said Saudi Arabia told the organisation it had raised output to 10.72m bpd in Nov. - an all-time record - ahead of the group's meeting in Vienna at the end of last month. OPEC said the group's total outut last month based on assessments by secondary sources was 33.87m bpd - suggesting it will need to reduce output by almost 1.4m bpd from Jan. to hit the new supply ta

Eurozone industrial output contracts in Oct. - Mehreen Khan

Industrial production in the eurozone contracted for its second consecutive month, defying expectations of a return to growth in Oct. Data from Eurostat show output fell 0.1% m/m in Oct., with September's performance revised down to show a 0.9% contraction from an initial estimate of 0.8%. Economists expected the sector to bounce back to growth of 0.1%. Overall production levels were pushed down by a 1.5% decline in the manufacturing of non-durable consumer goods and a 0.5% drop in intermediate goods. Within the eurozone, the biggest declines were recorded in Ireland (-3.6%) and Luxembourg (-2.2%), while Greece was among the best performers as output climbed 4.5%. Output fell 0.2% in France, was stagnant in Italy and crept up 0.1% in Germany. Production in the UK fell by 1.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 15/12/2016

At 11h23 on 15 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.04 ZAR/EUR 14.76 ZAR/GBP 17.61 Gold 1138.30 Platinum 924.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.36 All Share 50373.96

Rand falls as Fed raises rates - Fin24

The rand fell over 2% this morning as the dollar was the main beneficiary of the Federal Reserve's decision yesterday to hike its benchmark interest rate by 0.25%. The local currency breached the R14/$ ceiling early this morning, but was trading at R13.95 by 09:40. The Fed moving further into tightening territory helps shift the focus away from global central-bank policy and toward fiscal stimulus, with president-elect DONALD TRUMP expected to stoke US growth via spending. After hiking by 25 basis points, US policymakers expect three rate hikes in 2017, up from the two seen in Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC buys into brandy maker - Business Report

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV is selling SABMILLER's stake in DISTELL to the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION. In a statement issued today, the brewer said it is selling the 26.4% stake as part of its takeover of SABMILLER. It did not disclose how much the PIC would pay for the stake. REMGRO and CAPEVIN HOLDINGS, who hold pre-emptive rights in the DISTELL shareholding, will not exercise these rights. The deal remains subject to the approval of the Competition Commission. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RMI spends R8.7bn to expand in UK - Business Report

RAND MERCHANT INVESTMENT yesterday announced it was investing in a UK insurer. The company said it was buying a stake of up to 29.9% in UK-listed short-term insurer HASTINGS GROUP HOLDINGS for £487.3m-£499.5m, or as much as R8.7bn. Following the deal, RMI will become the single largest shareholder in HASTINGS. The British insurer had a market cap of £1.46bn (as at Dec. 13), employs 2 700 people and is headquartered in Bexhill-on-Sea with offices in Newmarket, Leicester and Gibraltar. RMI said HASTINGS will become a fourth pillar alongside its stakes in DISCOVRY, MMI HOLDINGS and OUTSURANCE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tsogo Sun buys Vukani, Galaxy - Siseko Njobeni

TSOGO SUN has bought limited payout machine supplier VUKANI GAMING and electronic bingo terminal operator GALAXY BINGO from NIVEUS for about R4.65bn, the company said yesterday. Both TSOGO and NIVEUS are subsidiaries of HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INVESTMENTS. TSOGO said the proposed transaction "restructures HCI's gaming operations under one vehicle... simplifies the HCI group structure and provides investors with a single entry point for gaming exposure". TSOGO said the deal was subject to a due diligence on the gaming businesses, including a review of earnings for the FY to end-Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nuclear procurement: No deal signed - DoE - Fin24

The Department of Energy yesterday reiterated that SA has not entered into any deal or signed any contract for the procurement of nuclear power. "The procurement process for the nuclear new build programme has not commenced. A fair, transparent, equitable, competitive and open procurement process will be followed in line with the Constitution and the decisions of Cabinet", the DoE said. Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environmental Institute are legally challenging government's nuclear procurement process, focusing on an intergovernmental agreement inked with Russia in 2014. They believe legal documents indicate that SA did sign a binding agreement with Russia. The application is being opposed by Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON. "The Court's decision to postpone the matter to February 207 will allow all interested parties to review relevant documentation", the DoE said, adding that government remains committed to ensure energy security for the country, including the r

Eskom now officially in charge of nuclear deal - Matthew le Cordeur

The Department of Energy yesterday published a government gazette which officially moved the procurement of nuclear energy from the department to ESKOM. The DoE's lawyers this week surprised the Cape Town High Court with the unpublished gazette, using the determination to force the court to postpone the nuclear deal trial. Judges LEE BOZALEK and ELIZABETH BAARTMAN slammed Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON for not informing the court of the determination ahead of the trial and ordered her department to pay for the costs of the applicants' four advocates and legal teams. The publication of the gazette paves the way for ESKOM to release the request for proposals for 9.6GW of nuclear energy, which it is expected to do later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CoM challenges UN report on gold exports - Lameez Omarjee

Misinvoicing of gold exports amounts to a loss of $19.5bn and not $78.2bn as determined by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. This is according to research commissioned by SA's Chamber of Mines and and independent probe by economist consultants EUNOMIX. UNCTAD's study, released in July this year, asserts the misinvoicing of primary commodities by mining companies in five countries to evade taxes and legal obligations. SA was among the five nations implicated. The report found that in SA during 2000-2014, under-invoicing of exports amounted to $102.8bn. For gold, this amounted to $78.2bn, or 67% of gold exports. SARS had publicly disputed UNCTAD's study, as did Statistics SA. UNCTAD indicated that because SA does not report its old exports by country of origin to the platform Comtrade, the value of exports is not accurately reported. EUNOMIX found this to be invalid, indicating that gold exports were "appropriately" and "comprehensively" reported on other, publicly available platforms. EUNOMIX

Motorists should brace for New Year petrol hike - Fin24

South Africans will in all likelihood be hit hard at the pumps at the start of 2017, the Automobile Association warned yesterday. Based on current data, the indicative increase in fuel prices at end-Dec. will be around 27c/l for petrol, 21c/l for diesel and 28c for illuminating paraffin. The AA warned that the impact of recently agreed OPEC and non-OPEC crude production cuts was by no means factored into current oil prices. "If the oil-producing countries adhere to the proposed production cuts, oil prices are likely to strengthen until demand and production move back into equilibrium... Even a stronger rand could be overpowered by a sharp climb in the oil price, potentially meaning a succession of fuel price hikes which could impact the economy strongly over the next few months", the AA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Snapchat switches on group chats - Kyle Venktess

SNAPCHAT has launched a group chat option in time for the festive season. Groups allows for 16 participants to communicate with one-another on SNAPCHAT and can be created when sending a SNAP or when making a new chat. "We call this Quick Chat, and it's the fastest way to keep the conversation goign with one friend without spanning the entire Group", the company said on its blog. By default Groups are deleted after 24 hours and Snaps in a group can be opened and replayed once. SNATCHAT usage in SA surged to 33% from 2015, the recent 2017 Social Media Landscape Survey showed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon launches streaming service in SA - Gareth van Zyl

AMAZON has switched on its internet video service Prime Video for over 200 countries and territories, including SA. The launch in SA comes after NETFLIX switched on its local service earlier this year. AMAZON yesterday said its streaming service offers shows such as JEREMY CLARKSON's The Grand Tour and Mozart in the Jungle. The service is set to cost $2.99 or around R40/month in SA. After six months, though, AMAZON PRIME VIDEO costs $5.99/month. This is still less than a NETFLIX subscription which has plans that start from $7.99/month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R150m optical fibre manufacturing facility opens in KZN - Megan van Wyngaardt

A new R150m optical fibre cable manufacturing and distribution facility located within the Dube TradePort special economic zone started operations yesterday, six months after construction started. Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES welcomed the investment in the facility by China's YANGTZE OPTICS AFRICA CABLE, noting that it would build local capacity in the manufacture of fibre-optic cables. Commercial production is expected to start in early 2017. The facility will serve the local ICT market, with an envisaged manufacturing capacity of more than 1m km of optic fibre cable a year. Once fully operational, the facility will create sustainable jobs for 100 people in the surrounding communities. To date, YOAC has recruited 42 employees, many of them from local communities adjacent to the King Shaka International Airport. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye's tailings project launch likely in next six months - Martin Creamer

SIBANYE GOLD will likely launch its West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project in the next six months. The WRTRP, which aims to recover 11moz of gold, 170m lb of uranium, as well as sulphuric acid from 1.3bn tonnes of tailings, offers 35 years of mine life, 5 000 construction jobs and 500 sustainable jobs. The project lowers water risk by taking the sulphide material off the dolomites and putting the sulphur into sulphuric acid that SIBANYE uses in its own leaching process. SIBANYE CEO NEAL FRONEMAN recalled that the reason the company had bought the Cooke assets was to get access to the high-quality uranium in the Cooke tailings dams. The Cooke operations, in Randfontein, date back to 1888 when they hosted the biggest stamp mill battery in the world to create 40mt of coarse sand and fine slime. "Probably within the next six months, we'll launch the tailings retreatment project, which is really where the bulk of the Cooke value is", FRONEMAN said. He added that the WRTRP was progressing "very well" and alth

Group Five forecasts interim loss - Megan van Wyngaardt

GROUP FIVE expects to report an LPS and HLPS of at least 170c apiece for the HY to end-Dec., down from HEPS and EPS of 168c apiece y/y. The company yesterday attributed the loss to recognition of a financial socioeconomic contribution of R255m, in terms of an agreement reached with government to implement a programme of initiatives that will siginficantly accelerate transformation in the local construction sector. Although payment will occur at R21.25m/year over a 12-year period, the total liability must be recorded in the current reporting period as it is the period in which the liability has been incurred. GROUP FIVE said the commercial close-out and financial settlement of certain long outstanding contracts also negatively impacted on its financials, while a disappointing performance by the engineering and construction cluster would also bring profits considerably below margin guidance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade conditions remain muted in Nov. - Natasha Odendaal

SACCI's seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index remained in negative territory at 49 points in Nov. That is a slight uptick on the 48 index points achieved in Oct. and six index points stronger y/y. The month's inhibiting factors included political leadership, retrenchments, stiffer competition, donwsizing of businesses, the weak economy and shrinking markets, in addition to slower economic growth by SA's major trading partners, subdued local economic growth and the local debt squeeze on the public sector and households. Although new orders and sales volumes improved in Nov., supplier deliveries and inventories declined. Sales volumes rose to 59 in Nov. from 52 m/m due to strong seasonal factors. The Trade Expectations Index employment subindex fell from 49 to 45 index points on six-month employment prospects, but the TAI's employment subindex decreased by one index point to 48 between Oct. and Nov. The TEI overall remained in positive terrain registering a stable 55 index points in Nov. 2016, while th

NWK posts H1 profit contraction - Natasha Odendaal

Agricultural group NWK's H1 profit has declined, but it expects H2 of FY2017 to be much improved as the group sheds certain lossmaking operations, assisted by a normal production season after four seasons of drought. For the HY to end-Oct., NWK posted an after-tax profit of R10.6m, down from the R25.3m reported y/y, as the full effect of the drought was felt, particularly in the grain segment. The continued operations delivered an after-tax profit of R54m in H1, up from R46.8m y/y. NWK chair HEINRICH KRUGER said the current disposal of certain lossmaking businesses will "help that the sluggish financial results do not continue in the second half of the financial year". The grain segment posted a 30% drop in profit, exacerbated by late grain receipts, while the trade and financing sectors performed satisfactorily. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

TNPA to issue tender for berth deepening megaproject - Creamer Media Reporter

TRANSNET NATIONAL PORT AUTHORITY's multibillion-rand Main Marine Construction Works package, part of the R7bn Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 berths 203 to 205 reconstruction, deepening and lengthening project, will be put out to tender this month. The tender process for the landside works will follow at a later stage. The project aims to improve efficiencies and reduce costs for vessels calling at the port by deepening berths 203, 204 and 205, as well as the basin and approach channel, from 12.8 m to 16.5 m. "Increasing the draft will enable vessels to enter at any time, reducing the queue of vessels waiting at anchorage to enter the port", TNPA CEO RICHARD VALLIHU said, adding that demand through the Port of Durban is expected to grow from 2.5m twenty-foot equivalent units to 3.5m TEUs over the next decade. DCT Pier 2 handles some 65% of SA's total containerised cargo and is the main link to Gauteng. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK govt report slams St Helena airport development - Irma Venter

The UK's Department for International Development has spent £285.5m of British taxpayers' money on building an airport in St Helena that is not usable by commercial airlines. This is the main finding of a report published by the UK House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts on Wednesday. BASIL READ was in 2011 awarded the contract to design, build and operate the airport on St Helena. The project included the construction of a 1 850 m concrete runway, a 3 500m² airport terminal and other associated infrastructure. The airport was due to open in May 2016, but test flights in Apr. revealed dangerous wind conditions on the airport approach - an effect known as wind shear. While the airport has since handled a small number of flights, the wind conditions have precluded operation of the planned commercial service. The Committee of Public Accounts notes in its report that "it is staggering that the DFID did not foresee and address the impact of difficult wind conditions on landing commercial aircraft saf

SA, Nigeria adopt 2yr action plan on mining cooperation - ANA

Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE and his Nigerian counterpart, KAYODE FAYEMI, this week endorsed a two-year action plan for the implementation of an MoU on cooperation in the fields of geology, mining and mineral processing. Both ministers agreed for the plan to be implemented from next month. It would focus on areas such as advancing geoscientific knowledge generation, contributing to energy security, contribution to agriculture and food security, the regulatory framework, mineral processing and value addition, as well as institutional capacity. The MoU outlined up to ten areas of cooperation which include geology, regulatory framework and licensing, mineral processing, metallurgy, artisanal and small-scale mining, investment promotion and capacity building. The parties also agreed to jointly host a mining investment promotion conference in Nigeria during H2 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agnico to buy Sonoro's Chipriona project - Henry Lazenby

AGNICO EAGLE has agreed to buy the Chipriona gold project in Mexico froM SONORO METALS. AGNICO bought the Chipriona concessions for $4m plus a 1% net smelter returns royalty. The NSR may be purchased by AGNICO at any time for an additional $1.5m. Chipriona comprises 515 ha of concessions located in the heart of the Mulatos District in the Sierra Madre gold belt, next to AGNICO's La India mine and 6km southeast of its Tarachi deposit. Under the terms of the agreement, AGNICO will pay for the property in four tranches, comprising the initial instalment of $650 000 upon signing, and three additional sequential instalments of $650 000, $800 000 and $1.9m, respectively, due over the coming months following registration of title at Mexico's Public Registry of Mining. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turquoise Hill restarts Oyu Tolgoi concentrate shipments - Henry Lazenby

TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES has restarted shipments of copper concentrate from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, in Mongolia, across the Chinese border. The company yesterday said talks with Chinese and Mongolian authorities have resulted in a new joint coal and concentrate crossing route at the border between the two countries. Shipments were halted earlier this month following the imposition of new fees on commodity shipments as a result of a diplomatic row after the DALAI LAMA paid a visit to Ulaanbaatar. TURQUOISE HILL said Oyu Tolgoi expects shipments to return to pre-suspension levels over the coming weeks, based on completed trial shipments. Production at the mine was unaffected during the shipment suspension. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats cancels private placement - Natasha Odendaal

EASTERN PLATINUM yesterday terminated its planned $10.32m raising after failing to reach agreement on the final terms and conditions sought by the company in a private placing with an undisclosed party. The company had planned a nonbrokered private placement of around 18.43m shares at $0.56 apiece, representing 19.9% of the issued and outstanding common shares of the company. EASTPLATS said a mutual agreement was reached between the parties to abandon the proposed investment, without cost or penalty to either. EASTPLATS also had no obligation to pay the finders' fee that had been contemplated as part of the proposed investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samarco restart 'technically feasible' in 2017 - BHP - Esmarie Swanepoel

BHP BILLITON has flagged a possible restart of the Samarco JV in Brazil in 2017. The company yesterday said that the JV had submitted licensing applications to all the relevant authorities to restart operations at a reduced capacity, with the restart of operations "technically feasible" in 2017. However, BHP said the restart would only occur if it was safe to do so, and with all the necessary approvals from the Brazilian authorities in hand. BHP still faces a number of legal hurdles following the Nov. 2015 tailings spill which claimed 19 lives. Among them is a R$155bn civil claim against BHP and JV partner VALE for social, environmental and economic compensation to the dam failure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff, Shoprite in merger talks - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

SHOPRITE is in talks with STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL about buying its African assets in an all-share deal that would create a group with $15bn in annual sales, the companies said yesterday. The deal - the value of which was not disclosed - would form a no-frills retailer spanning food, furniture and clothes and underline the determination of billionaire CHRISTO WIESE to put more of his assets under one roof. Both companies count WIESE as their biggest shareholder. "This is a big move... It will certainly change the retail environment in South Africa because these are two major groups getting together", said WAYNE MCCURRIE of ASHBURTON INVESTMENTS. Under the proposed deal, SHOPRITE would issue shares to STEINHOFF in exchange for its African assets. The transaction would give STEINHOFF a significant equity interest in SHOPRITE. Shares in SHOPRITE were little changed at R193.75 while STEINHOFF stock fell 6.6% to R71 on the JSE by midday yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original articl

SA's retail sales fall, Jan. rate hike unlikely - Stella Mapenzuaswa

South African retail sales fell for the first time this year in Oct., data from Statistics SA showed yesterday, suggesting the SARB might continue to hold off raising interest rates in Jan. to take pressure off consumers. Stats SA yesterday said retail sales were down 0.2% y/y in Oct. following a revised increase of 1.6% in Sep. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.8% y/y rise in Oct. On a m/m basis, sales fell by 0.7%, but ticked up 0.5% in the three months to Oct. compared with the same period last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF cuts Moz growth, policy adjustments required for aid - Manuel Macri

The IMF yesterday further cut its 2016 growth forecast for Mozambique, saying it would require fiscal policy adjustments to pave the way for financial assistance and a recovery programme. In a statement after aid talks with state officials, the lender said it now expected economic growth of 3.4% compared with the 3.7% in Sep. and against an outcome of 6.6% in 2015. "The outlook remains challenging", the IMF said, adding that total public debt, mostly denominated in foreign currency, had increased to "distressed levels" in 2016 owing to the addition of the previously undisclosed loans. "While good progress was achieved on a number of technical questions, additional policy adjustments are required to to further consolidate macroeconomic and financial stability, and pave the way for a Fund-supported programme", it added. A medium-term budget plan for the next three years, posted on the finance ministry website, slashed the government's own growth estimate for 2016 to 3.9% from 4.5% previously. Maputo cited

Buhari presents 7.3tn naira 2017 budget to lawmakers - Paul Carsten

Nigeria's President MUHAMMADU BUHARI yesterday presented a record 7.298tn naira budget for 2017 to lawmakers, which he said was an increase of 20.4% on this year's spending plan. BUHARI said the budget was based on an exchange rate of 305 naira to the dollar and a projected oil output of 2.2m bpd at an assumed price of $42.50/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 15/12/2016

At 07h49 on 15 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 14.02 ZAR/EUR 14.73 ZAR/GBP 17.57 Gold 1141.90 Platinum 933.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.93 All Share 50716.25

CPI edges up to 6.6% y/y in Nov. - Stella Mapenzuaswa

SA's headline CPI accelerated to 6.6% y/y as expected in Nov. from 6.4% in Oct., data from Statistics SA showed today. On a m/m basis, inflation slowed to 0.3% from 0.5% previously. Core inflation was unchanged at 5.7% y/y in Nov. but edged down to 0.1% on a m/m basis from 0.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OMAM offering priced at $14.25/share - Reuters

OLD MUTUAL today said its asset management unit OM ASSET MANAGEMENT public offering of 13m shares was priced at $14.25/share. The financial services group yesterday said it would sell shares in OMAM via a public offering as it prepares to split into four main businesses. The public offeringis expected to close on Dec. 19. OMAM, which said it would repurchase 6m ordinary shares from OLD MUTUAL GROUP, also priced the repurchase at $14.25/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 14/12/2016

At 11h50 on 14 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.64 ZAR/EUR 14.48 ZAR/GBP 17.29 Gold 1161.71 Platinum 939.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.07 All Share 50926.93

Navalny plans 2018 Russian presidential bid - Kathrin Hille

Russian opposition leader ALEXEI NAVALNY plans to run for president in 2018, the anti-corruption blogger said yesterday in a move that could shake up Moscow's domestic politics. "Unfortunately, we have already grown used to the situation that voting doesn't decide anything. That's one of the reasons for the situation we're in now, after all those who are in power now have been there for 17 years, and have stopped reacting to any rebuke", NAVALNY said in a video statement released on his blog. "Without competition, any government will gradually degrade". Although NAVALNY didn't mention President VLADIMIR PUTIN once, his bid is a challenge to the Russian leader whose 17 years in power have concentrated decisionmaking in the hands of a small circle of officials, rendered parliament a mere rubberstamp, crushed the country's opposition and brought the media to heel. NAVALNY is widely recognised as the only opposition politician who has the potential to become a true rival to PUTIN. This news brief represen

Real rallies as Brazil approves key spending cap bill - Joe Leahy

The Brazilian real rose yesterday, reversing earlier losses against the dollar after lawmakers approved a controversial austerity bill aimed at freezing budget spending in real terms for up to 20 years. The Senate passed the constitutional amendment with 53 votes in favour and 16 against, easily achieving the two-thirds majority needed for the main text of the new law to pass. The bill is part of a gamble by President MICHEL TEMER to pass important economic reforms and try to end a deep recession in Brazil before the 2018 presidential elections. News of the spending cap approval helped push the real 0.4% higher to R$3.329/$. The currency had been down by as much as 0.8% against the greenback earlier in the day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US financial watchdog flags risks of low rates - Joe Rennison

Low interest rates pose one of the biggest threats to the economy and expose investors to the potential for heavy losses from a price shock across a range of markets, according to the US Office of Financial Research. The concerns were raised in the Office's annual financial stability report yesterday. Aggressive cental bank policy has suppressed global interest rates since the financial crisis, spurring record levels of corporate debt sales while also helping elevate equity valuations as well as prices for commercial real estate, according to the OFR report. "A price shock in one of these markets could threaten US financial stability if the assets were widely held by entities that use high levels of leverage and short-term funding... A price shock that coincided with a sharp increase in US corporate defaults would amplify the risk", the report said. The OFR suggests that bond managers should be subject to stress tests similar to those now enforced upon banks. The report notes that the SEC is currently lo

Moody's downgrades Caterpillar - Jessica Dye

MOODY's yesterday downgraded its ratings of CATERPILLAR, saying it did not expect any meaningful recovery in the company's core markets until 2018. The ratings agency cut its long- and short-term ratings for CATERPILLAR and affiliated entities to A3 from A2, and Prime-2 from Prime-1 respectively. The downgrade comes as CATERPILLAR grapples with fluctuating energy prices that have prompted some North American companies to cut back on drilling activity, as well as weakness in other developed and emerging economies. Earlier this year MOODY's switched CATERPILLAR's outlook to negative from stable citing numerous pressures it faced from weak demand in certain divisions. MOODY's yesterday set its outlook on CATERPILLAR's rating at stable, noting that its sizeable restructuring programme would "yield meaningful performance benefits over the long term" although they could take a while to implement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IBM to employ 25 000 in next 4 years - Adam Samson

IBM plans to hire 25 000 people in the US over the next four years, CEO GINNI ROMETTY said yesterday. The company will also invest $1bn into training US employees, ROMETTY said in an op-ed in USA Today. She made the case for what she called "new collar" workers suited to fit into new industries, like technology. "This is not about white collar vs blue collar jobs, but about the 'new collar' jobs that employers in many industries demand, but which remain largely unfilled", ROMETTY said, pointing to US government statistics showing more than half a million job openings in tech-related fields. "As industries from manufacturing to agriculture are reshaped by data science and cloud computing, jobs are being created that demand new skills - which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting", she added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wells Fargo faces sanctions after failing US 'living will' test - Alistair Gray

WELLS FARGO is facing restrictions on its business after the bank failed to convince regulators that it had an adequate plan to be would down in a crisis in an orderly manner. The bnak is to be barred from establishing overseas banking entities and buying non-bank companies until it satisfies the regulator over its living will. WELLS is the first US bank to have such restrictions placed on it as a result of the watchdogs' exercise. Yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve said BANK OF AMERICA, BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, JPMORGAN CHASE and STATE STREET had adequately addressed their shortcomings. WELLS said it is committed to strengthening and enhancing its resolution planning process "and will continue to work closely with the agencies to better understand their concerns so that we can bring our resolution planning processes in line with their expectations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanofi in talks with Actelion after J&J abandons talks - James Fontanella-Khan

French drugmaker SANOFI is in talks with ACTELION to acquire Europe's largest biotech company in a deal that could be worth $30bn, source said today. This comes after JOHNSON & JOHNSON abruptly ended talks with the Swiss group. Talks between SANOFI and ACTELION are still ongoing and people informed about the situation said the talks could still fall apart. However, one person close to the Swiss group said SANOFI had emerged as a more serious buyer than J&J. J&J's decision to walk away from the talks was mainly as a result of failing to reach an agreement over price, one source said. J&J had reportedly offered ACTELION about $250/share, valuing the latter at more than $27bn. ACTELION's stock closed at around $210 yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Online sales buoy Inditex profit - Tobias Buck

The resilience of INDITEX and its fast fashion business model was again on display today, as the Spanish retailer unveiled an 11% rise in sales for the year to date, and a 9% lift in net earnings. The company posted sales of €16.4bn for the nine months to end-Oct., and net earnings of €2.2bn. INDITEX said sales in the period Nov. 1 to Dec. 12 were going strong, rising by 16% on a constant-currency basis compared to the same period last year. Stripping out currency effects, sales for the first nine months of the year were up 15%, the company said. The gross margin declined slightly y/y from 58.8% to 57.9%. The group's performance in the year-to-date was again underpinned by store openings and the steady expansion of the company's online sales platform. "The group added 101 new stores in Europe, 41 new stores in the Americas and 85 stores in Asia and the rest of the world", it said. INDITEX now has 7 240 bricks-and-mortar stores in 93 markets around the world, and an online presence in 41 countries.

Rising China loan growth upsets expectations of policy tightening - Hudson Lockett

China's new local currency loans grew more than expected in Nov. as broader liquidity readings proved looser than expected. New renminbi loans last month came to Rmb794.6bn, up 12.1% y/y but halving from growth of 26.8% in Oct., when new loans rose to Rmb651.3bn. That still came in far above a median forecast from economists predicting annualised growth of only 1.6%. The M2 measure of money supply grew 11.4% y/y, just 0.1 percentage points shy of a median forecast and down 0.2 percentage points m/m. M1, a more narrow measure of short-term deposits, grew 22.7%, down 1.2 percentage points from Oct. but still reflecting a sustained gap between the two monetary gauges that suggests companies remain relatively reluctant to spend despite recent positive readings on the economy. That was despite total social financing coming in at Rmb1.74tn - up by around Rmb840m from a month earlier and likewise far greater than a forecast of Rmb1.1tn. Financial firms' bond issuance grew 17.5% m/m in Nov. to Rmb286.5bn. In f

Nyrstar offloads some interests to Glencore subsidiaries - Katie Martin

Zinc producer NYRSTAR has agreed a deal to sell a mine in Peru and various claims in Quebec to subsidiaries of GLENCORE as part of a broader plan to divest from mining assets. All told, the sales will net the company $26m, and should be wrapped up in H1 2017. "The transactions are part of the sale process for all or the majority of NYRSTAR's mining assets which was formally launched in January 206 and includes the completed sale of the El Toqui mine in Chile and the announced sale of the El Mochito mine in Honduras", the company said. Meanwhile, NYRSTAR this morning said HILMAR RODE would replace BILL SCOTTING as CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone employment inches up 0.2% - Mehreen Khan

Employment growth in the eurozone crept up by 0.2% in Q3 q/q in a steady sign of improvement in the bloc's labour market. The latest figures from Eurostat show that 153.4m people in the eurozone are in employment - the highest level since the midst of the financial crisis in late 2008. This saw the unemployment rate fall into single digits for the first time in seven years in Sep., at 9.8%. Jobs growth across the EU also rose 0.2% in the quarter to end-Sep., helping push the overall level of employment to the highest on record at 232.5m, Eurostat said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiso shifts focus to media - Kabelo Khumalo

TISO BLACKSTAR yesterday said it had sold its entire shareholding in KAGISO TISO HOLDINGS for R1.5bn to focus its attention on its media assets. "TISO BLACKSTAR's intention is to become a single-sector investment holding company with a focus on media and related industries", TISO said. TISO's 22.9% stake in KAGISO TISO would be sold to KAGISO CAPITAL, which will be expected to pay the cash consideration within five days of the deal closing. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but TISO said it expected to complete the transaction no later than the end of Apr. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Visual shares can be traded again - Roy Cokayne

The suspension in trading in the shares of VISUAL INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS has been lifted. VISUAL INTERNATIONAL yesterday said the JSE lifted the suspension from the commencement of business on Tuesday. The company was once again compliant with JSE listing requirements following the publication of its audited financial results for the FY to end-Feb., the posting of its annual report and the publication of its interim results for the HY to end-Aug. VISUAL renewed a cautionary announcement as it had entered into acquisition talks. It said the negotiations were progressing well, with the due diligence exercise nearing completion but advised caution. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Call to liquidate Gupta mine - Dineo Faku

RE-ACTION CONSULTING, a social enterprise company focused on providing health solutions, has approached the High Court for an application to liquidate OPTIMUM COAL after the latter's failure to settle a R4m debt for the construction of a clinic in Hendrina. A founding affidavit filed by RE-ACTION director SHARON NAOMI WHITE last week documented how the company had been appointed to manage the construction of the clinic between Dec. 1 2015 for 16 months until end-Mar. 2017. "It goes without saying that the longer the handover of the clinic is delayed, the more the community it serves will be prejudiced. This clearly cannot be in the interest of justice, and further justifies hearing this application as a matter of urgency", WHITE said. OPTIMUM COAL had not handed over the 24-hour primary health clinic to the Mpumalanga Health Department by last week Sunday due to the lack of payment, court papers stated. WHITE also said following the change of ownership, from GLENCORE to TEGETA EXPLORATION AND RESOURCES,

Eskom to release nuclear RFP this week - Matthew le Cordeur

ESKOM will release the 9.6 GW nuclear new build request for proposals this week, acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO said yesterday. This follows a surprise revelation in court yesterday that the new nuclear determination is about to be gazetted by the Department of Energy. This was revealed by the DoE's legal team in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday. The new determination would replace the 2013 determination, which was only published in Dec. 2015. It officially changes the procuring agency of the nuclear new build programme from the DoE to ESKOM. The determination, which the DoE legal team said was on its way to the government printers, was signed by Energy Minister TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON on Dec. 5 and NERSA on Dec. 8. When the determination is gazetted, ESKOM will be allowed to release the RFPs, KOKO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foodcorp wants clarity on price fixing case - Fin24

The Competition Tribunal has given the Competition Commission until Jan. 31 to provide clarity on some of the charges alleged against FOODCORP. FOODCORP asked the Tribunal to order the Commission to amend their complaint referral to the Tribunal, saying the present referral is "vague and embarrassing'. It is alleged by the commission that PREMIER and FOODCORP entered into at least three agreements in the period 2002-2009 during which they fixed the price of pelagic fish to retailers and wholesalers. This was done through the exchange of sensitive information. PIONEER FOODS is also alleged to have repeatedly put pressure on FOODCORP to increase prices, among other things. The Tribunal asked for clarity on a number of matters, including what agreements or concerted practices had taken place, what prices were fixed and for what product. It's also not clear when PREMIER exchanged its price list with FOODCORP and whether the exchange was bilateral. FOODCORP will have 20 days to respond once the Commission h

Fitch keeps SA's utilities outlook negative - Lameez Omarjee

FITCH has kept the outlook for South African utilities negative, citing weak economic growth and moderate electricity demand in 2017 as reasons. The ratings agency previously revised the country's outlook from stable to negative, but kept the sovereign rating at investment grade at BBB-. "We estimate the companies' credit metrics to have sufficient headroom to absorb financial and business risks in 2017", FITCH said, adding that lower demand for water and energy coinciding with an inability to adjust capex and operating costs could affect standalone ratings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SASSA may extend Net1 grants tender - Thembisile Dzonzi

The government may extend its deal with NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES as it's not ready to make welfare payments worth some $9.4bn/year when the current contract ends in Apr. The SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY, which was due to take over the monthly payments to more than 16m people, "will not be the paymaster or operating as the bank that takes the cash or makes the payments", Social Development Department DG ZANE DANGOR said yesterday. "We have come up with some really good models, but those models will only be able to kick in from October or November next year", DANGOR said, without giving further details. NET1 has had the contract to distribute the welfare payments electronically for four years. DANGOR said payments "will continue as normal" until a new model can be put in place, adding that SASSA and the Social Development Department are in talks with the SARB and Treasury to set up bank accounts for those receiving welfare payments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN moves millions of dollars out of Iran - Loni Prinsloo

MTN GROUP has managed to extract several hundred million dollars from Iran with the help of European banks, sources said. With a number of money transfers now completed, the company expects to bring the entire sum home by the end of Q1 2017. The stranded cash includes a $430m loan repayment from the 49%-owned venture MTN IRANCELL TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES, as well as dividends accumulated in Iran over five years. MTN is confident it will be able to continue repatriating dividends from Iran in the future, even if the change in the US administration, scheduled for Jan. 20, affects the political climate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfDB to finance Moz road project - Anine Kilian

The African Development Bank has approved a $71.8m grant and $3.1m loan for Mozambique for the construction of a 70km asphalted road section in northern Mozambique. The project will open up an isolated part of the country and foster cross-border trade with Tanzania. The road segment, known as Muenda Negomano, represents a missing link on the transport corridor between Mozambique and Tanzania. "The project is key for traders and road users who transport goods between Tanzania and Mozambique. Following the completion, they will benefit from more direct and shorter journeys to the ports of Pemba, in Mozambique, and Mtwara, in Tanzania, effectively enhancing regional trade", AfDB chief transport engineer AYMEN OSMAN ALI said. The new road will extend the paved road recently built in Tanzania that was also financed by the AfDB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CGS okays Thyspunt for nuclear development - Megan van Wyngaardt

ESKOM yesterday welcomed the Council for Geoscience's confirmation that there are no geological, bedrock topography or seismological problems at the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site that could possibly disqualify the area for the construction of a nuclear installation. In Nov., a report by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Professor MAARTEN DE WIT threatened to derail the utility's plans to expand nuclear power generation, when he noted that canyons in the bedrock would need to be secured. DE WIT also said there could be a risk of surge storms and tsunamis. However, ESKOM said it comprehensively studies these risks via extensive data collection designed to estimate regional uplift and deformation rates, earthquake potential, geological faults, marine terrace, fault corridor studies and trenching. The CGS said it had undertaken various geoscientific investigations over the past two decades to assess the suitability of several coastal localities for the development of nuclear power plants. "Based on the

Civil construction confidence takes nosedive as year closes - Megan van Wyngaardt

The FNB/BER Civil Confidence Index fell by 17 index points to 35 in Q4. Barring Q1 this year, when the index sat at 28, confidence is at its lowest since the start of 2012. The fall means that 65% of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions, with the lower confidence resulting from deteriorating growth in construction activity as well as keener competition. Despite the deterioration in their fortunes, civil contractors expect some improvement in activity next quarter. This is somewhat supported by new demand which, although reasonably high, is below its five-year average. "This was a perfect storm", FNB senior economic analyst JASON MUSCAT said, adding that the weaker activity, as well as increased tendering price competition took its toll on overall profitability. "While it is important to take note of respondents' expectations, the underlying economic fundamentals do not suggest a much-improved civil construction sector soon", MUSCAT noted. This news brief represents a summa

Transnet appoints Ngqura liquid bulk terminal operator - Natasha Odendaal

TRANSNET NATIONAL PORTS AUTHORITY has selected OILTANKING GRINDROD CALULO as the preferred bidder to plan, fund, build, own, maintain and operate a new liquid bulk handling facility at the Port of Ngqura in Port Elizabeth. OTGC, which is expected to start the 28-month construction of the facility in Sep. 2017, is planning commissioning during June or July 2019, with an operational target of Aug. 2019. The first phase will deliver 158 000m² of storage capacity for refined products, including petroleum, diesel, jet fuel, illuminated paraffin and liquid petroleum gas, with yearly throughput of 1.25m cubic metres received by vessel and distributed by road. Future phases will expand storage capacity by 550 000 cubic metres, which will be available for third-party storage. The construction phase is expected to create 500 jobs, peaking at 300 during mid-construction, with a permanent staff complement of 50. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newmont expects to book significant Q4 impairment charge - Henry Lazenby

NEWMONT MINING yesterday said it expects to book a noncash impairment charge of $1bn-$1.2bn during Q4 due to rising costs related to the closure plan of its Yanacocha mine in Peru. In a filing to the US SEC yesterday, the company said that after reviewing the mine's closure plan as part of the requirement to submit an updated closure plan to Peruvian regulators every five years, management expects to record an increase to the asset retirement obligation at Yanacocha of between $400m and $500m during Q4. The increase to the asset retirement obligation is mainly owing to higher estimated future water treatment costs, earthworks, demolition and related support activities. Due to the changes to the updated Yanacocha closure plan and related increases in estimated future closure costs, NEWMONT has determined that it is required to assess Yanacocha's long-lived assets for impairment. The mine poured first gold in 1993 and is currently near the end of its mine life. This news brief represents a summary of the

Codelco sees copper averaging $2.40/lb in 2017 - Reuters

Chilean state-owned miner CODELCO yesterday said it conservatively sees copper prices averaging $2.40/lb in 2017. That is higher than Chilean state copper commission COCHILCO's recent price forecasts of an average $2.15/lb in 2016 and $2.20/lb in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa reports fatality at Bokoni - Creamer Media Reporter

ATLATSA RESOURCES yesterday reported a fatality at the Brakfontein shaft of its Bokoni mine. The employee, a miner's assistant, was fatally injured last week in what the company described as a water-related incident. No other workers were injured. A Department of Mineral Resources investigation is currently under way, while ATLATSA institutes its own internal audit and safety procedures to take the "necessary remedial actions". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AMCU blasts Zuma over Marikana - ANA

AMCU president JOSEPH MATHUNJWA yesterday blasted President JACOB ZUMA for announcing the implementation of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's recommendations without consulting affected families and LONMIN mine workers. MATHUNJWA said ZUMA and his office never consulted relevant stakeholders on Marikana. "This is failing the affected families, the President should have consulted all parties through his office and put forward his proposal, allow everyone to sleep over that and then come back to him with their input... but that did not happen". The Presidency on Sunday announced that government was ready to pay compensation for the victims of the Aug. 2012 Marikana massacre. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria discloses $7.2bn of unrecorded debts after audit - Chijioke Ohuocha

Nigeria's government has found unrecorded debts of 2.2tn naira left over from the previous administration, which turned up after an audit aimed at improving transparency, it said in a tweet yesterday. The debts were owed to contractors, oil marketers, exporters and electricity distribution companies, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said on Sunday. They will be settled by issuing a 10-year promissory note. The debts amount to 2.3% of Nigeria's GDP, analysts at ECOBANK said. Nigeria has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 16.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF halves Moz growth, policy adjustment needed for aid - Manuel Mucari

The IMF cut its 2016 growth forecast for Mozambique by nearly half yesterday, saying it would require fiscal policy adjustments to pave the way for financial assistance and a recovery programme. The Fund and other donors suspended aid earlier this year after the emergence of loans that were not approved by parliament or disclosed publicly, and which the IMF yesterday said amounted to $1.4bn. In a statement after aid talks with government officials on Tuesday, the lender said it now expected economic growth of 3.4% compared with a 6.6% forecast in June. "The outlook remains challenging", the Fund said, adding that total public debt had increased to "distressed levels" in 2016 due to the addition of the previously undisclosed loans. A medium-term budget plan for the next three years, posted on the Finance Ministry's website, slashed the government's own growth estimate for 2016 to 3.9% from 4.5% previously. The document said the budget deficit, projected at 11% of GDP for this year, would narrow to 8.2% by

IMF says perceptions of weakening governance to weigh on SA growth - Stella Mapenzuaswa

Global and domestic factors, including perceptions of weakening governance and rising uncertainty regarding policy direction are likely to weigh on SA's economic growth in 2017, the IMF said yesterday. However, in a statement following a visit to the country, the Fund said that improved electricity supply would help the economy and noted that wage agreements had been reached with limited strike action. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana c.bank keeps lending rate unchanged - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Botswana's central bank left its benchmark lending rate at 5.5% yesterday, saying the outlook for price stability remained positive. "The current state of the economy and both the domestic and external economic outlook, including the inflation forecast, suggest that the prevailing monetary policy stance is consistent with maintaining inflation within the Bank's medium-term objective range of 3-6%", the central bank said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 14/12/2016

At 07h57 on 14 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.60 ZAR/EUR 14.47 ZAR/GBP 17.22 Gold 1160.07 Platinum 935.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.05 All Share 50839.25

Trump to pick ExxonMobil CEO as US secretary of state - Demetri Sevastopulo

DONALD TRUMP is poised to name REX TILLERSON, CEO of EXXONMOBIL, as his secretary of state, ignoring criticism that the oil and gas man is too close to Russian president VLADIMIR PUTIN and the Kremlin. TRUMP yesterday tweeted that he would formally unveil his choice for the position later today. US media reported that he had decided on TILLERSON following a messy search that saw everyone from DAVID PATRAEUS to MITT ROMNEY paraded publicly through Trump tower ahead of inteviews with the president-elect. In appointing TILLERSON, TRUMP is maintaining his preference for officials with no executive experience in government. TILLERSON will work closely with JAMES MATTIS, the retired general chosen to head the Pentagon, and MICHAEL FLYNN, the national security adviser. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's demonetisation hits De Beers sales - Nicholas Megaw

India's demonetisation programme hit sales at DE BEERS in its latest sale cycle. DE BEERS CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said trade in lower value rough diamonds is suffering from a temporary slowdown due to the policy, which saw the withdrawal of more than 80% of the value of cash circulating in India. Sales in DE BEERS' latest cycle were still significantly higher than last year, when the diamond industry was blighted by problems of over-supply and weak demand, but declined by 12% compared to the prior cycle this year. Indian PM NARENDRA MODI scrapped 500 and 1 000 rupee notes in a bid to stop counterfeiting and clamp down on India's black economy, but the move has created a shortage of cash which is affecting businesses across the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil demand to outstrip supply next year on OPEC cuts - IEA - David Sheppard

The global oil market will move into deficit as soon as H1 2017 if OPEC and other oil producers successfully executive the global supply pact agreed in recent days. The International Energy Agency said the planned output cuts could result in demand outstripping supply by as much as 600 000 bpd. The Agency's closely watched monthly report is the first major assessment of the oil market's supply demand balance since OPEC first agreed to reduce production on Nov. 30. Previously the agency had forecast the oil market would not move into deficit until H2 2017 at the earliest, with the prospect of the market remaining in surplus for the fourth straight year. The IEA said it was not forecasting how much OPEC and non-OPEC countries would actually cut by, but basing its assessment on the supply targets announced. Many analysts think full compliance with the proposed curbs is unlikely. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bushveld Minerals invests in Namibian tin mine - Megan van Wyngaardt

BUSHVELD MINERALS plans to acquire, via subsidiary GREENHILLS RESOURCES, an interest in the Uis tin project in Namibia. GREENHILLS will acquire a 49% stake in DAWNMIN AFRICA INVESTMENTS, which holds 85% of the Uis project, from a consortium of Namibian shareholders. The project is one of the largest undeveloped opencast hard rock tin deposits in the world and has a history of significant tin mining. It comprises three mining licences. Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, GREENHILLS will conduct due diligence on Uis up to Mar. 31 2017. If a successful outcome is attained, GREENHILLS intends to acquire the initial 49% shareholding for a consideration equal to 41m ordinary shares in BUSHVELD MINERALS, or £65 000. The proposed acquisition is subject to regulatory agreements, including a share purchase agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe to release Kamoa-Kakula PEA this week - Natasha Odendaal

The preliminary economic assessment detailing the initial options available to IVANHOE MINES to begin its copper mining operations in the DRC is expected to be finalised this week. The independent PEA of the Kakula and Kamoa deposits aims to establish the economic parameters of a potential 4mt/y mining operation at Kakula, a JV between IVANHOE and ZIJIN MINING GROUP. The engineering team at the Kamoa-Kakula copper project expected to shortly finalise and issue the report, IVANHOE executive chair ROBERT FRIEDLAND said today. The deposits boast combined indicated mineral resources of 944mt, grading 2.83% copper and contain 58.9bn pounds of 1% copper cutoff grade ore, and a minimum thickness of 3 m. The asset also has inferred mineral resources of 286mt, grading 2.31% copper and containing 14.6bn pounds of copper. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BSGR demands compensation from Rio over Simandou battle - Tom Burgis

RIO TINTO faces further fallout from revelations that it made a suspect $10.5m consultancy payment as part of a battle over African mining rights after rival BSG RESOURCES demanded compensation for losses it said ran to billions of dollars. BSGR, the mining arm of Israeli billionaire BENY STEINMETZ's business empire, yesterday wrote to RIO saying it would bring a lawsuit in London's High Court if its demands for compensation in relation to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea were not met by Jan. 3. RIO said its laywers will respond to the letter in due course and will defend itself robustly should BSGR ultimately bring the claim to court. The battle over Simandou dates back to 2008 when then Guinean dictator LANSANA CONTE stripped RIO of the rights to the northern half of the deposit and handed them to BSGR. But after veteran opposition leader ALPHA CONDE assumed the presidency in 2010, RIO regained favour. In 2011, RIO payd $700m to resolve its dispute with the government and secure its claim to the

IMF denies it is trying to force more austerity in Greece - Jim Brunsden

Senior IMF officials have rejected claims that the Fund is seeking to impose more austerity on Greece. In a blog post published yesterday, IMF European director POUL THOMSEN and chief economist MAURICE OBSTFELD say that their main worries are that Greece is pursuing policies that are "unfriendly to growth" and that country's debt is "highly unsustainable". The post lays bare the gulf between eurozone and IMF visions of what the Greek bailout programme should look like. Recent talks have "spurred some misinformation about the role and views of the IMF", the officials said. "We have not changed our view that Greece does not need more austerity at this time". Eurogroup head JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM last week said the IMF was looking for "serious structural reforms" before it would consider signing up to the programme. At the centre of the split is a deep-rooted belief in the IMF that budget surplus targets set for Greece under the terms of last year's bailout deal are unrealistically tough and harmful to growth

Italian GDP growth to fall below 1% over next two years - Mehreen Khan

Italy's economy will struggle to achieve growth above 1% over the next two years in the aftermath of renewed political and financial instability, according to STANDARD & POOR's. S&P expects real GDP growth to fall below an average of 1% over 2016-2018. The forecasts are in line with the European Commission, which expects Italian growth to average 0.8% over the next two years. Italy's economy has long suffered from low growth and high debt, with its central government liabilities above 130% of GDP. The IMF forecasts that the economy will not reach its pre-crisis size for another decade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China real estate investment softens as sales growth slows - Hudson Lockett

Real estate investment in China for the year ended Nov. grew 6.5%, a drop of 0.1 percentage points and marking the first deceleration since July's fall of 0.8 percentage points, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics. That suggests domestic investors are less keen to pump money into property markets than previously, if only just. The move also tracks with a construction sub-index of China's official PMI that dipped 1.4 percentage points last month - albeit to a still-elevated level of 60.4%. Restrictions on property purchases in particularly hot real estate markets throughout China also appear to be hitting home. Sales growth for new housing in the first 11 months of 2016 came to 1.36bn m², a y/y rise of 24.3% and a drop of 2.5 percentage points from the year ended Oct. In value terms sales totalled Rmb10.25tn, reflecting growth of 37.5% for the period and a fall of 3.7 percentage points. Both growth rates came in at their lowest for the year to date and likely portend a drop in the price a

UK govt cuts Lloyds Bank stake below 7% - Nicholas Megaw

The UK Treasury has hit another milestone in its efforts to offload its remaining stake in LLOYDS BANKING GROUP, reducing its shareholding below 7%. The government confirmed this morning it sold a further 758 386 173 shares in recent days, leaving it with 6.9% of the bank's shares. In Oct., chancellor PHILIP HAMMOND ditched plans to offer the public cut-price shares in the bank, instead choosing to gradually drip-feed shares into the market via a "trading plan". The Treasury last month said it had recouped £17bn in public funds from the original £20.3bn pumped into LLOYDS during the financial crisis. The latest tranche of shares sold were worth some £465.7m at yesterday's closing price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual launches share offering - Mehreen Khan

OLD MUTUAL will sell 13m shares as it ploughs on with a complete break-up of the group. The group announced the offering of its ordinary shares as well as the repurchase of 6m shares via its US asset management arm on Tuesday. The proceeds from both share offerings will be used for "general corporate purposes". OLD MUTUAL WEALTH sells a variety of wealth and asset management products in the UK and Italy. It manages £119bn for clients and last year made profits of £307m. OLD MUTUAL is selling down its 66% stake in OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, worth around $1.1bn. The company said it would continue to reduce its holdings in "an orderly manner which balances value, cost, time, and risk". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/12/2016

At 11h09 on 13 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.59 ZAR/EUR 14.43 ZAR/GBP 17.24 Gold 1159.36 Platinum 927.50 Brent Crude Oil 55.69 All Share 50549.68

Asahi to buy SABMiller brands for R106bn - Paul Jarvis

Japan's ASAHI BREWERIES agreed to buy SABMILLER's European assets from AB INBEV for Y900bn, Nikkei reported on its website today. AN announcement is due as soon as this afternoon, the business publication reported. ASAHI shares fell after the Nikkei report, declining as much as 6.4%, the biggest intraday drop since Jun. 24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zwane urged Nedbank to keep Guptas as clients - Colin McClelland

NEDBANK said Mineral Resources Minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE urged the bank to reconsider its decision to sever ties with companies tied to the GUPTA family. NEDBANK in a letter to OAKBAY INVESTMENTS dated Apr. 7 said a continued relationship with the GUPTA-controlled company would "create material business risks that could pose significant reputational risks", according to an affidavit filed in the Pretoria High Court by CEO MIKE BROWN yesterday. It gave OAKBAY 30 days to find alternative bankers. BROWN agreed to meet ZWANE in May as the minister had been appointed to head an inter-ministerial committee that also included Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN and Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT to probe why the banks stopped doing business with the GUPTAS. ZWANE told BROWN that the finance and labour ministers were aware of the meeting and had mandated him to proceed in their absence. "The overall impression I came away with was that the purpose of the meeting was to determine whether there was a co-ordinated dec

Barclays sells off French retail division - AFP

BARCLAYS yesterday announced the sale of its French retail division in a move which marks its exit from continental European retail banking. BARCLAYS said it has signed an agreement to sell the unit to private equity firm ANACAP FINANCIAL PARTNERS for an undisclosed amount, having already revealed in Apr. that the two groups were in exclusive talks. The French division comprises a network of 74 retail branches, a life insurance business, wealth and investment management, and brokerage operations. BARCLAYS will continue to operate its corporate and investment banking businesses in France. ANACAP specialises in the European financial services sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim orders SA banks to reduce transaction charges - Memory Mataranyika

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was forced to slash bank charges on Sunday after aggrieved banking customers and activists embarked on a bank fees must fall campaign. The central bank has asked banks in the country to reduce bank charges in line with cash shortages afflicting the economy. The move comes after aggrieved depositors started a social media campaign with the hashtag #BankFeesMustFall on Thursday. Posting on Twitter, lawyer and activist FADZAY MAHERE said she had "met with a team of lawyers prepared to drive a class action against the banks to challenge the grossly unreasonable, extortionate bank charges", among other issues. "We are assembling a class of litigants from various banks to drive the suit." In response, the RBZ has not ruled that cash withdrawal charges be lowered. The new ATM cash withdrawal charges are as follows: 50c for $50 and $5 for $500, while OTC withdrawals from banking halls are charged at 25c for $20, 63c for $50 and $2.50 for $200. This news brief represents a summary

Controversial cybersecurity bill gets Cabinet approval - Gareth van Zyl

Cabinet has given the green light to a cybercrimes and cybersecurity bill that has sparked criticism over its potential to curb a free internet. Cabinet said it had approved the bill which seeks "combatting cybercrime, establishing capacity to deal with cybersecurity and protecting critical information infrastructures". The bill creates about 50 new offences for crimes such as hacking, using financial information to commit an offence, unlawful interception of data, computer related forgery, extortion, terrorist activity and distribution of 'harmful' data messages. The bill further gives the SAPS and State Security Agency powers to investigate, search, access and seize the likes of computers, databases or networks, provided they have a search warrant. Cabinet said the bill "contributes towards building safer communities as envisaged in the National Development Plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stor-Age acquires Storage RSA - Anine Kilian

STOR-AGE has acquired the entire issued share capital of STORAGE RSA, through its wholly-owned subsidiary ROELAND STREET INVESTMENTS. It also has acquired the shareholders' loan claims against STORAGE RSA. The board has made significant progress with respect to the proposed acquisition by STOR-AGE of 100% of the shares in, and shareholders' loan claims against, Units 1-4 Somerset West Business Park. The deals are in line with STOR-AGE's strategy of pursuing value-added acquisitions and strengthening the group's position as a premium South African self-storage brand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South Sudan in talks with India to revive closed oil blocks - Ajoy K Das

The government of South Sudan has initiated talks with India to revive oil blocks closed in the wake of a civil war in 2013. During preliminary talks between government representatives of the two countries, South Sudan offered compensation to ONGC VIDESH for the period that the blocks were closed. However, Indian government officials aweare of the talks have said that key aspects relating to the current law and order situation in South Sudan and the security environment of ONGC personnel were yet to be discussed. Any offer to revive the assets would involve a new security protocol before Indian personnel could be redeployed, the official pointed out. ONGC VIDESh holds a 25% equity interest in the GREATER PIONEER OPERATING COMPANY, which produced 37 000bpd and 25% in Block 5A which produced 4 600bpd. The total Indian investment in the oil and gas sector in Sudan was pegged at $2.5bn at the time when Sudan and South Sudan were partitioned in 2011. This news brief represents a summary of the original art

Mpact revenue negatively affected by financial performance - Anine Kilian

The factors that negatively impacted on the interim results of MPACT GROUP for the HY to end-Jun. continue to adversely affect the company for the year to end-Dec., the company said yesterday. These factors include lower sales of containerboard as owing to certain MPACT customers acquiring their own paper mills, a higher effective tax rate, higher finance costs, an dlosses incurred at MPACT POLYMERS. The company has also initiated the closure of its plastics manufacturing operation in Zimbabwe. MPACT expects the charge to the income statement relating to the closure will be an after-tax amount of around R40m. For the FY to end-Dec. 2015, the Zimbabwe manufacturing operator reported a turnover of R87m and an after-tax loss of R3m. In light of the above, MPACT advised shareholders that the company expected its basic EPS and HEPS for the FY to be at least 30% lower y/y at 110.10cps and 109.7cps, respectively, when compared with reported EPS and HEPS of 366.9cps and 365.8cps respectively y/y. This news br

Echo Polska concludes Polish acquisition - Anine Kilian

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES has concluded a preliminary agreement to acquire 100% of the equity to all rental income derived from leases concluded by tenants occupying premises in Poland's Park Handlowy Zakopianka shopping centre. The centre forms part of a retail park located in the southern part of Krakow, with a catchment area of 1.3m inhabitants. The acquired equity will be purchased for an aggregate acquisition cost of €54m. The vendor of the equity in the acquired entity is ESISO 3 NETHERLANDS HOLDING. The deal is expected to close on Apr. 20 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Regulator approves expansion of Antofagasta's Centinela mine - Reuters

ANTOFAGASTA yesterday said environmental regulators approved a proposed expansion of its Centinela mine in northern Chile, opening the door for a $4.35bn investment by the Chilean copper miner. The expansion project would double Centinela's copper output to over 400 000t/y. "With environmental approval, we will be completing the engineering studies in the coming months", ANTOFAGASTA CEO IVAN ARRIAGADA said. "We hope to submit this project to the board of ANTOFAGASTA in 2018 once these studies are done. The final authorisation to bring this project about will depend on the required investment... and the possibility of securing financing for its construction, aspects which we are currently working on". The expansion would extend the life of the mine to 2056. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coal demand growth to stall as appetite wanes - IEA - Natasha Odendaal

As appetite for alternative energy sources gains momentum, growth in global coal demand is expected to stall over the next five years, the International Energy Agency's latest Medium-term Coal Market report shows. However, while the net forecast shows coal's share of the global power generation mix contracting from 41% in 2014 to 36% by 2021, driven, in part, by lower demand from China and the US, the world remains highly dependent on coal. Coal will remain the world's number-one fuel for generating electricity, producing steel and making cement. Coal currently provides almost 30% of the world's primary energy, which will decline to 27% by 2021. It is also responsible for 45% of all energy-related carbon emissions and is a significant contributor to other types of pollution. The IEA forecast for Chinese coal demand shows a very slow decline, with chemicals being the only sector in which coal demand will grow. Another significant decline in coal consumption is expected in the US for 2016 following a 15%

DiamondCorp tender exceeds reserve prices - Megan van Wyngaardt

DIAMONDCORP has sold 5 116ct of diamonds recovered at the Lace mine prior to the LACE DIAMOND MINES subsidiary being placed in business rescue last month. The miner sent 5 129.9ct to Johannesburg for tender, but the number of carats offered for sale was lower after boiling losses. The parcel comprised RoM output with five stones larger than 10ct, the largest stone being a 19.43ct nongen diamond. All reserve prices were exceeded and the diamonds were sold for $590 744.86, or $115.46/ct. All sales proceeds have been received and, as a result of this sale, the average carat value achieved for the year has fallen to $146/ct, 11% lower than the $164/ct forecast average. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Port Hedland Nov. iron ore exports to China down 4% - Reuters

November iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal fell to 33.7mt from 35.03mt in Oct., port data showed. Overall iron ore shipments declined to 41.2mt from 41.6mt in Oct., according to the Pilbara Ports Authority. Port Hedland is used by BHP BILLITON and FORTESCUE METALS GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coal price may force Eskom to review coal buying strategy - David McKay

Pressure is growing on ESKOM to change its coal procurement strategy in which it plays more directly in the spot market buying smaller volumes of the fuel so that it can benefit from quick-fire price changes. Several JSE-listed coal companies have said the improvement in the export market price for coal is giving the industry more options than just supplying ESKOM. SOUTH32 Africa head MIKE FRASER said: "The reality might be dawning at ESKOm that if they want to buy at the right price, then they will have to secure much larger volumes over a longer period of time". This was partly owing to the doubling in the price of thermal coal y/y but there were other factors as well. KEATON ENERGY CEO MANDI GLAD last week said that lender reluctance to finance ESKOM-related business would see her company look to dedicate production from its new R300m Moabsvelden project to the export markets. Coal from the project was initially earmarked for ESKOM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF advises Zambia to delay re-financing $2.8bn of eurobonds - Chris Mfula

Zambia should delay its planned re-financing of $2.8bn worth of eurobonds until financing conditions improve, the IMF said yesterday. "We would caution the government not to tap into the international markets at this time", IMF country representative ALFREDO BALDINI said. The eurobonds were issued from 2012 to 2015, and the government planned to refinance them with longer-dated bonds at a lower cost, Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said last week. BALDINI cautioned that financing conditions "are pretty tight right now, and it will be very expensive". In fact, the bonds would only fall due in 2022, 2024 and 2025, so the government didn't need to rush into re-financing them, he added. Zambia issued a $750m eurobond in 2012, followed by a $1bn issue in 2014 and another worth $1.25bn last year, mainly for infrastructure projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda starts up first solar power plant in bid to tap renewables - Elias Biryabarema

Uganda yesterday started up its first grid-connected, 10MW solar power plant as the country moves to tap its renewable energy resources and expand electricity generation capacity. Funded by Norway, Germany, UK and the EU, the $19m plant was developed by ACCESS POWER and EREN RE, two energy sector investors based in Dubai and France respectively. The country generates about 850MW of electricity, mostly from hydro power dams. Officials have said they want to increase that capacity to 1 500MW by 2018 and are seeking foreign investors to develop the country's non-traditional energy sources. The plant, a vast field of around 32 600 photovoltaic panels, is located in Soroti and the energy generated will help power at least 40 000 homes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin promises housing plan after Zuma threatens to revoke licence - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

LONMIN is confident of submitting a plan to build workers' housing that meets government requirements, it said yesterday, after President JACOB ZUMA threatened to revoke its mining licence if it failed to do so. LONMIN's employee housing plan includes building apartments and converting crowded men-only hostels on mine property into bachelor apartments and family units. The company said it had completed the conversion of all hostels into 1 908 and 776 family units. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gordhan says economy recovering - Wendell Roelf

SA's economy is recovering, supported by improved electricity supply, easing drought and a depreciation of the real exchange rate among other factors, Finance Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN said yesterday. But he noted that macroeconomic stability was crucial to cushion the economy from potentially volatile capital flows in an uncertain global environment. "In terms of the numbers that we see, we believe we are in the process of recovering as an economy", GORDHAN told the NUMSA conference yesterday. Data showed last week that the economy had barely advanced, expanding b y 0.2% in Q3 as manufacturing contracted sharply. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 13/12/2016

At 08h05 on 13 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.62 ZAR/EUR 14.49 ZAR/GBP 17.26 Gold 1162.20 Platinum 930.00 Brent Crude Oil 55.64 All Share 50527.86

JSE withdraws appeal against 4AX - Sandile Mchunu

The JSE LTD on Friday withdrew its appeal on the award by the Financial Services Board of an exchange licence for 4 AFRICA EXCHANGE, a move that follows months of talks and which might encourage broader participation in South African equities investing. The decision would allow 4AX to start operating, ending a 22-month wait since its application to the FSB. 4AX CEO FAY MUKADDAM said: "We understand that the JSE aimed to promote the continuation of the high quality of South Africa's capital market. Co-operation with other market infrastructures forms part of the conditions of our licence award and we believe this level of open engagement contributes to our own service offering and the promotion of the broader financial markets". MUKADDAM in Aug. said the exchange was looking for companies with a market cap of more than R25m to list, but its target market was corporate entities with a market cap of R100m-R8bn. It intends to focus on trading in shares bought and sold OTC in mostly unregulated environments.

M&R shareholders approve disposal - Roy Cokayne

Shareholders in MURRAY & ROBERTS have approved the disposal of the company's southern African infrastructure and building businesses. M&R last month said it had sold this business to a consortium led by SOUTHERN PALACE GROUP for R314m. M&R on Friday said all the resolutions to give effect to the deal were passed by the requisite majority at a general meeting. The transaction excluded the company's investment in the BOMBELA CONCESSION COMPANY, BOMBELA CIVIL JV and BOMBELA OPERATING COMPANY. It also excludes the building business in the Middle East, where current projects were expected to be completed by Dec. 2017 and no new projects were being pursued. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mara Delta first to use dual trading - Roy Cokayne

MARA DELTA has become the first company to use the dual trading facility on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. The company on Friday said its shares would from today be traded in its primary currency of US dollars as well as in the Mauritian rupee. MARA DELTA said the ability to trade the shares in the Mauritian currency would provide a broader base of investors by allowing the general public in Mauritius to trade in MARA DELTA shares without the requirement to hold US dollar facilities. The company said its shares would initially be quoted at the dollar trading price converted to Mauritian rupees at the prevailing dollar/rupee exchange rates today, with market trading thereafter determining the ruling price. It expected that a minimum of 100 000 shares would be available for trade in Mauritian rupees on the first day of trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mondi appoints Fratto to board - Sandile Mchunu

MONDI on Friday announced the appointment of US national TANYA D FRATTO to its board of directors. FRATTO will assume the role of independent non-executive director with effect from Jan. 1. Analysts saw her appointment as a move to tap into her experience in the US, where MONDI has significant operations. FRATTO will commence her duties at the start of Jan. and will serve on various committees in the group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Employment grows 1% in Q3 - Lameez Omarjee

A total of 93 000 jobs were created in Q3, according to Statostics SA's latest quarterly employment report. This is growth of 1% y/y, while there has been an annual gain of 80 000 jobs or 0.9%. The community and social services industry grew jobs by 78 000. The mining industry only contributed 2 000 jobs, but the sector booked 16 000 job losses for the year. Stats SA said manufacturing lost 3 000 jobs in Q3 y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 12/12/2016

At 11h54 on 12 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.87 ZAR/EUR 14.68 ZAR/GBP 17.45 Gold 1154.43 Platinum 915.00 Brent Crude Oil 57.07 All Share 51136.07

Rolfes forecasts higher profit - IOL Reporter

ROLFES expects profits for the HY to end-Dec. 2016 to gain at least 25% y/y. The company today said HEPS will be at least 25% higher y/y, which translates to more than 35.4cps. EPS will also be 25% higher at more than 35.4cps. ROLFES said its focus over the past five months has been to increase market share, better manage working capital, improve the operating profit margin performance and increase return on capital invested. Interim results will be published on Feb. 20. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin threatened over slow response to Marikana - Kevin Crowley

The government at the weekend threatened to remove LONMIN's mining licence for its failure to build houses for its workers quickly enough. LONMIN agreed to improve accommodation after the Markiana massacre of 2012, but progress has been "slow", the office of President JACOB ZUMA said yesterday. Pretoria will consider taking tougher action to make sure the company fulfills its commitments. While LONMIN has converted all its hostels into 2 700 family units and apartments, this was a condition of its social and labour plan, agreed in the mid-2000s. The company only recently completed a housing project of 325 units, which are not yet occupied. Another phase of the project is due to be completed by the end of 2017. LONMIN has noted the statement and is working with all levels of government to find "a lasting solution that will facilitate the development of different living conditions", HR head ABEY KGOTLE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Watchdog probes property funds' pricing structures - Aime Williams

Property funds will have their pricing structures probed as part of an ongoing review by the City watchdog. Several large open-ended property funds holding some £15bn of retail investors' money were forced to suspend trading amid the volatile market conditions immediately following the UK's vote to leave the EU. Financial Conduct Authority CEO ANDREW BAILEY said the suspensions were "sensible" but that he had questions over the way pricing discounts were applied in the wake of the crisis. Many of the funds chose to change the price of the fund before suspending, applying a discount and offering investors less money on exit than they bought the fund for. ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT applied the heaviest discount as it battled to allow investors the freedom to redeem their cash. BAILEY said the regulator was looking to produce a discussion paper on open-ended property funds. "It's not a consultation... The subtlety is that it's about putting questions on the table to get feedback on them". BAILEY said barr

China eyes new trade war over market economy status - Shawn Donnan

China is gearing up for a new round of trade battles with the US, EU and others after failing to secure widespread recognition for a bid to be viewed as a market economy under WTO rules. Beijing has been pushing for a provision that allows trading partners to use a special formula to calculate punitive tariffs for non-market economies in anti-dumping cases to expire with Sunday's 15th anniversary of its WTO membership. But that expiry is now in dispute. The move has become increasingly contentious after cheap Chinese steel flooded global markets and sparked a wave of politically sensitive anti-dumping cases. As a result, China is being forced to challenge new dumping cases brought against it in the US and other jurisdictions in a process that could take years and prove a major irritant in Beijing's trade relations with the world. The US on Friday imposed punitive anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines, imports into the US of which were worth mroe than $1.1bn last year. It also announced t

Eni sells 30% stake in Egyptian gas field to Rosneft - Nicholas Megaw

ENI has agreed a $1.125bn deal to sell a 30% stake in its giant Egyptian gas field Zohr to ROSNEFT as the Italian group continues efforts to monetise the recently-discovered field. Last month the Italian oil major sold a 10% stake in Zohr to BP. ENI said ROSNEFT has an option to buy a further 5% stake on the same terms at a later date. The deal also provides for the reimbursement of $450m in past expenditures. Production at Zohn is expected to begin by the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Philips to sell controlling stake in Lumileds - Duncan Robinson

PHILIPS will sell an 80.1% stake in its LED business to a consortium led by APOLLO GLOBAL for $1.5bn - roughly half of what it had agreed in a previous deal that was blocked by US regulators. The Dutch group had agreed to sell the stake to a group of Chinese investors in a deal wroth $2.8bn in 2015, but this was blocked by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US over security concerns. "With this transaction, we will be completing an important phase of the transformation of our portfolio and I am satisfied that in the APOLLO managed funds we have found the right owner for LUMILEDS", ROYAL PHILIPS CEO FRANS VAN HOUTEN said. LUMILEDS had been run as a standalone entity since 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Turkish GDP contracts 1.8% in Q3 - Mehreen Khan

The Turkish economy contracted at its worst pace since 2009 in Q3, with GDP falling by 1.8% amid rising inflation and a record slump in the lira. The Q3 figures are far worse then forecast, with economists expecting growth to fall by 0.3% in the quarter to end-Sep. The contraction was driven by a 7% drop in exports and a 3.2% fall in consumer spending. Imports rose 4.3%. The 1.8% contraction compared to an upward revision for the first two quarters of the year, which saw the economy expand by 4.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Monte dei Paschi makes last-ditch push to raise €5bn - Rachel Sanderson

The board of MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA is making one last-ditch attempt to raise €5bn before the end of the year to stave off a state bail-out of the world's oldest surviving lender which will force losses on retail investors holding up to €2.4bn of bonds. The decision by the board and CEO MARCO MORELLI comes after the ECB rejected a request by Italy to give the bank until mid-Jan. to raise €5bn in new capital. MPS had argued that political turmoil unleashed by the resignation of PM MATTEO RENZI following his defeat in a referendum last Sunday made it near impossible to close a private deal before Christmas. PAOLO GENTILONI, the former foreign minister, was picked to be PM yesterday, leaving respected finance minister PIER CARLO PADOAN in his role to deal with the bank crisis. Bankers do not rule out that PADOAN will have to lead a government bail-out of MPS, forcing losses on bondholders before the end of the year. In a statement, MPS said it would seek new private capital by reopening a debt-for-

India's industrial output falls in Oct. - Jessica Dye

October was a difficult month for India's industrial sector, with industrial output posting a surprise 1.9% y/y contraction after rebounding the prior month. Economists had expected India's factory output to gain about 1%, but the Central Statistics Office said manufacturing output declined 2.4% y/y, while mining output dropped 1.1% y/y, despite improving 12% from a month earlier. Electricity was a bright spot, swinging to a 1.1% increase from a year earlier. The loss comes after last month's data saw India's industrial output ticking up 0.7% following two straight months of contraction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Greece can return to bond markets before Aug. 2018 - Jim Brunsden

The head of the eurozone's bail-out fund, KLAUS REGLING, expects Greece to return to debt markets "well before" the end of its economic rescue programme in Aug. 2018. REGLING on Friday said Greece was not a "bottomless pit", with the Syriza government making strides to overhaul its economy as part of its three-year €86bn rescue deal. The country is "now back on track, and I expect it to be able to return to the bond market well before the end of the programme... provided that it implements the necessary reforms". His comments echo plans by Greek Finance Minister EUCLID TSAKALOTOS to carry out a small bond issue in H2 2017 to test investor demand for Greek debt. Government officials have also indicated that they expect a full return to financial markets in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil rallies on output cut pledge from non-OPEC countries - Hudson Lockett

Oil prices are riding high in Asia after a weekend agreement by non-OPEC oil-producing countries to trim output for the first time in 15 years. Brent crude was up 4.2% at $56.62/barrel while WTI had risen 4.5% to $53.79 this morning. They had risen as much as 6.6% and 5.8%, respectively. The jumps follow an agreement between OPEC members and a consortium of other major oil producers led by Russia for the latter group to reduce output by 588 000 bpd. Saudi Arabia had previously stated the Nov. 30 OPEC deal to cut 32.5m bpd was contingent upon output cuts from non-OPEC members. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US consumer confidence jumps to near two-year high - Wataru Suzuki

The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index rose to its highest level in nearly two years, in a sign of high expectations of President-elect DONALD TRUMP's pledges to boost economic growth. The preliminary index rose to 98.0 from November's 93.8, surpassing expectations for a gain to 94.1. It was just shy of the 98.1 level marked in Jan. 2015. "The surge was largely due to consumers' initial reactions to TRUMP's surprise victory", Surveys of Consumers chief economist RICHARD CURTIN said. The report comes after the Conference Board's consumer confidence index, another closely watched indicator, hit a post-recession high in Nov. TRUMP's victory in the Nov. 8 election has already sent Wall Street's main stock indices to a series of all-time highs. Some observers are cautious about whether improved sentiment is translating into higher sales for retailers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Coca-Cola's Kent to step down as CEO in 2017 - Jessica Dye

COCA-COLA's COO and president JAMES QUINCEY will replace MUHTAR KENT as CEO on May 1, the company said on Friday. KENT, who has spent the last eight years as the company's CEO and chairperson, will continue on as the company's chair, the announcement said. KENT on Friday said QUINCEY's "vast industry knowledge, expertise with our brands, values and systems, coupled with an acute understanding of evolving consumer tastes, make him the ideal candidate to effectively lead our company and bottling system". QUINCEY has been president and COO since Aug. 2015 and has held a number of roles at the company since joining in 1996, including leadership posts at divisions in Europe and Mexico. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US regulator advances AZ's application for cancer drug - Gonzalo Vina

The US FDA has accepted ASTRAZENECA's application to use its closely-watched new drug durvalumab to treat bladder cancer. The announcement is welcome news for the company just weeks after it restarted trials for the drug for new patients with head and neck cancer following some cases of bleeding. AZ has pinned hopes on durvalumab as a potential breakthrough treatment for several forms of cancer. BERENBERG BANK analyst ALISTAIR CAMPBELL expects sales for the drug and another treatment dubbed tremelimumab to peak at around $5bn/y. AZ currently has more than 30 durvalumab clinical trials in combination with other immuno-oncology agents and targeted therapies. Bladder cancer is the ninth-most common type of cancer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lula accused of influence peddling in Brazil's $4.5bn Saab fighter deal - Adam Samson

Former Brazilian president LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA and one of his sons have been accused by prosecutors of influence peddling in relation to a landmark $4.5bn SAAB GRIPEN fighter jet deal. Brazilian prosecutors accused LULA DA SILVA's son, LUIS CLAUDIO LULA DA SILVA of receiving nearly R$2.6m from a consultancy for promising to intervene to help persuade the government to buy the 36 GRIPEN fighters in 2013 and for their promised intervention in a separate matter. "Technical arguments [in favour of the jets]... became mere details compared with the importance of claimed proximity and friendship with federal public agents", the public prosecutor's office said. LULA DA SILVA's lawyers immediately rejected the accusations and said neither the former president nor his son knew anything about the fighter deal. They added that the payments to his son from the consultancy was for work that enabled the realisation of American football competitions in Brazil. This news brief represents a summary of the origina

Encouraging signs for Japan in machine orders, wholesale inflation data - Peter Wells

There are some encouraging signs for capital spending and inflation in Japan after some solid readings from a popular proxy for spending and producer prices, respectively. Core machine orders jumped 4.1% m/m in Oct., up from September's 3.3% drop and comfortably ahead of the average 1.1% advance forecast by economists. The y/y rate showed a 5.6% contraction, well down from September's 4.3% gain and worse than the 4.9% contraction expected. Analysts at CAPITAL ECONOMICS said this was partly due to a drop in the number of working days. A drop in foreign orders, of 35.3% y/y, was a major drag. Meanwhile, wholesale prices rose 0.4% m/m in Nov., up from a 0.1% contraction in Oct. and slightly ahead of expectations for a 0.3% gain. On a y/y basis, wholesale prices contracted 2.2%, an improvement from the 2.7% drop recorded in Oct. and a touch better than forecasts for a 2.3% contraction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atul Gupta wealthier than Johann Rupert - Lameez Omarjee

ATUL GUPTA is wealthier than RICHEMONT executive chair JOHANN RUPERT, according to the Business Times Rich List 2016, published yesterday. According to the Sunday Times, GUPTA is the seventh wealthiest South African and the top earning black businessman. His personal wealth is valued at R10.7bn, more than RUPERT's R10.6bn. GUPTA did not feature on the list last year as OAKBAY RESOURCES AND ENERGY was only listed in Nov. 2014. Billionaire CHRISTO WIESE topped the Rich List with R81bn, followed by GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG at R59.9bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Electric vehicles' share of market to grow rapidly, says IHS Markit - Irma Venter

Electric vehicles could make up 15%-35% of worldwide new vehicle sales in 2040, IHS MARKIT said last week. "The key question is whether we are approaching a transformative shift aking to the first decade of the twentieth century, when the internal combustion engine, cheap gasoline, bicycle technology and mass production combined to usher in the automotive age", IHS MARKIT vice-Chair Dr DANIEL YERGIN said. "Converging developments along multiple tracks are leading us to focus on this important question", YERGIN added. While electric vehicles constitute a tiny percentage of the world's vehicle sales and are just 1% of the on-road fleet today, sales in 2016 are up more than 1 000% since 2010 - a trend IHS expects to continue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale gets 10yr operating licence for Brazilian iron ore mine - Henry Lazenby

VALE has received a 10-year operating licence for its giant Garajas S11D project. Brazil's federal environment agency Ibama on Friday said VALE had fulfilled 16 specific conditions to operate the 90mt/y mine. Construction of the S11D mine and plant was 96% physically complete as of Oct. 30, and the hot commissioning was progressing well. A 110-wagon train was loaded with around 10 000t of product. The $14.4bn S11D project's start-up is slated for the end of 2016, with the first commercial shipment to take place in Jan. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petmin sees 2% sales rise, 3% production decline in Q3 - Ilan Solomons

PETMIN on Friday reported that its output of metallurgical anthracite for Q3 decreased by 3% y/y to 342 536t, but sales volumes increased by 2% y/y to 363 982t compared with 355 201t y/y. The company attributed this sales increase to a strong demand for its anthracite products. It further highlighted that energy coal output rose by 1% to 86 474t for the quarter, from 86 032t y/y. PETMIN noted that 55 920t of energy coal were sold during the quarter, compared with 85 190t y/y. Sales commitments had been received for 1.16mt of an estimated 1.5mt of anthracite sales expected for the year to end-Jun. 2017. "The remaining tonnes are under offer and confirmation of these sales is expected", the company added. As at end-Sep., the group had R164m cash on hand available and available banking facilities of R330m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye dips 20% on Stillwater deal - Justin Brown

SIBANYE GOLD's shares dropped nearly 20% on Friday as investors fretted that the company was paying too much when it announced it had agreed to acquire US PGMs miner STILLWATER MINING for about R30bn. Investors were also concerned about SIBANYE's plans to raise more than R10bn by issuing shares for cash to fund the deal. The company saw its market cap cut by 18% on Friday to R21bn before climbing to R22bn at the close of trade. It was valued nearly R26bn at Thursday's close. SIBANYE said the consideration represents a premium of 23% to STILLWATER's prior-day closing share price and 20% to the company's 20-day volume-weighted average closing share price. In New York, STILLWATER shares shot up 20% ahead of the US market opening on news of the takeover. The acquisition will be SIBANYE's biggest yet, and its first foreign purchase. One analyst said the Rustenburg platinum operations required a lot of work and SIBANYE should have sorted that operation out before looking at further acquisitions. This news

NECSA CEO reappointed for three more years - Phumzile Tshelane

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation on Friday announced that CEO PHUMZILE TSHELANE has had his contract extended for a further three years. The decision was taken by Cabinet. His reappointment was recommended by the NECSA board. TSHELANE has been running the SOE on a month-to-month contract basis for the past year. This situation arose because of disagreements between him and the previous board during 2015. The current board, which was appointed in Mar. 2016, is totally different in its composition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank acquires SnapScan maker - Nicola Mawson

STANDARD BANK has bought a majority stake in FIREPAY, the team behind SnapScan. In a statement on Friday, the lender said the deal - for an undisclosed sum - was "testament" to its commitment to innovation. FIREPAY was launched in 2013 and is an app-based alternative to carrying around cash or credit cards. A year after launch, FIREPAY, in partnership with STANDARD BANK, launched SnapScan to allow customers to pay for goods and services using only their mobile phone. SnapScan now has more than 32 000 merchants signed up, as well as what it calls a vast user network across SA. The lender said SnapScan will continue operating as normal, with the FIREPAY team staying on board to grow the product, so there will be no disruptions to its services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Debswana extends mining services contract - Oscar Nkala

Global mining and engineering services contractor THIESS has secured a 2-year extension of its mining services contract at the Jwaneng Mine, which is owned by DEBSWANA DIAMOND COMPANY. THIESS last week said the MAJWE MINING JV, in which it has 60% ownership, would continue providing mining services in Jwaneng until Dec. 2018. The new contract is worth A$370. DEBSWANA said the awarding of the contract reflected the abilities of the partnership with regards to the provision of flexible and sustainable solutions to clients. The other partners in the MAJWE JV are THIESS BOTSWANA, BASIL READ MINING and BOTHAKGA BURROW BOTSWANA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania, Dangote reach natural gas supply deal - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania and DANGOTE CEMENT of Nigeria have reached a deal on the supply of natural gas to the company's manufacturing plant in Tanzania after talks stalled over prices, President JOHN MAGUFULI said at the weekend. The $500m cement factory in the town of Mtwara runs on diesel generators and has sought government support to trim costs. But the talks had stalled with the state-run TANZANIA PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION saying the company was seeking "at-the-well prices". After meeting DANGOTE chair ALIKO DANGOTE, MAGUFULI blamed middlemen of interfering with supply plans and said the issue has now been resolved with gas supplies to be sold at a "reasonable" tariff. The president said DANGOTE "will now buy natural gas directly from the state-run TPDC instead of going through middlemen". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola does not need FX devaluation at present - Karin Strohecker

Angola does not need to devalue its currency at the moment but will work on measures to lessen the gap between the formal and informal exchange rates, central bank governor VALTER FILIPE DA SILVA said last week. The central bank currently quotes the kwanza at around 165/$, although it typically trades at much weaker levels on the black market. The kwanza devalued by more than 30% last year and in Jan. was allowed another 15% weakening to 155 after which it has slipped gradually further. The central bank kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged last month at 16%, citing slowing price increases. Inflation rose by 2.14% in Sep. m/m, but that was a slowdown from the more than 4% increase in July. Speaking about recent oil price rises, DA SILVA said it was more important for Angola to concentrate on overhauling state oil company SONANGOL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC blocks Tenke mine administrator appointment - Aaron Ross

The appointment of a temporary administrator to run the Tenke copper mine has been blocked by an appeals body, the mine said on Friday, removing a hurdle to a takeover by CHINA MOLYBDENUM. The Chinese firm in May agreed to pay $2.65bn for a 56% stake in the mine owned by FREEPORT-MCMORAN. However, state miner GECAMINES challenged the sale, saying its right to buy the stake was not respected, and called for a temporary administrator to be appointed. Tenke said the order appointing an administrator to run the mine for six months had been suspended by the General Inspectorate of Judicial and Prison Services last week "due to substantive irregularities in the legal process". GECAMINES declined to comment on Tenke's statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana diamond mine to retrench 450 workers - ANA

At least 450 miners will be retrenched next week at Karowe Diamond following a decision by owners LUCARA DIAMONDS to prematurely terminate a mining services contract with EQSTRA, a subsidiary of JSE-listed EXTRACT. The dispute between LUCARA and EQSTRA is likely to evolve into a legal challenge after a warning by the South African company said it would press for a repayment of damages arising from the termination of its contract, which was due to expire in 2020. Discussions to ensure that the new mining contractor due to take over from EQSTRA absorbed some of the 450 affected workers are underway to reduce job losses. More than 7 000 jobs have been lost following the closure of four major mine closures that have hit Botswana since Oct. 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats selling chrome interest - Creamer Media Reporter

IMPALA PLATINUM is disposing of its 65% stake in IMPALA CHROME, a chrome beneficiation operation that produces 200 000t of chrome concentrate a year by processing 4mt of tailings annually. IMPLATS said its stake will be sold in a competitive tender process. The operations, located at IMPLATS' Rustenburg mine, are operated by CHROME TRADERS PROCESSING, a 30% shareholder in IMPALA CHROME. The remaining 5% of IMPALA CHROME's shares are held by an SPV for certain land rights holders in the area surrounding the operation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aussie miners paid more than half of 2014/15 profits in tax - Esmarie Swanepoel

The Australian minerals industry faced an effective tax rate of 54.3% in 2014/15 - the highest burden for nearly a decade - new research by DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS has shown. The Annual Tax Survey, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia, showed that more than half of the industry's profits are paid to federal and state government. MCA deputy CEO DAVID BYERS noted that the tax ratio grew by 8% from 46.3% in the FY to Jun. 2015. The effective tax rate has increased markedly over the last three years and compares to an average rate of 44.4% over the eight years of survey data. No other sector contributes such a share of its profit to state and federal governments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye to acquire US platinum miner - Martin Creamer

SIBANYE GOLD has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common sotck of STILLWATER MINING COMPANY of the US for R30bn. The $18/share offer represents a premium of 23% to STILLWATER's prior day closing share price, and 20% to the company's 20-day volume-weighted average closing share price. STILLWATER's board has unanimously determined and resolved that the deal is advisable, fair to and in the best interests of STILLWATER and its shareholders, and has recommended that investors vote in favour of the deal. The deal is expected to enhance SIBANYE's asset base and create a globally competitive South African mining champion by adding to its portfolio two low-cost, low-risk, steady-state producing PGM mines. A PGM recycling operation is also part of the deal, along with the potential provision of further operational optimisation. SIBANYE's newly formed US holding company will merge into STILLWATER, with the latter becoming an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of SIBANYE. SIBANYE

SA's Q3 current acc deficit widens to 4.1% of GDP - Mfuneko Toyana

SA's current account deficit widened to 4.1% of GDP in Q3 2016 from a revised deficit of 2.9% in Q2, the SARB said today. Exports fell during the quarter, resulting in a trade deficit of R4bn compared with a revised surplus of R48bn in Q2. The central bank said the deficit in the current and trade accounts were due to weaker global demand for the country's goods. Fixed investments by companies decreased for a fourth consecutive quarter, declining 1% after a 6.8% fall in the prior quarter as private businesses in particular cut down on spending. The prolonged decline in real capex by private businesses - comprising nearly two-thirds of total capital investment - was driven by subdued economic conditions and low business confidence, the central bank noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo Republic oil output to reach 300 000 bpd in 2018 - Christian Elion

Congo Republic expects oil output to rise to around 300 000 bpd in 2018, up from some 250 000 bpd at present, partly due to a new deep offshore field due to come online next year, Oil Minister JEAN-MARC THYSTERE-TCHICAYA said yesterday. Moho Nord, the second project issued on the Moho Bilondo offshore licence, is due to begin producing oil in Mar. or Apr. 2017, the minister said. Oil accounts for around 65% of Congo Brazzaville's GDP. Moho Nord is expected to have production capacity of 140 000 bpd, according to operator TOTAL, which holds a 53.5% stake in the project. CHEVRON owns 31.5% with the remaining 15% held by Congo's state oil company SNPC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats gets sued - IOL Reporter

EASTERN PLATINUM today said HEBEI ZHONGHENG TIANDA PLATINUM COMPANY has filed a civil claim against it. EASTPLATS said HZT has filed a claim against it and several of its subsidiaries in the British Columbia Supreme Court because of an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement. This agreement dates back to Jun. 28 and was signed by the company's former management. The suit seeks, among other relief, to force EASTPLATS to comply with the purchase agreement, failing which HZT wants damages and costs. "The company intends to vigorously defend against the action and to refute many of the facts and allegations made in the claim", EASTPLATS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German trade surplus shrinks as exports drop 4% - Mehreen Khan

Germany suffered a hefty fall in exports in Oct., pushing down its bumper trade surplus. The country's exports fell by 4.1% y/y in oct. while imports shrank 2.2%, helping to bring down the trade surplus to €19.3bn from €24.4bn previously. Analysts had expected the surplus to come in at €22bn. Exports to eurozone countries dropped 4.1% and 4.5% across the wider 28-member bloc in Oct. y/y. Germans also saw their imports from the eurozone fall by 2.6% to 1.9% in the EU. Measured on a m/m basis, exports inched up 0.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sumitomo swoops on Fyffes - Katie Martin

Tropical fruit specialist FYFFES has agreed to a takeover by a unit of SUMITOMO, which is snapping it up at €2.23/share, a roughly 50% premium on yesterday's closing price. SUMITOMO director and managing executive officer HIROHIKO IMURA said the company "has long admired FYFFES for its outstanding track record and market leading position, and we are delighted that the FYFFES Directors have unanimously agreed to recommend our offer to shareholders". FYFFES chair DAVID MCCRANN said: "Our employees, customers, suppliers and joint venture partners will benefit from FYFFES being part of an enlarged group with greater scale, reach and resources". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Boost in oil exploration returns for oil majors predicted - Anjli Raval

The world's biggest oil and gas majors are expected to make double-digit returns on exploration for the first time in five years in 2017, helped by lower costs and a focus on more promising areas. New data from WOOD MACKENZIE shows after years of only single-digit returns, big oil and gas players such as ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, ENI and TOTAL, will generate an internal rate of return of more than 10% in 2017 from exploration. This is the energy consultancy's threshold of profitability. "Exploration costs have halved and development costs are also much reduced. Meanwhile, smaller budgets are focused on exploration plays with easier routes to commercialisation", said ANDREW LATHAM, VP of exploration at WOOD MAC. That has led to a dramatic contraction in exploration spending, from $95bn in 2014 to $40bn this year, according to the consultancy. A further slide is expected in 2017, to $37bn - the lowest in 12 years. Like other global energy groups, WOOD MAC believes a pullback in exploration and a drop in investm

Updated market indicators for 09/12/2016

At 11h51 on 09 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.71 ZAR/EUR 14.57 ZAR/GBP 17.28 Gold 1170.43 Platinum 936.50 Brent Crude Oil 54.18 All Share 50627.79

Turkey creates fund for businesses - Mehul Srivastava

Turkey will extend 250bn lira - around $73bn - in credit to the private sector to offset cash flow problems created by a weakened currency, doubling down on President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN's promise that economic growth rather than tighter monetary policy will rescue the country from slowdown. PM BINALI YILDIRIM also announced delays to a minimum wage increase and a refund in VAT for the construction sector as part of a new package to stimulate growth, after analysts warned that Turkey could see its first quarter of negative growth in Q3 figures due next week. Banks would be allowed to restructure their loans to the private sector, he said, without giving any more details. The lira resumed its slide - dropping from 3.41 to the dollar to 3.49 - after the announcement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ECB extends QE to Dec. 2017, trims pace to €60bn/month

The ECB has extended its landmark bond purchase programme until at least Dec. 2017 but at a softer pace than expected from Apr. next year. The ECB yesterday said it would be carrying out a slower pace of bond-buying from €80bn to €60bn/month. Many market-watchers had expected the pace to remain unchanged and for the programme to be extended by just six months from Mar. to Sep. The central bank said it stood ready to ramp up the pace and duration of QE if inflation falls short. The move to cut the pace of bond purchases risks stoking fears in financial markets that the ECB is heading for the exit on QE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mulberry swings to loss but tourists help soften the blow - John Murray Brown

Tourist spending in London boosted H1 sales at MULBERRY, but the British luxury fashion brand warned that the UK and global outlook had become more uncertain. The retailer reported sales up 10% in the HY to end-Sep., from £67.8m to £74.5m. Losses for the period before tax were £500 000, against a small profit in the same period last year of £100 000. The loss followed increased product investment and forex costs incurred by the company's overseas units. MULBERRY CEO THIERRY ANDRETTA said the UK and global outlook "has become more uncertain since we last reported however we are in a good position to continue to build our business". The recent sterling devaluation has boosted the London stores' performance but increased manufacturing costs. The company expected currency factors to result in £1m of additional costs in the current FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

McDonald's to move non-US tax base to UK - Vanessa Houlder

MCDONALD's is moving its non-US tax base to Britain, away from Luxembourg where its tax arrangements have come under sustained attacK. It is setting up a new UK-base holding company responsible for the majority of the royalties from licensing its intellectual property rights outside the US. MCDONALD's said it had selected the UK because of the "significant number of staff based in London working on our international business, language, and connections to other markets". It said the new structure would reduce expenses and increase its flexibility, adding that "this change has a clear business rationale in matching our corporate structure to our new functional structure". The company is under investigation by Brussels over a tax ruling underpinning its European structure, which permitted MCDONALD's to pay no corporation tax - either in the US or Luxembourg - on royalty income from restaurant franchises across Europe. The UK is seen as an attractive jurisdiction for a holding company because it has a low co

Rio reshuffles top management - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES has further reshuffled his top management team, replacing a senior executive and adding a new member to the group that runs the company. JACQUES has appointed VERA KIRIKOVA as head of HR and put SIMONE NIVEN, head of corporate affairs, on its executive committee. By giving NIVEN a seat on the executive committee, JACQUES is trying to signal the importance of communication to RIO, sources said. KIRIKOVA replaces HUGO BAGUE, who will leave in Mar. after almost 10 years at the company. The decision to promote NIVEN brings RIO in line with other miners such as ANGLO AMERICAN, which have corporate affairs chiefs on their executive committee. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ThyssenKrupp reveals data stolen in cyber attack - Patrick McGee

THYSSENKRUPP has revealed that it had project data stolen earlier this year in a professional cyber attack that most likley originated in Southeast Asia. The German steelmaker yesterday said it was not clear yet what had been stolen and it could provide "no reliable estimation as to the damage". But it confirmed that fragments of data were stolen, including data from an operating engineering company. In reporting the attack, THYSSENKRUPP played down its impact, noting that more sensitive data in its marine systems unit or its power plants in Duisburg are specially secured. These were not subject to the attack. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SEC enforcement chief to step down at end of year - Jessica Dye

The high-profile departures from the US Securities and Exchange Commission continued yesterday with the announcement that enforcement director ANDREW CERESNEY will be stepping down by the end of 2016. CERESNEY has spent nearly four years at the help of the SEC's largest division. During that time, the agency filed more than 2 850 enforcement actions, charged more than 3 300 companies and 2 700 individuals and obtained more than $13.8bn in monetary sanctions. SEC chair MARY JO WHITE, who is also stepping down at the end of the year, said that under CERESNEY's watch the division "took its already robust enforcement programme to an even higher level", including bringing a record number of enforcement actions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF keeping an eye on climbing US dollar - Shawn Donnan

The IMF has highlighted a sudden rise in the dollar as a major risk to global financial stability, with the vast sums of dollar-denominated debt on the books of emerging market corporates a looming concern. IMF spokesperson GERRY RICE said IMF economists were looking hard at the dollar's moves as part of their work related to the new update of its World Economic Outlook, due next month. "It's clearly something that we are watching and we will have more to say on that including the implications for the emerging markets and other countries at the time of the WEO update", RICE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Texton eyes SA, UK acquisitions - Roy Cokayne

TEXTON has ambitions to significantly grow its property portfolio and has left its stated strategy to have 50% exposure to the UK market unchanged despite the Brexit vote. NIC MORRIS yesterday said the value of the UK portfolio was closer to the 50/50 split when the rand was at R20 to the pound but it was not racing to get to an equal percentage split between the UK and South African portfolios. MORRIS saw a huge acquisition pipeline in SA and in the UK. The fund could move in the direction of the 50/50 percent asset split in the medium term. He said TEXTON's local property portfolio was valued at R3.5bn and its UK portfolio at R2.4bn. The group had a two-pronged strategy and looked for good assets and acquisitions that were yield accretive and improved the quality of the portfolio while trying to dispose of a few small non-core assets and reduce the weighting of offices, and the exposure to government tenants, in the South African portfolios. Government tenanted offices comprised about 15% of the portf

Fitch drops outlook on Eskom to negative - Fin24

FITCH RATINGS yesterday revised the outlook on ESKOM to negative from stable, while affirming its long-term local-currency issuer default rating at BBB-. The revision of ESKOM's outlook reflects the change in outlook on SA's long-term IDR to negative from stable as announced by FITCH in Nov. The ratings agency noted that total guaranteed debt reduced to 32% of total outstanding debt at the end of ESKOM's financial year, compared to 49% in the previous year, reflecting ESKOM's ability to raise unguaranteed debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rand wallet launched in Zim - Memory Mataranyika

The rand could effectively start circulating in Zimbabwe as ECONET WIRELESS introduces a rand wallet on its mobile money platform in the country. The rand wallet enables withdrawals and cash-ins of the South African currency. Zimbabwe VP EMMERSON MNANGAGWA this week told Parliament the central bank has introduced an additional 47m in bond notes this week. However, cash shortages have still not abated. The government has declined to take up usage of the rand in Zimbabwe, despite calls for this from the business community. ECONET WIRELESS has now moved in to open a rand wallet with immediate effect, CEO DOUGLAS MBOWENI said. BARCLAYS ZIMBABWE will also be offering rand withdrawals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Consumer confidence still in negative territory - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Bureau for Economic Research consumer confidence index registered -3 in Q3. Although still negative, it was a significant improvement after slipping to -11 the prior quarter. The BER attributed the uptick to a combination of slightly softer inflation in the quarter, alongside marginally better economic sentiment. Moreover, consumers feeling more confident about their financial positions in the next year drove the bulk of the improvement. With expectations for the political environment to remain volatile next year and the economy unlikely to close its negative output gap until 2018, any gains in confidence are likely to be relatively modest, BNP PARIBAS economist JEFFREY SCHULTZ said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA-Zambia cement economic ties - ANA

South African and Zamibian officials committed to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, defence and energy following high level talks in Pretoria this week. "We further committed to actively encourage both South African and Zambian companies to take full advantage of the excellent, historical political ties between our two countries to increase economic activities", President JACOB ZUMA said during a joint press conference with Zambian counterpart President EDGAR LUNGU. There are currently 21 agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries, covering a wide range of sectors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasol enters several hedges for FY2017 - Creamer Media Reporter

SASOL has entered into several hedges to mitigate specific financial risks in the FY to end-Jun. 2017. The move includes hedges against the downside risk in the crude oil price to "increase the stability and predictability of SASOL's cash flows". During Q2 to end-Dec., SASOL entered into oil put options, which provided an average Brent crude oil price floor of $48.68/barrel, net of costs, for about 7.6m barrels. SASOL also entered into put options for Q3 and a part of Q4 for an average Brent crude oil price floor of $47.06/b for about 16.8m barrels. "We are currently reviewing other commodity and currency hedges and, should we enter into material hedges, an appropriate announcement will be made", SASOL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesla arrives in SA, targets energy market first - Irma Venter

TESLA has finally arrived in SA and South Africans now have access to the company's energy storage solutions. The stationary, rechargeable lithium-ion battery Powerwall offers an energy storage solution to the residential market, while the Powerpack is a commercial and utility energy storage solution. The Powerwall stores electricity generated from solar panels for self-consumption, time of use load shifting and backup power. The larger Powerpack, intended for commercial or electric utility grid use, can be used for peak shaving, load shifting, backup power, demand response, microgrids, renewable power integration, frequency regulation and voltage control. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompComm raids oils, margarine manufacturers - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Competition Commission yesterday conducted a search and seizure operation at the premises of five local companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of refined edible oils, baking fats and margarine, operating in Gauteng and KZN. The Commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that WILMAR CONTINENTAL EDIBLE OILS AND FATS, DH BROTHERS INDUSTRIES, WILLOWTON OIL AND CAKE MILLS, FR WARING HOLDINGS, AFRICA SUN OIL REFINERIES and EPIC FOODS have been engaging in cartel conduct, including price fixing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adcock sells stake in Ayrton - Megan van Wyngaardt

The Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the sale of ADCOCK INGRAM's 53% stake in Ghana-based AYRTON DRUG MANUFACTURING. ADCOCK in Jun. said it would sell the stake to DANNEX, another Ghanaian pharmaceuticals group. The deal was subject to regulatory approval. An application by DANNEX to the SEC in Aug. sought to exempt the company from making a general offer to all remaining AYRTON shareholders. The commission subsequently granted DANNEX approval to proceed with the transaction, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions. ADCOCK yesterday said DANNEX has since complied with the conditions precedent and the deal closed on Nov. 30. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara tops $1bn in sales since 2012 production start - Henry Lazenby

LUCARA DIAMOND CORP has breached the $1bn revenue mark for the first time since output at the Boteti Karowe mine, in Botswana, started in Jun. 2012. "Achieving sales of $1bn is a significant milestone for the company and is a recognition of our strong client base and the quality of diamonds recovered from the Karowe mine", president and CEO WILLIAM LAMB said. Following the close of the fourth regular tender of 2016, total revenue for the year, includin gthe sale of the 813ct Constellation diamond, is estimated to be $295m at an average price of $823/ct. Revenue excluding the sale of the Constellation diamond is estimated at $232m, at an average of $649/ct. LUCARA sold 14 exceptional stones at more than $2m/gem. For Q4, revenue is expected to total $66.1m, at an average of $743/ct, including the second exceptional stone tender held in Nov. The Karowe mine has to date yielded 1.8m ct, generating revenue of $1.02bn at an average price of $566/ct. This news brief represents a summary of the original arti

Gold Road's deal with Gold Fields now unconditional - Esmarie Swanepoel

All conditions precedent to the A$350m transaction between GOLD ROAD RESOURCES and GOLD FIELDS over the Gruyere project have now been met. GOLD ROAD yesterday said the completion of the 50% sale in the project to GOLD FIELDS would be completed on Dec. 13. Under the JV agreement, GOLD FIELDS will buy a 50% stake in the project for A$350m in cash, comprising A$250m payable on completion of the deal, and a further A$100m to fund GOLD ROAD's initial cash calls during the construction phase. A 1.5% net smelter return royalty will also be placed on GOLD FIELDS' share of output from the JV tenement, once total gold production exceeds 2moz. Further, an assumed liability will be undertaken by GOLD FIELDS for up to a 10% overrun on the Gruyere initial development programme and budget of A$507m, subject to certain exceptions such as overruns owing to a force majeure event. GOLD FIELDS will further provide funding support for any project level bonding or guarantee requirements. This news brief represents a summar

Zim extends platinum tax deadline to end-2017 - Memory Mataranyika

Zimbabwe has again postponed a 15% tax on exports of unbeneficiated PGMs to 2018 so that miners can redouble their efforts on building refinery projects. Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA yesterday noted the progress made by companies and extended the reprieve to Dec. 2017. Failure to meet this deadline would mean the tax would be finally imposed, CHINAMASA said. Zimbabwe's mining sector was forecast to grow by 0.9% in 2017, owing to depressed commodity prices as well as marginal output gains from minerals such as gold and chrome. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia's GDP growth to slow sharply in 2016 - IMF - Mfuneko Toyana

Namibia's economic growth will slow to 1.6% this year from more than 5% in 2015 after a contraction in the mining sector and reduced government spending, the IMF said yesterday. "Growth is projected to temporarily weaken in 2016 to 1.6% as the construction of large mines ends and the government starts consolidating", the Fund said at the end of a visit to the country. The IMF said growth would then pick up in following years, but warned that Namibia needed to further reduce its budget deficit, saying it saw public debt increasing to above 60% by 2021. The central bank expects the economy to grow at a slower pace of 2.5% in 2016 compared with 5.3% in 2015, due to drought and a contraction in the diamond mining sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim halves 2016 growth forecast, budget deficit widens - Macdonald Dzirutwe

Zimbabwe's economy will grow by 0.6% in 2016, half the previous forecast, but will recover in 2017, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA said yesterday. Delivering his budget speech in Parliament, CHINAMASA said the budget deficit for 2017 was estimated at $400m, equal to 3% of GDP, up from 1.1% this year. Zimbabwe is grappling with a devastating drought that has left more than 4m people facing hunger. CHINAMASA said the public sector wage bill would take 73% of next year's budget, down from 91% so far this year. He proposed a freeze on state wages, potentially deepening public anger towards the administration of President ROBERT MUGABE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya Power aims to speed up connections to grid - George Obulutsa

KENYA POWER aims to speed up the number of customers it adds to the grid in the year to end-Jun., as part of its plans to improve access across the nation where only two-thirds of the population are connected. In the year to end-Jun. 2016, the utility added 1.2m new customers to reach a total of 4.89m. It aims to add 1.5m new clients, including households and businesses, by the end of Jun. 2017. KPLC receives ;most of its funds in concessional or soft loans from institutions such as the World Bank, AfDB and the government. Most other funds come from its own income. The last time it sought funds in the commercial market was 2010, when it raised 9.8bn Kenyan shillings via a rights issue. The utility aims to secure additional revenue by leasing extra capacity on its fibre optic network, via subsidiary KENYA POWER INTERNATIONAL, CEO BEN CHUMO said. Fibre optic leasing earned KENYA POWER revenue of 259m shillings in 2014/15, 271m shillings in 2015/16 and this was expected to rise to 400m in 2016/17. KPLC p

SA's poor manufacturing, mining data points to weak growth in Q4 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

SA's manufacturing and mining output fell in Oct. y/y, data showed yesterday, pointing to weak economic growth in the fourth quarter after the economy barely grew in Q3. Statistics SA yesterday said manufacturing output contracted 2.7% y/y in Oct. after expanding by 0.2% in Sep., and lagging market forecasts of a 0.65% rise. On a m/m basis, factory production fell 1.9% and edged down 1.8% in the three months to Oct. compared with the previous three months. Mining output fell 2.9% y/y in Oct., after expanding by 4.7% the prior month. "October's mining and manufacturing data were both worse then even the most pessimistic analysts had expected... This supports our view that economic momentum will be very weak going into 2017 and that the South African Reserve Bank will probably keep its key policy rate on hold", CAPITAL ECONOMICS AFRICA economist JOHN ASHBOURNE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naira seen steady from diaspora dollar inflows - Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria's niara is likely to tread water next week on dollar inflows from Nigerians visiting home during the holidays against waning demand. The naira is expected to hold steady around its present level against the dollar in the parallel and official interbank market as dollars flow from Nigerians abroad who are expected to visit during the Christmas holidays. The local currency fell 1.78% week-on-week yesterday to 485 on the black market, from 480/$ last week, while it was quoted by commercial lenders at 315/$ on the official interbank market. The naira has, however, consistently closed around 305.5/$ level since Aug. via the official window. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania aims for debut eurobond in 2017/18 - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

Tanzania aims to issue its first eurobond in fiscal 2017/18 to fund new infrastructure, the Finance and Planning Ministry said yesterday. It did not say how much the bond would be worth, but noted the government wanted to raise $900m in the financial year starting Jul. 1 to fund infrastructure investment. "The funds will be raised through issuance of a eurobond and other modalities including tapping the syndicated loan and export credit agencies", the ministry said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 09/12/2016

At 07h42 on 09 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.67 ZAR/EUR 14.50 ZAR/GBP 17.20 Gold 1167.70 Platinum 934.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.93 All Share 50543.44

Moz plans hefty budget deficit in 2017 after aid suspended - Tiisetso Motsoeneng

Mozambique plans state spending of a third more than budgeted revenue in 2017 and to cover the shortfall with domestic and foreign loans, state news agency AIM quoted Finance Minister ADRIANO MALEIANE as saying yesterday. The country budgeted for a deficit of 11% of GDP this year, high by international standards, at a time when it had the financial support of the IMF. However, the Fund and other donors suspended assistance ealrier this year after the emergence of mroe than $2bn in loans that were not approved by parliament or disclosed publicly. MALEIANE said next year's spending would total 272bn meticais ($3.74bn). He pegged state revenue at $2.5bn, which indicated the deficit would narrow this year. Economic output totalled $15.6bn in 2013, according to the latest available World Bank figures. Spending on education would account for 23% of next year's budget while infrastructure would cover 18%, AIM reported. Growth is expected to accelerate to 5.5% in 2017 from a projected 4.5% this year. This n

M&R gains on update - Roy Cokayne

Shares in MURRAY & ROBERTS rose 1.19% yesterday to close at R11.08 after the company reported that both its basic and headline EPS for the HY to end-Dec. were expected to be more than 20% lower y/y. M&R said its HEPS were expected to decline by at least 17.8cps in the HY from the 89cps reported y/y. Basic EPS were expected to drop by at least 18.8cps from 94cps reported y/y. M&R said this decline was mainly because of persistent low commodity and energy prices, with a major impact expected in the company's oil and gas platform. Interim results will be published on Feb. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Skills shortage threatens Dublin's post-Brexit financial services boom - Laura Noonan

Ireland's hopes for a post-Brexit financial services boom are coming under threat from a skills shortage that could curb its central bank's ability to keep up with a surge in licence applications. Finance Minister MICHAEL NOONAN last week admitted the Central Bank of Ireland - which wants to hire an extra 170 staff next year - is already struggling to compete with the private sector for the talent it needs and cannot put a timeline on how long it will take to deal with complex licence applications. An insurance industry insider said private companies were already struggling to hire in some areas, a situation that will only get worse if the insurers that are considering moving their EU headquarters from London to Dublin go through with their plans. EDDY VAN CUTSEM, CEO of insurance industry group DIMA, says there have been "a lot of inquiries" from insurers already. "The companies that have some business in Ireland will add to it - it would be a natural development". Banking industry insiders say they've

Updated market indicators for 08/12/2016

At 09h39 on 08 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.51 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 17.09 Gold 1175.69 Platinum 948.50 Brent Crude Oil 52.92 All Share 49867.06

Glencore, Qatar snap up stake in Rosneft - Jack Farchy

A consortium of GLENCORE and Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will buy a 19.5% stake in Russia's ROSNEFT for €10.5bn, Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN's press secretary announced yesterday. DMITRY PESKOV said the planned privatisation of a 19.5% government stake in the oil company had been completed and that in the coming days the country would experience a significant inflow of foreign currency. Moscow would retain a majority stake following the deal. BP also holds a 19.75% stake in ROSNEFT. ROSNEFT CEO IGOR SECHIN said the deal included an offtake oil supply contract with GLENCORE, as well as the creation of a JV with the Swiss-based company and Qatar to invest in Russian and international projects. Undr the terms, GLENCORE will commit just €300m in equity with the rest of the money being provided by QATAR INVESTMENT AUTHORITY and non-resource bank financing arranged by a European bank, understood to be INTESA SANPAOLO. As part of the deal, GLENCORE has also agreed a five-year supply agreement with R

Japanese GDP revised lower in Q3 - Peter Wells

Japan's economy grew less than initially reported in Q3 2016, due to a contraction in business spending. The Japanese economy grew a seasonally adjusted 0.3% q/q in the quarter to end-Sep. Business spending fell 0.4% q/q from the first estimate of 0.2% growth. Private consumption was raised to 0.3% from the initial estimate of 0.1%. This took the annualised rate to 1.3% in Q3, with the preliminary estimate of 2.2% also downgraded to 1.8%. Year-on-year growth has been positive for three quarters in a row. Economists had, on average, expected the preliminary reading to be upgraded to 2.3%. The Japanese economy this year enjoyed upward revisions in annualised GDP growth in the Mar. and June quarters, to final readings at the time of 2.1% and 0.7%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mexico receives $2.65bn from 2016 oil hedging programme - Jude Webber

Mexico has received $2.65bn from its 2016 oil hedge, less than the $2.9bn analysts had expected. The income will be used for budget spending, the government said yesterday. The 2016 hedging programme consisted of a put option on 212m barrels of oil at $49/barrel. To coper the $1/barrel difference between the option price and the budgeted oil price, the government set aside 3.477bn pesos in its Budget Income Stabilisation Fund (BISF). The 2017 programme covers 250 barrels and hedged the oil price at $42/barrel via a put option at $38/barrel and a $4/barrel balance covered by 18.62bn pesos set aside in the BISF. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Linde appoints new CEO, will resume Praxair talks - Arash Massoudi

The supervisory board of Germany's LINDE has unanimously voted to allow the company to restart merger talks with US rival PRAXAIR, just months after serious discussions between the parties failed. The move comes as PRAXAIR returned two weeks ago with a revised merger proposal and attempted to address concerns at LINDE about the role of its German operations and ramifications for its workers in any deal with PRAXAIR. A tie-up would create the world's largest provider of industrial gas worth more than $60bn and would likely face fierce regulatory scrutiny. LINDE yesterday said all members of its supervisory board supported the resumption of talks. It also added that Dr ALDO ERNESTO BELLONI would become CEO with immediate effect, replacing WOLFGANG BUCHELE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US crude stocks fall for third week - Mamta Badkar

Inventories in US oil fell for the third consecutive week but stocks at the Cushing delivery hub in Oklahoma rose more than expected. Stockpiles of US crude contracted by 2.4m barrels in the week ended Dec. 2, and at 485.8m barrels are at the upper limit of the average range for the first time this year, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Analysts had forecast a drop of 1.4m barrels. Inventories at Cushing rose by 3.8m barrels, climbing for the second straight week. Gasoline inventories rose by 3.4m barrels, compared with estimates for a build of 1.6m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBI keeps rates unchanged in surprise move - Peter Wells

The Reserve Bank of India defied expectations of an interest rate cut by keeping its benchmark rate on hold at 6.25% in Dec. Only eight of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the move, with most expecting a third cut for 2016 in a bid to prop up growth in the wake of the country's surprise demonetisation last month. The central bank said it was "appropriate to look thorugh the transitory but unclear effects" of the country's decision to take 86% of India's currency out of circulation. "While supply disruptions in the backwash of currency replacement may drag down growth this year, it is important to analyse more information and experience before judging their full effects and their persistence - short-term developments that influence the outlook disproportionately warrant caution with respect to setting the monetary policy stance", the RBI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mylan shares down on restructuring plan - Jessica Dye

Shares of pharmaceutical company MYLAN fell more than 5% yesterday after it announced a restructuring programme that would impact less than 10% of its workforce. The company said restructuring programmes would be launched in certain locations "representing initial steps in a series of actions that are anticipated to further streamline its operations globally" following a series of recent transactions, including its acquisition of certain businesses from ABBOTT and MEDA. MYLAN said it expects that less than 10% of its global workforce may be impacted as a result. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Italy demands more time from ECB to rescue Monte dei Paschi - Rachel Sanderson

Italy is demanding the ECB give it more time to rescue MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA and is preparing to blame the central bank for losses imposed on bondholders if Rome is forced into an urgent state bailout. The board of MPS is asking the ECB's advisory arm to give it until mid-Jan. to pull off a €5bn equity injection and try to avoid forcing losses on some debtholders as required under new EU bailout rules. In a letter to the central bank, MPS says political instability unleased by the resignation of PM MATTEO RENZI has made it impossible to get the deal done until a new government is formed. If the ECB fails to approve the extension, MPS could be heading for a recapitalisation by the Italian state in the next few days. Officials in Brussels have indicated they are willing to support Rome, suggesting that relatively calm markets after the vote have given Italy two months to come up with a solution for MPS with a new government in place. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria appoints banks for eurobond sale - Elaine Moore

Nigeria has appointed CITIBANK, STANDARD CHARTERED and STANBIC IBTC to arrange its planned $1bn eurobond sale, Finance Minister KEMI ADEOSUN said yesterday. The country had wanted to tap the international bond markets this year, but borrowing plans have hit repeated setbacks amid frustration among investors and international lenders over delayed reforms by the administration of President MUHAMMADU BUHARI. The eurobond sale is expected in Q1 2017, ADESOUN said. She noted that stable oil prices and steadying forex reserves "will support our plans and we expect high demand for this issue to further push down yields". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China dollar exports return to marginal growth - Hudson Lockett

The dollar value of China's exports and imports grew in Nov. after two months of contraction and in the face of a rally by the greenback that followed last month's US elections. Imports grew 6.7% y/y to $152.2bn after falling 1.4% m/m, the General Administration of Customs said. That growth in the value of inbound shipments came despite a strengthening dollar that drove up costs for importers. Import growth valued in local currency terms reflected that relative weakness with a 13% rise in Nov. Exports had risen in renminbi terms last month as well, up 5.9%. When valued in dollars they grew only 0.1% y/y to $196.8bn. That was well above expectations of a 5% fall after contraction had softened somewhat in Oct. to 7.3%. That brought the balance of trade to $49.06bn, down around $4.3bn from Nov. and coming in about $2.3bn lower than forecast. Much of the boost in exports came from shipments to the US, which grew for the first time since Mar. at an annualised rate of 6.9% to $36.8bn. This news brief rep

China dollar exports return to marginal growth - Hudson Lockett

The dollar value of China's exports and imports grew in Nov. after two months of contraction and in the face of a rally by the greenback that followed last month's US elections. Imports grew 6.7% y/y to $152.2bn after falling 1.4% m/m, the General Administration of Customs said. That growth in the value of inbound shipments came despite a strengthening dollar that drove up costs for importers. Import growth valued in local currency terms reflected that relative weakness with a 13% rise in Nov. Exports had risen in renminbi terms last month as well, up 5.9%. When valued in dollars they grew only 0.1% y/y to $196.8bn. That was well above expectations of a 5% fall after contraction had softened somewhat in Oct. to 7.3%. That brought the balance of trade to $49.06bn, down around $4.3bn from Nov. and coming in about $2.3bn lower than forecast. Much of the boost in exports came from shipments to the US, which grew for the first time since Mar. at an annualised rate of 6.9% to $36.8bn. This news brief rep

Richemont offers to scale back plan to cut watchmaking jobs - Corinne Gretler

RICHEMONT offered to reduce retrenchments by around 20%, though worker representatives still demanded more concessions from the watchmaker as they protested near the headquarters of its Piaget and Vacheron Constantin brands. RICHEMONT is willing to reduce the number of jobs it plans to eliminate at the Swiss watchmakers to about 170 from 210, it said this week. The group said it would extend talks with the Unia union to try to improve conditions in the plan after a "constructive" meeting on Tuesday. "They put peanuts on the table, and we think they can do better", Unia representative ALESSANDRO PELIZZARI said. The union is demanding RICHEMONT resort to reduced working hours instead of outright job cuts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal fines Premium Brand - Fin24

PREMIUM BRAND has been ordered to pay an administrative penalty of R300 500 relating to prohibited practices, the Competition Tribunal said yesterday. The Commission found that PREMIUM, the sole distributor of NIKON cameras in SA, prohibited retailers from selling cameras at a mark-up of not less than 5% between 2008 and 2012. The Tribunal said PREMIUM has agreed not to engage in minimum price retail engagement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FIC Bill delays could harm SA's global standing - BASA - Liesl Peyper

Banking Association of SA MD CAS COOVADIA has expressed concern over the delay in the ratification of the Financial Intelligence Centre Bill. COOVADIA yesterday said he disagreed with ANC members' stance that the passing of the bill is not an urgent matter. "There is urgency. Although we shouldn't be dictated to by global institutions, we can't deny that we are a globally connected banking sector and respected for our global connectedness, and we have to work properly with these institutions", COOVADIA said. His comments came after ANC MP and chair of the Standing Committee on Finance YUNUS CARRIM ruled that Parliament will host public hearings on Jan. 24 to get input from stakeholders regarding the constitutional reservations that had caused President JACOB ZUMA to send the bkll back to Parliament without signing it. COOVADIA added that he respects the process adopted by the committee. "We will give both written and oral submissions at the hearings, and we urge the committee to expedite the process as

FIC Bill objections not based on legal opinion - Treasury - Liesl Peyper

Neither the Progressive Professionals Forum nor the Black Business Forum based their objections to the Financial Intelligence Centre Bill on a legal opinion, Treasury deputy DG ISMAIL MOMONIAT said yesterday. MOMONIAT was part of a delegation that briefed Parliament's standing committee on finance on the concerns raised by President JACOB ZUMA over the bill's constitutionality. ZUMA sent the bill back to Parliament last month, arguing that it infringes on individuals' right to privacy as it gives scope for searches of suspect people without a warrant, which may result in the criminal prosecution of such individuals. ZUMA says the bill also grants too much discretion to inspectors as they do not require a warrant to search individuals, their residences or workplaces. MOMONIAT said Treasury has decided to meet international standards through amendments to the FIC Act, so that SA could be compliant with the rest of the world. He added that non-compliance with international regulations will make internationa

Sanlam 10-month normalised headline earnings drop 8% - Andries Mhlangu

SANLAM yesterday reported a further drop in its normalised HEPS in the 10 months to Oct., down 8% y/y. The company attributed the drop partly to subdued investment returns, which were compounded by negative regurns from its offshore exposure due to a stronger rand. It said average market levels were generally lower in the review period, depressing growth in assets under management and commensurately fee income at its personal finance division and in its investment management businesses. Overall new business volumes were up 11% to R195bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cullinan expects higher FY earnings - BDpro

CULLINAN HOLDINGS yesterday said it expects HEPS for the FY to end-Sep. to be between 8.5cps and 9.13cps, an improvement of 20%-30% on the prior year's figure. EPS is forecast at between 8.5cps and 9.15cps, also an increase of 20%-30% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Nov. gross reserves drop - BDpro

SA's gross reserves dipped $805m to $47bn in Nov., SARB data showed yesterday. The decrease reflected the decline in the gold price, the strong dollar and forex payments made on behalf of the government. The gold price declined by almost 7% to $1 185.74/oz during Nov., hit by the prospect of higher US interest rates. SA's international liquidity position dropped $722m to $41.08bn in Nov. from $41.80bn in Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania, Dangote Cement haggle over price of natural gas - Reuters

Tanzania is in talks with DANGOTE CEMENT of Nigeria on the supply of natural gas to a manufacturing plant for the building material, but negotiations are currently held up over prices, a government body said. The $500m cement factory in the town of Mtwara runs on diesel generators and has sought government support to reduce costs. DANGOTE last week halted production at the plant over technical issues. State-run TANZANIA PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION said talks were expected to conclude in Jan., with price disagreements yet to be resolved. "The DANGOTE CEMENT factory has asked for gas supply at below market prices, equivalent to the price of raw natural gas from producing wells... TPDC cannot sell natural gas (to final consumers) on at-the-well price because there are additional costs incurred in processing and transporting the gas", TPDC said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chile rejects attempt to block modified Barrick project - Reuters

Chile has rejected a bid by local communities to block modifications needed to keep BARRICK GOLD's Pascua Lama project alive, a resolution by the ministerial committee involved showed yesterday. The Pascua Lama project, which straddles the border of Argentina and Chile, was put on hold in 2013 due to environmental issues, political opposition, labour unrest and development costs that ballooned to $8.5bn. BARRICK in Sep. said it had brought back a former executive to advance a scaled-back development plan for the project that would focus on Argentina. But the company faces fierce opposition from people on the Chilean side, who say the project will pollute and reduce already scarce water resources in the country's north. The Huasco Valley community said it would do everything in its power to defend the territory. The resolution can be appealed with Chile's environmental court within 30 days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mintek reveals new tailings retreatment process - David Oliveira

State-owned research organisation MINTEK yesterday demonstrated its Reflaut tailings treatment process at GOLD FIELDS' South Deep mine. Reflaut, which stands for Retreatment Flowsheet for Au and Uranium Tailings, has been used at South Deep since Nov. and removes gold, as well as harmful sulphites and radioactive uranium from tailings, significantly reducing the mineral content responsible for generating acid mine drainage. MINTEK flotation head KEVIN PILLAY said the tailings were processed through a flotation circuit, which generates liquid comprised of uranium and sulphites, as well as gold solid.s The resulting tailings have a sulphite content of less than 0.3% and less than 40 parts per million of uranium. The demonstration plant has a tailings retreatment capacity of around 200kg/h. About 2g of gold is produced for every tonne of tailings retreated at South Deep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats appoints new CEO - Creamer Media Reporter

GOLD FIELDS executive VP for SA NICO MULLER has resigned from the gold miner, effective Mar. 3, to take up the position of CEO of IMPALA PLATINUM on Apr. 3. MULLER will succeed TERENCE GOODLACE, who stepped down on Dec. 1. GOLD FIELDS CEO NICK HOLLAND thanked MULLER for re-energising the company's South Deep mine and getting it to break even. GOLD FIELDS added that the search for a successor had started. IMPLATS said MULLER's technical know-how and strategic approach would serve the company and its stakeholders well. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Enviro group takes De Beers Canada to court over mercury - Reuters

Environmental group The Wildlands League this week said it had filed a lawsuit against DE BEERS CANADA, accusing the latter of failing to report toxic levels of mercury and methylmercurity at its Victor Diamond mine in northern Ontario. The League alleged that DE BEERS failed to report mercury levels from five out of nine surface water monitoring stations for the creeks next to its open pit mine between 2009 and 2016. This was an offece under the Ontario Water Resources Act, the company said. It said it had alerted the province of Ontario and DE BEERS to the failures more than 18 months ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP's Escondida union sees wage talks start by mid-Dec. - Reuters

Workers at BHP BILLITON's Escondida copper mine expect to present the company with their proposal for a new collective contract and begin wage talks later this month, union leader PATRICIO TAPIA said yesterday. "We expect by mid December to officially present the company our collective contract proposal, which is now ready after a long consultation process that allowed us to include the main demands of workers", TAPIA said. The union represents 2 492 workers. Wage talks at Escondida - controlled by BHP with a 57.5% stake, while RIO TINTO owns 30% - are seen as a benchmark for the copper industry at large. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agnico Eagle buys shares in gold explorer - Megan van Wyngaardt

AGNICO EAGLE has entered into a share purchase agreement with G4G CAPITAL to earn 19.93% of its total issued and outstanding common shares at $1.20/share. On closing of the deal - expected to be on or around Dec. 13 - AGNICO EAGLE and G4G, which will be renamed WHITE GOLD CORP, will enter into an investor rights agreement. This will give AGNICO EAGLE the right to participate in certain equity financings to maintain its 19.93% stake, as well as the right to nominate one person to the board of directors. The agreement will also give G4G the right to designate a buyer in the event that AGNICO EAGLE wishes to sell more than 5% of its common shares. Further, AGNICO EAGLE will be subject to a two-year standstill, which will prohibit it from taking certain actions, including acquiring more than 19.99% of the issued and outstanding common shares, subject to exceptions. G4G has an option to acquire 12 301 claims across 21 properties, covering about 249 000ha and representing some 30% of the WHITE GOLD district in

Bidcorp, Brazilian food ingredients distributor form JV - Anine Kilian

BIDCORP FOOD AFRICA has signed agreements with Brazilian ingredient distributor PURATOS GROUP, which will become an equal shareholder in BIDCORP FOOD's Bakery Solutions Division. BBS manufactures and supplies baking ingredients to industrial bakers, the craft market and large retailers under the Chipkins and NCP rands in SA. BIDCORP CEO BERNARD BENSON said the deal provides BBS with an opportunity to grow its existing business and to develop new products and tailor-made solutions for the local banking industry. PURATOS CEO DANIEL MALCORPS said the Brazilian group was aiming to expand further in Africa. The deal is subject to approval by SA's competition authorities and the SARB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Building confidence index ticks up; conditions unsatisfactory - Megan van Wyngaardt

The FNB/BER Building Confidence Index reached its highest level in a year in Q4 at 40 index points. This was two points higher than the 38 recorded in Q3, bolstered by confidence being higher in all but two of the subsectors - retailers and manufacturers of building material. Even though confidence improved, the current level of the index indicates that 60% of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions. The confidence of main contractors rose for the second consecutive quarter, while confidence in both nonresidential and residential main contractors rose in Q4. The confidence of architects and quantity surveyors increased by six and eight index points to 49 and 58 respectively. Confidence of building material manufacturers shed 11 index points to register a level of 10 - the lowest level since Q2 2014. Profitability came under pressure during the quarter with purchase prices continuing to rise while manufacturers dramatically cut their own domestic selling prices. Subcontractor co

RCL Foods, union protest against rising chicken imports - Megan van Wyngaardt

RCL FOODS yesterday joined trade union FAWU in a march in Pietermaritzburg to protest against the ongoing threat to job security as a result of what it says is the increased dumping of imported chicken on the local market. Around 350 protesters marched from the Mayors Walk to the KZN Provincial Legislature where a memorandum was handed over to Premier WILLIES MCHUNU's adviser, Advocate LINDA ZAMA. RCL said the local industry was being forced to tighten its belt, threatening the livelihoods of chicken industry workers who face retrenchment by year-end. RCL consumer division MD SCOTT PITMAN said the company would halve production at its Hammarsdale plant from Jan. 2017, and that 1 350 workers had already been affected. PITMAN warned that further cutbacks may be on the cards in future. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mara Delta expands in Moz - Nicola Mawson

MARA DELTA has bought a property in Mozambique for almost R340m. The property is home to the largest mall in the region and boasts tenants such as SHOPRITE and KFC. MARA DELTA, which previously expressed its interest in expanding into Mozambique, has done the deal indirectly as its wholly-owned subsidiary, DELTA INTERNATIONAL MAURITIUS, has acquired GARANIA - which owns Mall de Tete - from SERICEA HOLDINGS and TRANSFORMERS INVESTMENT. GERANIA holds 99.9% of Mall de Tete, which has the right of use and development of a property in Tete on which the mall is located. MARA DELTA said a 3-year net income guarantee for the entire mall is in place, the bulk of which are guaranteed in dollars, and the mall will be the shopping destination in Tete and the surrounding region. The deal is subject to the usual conditions, and the purchase price may vary depending on warranties. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff reports profit rise - Reuters

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL yesterday reported a 12.5% rise in Q4 operating profit. The company was boosted by general merchandise sales in SA and eastern Europe. Operating profit rose to €327m in the quarter to end-Sep., from €291m y/y. Total revenue for the quarter to end-Sep. rose by 12.1% to €3.4bn. STEINHOFF's retail operations improved sales by 15.6% for the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN brings more new blood on board - TJ Strydom

MTN GROUP yesterday said it had appointed three new executives who will join new CEO ROB SHUTER and CFO RALPH MUPITA in 2017, as part of a management overhaul after its H1 loss. The company has tapped former CEO of VODAFONE's German business JENS SCHULTE-BOCKUM as its new COO and FNB'S BERNICE SAMUELS as marketing head. BT GLOBAL SERVICES CEO OLIVER FORTUIN will take on the role of executive head of business enterprise. MTN executive chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO said the appointments were part of a large scale transformation and operational review process. SCHULTE-BOCKUM and SAMUELS are set to start in Jan., and FORTUIN in March. SHUTER will join the company in Mar., while MUPITA will join him as finance head in Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SACCI BCI rises in Nov. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Business confidence in SA rose to its highest in four months in Nov., helped by improvements in new vehicle sales and manufacturing output. SACCI's monthly business confidence index rose to 93.9 in Nov., its highest reading since Aug., from 93.0 in Oct. "Positive monthly contribution to the BCI mainly came from real value of building plans passed, new vehicle sales (seasonally adjusted) and manufacturing output", SACCI said. It noted that despite the volatility in the business climate, the present turnaround in the BCI could gather more momentum. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia to re-finance $2.8bn eurobonds in 2017 - Chris Mfula

Zambia plans to refinance eurobonds totallling some $2.8bn that it issued between 2012 and 2015, Finance Minister FELIX MUTATI said yesterday. "We want to refinance the eurobonds and get longer dated bonds at a bit of lower cost so that we minimise our debt", MUTATI said, adding that the equivalent of 19% of Zambia's GDP was being used to service debt. "We want to reduce that from around 19% to somewhere around 15% so that the release of resources can be used to support the vulnerable", MUTATI said. Zambia issued a $750m eurobond in 2012 followed by another amounting to $1bn in 2014 and another worth $1.25bn last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff Intl not seeking deals in LatAm - TJ Strydom

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is not looking at M&A deals in Latin America, CEO MARKUS JOOSTE said yesterday, responding to a question about a possible acquisition of appliance maker VIA VAREJO in Brazil. "We are not looking at anything in South America", JOOSTE said during a call with analysts. Shares in VIA VAREJO SA soared last month on reports that three suitors - STEINHOFF among them - had expressed interest in a controlling stake in the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff to double stores in eastern Europe in five years - TJ Strydom

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL plans to double its clothing stores in eastern Europe to 2 000 in the next five years, CEO MARKUS JOOSTE said yesterday, extending the retailer's reach in one of the fastest-growing regions. STEINHOFF recently spashed out $3.8bn for US-based MATTRESS FIRM and another $800m for Britain's POUNDLAND. The group's expansion into eastern Europe has been particularly rapid and profitable, with like-for-like sales growth in Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary up by a fifth in Q3. It has increased the number of stores to 1 000 from 14 around a decade ago. JOOSTE said the company plans to double the number of its stores that sell clothes, footwear and cellular airtime to 2 000 in five years. STEINHOFF yesterday reported a 12.5% rise in operating profit to €327m in the quarter to end-Sep., from €291m y/y, buoyed by eastern Europe and SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia c.bank leaves lending rate unchanged - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Namibia's central bank yesterday left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 7%, saying the level was appropriate to support economic growth. Namibia's economic growth is expected to sloe to 2.5% this year from 5.3% in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz approves changes to LNG contracts with Eni, Anadarko - Manuel Mucari

The government of Mozambique yesterday approved changes to LNG contracts with ANADARKO and ENI to allow the two companies to sell the state's share of gas from projects in the Rovuma Basin. Government spokesperson ANA COANA said the aim is to "turn the projects viable". The contracts relate to ANADARKO's Dolphin Tuna project and ENI's South Coral project in areas 1 and 4 of the Rovuma basin. ENI is expected to make a final investment decision on the project by year-end, while ANADARKO's decision is expected in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Market indicators for 08/12/2016

At 05h49 on 08 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.50 ZAR/EUR 14.54 ZAR/GBP 17.05 Gold 1173.74 Platinum 942.50 Brent Crude Oil 53.07 All Share 49476.06

Monte dei Paschi shares up on bailout reports - Mehreen Khan

Italian bank stocks rose this morning on the back of media reports Rome could make an EU state aid request worth €15bn to pump into its financial system. Shares in INTESA SANPAOLO, UNICREDIT and BANCO POPOLARE jumped more than 3% at the start of trading this morning, while the wider Italian bank index rose 3.5%. A report in the daily La Stampa said the government was ready to make a request to the European Stability Mechanism to help inject funds into its most troubled lender, MONTE DEI PASCHI and the wider banking system. Shares in MONTE DEI PASCHI rose more than 10% on the report. A spokesperson for the Italian treasury denied the reports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alipay signs deals for expansion in Europe - Martin Arnold

The new head of ANT FINANCIAL's international operations hopes to one day offer its ALIPAY ewallet services to European consumers, after inking deals yesterday with four financial groups that will allow its 450m Chinese consumers to pay for more goods in the region. "120m Chinese travellers went abroad in 2015 and that's growing at 18% a year. The vast majority of whom use ALIPAY", DOUG FEAGIN said after signing deals with BNP PARIBAS, BARCLAYS, UNICREDIT and SIX GROUP. "The first part of our international mission is enabling them to buy things with ALIPAY", FEAGIN said. ALIPAY will now be able to offer its customers the ability to use its ewallet to pay for goods at more than 930 000 merchants across Europe. FEAGIN said the company was already working with payment providers such as INGENICO, FIRST DATA, WORLDPAY and VERIFONE. The company has also signed a deal with UBER to allow its Chinese customers to pay using ALIPAY globally. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chesapeake taps debt markets for first time in 2 years - Eric Platt

CHESAPEAKE ENERGY yesterday secured $1bn in a lager than expected financing to repay as much as $1.2bn of its debts, giving it flexibility as it navigates turbulent commodity prices. CHESAPEAKE markeded new notes maturing in 2025 with a yield of 8.25%, while PEMEX was set to raise $5.5bn in a three-part sale and junk-rated PARSLEY ENERGY was finalising a $650m offering. The deals follow a $1.5bn bond sale from Houston-based CHENIER ENERGY on Monday, which was raised following strong investor demand. CHESAPEAKE debt advanced as bankers at DEUTSCHE BANK, which underwrote the offering, topped up their books. The company's $223m of notes maturing in 2017 rose to 103c on the dollar. In Feb., the same debt traded below 30c/$. CHESAPEAKE has sought to cut its debt burden and has agreed to sell roughly $2bn of assets this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign companies in China hit by new exchange controls - Charles Clover

Several European companies in China have been unable to remit dividends abroad following the introduction of new exchange controls, the first indication that Chinese attempts to curb capital outflows are causing problems for foreign groups. The EU Chamber of Commerce in Bejing said the payment difficulties experienced by European companies were "disruptive to business operations". The measures, which included complex approval procedures for sending money out of China, were introduced on Nov. 28. The EU Chamber in Beijing said that, as of Monday, one company based in Shanghai had a dividend payment of several hundred million renminbi "stuck", while another in a southern Chinese city was told last week that a Rmb900m payment needed more time for approval. The new rules require companies to obtain State Administration on Foreign Exchange approval for capital outflows above $5m, such as repayment of loans or paying dividends, regardless of the currency. Some banks have advised clients to submit 10-page appli

Adani seeks A$1bn govt loan for Carmichael project - Jamie Smyth

ADANI GROUP has applied for a A$1bn Australian government loan to help finance construction of its Carmichael coal, rail and port project, in a controversial move that has further angered environmental campaigners. ADANI founder and chair GAUTAM ADANI said construction of the A$16.5bn project would begin next year, subject to financing being secured. "ADANI GROUP is committed to nation-building projects in the energy and infrastructure space, which will create thousands of jobs in regional Queensland and alleviate millions in India of poverty", he said. ADANI's application for a state-backed loan has angered campaigners, who say that greenhouse gas emissions generated by the gigantic coal project will cause irreparable climate change. ADANI faces the challenge of raising billions of dollars in financing despite pledges by several large international banks including DEUTSCHE and HSBC not to finance the project. The Indian group is seeking access to state funding because it "has been designed specifically

Updated market indicators for 07/12/2016

At 12h31 on 07 December 2016 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.53 ZAR/EUR 14.53 ZAR/GBP 17.06 Gold 1172.03 Platinum 932.00 Brent Crude Oil 54.07 All Share 49229.57

Tullett Prebon to finalise ICAP deal by year's end - Philip Stafford

UK interdealer broker TULLETT PREBON has confirmed that its purchase of the global broking business of rival ICAP will be finalised by the end of 2016, completing a deal nearly two years in the making. The parties yesterday said the deal would be completed on Dec. 30 and set out a timetable for the separation. They had been waiting for regulatory clearance from more than 30 authorities across the globe. Although some approvals are outstanding, both companies have been given reassurances that they will be in place at the end of the year. TULLETT will buy the voice brokers, sone associated data and a US swaps trading venue from ICAP in an all-share deal valued around £1.1bn. The new entity, to be renamed TP-ICAP, will the the world's largest interdealer broker, while ICAP will be renamed NEX GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK watchdog clamps down on spread-betting companies - Hannah Murphy

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has proposed a clampdown on trading in contracts for difference (CFDs), spread-betting instruments popular with retail traders. The FCA's proposals, sparked by fears that many clients do not understand the risks associated with the products, sent shares in spread betters down 30% when markets opened after the news yesterday morning. The FCA laid out plans to restrict how much risk retail investors can take on with relatively small deposits, known as the margin, calling for lower limits for inexperienced traders in particular. It also wants spread-betting platforms to provide standardised risk warnings and disclose profit-loss ratios on client accounts, after its own analysis showed that 82% of clients lose money on the products. The FCA said that over the past six years it had identified "instances of poor conduct" across the sector - including companies offering "excessive levels of leverage" to customers. Analysts at CITI said the move threatened the spread-betting

Samsung spared $399m payout to Apple after US court ruling - Peter Wells

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS shares rose in Seoul this morning after the US Supreme Court ruled the company did not have to pay APPLE a $399m penalty in a patent spat between the two companies. The dispute can be traced back to 2011 when APPLE sued SAMSUNG for patent and trademark infringement. Last December, SAMSUNG paid APPLE $548m, a reduced amount from the initial penalty of $930m the Korean company had been hit with when a jury found in APPLE's favour in 2012. But SAMSUNG took the matter to court and said it should not have to pay $399m of that amount. Yesterday, the US Supreme Court sided with SAMSUNG by way of an 8-0 ruling that a patent violator does not always have to pay all the profits from the sales of products using copied designs if those designs represented only certain parts of the device and not the whole object. SAMSUNG shares were up 1.4% at a record high, compared to a 0.1% fall for the Kospi. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australian economy contracts for first time since 2011 - Peter Wells

Australia's economy has chalked up its first contraction in quarterly GDP in more than five years for Q3. GDP shrank 0.5% q/q in the three months to end-Sep., well beyond the 0.1% contraction forecast on average by economists. This was down from a revised 0.6% rise in Q2, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Still, the Q3 drop was not just the first in five and a half years, but the steepest since the 0.7% contraction in the Dec. quarter of 2008. Australia's annual rate of growth fell to 1.8% in the Sep. quarter, from a revised 3.1% in Q2. This was weaker than the 2.2% expansion economists expected. The ABS said private investment wiped a combined 0.6 percentage points from growth. Net exports took off 0.2% percentage points as Australia's terms of trade rose 4.5% in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU clears Microsoft takeover of LinkedIn - Rochelle Toplensky

Brussels yesterday gave the green light for MICROSOFT's takeover of LINKEDIN, clearing the way for the software giant to close the $26bn deal by year-end. The acquisition was signed off by regulators in the US, Canada, Brazil and SA earlier in the year. After a preliminary probe, European regulators approved the deal with concessionf or the next five years. MICROSOFT must give other professional social networks access to its Office software and it can provide PC users and manufacturers the choice to include LINKEDIN with the Windows or Office applications, but the social network will not be required through pre-installation, tying or exclusivity deals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US factory, durable goods orders up in Oct. - Mamta Badkar

A core measure of US spending on durable goods only climbed modestly last month, but headline orders for durable goods jumped. The final reading for headline orders for durable goods jumped 4.6% in Oct. m/m, the Commerce Department said yesterday. That topped analysts' forecasts for a 3.4% gain. Capital goods orders excluding aircraft rose by a more modest 0.2%, following a 0.4% gain the prior month. A separate report showed that factory orders climbed 2.7% in Oct. m/m, when they increased an upwardly revised 0.6%. That topped economists' estimates for 2.6% growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto to bolster sales and marketing division - Neil Hume

RIO TINTO is "beefing up" its sales and marketing operations as the miner looks to boost cash generation by $5bn over the next five years via a productivity drive. Ahead of a presentation to analysts and investors in London, RIO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said the company could do a better job selling its commodities. "We need to strengthen not only our technical capability but most importantly our commercial capability", JACQUES said. "What's important for us is to extract full value from the market for the product we are selling", he said. Faced with an uncertain outlook for prices, JACQUES said RIO would focus on strengthening its balance sheet, a strategy adapted by several of its peers. The group is officially targeting a gearing ratio of 20%-30%, but JACQUES said the company would feel more comfortable with a ratio below 20%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US trade deficit widens to $42.6bn in Oct. - Adam Samson

The US trade deficit swelled in Oct., reversing some of the narrowing that boosted America's economic output during Q3. The trade gap rose in Oct. to $42.6bn, from $36.2bn in Sep. The figure was slightly ahead of the $42bn analysts had forecast. A rise in exports had provided a significant tailwind to US Q3 GDP. But that impact showed some signs of waning as the final three months of 2016 got underway. In Oct., exports fell by $3.4bn on a m/m basis to $186.4bn. Meanwhile, imports rose $2bn to $229bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barnier warns UK has less than two years to agree Brexit - Mehreen Khan

MICHEL BARNIER, the head of the EU's Article 50 Taskforce, has called for an "orderly withdrawal" of the UK from the EU but warned the government will have less than two years to agree its exit in a tough negotiating timetable set by the bloc. BARNIER yesterday said it was "too soon to talk about the details" of negotiations as both parties had entered "uncharted waters" after the referendum. Given the tight timetable for talks, BARNIER said in practice the countdown for an agreement would be less than two years after the triggering of the official Article 50 exit clause, holding out the possibility of a deal by Oct. 2018. "Time will be short. All in all there will be less than 18 months to negotiate... Should the UK notify the EU by the end of Mar. 2017, it is safe to say negotiations could start a few weeks later and an agreement reached by October 2018", BARNIER said. Approval for an agreement by the autumn of 201 would give member states and the UK 5-6 months to ratify the deal through their parliame