Reckitt Benckiser misses estimate on key sales gauge - Scheherazade Daneshkhu () 20/04/18 12:00:00

RECKITT BENCKISER today reported like-for-like sales growth of 2% in Q1, similar to the previous quarter and up on zero growth in sales in 201. The company reported revenues of £3.1bn in Q1 2018, up 49% on the same quarter last year due to the inclusion of the $18bn MEAD JOHNSON infant nutrition business. The like-for-like growth missed analyst estimates of 2.6% and sent RECKITT shares down 5% in early trade in London. Pro-forma sales, including MEAD, were up 3% thanks to a 6% rise at MEAD. RECKITT held to its FY target of 2%-3% like-for-like growth in revenues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays CEO fined in whistleblower probes - Caroline Binham () 20/04/18 12:00:00

UK regulators say they will fine BARCLAYS CEO JES STALEY after a probe into his efforts to uncover a whistleblower in 2016, but said he would not be banned over the affair. In a landmark decision, BARCLAYS will avoid any sanctions by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority for sloppy whistleblowing systems after the bank moved to tighten up processes. STALEY apologised last year for his mistake in ordering the bank's security team to try to identify a whistleblower who had made allegations about a recently recruited colleague. The PRA and FCA said they had wrapped up their probes into the matter. Each levied an unspecified fine on STALEy for failing to act with due skill, care and diligence in a confidential draft warning notice, but said he did not lack the fitness and propriety to continue in his job. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HKEX targets tech IPOs with new listing rules - Emma Dunkley () 20/04/18 12:00:00

HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING is to publish final rules next week that will allow for 'innovative' companies ranging from biotechnology businesses to tech giants to list on the bourse. HKEX will unveil its new listing regime on Tuesday following seeks of consultation with market participants, including banks, lawyers and investors. The new rules are expected to enable biotech firms that have yet to generate a revenue to list on the exchange for the first time. The rules are also set to permit companies deemed 'innovative' to list with dual-class share structures, which give founders of companies greater voting rights over ordinary shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Qualcomm to cut 1 500 jobs across California - Mamta Badkar () 20/04/18 12:00:00

QUALCOMM yesterday disclosed it was cutting 15 00 jobs across its California offices as part of a plan to trim annual costs by $1bn. Some 1 231 of the cuts will come from San Diego, where the company is headquartered. Meanwhile, a further 269 jobs will be cut from offices in San Jose and Santa Clara. The cuts are expected to begin in June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dublin quashes bonus plan at AIB - Arthur Beesley () 20/04/18 12:00:00

Irish Finance Minister PASCHAL DONOHOE has struck down a share bonus plan at ALLIED IRISH BANK but has initiated a review of stringent pay caps in place since Dublin rescued local lenders at the height of the financial crisis at a cost of €64bn. DONOHOE has refused to vote in favour of a deferred share plan at AIB, in which the government retains a 71% stake, at its AGM next week. Although Ireland's growing economy has turned the corner since the crisis, banks remain deeply unpopular amid public outrage at a mortgage overcharging scandal that led to a political backlash against the sector late last year. The minister's move to review bank pay policy in light of Brexit has already stirred political resistance. "I fear today's announcement marks the beginning of the return to the days of runaway salaries and bonuses at the banks", Sinn Fein spokesperson PEARSE DOHERTY said. AIB had proposed a package worth up to 100% of salary in a bid to curtail the risk of key executives defecting to institutions with higher pay. The scheme would have kicked in only if the government sells down more of its AIB shares but DONOHOE said the time was not right at present to remove a €500 000 pay cap and a ban on bonuses in banks backed by the government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aluminium retreats amid speculation of Rusal nationalisation - Neil Hume () 20/04/18 12:00:00

Aluminium yesterday surrendered earlier gains to trade lower amid talks of a state-backed rescue deal for RUSAL. The metal, which had traded as high as $2 718/t on the LME, was down 0.5% at $2 540 on reports that RUSAL could be temporarily nationalised. Western consumers have been scrambling to find alternative sources of supply since RUSAL and its owner OLEG DERIPASKA was hit with US sanctions earlier this month, pushing the price of the metal up 30% to a seven-year high. But traders said it was not clear how a deal would work and if any US or European customers would risk dealing with a Kremlin-controlled entity in the current political climate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire shares down after Allergan rules out bid - Federica Cocco () 20/04/18 11:21:00

Irish drugmaker SHIRE's share price fell 3.7% in early trading today after botox-maker ALLERGAN pulled out of making a competing bid for the FTSE100 company. SHIRE yesterday rebuffed a £42.3bn takeover offer from Japan's TAKEDA. ALLERGAN had made it known that it contemplated an offer but then decided against it, which sent SHIRE's share price down at 3 823p from yesterday's close at 3 831p. TAKEDA shares fell by 4.67%. If a takeover of SHIRE did take place at current valuations, it would rank as one of the largest the pharmaceutical sector has ever seen. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA distances itself from Steinhoff accounting fiasco - Lameez Omarjee () 20/04/18 10:56:00

ABSA yesterday said its role as STEINHOFF's JSE sponsor was strictly to ensure the company met the requirements of the JSE and it had no role in scrutinising the retailer's financial statements. It issued the statement following a report by City Press that Dutch investor association VEB planned to target ABSA in a class action suit against STEINHOFF. VEB was going after ABSA and two other lenders for providing services to STEINHOFF when the company was compiling two prospectuses in 2015 ahead of its listing in Frankfurt. The information in the prospectuses had been found to be misleading and had resulted in losses to shareholders. ABSA yesterday said it had not received a notice from VEB, requesting the bank to reach a settlement with the firm or be subject to the class action law suit. It also distanced itself from the accounting irregularities by adding that its role as JSE sponsor was to ensure that the JSE's listing rules were complied with. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Edcon moves to decentralised model - Ntaoleng Lechela () 20/04/18 10:50:00

EDCON has confirmed that it does not plan to list on the JSE anytime soon. CEO GRANT PATTISON yesterday said it is up to shareholders, and not the business executives, to decide when the company will be listed, but this is not one of the group's short-term goals. "EDCON has been run very centralised in the past... and as a team we have tried to decentralise it. EDCON is now four very specific businesses". EDGARS CEO MIKE ELLIOT said the fashion retailer will be using more digital spaces to reach customers. It will also try to "own our South Africanness" through brand position, ELLIOTT said. JET STORES CEO URIN FERNDALE said his unit would not be absorbing the VAT changes on its cheapest items, and would add such increases on slightly higher-priced items. CNA GM JULIE DAY said the store aims to be one of the best stationery businesses in the local market. It plans to build up its stationery departments and trim back on other departments. The toy department will decrease by 66%. CNA will also in future only stock toys for educational purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pita's resignation from Transnet does not absolve him - DPE - Fin24 () 20/04/18 10:50:00

Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN last night welcomed the resignation of TRANSNET CFO GARRY PITA, but made it clear that his stepping down does not absolve him of accountability for possible wrongdoing. Acting deputy DG for the Department of Public Enterprises MAKGOLA MAKOLOLO said: "TRANSNET has been faced by a series of allegations of deep corruption and malfeasance with highly suspicious and questionable financial transactions to the detriment of TRANSNET and its reputation... The current board is yet to provide credible explanations of how such transactions were approved or indeed condoned over successive financial years". MAKOLOLO added that PITA's resignation "does not absolve him of accountability should he be found to have had a role in any way or form". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet CFO Garry Pita resigns - Jean le Roux () 20/04/18 10:50:00

TRANSNET yesterday announced the resignation of CFO GARRY PITA. PITA joined the utility in 2006 and was appointed group CFO in Feb. 2016. TRANSNET said PITA advised it that he would tender his resignation on Mar. 31 due to ill-health and strain from the job. MARK-GREGG MCDONALD will act as interim CFO. PITA's appointment as group CFO saw him replace ESKOM CFO ANOJ SINGH. PITA gained notoriety when he was implicated in endorsing a memorandum, drafted by SINGH, to engage in a contract with NEOTEL in Feb. 2015. That deal was tainted with allegations of nearly R66m in kickbacks, paid by NEOTEL with the help of a letterbox company called HOMIX, which was linked to the GUPTAS. PITA in 2016 signed off on invoices authorising TRANSNET to pay R74m to TRILLIAN CAPITAL PARTNERS for work done between Feb. and Jun. 2016. It later became evident that PITA's involvement with GUPTA family businesses started even before he signed the TRILLIAN invoices. An agreement between SAP and an unknown company called CAD HOUSE included a timeline involving PITA as far back as 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Union to demand that Steinhoff appoint new board at AGM - Jan Cronje (SNH) 20/04/18 10:50:00

FEDUSA yesterday announced it will picket the AGM of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL to demand the appointment of a new board. STEINHOFF is holding its AGM in the Netherlands later today. It will be live-streamed to a venue in Cape Town, which FEDUSA said it would picket. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FNB launches mobile bank account - Ntaoleng Lechela (FSR) 20/04/18 10:50:00

FNB has launched a mobile bank account aimed at the 11m customers they say are not catered for. The bank on Wednesday announced that an extended version of eWallet will be launched at end-May. eWallet eXtra will act as a mobile bank account, offering services that a bank account would have and making it more than just a send money account. FNB's product head of Inclusive Banking GUGU ZIKHALI said eWallet eXtra users will be able to access their money at various FNB ATMs and retail tills. Users will not be able to perform debit orders with the mobile accounts, and will pay transaction charges. All that is needed to open an account is a cellphone and a South African ID number. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bell laments import duties on steel, tyres - Irma Venter (BEL) 20/04/18 10:50:00

BELL EQUIPMENT CEO GARY BELL believes local manufacturers are paying 22% too much for their steel. BEL says his company has to pay a 10% import duty on steel, with another 12% safeguard duty added to protect the local steel industry. BELL EQUIPMENT uses local steel, made by ARCELORMITTAL SA, but also imports high-performance steel that ensures the highest structural strength with the lowest possible weight. "The duty on steel is not good for manufacturers in South Africa. It is good for one steel producer, and that's it. I think government needs to look at what they need to do to make manufacturing competitive and sustainable in South Africa". BELL EQUIPMENT also pays duties on the tyres it imports for the vehicles it manufactures in Richards Bay. "On the ADT there are six tyres. Combined they are the most expensive part of the truck - more so than the MERCEDES-BENZ engine. We pay import duties on these tyres in order to protect the tyre industry in South Africa, which predominantly makes car tyres. But the reality is that no company in Africa manufactures the tyres we need". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria plans power tariff overhaul by 2021 to attract investment - Reuters () 20/04/18 10:50:00

Nigeria plans to overhaul its energy tariff system by 2021 to try to attract investment and improve power supply, the vice chair of the country's electricity regulator said. Only around half of the 190m people in Nigeria have access to power. SANUSI GARBA, vice-chair of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, said the regulator had devised a "recovery plan" that would fix the tariff issue. Under the plan, by 2021 regular tariffs will reach parity with cost-relative tariffs. GARBA said increasing tariffs was difficult given the lack of regular power supply and the relatively few paying customers on the system. There are currently just 8m customers on the billing platform. GARBA said the reset plan would bring in more investors in order to add generation capacity, diversify power sources away from gas, expand the transmission system and add 10-20 million customers to the billing system. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando awarded PEC contract for Nigeria pipeline - Anine Kilian (OAO) 20/04/18 10:50:00

OANDO, together with OILSERV, have been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction mandate for the Ajaokuta-Abuja portion of the $727m Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline system by the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION. The contract award follows an extensive due diligence process conducted by the NNPC following a submission by OANDO and OILSERV in 2013 in response to an expression of interest for a contractor-financed EPC development of the project. The development of the 214 km AKK grid is a manifestation of the Gas Infrastructure Blueprint in the Nigerian Gas Master Plan, which seeks to extend the existing gas transmission network and achieve connectivity between the east and the north, serve new customers and bridge the shortfall in the western region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 hikes manganese guidance, lowers coal - Esmarie Swanepoel (S32) 20/04/18 08:15:00

SOUTH32 has increased its manganese production guidance from its Australian and South African operations to take advantage of favourable market conditions. The company increased its production guidance at he Australian manganese operations by 6% to 3.3mt and its South African operations by 5% to 2.15mt. This follows a record operating performance at the Australian operations during the Mar. quarter, when saleable ore rose by 15% q/q to 830mt. Manganese saleable ore output from the South African operations fell by 5% q/q to 539mt in Q3. SOUTH32 said it increased its 2018 FY guidance despite planned major maintenance at the Wessels underground mine in the Jun. 2018 quarter. SOUTH32 also reported a production record at its Mozal aluminium operation, delivering a record 204 000t of output in the nine months to Mar., and delivering 67 000t during Q3. Alumina output for the nine month period was reported at 3.7mt, with the Mar. quarter contributing 1.28mt. SOUTH32 also lowered its production guidance for its Illawarra metallurgical coal operation by 9% to 4.1mt as the company continued rehabilitation activities at the Appin colliery. Metallurgical coal output for the nine months to end-Mar. fell by 51% y/y as production from both the Australian and South African operations fell by 2.08mt. Q3 output fell by 45% to 794 000t. Metallurgical coal output for the nine months to Mar. reached just over 2mt, with 1.43mt produced in the March quarter. Energy coal output was also down 7% in the year-to-date to over 21mt, with 6.8mt delivered in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shanta reports lower Q1 gold output - Simone Liedtke () 20/04/18 08:15:00

SHANTA GOLD remains on track to achieve its guidance of 82 000oz to 88 000oz in 2018 at an all-in sustaining cost of $680-$730/oz, despite the New Luika gold mine in Tanzania reporting lower output. Production in the Mar. quarter reduced to 17 663oz, from 21 288oz in the Dec. quarter, but was in line with the company's revised mine plan and its FY production guidance. Overall, a total of 142 784t of ore, grading 4.4g/t gold was mined, compared with 143 092t of ore grading 4.7g/t gold in Q4. The gold was produced at an AISC of $776/oz, which is in line with the reduced gold production during the period. SHANTA lowered its gross debt by $3.8m to $49.2m, while its net debt fell by $2m to $37.5m. EBITDA for the company were $9.1m during the period, with cash flows from operating activities of $7.1m. SHANTA reported quarterly gold sales of 17 691oz at an average price of $1 329/oz. Capex decreased to $3.3m from $6.3m in Q4, while the cash operating costs rose to $599/oz, from $591/oz y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Letseng mining lease to be extended - Gem - Anine Kilian () 20/04/18 08:15:00

The Lesotho government has announced its intention to renew GEM DIAMONDS' Letseng mining lease until 2034. The lease may be further extended if necessary in relation to any underground development of the mine thereafter. "I would like to thank the government of Lesotho for its ongoing support, which will allow GEM to continue to extract some of the world's largest and most valuable diamonds from this remarkable resource", GEM CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said. The full terms of the renewed mining lease are subject to a statutory negotiation process with the Lesotho Mining Board and, when agreed, will be contained in a new mining lease agreement. A further announcement will be made once the statutory negotiations have been concluded and a new Letseng mining lease issued. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Firestone sees high recoveries in Q1 - Anine Kilian () 20/04/18 08:15:00

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS recovered 192 604ct of diamonds from its Liqhobong mine in the quarter to end-Mar. Recoveries at the Lesotho mien were 6.6% higher q/q, resulting in a year-to-date total of 572 320ct. The company expects to achieve its annual production target at the lower end of guidance of 800 000ct-850 000ct, as mining progresses in the higher-grade ore. During the quarter, Liqhobong treated 869 126t of ore at an average throughput rate of 509t/h, while 93 specials were recovered. FIRESTONE sold 217 380ct at an average of $81/ct in the quarter, yielding proceeds of $17.6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Maatla Energy gets environmental approval for Botswana mine - Marleny Arnoldi () 20/04/18 08:15:00

MAATLA ENERGY's subsidiary MAATLA RESOURCES has received approval for the environmental-impact assessment for it Mmamabula export coal mine, in Botswana. MAATLA RESOURCES has also submitted a mining licence application to the Botswana authorities. The Mmamabula mine is located in one of the country's main coalfields and contains more than 90mt of high-grade thermal coal. The mine has a life in excess of 25 years and is targeting initial output of 50 000t/m, ramping up to 100 000t/m within the first year of production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP cuts guidance at Olympic Dam, Pilbara - Esmarie Swanepoel (BIL) 20/04/18 08:15:00

BHP has reduced its FY production guidance for its Pilbara and Olympic Dam operations in South Australia. The miner yesterday posted a 6% drop in iron ore output during the quarter to end-Mar. q/q, reflecting the impact from Cyclone Joyce and unplanned car dumper maintenance. Total iron ore output for the nine months to end-Mar. rose by 2% to a record 175mt. But the company trimmed its iron ore production guidance for the FY from a previous estimate of 239mt-243mt to between 236mt and 238mt. BHP said petroleum production for the quarter to end-Mar. was down 8% q/q to 45m boe. Petroleum production for the nine-month period was down 8% to 143m boe. Copper production for q3 was up 6% q/q to 457 000t, with year-to-date output reaching 1.29mt, up 37% y/y. At Olympic Dam, copper output fell by 18% y/y as a result of a planned major smelter maintenance campaign in H1. BHP also reduced the production guidance for the operation from 150 000t to around 135 000t due to slower ramp-up during Q3. For FY2018, BHP expected copper output to be between 1.65mt and 1.79mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massmart hopes for higher sales - Siseko Njobeni (MSM) 20/04/18 08:15:00

MASSMART is hoping for improved sales performance in 2018 as the stronger rand, low inflation and lower interest rates look set to lift consumer sentiment and spending. CEO GUY HAYWARD this week said that while the country's new political leadership and direction would improve many economic factors, there were still policy, structural and public sector impediments. MASSMART's sales for the first 12 weeks of 2018 had been soft, "a trend noted by other participants in South African retail", HAYWARD said. CFO JOHANNES VAN LIEROP said the group's total sales for the FY to end-Dec. rose by 1%. "Food and liquor sales were better than those of durable goods", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pioneer Foods flags higher H1 profit - Nqobile Dludla (PFG) 20/04/18 08:15:00

PIONEER FOOD GROUP yesterday said it expects HY operating profit and headline earnings to increase by up to 44% and 32%, respectively. PIONEER said it expects operating profit for the HY to end-Mar. or R922m-R991m versus R688m y/y. Adjusted HEPS is expected to increase to 309.1cps-334.5cps, from 253.4cps y/y. PIONEER said sales volumes in the period were 4.3% higher while group turnover fell by 2.8% y/y to R9.9bn, largely due to sales price deflation in soft commodities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia Mining posts lower Q1 earnings, maintains FY targets - Zandi Shabalala () 20/04/18 08:15:00

ACACIA MINING yesterday posted a drop in Q1 earnings after reducing operations at its flagship gold mine but stuck to its FY production and costs targets. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter to end-Mar. fell to $44m from $82m y/y. ACACIA is caught up in a tax dispute with the government that forced it to reduce operations at its flagship mine last year. Gold output fell to 120 981oz, down 45% y/y, mainly due to lower output at the Bulyanhulu mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania names chair for new mining commission - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala () 20/04/18 08:15:00

Tanzanian President JOHN MAGUFULI this week appointed a chair and commissioners for the country's new mining commission, paving the way for the issuance of new mining licences. MAGUFULI appointed IDRIS KIKULA, a former vice chancellor of a state university, as chair of the new mining commission, and also named eight commissioners to serve under him. The presidency said the appointments would take effect immediately. Under legislation passed in Jul. 2017, the commission has been given extensive powers to regulate and monitor the mining industry and mining operations in Tanzania. It is charged with curbing smuggling and tax evasion by mining companies and has powers to suspend and revoke mining exploration and exploitation licences and permits. The commission will also monitor and audit both the quality and quantity of minerals produced and exported by large, medium and small-scale miners to determine their tax liabilities. The commission will be required to audit capital investment and operating expenditures of large mines, soft and assess values of minerals produced for tax purposes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Strike halts gold output at two Randgold mines in Mali - Tiemoko Diallo () 20/04/18 07:24:00

A workers' strike in Mali has halted gold output at two mines run by RANDGOLD RESOURCES since Wednesday, a senior union official said yesterday. The strike at the Loulo ad Gounkoto mines was related to the payment of bonuses and would continue until the issue was resolved, MAMADOU N'DAOU, the administrative secretary of industry and mines union SECNAMI, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Congo Republic debt restructuring will not affect bondholders - Christian Elion () 20/04/18 07:24:00

Congo Republic's current efforts to restructure its external debt will not affect multilateral creditors or holders of its eurobond and regional bond, PM CLEMENT MOUAMBA said in a statement this week. In the statement, he said ongoing talks with the IMF, which has said the country's debt is unsustainable, will "rapidly lead to the adoption" of a three-year programme with the Fund. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court stops Kenya regulator's fake mobile monitoring plan - Humphrey Malalo () 20/04/18 07:24:00

Kenya's High Court yesterday stopped the country's telecoms regulator from monitoring mobile phone networks to detect counterfeits, saying the regulator had flouted the constitution and failed to involve the public when it rolled out the plan. Operators including market leader SAFARICOM strongly objected to the plan when it was made public last year, saying it would give the regulator access to other customer data including calls, messages and financial transactions. A private citizen challenged the regulator's decision in court and Judge JOHN MATIVO ruled against the regulator in a judgment delivered yesterday. There was no immediate reaction from the operators or the Communications Authority of Kenya. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's fresh produce export earnings up 11% in 2017 - Duncan Miriri () 20/04/18 07:24:00

Kenya earned 115.25bn shillings from exports of cut flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables in 2017, 11% higher y/y. FOKESEGERE OJEPAT, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, said cut flowers accounted for 70% of the earnings with the rest coming from fresh fruit and vegetables. He said the sector had shown resilience in the face of a drought, a drawn-out presidential election and sluggish private sector credit which curbed Kenya's economic expansion in 2017. OJEPAT said the fresh produce sector faced several challenges including high costs of production and insufficient cooling facilities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers rolls out app to clean up Sierra Leone diamond supply chain - Ed Stoddard (AGL) 20/04/18 07:24:00

DE BEERS is rolling out an app to help small-scale artisanal diamond miners in Sierra Leone certify that gems they pry from the soil are legal, the company said yesterday. Called GEMFAIR, the DE BEERS pilot app project is a partnership with NGO Diamond Development Initiative, and will target several small-scale mine sites in Sierra Leone in a meeting of high technology and pre-industrial mining methods. Miners enrolled in the project must be licensed, adhere to certain environmental standards, work sites that are free of violence and meet other requirements. The app is on a tablet and has a software application that shows the GPS location where the diamonds have been extracted, allowing for a record of the production process. The software can work online or offline in remote areas. Miners are also provided with digital scales to weigh their diamonds and a tamper-proof bag where they can be deposited and then passed safely through the supply chain. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

STAR expects unit to issue shares to help repay loans - Nqobile Dludla (SRR) 20/04/18 07:24:00

STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL yesterday said it expects one of its subsidiaries to repay part of the loans it owes to STEINHOFF AFRICA HOLDINGS by issuing preference shares to local financial institutions. "The subscribers have indicated that they are willing to subscribe for preference shares with an aggregate subscription price of approximately R6bn subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions precedent", STAR said. At end-Sep., its shareholder loans amounted to around R16bn, STAR said in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya sugar output to rise 19% in 2018 - George Obulutsa () 20/04/18 07:24:00

Kenya expects its sugar production to jump by up to 19% this year, recovering from a drought-induces drop the prior year, a senior government official said yesterday. The country has an annual sugar consumption of 870 000t but production has slumped due to a high cost of production, old and inefficient sugar crushing machinery as well as mismanagement and theft of farmers' funds. SOLOMON ODERA, the head of the Sugar Directorate which falls under the agriculture ministry, said this year's output would rise to 420 000t-450 000t. Production was 377 126t of sugar last year, a 41% drop from the 638 340t produced y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PnP FY profit up 7.1% - Nqobile Dludla (PIK) 20/04/18 07:23:00

PICK N PAY yesterday reported a 7.1% rise in FY earnings as it cut costs and increased productivity in store operations. The retailer said HEPS rose to 276.98cps for the FY to end-Feb., from 258.65cps y/y. PNP said turnover growth rose 5.3% to R81.6bn from R77.5bn y/y, while trading profit increased by 4.9% due to a voluntary severance programme. PNP shed around 10% of its workforce in a voluntary severance programme last year, thereby improving the efficiency and productivity of staff by removing roles and functions that were no longer required. To keep attracting shoppers, PNP invested R500m in price cuts across 1 300 everyday products and extended this to 2 000 items in H2. It opened 59 franchise stores during the year, including seven supermarkets, 35 liquor stores, nine express stores and eight spaza shops. It also opened 29 clothing stores. PNP declared a final dividend of 155.40cps, bringing the total annual payout to 188.80cps, up 7.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSA in wage dispute with govt - Wendell Roelf () 20/04/18 07:23:00

The Public Servants Association has declared a dispute with government after protracted wage negotiations stalled yesterday, a senior PSA official said. The PSA wants an above-inflation increase of 12% across the board. It was not immediately clear what the government was offering. The PSA represents more than 230 000 public sector workers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 20/04/2018 () 20/04/18 07:23:00

At 07:23 on 20 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.96 Rand/Sterling 16.84 Rand/Euro 14.76 Gold 1342.71 Platinum 933.00 Oil 72.90 All-Share Index 57526.79

Unilever lifts dividend, plots €6bn share buyback - Naomi Rovnick () 19/04/18 11:10:00

UNILEVER has announced plans for a large share buyback and sweetened its quarterly dividend amid a row with investors over its plans to drop its UK headquarters for Rotterdam. Alongside issuing a trading update for Q1 2018 that UNILEVER said had showed "broad-based growth", the company hiked its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 8% to €0.3872. It plans to start buying back €6bn worth of shares starting next month using the proceeds of the sale of its spreads division to buyout group KKR. The group notched up €12.6bn worth of sales in Q1, down 5.2% y/y and driven by adverse currency movements. On an underlying basis, sales rose 3.5%. UNILEVER said it remained on track to lift its underlying profit margin to 20% by 2020. CEO PAUL POLMAN said for the FY, the group continues to expect underlying sales growth in the 3%-5% range and an improvement in underlying operating margin and cash flow. "We intend to start a share buy-back programme of up to €6bn in May to return the expected after-tax proceeds from the spreads disposal. We are raising the dividend by 8%, reflecting confidence in our outlook". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sky boosted by new customers, Sky Q roll-out - Cat Rutter Pooley () 19/04/18 11:10:00

SKY reported a 10% rise in earnings in the first nine months of FY2018, helped by extra customers and the roll-out of its next-generation SKY Q box. EBITDA rose 10% to £1.7bn in the nine months to end-Mar. y/y, while like-for-like sales rose 5% to £10.1bn. Revenues in the UK and Ireland increased 4% to £6.7bn, driven by an additional 285 000 customers over the year to date and good growth in SKY MOBILE and SKY Q products. The fastest-growing source of revenue was from content, which climbed 17% to £617m, while sales from SKY's direct-to-consumer services rose by £297m to £8.9bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Britain's Weir to buy US mining tool maker - Adam Samson () 19/04/18 11:09:00

British engineering group WEIR has unveiled plans to buy ESCO of the US in a $1.3bn tie-up aimed at bolstering its business in minerals and energy mining. WEIR has agreed to pay 41.05bn for ESCO's equity. The enterprise value of the pact was $1.29bn, it said today. ESCO makes products for a wide range of industries, including mining and construction. The decision comes as the US shale industry is once again booming thanks to a rally in the price of oil to the highest level in more than three years. "We are acquiring a high quality business at the right time, with the market in the early stages of its recovery, providing opportunities for long-term growth", WEIR said. WEIR also today announced plans to sell its flow control unit as it prioritises growth in the minerals and oil and gas businesses. No set timetable has been set, but WEIR's "current assumption is that proceeds would not be received before 2019". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China demand boosts Q1 growth at Nestle - Ralph Atkins () 19/04/18 11:09:00

Sales growth accelerated at NESTLE in Q1 2018, boosted by stronger demand in China. The company reported an organic growth rate of 2.8% in Q1, pushing sales to SFr21.3bn. That compared with 2.35 growth y/y, and 2.4% in the whole of 2017. Among the regions, organic growth in Q1 was strongest in Asia, which reported a 4.7% expansion. China had seen "strong growth", boosted by the timing of the Chinese New Year. The company confirmed its guidance for FY2018 of an organic growth rate between 2% and 4%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon Prime has more than 100m paid members - Anna Nicolaou () 19/04/18 11:09:00

AMAZON has disclosed it has more than 100m members of its Prime subscription programme. In an annual letter to shareholders, CEO JEFF BEZOS outlined 16 bullet points of "recent milestones" for the company, ranging from music and fashion to groceries and cloud computing. The company's Prime service has been seen by analysts as a central tool in making the company the key destination for online shoppers. Analysts have estimated around 90m people pay for Prime, but AMAZON has not previously disclosed the figure. It said it had shipped more than 5bn items om PRIME last year. Shares in AMAZON were up 1.5% in after-hours trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alcoa shares rise on upbeat earnings, view - Mamta Badkar () 19/04/18 11:09:00

ALCOA shares rose in after-hours trade after the aluminium producer posted upbeat quarterly results and rosy guidance. The company said income slid to $150m, or 80cps, compared with $225m or 121cps y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of 77cps were better than the 70cps analysts had forecast. Prior-year results were boosted by a one-time gain associated with the sale of the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project. Revenues jumped 16.4% to $3.09bn, just ahead of analysts' forecasts for $3.08bn. ALCOA lifted its FY outlook for adjusted EBITDA to $3.5bn-$3.7bn, compared with $2.6bn to $2.8bn previously. Shares in ALCOA rose more than 4% to $62.02 in extended trade yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amex 'off to a good start' in new FY - Alistair Gray () 19/04/18 11:09:00

STEPHEN SQUERI has begun his spell in charge of AMERICAN EXPRESS in upbeat fashion as the US group reported a 31% y/y rise in Q1 profits. The group generated net income of $1.6bn for the quarter. Tax reform helped drive the improvement at AMEX - its total income tax bill fell almost a quarter, or $140m, from a year ago. Pre-tax income also rose, up 13% to $2.08bn. AMEX said expenses rose 9% y/y to $6.9bn, in part because of rewards-related expenses. However, cardholder spending rose 12% in the period, and SQUERI said the year was "off to a good start". He expected EPS to be "at the high end" of a $6.90-$7.30 range the company forecast in Jan. Tax cuts boosted the group's earnings in Q1 as its effective tax rate dropped from 32% y/y to 22%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shareholder group files legal notice against Steinhoff banks - Martin Arnold (SNH) 19/04/18 11:09:00

A Dutch shareholder group has warned BARCLAYS, COMMERZBANK and ABSA that it plans to launch a class action suit over the banks' roles in the 2015 share sale by STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. VEB said it held the banks liable for damages incurred by STEINHOFF shareholders because of their oles on the listing of the company via a scheme of arrangement on the Frankfurt and Johannesburg bourses as part of its creation of a holding company in Amsterdam. "The prospectuses were misleading", VEB said, adding that "the banks have - in their respective role and capacities - acted wrongfully in respect of STEINHOFF investors". As required by Dutch law, the group gave the three banks two weeks notice of its plan to file a class action lawsuit against them and invited them to open talks about "an amicable settlement". BARCLAYS and COMMERZBANK declined to comment, while ABSA could not be reached for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Morgan Stanley posts record Q1 profit - Ben McLannahan () 19/04/18 11:09:00

MORGAN STANLEY has posted a record quarterly profit. Stock trading revenues were up 30% to $2.6bn, consistent with strong numbers across from other big banks. Fixed-income trading was also better, rising by $200m to $1.9bn. Wealth management business also did well. Net revenues were up 14% at $2.5bn despite market jitters that left the S&P 500 with its first quarterly decline after nine straight periods of gains. Analysts had expected net income of $2.2bn for the period, up 16% y/y, on revenue of $10.4bn. Both numbers came in significantly stronger at $2.7bn and $11.1bn respectively. EPS of $1.45 compared to consensus forecasts of $1.25. ROE came to 14.9% for the quarter, on an annualised basis, well ahead of the bank's target range of 10%-13%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Johan van Zyl steps down from Steinhoff board - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 19/04/18 10:10:00

JOHAN VAN ZYL, a member of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's supervisory board, has stepped down just days before the group's AGM. According to a notice issued yesterday, VAN ZYL withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the STEINHOFF supervisory board, even though he had sufficient backing. The AGM takes place in the Netherlands on Friday. "My decision to resign before the AGM is the result of the company now building for the future, confidence following the board meeting with the Supervisory Board nominees in attendance and the fact that the Independent Committee, which I chair, has finished its work and is no longer required with the imminent appointment of the new board members. I have thus completed by assignment on the board and fulfilled my commitment to major shareholders of the company", VAN ZYL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mediclinic expects results marginally ahead of expectations - Fin24 (MEI) 19/04/18 10:10:00

MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL yesterday said it expects to deliver adjusted financial results for the year marginally ahead of forecasts, with a significant H2 improvement from the Middle East operations. In constant currencies, revenue for the FY to end-Mar. is expected to be around 2% higher and adjusted EBITDA flat y/y. After the translation effect of foreign currency movements, FY revenue is expected to be up around 4% at £2.9bn compared with £2.7bn for H1 FY2018. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be up around 3% at £0.5bn. MEDICLINIC CEO DANIE MEINTJES said the group succeeded with the turnaround of the Abu Dhabi business and laid the foundation for long-term, sustainable performance. The company said the Southern African division delivered H2 revenue growth ahead of forecasts with a stable EBITDA margin for the year. In its Middle East clinics there is strong performance in Dubai and an improvement in business in Abu Dhabi. For FY2019, the revenue in the Middle East is expected to increase into the lower double digits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Further tariff hikes would exacerbate Eskom's death spiral - EIUG - Simone Liedtke () 19/04/18 10:10:00

The Energy Intensive User Group of Southern Africa has warned that increases to electricity tariffs will exacerbate ESKOM's "death spiral". The EIUG is participating in NERSA's public hearings into ESKOM's application to claw back nearly R67bn using the Regulatory Clearing Account mechanism. "We have scrutinised ESKOM's application and are of the view that NERSA should not allow the recovery of costs. We believe that any further increase in tariffs will only exacerbate ESKOM's death-spiral", EIUG CEO XOLANI MBANGA said. He noted that the demand for electricity during the period under review was far less than ESKOM's installed capacity and, had the generation fleet been optimally performing there would have been no need to purchase additional power on short-term contracts and from international utilities. MBANGA further said consumers were now being required to compensate ESKOM for over expenditure in purchasing additional power, as well as lost revenue through lost sales, wand were still required to reduce consumption by at least 10% or face load-shedding. "From whichever angle or perspective this is considered it is unfair to electricity consumers", he said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod concludes sale of Unicorn Bunker Services - Simone Liedtke (GND) 19/04/18 10:10:00

GRINDROD has finalised the sale of its UNICORN BUNKER SERVICES business for an undisclosed sum. UNICORN was first established in 2006 and operates three modern bunker tankers in the ports of Durban and Cape Town under contract to BP, ENGEN and CHEVRON. The business is now co-owned by WOMEN IN OIL AND ENERGY SA and 100% black-owned and managed shipbroking firm LINSEN NAMBI, with the transaction having been financed through the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa scores R857m UK funding from May - News24Wire () 19/04/18 10:10:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA and British PM THERESA MAY yesterday agreed on a deal worth millions of rands to help SA improve its business environment. "They agreed £50m new UK funding across the next four years to help South Africa improve its business environment to make it more attractive to investors including in the UK, and ultimately lift some of the poorest people in South Africa out of poverty by creating jobs and opportunities. The funding will be used to help identify and dismantle barriers to trade within Africa and beyond, creating a wealth of opportunities for UK business over the coming years", 10 Downing Street said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cancer, heart drugs boost Novartis sales - Federica Cocco () 19/04/18 10:09:00

NOVARTIS reported a 22% rise in net income to $2.03bn today, thanks in large part to increased sales of its cancer and heart drugs portfolio. NOVARTIS said Q1 sales rose 4% in constant currencies to $12.7bn, beating forecasts that averaged $12.3bn. Net income from its core business rose 4% in constant currency terms, in line with forecasts. The increased sales were driven in large part by its heart failure drug, Entresto, which doubled sales thanks to increased adoption in the US and elsewhere. Eye care unit ALCON has been struggling for a while but got a welcome boost in the quarter from increased sales of its surgical equipment and contact lenses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DoE cuts budget allocation for clean energy - Lameez Omarjee () 19/04/18 10:09:00

Government's plan to achieve 30% clean energy by 2025 is questionable, given that the Department of Energy only allocates 5% of its budget to clean and renewable energy sources, Parliament's oversight committee on energy has said. According to the DoE's annual performance plan for 2018/19, R1.2bn has been allocated to clean energy over the medium term. The programme focuses on the development and implementation of clean and renewable energy initiatives. Nuclear energy had been allocated R2.6bn. Both budgets have been trimmed. The DoE 's electrification and energy programme and project management had been allocated R17.4bn, or 77% of the DoE's R22.6bn budget. Committee chair FIKILE MAJOLA said it was important for Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE to clarify government's position on nuclear energy as the nuclear build programme was clearly still on the annual performance plan. "The minister should be able to provide answers on what is the perspective on the nuclear programme. The minister should be able to give a clear government position on the matter", MAJOLA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clicks to open 40 new stores - Lameez Omarjee (CLS) 19/04/18 10:09:00

CLICKS plans to open 40 new stores this year, ahead of its target of 25-30 stores. In its interim results for the HY to end-Feb., the group said it grew its footprint to 646 and opened 24 new stores over the period. CLICKS expanded its pharmacy network to 493 with the opening of 20 new pharmacies. Capex of R269m was invested in new stores, pharmacies, store refurbishments and enabling its supply chain and IT capabilities. "A further R435m capital investment is planned for the second half", the statement said. CLICKS posted HEPS growth of 14.8% to 266.3cps, and declared an interim dividend of 102.5cps, up 16.5%. Revenue rose by 10% to R14.4bn over the period. Operating profit was up 12.2% to over R942m, while net profit increased by 16.4% to R678m. Total income grew by 11.7% to R3.9bn, and the group's income margin improved to 27.1%, which was helped by the faster growth of the retail business. Retail expenses rose by 12.4% as it invested in 46 new stores, 34 pharmacies as well as space extensions in 24 stores over the past 12 months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Land reform won't come at cost of economy - Ramaphosa - Guy Johnson, Bloomberg () 19/04/18 10:09:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA yesterday said his administration is considering new incentives in a bid to woo R1.2tn in new investment and will tackle the issue of land reform without endangering economic growth. RAMAPHOSA said land reform should be an "inclusive process" and can contribute to economic growth. "We want round-table dialogue, a full discussion on the question of land because we want the protection of property rights, not to be a protection of property rights to a few people only, like it has been in the past... Let us share the land. We will do everything around the land question within the parameters of our Constitution", RAMAPHOSA told Bloomberg TV in London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

VAT increase to knock PRASA cash flows, committee hears - Lameez Omarjee () 19/04/18 10:09:00

The VAT hike will contribute to PRASA's cost challenges resulting in additional costs of R52m, the portfolio committee on transport heard yesterday. Acting CFO THOBEKA MAHLATI explained that PRASA's operating costs are increasing at a rate hither than the revenue generated. In turn, revenue is declining as passengers opt to leave due to the lack of maintenance, vandalism and theft of assets. The VAT increase will also be a burden for PRASA's costs, MAHLATI explained. Although the utility is not subject to any primary taxes, passenger fares are subject to VAT and unlike other companies, PRASA cannot claim back tax credits. Around 40% of PRASA's operational costs and 95% of capital costs are subject to VAT. The estimated operating cash shortfall for PRASA is R6.7bn over the medium term expenditure framework, or up until 2021. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst receives A$83m following Jupiter IPO - Creamer Media Reporter (PGL) 19/04/18 08:56:00

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES has received A$83.1m following the relisting of JUPITER MINES on the ASX yesterday. JUPITER last month announced it plans to relist on the ASX via an IPO to new investors of up to 600m shares at A$0.40/share, to raise up to A$240m. PALLINGHURST had made up to 212.03m of its shares in JUPITER available for sale as part of JUPITER's IPO. It still holds 145.84m JUPITER shares, which carry an implied value of A$58.3m at the IPO price. It has agree not to sell these shares for around 20 months from the date of the JUPITER listing, but says it may benefit from further JUPITER share buybacks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto lifts bauxite, iron and copper output - Esmarie Swanepoel () 19/04/18 08:56:00

RIO TINTO yesterday reported production increases at its iron ore, bauxite and copper divisions, while warning shareholders that US sanctions against Russian companies could impact aluminium production in 2018. During the quarter to end-Mar., the company produced 83.1mt of iron ore from its Pilbara operations, up 8% y/y, while iron ore shipments were also up by 5% to 80.3mt. RIO said the Pilbara operations benefitted from fewer weather disruptions than in Q1 2017. Bauxite production during the Mar. quarter was up 12% y/y to 12.6mt, driven by operational improvements. Aluminium production during the three months under review was down 5% to 846 000t, largely due to an ongoing lock-out at the Becancour smelter, which started in Jan., as well as a power incident at the Dunkerque smelter, which occurred in Feb. RIO alerted shareholders that aluminium output in FY2018 could be impacted by various issues, including the $500m sale of Dunkerque, announced in Jan., and the $345m sale of the ISAL smelter, in Iceland, announced in Feb. Copper production during the quarter was up 65% y/y to 139 300t, as output from the Escondida mine recovered following a strike in H1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Orion appoints non-executive director - Creamer Media Reporter (ORN) 19/04/18 08:56:00

ORION MINERALS has appointed MICHAEL HULMES as non-executive director. HULMES is a mining engineer with over 30 years' senior executive, management and corporate experience in mining, operations and projects in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP to produce nickel sulphate in 2019, eyeing cobalt on battery boom - Reuters (BIL) 19/04/18 08:56:00

BHP is expanding its business as a supplier of battery minerals at its nickel refinery in Western Australia, planning to start producing nickel sulphate next year and looking at cobalt output as well, Nickel West president EDUARD HAEGEL said yesterday. Cobalt and nickel are both critical ingredients for lithium ion batteries and are expected to see a boom in demand as global carmakers transition into producing electric vehicles. "Part of our transition to becoming a global supplier of battery materials means we have started looking at cobalt options as well... We see cobalt as remaining in short supply... For this reason we are looking to broaden our support of the battery sector by increasing our contribution to cobalt supply", HAEGEL said. BHP is already due to start producing nickel sulphate at its Nickel West project next year, he said, and is in the early stages of considering a plan to double that output. BHP expects to sell 65%-70% of this year's nickel output to the battery sector, about 45 000t-50 000t of metal, based on last year's figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia to amend $3.9bn infrastructure fund in bid to develop country's north - Reuters () 19/04/18 08:56:00

Australia will amend the guidelines for a A$5bn fund that offers loans to build infrastructure in the country's north so it can offer greater support to a broader range of projects, a government minister said yesterday. The changes will aid a bid to develop Australia's sparsely populated, yet resource-rich northern region. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility was introduced in 2016 but its rules had proved too restrictive, Minister for Northern Australia MATT CANAVAN said. "There's a strong pipeline of projects but it has been challenging to get hem to financial close, so that's why some of these rules are being changed", CANAVAN said. The government will remove a requirement that means NAIF can fund only 50% of a project, while the types of infrastructure that can be backed will also be broadened. NAIF CEO LAURIE WALKER said the changes "now make it absolutely clear that we are able to consider smaller projects, where they meet our mandatory criteria". CANAVAN said NAIF had 90 projects in the pipeline relating to energy generation and gas pipelines, transport, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, water infrastructure and communications. The changes will not revive ADANI's giant Carmichael coal project, which has faced strong opposition on environmental grounds, Australia's Treasurer SCOTT MORRISON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Peru will not 'impose' mining projects on communities - Reuters () 19/04/18 08:56:00

The government of Peruvian President MARTIN VIZCARRA yesterday said it would not "impose" mining projects on nearby communities that object to them, but would seek to promote mining investments to take advantage of improved mineral prices. In the past decade, SOUTHERN COPPER and NEWMONT MINING have shelved proposed mines in Peru because of opposition from communities worried about the environmental impact. PM CESAR VILLANUEVA said the government would encourage mining but only approve projects that respect the environment and have support from communities. "We're not going to impose any mining project without communities feeling at ease first... that's what dialogue is for", VILLANUEVA said when asked if the government would approve SOUTHERN COPPER's $1.4bn Tia Maria project this year. Peru has a $58.5bn pipeline of mining projects, according to the Energy and Mines Ministry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom board continues to clean house - ANA () 19/04/18 08:55:00

Board members at ESKOM are continuing with their clean sweep at the utility, with 239 cases of possible wrongdoing being identified via whistleblowers alone, MPs heard on Wednesday. Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises, board members SINDI MABASO-KOYANA said following the departure of five senior managers "on the face of serious allegations of misconduct", more executives were suspended. A further four executives remain on suspension, two of which will be facing independent disciplinary hearings this month, with the remaining two scheduled for May. Of the 239 cases being probed, 75 investigations have been completed. At least 39 people are already facing disciplinary action. "Through an audit process, 24 employees were identified... to be doing business with ESKOM. In fact one employee had a contract of R26m for themselves", MABASO-KOYANA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Another hydrogen boost for platinum fuel cells - Simone Liedtke (AMS) 19/04/18 08:55:00

The introduction of platinum-using fuel cells has received another boost with the latest success in hydrogen compression announced by ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM on Wednesday. AMPLATS last week revealed plans for a fuel cell dozer, which makes use of hydrogen in liquid, to make a 2019 debut in one of its underground mines. AMPLATS yesterday announced that it has, alongside SHELL TECHNOLOGY VENTURES, invested in High-Yield Energy Technologies, which has developed electrochemical hydrogen compression (ECH) technology that will support the adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles. The EHC technology is expected to play a vital role in realising a sustainable hydrogen economy, AMPLATS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rebosis postpones H1 result, CEO resigns - Reuters (REB) 19/04/18 08:55:00

REBOSIS PROPERTY FUND yesterday said CEO ANDILE MAZWAI had resigned from the company and it would postpone the release of its interim financial results, sending shares in the company down more than 10%. REBOSIS said current executive deputy chair SISI NGEBULANA would take up the position of interim CEO. MAZWAI who was at the helm since Oct. 2017, stepped down with immediate effect for personal reasons, the company said. It added that it would postpone its interim results to May 8 and delay its dividend payment to May 28. REBOSIS shares fell as much as 10.4% and traded down 9.08% at R7.41 by mid-morning yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee signs processing agreement with Northam subsidiary - Simone Liedtke (JBL) 19/04/18 08:55:00

JUBILEE METALS has executed an agreement with ELAND PLATINUM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NORTHAM PLATINUM, for the processing of platinum-rich PlatCro material, post-chrome removal. Under the terms of the deal, JUBILEE will deliver 60 000t/m of PlatCro material to Eland starting in June. A stockpile of around 290 000t of material will be built up to the end of Jan. 2019, with the ELAND processing plant to start processing the material at a rate of 60 000t/m from Feb. 2019. ELAND will recover the contained PGMs at a targeted rate of around 2 800oz/t, which will result in estimated revenue of $2.4m/month. All earnings generated from the sale of the recovered ounces will be shared at an agreed earning split. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 19/04/2018 () 19/04/18 07:46:00

At 07:45 on 19 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.91 Rand/Sterling 16.92 Rand/Euro 14.75 Gold 1352.20 Platinum 941.50 Oil 73.02 All-Share Index 57713.29

Big SSA economies to get potent lift in 2018 - Vuyani Ndaba () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Sub-Saharan Africa's biggest economies will benefit from a global upswing this year, as long as the US-China tariff dispute does not disturb improving global trade flows, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. The poll, taken in the past week, showed economic growth forecasts for SA have got an unusually strong nudge up. In Jan., economists projected growth this year of 1.3% but expectations have improved each month. The rate is now at 1.9%. In Nigeria, forecasts were lifted to 2.6% for 2018, up from 2.4% at the start of the year. Kenya's economy is still expected to grow 5.5% this year, the same as in Jan. Ghana will likely grow by 7.8% this year, up from 7% predicted in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's CPI hits 7-yr low - Mfuneko Toyana () 19/04/18 07:45:00

South African CPI slowed to its lowest rate in seven years yesterday as the end of the drought helped push down food prices, data showed. Headline annual CPI slowed to 3.8% in Mar. from 4.0% in Feb., the lowest figure since Jan. 2011, Statistics SA said. On a m/m basis, inflation slowed to 0.4% from 0.8% previously. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to quicken to 4.1% of an annual basis and 0.6% on a monthly basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wema Bank to start 2nd tranche of debt programme next month - Chijioke Ohuocha () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Nigeria's WEMA BANK plans to start issuing the second tranche of a Tier II capital increase next month, part of a 50bn naira programme, its deputy CEO ADEMOLA ADEBISE said yesterday. ADEBISE said the lender hoped to boost its capital ratio, which is at 14.3%, higher than the regulatory minimum of 10%. WEMA expects 10% loan growth in 2018 targeting small firms, compared with a 4.92% drop in loan volume last year. The lender had aimed to grow loans by 1.5% in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF hints open for Angolan request for non-financial aid - Stephen Eisenhammer () 19/04/18 07:45:00

The IMF yesterday indicated it was receptive to a request from Angola for non-financial assistance to help it implement economic reforms. The finance ministry this week said it wanted a deal with the IMF known as a Policy Coordination Instrument that "will help to improve the external credibility of our country with positive impact on the ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment". In a statement, the ministry said it was seeking help in implementing its "Macroeconomic Stabilisation Plan". The IMF confirmed receipt of the request, saying it "stands ready to help Angola address its economic challenges by supporting a comprehensive policy package". It explained that while the PCI does not involve any IMF financing, the policies supported under it must meet the same standards as those required under a standard IMF loan. The Fund said the government "has taken important steps toward improving governance and restoring macroeconomic stability". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's C&I Leasing eyes fresh capital for expansion - Chijioke Ohuocha () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Nigeria's C&I LEASING plans to raise funds to buy more vessels to lease to oil companies and expand its business in Ghana as Dubai-based private equity firm ABRAAJ exists, its CEO said this week. "We are looking at increasing our footprint in our current business, increasing our vessel and fleet management business. Our next plan is to introduce our marine business in GhanA over the next 1-3 years", ANDREW OTIKE-ODIBI said. He said the company is planning to issue bonds next month to raise seven billion naira, partly to refinance existing debt of up to 3bn naira. The company is in talks with local pension funds for the five-year debt, which would also be used for working capital and to acquire new vessels. C&I also plans to raise fresh funds via the equity market, with around 40% of a target of $10m-$50m over the next five years coming from share sales, OTIKE-ODIBI said. It posted a 23% rise in pretax profit for 2017 to 1.28bn naira. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenyan mobile survey firm secures $3.5m for Africa expansion - Omar Mohammed () 19/04/18 07:45:00

MSURVEY, a Kenyan start-up that uses mobile phone short-messaging to gather customer feedback for clients, has secured $3.5m to fund expansion into Nigeria and SA, CEO KENFIELD GRIFFITH said yesterday. The firm, founded in 2012 with the backing of SAFARICOM, collects feedback from Kenyan firms. "We are going to use the funds to expand to Nigeria, where we have just opened an office. South Africa will launch within the next six to eight months", GRIFFITH said. The new funding round followed seed investment rounds from CROSS CULTURE VENTURES, ALPHA ANGELS and SAFARICOM's SPARK VENTURE FUND. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenyan mobile survey firm secures $3.5m for Africa expansion - Omar Mohammed () 19/04/18 07:45:00

MSURVEY, a Kenyan start-up that uses mobile phone short-messaging to gather customer feedback for clients, has secured $3.5m to fund expansion into Nigeria and SA, CEO KENFIELD GRIFFITH said yesterday. The firm, founded in 2012 with the backing of SAFARICOM, collects feedback from Kenyan firms. "We are going to use the funds to expand to Nigeria, where we have just opened an office. South Africa will launch within the next six to eight months", GRIFFITH said. The new funding round followed seed investment rounds froM CROSS CULTURE VENTURES, ALPHA ANGELS and SAFARICOM's SPARK VENTURE FUND. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's Nation Media Group says 2017 pretax profit, revenues down - George Obulutsa () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Kenya's NATION MEDIA GROUOP yesterday said its FY2017 pretax profit fell 21% to 1.95bn shillings, with overall revenue also down. NATION acting CEO STEPHEN GITAGAMA said revenues were down 6% from 11.32bn shillings y/y, hurt by a drop in advertising revenues, especially in Kenya. Chair WILFRED KIBORO said the group also faced a challenge in late payments from the Kenyan government, and between 2017 and 2017, the amount owed had risen to some 700m shillings. "One of the greatest challenges we encountered in 2017 was government debt", KIBORO said. He added that there were no plans for NATION MEDIA to be sold to anyone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya could scrap, modify interest rate cap law - Claire Milhench () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Kenya could modify of scrap a law that caps commercial lending rates, President UHURU KENYATTA said this week, recognising that access to credit for SMEs had dried up as a result. The country capped commercial lending rates in Sep. 2016 at 4 percentage points above the central bank's benchmark rate, which now stands at 9.5%, in a bid to limit the cost of borrowing for businesses and individuals. Although the aim was to help small traders access capital at affordable rates, the cap had the opposite effect as lenders deemed SMEs too risky to lend to. "We recognise there is a need to repeal it altogether or modify it to deal with some of the issues and the concerns that have been raised, especially from the financial sector", KENYATTA said, adding that he national assembly and stakeholders were working to see what could be done to address the issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Retail sales rise 4.9% y/y in Feb. - Mfuneko Toyana () 19/04/18 07:45:00

Retail sales rose 4.9% y/y in Feb. after increasing by a revised 3.3% in Jan., Statistics SA said yesterday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 2.8% y/y rise in retail sales in Feb. On a m/m basis, sales were up 1.8% and rose 4.5% in the three months to Feb. compared with the y/y period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump says he is now opposed to re-joining TPP - Edward White () 18/04/18 11:27:00

US President DONALD TRUMP has suggested he is now opposed to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal just days after signalling the US could re-join the pact. TRUMP said on Twitter: "While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back int TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States. Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn't work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to US". That statement came after TRUMP last week ordered his top economic advisers to examine whether the US should rejoin the trade pact. And it followed meetings held this week with Japan's PM SHINZO ABE at TRUMP's Mar-a-Lago, where the leaders discussed trade, military and security issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammerson board backs away from Intu takeover - Cat Rutter Pooley (HMN) 18/04/18 11:27:00

HAMMERSON's board has withdrawn its backing for the company's takeover of smaller UK mall owner INTU, less than a week after KLEPIERRE backed away from a possible offer for HAMMERSON. The company's board said it had now concluded "the proposed INTU acquisition is no longer in the best interests of shareholders", and would no longer recommend shareholders voted in favour of the agreed all-share deal. INTU shares fell by 6.4% at the open, while HAMMERSON rose 5.8%. HAMMERSON said that despite the resilience of its own portfolio of shopping centres, investors had soured on the wider UK retail property market since the start of the year. "This has led to a disconnect between the company's share price and the fundamental value of its business and prospects", HAMMERSON said, something that had been made worse by concerns over how long it would take the company to complete the INTU deal and then to ultimately realise the hoped-for returns. INTU said HAMMERSON's explanations were "unsatisfactory" and its board would be meeting to decide whether to insist the deal was put to shareholders regardless of the lack of support from HAMMERSON's directors. The deal does not automatically collapse because of the board's withdrawal of its recommendation to shareholders they vote in favour of buying INTU. Unless INTU and the UK takeovers watchdog agree otherwise, shareholders will still get to vote on the tie-up - although it is unlikely to go ahead without the board's support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICE to begin futures trading in new alternative LIBOR rate - Philip Stafford () 18/04/18 11:27:00

INTERCONTINENTALEXCHANGE, which administers the LIBOR lending rate, is to begin trading futures on the alternative benchmark rate intended to supplant the scandal-hit LIBOR. ICE said it would launch 3-month futures contracts based on the Sterling Overnight Index Average, or SONIA, a measure of the short-term price at which banks and building societies lend to each other. The reformed SONIA benchmark forms part of a broader global push this year by banks and regulators to wean the market off the tarnished LIBOR rate. From next week the Bank of England will begin publishing the new SONIA rates. The new 3 month SONIA futures contracts will be cash-settled and will debut on Jun. 1, subject to regulatory approval, ICE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China eases monetary policy with cut to required reserve ratio - Gabriel Wildau () 18/04/18 11:27:00

China has cut the proportion of cash that commercial banks are required to hold on reserve at the central bank, a modest easing signal following weak lending volumes in Mar. and signs that economic growth is slowing. The People's Bank of China will cut he required reserve ratio by 1 percentage point, bringing the ratio for the country's six largest lenders down to 16%. In an accompanying statement, the central bank emphasised that its "prudent" monetary policy stance remained unchanged. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

J&J Q1 results top forecasts - David Crow () 18/04/18 11:27:00

JOHNSON & JOHNSON posted quarterly sales and profits that were ahead of analysts' forecasts. The healthcare group said it generated adjusted earnings of $2.06/share on revenues of $20bn. The consensus forecast among Wall Street analysts was for $2.00 in adjusted EPS and $19.5bn in sales. J&J was bolstered by its pharmaceuticals division, where revenues grew 19.4% to $9.84bn. Shares added 1.1% in premarket trading in New York yesterday. The group increased its sales guidance for the FY to a range of $81bn to $81.8bn, and left its adjusted EPS outlook unchanged at $8.00-$8.20/share. Previously, J&J had said it expected sales in the region of $80.6bn to $81.4bn in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldman Sachs Q1 profits up 27% - Ben McLannahan () 18/04/18 11:27:00

GOLDMAN SACHS yesterday reported a27% rise in net income for Q1 after a big rebound from its core trading business. The fixed-income, currency and commodities trading division posted revenues of $2.1bn, 23% higher y/y, while revenues from stock trading were up 38% to $2.3bn. Investment banking was brighter too, seeing a 5% rise in total revenues from advising on deals and capital-raising, to $1.8bn, after another strong period for the debt-underwriting business. Net revenues were $10bn, well ahead of analysts' estimates of $8.7bn, up 25% y/y. EPS for the period came in at $6.95 on a fully diluted basis, smashing the consensus forecast of $5.67. EPS for the y/y quarter was $5.15. GOLDMAN's ROE came in at 15.4% on an annualised basis, the highest in over five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya-focused fintech lender Tala raises $65m to fund expansion - John Aglionby () 18/04/18 11:26:00

Kenya-focused fintech company TALA has raised $65m in Series C equity investment and debt financing to fund its newly launched global expansion. The announcement, which takes TALA's total fundraising to $105m, comes three weeks after its main competitor, BRANCH INTERNATIONAL, announced a $70m Series B equity and debt funding round that took its total raised to $80m. California-based TALA launched in Kenya in 2014 and last year expanded into the Philippines, Tanzania, Mexico and India. It uses mobile phone and behavioural data to provide loans ranging from $10 to $500 with the median being $100. Loans are usually approved within minutes and, where available, disbursed via mobile money platforms. TALA CEO SHIVANI SIROYA said the new funds would be used to "focus on growth in our current markets". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan imports fall for first time since 2016 - Alice Woodhouse () 18/04/18 11:26:00

Japanese exports grew at a slower pace than forecast in Mar. with imports falling for the first time in more than a year. Outbound shipments rose 2.1% y/y in March, the Ministry of Finance said, coming in below a Reuters poll of economists forecasting 4.7%. However, that was up from the 1.8% rise in Feb. Exports in Asia rose 4.5% y/y while shipments to China rose 10.8%. Imports fell 0.6% against the forecast of a 5.4% rise and the first contraction since Dec. 2016. Those figures resulted in a trade surplus for March of Y797.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK economy to underperform all of Europe except Italy - IMF - Chris Giles () 18/04/18 10:49:00

Britain's economy will perform worse than the rest of Europe, except Italy, over the next two years as it navigates Brexit, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook on Tuesday. IMF chief economist MAURICE OBSTFELD said global growth would slow by 2020 and warned that jostling over a trade war would distract from the reform agenda "rather than advancing it". Even with a sluggish outlook for the UK, the Fund recommended the Bank of England raise interest rates to keep a lid on stubbornly high inflation. "The unemployment rate in the UK is close to historic lows; further declines could add to inflation pressure by triggering faster wage growth in a context of inflation that is already above target following currency depreciation after the June 2016 Brexit referendum... Gradual monetary tightening is therefore needed to ensure that inflation returns to target", the Fund said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US industrial output growth slows in March - Pan Kwan Yuk () 18/04/18 10:49:00

Growth in US industrial output slowed sharply in Mar. as strong gains in the mining and utilities sectors were offset by a dramatic slowdown in manufacturing. Industrial production rose 0.5% in Mar., according to data from the Federal Reserve. That is down from the 1% advance recorded in Feb. but was better than the 0.3% gain analysts had expected. Mining output rose 1%, while utilities output jumped 3% as an unusually cold March prompted a surge in demand for home heating. Manufacturing output rose only 0.1% in Mar., after clocking a 1.5% jump in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Unions lock negotiators in amid public sector wage talks deadlock - Tehillah Niselow () 18/04/18 10:49:00

Trade unions yesterday evening said they had locked in state negotiators at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council offices in Centurion, saying they will be barred from leaving until they receive a mandate from government. Negotiations for wage hikes affecting around 1.3m civil servants have dragged on since October. PSCBC secretary general FRIKKIE DE BRUIN downplayed the locking in of government negotiators, saying it was a usual occurrence during negotiating season. "This is part of the power play process, it's not a hostage situation... we were expecting this", DE BRUIN said. "I'm sure parties will allow us to unlock the deadlock and continue another day", he added. DE BRUIN said the three major outstanding issues of concern are the percentage of the wage increases, the pay progression for the various salary bands and the housing allowance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lamberti resigns as Imperial CEO - Jan Cronje (IPL) 18/04/18 10:49:00

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS CEO MARK LAMBERTI has resigned. This follows his resignation from the boards of ESKOM and Business Leadership SA after a high court ruled against him in a race and gender discrimination case. IMPERIAL said the move for LAMBERTI to step down arose from the recent judgment in which the court found in favour of former employee ADILA CHOWAN, and against ASSOCIATED MOTRO HOLDINGS , IMPERIAL and LAMBERTI regarding a series of incidents which commenced in 2014. According to today's statement, LAMBERTI offered to resign and IMPERIAL's board accepted it. "Mr LAMBERTI has served IMPERIAL with distinction since March 2014, leading a multifaceted portfolio, organisation and management restructuring, a key objective of which was to accelerate executive development and transformation to align IMPERIAL's employee and leadership profile with the economically active demographics of South Africa", the statement read. OSMAN ARBEE, IMPERIAL's CFO between 2013 and 2017 and current CEO of the MOTUS vehicle sales division, has been appointed new group CEO with effect from May 1. ARBEE will stay on as CEO of MOTUS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Land fears could stymie Ramaphosa's investment envoys - IRR - Lameez Omarjee () 18/04/18 10:49:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's newly appointed investment envoys face the tough task of easing investors' concerns around the state's plans to implement land expropriation without compensation, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations. RAMAPHOSA on Monday announced a drive to attract R1.2tn in investment to SA over the next five years. He also appointed four investment envoys who he said would spend the next few months engaging both domestic and foreign investors around economic opportunities in SA. They are former finance minister TREVOR MANUEL, former deputy finance minister MCEBISI JONAS, executive chair of AFROPULSE GROUP PHUMZILE LANGENI and LIBERTY GROUP chair JACKO MAREE. In a statement yesterday, the Institute raised concerns related to the challenges land reform may present when attracting investment. "This invitation to foreign investment is contradicted by the government's commitment to expropriation without compensation... This sends out a strong message that investments are vulnerable to government seizure. This is already a serious consideration for investors". The IRR argued that expropriation without compensation would give rise to fears among investors about the security of their investments. "South Africa's prospects for a prosperous future depend significantly on establishing a policy environment which is conducive to the creation of wealth and the operation of business, both local and domestic... Expropriation without compensation stands in flat contradiction to this", the IRR noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Curro expands Gauteng footprint - Ntaoleng Lechela (COH) 18/04/18 10:49:00

CURRO HOLDINGS has expanded its reach in Gauteng by acquiring Cooper College and Magic Beings Creche. The company yesterday confirmed that he sales agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of Cooper College was finalised on Apr. 3. The acquisition "is aligned with CURRO's intention to expand its geographical footprint in Gauteng and to extend its education offering", the company said. Cooper College is a private primary school that caters for learners from Grade 0 to 7, and is situated in Randburg. CURRO plans for the further development of the college campus and the construction of a private high school for up to 650 learners. At the moment Cooper College has around 1 000 enrolled learners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Challenging macro conditions impact Zeder results - Carin Smith (ZED) 18/04/18 10:49:00

JSE-listed ZEDER experienced challenging macro conditions during the FY to end-Feb. that negatively impacted the company and most of its portfolio companies, it said yesterday. But many of these conditions improved significantly during the latter part of the reporting period, boding well for a recovery of ZEDER and its portfolio, according to CEO NORMAN CELLIERS. The sum-of-the-parts value per share of ZEDER's key benchmark fell by 8% to 785cps as at end-Feb., with the total underlying investment portfolio accounting to R14.2bn as at Feb. 28, compared to R15.2bn in 2017. ZEDER's recurring HEPS fell by 35.2% to 27.6cps for the period under review. The company said this was due to a combination of decreases reported by PIONEER FOODS, CAPESPAN, ZAAD and AGRIVISION AFRICA, against increases reported by KAAP AGRI and QUANTUM FOODS and the positive effects of the internalisation of the base management fee during the prior year. ZEDER maintained its dividend of 11.0cps in the FY to end-Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF makes positive U-turn on SA growth outlook - News24Wire () 18/04/18 10:49:00

The IMF is upbeat about SA's GDP growth in 2018, raising its forecast to 1.5% after cutting its prediction to 0.9% in Jan. The Fund released its World Economic Outlook report yesterday. After experiencing 1.3% growth in 2017, the Fund pencilled in 1.5% growth in 2018 and 1.7% in 2019. It slashed its forecast in Jan. citing rising political uncertainty affecting investment and business confidence. Three months later, the WEO expects business confidence to "gradually firm up" following political changes but warns that growth prospects remain weighed down by "structural bottlenecks" and the medium-term outlook is subdued, with growth expected to stabilise at 1.8% over 2020-23. The IMF advised policymakers to reduce uncertainty in order to attract private investment, suggesting "reducing barriers to entry in key sectors, including transportation and telecommunications; and improving the efficiency of government spending". The IMF expressed mixed views about the National Minimum Wage. "The proposal to introduce a national minimum wage has the potential to hurt firms' competitiveness and employment prospects in the formal sector, but it could improve working conditions and reduce poverty". The IMF projects that GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa will rise during 2018-2019 to 3.4% and 3.7%, respectively, as commodity prices rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steel demand to grow by 1.8% in 2018 - Simone Liedtke () 18/04/18 10:49:00

The World Steel Association has forecast 1.8% y/y growth in global steel demand to 1.62bn tonnes this year. The organisation reports in its April Short Range Outlook that global steel demand will grow by a further 0.7% to 1.63bn tonnes in 2019. Worldsteel economics committee chair TV NARENDRAN said that, in the next couple of years, the global economic situation is expected to remain favourable with high confidence and strengthening recovery of investment levels in advanced economies. "Benefiting from this, steel demand in both developed and developing economies is expected to show sustained growth momentum with risks relatively limited. However, possible adverse impacts from rising trade tensions and the probable US and European Union interest rate movements could erode this current momentum". However, the SRO indicated that upside and downside risks to this forecast are mostly balanced. On the downside, the possible escalation of trade tensions, rising inflationary pressure and tightening of US and EU monetary policies may cause volatility in the financial market and challenge highly indebted emerging economies. Steel demand in 2018 is expected to stay flat and is expected to contract by 2% in 2019 with a further slowdown in construction activity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Those who can afford to pay for toll roads, must pay - Nzimande - News24Wire () 18/04/18 10:49:00

The funding of road infrastructure for the next 15-20 years worries Transport Minister BLADE NZIMANDE. The Department of Transport yesterday briefed parliament on the annual performance plan for FY2018/19. NZIMANDE raised some of the key focus areas of the DoT for the upcoming year. "One of the bigger issues I have been thinking about, which is an ongoing issue, arises from the GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project). How do we move forward in the next 15 to 20 years? How do we raise finance for road infrastructure?" he asked. "We will have to come up with a strategy of funding road construction and maintenance programmes on a sustainable basis", he added. NZIMANDE said it is "inappropriate" to scrap the user-pay principle entirely, noting that "those who can afford to pay, must pay". He said that priority should be placed on the maintenance of road, which are often so run-down they have to be rebuilt from scratch. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC, ATON lift shareholding in M&R - Marleny Arnoldi (MUR) 18/04/18 09:20:00

The PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION has raised its interest in MURRAY & ROBERTS to 20.15% of the total issued ordinary shares of the company. Additionally, clients of ALLAN GRAY have cut their stake in M&R to 4.32%, while ATON AUSTRIA HOLDING has raised its interest in M&R to 39.8%. ATON in Mar. announced that it planned to fully acquire M&R and, earlier this month, it launched a R15/share offer to M&R shareholders. An independent board established by M&R to assess the offer has advised shareholders against accepting it, saying it materially undervalued M&R. The PIC, OLD MUTUAL and other smaller shareholders have also rejected the proposed buyout. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CMH achieves 17.2% y/y rise in FY headline earnings - Marleny Arnoldi (CMH) 18/04/18 09:20:00

COMBINED MOTOR HOLDINGS yesterday reported a good set of results for the FY to end-Feb. despite ongoing challenges including a difficult economic, trading and political environment. The company's operating profit rose by 15.5% y/y to R438.4m, with an improvement in the operating margin before goodwill impairment to 4.2% from 3.9% previously. Revenue growth was restrained by limited vehicle price rises, as manufacturers fought for market share. The net result was a 25.4% rise in total profit and, adjusting for the reduced goodwill impairment, a 17.2% y/y improvement in headline earnings. Meanwhile, dividends paid during the period reflected a 15% rise, and the directors have recommended a Jun. 2018 dividend of 115cps. "Looking back, the past six years have been challenging, yet rewarding. CMH has achieved 18.5% compound growth in headline earnings a share, and a 24.5% growth in dividends", CMH CEO JEBB MCINTOSH said. He added that cash flow generation has enabled two share repurchase transactions, to a combined value of R450m, and enabled the early settlement of R200m of car hire fleet financing. Meanwhile, against he 0.4% rise in national new-vehicle sales, CMH achieved growth of 11.8% in terms of motor retail. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst delivers satisfactory FY performance - Natasha Odendaal (PGL) 18/04/18 09:20:00

PALLINGHURST RESOURCES has concluded that it called a "transformational year" after successfully transitioning into an evergreen operating mining company during the FY to end-Dec. 2017. The group yesterday posted basic EPS of $0.04 for 2017, down from the $0.06 reported y/y, with net profit after tax rising to $45m. CEO ARNE FRANDSEN said the net profit of $45m "was achieved in a year where PALLINGHURST transformed to an evergreen operating mining company and undertook the transformational acquisition of GEMFIELDS". Meanwhile, the Jupiter Tshipi manganese mine achieved record levels of revenue, production and profitability for its FY to end-Feb., supported by a significant rise in the manganese price throughout 2017 and continued tight control over operating costs. For the FY, Tshipi shipped a record 3.3mt, which resulted in the strongest financial performance to date. "During PALLINGHURST's 2017 financial year, we received distributions of about $15m from JUPITER, with an additional $8m received earlier this month", FRANDSEN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US Commerce Dept finds aluminium sheet imports from China subsidised - Reuters () 18/04/18 09:20:00

The US Department of Commerce yesterday made a preliminary determination that aluminium sheet imports from China benefit from unfair subsidies, the Aluminium Association said. The Commerce Department calculated preliminary subsidy margins ranging from 31.2% to 113.3% of the value of the imported common alloy aluminium sheet, the US trade group said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jubilee sets new operational record - Simone Liedtke (JBL) 18/04/18 09:20:00

JUBILEE METALS set a new operational record when it produced 1858oz of PGMs in March, while its unit costs reached a low of $43/oz for Q1 2018. CEO LEON COETZER said he was pleased with the continued operational improvements at the company's Hernic operations. "I expect the second quarter of 2018 to deliver even better operational numbers as the Hernic operation continues to improve". COETZER added that JUBILEE's Dilokong Chrome Mine operation is going through a transitional phase as the group gears up to execute the PGM project. "We have temporarily suspended the processing of third-party ore at DCM due to a continued variation in feed quality causing operational difficulties, which negatively impacts on our production of chrome from the on-site tailings and surface waste material". JUBILEE is gearing up to start construction on the DCM PMG recovery plant, with the project plant design target set at 25 000t/m of feed material to the chrome and PGM recovery plant. Phase 1 of the fine chrome recovery circuit has been completed with the design and construction of an enlarged fine chrome recovery circuit to enhance the recovery of chrome prior to the recovery of the PGMs, under way. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers earns $520m in 3rd sales cycle - Marleny Arnoldi (AGL) 18/04/18 09:20:00

DE BEERS' global sightholder and auction sales earned the company $520m in the third sales cycle of 2018. This is lower than the $563m earned in the second cycle, as well as the $586m earned in the third sales cycle of 2017. CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said that while the second quarter of the year is traditionally a seasonally slower period, the company continued to seek good rough diamond demand in the third sales cycle, as diamond businesses have focused on restocking following robust consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the US and China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBPlat lifts Q1 platinum output - Marleny Arnoldi (RBP) 18/04/18 09:20:00

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM achieved a12.2% y/y rise in platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold PGMs production to 81 100oz in the quarter to end-Mar. Total tonnes delivered to concentrators rose by 1.9% to 735 000t, with the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine contributing 535 000t and Styldrift 200 000t. The build-up head grade for the reporting period improved by 4.2% from 3.79g/t to 3.95g/t. RBPLAT's capex for the quarter rose by 61.7% y/y to R599.3m, mainly due to increased project development and construction at the Styldrift I project. During the quarter, the commissioning of the services shaft and overland conveyor belt from Styldrift I to the BRPM concentrating facility was completed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Jupiter Mines to list on ASX; Tshipi raises FY18 net profit - Marleny Arnoldi (PGL) 18/04/18 09:20:00

JUPITER MINES, which owns a 49.9% stake in TSHIPI E NTLE MANGANESE MINING, listed on the ASX today. TSHIPI achieved a net profit after tax of R1.9bn for the FY to end-Feb. 2018, compared with R891m y/y. The mine produced 3.34mt of saleable manganese in the year under review, compared with 2.27mt of saleable manganese in the prior year. JUPITER CEO PRIYANK THAPLIYAL said the TSHIPI operating and sales strategy for FY2019 is broadly similar to that of the 2018 FY, when manganese prices averaged around $4.74/t. THAPLIYAL added that with current prices at $7.23/t of manganese, significantly higher cash flow is being generated. Product has been sold through April, which will result in cash in the bank for TSHIPI of around R1.5bn at end-May. Should the markets hold, this raises the prospect of a substantial FY2019 distribution to TSHIPI shareholders and, in turn, to JUPITER's shareholders under the company's dividend policy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mustang discovers new deposit at Montepuez - Esmarie Swanepoel () 18/04/18 09:20:00

MUSTANG RESOURCES has reported the discovery of a significant new ruby deposit at its Montepuez project in Mozambique. MUSTANG said the new ruby-bearing gravels were discovered some 3.5 km directly south-west from the company's 200t/h processing plant. It was made during an extensive exploration and test pitting campaign during the Mar. quarter, which resulted in the development of 196 test pits during the period. MUSTANG said preparations have now commenced to restart the exploration bulk sampling programme at Montepuez as the rainy season draws to an end, with the newly identified deposit forming part of the upcoming bulk sampling programme. Meanwhile, MUSTANG said 29 069ct of rubies were recovered during the quarter to end-Mar., from the processing of 43 940 m3 of material at the Montepuez project, resulting in an average grade of 0.42ct per tonne. The March quarter recovery grades were 13.5% higher than the prior quarter, while tonnes processed was around 15% lower. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Giyani Metals identifies prospective manganese mineralisation locations in Botswana - Marleny Arnoldi () 18/04/18 09:20:00

GIYANI METALS CORPORATION is progressing Phase 1 of its 2018 operational programme in Botswana. Airborne magnetic data at a 250 m line spacing has highlighted relevant geological features of interest, allowing GINYANI to map, with a high degree of certainty, the location of prospective geology within the larger Giyani licence area. Current ongoing ground surveys will provide valuable information to identify subtle magnetic contacts in the sedimentary package, which will then allow for detailed mapping of the manganiferious hale. Five out of GIYANI's 14 licences are identified to have prospective stratigraphy for manganese mineralisation. "The results we obtained from the interpretation of the airborne magnetic data strengthen our confidence in the large potential within the rest of our licence area, well beyond the three identified prospects so far at K.Hill, Otse and Lobatse", GIYANI CEO ROBIN BIRCHALL said. GIYANI has appointed ROTSDRILL EXPLORATION as the main drilling contractor for Phase 1 after a competitive bidding process, during which four reputable drilling companies were invited to participate. Mobilisation of drilling equipment is under way and the drill programme is planned to start this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tiso Blackstar stops trading on Aim - Business Report (TBG) 18/04/18 07:41:00

TISO BLACKSTAR yesterday morning stopped trading on the LSE's Alternative Investment Market. TISO's cancellation of its listing on the Aim will not affect its primary listing on the JSE and upon cancellation, the shares from the UK will be transferred to the JSE register. TISO said that shareholders whose shares have moved to the South African Register from the UK Register still have the option of having their shareholding dematerialised into a Link SA Central Securities Depository Participant account on the Central Securities Depository operated by STRATE PTY LTD, in SA or to any other financial institution via a CSDP to enable their shares to be traded on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasfin reaches deal to acquire SCMSA from Saxo Bank - ANA (SFN) 18/04/18 07:41:00

SASFIN yesterday said it had reached a deal to acquire, together with management, SAXO CAPITAL MARKETS SA from Denmark-based SAXO BANK, subject to the fulfilment of conditions. "Following the implementation of the transaction, the parties will continue to collaborate, leveraging SAXO BANK's unique technology and global market access. Clients of SCMSA will therefore continue to have access to the same broad product range and platforms as they are used to", it said. An investment into SCMSA will lead to the facilitation of broader trade within South African financial markets, SASFIN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Curator of VSB Bank withdraws financial audit - Kabelo Khumalo () 18/04/18 07:41:00

The curator of the embattled VBS MUTUAL BANK yesterday said the audited annual financial statements of the bank for the year to end-Mar. 2017 have been withdrawn due to anomalies in it. VBS curator ANOOSH ROOPLAL said the statements contain material misstatements that were no longer considered reliable. "The decision to withdraw the 2017 audited financial statements will not change our focus as curator", ROOPLAL said. "We are still of the view that the curatorship role provides the best mechanism to rehabilitate the bank of possible, and my primary role of stabilising the bank and protecting the interests of depositors remains firm". ROOPLAL said the bank's external auditors, KPMG, had been informed of that decision. SARB deputy governor KUBEN NAIDOO last week said that VBS could not account for nearly R1bn deposited with the bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mozambique state accountable for debt but responsibility must be shared - President - Karin Strohecker () 18/04/18 07:41:00

Mozambique will assume responsibility for debt incurred by previous administrations, but there needs to be a shared responsibility by those providing the loans, President FELIPE NYUSI said yesterday. The country got cut off from multilateral and foreign donors such as the IMF after the government admitted to $1.4bn of previously undisclosed loans in 2016. It presented a restructuring plan to its commercial creditors in March. "We are making dialogue with the creditors and we are looking at what should be done, naturally this is a complex process", NYUSI said. "It is a complex process because it is not only Mozambique to be seen as a culprit... this loan was from a certain place, they were not aware we are just giving this, due diligence should have been done, so this is a responsibility that should be shared", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom says facing coal shortages at seven power plants - Alexander Winning () 18/04/18 07:41:00

ESKOM yesterday said it was facing coal shortages at seven of its power stations. "No one wants load-shedding", spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said, adding that the utility "will do everything possible to prevent that". He said ESKOM was redirecting coal supplies from power plants with surpluses to the seven affected plants in Mpumalanga as winter approaches. It had asked the finance ministry for permission to procure more coal and is temporarily using diesel-fuelled turbines to meet electricity demand. Part of the reason for the coal shortages is that GUPTA-owned TEGETA EXPLORATION & RESOURCES has cut supplies to ESKOm as it seeks insolvency protection. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda to borrow $412m from China, World Bank for health, education projects - Elias Biryabarema () 18/04/18 07:41:00

Uganda yesterday said it intends to borrow a total of $412m from the World Bank and China's EXIM BANK to fund projects in education, health and energy sectors. Cabinet approved a decision to borrow $200m from the World Bank and another $212m from EXIM BANK at a meeting on Monday, the government said in a statement, but terms have yet to be negotiated. The money from the Chinese lender would partly finance connecting an additional 170 000 customers to the power grid. The funds from the World Bank would fund the construction of hundreds of secondary schools and the upgrading of 331 rural health facilities. Total public debt rose to $15.9bn by end-Feb., or 62% of the country's GDP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Senate seeks explanation of $162m to buy helicopters - Camillus Eboh () 18/04/18 07:41:00

Nigeria's upper chamber of parliament yesterday said it would invite the central bank governor and the ministers of finance and defence to explain the release of $162m to buy helicopters, it said on its TWITTER feed yesterday. Senator SAM ANYANWU said the money was withdrawn from the federal account last month without the approval of lawmakers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PIC rejects ATON's takeover offer for M&R - Patricia Aruo (MUR) 18/04/18 07:41:00

SA's PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION yesterday said it had rejected an offer by Germany's ATON to acquire MURRAY & ROBERTS. ATON owns more than a third of M&R, and recently made a buyout offer of R15 for the company, valuing it at nearly $600m. M&R rejected the offer, saying it undervalued the company. "The PIC does not support the current offer and agrees with the Board of MURRAY & ROBERTS that he offer by ATON materially undervalues this successful engineering, construction and mining company based on its prospects", the PIC said. The PIC is the second biggest shareholder in M&R. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's AG cancels all contracts with KPMG - Mfuneko Toyana () 18/04/18 07:41:00

SA's Auditor General yesterday announced he is terminating all contracts with KPMG over a string of recent scandals that have cast doubt over the audit firm's professional and ethical conduct. "Recent media reports relating to the external audit of VBS MUTUAL BANK and the conduct of KPMG audit partners are some of the reasons that have prompted the decision to withdraw all KPMG audit mandates with immediate effect", AG KIMI MAKWETU said in a statement. MAKWETU also terminated, with immediate effect, government's audit contracts with NKONKI INC. He said media reports on matters arising from the shareholder transactions involving NKONKI were of "grave concern and pose significant risk on the reputation of my office through the statutory audits contracted". The decision to terminate the NKONKI contract follows the resignation of its CEO, MITESH PATEL, last week. PATEL resigned after amaBhungane revealed that his R107m "management buyout" of the firm was funded by GUPTA associate SALIM ESSA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 18/04/2018 () 18/04/18 07:41:00

At 07:41 on 18 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.00 Rand/Sterling 17.16 Rand/Euro 14.86 Gold 1344.21 Platinum 935.50 Oil 71.69 All-Share Index 56826.74

Shire sells oncology unit to Servier - Cat Rutter Pooley () 17/04/18 11:04:00

SHIRE has struck a deal to sell its oncology business for $2.4bn in cash to a French pharmaceutical group, complicating the position for Japan's TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL which last month said it was considering a bid for the Irish group. Oncology was one of the key areas identified by TAKEDA as driving the rationale for a tie-up between the Japanese group and SHIRE. Since then on offer for SHIRE has been forthcoming, but TAKEDA has just over a week to make a firm offer for the company or face being blocked from making a bid for six months under UK takeover rules. Analysts said the planned drugs deal strengthened SHIRE's hand with TAKEDA. SHIRE said the cash raised by the oncology business sale to SERVIER would help "increase optionality", but added that "after the current offer period regarding TAKEDA's possible offer for SHIRE concludes", it would consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders through a buyback. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diageo to spend £150m upgrading Scotch tourist attractions - Mure Dickie () 17/04/18 11:04:00

DIAGEO will invest £150m over three years in whisky visitor attractions in Scotland. The investment reflects both optimism about global demand for Scotch and the growing importance of consumer experiences in brand building. DIAGEO CEO IVAN MENEZES said the investment in Scotch whisky tourism marked a "real inflection point" in how it promotes the spirit around the world. DIAGEO will build a new "immersive" visitor experience in Edinburgh for its flagship Johnnie Walker blends, as well as upgrading its existing 12 distillery visitor centres and creating two more at plants it plans to reopen. More than 440 000 people visited DIAGEO's existing Scotch visitor centres in 2017, up 15% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China GDP grows 6.8% in Q1 - Gabriel Wildau () 17/04/18 11:03:00

China's economy grew by 6.8% in Q1, above the government's target and despite fears that growth was set to slow this year after an unexpectedly strong trade surplus boosted last year's figure. A rebound in private investment helped buffer a 20% drop in China's goods-trade surplus in Q1 y/y. Real estate investment also accelerated in the first quarter, following a slowdown through much of last year in response to measures by dozens of cities aimed at containing a frothy property market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABF bumps up sales - Naomi Rovnick () 17/04/18 11:03:00

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS has slightly missed City forecasts for HY revenues and reported declining profits as a weak performance in its sugar business combined with mixed sales at its PRIMARK chain. The group posted revenues of £7.4bn for the HY to end-Mar., against forecasts of £7.6bn. This was a 2% increase y/y. Pre-tax profits fell 30% to £603m, with the drop exaggerated because of business sales in 2017. Operating profits slipped by 3% to £618m. CEO GEORGE WESTON said management's expectations for FY profits was unchanged. Overall same-store sales at PRIMARK fell 1.5% during the period, which ABF attributed to unseasonably warm weather in Oct. followed by "freezing temperatures across northern Europe" in the spring. But in the UK, PRIMARK's same-store sales rose 3%, which ABF put down to "an increase in selling space and the breadth of our consumer offering" as price-conscious British shoppers snapped up its cheap clothing, beauty items and homewares. ABF will pay an interim dividend of 11.7pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Advent in exclusive talks to buy Sanofi generics business - Harriet Agnew () 17/04/18 11:03:00

Private equity firm ADVENT has confirmed it has entered into exclusive talks to buy ZENTIVA, SANOFI's European generics business, for €1.91bn. A statement from the two companies said the US buyout group's offer is firm, binding and fully financed, and that the deal is expected to close by the end of this year. As of Dec. 31, ADVENT had €35bn in assets under management. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Majestic Wine sets out on expansion - Katie Martin () 17/04/18 11:03:00

MAJESTIC WINE shares wobbled a bit after the company said it would make a new push for more clients. In a statement earlier today the group said the "opportunity to invest in new customer acquisition is materially bigger than previously thought". It intends to invest up to an additional £12m to grab this new business, which will dent earnings in its 2019 FY by up to £3m before "annual generation of future value from £48m to £80m-plus a year". Shares initially fell by 5% at the open before trimming losses to 2.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore warns on child labour in Congo's cobalt mining - Henry Sanderson (GLN) 17/04/18 10:27:00

GLENCORE has warned that a new focus on sourcing cobalt from small-scale miners in the DRC increases the risks of child labour. The company said it had noticed "an increasing interest in responsible cobalt supply" from so-called artisanal miners, who mine the metal by hand. But such mining often involves women and children. "As a major producer and marketer of cobalt, we support efforts to establish greater transparency in the value chain, and address the endemic poverty in this region that is the underlying cause of artisanal mining", GLENCORE said yesterday. "We do not support ASM [artisanal mining], nor process or purchase any material derived from ASM in the DRC". GLENCORE said it had noted "an increased number of children engaging in artisanal activities during school holidays". It said it had supported holiday cams for school children and agricultural initiatives in the communities where it mines "to deter participation of children and women in artisanal mining". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME issues warning on Rusal trading profits after sanctions - Henry Sanderson () 17/04/18 10:27:00

The LME has written to all its members reminding them that any trading profits made from dealing with RUSAL must be paid into blocked accounts. The sanctions-hit Russian group is understood to be sitting on significant gains from the recent rise in aluminium prices caused by US sanctions. RUSAL will typically take out a long position on the LME, to hedge fixed price contracts with its customers, which can range from drinks can makers to car companies. Tomorrow will see the expiry of the LME's most traded aluninium contract, which could see RUSAL sitting on profits, following a record 18% rally in the price of aluminium since the sanctions. Aluminium prices rose by 4% yesterday to trade at $2 368/t on the LME. The LME yesterday said clients must segregate their trades with RUSAL into a separate account, after which the exchange will make arrangements to pay any profits into a blocked account. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tronc shares jump on report of SoftBank interest - Jessica Dye () 17/04/18 10:27:00

Shares in TRONC pushed higher yesterday after a report that SOFTBANK is among several bidders eyeing the US news publisher. TRONC shares surged as much as 12% higher before trimming those gains slightly to trade up almost 10% at $18.86. SOFTBANK has made a splash by pursuing investments in a range of industries. AXIOS yesterday said it was now among "several possible buyers" for TRONC, which owns a portfolio of newspapers and digital platforms in a number of markets. Earlier this year, TRONC agreed to sell the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and a number of smaller regional newspapers to biotech billionaire PATRICK SOON-SHIONG for $500m. AXIOS yesterday reported that the deal with SOON-SHIONG seemed to still be on track but speculated that a report on Friday by the New York Post that APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT had been eyeing TRONC as well "may have been designed to ensure he doesn't force a downward renegotiation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vauxhall to trim dealer network by third in profitability drive - Peter Campbell () 17/04/18 10:27:00

VAUXHALL will trim its dealer network by up to a third as it tries to improve profitability. The nameplate will cancel the contracts of its entire UK-based 326 dealers and re-franchise with more than 200 of the existing sites over a 24-month period. It stressed that there would be "no job losses" among the 12 000 employees of VAUXHALL dealers at the sites would move to other brands or into selling used vehicles. Although the dealer network is profitable, VAUXHALL and European parent OPEL are aiming to save €1bn by 2022 after being taken over by PSA last year. VAUXHALL MD STEPHEN NORMAN said the company aims to sell more cars via a smaller number of dealers in future, as well as focusing on an increased online presence. VAUXHAL suffered the worst year of any car brand last year in Britain, with sales down 22% and market share dropping from 9.3% to 7.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aluminium prices rally to highest level since 2011 - Henry Sanderson () 17/04/18 10:27:00

Aluminium prices rose 5% yesterday to hit their highest levels since 2011, as traders scrambled for metal following US sanctions against RUSAL. The price for the metal has rallied by almost 20% since the US Treasury slapped sanctions against RUSAL and founder OLEG DERIPASKA. It comes as the LME prepares to ban all RUSAL metal produced or sold after Apr. 6, the day sanctions were announced. That ban comes into effect on Wednesday. The price for aluminium rose by more than 5% to a seven-year high above $2 400/t, the metal's biggest one-day price gain since 2011. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drug sellers get shot in the arm from Amazon report - Jessica Dye () 17/04/18 10:27:00

Shares in drug stores and related companies got a booster yesterday from a report that AMAZON may not be making a foray into pharmaceutical sales after all. Following the report from CNBC, shares in WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE rose 5.5%, while EXPRESS SCRIPTS was up 1.5%. CARDINAL HEALTH rose 5.3%. The moves come after CNBC said AMAZON BUSINESS, which sells items in bulk, was not planning to sell pharmaceutical products, as it had reportedly mulled last year. The mere suggestion that AMAZON had eyed a move into the field has moved shares of related companies over the past few months, given the e-commerce giant's growing dominance of a wide swath of retail. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US hits China's ZTE with denial of export privileges - Pan Kwan Yuk () 17/04/18 10:27:00

The US has hit Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE with a denial of export privileges amid a new flare up in trade tension with China. The order, issued by the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry, comes after ZTE agreed last Mar. to pay $1.19bn in fines to settle charges that it violated US sanctions on North Korea and Iran. The company was found to have conspired to evade the embargoes by buying US components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and shipping them to Iran and North Korea. As part of its original settlement with the US, ZTE agreed to a seven year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be triggered if the company failed to comply with the terms of the deal. Yesterday, US officials said they had determined that ZTE made false statements to BIS in 2016, during settlement negotiations, and in 2017 during the probationary period. The denial of export privileges would, among other tings, prohibit ZTE from sourcing US components, on which it is highly dependent for its phones and other products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netflix overseas sales to surpass US home market - Tim Bradshaw () 17/04/18 10:27:00

NETFLIX expects international revenues to exceed sales from its home market of the US for the first time in the current quarter. This comes as CEO REID HASTINGS suggested NETFLIX's business model meant it was "substantially inoculated" from the legal and regulatory battles that tech companies are increasingly facing around the world over issues such as data privacy. "I'm very glad that we built the business not to be ad-supported [and] to be subscription", HASTINGS said. He also pointed to the $10bn that NETFLIX plans to spend over the next year on content and marketing, compared with $1.3bn on tech. For Q1, the company posted net additional subscribers of 7.4m, compared with about 5m that most analysts were expecting, to reach a total of 125m members. Revenues were up 40% to $3.7bn in the quarter to end-Mar., the fastest quarterly y/y increase it has posted since introducing its online streaming service. Net income rose 63% to $290m. International streaming revenues will hit $1.94bn in Q2, NETFLIX said in its outlook, compared with $1.9bn for the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lamberti quits BLSA - Fin24 () 17/04/18 10:27:00

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS CEO MARK LAMBERTI has resigned from the board of Business Leadership SA. This follows his resignation from the board of ESKOM last week after a High Court in Mar. ruled against him in a case where former employee ADILA CHOWAN accused ASSOCIATED MOTRO HOLDINGS, and LAMBERTI, of race and gender discrimination. LAMBERTI was said to have referred to CHOWAN as "female employment-equity" in front of fellow managers, and said she would need as many as four more years to develop her leadership skills. He has since apologised unreservedly for the remarks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa announces R1.2tn investment drive - Jan Cronje () 17/04/18 10:27:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA yesterday announced that SA would host a major investment conference in Aug. or September, which would aim to raise over R1tn in new investments over five years. "The investment conference, which will involve domestic and international investors in equal measure, is not intended merely as a forum to discuss the investment climate", RAMPHOSA said. "Rather, we expect the conference to report on actual investment deals that have been concluded and to provide a platform for would-be investors to seek out opportunities in the South African market. We are determined that the conference produce results that can be qualified and quickly realised". He said government hopes the conference would generate at least $100bn in new investments over the next five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUMSA calls for shutdown of Nigel steel plant after blast - Fin24 () 17/04/18 08:51:00

Trade union NUMSA has called for the shutdown of FORTUNE STEEL in Nigel, outside Gauteng, following workplace injuries on Saturday night. In a media statement the union said at least seven workers were injured when a furnace exploded. NUMSA spokesperson PHAKAMILE HLUBI-MAJOLA said one of the injured was in a critical condition at a hospital in Alberton after he sustained extensive injuries to the head, chest and arms. HLUBI-MAJOLA claimed FORTUNE STEEL had tried to downplay the severity of the incident. FORTUNE STEEL did not immediately reply to a request for comment around what caused the injuries, the nature of the blast and its reaction to the union's call for a shutdown. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfriForum, TKAG welcome Shell's indication to withdraw from shale gas exploration - Anine Kilian () 17/04/18 08:51:00

AfriForum and the Treasure Karoo Action Group view SHELL SA's indication of its intention to withdraw from shale gas exploration in the Karoo as a major victory for those who care about the environment, TKAG said yesterday. The Herald last week reported that SHELL SA was pulling back from the venture. "With the low oil price environment, SHELL has decided to rescale its Karoo team, reducing the number of staff while awaiting clarity on the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, technical regulations and an exploration rights awards decision", SHELL spokesperson DINEO POOE was quoted as saying. TKAG CEO JONATHAN DEAL said SHELL initially claimed that it could extract around 485tn cubic feet of as in the Karoo, a figure that has since diminished to less than 30 tcf. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

StayEasy Maputo opens - Simone Liedtke (TSH) 17/04/18 08:51:00

TSOGO SUN yesterday opened its newest offshore hotel property, StayEasy Maputo, in Mozambique. This addition to the TSOGO SUN HOTELS portfolio will bring the group's number of properties outside of SA to eleven. This is the group's third hotel in Mozambique. StayEasy Maputo is located along the city's coast and is situated for business guests and leisure travellers visiting the city. The hotel has 125 comfortable en-suite rooms where guests can enjoy in-room coffee and tea facilities, an electronic safe and air conditioning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia shortlists five companies for stake in oil refinery - Reuters () 17/04/18 08:51:00

Zambia has short-listed five companies including GLENCORE NERGY and SAHARA ENERGY RESOURCES to buy a majority stake in its only oil refinery. Zambia's government-owned INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION has said it wants a strong strategic equity partner that will improve the production capacity of INDENI OIL REFINERY to a level that will meet the country's future petroleum demand. The short-listed firms will now be asked to submit technical proposals on their bids. Others on the list include JOINT STOCK COMPANY GLOBAL SECURITY OF RUSSIA, CHINA PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY, and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and a Chinese consortium of BEIJING HUIERSANJI GREEN CHEM - TECH CO. and AVIC INTERNATIONAL HOLDING CORPORATION. "INDENI's contribution to the national petroleum demand in Zambia has, since 2005, been less than 50% and this will progressively reduce if nothing is done to increase the production capacity of the plant", the IDC said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ELB gets go-ahead to start construction at Ngodwana plant - Anine Kilian (ELR) 17/04/18 08:51:00

ELB's ELB ENGINEERING subsidiary, together with project partner KC COTTERELL, has received notice to proceed with the building of a 25MW biomass power plant for NGODWANA ENERGY following the successful bid in terms of the REIPPPP. ELB ENGINEERING and KC COTTRELL will design, procure, build and commission a wood-chip biomass power plant at SAPPI's Ngodwana Mill, in Mpumalanga. The plant will burn up to 35t/h of biomass in a boiler to generate steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity, which will be fed into the grid. The project is expected to take 27 months to complete. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DBSA appoints new CFO - Anine Kilian () 17/04/18 08:51:00

BOITUMELO MOSAKO has been appointed CFO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, effective Apr. 1. Prior to joining the DBSA, MOSAKO served as the CFO at the South African Bureau of Standards. In 2016, the DBSA formulated and tabled a growth strategy designed to respond to changing client needs, increasing demands to grow developmental impact, persistently difficult economic conditions and an increasingly competitive environment. The need to revise the operating model of the bank was identified as one of the critical enablers to execute the new strategy. The new operating model incorporates three front-line divisions - coverage, transacting and project preparation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

4Sight to establish JV in China - Anine Kilian (4SI) 17/04/18 08:51:00

4SIGHT HOLDINGS has signed an agreement with Chinese company SHENZHEN RONGMEI SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY to establish a 50:50 JV in China. 4SIGHT yesterday said it aims to expand its business operations and customer footprint in the Asia Pacific region with a specific focus on the Chinese market. Both parties have earmarked a strategy to combine the roles of marketing, sales, operations and technology delivery via the JV, which will focus on targeting the telecoms, mining and energy sectors. 4SIGHT's key technology capabilities that will initially be focused on as part of the JV include the optimisation of telecoms networks through the application of dynamic tariffing services for revenues management and network optimisation for active and passive telecoms networks, among others. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale Q1 iron output slides despite best-ever quarterly sales - Henry Lazenby () 17/04/18 08:51:00

VALE has reported its best Q1 iron ore sales ever despite production of the metal slipping somewhat during the quarter to end-Mar. It reported that output during the period to end-Mar. fell 4.9% y/y to 81.95mt, reflecting management's decision in Q2 of 2017 to progressively cut lower-grade production in a bid to position VALE as a premium producer. This helped the company realise higher prices and margins in the period, while it also dealt with abnormally high volumes of rainfall in the period. The northern system contributed 40.6mt of iron ore - a record for the quarter, VALE said. Iron ore sales rose 9% y/y to 71.22mt in Q1. Pellet output rose by 2.9% to 12.78mt, while sales of the product rose by 4.3% to 13.13mt. VALE has guided for FY 2018 iron ore output of 390mt. VALE reported copper output down 13.2% y/y to 93 300t in the period, with sales down 12.6% to 87 700t. The company said copper production should achieve around 100 000t in the period. Nickel output fell 17.9% y/y to 58 600t, with sales down 19.7% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moti Group open to selling shares in Zim mine operation - Bloomberg () 17/04/18 08:51:00

MOTI GROUP will consider selling shares in its Zimbabwean chrome mining operations if the government pushes ahead with the proposal that has already met resistance from the country's biggest platinum producer. The government is debating a bill that will require mining companies to list the majority of their shares on the local exchange or risk losing their mining rights. MOTI would be open to discussing the listing of the stock in its operation in Zimbabwe, provided it makes "business sense and has a strong rationale behind it", the company said. It said AFRICAN CHROME FIELDS would be an "attractive share" for money managers and retail investors because of its "great returns". Nonetheless, MOTI, which is planning to double its investments in Zimbabwe to $500m as the economy opens up, doesn't expect the government to implement the proposals as it will fly in the face of Harare's efforts to attract investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resgen secures R540m IDC loan - Marleny Arnoldi (RSG) 17/04/18 08:51:00

The INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION has approved RESOURCE GENERATION's request for R540m in funding. A bilateral senior loan facility agreement has been signed with RESGEN subsidiary LEDJADJA COAL. The IDC is the first of three parties of a proposed funding syndicate. Funding will be used for the development of RESGEN's Boikarabelo mine. RESGEN's interim MD and CEO PAPI MOLOTSANE said the company is delighted to secure the support of th IDC as the first step in seeking credit approvals from the proposed funding syndicate and will continue to work with the remaining two parties in accordance with timelines. RESGEN previously reported that it expects to hear from another party this week and the third proposed party by end-Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EMP submitted for drilling at Metal Tiger, MOD's Botswana JV - Simone Liedtke () 17/04/18 07:34:00

METAL TIGER yesterday announced that it and JV partner MOD RESOURCES have applied to the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs for approval for an environmental management plan for drilling within the around 697 km2 T20 Dome complex. The EMP for the T20 Dome, in the Kalahari copperbelt, will allow for the drilling of new and existing targets identified along a 140km-long strike of the Central Structural Corridor. An additional 939 km2 airborne electromagnetic geophysics survey is planned to begin in the middle of 2018, in order to link up the previous three EM trial survey blocks over the centre of the T20 Dome. METAL TIGER CEO MICHAEL MCNEILLY said the opening of the T20 Dome for drilling will allow for the possibility of adding to a pipeline of confirmed copper targets, while the companies move the T3 resource through the mine feasibility study process. Meanwhile, the T20 Dome EMP has been lodged for permission to test several new and existing targets along the Central Structural Corridor along the northern part of the T20 Dome complex. The approval of the T20 Dome EMP will increase the total area available to drill to about 1 377km2, which will comprise the T3 and T20 domes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo Asian delivers 26% output rise - Simone Liedtke () 17/04/18 07:34:00

ANGLO ASIAN MINING has delivered a 26% y/y rise in gold equivalent ounces in what CEO REZA VAZIRI describes as an "excellent" Q1 performance. VAZIRI attributed the strong rise in production to the optimisation and expansion initiatives, which ANGLO ASIAN implemented during the course of 2017 as well as the start of production from the Ugur openpit, at the Gedabek licence in western Azerbaijan. The company boasted a 26% rise to 18 307oz of gold equivalent production, comprising gold, copper and sliver output. Gold production rose 49% y/y to 16 479oz, compared with 11 078oz y/y, while copper output fell to 255t from 606t y/y. Silver production totalled 40 583oz, compared with 39 369oz in the Mar. 2017 quarter. Gold bullion sales of 14 965oz were conducted at an average of $1 328/oz, compared with 8 283oz at an average of $1 220/oz in the same period in 2017. Q1 copper concentrate shipments totalled 608 dry metric tonnes with a sales value of $1.7m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trematon's headline earnings take a dip - Sandile Mchunu (TMT) 17/04/18 07:34:00

TREMATON CAPITAL on Friday said HEPS would decrease by around 150% in the HY to end-Feb. The company said its EPS for the HY under review would decline by around 85% y/y as the disposal of its Mykonos Casino weighed heavily on the balance sheet. TREMATON said EPS are expected to be around 7.1cps, and the HLPS around 0.9cps, compared to earnings of 46.4cps and HEPS of 1.8cps y/y. TREMATON disposed of Mykonos for R190m in Nov. 2016, and the group said the casino had proven to be an excellent investment for TREMATON, but it was not managed by the group. It said the drop in headline earnings was mainly due to expenses related to the stake-on and refurbishment of properties which were vacant during the period, as well as increased school costs in preparation of the expansion of its current schools. Interim results will be published on Apr. 23. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

HomeChoice flags 14% rise in revenue - Sandile Mchunu (HIL) 17/04/18 07:34:00

HOMECHOICE INTERNATIONAL has flagged a 14% jump in group revenue for Q1 2018, buoyed by strong retail numbers. Group revenue for the period is expected to rise by 14.1% to R720m y/y, the company said on Friday. Retail revenue for the period is expected to increase by 12.5% to R540.8m, driven by retail sales growth of 16.4% to R397.5m. Revenue from the financial services division will increase by 19.1% to R179.2m on the back of strong growth in loan disbursements and an increasing contribution from the insurance business. HOMECHOICE added that the rapid adoption among customers of the group's mobile channels enhanced their shopping experience and convenience. H1 results will be published on Aug. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom asks to recover $5.5bn via higher tariffs - Alexander Winning () 17/04/18 07:34:00

ESKOM is seeking to recover R66.6bn of costs incurred over the past three years via higher tariffs, saying it sold less electricity than forecast because of an economic downturn. Public hearings began yesterday on whether NERSA should allow ESKOM to recover the R66.6bn of costs through electricity tariff increases. ESKOM said it had spent more and earned less than NERSA had predicted when the regulator determined the path of electricity prices for the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 FY. ESKOM cited sluggish economic growth, commodity price changes and lower investor confidence over those years. ESKOM CFO CALIB CASSIM said the utility was aware it would likely only be able to recover the costs it had incurred gradually, if its NERSA application was successful. NERSA is scheduled to make a decision on ESKOM's application on Jun. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Consol may raise up to $415m in IPO - Tiisetso Motsoeneng () 17/04/18 07:34:00

CONSOL aims to raise up to $415m via an IPO, it said yesterday, returning the firm to public markets after more than a decade in the hands of private equity groups. The flotation, scheduled for Apr. 30, comes amid growing confidence among investors and business leaders that President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA will follow through on promises to revive the economy and bring policy certainty. CONSOL, bought out for R6.1bn in 2007 by BRAIT, said it would sell 761m shares, or 34.2%, at R1.50-R6.50 apiece, raising between R1.1bn and R5bn. This would value the company at as much as R14.3bn. Including a greenshoe option of as much as 114.1m shares to underwriters, the IPO could raise up to R5.7bn, CONSOL said. CONSOL said the listing would allow shareholders to cash in on their 11-year investment in the company and raise money to pay down debt, which includes R4.7bn in loans from shareholders. The company reported R1.6bn in core earnings in the FY to end-Jun. 2017 on revenue of R6.1bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim's tax revenue up 29% to $1.1bn in Q1 - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 17/04/18 07:34:00

Zimbabwe's tax revenue rose 29% to $1.1bn during Q1 2018, the tax agency said yesterday citing improved tax compliance and a more positive business environment under President EMMERSON MNAGAGWA. Gross and net revenue collections were above the y/y levels, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority chair WILLIA BONYONGWE said. She did not give projections for 2018 but the ZRA collected $3.98bn in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 17/04/2018 () 17/04/18 07:34:00

At 07:34 on 17 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.03 Rand/Sterling 17.26 Rand/Euro 14.91 Gold 1344.88 Platinum 928.00 Oil 71.56 All-Share Index 56733.47

Gemfields faces lawsuit alleging rights abuses at Montepuez mine - Bloomberg (PGL) 17/04/18 07:33:00

More than 100 Mozambicans filed a lawsuit in London alleging "serious human rights abuses" at GEMFIELDS' Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique. London-based law firm LEIGH DAY alleged its clients suffered abuses at the hands of security forces at the Montepuez Ruby Mine, where they were shot, beaten, humiliated, subjected to sexual abuse, unlawfully detained and forced to carry out menial labour. The claimants include family members representing four people who were killed, LEIGH DAY said. GEMFIELDS said it denounces any form of violence or abuse and would "vigorously defend" itself against the claim. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucapa output rises in Mar. quarter - Esmarie Swanepoel () 17/04/18 07:33:00

LUCAPA has reported a 10% rise in diamond production during the Mar. quarter, with 4 507ct recovered during the period. It told shareholders that 58 special diamonds were recovered during the quarter under review, which was a 53% improvement on the previous quarter. These recoveries included two stones of more than 100ct apiece. Diamond grade at the Lulo mine, in Angola, was also up by 26% to 7.3ct per hundred cubic metres, despite throughput being down by 13%. During the quarter under review, LUCAPA sold two parcels of diamonds, weighing 6 242ct for revenue of A$13.7m. This represented an average price of $1 731/ct. At end-Mar., the Lulo mine had $13.1m in cash and a diamond inventory of 3 047ct, up 20% y/y. LUCAPA's own quarter-end cash balance stood at $6m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moscow court bans Telegram messaging app - Max Seddon () 16/04/18 11:11:00

A Moscow court has issued a ban on messaging app TELEGRAM, leading the way for it to be blocked across Russia for a failure to turn over encrypted messaging traffic to security services. The court approved a request from communications watchdog Rozkomnadzor after an 18-minute hearing on Friday. The ban will likely come into effect only after TELEGRAM exhausts the appeal process over the next month. TELEGRAM founder PAVEL DUROV withdrew his lawyers from the hearing after the court appointed it 24 hours in advance without informing them. DUROV did not want to "legitimize a blatant farce with their presence", his lawyer PAVEL CHIKOV said. Roskomnadzor filed the suit last month after TELEGRAM lost appeals against the FSB, the KGB's successor agency, which is demanding it hand over keys to encrypted user data. The latest ruling gives Roskomnadzor grounds to order internet service providers to block TELEGRAM's domains and IP addresses for Russian users, though they will still be easily reachable through a virtual private network. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire sells oncology unit to Servier for $2.4bn - Cat Rutter Pooley () 16/04/18 11:11:00

SHIRE has struck a deal to sell its oncology business for $2.4bn in cash to a French pharmaceutical group, complicating the position with TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL which said last month that it was considering a bid for the Irish drugmaker. TAKEDA said the deal between the two would help strengthen its core therapeutic areas of oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience, as well as adding SHIRE's rare disease franchise to the package. Cash raised by the oncology business sale to SERVIER would help increase optionality, SHIRE said. But it added that "after the current offer period regarding TAKEDA's possible offer for SHIRE concludes", it would consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders via a buyback. SHIRE said its board of directors started exploring the sale of its oncology business in Dec., before kicking off the sale process in Jan. That process had "identified multiple strategic buyers across the US, Europe and Japan", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble Group to reappoint founder to board - Neil Hume () 16/04/18 11:11:00

NOBLE GROUP has moved to win the support of shareholders for its debt-for-equity swap by sweetening the terms of the proposed deal and reappointing its founder to the board. Under the new terms, shareholders will get a 15% stake in the restructured company, replacing an earlier proposal that would have given investors 10% plus and an option over a further 7.5%. In addition, RICHARD ELMAN, who resigned in March due to "amicable differences" with the board over the deal, will be reappointed as an executive director. In return, ELMAN has pledged to vote his 17.9% stake in favour of the deal, which will see NOBLE's senior debt halved but control of the company pass to a group of banks and senior creditors. NOBLE needs baking from 51% of its shareholders for the deal. As the biggest shareholder in NOBLE, ELMAN's support is critical for getting the restructuring across the line. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China's aluminium exports break records with Rusal boost still ahead - Henry Sanderson () 16/04/18 11:11:00

China's aluminium exports rose to a record in Q1 2018, and analysts said the country's producers will benefit further now that the US sanctions against RUSAL are starting to bite. The country exported 1.27mt of aluminium in Q1 2018, a 20% rise from the same period in 2017. The figures come as China seems poised to fill the void in global market left by RUSAL, as sanctions deter traders and consumers from buying metal from the company. MORGAN STANLEY on Friday said state-owned ALUMINIUM CORP OF CHINA, known as CHALCO, is set to be a key beneficiary of the sanctions. The price of aluminium rallied 13% last week, on track for its best weekly performance on record. The price rose by 2% on Friday on the LME to trade at $2 324/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China to open up iron trading to foreigners - Neil Hume () 16/04/18 11:11:00

China will allow overseas investors to trade iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the latest move by Beijing to exert influence over the global pricing of raw materials. Allowing foreign players on to the exchange will help Dalian challenge the Singapore Stock Exchange, which has a widely-traded iron ore futures contract. Iron ore derivatives are the second Chinese commodity market that Beijing has opened to overseas investors. An oil futures contract started trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange in March, attracting interest from GLENCORE and TRAFIGURA. The price of benchmark ore with 62% iron content has fallen 10% this year to $64.75/t, in part because of a slow pick-up in demand since the Lunar New Year holiday in China. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan Chase posts record $8.7bn in Q1 profit - Ben McLannahan () 16/04/18 11:11:00

JPMORGAN CHASE on Friday posted a 35% rise in Q1 net income to a record $8.7bn. Net interest income was up 10% to $13.3bn, showing the benefits of keeping deposit rates low while charging more for loans. Non-interest revenue was up 13% to $14.6bn. Overall, revenues came to $27.9bn, up from $25.6bn y/y, and just ahead of analysts' forecasts of $27.7bn. EPS were $2.37, better than estimates of $2.29. Last year the bank produced $1.65/share. JPMORGAN noted that its Q1 results included $505m of pretax mark-to-market gains connected to the adoption of a new way of accounting for equity investments previously held at cost. The benefit came to 11cps. The record quarterly net income meant the bank made about $100m in profit for shareholders every single day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Citigroup profit tops forecasts - Laura Noonan () 16/04/18 11:11:00

Rising profits at its global consumer bank and a strong equities performance helped CITIGROUP top analysts' expectations for Q1 profit growth. The bank delivered a 24% jump in EPS to $1.68 for the quarter to end-Mar., versus the $1.61/share predicted by analysts. WELLS FARGO and JPMORGAN also posted expectation-beating Q1 results on Friday. Profits at CITI's global consumer bank were up 40%, as revenue growth outstripped cost increases. Revenues from equities sales and trading were up 38% y/y, topping the $1bn mark for the first time since 2015, as high levels of market volatility in the early months of 2018 drove client activity. CITI recorded revenue of $18.87bn for the quarter, up 3% y/y and in line with expectations. Net income was $4.62bn, up 13% y/y, helped by an improvement in the bank's operating efficiency, which came in at 57.9% for the quarter, implying $579 of costs for every $1 000 of revenue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aramco net income tops $33bn in H1 2017 - Anjli Raval () 16/04/18 11:11:00

SAUDI ARAMCO made $33.8bn in net income in the H1 2017, according to a media report citing details of the Saudi state energy giant's finances. The numbers would be the first glimpse into the company's accounts ahead of a planned IPO. The accounts, prepared to an IFRS standard, show the company is almost debt free and has very low production costs. According to Bloomberg calculations, SAUDI ARAMCO generated adjusted cash flow from operations of $52.1bn in H1 2017 and paid a dividend to the government of $13bn. It reported capex of $14.7bn in H1 2017 and spent $7.9bn on production and manufacturing costs. SAUDI ARAMCO reported total borrowings of $20.2bn in H1 2017, which was offset by cash and cash equivalents of $19bn. ARAMCO paid the Saudi government a total of $58.4bn in H1 2017, including $18.5bn of royalties on its revenue and an additional $39.9bn in income taxes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GE publishes restated earnings for 2016, 2017 - Ed Crooks () 16/04/18 10:14:00

GENERAL ELECTRIC has published restated earnings for 2016 and 2017 to reflect new accounting standards, showing a 17% drop in the reported profits of its industrial operations for last year. The revised numbers use a new standard for recognising earnings from long-term contracts, which led to reported industrial segment profits being cut by $2.48bn. GE also disclosed an additional $1.2bn hit to last year's earnings for the recent US corporate tax cuts, which made it accumulated tax losses less valuable. It had previously reported an impact of $3.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ChemChina set to increase stake in Mercuria - Neil Hume () 16/04/18 10:14:00

CHINA NATIONAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION is est to increase its holding in MERCURIA, as part of a deal that will see the Swiss group gain an interest in its onshore refining system. Under the agreement, which is yet to be finalised, CHEMCHINA will add to its 12% stake in MERCURIA. In return, the commodities trader will secure an interest in CHEMCHINA's refining assets, according to sources, giving it a significant foothold as China cements its position as the world's biggest importer and crude oil. MERCURIA will also help support CHEMCHINA's expanding international trading business, which has offices in London, Dubai and Singapore. It is unclear what stake CHEMCHINA will take in MERCURIA if the deal is finalised but it will be a significant minority interest. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal tumbles 21% as US vows to impose further sanctions on Russia - Alice Woodhouse () 16/04/18 10:14:00

RUSAL fell as much as 21% this morning in Hong Kong after the US imposed further sanctions against Moscow for supporting the Syrian government. The TRUMP administration yesterday vowed to impose more sanctions against Russia for supporting the ASSAD regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in the wake of US-led military strikes on Syria on Saturday. RUSAL shares had trimmed losses to be 17.2% lower in Asia trading, bringing the company's total decline to 63.6% since sanctions were announced, against a 1.2% fall for the Hang Seng. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rouble takes fresh hit after US vows to launch further sanctions - Adam Samson () 16/04/18 10:14:00

The rouble was on the back-foot again this morning with investors responding to the US-led strikes in Syria and a threat from the TRUMP administration that it will apply further sanctions. In early European action, the rouble dropped 1.6% against the greenback, with the dollar buying 62.9697 units of the currency. Russia's main stock index shed 4% in volatile action last week. Despite the fall, the Moex index has posted a rise in local currency terms of 3% this year. The dollar-denominated RTS gauge has shed 4.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AngloGold CEO quits for Vedanta top job - Neil Hume (ANG) 16/04/18 10:14:00

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI CEO SRINIVASAN VENKATAKRISHNAN has quit to take up the top job at VEDANTA RESOURCES. VEDANTA has been looking for a new CEO since TOM ALBANESE stepped down last year, and the appointment of VENKAT will be seen as a coup. Some analysts thought VEDANTA would struggle to attract a high calibre candidate as the company is ultimately controlled by founder ANIL AGARWAL, who sets strategy. "VENKAT is a widely respected business leader in the global resources space, who brings to VEDANTA an impressive set of values and a wealth of experience in corporate and other roles in the UK, Africa, Australia, South America and India". VENKAT said his initial focus "would be to ensure continued operational excellence, efficient cost management and capital discipline across the portfolio". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Euronext glitch delays stock indices across Europe - Adam Samson () 16/04/18 10:14:00

Investors were unable to get a reading on France's benchmark stock-market gauge this morning after EURNOEXT faced a "technical incident". The subsidiary of INTERCONTINENTALEXCHANGE said it was not able to publish a market opening level for the CAC40 index. The problems also meant that other major European indices also failed to provide opening prints. "EURONEXT is currently addressing the root cause of this incident", the group said. It added that trading on its cash and derivatives markets was taking place "as normal", but the incident meant the exchange was "having issues calculating price limits for its derivative markets". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom suspends official over Gupta-owned coal mine contract - Fin24 () 16/04/18 10:14:00

ESKOM has suspended a senior general manager, pending an investigation into irregular conduct in the supply of coal by a GUPTA-owned mine, a spokesperson said on Sunday. AYANDA NTETA was suspended after she was accused of granting Optimum mine a three-month extension of temporary relief in coal quality without approval from the board. The company supplies the Hendrina power station with coal in Mpumalanga. ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said an investigation against NTETA was ongoing. The Sunday Times reported that NTETA had been accused of granting the extension between Aug. and Oct. last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gupta execs in 'turf war' with rescuers - Dewald van Rensburg () 16/04/18 10:14:00

The business rescue practitioners of eight GUPTA companies on Friday won a court order against executives who were trying to control their access to the family's corporate headquarters, the Sandton offices of OAKBAY INVESTMENTS. Four executives who run several of the family's companies were slapped with a punitive cost order for opposing the application. The rescue practitioners include LOUIS KLOPPER and KURT KNOOP. They said that last week, the GUPTA executives started forcing them to make written requests to visit the OAKBAY offices from where the GUPTA companies were all, to some extent, run. This was making it hard to get access to documents and do their job, they said. The executives claimed the rescuers were invading OAKBAY and its subsidiaries' right to privacy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JLR plans to cut 1 000 jobs after UK sales fall - Camilla Hodgson () 16/04/18 10:13:00

JAGUAR LAND ROVER on Friday said it planned to cut 1 000 jobs in the West Midlands after UK sales fell by more than a quarter in Q1 2018, blaming uncertainty over Brexit and doubts over the future of diesel vehicles for the drop in consumer confidence. The company plans to axe 1 000 temporary contract workers at its Solihull factory - a tenth of the site's 10 000-strong workforce. It said some employees at a second factory nearby would be moved to Solihull to help plug gaps left by the cuts. In addition to a 26% drop in UK sales, JLR saw European sales fall 16% in the FY to end-Mar. In the UK, new taxes will come into force in Apr. to deter motorists from buying diesel vehicles, following revelations that the fuel is more environmentally harmful than the industry had claimed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Advent closes in on deal for Sanofi's generics unit - Javier Espinoza () 16/04/18 10:13:00

ADVENT INTERNATIONAL has pulled ahead in the race to acquire the European generics unit of SANOFI, as it tries to fend off competition from both trade and financial buyers, according to sources. If ADVENT succeeds, it will have seen off competition from some private equity firms, including BC PARTNERS, which could still improve its bid for the unit. SANOFI is pitting ADVENT and BC PARTNERS against one another. Price won't be the only consideration when choosing the new owner, according to sources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grit buys Moz property from Tradehold - Anine Kilian (GTR) 16/04/18 09:17:00

GRIT REAL ESTATE and TRADEHOLD on Friday announced a $23m Mozambique property transaction in which GRIT would buy an A-grade corporate residential complex, known as Acacia Estate, in Maputo, from TRADEHOLD. GRIT has signed an agreement with TRADEHOLD AFRICA, TC MAPUTO, COGNIS 1 and three individuals to buy the property for a total of $23.45m, comprising $12.26m for the effective shareholding and $11.18m in existing shareholder loans. TRADEHOLD said the disposal was in line with its stated intention to reduce exposure to the African continent, outside of SA and Namibia, and to enhance its focus on its key markets, being SA and the UK. GRIT said Acacia Estate was a "premium asset" with international blue chip tenants, underpinned by dollar-based leases. The complex is anchored by tenants occupying 98% of the gross lettable area, including an embassy and a multinational oil company. The effective date of the acquisition is Jun. 1. GRIT also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, GRIT ACCRA, had signed a sale of shares agreement with MOBUS PROPERTIES for the acquisition of 47.5% of the issued shares of the company. MOBUS owns an office complex in Accra called Capital Place. The effective date of the acquisition is Apr. 15. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nzimande appoints new PRASA board, acting CEO - Simone Liedtke () 16/04/18 09:17:00

Transport Minister BLADE NZIMANDE has appointed a new board of directors for PRASA, led by chair KHANYISILE KWEYAMA. The board members, who will serve an initial period not exceeding 12 months, also includes SANGO NTSALUBA, LOUIS WESSIE, JENNY SCHREINER, NAZIR ALLI, DORIS TSHEPE and MASHILA MATLALA. The appointment of the new board forms part of the Department of Transport's mandate to facilitate and enable reliable, economic, safe, comfortable and accessible transport infrastructure and services to all. NZIMANDE noted that the DoT is committed to ensuring it manges SOEs efficiently and, at the same time, meets certain developmental and social objectives. NZIMANDE also appointed Dr SIMO LUSHABA as acting PRASA CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ICASA tables discussion document for digital audio broadcasting services - Natasha Odendaal () 16/04/18 09:17:00

ICASA has launched an inquiry to review and determine the prospects of digital sound broadcasting services in SA. The inquiry also aims to unpack how the implementation of DSB, and audio broadcasting technology, could improve spectrum efficiency and management. In line with this, ICASA gazetted the discussion document on DSB services on Mar. 29, inviting stakeholders' input within 45 working days. ICASA councillor DIMAKATSO QOCHA said the digital migration process "will be able to make radio frequency spectrum available, which is currently occupied by analogue services for other broadband and broadcasting service". To examine the potential feasibility and impact of DSB services in SA, the discussion document will consider the Digital Migration Policy and the legislative framework for DSB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo American, DBE launch ambitious education programme - Marleny Arnoldi (AGL) 16/04/18 09:17:00

ANGLO AMERICAN on Friday launched a new education programme, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, which will improve outcomes for learners in 100 early childhood development sites and 100 primary and secondary schools that are local to the company's mining operations in SA. The programme was launched at the Ivory Park Secondary School in Gauteng by Basic Education Minister ANGIE MOTSHEKGA and ANGLO AMERICAN SA deputy chair NORMAN MBAZIMA. The programme aims to improve reading, writing and numeracy levels and quality passes through addressing some of the underlying reasons for poor education outcomes by supporting school management teams, governing bodies, principals and teaching staff, as well as parents. At around 75 primary and 25 secondary schools, strategic planning retreats will be facilitated to ensure that each school has a sound strategy and school improvement plan that is owned and actively implemented by the school's governing body and school management team, with the support of skilled and experienced coaches. ANGLO has invested more than R780m towards education and skills development in SA over the last five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal approves PIC's acquisition of a concentrated photovoltaic SPV - Marleny Arnoldi () 16/04/18 09:17:00

The Competition Tribunal has approved the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION's acquisition of a controlling stake in concentrated photovoltaic solar power plant EQUITY SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLE, which is owned by Germany's SOLITEC SOLAR. The PIC, on behalf of the GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND, has noncontrolling stakes in a number of independent power producers that are supplying solar power to the national grid. EQUITY SPV is an SPV company and controls CPV Power Plant No 1, which was established for the purpose of designing, developing, building and operating a solar energy plant in Touwsrivier in the Western Cape. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto to call force majeure on some Rusal-linked contracts - Reuters () 16/04/18 09:17:00

RIO TINTO on Friday said it will declare force majeure on certain customer contracts after the US imposed sanctions on Russian partner RUSAL. The company said it was working with its customers to minimise disruptions to supply and would fully comply with US sanctions. RIO also said it was reviewing RUSAL's 20% stake in the Queensland Alumina refinery, RUSAL's supply and offtake arrangements, bauxite sales to RUSAL's refinery in Ireland and offtake contracts for alumina. RIO owns the other 80% of the Queensland refinery, which produced 3.95mt of alumina per year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merafe's attributable ferrochrome production down 7% in Q1 - Simone Liedtke (MRF) 16/04/18 09:17:00

MERAFE RESOURCES' attributable ferrochrome production from the GLENCORE MERAFE Chrome Venture decreased by 7% y/y in Q1 to end-Mar. The decrease was as a result of downtime for additional maintenance requirements at the Lion and Rustenburg ferrochrome plants, the company noted. Attributable ferrochrome output for Q1 was 105 000t compared with 113 000t in Q1 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bakgatla deal allegedly under SARS probe - Lesetja Malope (PGL) 16/04/18 09:16:00

The BAKGATLA BA KGAFELA TRIBAL AUTHORITY allegedly faces a probe by SARS related to tax evasion involving one of its multimillion-rand deals. A reliable source close to the matter said the BBKTA transaction with PALLINGHURST RESOURCES a few years ago resulted in the deal adviser agreeing to cancel their mandate and instead receive the money via a buyout for the same amount as the fee they were meant to get. RESOURCE FINACE ADVISORS was mandated to handle the JV in which PALLINGHURST parted with R1.6bn to BBK, but instead of receiving a fee of more than R340m, a deal was struck with BBK to buy them out for the same amount. RFA's only asset at the time was a cash balance of less than R8m, in effect meaning that BBKTA bought an R8m company for more than R340m. The decision got the attention of the taxman because of the tax implications of the fees. The RFA name was later changed to BBKFS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Surve tried to score PIC billions - Dewald van Rensburg () 16/04/18 09:16:00

The PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION was investing in SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES and documents from Dec. show the asset manager was concerned about keeping that investment separate from a similar deal with another one of IQBAL SURVE's companies, AYO TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS. However, last week the PIC decided not to proceed with any investment in SAGARMATHA. In Dec., the PIC paid R4.3bn for 29% of AYO, based on nothing more than optimistic forecasts and plans for unnamed acquisitions that echo tech start-up SAGARMATHA's business plan. The PIC has refused to confirm or deny that it was the mystery investor that planned to give SAGARMATHA the minimum of R3bn it wanted before listing on the JSE on Apr. 13. Minutes from a meeting held on Dec. 20, during which the PIC decided to invest in AYO, show that this first deal must be separate from "Project Iris or Sagarmatha". No details were given of the extent of the investment, but the entire SAGARMATHA listing plan hinged on a R3bn injection from somewhere. A PIC investment in SAGARMATHA would mean giving money to a company that would have INDEPENDENT MEDIA, which already owes the PIC hundreds of millions of rands, as its major asset. The PIC would essentially be paying off the debt that SURVE's SEKUNJALO consortium had borrowed from it in 2012 to buy INDEPENDENT MEDIA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fairvest raises R250m in new equity - Anine Kilian (FVT) 16/04/18 09:16:00

FAIRVEST has raised R250m in new equity at R2.20/share to finance the company's Barra Precinct acquisition, which was announced in Dec. The deal was heavily oversubscribed and the company increased the amount raised owing to strong support from a range of large property funds. FAIRVEST said the capital raise would provide sufficient headroom to actively pursue yield accretive acquisitions to further enhance the portfolio. "Our portfolio is well-positioned to achieve distribution growth of between 9% and 10% for the 2018 financial year", FAIRVEST said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Denel bends rules to award premier's son bursary - Business Report () 16/04/18 07:36:00

DENEL has reportedly given the son of North West Premier SUPRA MAHUMAPELO a bursary of R1.1m to become a pilot. This is according to reports by both Rapport and City Press, which allege that DENEL had signed a contract to pay for OARABILE MAHUMAPELO's flight classes, as well as other living expenses. OARABILE is studying at the Port Alfred flight school in the Eastern Cape. According to reports, rules and processes for awarding bursaries were allegedly bent to award the bursary to the aspiring pilot, who applied after the Oct. 2016 deadline. DENEL's bursary programme is for finance, IT, engineering and business management. Meanwhile, the school in which OARABILE is allegedly registered does not fall under the list of accredited schools the funding covers. The contract for the bursary was allegedly signed by DENEL's CEO ZWELAKHE NTSHEPE, who has been linked to the GUPTAS. DENEL has described the bursary as ordinary and meant to boost transformation in the aviation industry. Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN has instructed the SOE to retract the bursary. GORDHAN told Rapport that the allegations surrounding the bursary were serious and that he new board at the SOE would look into its "questionable" conduct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual Life posts drop in profits - Sandile Mchunu (OML) 16/04/18 07:36:00

OLD MUTUAL LIFE ASSURANCE has reported a decline of 10.23% in profits after tax for the FY to end-Dec. to R7.19bn, down from the R8.01bn recovered during the y/y period. The company reported that its investment and securities totalled R622.58bn for the period, from R576.16bn y/y, with total assets of R664.54bn, up from R631.41bn. Total revenue rose to R121.89bn, up from R88.21bn, with cash and cash equivalents of R12.38bn. OMLA is a subsidiary of OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS, soon to be listed as OLD MUTUAL LIMITED on the JSE after the completion of a managed separation by the end of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KPMG SA reviewing work done by partners - Nqobile Dludla () 16/04/18 07:36:00

KPMG SA is reviewing work done by its partners in the wake of the resignation of two partners who faced disciplinary charges, CEO NHLAMULO DLOMU said yesterday. She said the resignation of partners SIPHO MALABA and DUMI TSHUMA is a reminder of how much more needs to be done to "reaffirm the public's trust in KPMG". DLOMU said the charges stemmed from the partners giving misleading information on loans they had from VBS MUTUAL BANK. VBS was placed under curatorship by the SARB in March due to liquidity issues. "We will look at the last two years. We're looking at at least 200 files and looking at big, medium size and smaller clients", DLOMU said. "The purpose of this new programme is to assess the commitment to quality and professionalism of our engagement teams", KPMG SA said in a statement. It added that it has started an expanded process of integrity and background checks of all partners and their spouses, which will be coordinated with KPMG INTERNATIONAL. Additional non-executives on the board will be appointed to ensure independent scrutiny, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IMF resumes lending to Chad following Glencore deal - Aaron Ross (GLN) 16/04/18 07:36:00

The IMF said it was resuming loan disbursements to Chad after the country reached an agreement in principal to restructure its more than $1bn debt to GLENCORE and four banks. GLENCORE and the banks lent Chad's state oil firm around $1.45bn in 2014 to be repaid with crude oil cargoes but global oil prices crashed shortly thereafter. The debt has eaten up nearly all of Chad's oil profits, prompting tense talks that began last year about restructuring. The agreement struck in Feb. extends the maturity of the debt and provides a two-year grace period on principal payments. The IMF on Friday said it would immediately disburse about $51m. MITSUHIRO FURUSAWA, the Fund's deputy MD, said the Feb. deal is "expected to yield the necessary financing for the programme and firmly restore external debt stability". It added that it expects Chad's economy to grow by 3.5% this year, after it contracted by 3.1% last year, assuming the terms of the agreement are implemented. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

KPMG SA says two partners resign after facing disciplinary charges - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 16/04/18 07:36:00

KPMG SA at the weekend said two of its partners have resigned after facing disciplinary charges over failure to disclose financial interests in connection to VBS MUTUAL BANK, which was placed under curatorship. The firm said partners SIPHO MALABA and SUMI TSHUMA tendered their resignations on Friday, which have been accepted. KPMG said the disciplinary charges against MALABA and TSHUMA were "connected to VBS BANK and include, but are not limited to, failure by the partners to comply with the firm's policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of relevant financial interests". The SARB in Mar. placed VBS under curatorship because of liquidity issues. KPMG said when the bank went into curatorship, information arose in relation to the partners that prompted the company to launch an independent investigation. The probe was ongoing and further action would be taken as appropriate. "This has been a very disappointing episode for KPMG. There can be no tolerance, however, of any conduct that compromises our reputation and we have moved decisively to deal with the situation", KPMG SA CEO NHLAMULO DLOMU said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to sell shares in SOEs as part of reforms - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 16/04/18 07:36:00

Zimbabwe is looking to sell shares in 35 state-owned firms, including telecoms and mining entities in the latest step to revive the economy under new political leadership, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA said on Friday. CHINAMASA said Cabinet had on Tuesday decided the government would partially sell some shares in a range of state-owned companies. This would be done through engaging strategic partners and floating shares on the local stock exchange. Targeted firms include NETONE and TELECEL, TELONE and savings bank POSB, all owned by the state. Shares in 17 state-run mines would also be sold. Some state regulators will become government departments while others will merge to save costs and minimise bureaucrats. The Special Economic Zones Authority will merge with three others, including the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, to provide a one-stop shop for investors, CHINAMASA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania's NMB ready to participate in banking sector consolidation - Omar Mohammed () 16/04/18 07:36:00

NATIONAL MICROFINANCE BANK, Tanzania's biggest lender by market cap, is ready to participate in a needed consolidation of the country's fragmented banking sector, CEO INEKE BUSSEMAKER said last week. Tanzania has about 40 licensed banks, but the sector is dominated by a handful of big lenders. "If there is a coordinated effort to do a consolidation in the banking sector, of course NMB will play a role", BUSSEMAKER said. Netherlands-based RABOBANK GROUP is NMB's biggest shareholder with a 34.9% stake, while the Tanzanian government owns 31.9%. NMB posted a 37% decline in profits after tax in 2017. BUSSEMAKER attributed this almost entirely to a much larger provision for loan losses, of 131bn shillings compared with 31bn the previous year. She said the government's decision to sack almost 10 000 civil servants in 2017, some of whom had "unsecured personal facilities with NMB" and a declining economic environment contributed to the rise in bad loans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's NNPC engineering unit says 2017 pretax profit down 34% - Alexis Akwagyiram () 16/04/18 07:36:00

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION's engineering subsidiary on Friday reported a 34% drop in 2017 profit before tax to 3.26bn naira, compared with the previous year. Forex gains of 56% before tax in 2016 fell to 4.8% in 2017,, NNPC spokesperson NDU UGHAMADU said in an emailed statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenyan lawmakers say interest rate cap laws to stay - George Obulutsa () 16/04/18 07:36:00

Kenyan lawmakers have ruled out scrapping a law that caps commercial lending rates, local newspapers reported, after a meeting between the lawmakers and the central bank governor. Kenya capped commercial lending rates in Sep. 2016 at 4 percentage points above the central bank's benchmark rate, which now stands at 9.5%, in a bid to limit the cost of borrowing for businesses and individuals. The central bank last month said the cap likely shaved last year's estimated economic growth rate by 0.4% as it limits credit to SMEs who are deemed too risky by lenders. Kenyan media quoted JUDE NJOMO, the man behind the law, as saying anyone calling for the repeal was wasting their time. "According to our constitution, the central bank governor and Treasury have no power or mandate to amend laws. That is the prerogative of parliamentarians and therefore, the rest who are speaking (on the repeal), are just making noises that will change nothing", NJOMO was quoted as saying. With the IMF putting pressure on Kenya to drop or modify the lending cap, Finance Minister HENRY ROTICH said in Mar. that it was unsustainable and the government was planning modifications. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 16/04/2018 () 16/04/18 07:35:00

At 07:36 on 16 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.07 Rand/Sterling 17.21 Rand/Euro 14.89 Gold 1347.02 Platinum 927.00 Oil 72.52 All-Share Index 56563.17

VW appoints new CEO, overhauls corporate structure - Patrick McGee () 13/04/18 11:47:00

VOLKSWAGEN enacted the most sweeping changes to its management board since the diesel emissions scandal of late 2015, appointing a new CEO and establishing a new corporate structure designed to speed up decision making across its portfolio of brands. The carmaker yesterday confirmed that MATTHIAS MULLER would step down with immediate effect after less than three years in the top position. He will be succeeded by HERBERT DIESS, a former BMW executive who became head of the core VW brand in the summer of 2015. VW's multi-brand empire will now be bundled into three groups labelled Volume, Premium and Super Premium, while its Trucks and Buses unit will be separated as part of a "planned preparation for capital market readiness". Under the new structure, DIESS, who will also head the Volume segment, will take on group-wide responsibilities for R&D. RUPERT STADLER, head of AUDI and the new Premium division, will also lead group-wide sales. OLIVER BLUME, head of PORSCHE and the Super Premium division, will take on group production. Separately, DIESS will lead vehicle connectivity, while company IT will be led by FRANK WITTER, finance chief. In addition, Procurement and Components are to be combined into one unit going forward. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom surges on $12bn share buyback programme - Jessica Dye () 13/04/18 11:47:00

As it recovers from its failed hostile bid for QUALCOMM, BROADCOM is setting aside up to $12bn to buy back its own shares. BROADCOM shares rose 4.5% to $250.17 after the announcement following the close of trading in New York yesterday. BROADCOM said the buybacks would begin immediately and wrap up in Nov. 2019. As of yesterday, BROADCOM has a market cap of $98.7bn, and about 410m shares outstanding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone industrial production falls in Feb. - Adam Samson () 13/04/18 11:46:00

Industrial production in the eurozone fell 0.8% in Feb. m/m, marking the third consecutive monthly decline for the gauge. Economists had forecast a 0.1% uptick, according to a Reuters survey. Falls were the most pronounced in capital and durable goods. The former fell 3.6%, while the latter contracted by 2.1%. Energy was a bright spot, up 6.8%. Data from individual countries released previously suggested cold weather may have provided a boon to the energy sector. Industrial output was still up 2.9% from Feb. 2017, but the rate of growth slowed sharply from 3.7% in Jan. and 5.2% in the final month of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

African countries' bond sales 'raise refinancing risk' - Kate Allen () 13/04/18 11:46:00

African countries' recent flurry of debt-raising increases the risk that they will face refinancing problems, FITCH RATINGS warned yesterday. Higher commodity prices and fiscal reforms in some countries have helped to stabilise debt levels in relation to economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, FITCH said, but growing use of international debt markets is adding an increasing debt financing burden to governments' budgets. SSA nations will have to repay $6.5bn of debt in the five years to 2023, up from $1.4bn in the last five years, FITCH said. "[Debt] maturities appear manageable in the near term, but public financial management in the region is often weak, meaning that capacity to manage refinancing risk is an important factor", the ratings agency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hearst takes full control of Fitch Group - Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson () 13/04/18 11:46:00

HEARST has agreed to pay $2.8bn to buy out its French partner FITCH GROUP, it said yesterday, increasing its focus on credit ratings and other financial information services. The all-cash purchase, for which HEARST has not had to raise new financing, makes FITCH its largest wholly-owned business. FITCH CEO PAUL TAYLOR has built a great team that has delivered impressive growth in the ratings and information service businesses", HEARST CEO STEVEN SWARTZ said. The deal brings to an end what SWARTZ called "an excellent partnership" with FIMALAC, the holding company of French tycoon MARC LADREIT DE LACHARRIERE. HEARST bought its first 20% stake in FITCH from FIMALAC in 2006 for $592m, and spent a further $2.6bn increasing its holding to 80% between 2009 and 2014. It noted that FITCH had diversified in recent years and now derived more than 20% of its revenues from data products unrelated to its core ratings business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Polyus offers to buy back bonds amid sanctions uncertainty - Henry Foy () 13/04/18 11:46:00

Russia's POLYUS has said it will buy back up to $50m worth of its 2021 convertible bonds, less than a week after SULEIMAN KERIMOV, whose family controls the company, was hit by US sanctions. KERIMOV and six other Russian oligarchs were targeted by sanctions on Friday that ban them from conducting business in US dollars or with US citizens. Sanctions were not levied against POLYUS. The company plans to buy back $50m worth of its $250m 1% guaranteed convertible bonds due 2021, citing "market dislocation and volatility". "POLYUS takes into account existing market dislocation and volatility across its publicly traded financial instruments and believes that the current market environment creates an opportunity for timely liability management", it said. Shares in POLYUS have fallen 20% since last week's sanctions were announced. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rolls-Royce to cut non-essential spending to fund extra engine checks - Cat Rutter Pooley () 13/04/18 10:52:00

ROLLS-ROYCE said it faced higher than expected cash costs connected to problems with its Trent 1000 engines this year. The British group today said as part of its ongoing inspection and testing of those engines, which are used in BOEING's 787 Dreamliner, it had "decided to carry out additional engine inspections to those previously planned". ROLLS-ROYCE said it would cut back on non-essential spending programmes to absorb additional cash costs expected to be incurred this year. Extra checks on the Trent engines would lead to additional disruption for customers, the group said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Klepierre steps back from Hammerson bid - Cat Rutter Pooley (HMN) 13/04/18 10:52:00

KLEPIERRE has abandoned its hopes for a deal to buy HAMMERSON PLC. The French group had made repeated takeover approaches for HAMMERSON, disrupting the latter's own plans to buy smaller rival INTU. But KLEPIERRE today said there had been a lack of "any meaningful engagement" from HAMERMSON's board after KLEPIERRE raised its takeover proposal for the company - without INTU - to 635pps on Monday. HAMMERSON's shares shed 13% in early trading in response, while KLEPIERRE's rose 4.2%. An offer of 635p would have represented a premium of 45% to HAMMERSON's undisturbed share price of 437.1pps on Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rocket Internet says sales at key portfolio groups up 28% - Tobias Buck () 13/04/18 10:52:00

ROCKET INTERNET today said revenues at key companies rose 28% in 2017, while losses had narrowed once again over the past 12 months. ROCKET co-founder and CEO OLIVER SAMWER described 2017 as a "very successful year", pointing to the stock market listing of two companies backed by ROCKET - DELIVERY HERO and HELLOFRESH. Revenues at "selected companies" in ROCKET's portfolio rose from €2.06bn in 2016 to €2.64bn in 2017. The category includes HELLOFRESH, GLOBAL FASHION GROUP, JUMIA, HOME24 and WESTWING. Losses at those companies before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were trimmed by €44m, the company said, with the EBITDA margin improving from -15.4% in 2016 to -10.3% in 2017. At the group level, ROCKET reported a sharp drop in revenues from €50.4bn in 2016 to €36.8bn last year. The decline reflected the deconsolidation of minority stakes and the sale of businesses previously included in the reporting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sage Group sales growth below expectations - Adam Samson () 13/04/18 10:52:00

SAGE GROUP on Friday said its sales grew more slowly than management anticipated in the last HY period due to "inconsistent operational execution". The firm said organic revenue rose 6.3% in the HY to end-Mar., down from 7.4% y/y. Software subscriptions growth also slowed to 25.3% from 30.6%, leaving the figure below management expectations. SAGE said its performance in the Northern Europe and Africa and Middle East regions was weaker than expected. It recorded double-digit growth in North America, while central Europe and Australia "performed well". Given the disappointing H1, SAGE revised down its estimate for FY organic sales growth to roughly 7%, from 8% previously. A full results announcement is due on May 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil stockpiles close to falling below 5yr average target: IEA - Anjli Raval () 13/04/18 10:52:00

Oil stockpiles have shrunk dramatically over the past year and are close to falling below five-year average levels in the coming months, the International Energy Agency said today. Commercial stocks in industrialised nations fell to just over 2.8bn barrels by the end of Feb. This is only 30m barrels above the 5-year average, which could be reached by May. Despite shrinking oil inventories, OPEC producers have said alternative metrics must be considered when evaluating the success of a supply cut deal, and how long cuts should be maintained. OPEC-led supply cuts together with robust demand and bubbling geopolitical tensions have already helped Brent crude to jump above $72/barrel this week. Global oil demand growth for 2018 is unchanged from last month's report at 1.5m bpd, taking total consumption to 99.3m bpd. The IEA said there is a risk to this outlook as tensions around trade tariffs between China and the US mount, which could hit economic growth and oil demand. Global oil supply fell by 120 000 bpd in Mar. to 97.8m bpd, after OPEC and non-OPEC producers deepened cuts. OPEC crude output fell by 200 000 bpd to 31.8m bpd. Production outside of the cartel is expected to grow 1.8m bpd in 2018, to a total of 59.9m bpd - unchanged from last month's report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Google releases new Africa app to beat sluggish internet speeds - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg () 13/04/18 10:52:00

GOOGLE is releasing an app in Africa that will help internet users overcome obstacles such as the lack of high-speed connectivity and the cost of data on the continent. The release is the company's latest attempt to extend its reach into emerging markets. The ALPHABET unit has laid fiber-optic cable on the continent, eased access to cheaper Android phones and trained a workforce in digital skills. The new app reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40% and allows previous searches to be accessed offline. GOOGLE has also adapted the voice function to work better on slow connections. The GOOGLE GO app will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and can be accessed from the GOOGLE Playstore. It will also be pre-installed on all Android Oreo devices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Verimark shares surge on profit optimism - Fin24 (VMK) 13/04/18 10:52:00

Shares in VERIMARK rose by almost 26% yesterday after the company said it expects improved profits for the FY to end-Feb. VERIMARK said it expects a profit before tax of R43m-R50.4m - an increase of 15.1%-35.1% on the R37.3m reported y/y. HEPS are expected to be between 29.5cps and 34.3cps, up 22.8%-42.8% y/y. "Although the rand has strengthened significantly over the last few months, the average rand dollar exchange rate only strengthened by 8.27%", the company noted. It said rand strength, coupled with the introduction of a greater number of exceptional products contributed to improved sales and profits. Results will be published on May 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tech firm shareholders threaten litigation to get EGM - Khulekani Magubane (CGN) 13/04/18 10:52:00

COGNITION HOLDINGS shareholders asy they have threatened the tech company's board with litigation just o get it to hold an EGM. The shareholder group, which owns 12% of COGNITION, yesterday said they are at their wits' end in trying to get the company's board to meet and re-appoint an experienced director. The board will hold an EGM in May, the group said. The shareholders are pushing for KAGISO MEDIA CEO MARK HARRIS, businessman TREVOR AHIER and tech executive DENNIS LUPAMBO to be included as additional directors at the meeting. AHIER is also doubling as the shareholders' representative. AHIER said the shareholders would rather appoint directors with a fundamental understanding of technology than voting against the re-appointment of these directors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump sets up Postal Service task force as Amazon tension rises - Kadhim Shubber () 13/04/18 10:51:00

DONALD TRUMP has set up at ask force to study the United States Postal Service in a sign that his criticism of the agency's deal with AMAZON is turning into action. TRUMP issued an executive order late on Thursday creating a body to evaluate the "operations and finances" of the Postal Service, including its package delivery pricing. The president has long criticised AMAZON's package delivery contract with the Postal Service as an unfair deal that loses money for the post office. The task force will be chaired by Treasury secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN and will issue a report to the president within 120 days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China posts first trade deficit in over a year - Alice Woodhouse () 13/04/18 10:51:00

Chinese exports fell back in Mar. with the country posting its first trade deficit in dollar-denominated terms in more than a year. Dollar-denominated exports fell 2.7% y/y in Mar., figures from the General Administration of Customs showed. Imports rose 14.4% in dollar-denominated terms, higher than the 10% increase forecast by analysts. That shook out to a trade shortfall of $4.98bn, the first deficit since Feb. 2017. Analysts had forecast a trade surplus of $27.21bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LSE appoints Goldman veteran as CEO - Philip Stafford () 13/04/18 10:51:00

The LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE has appointed DAVID SCHWIMMER, an investment banker with a 20-year career at GOLDMAN SACHS, as its new CEO to succeed XAVIER ROLET. SCHWIMMER was previously global head of market structure and head of metals and mining at the US investment bank. He will begin on Aug. 1. ROLET ended his eight-year tenure at the bourse in Nov. in response to growing board pressure to resolve a governance crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Texton appoints UK asset manager - Anine Kilian (TEX) 13/04/18 09:28:00

TEXTON has appointed JAMES ARMSTRONG as asset manager to oversee its assets in the UK, effective May 1. ARMSTRONG previously held senior positions at HAMMERSON, DAWNAY DAY CARPATHIAN and LREC. His extensive multisector expertise includes valuation, transactions, value-add asset management and development. His initial focus will include driving the asset management priorities, including the proposed Box Park and residential developments at Broad Street Mall, which is TEXTON's single biggest asset in the UK, as well as leveraging opportunities across the portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Group Five to sell majority stake in SA construction business - Irma Venter (GRF) 13/04/18 09:22:00

GROUP FIVE will soon become a minority shareholder in its construction business in SA, CEO THEMBA MOSAI said yesterday. MOSAI said the company targeted the sale of 51% of its South African construction business to an empowered shareholder as part of the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme. The VRP stipulated only a 40% sale to an empowered buyer, but MOSAI said markets and clients were increasingly demanding to do business with companies that were 51% black-owned. GROUP FIVE had already appointed a corporate adviser, with the process to enable the sale under way. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trade conditions remain muted - Anine Kilian () 13/04/18 09:22:00

SA's trade conditions remained muted in Mar. with SACCI's Trade Activity Index having decreased to 43 in Mar. from 44 m/m. The TAI was also three index points lower than in Mar. 2017. Retail trade remained constrained, with global trade prospects still positive, with commodity prices benefiting exports. Factors listed by respondents to have curbed trade activity were the increase in VAT to 15%, the higher fuel levy, strikes and property damage, and inappropriate skills in certain sectors. However, respondents still had positive expectations from the new political leadership and its ability for economic policy formulation. Sales volumes improved in Mar., with the subindex three points higher at 46, but the new orders index down by six points to 35. Expected sales volumes and expected new orders were both lower, with sales having decreased from 64 to 58 and new orders from 63 to 51. The sales price index measured 59 and the input price index 72. The employment subindex fell to 42 in Mar., while the employment outlook index for the next six months also fell by seven index points to 46. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Altron's FY earnings up 14% - Natasha Odendaal (AEL) 13/04/18 09:22:00

ALLIED ELECTONICS expects to deliver a 14%-18% increase in EBITDA on a normalised basis for continued operations for the FY to end-Feb. Revenue from continuing operations is expected to rise by 10%-12%. The disposal of loss-making operations and improved performance from the remaining discontinued businesses resulted in the material improvement in both EPS and HEPS y/y. During the FY, ALTON restructured a number of its core operations to position itself for growth in the ICT sector. "The core of operations had a satisfactory performance for the year", ALTRON said, adding that the acquisition of PHOENIX SOFTWARE in the UK had positively contributed to revenue and EBITDA. Results will be published on May 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Forevermark launches in Indonesia - Anine Kilian (AGL) 13/04/18 09:22:00

The DE BEERS GROUP has launched its FOREVERMARK diamond brand in Indonesia. For the market launch, FOREVERMARK will partner with Indonesia's premier jewellery company, CENTRA MEGA KENCANA. FOREVERMARK will initially be sold in 12 stores in the CMK network in the Jakarta region, with plans to expand further in the near future. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA mining output up 3.1% in Feb. - Anine Kilian () 13/04/18 09:22:00

SA's mining production rose by 3.1% y/y in Feb., bolstered by a robust contribution from diamonds and iron ore, Statistics SA said this week. The Feb. figure exceeded forecasts of 2.6%, and follows production growth of 2.9% y/y in Jan. The main contributors to the positive growth were the 42.9% rise in diamond production, the 10.5% rise in iron ore output, and the 24.3% increase in manganese ore production. PGM production fell by 1.6% y/y. On a seasonally adjusted basis, mining output rose by 0.9% m/m in Feb. and declined by 2.4% q/q for the three months to Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucara recovers 472ct stone at Karowe - Anine Kilian () 13/04/18 09:22:00

LUCARA DIAMONDS has recovered a 472ct top light brown gem diamond in Botswana. It is the third largest diamond recovered from the Karowe mine. "Mining at Karowe is focused in the high value south lobe, which consistently delivers large, high quality diamonds in excess of 10.8 ct in size", CEO ERIA THOMAS said. He added that LUCARA would continue to focus on increasing value at Karowe, where a prefeasibility study assessing the potential for going underground and extending mine life from 2026 to 2036 was under way and progressing on schedule for completion towards year-end. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PTM warns of liquidity constraints ahead of completion of stage two of Maseve deal - Marleny Arnoldi (RBP) 13/04/18 09:22:00

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has warned that its liquidity will be constrained until the second stage of the sale of its Maseve mine to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM is completed. PTM last week announced that stage one of the deal had been completed and that it had received payment of R646.72m from RBPLAT. The majority of these funds are being used to repay debt owed tO SPROTT RESOURCES LENDING PARTNERSHIP, while $7.52m will be used to reduce its debt owed to LIBERTY METALS & MINING. PTM still owes LMM around $60.9m. During the second stage of the sales transaction, RBPLAT will acquire 100% of the shares in Maseve, and all shareholder loans owed by Maseve, for an aggregate consideration of around $16m, of which around $855 000 is payable to a minority shareholder of Maseve. PTM yesterday reiterated that it continues to work with RBPLAT to complete the second stage of the deal, which is subject to DMR approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia scraps plan to force white-owned businesses to sell 25% stake to blacks - Reuters () 13/04/18 09:22:00

Namibia has scrapped a clause in its economic empowerment framework that would have forced white businesses to sell a 25% stake to previously disadvantaged people, President HAGE GEINGOB said this week. GEINGOB said a revised National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework draft bill will be proposed in Parliament before the end of this year. "The 25% equity stake will not translate into broad-based empowerment and is done away with", he said. GEINGOB said most Namibians, especially the previously disadvantaged, to not have enough resources to invest in empowerment transactions, nor are they able to obtain access to funding to participate in such transactions. He said the role of government was to create a conducive business environment where owners, whether black or white, who can afford risk capital, can participate in equity transactions under NEEEF. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Galileo to raise £550 000 for Zambia drilling programme - Anine Kilian () 13/04/18 09:22:00

GALILEO RESOURCES will raise £550 000 via a share placement to fund a further drilling programme at its Star Zinc project in Zambia. The 50m new shares, which will be priced at 0.1pps, have been placed through the company's broker NOVUM SECURITIES. The placing price is at a discount of around 20% compared with the closing mid-market of 1.375pps on Wednesday. In connection with the placing, GALILEO has granted warrants to subscribe for 50m shares at an exercise price of 2pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deripaska withdraws from Nornickel board nomination - Reuters () 13/04/18 09:22:00

Russian tycoon OLEG DERIPASKA has withdrawn his nomination candidacy to join the board of NORILSK NICKEL, the company said yesterday. A regulatory disclosure on Apr. 5 showed that DERIPASKA had been nominated to join the board. He was among Russian individuals and entities named in a new sanctions list announced by the US a week ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Agarwal offers Anglo help in tapping India's population - Bloomberg (AGL) 13/04/18 09:22:00

ANIL AGARWAL, the biggest shareholder in ANGLO AMERICAN, has offered to help the company expand into India. "That's a big market for them", AGARWAL said this week. "I am going to help them if they need to open up that market for them to work there". He wasn't explicit about whether he wanted to assist ANGLO with increasing sales to India or to start operating mines there. ANGLO currently has no operational presence in India, although most of the diamonds its DE BEERS unit sells are cut and polished there. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diageo's EABL aims to tap rising demand in Kenaya - Duncan Miriri () 13/04/18 07:43:00

DIAGEO's EAST AFRICAN BREWERIES will start producing Captain Morgan rum locally as part of wider investment in its spirit business in response to growing demand. The company told Reuters it has begun investing the 1.4bn shillings earmarked for the spirits division. Its investment includes funding for a 20 000 bottle per hour distillery line that will double output at its plant on the outskirts of Nairobi. EABL's domestic version of the spirit, Captain Morgan Gold, will retail at 800-900 shillings per bottle - half the price of imported bottles. Production is slated to begin within the next month. Sales of spirits at EABL grew 20% in Kenya last year, marking a shift in the nation where beer has long been the preferred alcoholic beverage. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Quantum Global demands to know why Mauritius froze funds - Jean Paul Arouff () 13/04/18 07:43:00

QUANTUM GLOBAL, an investment firm through which Angola's sovereign wealth fund invests much of its cash, yesterday demanded that Mauritian authorities explain their decision to suspend its business licenses on the island nation. Mauritius has frozen 25 bank accounts and suspended seven licenses linked to QUANTUM following a visit by Angolan officials last week, a source said. The source said the Mauritius had acted swiftly in collaboration with investigations from Angolan authorities in a bid to protect itself against potential "reputational risk". "It is hard to defend ourselves against actions by the authorities when the rationale has not been made clear despite our repeated attempts to receive this information", JEAN-CLAUDE BASTOS DE MORAIS, founder and CEO of QUANTUM GLOBAL, said. BASTOS DE MORAIS is a business partner of JOSE FILOMENO DOS SANTOS, the son of former Angolan president JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS. DOS SANTOS JR has been charged with fraud affecting Angola's central bank, involving the transfer of $500m held in the UK. QUANTUM GLOBAL has said it had nothing to do with the transaction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 13/04/2018 () 13/04/18 07:43:00

At 07:42 on 13 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.05 Rand/Sterling 17.15 Rand/Euro 14.85 Gold 1339.90 Platinum 926.00 Oil 72.15 All-Share Index 56480.98

Kumba executives iron out pay hike - Dineo Faku (KIO) 13/04/18 07:42:00

KUMBA IRON ORE has hiked the total salary of its directors and prescribed officers to R108m in the FY to end-Dec., following zero fatalities and an improved financial performance buoyed by firmer prices. The company paid its four executive directors R47.1m, including share options and bonuses, up from R26.2m y/y. CEO THEMBA MKHWANAZI received a total salary of R21m, including R7.1m guaranteed pay and a long-term incentive plan award earned while he was CEO of ANGLO COAL. His total salary was R5.3m in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oceana expects higher headline earnings - Sandile Mchunu (OCE) 13/04/18 07:42:00

Shares in OCEANA fell 0.24% on Wednesday, despite the company reporting that it expected its basic EPS and HEPS for the HY to end-Mar. to rise by 55%-65% y/y. The company attributed the increase in earnings to the release of $13m deferred taxation in DAYBROOK, following the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the US from 35% to 21%. OCEANA acquired 100% of DAYBROOK FISHERIES in 2016 for $382m. DAYBROOK added R191m to OCEANA as operating profit in the last HY results to end-Mar. 2017. The company said basic EPS were expected to rise by 300.7cps-320.1cps, up from last year's 194cps. Basic HEPS were expected to increase by 55%-65% to between 300.4cps and 319.8cps, from 193.8cps y/y. Interim results will be published on May 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dipula raises R790m in bookbuild - Roy Cokayne (DIA) 13/04/18 07:42:00

DIPULA has raised around R790m via a successful bookbuild. The bookbuild opened on Tuesday morning with the REIT indicating that it planned to raise around R600m via the issue of a combination of new DIPULA A and B ordinary shares, but had raised R790m when it closed later in the day. DIPULA CEO IZAK PETERSEN said the company was very pleased with the capital raise, which was around 32% oversubscribed. He said the capital was intended to fund the acquisition of a R1.25bn portfolio. "The capital will enable us to continue realising our strategy of growing our fund through strategic acquisitions". The acquisition was first announced in Nov., and comprises retail, office and industrial properties with a gross lettable area of 340 221m2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Group Five considers rights issue to bolster finances - Nqobile Dludla (GRF) 13/04/18 07:42:00

GROUP FIVE is looking at raising money via a rights issue to repay debt and bolster its finances after reporting a bigger than expected H1 loss following problems with a Ghana power project. The company is going through a restructuring in which it has sold off some businesses, exited loss-making contracts and cut 420 permanent staff. The cost of the restructuring and the impact of a weak construction market in SA means the company needs to bolster its short-term financing. It has signed an agreement with a funding consortium that is willing to provide up to R650m of short-term bridge funding which the company hopes to access by the end of April 2018 once all conditions have been met. "The group believes it is not prudent to rely solely on debt and would therefore prefer to approach shareholders to discuss recapitalisation options and replacement of this debt as soon as possible", CFO CRISTINA TEIXEIRA said. She said options for shareholder funding would include "a potential rights offer or a loan". GROUP FIVE's H1 HLPS widened to 781cps, from 310cps y/y. The group said in Dec. that although the Kpone power project in Ghana was 97% complete with only commissioning remaining, further delays were being experienced, which resulted in a loss on the contract of R649m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia says its foreign debt is not more than officially stated - Chris Mfula () 13/04/18 07:42:00

Zambia's $8.7bn foreign debt has not been understated and those saying it is higher should produce evidence, the ministry of finance said this week following speculation that he debt could be more than double the official figure. Zambia has held talks with the IMF over an aid programme but the Fund rejected its debt management plans in Feb. Finance Ministry spokesperson CHILESHE KANDETA said in response to a query that he government has evidence showing that the debt amounts to $8.7bn. RENAISSANCE CAPITAL's sovereign debt strategist, GREGORY SMITH, earlier this month said the government appears unwilling to trim its new loans and infrastructure contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando shares surge after Nigeria bourse lifts suspension - Chijioke Ohuocha (OAO) 13/04/18 07:42:00

Shares in Nigerian oil company OANDO surged 10% yesterday on resuming trade in Lagos after the regulator lifted a suspension. The shares jumped to 6.60 naira immediately after the stock market opened after closing at 6.30 naira on Wednesday. The shares traded only briefly after being suspended for six months on the orders of Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating the company over alleged insider trading. The SEC briefly re-imposed the suspension on Wednesday, citing directives, but then lifted it again by yesterday. When the shares were originally suspended six months ago they were trading at 5.99 naira. OANDO said it has been notified by the JSE that it will lift a similar suspension on its stock today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harare buys Boeing planes, leases them to new airline - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 13/04/18 07:42:00

Zimbabwe has bought two Boeing 777 aircraft and an Enbraer plane from Malaysia, the finance minister said yesterday, adding the planes would be leased to a new local airline until national carrier AIR ZIMBABWE returned to profitability. PATRICK CHINAMASA said the government had agreed with an unidentified Malaysian firm to buy four Boeing 777 planes for $70m but had so far paid for two. The government had also paid for a small Embraer plane and plans to add five more such aircraft. The new aircraft are owned by a state-owned SPV called ZIMBABWE AVIATION LEASING COMPANY. CHINAMASA would not comment on speculation the government could be the owner of the new airline, ZIMBAWE AIRWAYS, and would ultimately dissolve the troubled AIR ZIMBABWE. However, he noted that Harare could not continue supporting loss-making AIR ZIMBABWE as it was like "putting resources into a bottomless pit". The national carrier has debts of more than $300m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Euronext raises €500m in return to bond market - Philip Stafford () 12/04/18 14:48:00

EURONEXT has issued its first bond since regaining its independence in 2014, raising €500m to finance its purchase of the Irish stock exchange. The Paris-based group said the deal would help pay for the €137m acquisition of its rival, since renamed EURONEXT DUBLIN, and refinance last year's $153m deal from FASTMATCH, an electronic spot forex trading venue. EURONEXT's purchase of the Irish exchange last month is part of a wider plan to attract companies that might rethink their London listings in the wake of Brexit. It also owns the main exchanges in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Lisbon. The seven-year bond announced yesterday will have an annual coupon of 1% and be listed on EURONEXT DUBLIN. The exchange said the order book was more than four times subscribed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carrefour sales growth cools amid strong competition in France - Harriet Agnew () 12/04/18 14:48:00

CARREFOUR yesterday said sales growth slowed in Q1, dragged down by difficult conditions and continued strong competition in France. The company recorded €20.78bn sales in Q1, slightly below the median analyst estimates for sales of €20.87bn in a poll by Reuters. This amounts to 0.4% quarterly growth on a like-for-like basis, excluding fuel and calendar effects, down from 1.9% growth in Q4 2017. In Brazil, the company was impacted by continued food deflation. CARREFOUR yesterday said it has started the process to remove 273 former DIA discount stores from its network. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore declares force majeure on some Russian aluminium supply - Neil Hume (GLN) 12/04/18 14:48:00

GLENCORE has invoked force majeure over 50 000t of Russian metal destined for one of its customers, just days after the US slapped crippling sanctions on aluminium producer RUSAL. The move comes a day after GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG resigned from the board of RUSAL and put on hold a share swap deal involving another one of of Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA's companies, EN+ GROUP. GLENCORE is the biggest buyer of RUSAL metal, purchasing $2.4bn of aluminium last year and has close ties with the company reaching back more than a decade. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Zealand to ban future offshore oil/gas exploration - Jamie Smyth () 12/04/18 14:48:00

New Zealand has become one of the world's first countries to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration in a move heralded by environmental campaigners as a major blow to big oil. "There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted", PM JACINDA ARDERN said today. "We must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change". There are 31 oil and gas exploration permits currently active in New Zealand, 22 of which are offshore. Existing exploration and mining rights are being protected under the policy change, which is not expected to impact any current jobs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Afrox scores R1bn state healthcare contract - Ntaoleng Lechela (AFX) 12/04/18 10:54:00

AFRICAN OXYGEN has won a healthcare contract worth over R1bn. Treasury confirmed that AFROX will supply medical gases to government hospitals, comprising a total of more than 400 hospitals and 1 600 clinics, across all nine provinces. Government has given AFROX until the end of Sep. 2018 to extend its supply operations into government facilities in KZN, the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga. Treasury stipulated that the contract will run over five years. This gives state hospitals the opportunity to use AFROX's state-of-the-art equipment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sagarmatha's JSE listing again shelved - Jan Cronje () 12/04/18 10:54:00

SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES, the umbrella company that was hoping to unite the various groups in IQBAL SURVE's media empire under one roof, will not be listing on the JSE this Friday. "On 10 April 2018 at 14:00, the Company received a letter from the JSE giving notice to the company that the listing could no longer proceed", SAGARMATHA said yesterday. It said it had been informed by the JSE that it could not list on the local bourse as it had not submitted the correct financial statements in time. SAGARMATHA said the bourse operator said it had not submitted its annual financial statements to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in time for the listing to proceed, although SAGARMATHA claimed it had. In addition, the JSE said SAGARMATHA had failed to release its interim results for the FY to end-Dec. 2017 by the due date of Apr. 9. "The company will consult with its advisors and consider its next steps". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BMW unveils R260m parts distribution hub - Fin24 () 12/04/18 10:54:00

BMW SA yesterday unveiled a regional facility to distribute parts to its dealers across Southern Africa. BMW SA CEO TIM ABBOTT said the new R260m facility in Midrand was in addition to the R6.1bn which had already been injected by the German group into the upgrading of its Rosslyn manufacturing plant. "This shows our faith in the South African economy. We have also noted the renewed confidence following the recent political changes in the country... But I believe that for us real change would only be visible after the elections next year", ABBOTT said. The distribution centre would hold 600 000 motor parts for timeous delivery to 56 dealers in the region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deere & Co sinks on weak Mar. sales figures - Peter Wells () 12/04/18 10:53:00

DEERE & CO yesterday revealed that Mar. sale results fell short of industry averages. The company said sale of two-wheel drive tractors with less than 40 power take-off horsepower, and for between 40 to 100 PTO hp, both fell by more than the industry average. Meanwhile, sales of two-wheel tractors with more than 100 PTO hp grew, but by less than the 5% rate achieved by the industry. Sales of combines were down by more than the industry's 14% drop. Last week, China released a list of US products on which it planned to impose punitive tariffs in retaliation for the TRUMP administration's plan to slap tariffs on Chinese imports. A spokesperson for DEERE, which has manufacturing operations in China, said the company "will continue to monitor these proposals to evaluate how they impact the company and our customers. We strongly encourage officials to work toward a timely resolution to limit uncertainty for farmers and avoid any meaningful disruption to agricultural trade". DEERE shares fell as much as 2.5%, before recovering slightly to trade 2% lower at $145.14. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia says to provide Rusal with short-term liquidity - Henry Foy () 12/04/18 10:53:00

The Russian state will provide short-term liquidity to RUSAL, the country's finance minister said yesterday. RUSAL was hit with sanctions barring it from doing business in US dollars or with Americans last week, sending its shares plummeting and prompting board resignations, as the company warned of credit defaults and told customers to stop paying them. "We must now take care of the stable operation of the enterprises owned by RUSAL that fell under sanctions, there are still about 170 000 workers there", ANTON SILUANOV said. "The state, of course, must keep this in mind. Companies that have been subject to sanctions, we will certainly support them: be it short-term liquidity, be it other support measures that are currently being worked on". Analysts and bankers said RUSAL would likely collapse without financial support from the state. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Paul Ryan will not seek re-election - Sam Fleming () 12/04/18 10:53:00

US House speaker PAUL RYAN has decided not to run for re-election in Nov., underscoring the anxiety among Republicans about the party's uncertain prospects in the upcoming midterm elections. In a statement, BRENDAN BUCK, RYAN's counsellor, said: "This morning Speaker RYAN shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify, Hulu join forces with $12.99 subscription plan - Anna Nicolaou () 12/04/18 10:53:00

SPOTIFY and HULU have partnered to offer a joint subscription to their music and television catalogues, as the former looks to keep up momentum a week after its public offering. Customers can stream SPOTIFY's 40m songs on HULU's 75 000 TV shows and films for $12.99/month - about $5 cheaper than the prices of the individual plans. The offer extends a special rate unveiled for students last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK factory output falls for first time in 11 months - Gavin Jackson () 12/04/18 10:53:00

Output in the UK's manufacturing sector fell by 0.2% compared to Jan., the first fall in production since Mar. 2017. Analysts polled by Reuters expected growth of 0.2%. Overall industrial production, which includes utilities and the oil industry, rose by 0.1% compared to Jan. as the cold weather boosted energy supply by 3.7% during the month. Analysts had expected growth of 0.4%. The Office for National Statistics said there was little sign of any other impact from the cold weather. In the three months to end-Feb. overall industrial output fell by 0.1%, but this was mostly due to the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline in the UK's North Sea oil and gas fields during Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff raised R3.75bn in STAR share sale - Khulekani Magubane () 12/04/18 10:53:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL this morning announced it had raised R3.75bn by selling 5.8% of its shares in STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL LIMITED. STEINHOFF launched an accelerated book build offering of 200m ordinary STAR shares to help refinance debt. It said it managed to place the placing shares at a price of R18.75/share. This allowed it to raise total gross proceeds of R3.75bn, representing a discount of 2.6% to STAR's closing price of R19.26 on Wednesday. Settlement of the placing is expected to occur on Apr. 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wiese defends Steinhoff payments as legitimate - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (SNH) 12/04/18 09:57:00

Former STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL chair CHRISTO WIESE said he received €325m from the company last year as up-front payments related to a planned merger between SHOPRITE and STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL. STEINHOFF earlier this week said that two payments made to WIESE in Oct. and Nov. last year didn't follow correct disclosure or governance procedures. In a phone interview, WIESE said he received two payments of €200m and €125m for shares in STAR, a step in the process of combining the unit with SHOPRITE, in which WIESE is the biggest shareholder. That deal collapsed shortly after STEINHOFF reported accounting irregularities, so he agreed to return the cash, WIESE said. "Given the parties involved from STEINHOFF's side, I accepted that the requisite internal approvals and governance matters in respect of the sale agreement and payments there were complied with", WIESE said. He added that the pre-payment for STAR shares was cleared by the SARB. Moneyweb earlier this week reported that WIESE asked STEINHOFF to cover a margin call on his behalf after the company reported the accounting irregularities in Dec. WIESE denied that aspect of the report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff freeing up 200m shares in STAR to refinace debt - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 12/04/18 09:57:00

As part of efforts to refinance its debt, STEINHOFF will sell off 200m of its shares in STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL. This is 6% of its stake in the company. STEINHOFF said the move was in line with intentions that were announced in a quarterly update issued in Feb. STEINHOFF's stake in STAR is currently at 77%. It previously sold off part of its stake in KAP INDUSTRIAL HOLDINGS to help settle debt. Following the success of this sale, STEINHOFF decided to go ahead with the sale of STAR shares in order to settle its remaining South African debt. The sell-down will also increase STAR's required free float by the JSE to 20%. The shares will be offered to "qualifying institutional investors only" which includes private platforms, STEINHOFF said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resilient says review finds no evidence of misconduct - Carin Smith (RES) 12/04/18 09:57:00

An independent review has found no proof of executive misconduct or breaches of governance rules and policies by RESILIENT REIT, its executives and the SIYAKHA TRUST. RESILIENT had commissioned the review to look into what it called "extensive negative allegations and commentaries" contained in publicly circulated reports, which questioned the integrity of transactions and movements in listed shares in RESILIENT and listed companies in which the REIT is invested. RESILIENT said the review found on evidence of any market manipulation or insider trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Business rescuers pick 'ideal' SA partner to keep Gupta coal mines going - Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg () 12/04/18 09:57:00

SA's BURGH GROUP HOLDINGS won a temporary contract to keep mines linked to the GUPTA family afloat, business rescue practitioner LOUIS KLOPPER said yesterday. KLOPPER said BURGH is "an ideal partner" to provide technical expertise and banking facilities, without disclosing financial terms. In 2016, BURGH, led by entrepreneur QUINTON VAN DER BURGH, was involved in an attempt to buy OPTIMUM COAL's coal-mine export allocation at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal from the GUPTAS, but the deal was abandoned last July. KLOPPER said the present agreement with BURGH is for a maximum of 12 months and has no connection to any acquisition. "The sale of these assets to this group is not on the table, it is not in negotiation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mpact opens expanded plant in PE - Marleny Arnoldi (MPT) 12/04/18 09:57:00

MPACT yesterday opened its expanded corrugated plant in Port Elizabeth. The expansion of the plant is part of MPACT CORRUGATED's extensive modernisation programme which has included investments of more than R800m over the past six years. The R150m investment into the carbon manufacturing facility is centred around a high-tech corrugator, which was supplied by Germany's BHS. The new machine more than doubles the factory's capacity, while improving quality, production efficiencies and key sustainability metrics such as energy use. MPACT will also install a fully integrated printing and converting machine, as well as a flat-bed die-cutter. Both are on schedule for completion during H2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields to make decision on Chile gold mine next year - Reuters (GFI) 12/04/18 09:56:00

GOLD FIELDS will complete preparatory work in 2019 at its Salares Norte project, in Chile, and is eyeing potential output of some 345 000oz/y of gold at the site by the early 2020s. The group will decide whether to give the go-ahead for construction of the mine high in the Andes mountains next year, GOLD FIELDS VP for operations in the Americas ALBERTO CARDENAS said. "Probably we are going to be in study mode until September next year... After that, if we continue with the project we start burning the $850m construction budget", CARDENAS said. GOLD FIELDS produced 2.16moz of gold last year but profit fell 4% as it struggled to resolve operational issues at its South Deep mine in SA. Assuming the Salares Norte project gets the go-ahead, CARDENAS said he expected production to begin around 2021 and quickly achieve target output of 345 000oz/y of gold. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Harmony Gold says $519 000 of metal stolen from SAfrican mine - Bloomberg (HAR) 12/04/18 09:56:00

Thieves broke into HARMONY GOLD's Kalgold mine on Tuesday morning and stole 12kg of the yellow metal, spokesperson LAUREN FOURIE said yesterday. The robbers accessed "heavily guarded" gold storage facilities in a significant security breach at the company, FOURIE said, adding that the incident is being investigated. At current prices the stolen gold is worth around $519 000. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto becomes first aluminium producer certified under new sustainability benchmark - Henry Lazenby () 12/04/18 09:56:00

RIO TINTO has become the first company in the world to be certified under the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative - a new benchmark for healthy environmental, social and governance practices across the aluminium lifecycle of production, use and recycling, the company announced this week. By using ASI-certified aluminium, manufactures and end-users will now be able to demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable supply chain. RIO TINTO's five aluminium smelters, the Vaudreuil refinery, casting and spent potlining treatment centres and associated infrastructure such as power, port and railway facilities in Quebec, Canada, have been certified, along with the Gove bauxite mine, in Australia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta says Indian copper smelting plant expansion on track - Reuters () 12/04/18 09:56:00

VEDANTA RESOURCES yesterday said its plans for capacity expansion at the Thootukudi copper smelting plant in India were on track, a day after its application to renew operations was rejected by the state pollution regulator. VEDANTA on Tuesday said its application for renewal of consent to operate the plant in the Tamil Nadu state was rejected by the state pollution control body. The company said protests by locals are based on "false allegations" and it has been providing "regular information through various media on the truth". It plans to double capacity at the smelter to 800 000t/y. VEDANTA said the application was rejected for want of more clarifications on periodical furnishing of data and on implementing some guidelines, which the company are working on. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom approves PnP merger in Franschhoek - ANA (PIK) 12/04/18 09:56:00

The Competition Commission yesterday said it has approved the proposed merger of PICK N PAY RETAILERS, which intends to acquire PICK N PAY FRANSCHHOEK, PICK N PAY FRANSCHHOEK LIQUOR and PICK N PAY FRANSCHHOEK DAILY in Cape Town. The Franschhoek stores form part of the PNP retail offering to consumers. As franchise stores, many products offered by the stores are also offered by other PNP stores. The Commission said it found the proposed transaction was unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any market, and that it did not raise any public interest concerns. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RDI disposes of Leeds asset - Roy Cokayne (RPL) 12/04/18 09:56:00

RDI, formerly named REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL, has exchanged contracts for the disposal of the City Point office property in Leeds for £26.05m. RDI yesterday said the property, which has been acquired by WEST MIDLANDS PENSION FUND, delivers total gross annualised rental income of £1.6m, with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 3.7 years. The disposal was in line with RDI's stated strategy of recycling capital out of mature assets and into new growth opportunities. "After two years of owning this asset, we have delivered an excellent 20.6% premium to the acquisition price, while also de-risking the portfolio", RDI CEO MIKE WATTERS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC lowers 2018 growth forecast to 4.8% - Amedee Mwarabu Kiboko () 12/04/18 08:55:00

The DRC trimmed its 2018 GDP growth forecast to 4.8% from a previous estimate of 5.2%, the central bank said this week. Central bank governor DEOGRATIAS MUTOMBO also said the bank had lowered the key interest rate to 14% from 20% as stronger commodity prices and higher foreign reserves helped stabilise the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta expects supply constraints to sustain zinc prices - Chris Mfula () 12/04/18 08:52:00

Zinc prices are expected to remain buoyant in the coming years after reaching their highest levels in a decade because of a shortfall caused by years of underinvestment, VEDANTA RESOURCES founder and chair ANIL AGARWAL said yesterday. AGARWAL said demand for zinc and prices of the metal wold remain high as there were only three major producers in the world. "It is very difficult to find zinc deposits", he said during a visit to Zambia. The global zinc market deficit narrowed to 48 600t in Dec. from a revised deficit of 65 700t in Nov., data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group showed on Feb. 20. AGARWAL said zinc demand will remain high because it is also being used increasingly in other areas, such as the pharmaceutical industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to launch first exploration licensing round in Q4 - Promit Mukherjee () 12/04/18 08:52:00

Ghana will launch its first exploration licensing round in the final quarter of 2018, offering about six offshore blocks, deputy energy minister MOHAMED AMIN ADAM said yesterday. The country currently produces 200 000 bpd, led by its flagship Jubilee field which produces around 100 000 bpd. ADAM said global oil majors like BP, SHELL and some independent producers have shown interest in acquiring a stake in oil assets in Ghana. "We have asked them to wait for our first bidding round which is scheduled for the last quarter of this year", ADAM said, adding that the country would put up another six offshore blocks for auction next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mozambique's cbank cuts key lending rate to 18% - Manuel Mucari () 12/04/18 08:52:00

Mozambique's central bank reduced its benchmark lending rate by 100 bps to 18%, the governor said yesterday. Governor ROGERIO ZANDAMELA said the monetary policy committee had also decided to reduce the monetary policy interest rate, or MIMO, by 150 bps to 16.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's Tati Nickel Mine out of liquidation after court ruling - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 12/04/18 08:52:00

Botswana's High Court has taken TATI NICKEL MINE out of provisional liquidation, dismissing a request for more time to negotiate with potential buyers, the liquidator said yesterday. TATI, a subsidiary of BCL MINE GROUP, has since Oct. 2016 been under provisional liquidation, which was twice extended after liquidator NIGEL DIXON-WARREN asked for more time to pursue a deal with investors. The High Court took the company out of liquidation on Tuesday following the lapse of the last extension. "The decision effectively places the company back into the control of the directors and this is highly prejudicial to the creditors", DIXON-WARREN said, adding that TATI "has no means to operate as going concern". He said he would urgently appeal the court's decision to try to protect the creditors' interests. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya's GDP growth to rebound in 2018 - George Obulutsa () 12/04/18 08:52:00

Kenya's economy will grow 5.5% this year compared with an estimated 4.8% last year, thanks to improved weather and less political risk after last year's presidential election, the World Bank said yesterday. The finance ministry expects growth to rebound to 5.8% this year but pressure to curb the government's fiscal deficit could cause it to scale back ambitious infrastructure projects, weighing economic output. "The dissipation of political uncertainty and the recovery in the global economy is supporting a rebound in business sentiment", the World Bank said in its latest report on the Kenyan economy. It noted that higher oil prices, reduced government investment in infrastructure and still-weak credit growth could curb some of the optimism. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Teleology has 90 days to complete Nigeria's 9mobile takeover - Camillus Eboh () 12/04/18 08:52:00

TELEOLOGY HOLDINGS has 90 days to pay $450m to complete its acquisition of 9MOBILE or face a rival bid, the Nigerian Communications Commission said yesterday. The regulator said 9MOBILE would be transferred to TELEOLOGY after the payment of $450m, but added that reserve bidder SMILE COMMUNICATIONS could be considered if TELEOLOGY failed to complete the payment in time. TELEOLOGY said last month it had made a $50m deposit to meet conditions for the acquisition and had partnered with SAFARICOM to transform debt-laden 9MOBILE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's growth recovery at risk from lack of policy clarity - Mfuneko Toyana () 12/04/18 08:51:00

SA's recent economic growth turnaround is unlikely to last as 2017's boom fades and the outlook for reform remains murky, the SARB said this week. The economy expanded by a surprising 1% in 2017 as agriculture recovered from a drought, and the Treasury expects growth of 1.5% this year. "The pickup in growth is not especially strong, however, and growth remains below long-term averages", the central bank said. It warned that in the absence of meaningful reforms, growth was unlikely to exceed 2% sustainably. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom considers sale of mortgage business - Alexander Winning () 12/04/18 08:51:00

ESKOM is sounding out possible buyers for its mortgage business, a tender document showed yesterday, in what would be the first major privatisation deal under President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA. SA is exposed to ESKOM via over R200bn of state guarantees, a point ratings agencies regularly cite as a risk to its sovereign rating. The utility said in a document on a government tender website that it was considering selling all of ESKOM FINACNE COMPANY, a subsidiary that specialises in mortgage lending to employees. EFC has a loan book worth around R8.7bn and some 16 000 customers. ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said the utility would hold talks with unions about the plans to sell EFC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana provisional 2017 GDP growth reached 8.5% - Kwasi Kpodo () 12/04/18 08:51:00

Ghana's economy expanded by 8.5% last year, according to a provisional estimate announced by the country's statistics office yesterday, up from 3.7% in 2016. Growth in Q4 2017 reached 8.1%, it said, compared to 9.7% in Q3. Q3 growth was revised upward from 9.3% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 12/04/2018 () 12/04/18 08:51:00

At 08:52 on 12 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.95 Rand/Sterling 16.94 Rand/Euro 14.77 Gold 1348.90 Platinum 923.50 Oil 71.93 All-Share Index 56170.07

Rusal suffers blow from LME - Neil Hume () 11/04/18 10:27:00

RUSAL suffered a blow yesterday after the LONDON METAL EXCHANGE took steps to stop material produced by the Russian group from being dumped in its warehouses. From Apr. 17, the LME said it would introduce a "temporary conditional suspension on placing RUSAL metal" under warrant in warehouses unless the owner could prove that it would not constitute a breach of sweeping US sanctions announced on Friday. "The temporary conditional suspension shall continue until further notice, allowing the LME to engage with stakeholders to determine the appropriate longer-term approach", the LME said. It said certain market participants had expressed concern that metal produced or supplied by RUSAL after Apr. 6 might constitute a sanctions risk. By taking this step the LME has moved to address a major concern of some members, namely that RUSAL metal would continue to pile up into warehouses while traders ripped out non-Russian aluminium to meet a supply shortfall caused by the sanctions. That could lead to distortions and undermine the LME's position of setting the global benchmark price for aluminium, one of the exchange's most important contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oil extends gains as US trims 2018 production forecast - Anjli Raval () 11/04/18 10:27:00

Oil sustained big gains yesterday and was further boosted by data from the US government that said domestic production would be slightly lower in 2018 than previously anticipated. The US Energy Information Administration expects production this year to grow by 1.37m bpd to 10.69m bpd. It had previously expected a rise to 10.7m bpd. During late afternoon trading in London, Brent was up $1.95/barrel to $70.59, while WTI had risen $1.81/barrel to $65.23. The oil market shrugged off EIA forecasts for next year estimating higher than anticipated output. It forecasts production to rise by 750 000 bpd to 11.44m bpd in 2019. This is an upward revision from 11.27m bpd expected in last month's report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aramco in pact with Indian group to develop petrochem complex - Anjli Raval () 11/04/18 10:27:00

SAUDI ARAMCO and Indian consortium RATNAGIRI REFINERY AND PETROCHEMICALS have agreed to jointly develop a $44bn refinery and petrochemicals complex as Saudi Arabia seeks to tap into growing fuel demand in India. ARAMCO signed the preliminary deal in New Delhi today with RATNAGIRI, an entity comprising of THE INDIAN OIL CORPORATION, BHARAT PETROLEUM and HINDUSTAN PETROLEUM. SAUDI ARMACO said it may also seek to include a strategic partner to co-invest in the RATNAGIRI refinery in the state of Maharashtra. Initial assessments have been conducted and all parties are now finalising the final configuration for the project, which at this stage is expected to cost $44bn. ARAMCO CEO AMIN NASSER said he expects the refinery to be ready before 2025 and seeks to tap into "India's fast-growing demand for transportation fuels and chemical products". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SoftBank jumps on renewed T-Mobile-Sprint merger talks - Hudson Lockett () 11/04/18 10:27:00

SOFTBANK shares rose more than 5% yesterday on reports that SPRINT, which is owned by the Japanese conglomerate, had resumed tentative merger talks with rival telecoms group T-MOBILE US. Sources said the two sides were not close to a deal but that both camps were keen to find a way to unite and create a stronger rival to VERIZON and AT&T that would have a market cap of about $80bn. One source said the new round of talks had been prompted by SOFTBANK, which is under pressure to revive its fortunes. Shares in SOFTBANK were up 4.8% in morning trade in Tokyo after rising as much as 5.2% shortly after the open. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 to appeal Colombian ruling - Jamie Smyth (S32) 11/04/18 10:27:00

SOUTH32 is appealing a Colombian court ruling that threatens the future of its Cerro Matoso nickel mine after the court found the operation's waste emissions were causing serious health problems for local indigenous communities. The miner said it is continuing to work to understand the impact of the judgment, which ruled SOUTH32 must re-apply to Colombia's authorities for its mining licence. SOUTH32 said it accepted notification of the decision on Apr. 9 in relation to "alleged health and environmental impacts" handed by Colombia's Constitutional Court. The miner's shares fell 2% to A$3.40 when the ASX opened this morning. Reuters reported the court ordered SOUTH32 to pay damages to local communities due to the waste emissions, which have seriously affected people diagnosed with lung and heart problems, including lung cancer. Cerro Matoso generated A$41m in earnings and revenues of A$244m in the HY to end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tesco to issue annual dividend after profits beat £1bn - Naomi Rovnick () 11/04/18 10:27:00

Annual profits have surged at TESKOM as CEO DAVE LEWIS completed an overhaul of the business and served up the group's first annual dividend since 2014. Pretax profits at the chain rose to £1.3bn in the 12 months to Feb. This was a rise of almost 800% on the £145m the group reported the prior year, and a strong indication the company is putting recent troubles behind it. On an operating profit basis, annual earnings rose by 28% to £1.6bn. TESCO's same-store sales rose 2.3% during the year, and were 2.4% higher in the fourth quarter. Its operating margin also reached 3% in H2, which was 0.57 percentage points higher than the same time in 2016/17 and closer to LEWIS' target of 3.5%-4% by 2020. TESCO proposed an annual dividend of 3pps. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Klepierre keeps Hammerson on shopping list with higher price - Aime Williams (HMN) 11/04/18 10:27:00

KLEPIERRE has bumped up the value of its potential new offer for UK mall owner HAMMERSON as it looks to wrestle the company from its deal with smaller rival INTU. KLEPIERRE, which made a £5bn approach last month, has raised the value to 635p per HAMMERSON share, to be paid half in new KLEPIERRE shares and half in cash. HAMMERSON's board rejected the new terms. HAMMERSON said it remained open to discuss "any proposal from KLEPIERRE which properly reflects the value of the company". Chair DAVID TYLER noted that the new 635p offer "is only a 3% increase on the previous proposal and continues very significantly to undervalue the company". KLEPIERRE has until Apr. 16 to make a firm offer for HAMMERSON. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Standard Bank eyes W Africa growth - Olivier Monnier, Bloomberg (SBK) 11/04/18 10:27:00

STANDARD BANK is seeking a banking licence in Senegal after opening in Ivory Coast as it expands in West Africa's French-speaking countries. STANDARD BANK will focus on corporate and investment banking clients in Ivory Coast after obtaining the licence in 2016, Africa CEO SOLA DAVID-BORHA said. The lender sees Ivory Coast as an entry point for Francophone West Africa and will target to have all the necessary permits for Senegal in 12-18 months, she said. "Francophone West Africa is increasingly becoming important as a vector of growth on the African continent", STANDARD BANK GROUP CEO SIM TSHABALALA said. "We're going to follow our clients. It's mainly going to be driven by our clients' needs and our clients' demands and we'll go to where our clients take us". The lender also wants to obtain a licence for Ethiopia, where it has a representative office. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom Kenya to merge some ops with Airtel Kenya - Reuters () 11/04/18 09:47:00

TELKOM KENYA and BHARTI AIRTEL's local units plan to merge some operations as a first step as TELKOM plans to acquire all of AIRTEL's Kenyan assets, a source said yesterday. TELKOM KENYA plans to eventually take over all of AIRTEL KENYA, but it has yet to decide on a structure, the source said. "They are yet to make a formal application (to the regulator) disclosing all the details", the person said. TELKOM KENYA declined to comment while AIRTEL KENYA had no immediate comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Collahuasi says to slash costs to under $1/lb in 2018 - Reuters (AGL) 11/04/18 09:47:00

Chilean miner Collahuasi yesterday said it expected to trim production costs to under $1/lb of copper this year as it boosts output and uses efficiency measures to optimise operations. Collahuasi is owned by ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE. "We've decreased our costs to $1.14 ( per pound), and we think that this year they will go below one dollar", Collahuasi CEO JORGE GOMEZ said during a talk at the CRU/CESCO World Copper Conference, in Santiago. Speaking to Reuters following his talk, GOMEZ said increased production at the mine, following several years of technical, weather and labour-related setbacks, has helped reduce costs, together with efficiency measures. HENNIE FAUL, CEO for copper at ANGLO AMERICAN, said this week that productivity improvements and brightening long-term fundamentals for copper could open the door to a potential expansion at Collahuasi. GOMEZ said Collahuasi was well-positioned "to take on new challenges", and said the mine was assessing different possibilities to reduce the mine's use of water. Collahuasi produced 524 000t of copper in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Parliamentary committee to use Hawks to track down Guptas, Duduzane Zuma - Lameez Omarjee () 11/04/18 09:46:00

The portfolio committee on public enterprises will reach out to the Hawks to help track down the GUPTAS so they can be issued a summons to appear before the ESKOM inquiry. Inquiry chair ZUKISWA RANTHO said the three GUPTA brothers were to appear before the committee along with former SAA chair DUDU MYENI and DUDUZANE ZUMA today. Last month the committee took the decision to summons them after they failed to appear before the inquiry after invitations were extended to them. The Sheriff attempted to deliver the summons to the GUPTAS and ZUMA on Apr. 4. RUDI KRAUSE, director at BDK ATTORNEYS acting on behalf of the GUPTAS, said he did not receive a summons from Parliament on behalf of his clients. RANTHO yesterday confirmed that the summons could not be delivered to the GUPTAS as they are not in the country. "We will look at inviting agencies to help locate them to give the summons", he added. Similarly, the summons could not be delivered to ZUMA as he was not at the address registered with the electoral commission. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gauteng launches One Stop Shop investment hub - Jan Bornman () 11/04/18 09:46:00

The Gauteng One Stop Shop was officially opened by Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES and Gauteng Premier DAVID MAKHURA in Johannesburg yesterday afternoon. The InvestSA One Stop Shop aims to bring together special economic zones, provincial investment agencies, local authorities and government departments to reduce inefficiencies and red tape for investors looking to invest in the province. "The aim of the One Stop Shop is to provide a convenient, professional service for setting up a business. The One Stop Shop will remove the hassle and red tape to an investor by providing a more coordinated, streamlined and professional service to companies. All these services will be available under the same roof", DAVIES said. Services offered to investors include access to the departments of home affairs, labour, environmental affairs and trade and industry. The hub will also give investors access to agencies such as the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, SARS and ESKOM, among others. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff shares hit all-time low - Jan Cronje (SNH) 11/04/18 09:46:00

Shares in STEINHOFF fell to their lowest price yet yesterday afternoon, decreasing by just over 14% on the day. By 15:10 the shares were trading at just R2.54 apiece. STEINHOFF shares are now trading at well under their 1998 listing price of R4.50/share. The share price decrease comes after STEINHOFF said payments to former chair CHRISTO WIESE broke company rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff says payment to Wiese broke company rules - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (SNH) 11/04/18 09:46:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL says two deals with entities related to former chair CHRISTO WIESE didn't follow proper disclosure processes. The agreements were made in the two months leading up to the emergence of financial irregularities that have wiped more than 90% off the value of the retailer since Dec. WIESE has so far distanced himself from the crisis that's enveloped STEINHOFF. To date, the only executive implicated directly is former CEO MARKUS JOOSTE, who resigned on Dec. 5. WIESE earlier told lawmakers that the announcement of accounting irregularities at the company came to him as a "bolt from the blue" and that he had no prior knowledge of any wrongdoing. The STEINHOFF-WIESE deals were first reported by MONEYWEB. The website also said WIESE asked STEINHOFF to cover a margin call on his behalf after STEINHOFF reported the accounting irregularities in Dec. WIESE denied that aspect of the report by phone when contacted by Bloomberg. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Black Business Council to invest R240m in Sagramatha - Jan Cronje () 11/04/18 09:46:00

The Black Business Council has concluded a transaction to buy 6m shares in SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES, calling it an "industry leader of choice". In a media release yesterday, BBC said the 6m shares were valued at R240m. "This is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment as we have not just invested in a black business, but strategically positioned ourselves favourably on a growth trajectory of the ICT sector with the industry leader of choice". The BBC also hit out at what it said were "sustained attacks from detractors" around the feasibility of the holding company. SAGARMATHA was initially due to list on the JSE last week Friday. The date was twice postponed and it now intends to list on Friday Apr. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Home Affairs vows to tackle long queues - Thabi Madiba () 11/04/18 09:46:00

Home Affairs Minister MALUSI GIGABA yesterday directed his department to prepare a comprehensive report and strategy that will deal with managing long queues at Home Affairs branches across SA. GIGABA said this was high priority as the department remained committed to delivering high quality services to citizens and other clients. GIGABA maintained that he has been inundated with calls for members of the public regarding their time spent at Home Affairs branches for documents such as smart ID cards, passports and certificates. He appealed to members of the public to be patient as the matter was receiving "undivided attention". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

High priority IRP update to be published soon - Terence Creamer () 11/04/18 09:46:00

Department of Energy DG THABANE ZULU yesterday said the updated Integrated Resource Plan is undergoing a final set of processes and consultations, as stipulated by Cabinet in Dec., before being published in the Government Gazette. Speaking at the Africa Power Roundtable, ZULU said the DoE would provide the Portfolio Committee on Energy with an update on the IRP next week. Without providing a specific timeframe, ZULU indicated that he did not anticipate that it would be long before the final document was published, as public consultation on the IRP update had taken place in 2016 and 2017. The meeting with lawmakers on the IRP is currently set down for Apr. 17. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Aton makes formal offer to M&R shareholders - Simone Liedtke (MUR) 11/04/18 09:46:00

Germany's ATON has made a formal offer to MURRAY & ROBERTS shareholders to acquire all shares in M&R at R15/share. The company yesterday said it had already acquired a further 3.1% stake in M&R from a top ten investor and that it will soon buy a further 6.5% stake in M&R from ALLAN GRAY. This will see ATON hold a 39.6% stake, which translates to around 39.8% of the voting rights. ATON on Monday posted a circular to M&R shareholders providing further detail on its offer to acquire a majority in M&R. "The fact that we have been able to secure agreements with two top ten shareholders, for our cash offer of R15 a share, underpins our contention that our offer represents a significant value lock opportunity for shareholders", ATON CEO THOMAS EICHELMANN said. ATON hopes to obtain a minimum of a 50% plus one share majority in M&R. Meanwhile, M&R yesterday reiterated its recommendation that shareholders take no action with regard to the R15/share offered by ATON as it materially undervalues the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo fined $21m for further Brazil pipeline leaks - Reuters (AGL) 11/04/18 08:30:00

Brazil's environmental regulator Ibama fined ANGLO AMERICAN $21.m for two leaks in the pipeline transporting iron ore from the Minas Gerais mine to port in Rio de Janeiro state, the watchdog said yesterday. The regulator ordered ANGLO to halt mining operations after the leaks, which took place on Mar. 12 and 29. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mountain Province, Kennady shareholders overwhelmingly vote in favour of merger - Henry Lazenby () 11/04/18 08:30:00

Overwhelming majorities of MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS and KENNADY DIAMONDS shareholders have approved the proposed merger of the companies. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE said around 93% of its shareholders present in person or represented by proxy at the shareholder meeting on Monday and about 90% of all minority shareholders of the company voted in favour of the share issuance motion. That represented 78% and 55%, respectively, of all issued and outstanding MOUNTAIN PROVINCE shares entitled to vote on the resolution. At the KENNADY shareholder meeting, the special resolution authorising the arrangement was approved by some 99% of shareholders and about 98% of minority shareholders of KENNADY present in person or represented by proxy at the KENNADY meeting. The shareholders of KENNADY who participated in the vote represented about 66% and 33%, respectively, of all issued and outstanding shares of KENNADY entitled to vote on the arrangement resolution. Pending court approval and other approvals and all conditions precedent are satisfied or waived, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE and KENNADY currently anticipate the closing of the arrangement to occur on Apr. 13. The deal will add around 67 164ha of highly prospective and 100%-owned exploration ground strategically surrounding MOUNTAIN PROVINCE's flagship 49%-owned Gahcho Kue mine, which is operated by DE BEERS CANADA, which owns the balance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kgalema Motlanthe joins Ivanhoe board - Henry Lazenby () 11/04/18 08:30:00

Former president KGALEMA MOTLANTHE has joined the board of IVANHOE MINES with immediate effect, the company said yesterday. In his new non-executive capacity, MOTLANTHE is expected to bring a new dimension to the company's strategic evaluations, consensus building and decision making by the IVANHOE board, the company said. "MOTLANTHE is widely recognised as one of the African continent's wise men. His experience in some exceptional leadership positions... will add an informed and invigorating perspective to the IVANHOE board's business guidance", executive chair ROBERT FRIEDLAND said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tharisa delivers robust Q2 preformance - Simone Liedtke (THA) 11/04/18 08:30:00

THARISA delivered another robust performance in Q2 to end-Mar. with 1.3mt of material milled, resulting in production of 38 200oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and gold PGMs at a recovery of 82.2%, which exceeds targeted recoveries of 80%. Chrome production totaled 366 700t, 85 500t of which are specialty grades, at a recovery of 66.3%, which exceeded the targeted recovery of 65%. The performance brought 6E PGM output for H1FY2018 to 77 000oz, up 11.4% y/y. Chrome concentrates output rose by 15% y/y to 732 500t, from the 636 800t produced y/y. For FY2018, THARISA expects to produce 150 000oz of 6E PGMs and 1.4mt of chrome concentrates, of which 350 000t will be specialty grade chrome concentrates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Acacia delivers sold Q1 output despite reduced ops - Simone Liedtke () 11/04/18 08:30:00

ACACIA MINIGN achieved a resilient operating performance and delivered solid production of 120 981oz of gold in Q1 2018, which sets it in good stead to deliver against its FY guidance of between 435 000oz and 475 000oz, interim CEO PETER GELETA said yesterday. GELETA noted that all three of the company's mines had delivered in lien with their respective mine plans during the quarter to end-Mar. But production was 55% lower than the 219 620oz produced y/y, mainly driven by the move to reduce operations at he Bulyanhulu mine and to stockpile processing at Buzwagi. The miner has been forced to change production strategies in Tanzania amid a ban on gold and copper concentrate exports. Bulyanhulu's output fell by 87% y/y to 8 527oz in Q1 2018. Buzwagi's output fell by 41% y/y to 35 685oz, while at North Mara, gold output decreased by 20% y/y to 76 769oz. ACACIA sold 116 955oz of gold in Q1. Its cash balance as at Mar. 31 was $107m, while net cash increased by $40m to around $50m at the end of the quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo to raise cash for expedited Botswana project study - Creamer Media Reporter (KBO) 11/04/18 08:30:00

KIBO MINING yesterday said it would raise capital to expedite its feasibility study for its coal-to-power project in Botswana and also announced changes to its board and management. The company said it had received commitments to raise £1.5m by placing 28 571 428 shares at 5.25pps. The proceeds of the placing would be used for the ongoing feasibility study of the Mabesekwa coal-to-power project, as well as general working capital and bolstering KIBO's financial position ahead of starting further work at the Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania. In terms of the board changes, KIBO said nonexecutive director TINUS MAREE would be joining the executive committee, while NOEL O'KEEFE and ANDREAS LIANOS would transition to nonexecutive roles. The company also announced PIETER KRUGEL as CFO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Operations restarted at Newmont's gold mines in Ghana - Reuters () 11/04/18 08:30:00

Operations restarted at NEWMONT MINING's two gold mines in Ghana on Monday, a company spokesperson said, after they were shut down on Saturday following an accident in which six construction workers were killed. Civil works on the mill expansion project at the Ahafo project, where the accident occurred, remain suspended. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore terminates Rusal-EN+ share swap - Mariaan Webb (GLN) 11/04/18 08:30:00

GLENCORE will not proceed with a share swapping transaction with Russian companies RUSAL and EN+ GROUP following fresh US sanctions targeting Kremlin-linked companies and oligarchs. GLENCORE said the previously announced transaction in which it would have swapped its 8.75% stake in OLEG DERIPASKA's RUSAL for global depositary receipts in one of his other companies, EN+ GROUP, would not go ahead. GLENCORE also said its CEO, IVAN GLASENBERG, has resigned as a director from the board of RUSAL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta's application to renew copper smelter ops in India rejected - Reuters () 11/04/18 08:30:00

VEDANTA RESOURCES yesterday said its application to renew operations at a copper smelting plant in the town of Thootukudi was rejected. The rejection comes amid almost daily protests by the people of Thootukudi against VEDANTA's plans to increase the capacity of the smelter, one of India's largest, to 800 000t/y. VEDANTA said the application was rejected for want of more clarifications and that it was evaluating its next steps. The company said the scheduled maintenance activity, supposed to be for around 15 days from Mar. 27, is now likely to be extended. The copper smelter in the state of Tamil Nadu, run by VEDANTA's Sterling Copper unit, has been a target of protesters, who call it a major source of pollution and a risk to fisheries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China coal imports to fall this year amid concerns about curbs - Reuters () 11/04/18 08:30:00

China's coal imports are expected to fall by 8% this year, a senior industry official said yesterday, amid growing concerns that the country will curb arrivals from abroad to boost the domestic market. Arrivals from abroad will be 250mt, down from 271mt in 2017, said ZHAO JIANGUO, vice-chair of China's Coal Transportation Association. Shipments will decline due to greater domestic supplies and lower demand, ZHAO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petra secures new debt agreements with lenders - Zandi Shabalala () 11/04/18 07:35:00

PETRA DIAMONDS yesterday announced it has finalised an agreement with its lenders for a waiver of its Dec. 2017 debt covenant and a resetting of debt agreements for this year. PETRA started talks with its banks earlier this year after the confiscation of a consignment of its diamonds by Tanzania and a labour strike at its South African mines put it at risk of falling short of its loan obligations. Tanzania accused PETRA of under-declaring the value of the diamonds. PETRA has denied any wrongdoing and has said the consignment has not been released. The talks with banks centred on the debt arrangement relating to PETRA's EBITDA for Dec. 2017, which has now been waived, and to the covenant concerning its EBITDA for Jun. and Dec. this year, which have been reset under the deal. The new debt covenants struck with ABSA, NEDBANK, FIRSTRAND and INVESTEC allow for the interest rate on the loans to increase by up to 2% depending on by how much the ratio of PETRA's net debt to consolidated EBITDA is breached. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vitol's Vivo Energy to float in London, Jhb - Dasha Afanasieva () 11/04/18 07:35:00

VIVO ENERGY, the African fuels supplier owned by VITOL and HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS, will float on the LSE and the JSE, it said yesterday. The public offering of the company is one of a string of largest listings expected in Europe which is on course for its busiest start to the year since 2015. VITOL's European refining and downstream venture, VARO ENERGY, was also expected to float in Amsterdam this year, though those plans are now in doubt, according to media reports. Prior to VIVO's float, BRITVIC chair JOHN DALY will become chair of VIVO. VIVO reported adjusted EBITDA of $376m in 2017, up from $302m y/y. It was established in Dec. 2011 via the carve-out of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL's African downstream business. Since the 2011 takeover, VIVO has spent $600m on expanding its retail network and sold 9bn litres of fuel and lubricants in 2017 - nearly 40% more than when it took over. VIVO expects to have a free float of at least 25% on admission, expected in May, after which it is also expected to be able to join FTSE UK indices. According to a bookrunner, the selling shareholders will include VITOL AFRICA B.V. and no proceeds of the listing will go to the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 11/04/2018 () 11/04/18 07:35:00

At 07:34 on 11 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.03 Rand/Sterling 17.07 Rand/Euro 14.88 Gold 1341.00 Platinum 929.00 Oil 71.00 All-Share Index 56747.24

World Bank raises SA growth forecasts but warns of weak potential - Alexander Winning () 11/04/18 07:34:00

The World Bank raised its forecasts for the South African economy but warned that growth potential would remain weak without concerted efforts to trim inequality and stimulate competition. The Bank now sees GDP growing by 1.4% this year, up from its September forecast of 1.1%, supported by improved business and consumer confidence after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA became president in Feb. But the country will struggle to raise growth much beyond 2% without policy interventions to improve skills among the poor and tackle monopolies. "There has been a smooth and seamless political transition, which is important. And there have been gains in the trust of people and businesses", World Bank country director PAUL NOUMBA UM said. "That said, inequality, poverty and unemployment are big challenges. South Africa is the most unequal economy in the world today", he added. The World Bank forecast growth of 1.8% next year and 1.9% in 2020 but said that would be insufficient to meaningfully reduce poverty or dent the 27% unemployment rate. NOUMBA UM said if SA could achieve 3% GDP growth "that would be a significant achievement". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World Bank cuts Zambia growth forecast - Chris Mfula () 11/04/18 07:34:00

The World Bank yesterday said Zambia's economy is forecast to grow 4.1% in 2018 and 4.5% in 2019, lower than previous forecasts by the lender, due to the expected impact of poor rains. "Our initial forecasts assumed that rainfall will be as good as the 2016/17 season. However this was not the case. The southern half of the country received poor rains", World Bank Zambia economist ZIVANEMOYO CHINZARA said. "This is going to constrain 2018 and 2019 growth through lower agriculture yields and poor electricity generation. The inflationary impact of food prices could further restrain growth by weakening consumer demand". In a report in Dec. 2017, the World Bank forecast that Zambia's economy would grow 4.3% in 2018 and 4.7% in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Feb. manufacturing output disappoints on firmer rand, bottlenecks - Mfuneko Toyana () 11/04/18 07:34:00

SA's manufacturing output came in below expectations in Feb. following a run of five months of robust growth, with analysts pointing to a stronger rand and various bottlenecks, including the cost of doing business. Manufacturing output rose 0.6% y/y in Feb., well below forecasts of a 2.6% expansion, while monthly output was down 2.4%, the statistics agency said. The declines were seen in the plastics and petroleum sectors as well as in publishing and printing. Production of food products, furniture and motor vehicles remained positive, accounting for the marginally positive annual figure. NEDBANK senior economist NICKY WEIMAR said manufactures were facing structural problems. "The cost of doing business remains high, and the rand's recent strength has affected exports, while there is also a lot of spare capacity. All of that is holding back this recovery", WEIMAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda signs agreement with investors to build oil refinery - Elias Biryabarema () 11/04/18 07:34:00

Uganda yesterday signed an agreement with a consortium, including a subsidiary of GENERAL ELECTRIC, to build and operate an oil refinery in western AFrica that will cost $3bn-$4bn, the president's office said. According to the statement, the project framework agreement that was signed will "ensure development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance" of the planned 60 000 bpd refinery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN expects IPO of Nigerian unit this year - Alexis Akwagyiram (MTN) 11/04/18 07:34:00

MTN aims to list its Nigerian unit in an IPO this year, subject to market conditions, group CEO ROB SHUTER said yesterday. SHUTER said plans were well advanced and the company would provide exact terms of the IPO in the next few months. He was speaking in Lagos after MTN signed an agreement with ECOBANK to form a partnership on mobile banking across Africa. SHUTER said the telecoms group was targeting 60m customers via mobile services over the next three years, up from 23m now across the 14 markets where it has launched the product. MTN and ECOBANK's agreement on a mobile banking partnership came on the heels of an announcement by Kenya's three top telecoms companies on Friday to offer cross-network money transfers by mobile phone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mantashe aims for new mining charter by May - Tanisha Heiberg () 11/04/18 07:34:00

Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE yesterday said he was still aiming to finalise a third version of an industry charter by May that lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets. "I am still confident that we will finalise the charter by May. Very confident", MANTASHE told a platinum mining conference in Johannesburg. The charter's problem areas included raising the target for black ownership to 30% from 26%. The industry has challenged the revisions in court but put the judicial process on hold after President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA appointed MANTASHE in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodacom Tanzania picks Safaricom exec as new MD - Omar Mohammed (VOD) 11/04/18 07:34:00

VODACOM TANZANIA yesterday named SAFARICOM's head of consumer business as it new MD to lead the company that listed in Dar es Salaam last year amid government efforts to expand local ownership of the industry. SYLVIA MULINGE, who has been with SAFARICOM since 2006, will take over on Jun. 1, VODACOM TANZANIA said. She will replace IAN FERRAO, who joined the Tanzanian business three years ago. FERRAU decided not to renew his contract and will be leaving to "pursue other interests", the company said. He led the company through a $213m IPO last Aug. which attracted more than 40 000 local investors, most of whom were first-time participants in the country's stock market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LVMH revenues top view on fashion, leather goods sales - Harriet Agnew () 10/04/18 13:46:00

Sales of fashion and leather goods surged at LVMH so far in 2018, helping the luxury group beat analyst expectations in Q1. The company yesterday said that stripping out the impact of currency and acquisitions, organic revenues grew 13% in Q1 to €10.85bn. This is ahead of the €10.64bn expected by analysts polled for Reuters. The growth was led by fashion and leather goods, its largest division, where sales were up 16% to €4.27bn during the quarter. Revenue grew on a double-digit basis across all main business lines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US annual budget deficit to exceed $1bn by 2020 - Sam Fleming () 10/04/18 13:46:00

The US is heading for trillion-dollar annual budget deficits from 2020 onwards as Republican-led tax cuts and higher public spending strain America's finances. The Congressional Budget Office yesterday said it expects the budget deficit to swell to 4804bn this year, around $242bn more than it projected last summer. The gap between spending and receipts will expand to just over $1tn by 200, also over $200bn higher than previously predicted, with the deficit set to steadily grow from there over the course of that decade. The surge in the shortfall follows the GOP's Dec. legislation cutting taxes by $1.5tn over 10 years, followed by a bill passed last month that lifts ceilings on discretionary spending over two years. Given the rising deficits, the CBO now predicts that government debt held by the public will swell to nearly 100% of US GDP at the end of the 2020s. That would be the highest level since 1946 and more than twice the average over the past five decades. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russian central bank to hold fire while rouble faces new 4.5% slide - Adam Samson () 10/04/18 13:46:00

Russia's central bank governor says she won't step in to try and halt a slide in the rouble, which is facing intense selling for the second day in a row amid pressure from the US sanctions and mounting geopolitical risks that are rocking Russia's financial markets. In morning action in Europe, the rouble fell 4.5%, with one dollar buying 63.45 roubles. That followed a 4% drop on Monday and threatened to leave the currency at its weakest closing level since late 2016. Central bank governor ELVIRA NABIULLINA said the news of the US sanctions on Friday had caused a market correction. "As usually happens in those cases, in the first days we see increased volatility, because there is a lot of uncertainty, investors and market players don't quite understand the consequences and how far they go, they're still working it out", NABIULLINA said. Despite the ructions, she said the central bank would not step in to stem the rouble's slide, noting that he currency's free float would help absorb any external shocks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Monsanto spikes on DoJ Bayer deal approval report - Pan Kwan Yuk () 10/04/18 13:46:00

Shares in MONSANTO spiked on Monday after a media report said US regulators have agreed to let BAYER's $66bn deal for the US seed giant go through. The share - which was halted for trading ahead of the report - jumped as much as 7.6% to $126.80 after trading was resumed before trimming gains to be 6.7% higher. MONSANTO shares fell nearly 5% earlier in Mar. amid concerns that BAYER would not win US regulatory approval despite the German group's pledge to dispose some businesses. But according to the Wall Street Journal, an agreement in principle between the companies and the Department of Justice has been brokered in recent days after the companies agreed to dispose of additional assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Xi promises lower vehicle import tariffs - Tom Mitchell () 10/04/18 10:37:00

China will "significantly lower" import tariffs on imported vehicles, President XI JINPING said today. He was speaking hours after US President DONALD TRUMP complained in a tweet that China's 25% tariff on imported cars was 10 times that assessed by the US. XI, however, gave no details about the proposed tariff reduction, which has been previously touted by Chinese government officials. He also outlined a "four-point plan" consisting mostly of previously announced initiatives, such as the liberalisation of selected financial sectors and an easing of limits on foreign investment in China's automotive sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAFTU submits first parliamentary objection to minimum wage - News24Wire () 10/04/18 10:33:00

The parliamentary committee on labour has accepted the submission by the South African Federation of Trade Unions on both the minimum wage and proposed amendments to the labour laws. The minimum wage was initially supposed to be introduced on May 1, but this has been delayed. It is understood that a number of labour and human rights groups have submitted objections and suggestions to the parliamentary committee. SAFTU's submission will be heard today. It maintains that the proposed amendments to the labour laws amount to "a savage attack on workers". It argues that the debate within the parliamentary committee should focus on discussing the introduction of a wealth tax and other measures such as raising corporate taxes, as well as introducing a "solidarity tax". The proposed amendments which would curtail the existing right to strike should be sent back to NEDLAC to be reconsidered and SAFTU should be given a seat at NEDLAC, the federation said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grit pursues LSE listing - Anine Kilian (GTR) 10/04/18 10:33:00

GRIT REAL ESTATE is seeking a listing on the LSE. The firm, which is listed on the JSE and the Mauritius bourse, intends to maintain its primary listings on the JSE and LSE, while moving its SEM listing to a secondary listing. "GRIT intends to raise additional equity funding by way of the placing and offer for subscription or sale from treasury of up to 250m shares, in conjunction with the LSE listing", it said yesterday. In SA and Mauritius, the issue will only comprise a private placement and only invited investors will be entitled to participate. GRIT expects to begin a series of investor meetings in London later this month, as a prelude to the LSE listing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK retail sales beat estimates in March - Alice Woodhouse () 10/04/18 10:32:00

UK retail sales picked up in Mar. despite lingering cold weather deterring shoppers from braving the high street. Like-for-like sales rose 1.4% y/y in Mar., up from 0.6% in Feb. That was above the 0.3% contraction forecast in a Bloomberg poll. On a total basis, retail sales rose 2.3% in Mar., up from 1.6% growth in Feb. and the fastest pace of growth since Sep. 2017. Food sales rose 4.2% on a like-for-like basis in the three months to end-Mar., up from 2.8% in the previous three-month period. The figures showed a slow down in Q1 with the non-food retail sales down 1.8% y/y on a like-for-like basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glasenberg resigns from Rusal board - Neil Hume (GLN) 10/04/18 10:32:00

GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG has resigned from the board of RUSAL. The Swiss group also said it would not go ahead with a deal to swap its 8.75% stake for a holding in EN+, another company controlled by Russian tycoon OLEG DERIPASKA. "GLENCORE is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions in its business and is taking all necessary measures in order to mitigate any risks to GLENCORE's business as result of the designation of RUSAL and EN+ as SDNs, including in respect of secondary sanctions", the company said. GLENCORE, which has a long-term purchase agreement with RUSAL, said it was "evaluating the position" of its contracts but added they were not financially material to the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PPC eyes new markets after years of turmoil - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (PPC) 10/04/18 10:32:00

PPC is weighing expansion into new markets as it seeks to draw a line under a tumultuous two years. Since taking the top job in July, CEO JOHANN CLAASSEN has reviewed the company's operations and balance sheet, with a particular focus on boosting liquidity and extending debt maturity, he said. "We had to steady the shop and make it sustainable. Now we need to get a new pipeline of projects". New investment would follow a R12bn outlay on five plants in the past half decade. While CLAASSEN declined to identify specific markets PPC will expand into, head of Africa operations MOKATE RAMAFOKO said Kenya had a shortage of cement clinker plants and Uganda also looked promising. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US firm drops case against Old Mutual - Lameez Omarjee (OML) 10/04/18 10:32:00

US insurance company TRAVELERS and its subsidiary has dropped a court case against OLD MUTUAL. According to a notice to shareholders issued yesterday, TRAVELERS had "withdrawn all of the remedies they were claiming". OLD MUTUAL has maintained that there was no merit to the case. The matter relates to previously disposed US assets. TRAVELERS and its subsidiary ST PAUL FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY laid a complaint with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In the meantime as OLD MUTUAL LIMITED transitions to OLD MUTUAL PLC, the group said in a note to clients that it still has to satisfy the UK courts regarding legacy terms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Declare cryptocurrencies on your tax returns - SARS - Jan Cronje () 10/04/18 10:32:00

South Africans who own cryptocurrencies need to declare gains or losses on their tax returns, according to SARS. "The onus is on taxpayers to declare all cryptocurreny-related taxable income int he tax year in which it is received or accrued. Failure to do so could result in interest and penalties", SARS said. It added that the implications of how VAT should be applied to such currencies is under review. "Pending policy clarity in this regard, SARS will not require VAT registration as a vendor for purposes of the supply of cryptocurrencies". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto discloses details of tax payments - Anine Kilian () 10/04/18 10:27:00

RIO TINTO yesterday revealed that its tax payments and royalties paid had increased from $4bn in 2016 to more than $5.1bn in 2017, with the majority of taxes paid in Australia. The company detailed that Australia's tax and royalties take had increased to $3.8bn from $2.9bn y/y. It further stated that it would pay Australia in Jun. 2018 a further final tax installment of $1.2bn, which related to the 2017 calendar year. The group's tax payments totaled $387m in Canada, $228m in Mongolia, $93m in SA, $81m in the UK and $78m in the US. RIO TINTO paid $1.64m in corporate income tax in Australia last year, according to the 2017 report. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

India's Mar. gold imports halve as price rally dents demand - GFMS - Reuters () 10/04/18 10:27:00

India's gold imports in Mar. halved y/y to 52.5t as a rally in local prices to a 16-month high slashed demand in the country, provisional data from consultancy GRMS and bank dealers showed. The drop in purchases by India could weigh on global prices, which are still up nearly 8% from a mid-Dec. trough, despite dropping back from a 17-month high hit at end-Jan. India imported 103.7t of gold in Mar. 2017. Gold imports in Q1 2018 fell 32% y/y to 163.1t, GFMS data showed. Imports would improve in April as inventories with jewellers have been depleted due to lower imports in three consecutive months, one dealer said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Blanket Q1 output on par with Caledonia's 2018 target - Marleny Arnoldi () 10/04/18 10:27:00

CALEDONIA MINING's 49%-owned Blanket mine, in Zimbabwe, produced some 12 924oz of gold for the quarter to end-Mar. The company yesterday said output is in line with forecasts for this year, with the company maintaining its FY production guidance of 55 000oz-59 000oz. While production was in line with expectations, the mine's safety performance during the quarter was disappointing as a fatal accident occurred at the mine. Meanwhile, the sinking of Blanket mine's central shaft continues to progress according to plan and within budget, with the shaft currently at a depth of 990 m. "We look forward to starting production from the central shaft in 2020, which is expected to deliver CALEDONIA's growth plan to achieve 80 000oz by 2021", CEO STEVE CURTIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newmont suspends operations at Ghana mine after six workers killed - Reuters () 10/04/18 10:27:00

Six construction workers have been killed in an accident at NEWMONT's Ahafo gold mine in Ghana, forcing the surface mien to suspend its operations. The employees died after a tunnel roof collapsed on them at the construction site and an expanded gold processing plant on Saturday. Two others who sustained minor injuries are out of hospital, a NEWMONT spokesperson said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Orion applies for Prieska mining right, lifts project's mineral resource - Anine Kilian (ORN) 10/04/18 10:27:00

ORION MINERALS has applied for a mining right for its Prieska base metals project and has also established a maiden resource of 5.2mt for the Vardocube area within the Prieska project area. The resource, which is in the southern strike extension of the Prieska volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, contains 253 000t of zinc and 67 000t of copper. The total resource for the Prieska zinc/copper project has now increased to 29.4mt containing 1.13mt of zinc at 3.8% zinc and 365 000t of copper at 1.2%. Infill and extension drilling on the Vardocube prospecting right will begin shortly. Meanwhile, ORION subsidiary REPLI TRADING has submitted the mining right application covering 723ha of executed prospecting rights at the Prieska project. The application is supported by a comprehensive environmental authorisation application and a provisional mining works programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tawana hits capital raise target prior to Alliance merger - Esmarie Swanepoel () 10/04/18 10:27:00

TAWANA RESOURCES will raise A$20m via the placement of more than 48.78m new shares at a price of 41c apiece. This followed the company's announcement of a merger of equals with JV partner ALLIANCE MINERAL ASSETS, to create a midtier lithium producer. Under the terms of the merger agreement, ALLIANCE will acquire all the issued shares of TAWANA for 1.1 ALLIANCE shares for every TAWANA share held. TAWANA was also hoping to place up to a further A$5m in gross proceeds to sophisticated and institutional investors. This placement was conditional on the completion of ALLIANCE's own capital raise. The funds raised under both the placements will be used for additional working capital, the continued commissioning of the Bald Hill mine, resource drilling,a s well as for capex projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Barclays Africa to split into four units - Bloomberg (BGA) 10/04/18 10:27:00

BARCLAYS AFRICA GROUP will split into four operating units as it outlines its growth strategy after the sale by its UK parent. The lender will split retail and business banking, investment banking, wealth and insurance, and its operations in the rest of Africa, it said yesterday. Deputy CEO DAVID HODNETT will take a two-month sabbatical, while ARRIE RAUTENBACH will become head of retail and business banking in SA. YASMIN MASITHELA, former head of compliance, will become chief executive of strategic services, responsible for digital strategy, group strategy and the bank's separation from British parent BARCLAYS. BONGIWE GANGENI will head the lender's private and business banking, and will become deputy CEO of retail and business banking in SA. CHARLES RUSSON will take on the role of chief technology offer, and AUGUST VAN HEERDEN will become chief risk officer and part of the exco. BARCLAYS AFRICA will change its name to ABSA GROUP LTD. later this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alleged Angolan fraud scheme aimed to take $1.5bn - Stephen Eisenhammer () 10/04/18 10:27:00

People involved in an alleged scheme to defraud Angola's government laid out plans to secure as much as $1.5bn, the finance ministry said yesterday. State prosecutors last month announced they were investigating a $500m transfer made in 2017 out of an account belonging to the central bank to an account in the UK. Prosecutors have presented initial charges relating to the case against the former central bank governor, VALTER FILIPE DA SILVA, and JOSE FIOMENO DOS SANTOS, the son of the former Angolan president. Yesterday, Angola's finance ministry released a statement setting out what it called "the truth of the serious facts that have occurred". It said a firm, purporting to have the support of a syndicate of international banks, presented a plan to the government to secure $35bn of international financing for Angola. The ministry statement said the firm had proposed that the government pay out $1.5bn of its own money to help set up the deal. A total of $500m of that amount was transferred to an account in the UK, but that was flagged as suspicious by British authorities and frozen. That $500m has now been returned to Angola's central bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA net forex reserves rise in March - Mfuneko Toyana () 10/04/18 10:20:00

SA's net foreign reserves rose to $43.384bn in Mar. from $43.272bn in Feb., the SARB said yesterday. Gross reserves fell to $49.979bn, from $50.051bn, data showed. The forward position fell to $1.996bn from $2.057bn. "The decrease of $72m in the gross reserves reflects the foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government, which was partially offset by the depreciation of the US dollar against most currencies", the central bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 10/04/2018 () 10/04/18 10:20:00

At 10:19 on 10 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 12.10 Rand/Sterling 17.12 Rand/Euro 14.91 Gold 1336.70 Platinum 932.00 Oil 68.56 All-Share Index 56693.54

Brainworks reports 22% rise in revenue - Sandile Mchunu (BWZ) 10/04/18 10:19:00

BRAINWORKS said improved political developments in Zimbabwe boded well for the group's future. In its maiden annual results covering the year to end-Dec., the company reported a 22% rise in revenue to $58.6m, as compared to $48.1m reported y/y. Growth has been recorded across all the group's three operating segments, but its major growth had been recorded by the hospitality segment. BRAINWORKS reported a loss attributable to owners of the parent of $11.1m, while the HLPS was 14.22 US cents. No dividend was declared. Hospitality contributed 88% of total revenues, driven by an increase in hotel occupancy from 44% y/y to 52%. The group's other investments contributed $6.8m to FY revenues. Hospitality revenue of $51.8m represents growth of 19% relative to $43.6m recorded in FY2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's Neconde mounts arbitration case against Shell - Alex Akwagyiram () 10/04/18 10:19:00

Nigerian energy company NECONDE has launched an arbitration case against ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, alleging the oil major continued to lift crude and failed after a lease had been sold. The oilfield in question, OML 42, is also at the centre of corruption allegations. SHELL filed a criminal complaint against a former employee late last month over suspected bribes in the $390m sale of the field. NECONDE CEO FRANK EDOZIE said the company bought a stake in OML42 from SHELL in Apr. 2011. He alleged the oil major continued to produce crude there until the petroleum ministry approved NECONDE's licence in Nov. that year. "It was producing and lifting crude although the asset had, by deed of transfer, moved to NECONDE. SHELL lifted the crude and held the proceeds - nothing was given to NECONDE. That is the matter we are taking to the court of arbitration in the UK", EDOZIE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Costly data slows internet TV's growth - Showmax - Omar Mohammed (NPN) 10/04/18 10:19:00

NASPERS is trying to persuade telecoms operators in Africa to offer customers unlimited data to help boost the growth of internet television on the continent. The high cost of data in Africa has hampered the take up of internet TV, even though the number of internet users in the region has grown rapidly. While SHOWMAX is seeing "healthy usage" in SA, the internet TV business elsewhere in the region is at a nascent stage, SHOWMAX spokesperson RICHARD BOORMAN said, adding that the catalyst will will be the provision of uncapped mobile data. The World Wide Web Foundation's advocacy efforts to promote digital equality in access to and use of the Web, said internet costs are quite prohibitive for unlocking meaningful use of the web in Africa. The Foundation's definition of affordable internet is 1GB of data not costing more than 2% of monthly income, which it found only 5 countries studied met that target. "1GB costs an average of 18% of monthly income", WWWF head NANJIRA SAMBULI said. "SO you can imagine that prioritising video-on-demand might not be too high on the list of things to do with limited affordability". SHOWMAX's partnership in Poland with T-MOBILE, which offers SHOWMAX subscribers content without deducting data from their accounts, shows that the economics of uncapped data can work in other countries, BOORMAN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Libstar plans JSE listing - Patricia Aruo () 10/04/18 10:19:00

LIBSTAR HOLDINGS PTY LTD, a South African consumer goods company, plans to raise R1.5bn to repay a portion of its debt and expand its capacity by selling shares on the JSE, it said yesterday. The offering, which will only be made available to private investors, is targeting a free float of at least 40%. LIBSTAR's 27 business units offer consumer products that include specialised food such as gluten-free baked goods to retailers including WOOLWORTHS. More details of the offering, including the number of shares and issue price, will be released with the pre-listing statement at a later stage. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA may ask pharma firms for fee to clear drug review backlog - Wendell Roelf () 10/04/18 10:19:00

Drugmakers in SA may be asked to pay a "backlog fee" to help clear a pipeline of medicines waiting years for approval according to a proposal being considered by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. Delays for hundreds of medicines have kept the latest treatments off local shelves and hampered the fight against cancer, heart and other diseases. Besides improving access to life-saving treatments, analysts say the regulator could help boost the revenue streams for companies competing in the market. "It's the first time South Africa offers this and we would support a backlog fee, provided it is performance driven", said ASPEN PHARMACARE executive STAVROS NICOLAOU. SAHPRA wants to cut the backlog and allow the regulatory assessment of all products in an "achievable but ambitious" timeframe, it said. ADCOCK INGRAM said it was keen to discuss the regulator's proposal to expedite reviews of its treatments. The company currently has more than 250 dossiers awaiting approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nine West goes into bankruptcy - Jessica Dye () 09/04/18 10:41:00

US-based retailer NINE WEST entered Chapter 11 on Friday, becoming the latest private equity-backed group to seek bankruptcy protection, with aims of selling off its NINE WEST and BANDOLINO shoe and handbag lines to focus on propping up more profitable brands. New York-based NINE WEST HOLDINGS, owned by private equity firm SYCAMORE PARTNERS, filed the petition on Friday in Manhattan's Federal Court, listing assets between $500m and $1bn and liabilities between $1bn and $10bn. In a press release, it said it has secured $300m in debtor-in-possession finance and had reached restructuring support agreements with holders of 78% of its secured term debt and 89% of unsecured term debt. NINE WEST said it planned a sale of its NINE WEST and BANDOLINO shoeware and footwear brands and had lined up AUTHENTIC BRANDS GROUP as a stalking horse bidder. It will focus on what it says are more promising brands like ONE JEANSWEAR GROUP, ANNE KLEIN, the KASPER GROUP and THE JEWELRY GROUP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lucy Peng steps down as executive chair of Ant Financial - Alice Woodhouse () 09/04/18 10:41:00

ANT FINANCIAL today said CEO ERIC JING will take on the additional role of executive chair of the company, replacing LUCY PENG following her appointment to lead ecommerce group LAZADA. The ALIBABA payments affiliate said JING will take on the role from PENG, who was recently appointed as CEO of LAZADA after ALIBABA doubled down on the company, pouring in a further $2bn. PENG will "focus on driving LAZADA's business growth as a key part of the global strategy of ALIBABA GROUP", ANT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rusal plunges 50% on US sanctions - Adam Samson () 09/04/18 10:40:00

RUSAL shed half of its value today, with US sanctions against the company and its owner still reverberating. Shares plunged 50.2% to HK$2.31 in Hong Kong, where the group is listed. In Moscow trade, RUSAL shed 30% to Rbs19.88. The fall follows news on Friday of the TRUMP administration's toughest sanctions yet against Russia. RUSAL on Friday said it "regrets this development and is currently analysing the situation with its legal advisors". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US job growth slows sharply in Mar. - Adam Samson () 09/04/18 10:40:00

US job growth cooled substantially last month, coming off rapid gains in February, but the unemployment rate held at its lowest level since 2000 while wage growth picked up. The US economy added 103 000 jobs in March, compared with a forecast in a Reuters survey of 193 000. In Feb., 326 000 jobs were added, according to data released on Friday by the labour department. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, where it has stood since Oct. In March, average hourly warnings rose by 2.7% y/y, matching Wall Street forecasts, from 2.6% in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ukraine urges EU to join deeper US sanctions on Russia - Roman Olearchyk () 09/04/18 10:40:00

Ukraine's pro-western president urged the EU to join his country in synchronising sanctions regimes against Moscow with the sweeping measures introduced by the US on Friday against Russian oligarchs and officials. In a Facebook post announcing plans for "synchronisation" of already deep domestic restrictions against Russia with the "unprecedented expansion of US sanctions against the Kremlin", Ukrainian President PETRO POROSHENKO addressed the EU, saying: "I trust that the EU will similarly strengthen restrictive measures against Kremlin leadership". Speaking four years after Russia illegally occupied the Crimean Peninsula and fomented a still-ongoing proxy war in far eastern regions that has claimed more than 10 000 lives, POROSHENKO added: "The free world continues to strengthen its coalition against Moscow under Washington's clear leadership and on the basis of strong transatlantic unity and common values... Only through a united front will we be able to change Russia's behaviour and restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

LME to keep Rusal aluminium on exchange despite US sanctions - Henry Sanderson () 09/04/18 10:40:00

The LONDON METAL EXCHANGE said it won't remove aluminium from RUSAL from its exchange following the imposition of US sanctions on the producer last week. The LME said "it is for individual stakeholders on the LME to determine if particular brands are acceptable for their use given their legal or regulatory framework... The LME does not believe that [Friday's] announcements change that structure and as such, is not proposing to make any immediate changes. It will, however, continue to work closely with its core market and monitor the situation on an ongoing basis". GLENCORE is the largest buyer of RUSAL's metal, under a multi-year offtake contract due to expire later this year. Aluminium prices on the LME rose by 2% on Friday after the sanctions were announced to trade at $2 050/t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fed's Powell supports 'patient' approach to rate rises - Sam Fleming () 09/04/18 10:40:00

Federal Reserve chair JAY POWELL has endorsed a "patient" approach to raising interest rates, declaring that gradual moves had already paid off for the US economy and there remains room for more strengthening in America's robust jobs market. In his first speech as chair, POWELL said subdued wage growth suggests the US labour market is not "excessively tight" and that there may be scope to pull more individuals off the sidelines of the economy into the active labour force. Participation among those aged 25-54 is still not back to its pre-recession levels, he noted. While inflation is set to pick up this spring, POWELL said the economy is facing a number of "important longer-run challenges" as he highlighted Fed forecasts suggesting the trend growth rate is likely to remain stuck at just 1.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US imposes sweeping sanctions on Russian business - Courtney Weaver () 09/04/18 10:02:00

The TRUMP administration on Friday unveiled sweeping sanctions against seven high-profile Russian businessmen and their dozen companies, acting on a law passed by Congress last year. Among the individuals targeted are billionaires OLEG DERIPASKA, VIKTOR VEKSELBURG, SULEIMAN KERIMOV and KIRILL SHAMLOV, who the US said is married to one of VLADIMIR PUTIN's daughters. Businesses that have been targeted include DERIPASKA's BASIC ELEMENT and EN+. The administration also targeted 17 Russian officials working for either the government or SOEs. Among those were ALEXEI MILLER, chair of GAZPROM, and ANDREI KOSTIN, head of VTB. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Novartis to buy AveXis for $8.7bn - Ralph Atkins () 09/04/18 10:02:00

NOVARTIS is spending $8.7bn to acquire US spinal muscular atrophy specialist AVEXIS in the latest big strategic move by its new boss. NOVARTIS CEO VAS NARASIMHAN said the cash deal to buy AVEXIS would broaden his company's strength in neuroscience. The deal followed last month's sale to GLAXOSMITHKLINE of the Swiss group's 36.5% stake in their consumer health JV for $13bn. NARSIMHAN wants to focus on NOVARTIS's core business areas - innovative prescription medicines, oncology, generics and eyecare. It is paying $218 per AVEXIS share, which closed at $115.91 on Friday. NOVARTIS said AVEXIS's lead product candidate, AVXS-101, had the potential to be "the first-ever one-time gene replacement therapy" for spinal muscular atrophy, a disease which results in early death of life-long disability with considerable health costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Former LSE head to join Russian fertiliser giant - Henry Foy () 09/04/18 10:02:00

XAVIER ROLET, the former CEO of the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE, is set to join the board of Russian fertiliser giant PHOSAGRO as an independent director. ROLET has been nominated to join the Russian company's board at its May 30 AGM. PHOSAGRO has sought to maintain international links despite rapidly souring relations between Moscow and the west that have hurt some corporate ties. The company, which listed its GDRs on the LSE in 2011 in the early years of ROLET's leadership, was 92% of demand for its Jan. 2018 eurobond issue come from European and US investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German Feb. export drop marks latest data disappointment - Adam Samson () 09/04/18 10:02:00

Germany's export sector pulled back sharply in Feb., marking the latest in a series of downbeat reports that have prompted economists to question how the country fared in Q1. Exports contracted by 3.2% in Feb. on a calendar and seasonally adjusted basis, the Federal Statistics Office said today. Imports fell by 1.3%. The sharp fall in exports pushed the trade surplus down to €19.2bn from €21.5bn. Economists expected exports to have risen 0.2%, with imports up 0.3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Deutsche CEO hints at further cuts to investment bank - Olaf Storbeck () 09/04/18 10:02:00

DEUTSCHE BANK's new CEO CHRISTIAN SEWING has hinted that the lender's ailing investment bank may face further cuts under his leadership. "In our Corporate [and] Investment Bank... we'll have to further adapt our revenue, cost and capital structure", SEWING said in a memo to the bank's staff this morning. He added that the bank would "thoroughly analyse how we want to position this pillar of our bank in a difficult market environment". SEWING noted that the investment bank was "doing well in important business areas globally" and had regained market share in important areas. But he stressed the division, which has been suffering from bloated costs and declining revenues, would require further changes to be made. In his memo to staff, SEWING also made an unconditional commitment to the bank's cost cutting targets for 2018, which were lowered in Feb. "Our adjusted costs must not exceed €23bn in 2018. This is non-negotiable", SEWING wrote, adding that the bank had been damaged by missing previous goals. "The new leadership team will not accept this anymore". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank ousts John Cryan, names Sewing as chief - Olaf Storbeck () 09/04/18 10:02:00

DEUTSCHE BANK's supervisory board has named CHRISTIAN SEWING as the lender's new CEO, ousting JOHN CRYAN two years before his contract runs out after a spat with chair PAUL ACHLEITNER that has thrown the lender into turmoil. SEWING, currently co-head of the bank's retail division, will take on the job with immediate effect, DEUTSCHE said yesterday. GARTH RITCHIE, who will become the sole head of the lender's ailing corporate and investment bank, and executive board member KARL VON ROHR, were both named as deputy CEOs. SEWING, 47, has been with DEUTSCHE BANK since he was a teenager. "In his more than 25 years at DEUTSCHE BANK CHRISTIAN SEWING has proven himself a strong and disciplined leader", ACHLEITNER said. Shares in DEUTSCHE jumped 4.5% at the start of trading this morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nissan eyes bigger East African market with Kenya auto plant - David Herbling, Bloomberg () 09/04/18 10:02:00

NISSAN plans to start assembling vehicles in Kenya, bolstering government plans to develop a regional auto-manufacturing hub in that country. NISSAN will initially put together pick-up trucks from semi-knocked-down kits if Nairobi agrees to waive a 25% import tax, according to JIM DANDO, director of Africa operations at NISSAN. "We're keen to move quite fast. We want to make this happen", DANDO added. The carmaker will submit a proposal to the government once market studies and due diligence assessments are complete, and may have an operational assembly line by the end of 2019 if it receives a green light. NISSAN would work at an established plant, which would cost around $20m, rather than setting up its own facility, DANDO said. Investing in an existing plant for completely knocked-down kits would require as much as $100m, while a new factory would cost double that amount. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim to amend telecoms act to reflect ICT changes - Crecey Kuyedzwa () 09/04/18 10:02:00

Changes in the ICT landscape have forced the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to draft a new bill intended to repeal the Postal and Telecoms Act, which has been in place since 2000. According to POTRAZ, the old act no longer provided adequate regulatory cover given the many changes that have taken place in the sector, including the advent of mobile money. "The proposed amendments will enable the Authority to effectively regulate the sector in accordance with market and technological trends". It added that the main objective of the review process is to ensure that the country has an effective regulatory framework for the postal and telecoms sector which meets the future needs of consumers and businesses, and facilitates economic growth. Some of the proposed amendments in the bill include the need to introduce new classes of licences, as well as strengthening the dispute settlement role of POTRAZ within the sector. The regulator also seeks to streamline regulatory processes to enable a rapid response to any technological changes and consumer needs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Survé-linked Sagarmatha Technologies again postpones JSE listing - Jan Cronje () 09/04/18 10:02:00

SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES, the parent company which aims to include many of the assets of the INDEPENDENT MEDIA group, has again postponed the date of its JSE listing. The company was initially scheduled to list on the local bourse on Friday. Earlier in the week, the listing was moved to Apr. 11. In a shareholder note published on Thursday, the company said it now intends to list on Friday Apr. 13. It says the reason for the second delay is a request from potential investors to extend the closing date of the private placement of up to 189m of the group's proposed 1.2bn shares. Through this placement, with invited investors only, the group had hoped to raise up to R7.5bn and create buss ahead of its main listing on the JSE. Around R1bn of the capital would be used to pay off debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spar E Cape declares war on plastic bags - Simone Liedtke (SPP) 09/04/18 10:02:00

SPAR EASTERN CAPE has declared a war on plastic bags as part of its efforts to help protect he environment. The retailer plans to launch an initiative that urges customers to consider alternative grocery packaging options. "We believe that safeguarding our environment and the future are often spoken about but not much is done. As the biggest food retailer in the Eastern Cape, I believe we have to take care of the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we operate", SPAR EC MD CONRAD ISAAC said. Over the weekend, members of the public were given a paper bag free of charge for every ten plastic shopping bags brought to any one of SPAR's outlets in the Eastern Cape. An initial order of 300 000 waxlined and waterproof reusable paper shopping bags, capable of carrying 12kg each, was placed to accommodate the demand, ISAAC noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mahindra SA appoints new CEO - Marleny Arnoldi () 09/04/18 08:50:00

MAHINDRA SA has appointed RAJESH GUPTA to succeed SANJOY GUPTA as CEO. SANJOY GUPTA will resume the role of customer care automotive division VP at MAHINDRA in India. MAHINDRA SA on Friday said RAJESH GUPTA has 19 years' experience in spearheading marketing and sales operations across various industries. It noted that he joined the company at a crucial juncture, considering its introduction of several new products in the passenger segment as well as the recent launch of its MAHINDRA pickup truck. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PSA warns of 'drastic measures' in wage talks - ANA () 09/04/18 08:50:00

The Public Servants Assocaition on Friday called on workers to resort to "drastic measures" to force the government to conclude 2018 wage talks. "The negotiations process which has been delayed numerous times before by the employer continued on April 4 and 5 in the from of facilitation instead of proper head-to-head negotiations preferred by the PSA... The parties made use of various options to try get closer to one another on labour's demands, but unfortunately it did not yield the desired outcomes", the PSA said. Government denied it was intentionally delaying the wage talks. But on Friday the PSA accused Pretoria of trying to force workers to take extreme measures, and said the stand-off would now be discussed in a labour principals meeting to determine the way forward. "The PSA is cautioning members to be ready for the inevitable", GM IVAN FREDERICKS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

A&B Movers admits to fixing e-toll levy imposed on clients - Marleny Arnoldi () 09/04/18 08:50:00

The Competition Tribunal on Friday confirmed a consent agreement with A&B MOVERS, which admitted it had entered into an agreement with other removal companies to charge their clients a R350 e-toll levy when they are required to travel on Gauteng's highways. The Competition Commission initiated the complaint in which it alleged the eleven companies had held a meeting under the auspices of the Northern Provinces Professional Movers Association of SA and allegedly agreed to pass on to customers the additional costs they incur when they transport goods along the Gauteng e-toll roads. As part of the consent agreement, A&B has agreed to assist the Commission with its probe of the complaint. It is also liable to pay an administrative penalty of R208 121. Other companies who are under investigation include STUTTAFORDS VAN LINES GAUTENG HUB, PICKFORDS REMOVALS SA, BRYTONS REMOVALS, AMAZING TRANSPORT, KEY MOVES, BAYLEY WORLDWIDE, SELECTION CARTAGE, ELLIOT MOBILITY, CROWN RELOCATIONS and MAGNA THOMSON. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Three-nation talks on Ethiopia dam fail to reach agreement - Reuters () 09/04/18 08:50:00

Talks in Khartoum between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to resolve differences over a dam Ethiopia is building ended early on Friday without agreement, the Sudanese foreign ministry said. Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a $4bn hydroelectric project that Cairo fears will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia's highlands and via Sudan. Addis Ababa denies the dam will undermine Egypt's access to water. "We were not able to reach an agreement on a joint decision, and it's a technical issue that we cannot discuss", Sudanese Foreign Minister IBRAHIM GHANDOUR said. He said the talks on the dam on the Blue Nile were constructive and important, but more time was needed. No date has been set for further discussions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola seeks to further expand diamond sector - Rebecca Campbell () 09/04/18 08:50:00

Angola's diamond exports in Jan. brought in the second-highest price per cart ($136.24) for monthly sales since Oct. 2016. The highest price per carat for monthly sales in this period, $138.60, was achieved in Nov. last year. Angola's finance ministry said the country exported 620 485ct of diamonds in Jan., with a total value of $84 535 532. The state collected taxes of €5m on these sales. Angola's diamond sales, in terms of carats, increased by 4% in 2017, compared with 2016. However, while the country's diamonds fetched $121.1/ct in 2016, this figure fell to $117.23/ct in 2017. This meant that he revenues obtained for diamonds last year were only 0.5% higher than in 2016. Tax revenues rose by 5% over the same period, due to royalties and industrial tax paid by mining companies. The government wants to attract more investment in the diamond sector, particularly regarding beneficiation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stronger gold price lifts global ETF inflows - Henry Lazenby () 09/04/18 08:50:00

Global gold-backed ETFs added 22.5t of gold during March, increasing their holdings to 2 415t valued at $102.8bn, data provided by the World Gold Council showed yesterday. While the price of gold finished the month relatively flat at $1 325/oz, a significant portion of inflows was the result of periods of sharp price rallies past $1 350/oz on strong volume, especially in the second half of March. North American funds have accounted for 85% of total net inflows in the year-to-date period. The region dominated global inflows, adding 21.5t of 1.7% of assets under management (AUM) valued at $917m, to their holdings during March. Asian volumes totaled 3.15 of 3.5% of AUM, valued at $14m. Funds listed in Europe and other regions had muted net flows. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Queensland grants mining lease to new coal mine - Esmarie Swanepoel () 09/04/18 08:50:00

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the state government's decision to grant a mining lease for the proposed Dysart East underground coal mine, being developed by BENGAL COAL. QRC CEO IAN MACFARLANE on Friday said the decision to issue the mining lease until 2039 had the potential to create much needed construction jobs and operational jobs over the life of the mine. MACFARLANE said some 200 new jobs would be created at the mine, which has a target to produce around 1.9mt/year of prime hard coking coal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye-Stillwater refinances, increases US dollar revolving credit facility - Marleny Arnoldi (SGL) 09/04/18 08:50:00

SIBANYE-STILLWATER has refinanced its existing $350m US dollar revolving credit facility on improved terms. The refinanced RCF has also been increased to $600m, thereby providing enhanced liquidity for the enlarged entity. Further, under the terms of the facility agreement with a syndicate of international banks, SIBANYE has the option to further increase the size of the RCF to $750m via the inclusion of additional lenders. The RCF maturity is three years and lenders have the option to extend the tenor through two further one-year extensions on request from SIBANYE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First phase of Maseve sales transaction completed - Simone Liedtke (RBP) 09/04/18 08:50:00

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has completed the sale of its first Maseve concentrator, near Rustenburg, as well as the sale of certain surface rights to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM. PTM and RBPLAT in Nov. executed definitive agreements for a two-step transaction valued at around $74m. Conditions precedent to Step One were fulfilled in Feb., after which a deposit amount in escrow of R41.37m was released to PTM on Mar. 14. The final Step One payment of R646.72m was received by PTM, coinciding with the registration of the applicable surface rights to a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBPLAT. PTM plans to use around $46.98m from the final Step One payment to repay all remaining indebtedness under a facility with SPROTT RESOURCE LENDING PARTNERSHIP. It is also in the process of paying $7.52m from the final payment to reduce outstanding indebtedness and to pay fees due under a second secured loan facility with LIBERTY METALS & MINING. Following this, some $44.45m in principal, accrued interest and accrued production payments will remain due to LMM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lamberti quits Eskom board - City Press () 09/04/18 08:50:00

MARK LAMBERTI has resigned as a director from the ESKOM board. LAMBERTI said he made the "difficult" decision as he wanted to put the interests of ESKOM, the board and SA above all else. He added that he could not, in good conscience, accept any compensation from ESKOM and would return the fees paid to him because most of the board's work to date had been preparatory. The South Gauteng High Court recently found that LAMBERTI impaired the dignity of former employee ADILA CHOWAN by referring to her as "a female empowerment equity candidate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa orders probe into Eskom, Transnet - Tanisha Heiberg () 09/04/18 07:36:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA has ordered the Special Investigating Unit to probe allegations of maladministration at ESKOM and TRANSNET, the government said on Friday. RAMAPHOSA has made the fight against corruption a key plant of his administration as he seeks to restore investor confidence after the ZUMA years. The SIU will investigate among other things "unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure" incurred by ESKOM and TRANSNET. ESKOM has been embroiled in allegations of corruption relating to a R1.6bn contract that MCKINSEY worked on with TRILLIAN, a GUPTA-controlled entity. TRANSNET has been investigating irregularities in the awarding of a R54bn contract to acquire locomotives in 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to court Japanese bond investors - Kwasi Kpodo () 09/04/18 07:36:00

Government officials from Ghana will meet investors in Japan this week as the country seeks to diversify its range of sovereign bondholders, the finance ministry said yesterday. Ghana plans to issue up to $2.5bn of sovereign debt, including a $1bn eurobond by the end of this month. Finance Minister KEN OFORI-ATTA has previously said he is weighing the option of issuing a yen-denominated Samurai bond. He and other officials will travel to Japan, the ministry said. The minister will hold strategic meetings with portfolio and asset managers where they hope to whip up appetite for Ghanaian instruments. The officials will also meet with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation during the Apr. 9-14 trip. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambian economy to grow more than 4% this year - Chris Mfula () 09/04/18 07:36:00

Zambia's economy is expected to grow by more than 4% in 2018, helped by mining, agriculture and construction, Finance Minister MARGARET MWANAKATWE said last week. GDP growth in Zambia rose to 4.1% in 2017, helped in part by higher commodity prices. Officials had initially targeted at least 5% growth for 2018, but MWANAKATWE's comments in a statement issued by the finance ministry suggest growth could be closer to the 2017 level. The minister said the government would complete a detailed debt sustainability exercise in the next two weeks before re-opening talks with the IMF. The country held talks with the Fund over an aid programme, but the IMF rejected its debt management plans in Feb. Zambia's foreign direct stood at $8.7bn at the end of Mar., she said, adding that this year the government wanted to achieve a fiscal deficit of not more than 6.1% of GDP, the same level as in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FDI in Mauritius up 4.2% in 2017 - Jean Paul Arouff () 09/04/18 07:36:00

Foreign direct investment in Mauritius grew by 4.2% in 2017 to 14.22bn rupees, driven by inflows into real estate and financial and insurance activities, official data showed on Friday. Foreign investment in real estate led with 8.79bn rupees, followed by financial and insurance activities with 3.32bn rupees, the central bank said. "Together, France and Luxembourg accounted for over 50% of total gross direct investment inflows", the Bank of Mauritius said. France was the biggest source of capital with 4.38bn rupees, followed by Luxembourg, which put in 3.31bn rupees. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzanian PM revises GDP growth for 2017 - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala () 09/04/18 07:36:00

Tanzania's economy grew around 7.1% last year, beating the government's own revised forecast, PM KASSIM MAJALIWA said last week. In Nov., the country trimmed its GDP to 7.0% from 7.1%. That forecast had also been revised from 7.4%. But MAJALIWA said the economy grew faster than expected last year owing to a rise in mining activity. FY GDP growth in 2017 was driven by mining and quarrying (17.5%), transport and storage (16.6%) and construction (14.7%) activities. Tanzania has pledged to boost public investment in infrastructure projects, including a standard gauge railway, new roads and an expansion of ports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

JPMorgan says it knew ex-minister linked to firm in Nigeria deal - Julia Payne () 09/04/18 07:36:00

JPMORGAN CHASE has admitted it knew a former Nigerian oil minister convicted of money laundering would benefit when it transferred over $800m of government funds to a company he controlled, according to documents seen by Reuters. The US group made the acknowledgment in its legal response to a lawsuit filed by Nigeria over transactions made by the bank when ROYAL DUTCH SHELL and ENI bought offshore oilfield OPL 245 from MALABU OIL AND GAS in 2011. The $1.3bn deal has spawned legal cases spanning several countries and involving Nigerian government officials and senior ENI and SHELL executives. MALABU is controlled by DAN ETETE, who was Nigeria's oil minister at the time of the deal and was convicted of money laundering in France in 2007. The lawsuit against JPMORGAN accused the bank of negligence over the transfer of funds from a Nigerian government escrow account into which SHELL and ENI had deposited money to secure OPL 245. It claims $875m from the bank. In its written defence, JPMORGAN said the UK's Serious Organised Crime Office, now renamed the National Crime Agency, had approved the transfers to MALABU. It denied negligence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's FCMB sees float loan growth, eyes UK retail licence - Chijioke Ohuocha () 09/04/18 07:35:00

Nigerian mid-tier lender FCMB expects loan growth to be flat in 2018 after it rose 5.4% in 2017, as oil companies pay down debt, CEO LADI BALOGUN said on Friday. BALOGUN said the group was seeking a retail banking licence for its UK-based unit, which offers wholesale banking to boost its balance sheet. He said the bank took a 50% impairment of 2.3bn naira on loans to debt-laden 9MOBILE, which is in talks with investors to take over the telcoms firm. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners insist on rewrite of DRC mining code - Aaron Ross () 09/04/18 07:35:00

International mining companies have insisted that the DRC amend portions of its new mining code to respect exemptions they were granted by its predecessor. The companies last week said they had submitted a formal proposal to the government but the document itself takes a hard line taht could set industry on a collision course with officials who have repeatedly said they will accept no changes to the new law. In the proposal, the companies outlined a plan to let royalty rates for copper, cobalt and gold fluctuate with their international market prices. In exchange, the government would scrap a 50% tax on windfall profits in the new code. The also offered to accept a "slight additional increase" to the outlined royalty rates if the government relinquishes its authority to designate "strategic substances", whose royalty rates would more than double to 10%. The companies that signed the proposal said they are particularly bothered by the new law's cancellation of their stability clauses, which protected them against changes to the prior fiscal regime for 10 years. They say that violates existing agreements and will scare off investment in the country. In response, the companies proposed that the government amend the law with a series of "transitional provisions" that would preserve their earlier fiscal terms, albeit with certain exceptions, including the sliding scale royalty rates. The companies' proposals would require the government to rewrite the law signed by President JOSEPH KABILA last month, something government officials have repeatedly said they are not willing to do. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria awards two of three gas pipeline deals - Paul Carsten () 09/04/18 07:35:00

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION on Friday said it had awarded two of three gas pipeline contracts which in total will be worth more than $2.8bn. One contract for a roughly 200km stretch of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline and stations was awarded to OANDO PLC and OILSERVE. Another stretch of around 200km was given to a partnership between CHINA PETROLEUM PIPELINE BUREAU and BRENTEX. NNPC did not say how much each individual contract was worth. It added that a third contract will be executed in the coming weeks. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 09/04/2018 () 09/04/18 07:35:00

At 07:36 on 09 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.98 Rand/Sterling 16.90 Rand/Euro 14.72 Gold 1332.31 Platinum 919.00 Oil 67.02 All-Share Index 55878.81

Monsanto slides after Q2 earnings miss - Peter Wells () 06/04/18 11:39:00

Shares in MONSANTO dipped in pre-market trading yesterday after the company posted a set of Q2 results that missed market estimates. The company struggled to deliver much top-line growth and maintained its non-specific outlook for "pre-tax income growth" in FY2018. It saw net sales contract 1.1% to $5.02bn in the quarter to end-Feb. y/y, missing the median estimate of $5.34bn among analysts surveyed by Reuters. A $181m drop in maize seed sales was the culprit, as all other seed and productivity segments squeezed out revenue growth compared to a year ago. A 6.6% y/y rise in net income to $1.46bn fell about $90m short of market forecasts, while reported EPS of $3.27, up from $3.09 y/y, was 7c below what analysts expected. Shares were down 1% at $115.60 in pre-market trade on the Nasdaq, hovering close to their lowest level this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook shares recover following Zuckerberg comments - Pan Kwan Yuk () 06/04/18 11:39:00

Shares in FACEBOOK rose more than 3% within minutes of the opening bell on Thursday as investors took heart from comments made by CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG that there had not been any meaningful impact on business in the wake of the CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA data scandal. The company on Wednesday said the information of up to 87m people may have been improperly shared with CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA. The revelations of the data breach previously triggered a 16% drop in FACEBOOK shares and prompted politicians on both side of the Atlantic to call for investigations. But despite complaints from advertisers and users, ZUCKERBERG said he had seen no "meaningful" decline in FACEBOOK user or advertising since the CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA revelations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cargill earnings fall by nearly one quarter in Q3 - Emiko Terazono () 06/04/18 11:39:00

CARGILL reported a 24% drop in Q3 earnings after it was hit by a charge of $161m related to the recent change in US tax laws. Net earnings for the quarter to end-Feb. totalled $495m compared to $650m y/y. For the nine months, income fell 4% to $2.39bn. Without tax-related charges, Q3 earnings were in line with the previous year, CARGILL said. Adjusted operating profits for Q3 fell 22% to $559m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia looks to block encrypted messaging app Telegram - Max Seddon () 06/04/18 11:39:00

Russian censors moved today to ban messaging app TELEGRAM for refusing to help security services decode encrypted messages. Communications watchdog Rozkomnadzor said it had filed a lawsuit in a Moscow court asking it to block TELEGRAM after the app defied a ruling by Russia's supreme court last month ordering it to hand over its encryption keys to the FSB. TELEGRAM earlier this week said it was not technically possible to hand over the keys, which are not stored centrally and, in the case of TELEGRAM's self-deleting screen chats, are renewed every few minutes. "TELEGRAM's position remains the same - the FSB's demands to grant access to users' private correspondence are unconstitutional, not based in law, technically and legally impossible, and, therefore, demanding to block it is also unfounded", TELEGRAM lawyer PAVEL CHIKOV said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Samsung expects record profits despite slowing display sales - Song Jung-a () 06/04/18 11:39:00

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has projected another record operating profit for Q1 after last year's stellar performance, as strong demand for memory chips offset slowing sales of display panels. The group estimated operating profit for Q1 2018 at Won15.6tn, up 58% y/y. It was much higher than the Won14.5tn forecast by analysts polled by Reuters. SAMSUNG expected to register sales of Won60tn for Q1, up 19% from a year earlier. Analysts estimated operating profit from the semiconductor business at around Won10.7tn as strong D-ram demand for computer servers offset falling prices of Nand flash memory chips. But operating profit from its display unit was hit by slow sales of APPLE's iPhone X, analysts said. SAMSUNG's mobile phone business is believed to have fared well in the quarter to end-Mar., helped by favourable market reception of the latest flagship Galaxy S9 model. Analysts estimated SAMSUNG shipped 9.3m units of the premium phone launched in late Feb. in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China writes off Zim's debt - Crecey Kuyedzwa () 06/04/18 10:54:00

China has reportedly written off Zimbabwe's debt to the Asian giant's institutions, paving the way for more funding to the African country. This is according to local radio station ZiFM Stereo, owned by the country's ICT Postal Courier Services Minister SUPA MANDIWANZIRA, who also accompanied President EMMERSOM MNANGAGWA on a state visit to China. The radio station said the decision was reached after meetings between President XI JINPING and MNANGAGWA in Beijing. Zimbabwe owes international lender more than $10bn in both principal debt and arrears. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German industrial production falls most since 2015 - Adam Samson () 06/04/18 10:53:00

German industrial output contracted in Feb. by the widest margin in two and a half years, data showed this morning. The wide-ranging gauge of German industry slumped 1.6% in Feb. from the previous month, according to the Federal Statistics Office. It was the steepest fall since Aug. 2015 and compared with economist expectations of a0.3% rise, according to FactSet data. Capital goods contracted by 3.1%, consumer goods by 1.5%, intermediate goods by 0.7% and construction by 2.2%. Energy production was a standout, rising 4.4%. Overall, industrial output was still up 2.6% y/y but he disappointing data bolster the findings of business surveys that have suggested growth in the German economy may have slowed in Q1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China not afraid to fight trade war - Commerce Ministry - Alice Woodhouse () 06/04/18 10:53:00

China's Ministry of Commerce today said it "does not want to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war" in response to the latest move by the TRUMP administration to plan for an additional $100bn in tariffs on imports from China. The ministry said if the US continues on this path the Chinese side was willing to pay any price to defend the country's interests and warned of comprehensive counter measures. The ministry said the US-China trade tensions were started by Washington and that Beijing would continue to promote the liberalisation of international trade and investment. China yesterday indicated it was willing to escalate its fight with DONALD TRUMP by opening a WTO challenge to the US's proposed tariffs. It argued that they represented a "serious violation" of global trading rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump ask US trade rep to consider another $100bn in China tariffs - Jessica Dye () 06/04/18 10:53:00

President DONALD TRUMP yesterday said he had instructed the US trade representative to consider an additional $100bn in tariffs on Chinese imports on top of the measures targeting $50bn worth of goods already proposed. TRUMP said he also instructed the secretary of agriculture to "implement a plan" to protect US farmers and agricultural interests. Nevertheless, TRUMP added the US is "prepared to have discussions" with China to remove trade barriers and remedy unfair trade practices that T the president has repeatedly criticised. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone economy 'comes off the boil' in Mar. - PMIs - Cat Rutter Pooley () 06/04/18 10:53:00

A worse than expected outlook from German business executives dragged down the final reading of the eurozone-wide PMI in Mar., data showed yesterday. The composite reading for the single currency area came in at 55.2, a notch below the preliminary flash estimate of 55.3 published late last month. Growth in Germany's services sector "faltered at the end of the first quarter", ISH MARKIT said. Bosses reported that business activity rose at the slowest rate for seven months, while new orders and employment also stuttered. IHS MARKIT said a "mild deceleration" in new orders combined with a lack of spare capacity after the recent surge in the eurozone economy and bad weather in northern regions all hit activity. But while the currency bloc "came off the boil in March", it "continued to run hot", according to IHS MARKIT chief economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON, who added that the surveys "are still indicative of the economy growing at an impressive 0.6% quarterly rate in March, down from a clearly unsustainably rapid 0.8-0.9 percent rate around the start of the year". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone retail sales struggle higher in Feb. - Cat Rutter Pooley () 06/04/18 10:53:00

Retail sales in the euro area remained lacklustre in Feb., just edging up from Jan. after two months of decline. On a m/m basis, retail sales rose 0.1%, driven by higher sales of vehicle fuel and food. That followed a worse than previously thought performance in Jan., when sales contracted by 0.3% on the month, and a 1% decline in Dec. 2017. A Reuters poll predicted a 0.5% rise from the previous month. Annual sales growth also accelerated after January's reading was revised own from 2.3% to 1.5%. February retail sales, measured by volumes, were 1.8% higher than the same month last year as demand for non-food products climbed. Economists had estimated they would rise 2.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBI cuts inflation estimates while holding rates steady - Amy Kazmin () 06/04/18 10:53:00

The Reserve Bank of India has held its benchmark interest rate steady at 6% as expected, but sharply reduced its predicted inflation rates for the new financial year. Analysts had predicted the central bank's monetary policy committee would not make any changes to rates. The cut to the RBI's inflation estimates took many analysts by surprise. The RBI said it now expected prices to rise between 4.7% to 5.1% in H1 of the fiscal year, which started on Apr. 1. It predicted inflation would drop to 4.4% in H2. The reduction in the RBI's inflation expectations follows two months when inflation averaged 4.8%, amid a decline in vegetable prices and a softening of petroleum prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Implats says Zim listing won't work - Felix Njini, Bloomberg (IMP) 06/04/18 10:53:00

IMPALA PLATINUM has said Zimbabwe's plan to compel mining companies to list the majority of their shares on the local exchange isn't feasible and would impede operators' ability to grow and invest in their assets. "A local primary listing would only be feasible with the requisite in-country capacity to raise the required capital and sustain daily trading volumes in the equity", IMPLATS spokesperson JOHAN THERON said. IMPLATS subsidiary ZIMPLATS is Zimbabwe's biggest platinum producer. "We believe much work still needs to be done before the economy can structurally support this", he added. ZIMPLATS, which is listed on the ASX, is seeing little interest from Zimbabwean entities even though investors in the country can already freely trade in the shares, "a clear sign" that a local listing is not viable at the moment, THERON said. He added that the company would consider other options for local investors to participate in ZIMPLATS and is still working to implement a community and employee share ownership plan, with each group holding 10% in the company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shoprite CFO to retire in July - Fin24 (SHP) 06/04/18 10:53:00

MARIUS BOSMAN, the longtime CFO of SHOPRITE HOLDINGS, is set to retire at the start of July. SHOPRITE yesterday said BOSMAN, who has been with the group for 25 years, would stay on as a consultant. "He will remain involved as a consultant to SHOPRITE HOLDINGS inter alia to assist in the completion of the financial statements. As such, Mr BOSMAN will remain involved in the preparation and completion of the financial accounts for the year-end to June 2018. BOSMAN will be replaced by ANTON DE BRUYN, a qualified CA and 15-year veteran of SHOPRITE HOLDINGS, who was most recently the group's deputy GM for Group Finance. DE BRUYN will act as CFO designate for the next three months, and will be appointed as an executive director on Jul. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA fin authorities collaborating internationally on Viceroy - Tehillah Niselow (CPI) 06/04/18 10:53:00

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has been in contact with its counterparts in the US and UK in a bid to contact VICEROY, who published their 'Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' report on CAPITEC in Jan. The report claimed the bank was using predatory lending practices and illegal fees to inflate profits. Several analysts have since criticised VICEROY's report and the local authorities are investigating whether there was any market manipulation or insider trading involved. The FSCA replaced the Financial Services Board on Apr. 1 as part of the Financial Sector Regulation Act, which came into effect on the same day. CAPITEC accused VICEROY of deliberately discrediting it to short its hare price, a claim which the US-based shortseller has denied. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S Africans' take-home pay declines - Fin24 () 06/04/18 10:53:00

Monthly take-home pay reflected a slight decline in Feb., while private pensions continued to outperform, BANKSERVAFRICA said yesterday. Take-home pay rose by 0.5% in real terms on a y/y basis compared to the monthly 1.% registered for January. Take-home pay averaged at R14 502 in Feb. Average private pensions showed greater growth compared to the rate of increase of take-home pay, growing by 11.5% in Feb. 2018 y/y. In nominal terms, the average private pension was R7 029 in Feb. 2018. After taking inflation into account the private pensions increase stood at 6.8%. This is the highest y/y increase BANKSERVAFRICA has on record in real terms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Consol to relist on JSE - Simone Liedtke () 06/04/18 09:21:00

Glass packaging manufacturer CONSOL plans to relist on the JSE's main board. It was listed on the local bourse until 2007, when it was taken private by a consortium of private equity investors, led by BRAIT PRIVATE EQUITY and which included OLD MUTUAL PRIVATE EQUITY, SANLAM PRIVATE EQUITY, HARBOURVEST PARTNERS and the management of CONSOL. CONSOL CEO MIKE ARNOLD said the group's development plans are for aggressive growth locally and throughout the rest of Africa. He added that the company believes that by combining its competitive advantage and technical ability with the company's level of experience within the current committed leadership team, the company can open up new opportunities to create significant value for its future shareholders. CONSOL currently has operations in SA, Kenya and Nigeria, and exports to 17 African jurisdictions in aggregate. It is also building a new 60 000t/y facility in Ethiopia, which is expected to be commissioned during Q4 2018. Production will start at 40 000t/y before eventually rising to its installed capacity of 60 000t/y. The company is targeting to use around R2.7bn of the net proceeds of its IPO to strengthen and deleverage its balance sheet. Additional listing proceeds of an amount to be determined will be used to repay a portion of the company's shareholder loans. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SNC-Lavalin awarded R3.3m Sasol contract - Anine Kilian (SOL) 06/04/18 09:21:00

SNC-LAVALIN has been awarded a R3.3m contract for a detailed engineering package to provide SASOL with an emergency shutdown system replacement in Secunda. The firm's scope of work includes a detailed control and instrumentation and electrical engineering package design for the replacement of the existing obsolete conlog relay technology ESD systems at SASOL REFINERY WEST units 29, 33 and 34, with a new ESD system. This involves the verification of the basic design, detailed engineering for the new ESD system, including factory acceptance testing support, as well as construction support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Solar powers Redefine's sustainability efforts - Simone Liedtke (RDF) 06/04/18 09:21:00

REDEFINE PROPERTIES' total installed photovoltaic fleet will produce around 35.75m kWh a year of solar power when fully operational. This forms part of the REIT's strategy on solar energy to deliver cost efficiencies across the business and improve performance on key sustainability metrics. Last year, REDEFINE started implementing a series of rooftop solar PV projects. Its total installed capacity is expected to grow to 22MW once the power plants come on stream over the next 18 months, compared with the current installed capacity of 7.8MW. The total cost savings achieved from existing plants and plants commissioned during the course of 2018 will be over R32m/year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oando commissions new office building in Lagos - Anine Kilian (OAO) 06/04/18 09:21:00

OANDO has officially commissioned its new office building, the Wings Office Complex, in Lagos, Nigeria. The complex comprises two 12-storey towers with 27 000m2 of lettable office space, a three-level car park, four high-speed 12-person passenger lifts per tower, retail space and a waterfront. "The idea for the Wings Office Complex was conceived in 2009 and construction started in 201. The project signifies the end to a series of capital projects that we have pioneered, invested in and built", OANDO CEO WALE TINUBU said. The building uses energy efficient and smart lighting systems, with occupancy and daylight sensors to ensure office lights are only on when they are needed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana to review corporate tax exemptions for resources sector - Reuters () 06/04/18 09:21:00

Ghana plans to review its process for granting corporate tax exemptions to oil and mining companies as part of measures to eliminate fraud and boost revenues, VP MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA said this week. The vice president said tax exemptions claimed by some companies were not transparent, and in some cases, not backed by records. He did not directly accuse any individual companies of wrongdoing. "Improper accounting of resources on the part of concessionaires is a major source of revenue loss and it is for this reason that we are reviewing the exemption process", BAWUMIA said. Official data was not immediately available on the volume of tax exemptions claimed by companies in the resources sector, but data seen by Reuters showed that Ghana granted a cumulative 3bn cedis in tax exemptions last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers, Botswana to dig deeper at Jwaneng mine - Bloomberg (AGL) 06/04/18 09:21:00

DEBSWANA, the JV between DE BEERS and the government of Botswana, is seeking permission to deepen the Jwaneng mine to 830 meters, according to a notice published in local newspapers yesterday. The Cut 9 project will extend the mine's life by 11 years, to 2035, and allow the extraction of a further 50m carats. Jwaneng is currently 650 m deep. Cut 9 will involve stripping away waste at the bottom of the mine, both widening and deepening the pit. The previous extension project, Cut 8, cost around $3bn and reached gem-bearing ore in 2016, seven years after work started. The project will likely be financed internally, DEBSWANA spokesperson MATSHIDISO KAMONA said. She declined to comment on the expected costs or schedule. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo, Tanesco to meet on PPA for MCPP - Simone Liedtke (KBO) 06/04/18 09:21:00

The TANZANIA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY will convene a work session for the power purchase agreement task team for KIBO MINING's Mbeya coal-to-power project on Apr. 10. Representatives from both parties will attend the session, which is aimed at finalising work on the various key deliverables stipulated under the MCPP memorandum of understanding. The meeting will also be used to review the overall progress and remaining deliverables and milestones stipulated in the MCPP MoU and discuss and agree steps and measures, where necessary, to ensure that the MoU timeline and action plan are executed in accordance with what has been agreed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kabwe mining licence reinstated - Jubilee - Anine Kilian (JBL) 06/04/18 09:21:00

The small-scale mining licence for the Kabwe project, in Zambia, has been reinstated with immediate effect, paving the way for JUBILEE METALS GROUP, in partnership with BMR GROUP, to begin with the joint execution of the project. BMR in Feb. announced it had been issued with a rights termination notice for Kabwe. JUBILEE and BMR subsequently appealed the termination notice. "We welcome this decision, which recognises the work already performed on the project and the advanced state of the project's execution readiness", JUBILEE CEO LEON COETZER said yesterday. Under the conditions of the reinstatement, plant construction must start within three months, with commissioning expected to start by Sep. 30 and first production scheduled to occur before end-Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alliance-Tawana merger to create mid-tier lithium producer - Esmarie Swanepoel () 06/04/18 09:21:00

TAWANA RESOURCES yesterday announced a merger with JV partner ALLIANCE MINERAL ASSETS to create a mid-tier lithium producer with a market cap of A$446m. Under the terms of the merger agreement, ALLIANCE will acquire all the issued shares of TAWANA for 1.10 ALLIANCE shares for every TAWANA share held. Following the implementation of the scheme, TAWANA will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALLIANCE, with ALLIANCE shareholders holding a combined 51% interest in the merged entity, while TAWANA shareholders will retain the balance. TAWANA said the merger provided the potential for a simplified single-ownership structure for the Bald Hill project, in Western Australia, which was currently the subject of a JV agreement between the two companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP quits World Coal Association over differences - Esmarie Swanepoel (BIL) 06/04/18 07:53:00

BHP has taken the decision to discontinue its membership of the World Coal Association, citing "material differences" in their respective climate change policies. BHP yesterday said the decision was also taken in light of the "narrow range of activities of benefit" to the company from its WCA membership. The decision followed an industry association review, published in Dec. 2017. The review focused on 21 industry associations assessed as holding an active position on climate change and energy policy, as well as 10 climate and energy policies that were identified as being of key importance to BHP's position strategy and policy advocacy. The review raised seven material differences on climate and energy policy across three industry associations, including the WCA, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Minerals Council of Australia. The updated Energy and Climate Policy Position, released by the MCA in Mar., was aligned with BHP's own approach to climate and energy policy, which meant the company would maintain its membership with the MCA. It would also maintain its membership of the US Chamber of Commerce, saying that while the material differences identified by the review remained in place, the company derived a range of benefits from the broader activities of the chamber. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

South32 takes steps into Peru - Esmarie Swanepoel (S32) 06/04/18 07:53:00

SOUTH32 has signed an earn-in agreement with INCA MINERALS over its Greater Riqueza project, in Peru. Under the terms of the option agreement, SOUTH32 will provide $275 000 to fund an aeromagnetic, radiometric and digital terrain model survey over the entire project area. In exchange, SOUTH32 will be granted an exclusive option to earn-in and acquire majority ownership of the multi metals project. The option would be exercised within 30 days after SOUTH32 receiving the results from the survey. The parties are then expected to negotiate an earn-in agreement on terms that have been agreed upon in advance, within a period of 90 days. This period can be extended by mutual agreement, or SOUTH32 can request a two-year exclusive option period. Once it has exercised its option over the Greater Riqueza project, SOUTH32 can earn a 60% stake by funding all agreed-upon expenditure at the project. INCA will remain the operator of the project until after the completion of the first earn-in period, and once SOUTH323 elects to assume operatorship. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ferrexpo Q1 output dips, says refurbishment planned for Q2 - Creamer Media Reporter () 06/04/18 07:53:00

FERREXPO has reported lower Q1 iron ore pellet production, with output down 1.5% y/y to 2.59mt. The Q1 output compares with 2.62mt y/y and 2.79mt q/q. FERREXPO said it would refurbish its pellet line number 1 in Ukraine in Q2. This process would take around 65 days. In 2017, FERREXPO produced 10.4mt of pellets, ranking it as the third-largest exporter of pellets to the global steel industry, with a market share of around 8.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Clicks opens 500th pharmacy - Joseph Booysen (CLS) 06/04/18 07:53:00

CLICKS has opened its 500th pharmacy in Johannesburg and plans to expand to 900 stores in SA, with a pharmacy in every store. CLICKS announced the opening of the pharmacy at Park Station in central Johannesburg, underlying its position as SA's largest retail pharmacy chain. CEO DAVID KNEALE said the group's pharmacy strategy has been aligned with the national healthcare agenda and making medicine more affordable and more accessible for all South Africans, while improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nedbank trio hit by salary cuts - Sandile Mchunu (NED) 06/04/18 07:52:00

The NEDBANK GROUP slashed the remuneration packages of its three executive directors in 2017 as lower headline earnings growth and under-performance by ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL hit its balance sheet. CEO MIKE BROWN's total salary fell by 2.3% to R38.12m, down from R39.02m in 2016. COO MFUNDO NKUHLU's package contracted by 0.8% to R25.75m, while CFO RAISIBE MORATHI's remuneration fell 0.6% to R21.76m. Managing executive for NEDBANK WEALTH IOLANDA RUGGIERO's remuneration declined by 3.2% to R12.85m. The bank reported that its HEPS rose by 2.8% in 2017, compared to 5.9% growth in headline earnings achieved in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim wants mining companies to list on local bourse - Alfonce Mbizwo () 06/04/18 07:52:00

Zimbabwe wants mining firms to list on the local bourse as part of efforts under new president EMMERSON MNANGAGWA to boost investment and local ownership of its mineral resource, a new bill before parliament showed. "No mining right or title shall be granted or issued to a public company unless the majority of its shares are listed on a securities exchange in Zimbabwe", the bill reads. Companies seeking mining rights but already listed elsewhere must notify the mines minister and use the funds from such public offers to develop the mine in Zimbabwe, the bill said. A failure to comply would mean a liability of a fine equivalent to 100% of the cash raised at the foreign listing or as much as 10 years in prison. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said its members were not opposed to the proposal but warned that the exchange may not be deep and liquid enough for companies to raise capital. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenya to set up mortgage refinancing company to meet housing demand - Duncan Miriri () 06/04/18 07:52:00

Kenya is to set up a mortgage refinancing company to help meet he government's aim of providing 500 000 houses in five years as well as make it easier for banks to access long-term finance for home loans, the Treasury said. The country has an estimated 200 000 annual housing shortfall, which is expected to rise to 00 000 by 2020. "Housing finance in Kenya remains below its potential", the Treasury said in a document outlining the creation of the KENYA MORTGAGE REFINANCE COMPANY, to be owned by the state, commercial banks and financial co-operatives. KMRC is expected to be licensed by the central bank in Feb. 2019, with initial debt financing of $160m from the World Bank for lending on to financial institutions. Once it starts operations, the company will raise debt from markets, including mortgage-backed bonds, to lend to banks and financial co-operatives using their mortgage loan contracts with customers as security. Kenya had just 24 458 mortgage loans valued at $2bn or 3.15% of GDP in 2015, compared with around 30% of GDP worth of outstanding mortgages in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's power utility lifts tariffs by 10% - Tanisha Heiberg () 06/04/18 07:52:00

The BOTSWANA POWER CORPORATION yesterday announced it had raised electricity tariffs by 10% as the utility tries to recover costs. BPC has made operating losses for years due to high import costs, non-performing assets and operational inefficiencies. The 10% adjustment will apply to all consumer categories and came into effect on Apr. 1. The utility said it received a subsidy of 800m pula for the 2018 FY, down from around 3bn pula in subsidies in the past two years. It slashed its operational losses by 83% in the year to end-Jan. 2018, to 200m pula, after cutting imports and overhead costs, and helped by another tariff adjustment in Apr. 2017. BPC aims to be able to operate without a government subsidy from 2020 and CEO STEFAN SCHWARTZFISCHER said its subsidy would be reduced to 400m pula in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sudan plans almost $1bn sukuk for 2018 - Tarek Amara () 06/04/18 07:52:00

Sudan wants to sell international Islamic bonds worth nearly $1bn this year to help finance the budget, Finance Minister MOHAMED OTHMAN RUKABI said yesterday. Sudan has been largely cut off from international financing in the past decades due to US sanctions which were lifted in Oct. Since then, officials have been trying to lure investors to its economy. RUKABI said the sukuk issuance will be "late this year to finance the 2018 budget", without giving further details. "In Sudan we started already with local sukuk but it will be the first time that we issue sukuk in the international market". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA business confidence index down in March - Nomvelo Chalumbira () 06/04/18 07:52:00

South African business confidence fell for the second consecutive month in Mar. The SACCI monthly Business Confidence Index fell by 1.3 index points to 97.6 in Mar. from 98.9 in Feb. Lower import volumes, weaker retail sales growth and a subdued construction sector contributed negatively to the business climate. That was partly offset by increased exports, lower financing costs and lower inflation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 06/04/2018 () 06/04/18 07:52:00

At 07:52 on 06 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.99 Rand/Sterling 16.80 Rand/Euro 14.69 Gold 1330.25 Platinum 910.00 Oil 68.48 All-Share Index 55761.15

NUM hits out at minister over IPP deal, threatens to end ANC support - Tehillah Niselow () 05/04/18 11:37:00

The NUM has threatened to scrap its support for the ANC if government continues with its renewable energy programme, saying clean power will destroy jobs and create ghost towns in coal mining areas. "Workers of this country will not continue to vote and support an organisation which is taking away jobs from the poor. We cannot perpetually campaign and vote for the so-called New Dawn as narrated by CYRIL RAMAPHOSA", the union said yesterday. Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE yesterday signed contracts to the value of R56bn with 27 IPPs. The NUM singled out RADEBE, a member of the SA Communist Party's central committee, calling him a "communist turned capitalist". They added that they view the signing of the contracts as an insult to the working class and the poor. The union claims that 40 000 jobs will be lost in the coal sector value chain as a result of renewable energy, while a town such as Welkom will cease economic activity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff scraps vote on extra pay for directors at AGM - Jan Cronje (SNH) 05/04/18 11:37:00

STEINHOFF has scrapped a proposal to vote on once-off payments of €100 000-€200 000 to three of its senior board members at its upcoming AGM. The company said the part of the resolution relating to the proposed additional one-off payments for additional work rendered be deleted. "The supervisory board members who were to receive these additional payments have requested that such matters are not pursued at he coming AGM. They believe that these matters should be left to a newly constituted supervisory board which will be appointed at the AGM, and specifically its remuneration committee, to resolve at an appropriate time in the future". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hammerson delays on Intu deal with Klepierre position 'unclear' - Aime Williams (HMN) 05/04/18 11:37:00

HAMMERSON has said it will delay finalising shareholder documents related to its acquisition of smaller rival INTU while European giant KLEPIERRE's position remains "unclear". KLEPIERRE last month made a £5bn takeover approach for HAMMERSON, threatening the British group's planned tie-up with INTU. HAMMERSON swiftly rebuffed the approach, with chair DAVID TYLER branding the offer "wholly inadequate and entirely opportunistic". KLEPIERRE has until Apr. 16 to either make a formal offer for HAMMERSON or walk away. In an upbeat Q1 trading update, HAMMERSON said failing retailers would not significantly affect profits, and that its portfolio of malls was valued at just over £10.5bn. Over the quarter to end-Mar., HAMMERSON's property portfolio rose in value by 0.3%, according to its independent valuers CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD. HAMMERSON said it would sell assets worth at least £500m over 2018, with "active negotiations" for sales continuing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Accor buys 50% stake in SA-based luxury travel group - Harriet Agnew () 05/04/18 11:37:00

European hotelier ACCORHOTELS today announced it will expand its presence in Africa and in luxury travel by acquiring a 50% stake in MANTIS GROUP, an SA-based hospitality and travel conglomerate. MANTIS is a family-run group of international five-star properties and lodges which include boutique hotels, eco lodges, game reserves and luxury houseboats. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The French hotels group said it would also launch a non-profit organisation with MANTIS called the Community Conservation Fund Africa. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Facebook says up to 87m users may be affected by data scandal - Hannah Kuchler () 05/04/18 11:16:00

FACEBOOK has admitted that the information of up to 87m people, mostly in the US, may have been improperly shared with CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA, up from the 50m originally reported. FACEBOOK chief technology officer MIKE SCHROEPFER yesterday said the company estimated the information of up to 87m people was obtained by CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA. He gave the updated figure at the bottom of a blog post announcing more privacy protections for how data are shared with third-party apps. Starting next week, users will be able to see if their data were shared with CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA, SCHROEPFER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify falls in second day of trading - Pan Kwan Yuk () 05/04/18 11:16:00

Shares in SPOTIFY were down more than 5% at $14.19 in morning trading yesterday, after having slid as much as 8.5% at the opening bell. The move comes a day after the Swedish music streaming group made its market debut. The stock ended Tuesday at $149.01, down 10% from its opening price of $165.90, but still well above the reference price of $132 and levels seen in recent private trades. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Irish drinks company seals deal for Conviviality - Camilla Hodgson (ANH) 05/04/18 11:16:00

Irish drinks company C&C yesterday announced it has agreed to buy the wholesale arm of alcoholics drinks retailer and supplier CONVIVIALITY. C&C, the company behind brands Magners and Tennet's, said the deal was conditional on the appointment of administrators to CONVIVIALITY, which owns brands such as Wine Rack and Bargain Booze. Following advanced talks with the wholesaler, C&C said in a subsequent statement it had agreed to buy CONVIVIALITY brands Matthew Clark, Bibendum, Catalyst, Peppermint, Elastic and WAlker & Wodehouse for a nominal sum. The deal, which C&C said was backed by AB INBEV, will see the Irish group take control of the UK's largest independent distributor to the UK on-trade drinks sector. C&C said it plans to provide funds to meet the cash needs of the business, and said AB INBEV would contribute additional financial support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tariffs would be 'devastating' blow to US soyabean farmers - trade group - Adam Samson () 05/04/18 11:16:00

Trade groups representing American soyabean farmers, processors and exporters have warned that the escalating trade battle between the US and China will deal a blow to a wide range of industries in both countries. China's planned retaliatory tariffs "will have a devastating effect on every soyabean farmer in America", said JOHN HEISDORFFER, president of the American Soybean Association, which represents more than 300 000 producers. HEISDORFFER hit out directly at the White House, saying "we regret that he administration has been unable to counter China's policies on intellectual property and information technology in a way that does not require the use of tariffs". Soyabean futures for May delivery shed 2.7% on the Chicago Board of Trade to $10.11/bushel. "That's real money lost for farmers, and it is entirely preventable", HEISDORFFER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US services sector growth slows in Mar. - Pan Kwan Yuk () 05/04/18 11:16:00

Growth in the US services sector slowed in Mar. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing gauge came in at 58.8 last month. That's down from the 59.5 recorded in Feb. and marks the weakest reading in three months. While the figure missed forecasts for a smaller slowdown to 59, it remains above the 50 mark. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US private sector adds 241 000 jobs - Adam Samson () 05/04/18 11:16:00

The US private sector added more jobs than expected in March, setting an upbeat tone ahead of Friday's big labour market report. Private employment rose by 241 000 in Mar., payroll processor ADP said yesterday. That is down slightly from 246 000 in Feb., but better than the 205 000 forecast in a Reuters poll. Economists reckon the monthly jobs report from the labour department will show that the economy added 195 000 jobs last month. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German factory orders undershoot estimates in Feb. - Adam Samson () 05/04/18 11:15:00

New orders across Germany's factory sector rose less than expected in Feb. Factory orders increased by 0.3% in Feb. from Jan. on a seasonally and calendar adjusted basis, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast 1.5% growth. Order were up 3.5% y/y. Domestic orders came under pressure in Feb., down 1.4%, with foreign orders up by the same margin. New orders from the eurozone were particularly strong, rising 4.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia trade surplus ahead of forecasts in Feb. - Edward White () 05/04/18 11:15:00

Australia's trade surplus beat forecasts in Feb. with the major export sectors showing small gains but analysts remained wary about a possible trade war. The country posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of A$825m in Feb., according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was ahead of an estimate from a Reuters poll of economists of A$700m but down 13% from A$952m m/m. Exports and imports were both marginally higher on the prior month. PAUL DALES, CAPITAL ECONOMICS chief Australian and New Zealand economist said: "As Australia is more exposed than most other advanced economies to a further escalation of trade tensions between the US and China, the fall in its international trade surplus in February is particularly inconsequential". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Carlyle pays A$1bn for Australia's biggest wine producer - Jamie Smyth () 05/04/18 11:15:00

US private equity group CARLYLE is paying A$1bn to buy ACCOLADE WINES, the largest producer of Australian wines. The deal comes amid a boom in Australia's wine sector, which is benefiting from rising exports to China, which grew 68% to A$848m in 2017. CARLYLE is buying ACCOLADE from CHAMP PRIVATE EQUITY and CONSTELLATION BRANDS, which respectively own 80% and 20% of ACCOLADE. CHAMP CEO JOHN HADDOCK said the company had rejuvenated core brands, including Hardy's, one of the most popular wines in the UK. ACCOLADE exports wines to more than 140 countries and exports more than A$350m per year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom completes move back to US - Eric Platt () 05/04/18 11:15:00

BROADCOM's sojourn to Singapore has come to an end. The company yesterday said it had completed its legal move from the Asian country back to the US. The redomiciliation was approved by shareholders in Mar. and cleared by a Singapore court earlier this month. Shares in BROADCOM LIMITED were exchanged after the close of trading on Wednesday into new shares for BROADCOM INC. They will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "AVGO". CEO HOC TAN called the move a milestone. BROADCOM's hostile bid for QUALCOMM was ultimately blocked by President DONALD TRUMP on national security grounds, which was recommended by an inter-government agency panel that reviews foreign takeovers of US entities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Imperial CEO apologises for remarks to employee after ruling - John Bowker, Bloomberg (IPL) 05/04/18 09:51:00

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS CEO MARK LAMBERTI apologised for comments made to former employee ADILA CHOWAN after a court found him guilty of impairing her dignity when he referred to her as "female employment-equity" in front of fellow managers. While the North Gauteng High Court ruled that there was no evidence of racial or gender discrimination by LAMBERTI or the company, the CEO said he "apologises unreservedly" for the remarks to CHOWAN, adding that he hadn't intended to "insult or demean her in any way". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Public service unions warn of shutdown if no wage deal - Tehillah Niselow () 05/04/18 09:51:00

Public sector unions affiliated with COSATU have blamed government for "endless delaying tactics" in resolving wage talks and have warned of a possible service shutdown if no agreement is reached today. The three-year deal came to an end on Mar. 31 and labour and state representatives met in Midrand on Wednesday in a bid to resolve the impasse. Unions are demanding wage hikes of CPI plus 3% for junior government employees and CPI plus 2% for mid-level employees. They also want a one-year wage agreement. The Bureau of Economic Research predicts CPI will be 5.2% this year. Government's opening offer was CPI increases for junior and mid-level employees on levels 1-10 and a hike of CPI-1 for senior government employees level 11-12, and a three-year agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drought likely part of 'cooling' W Cape house price growth - Fin24 () 05/04/18 09:51:00

The drought in the Western Cape could be starting to play a cooling role on its economy as well as on its housing market, FNB property strategist JOHN LOOS said yesterday. The once robust house price growth in that province has slowed to nothing more than a "pedestrian" pace, LOOS said, in line with the rest of the country. The FNB Western Cape House Price Index has slowed to what LOOS describes at a "lowly" 1.5% y/y growth for Q1 2018. House price growth in the province is now below the national average house price growth rate of 2.6% for Q1. The FNB Gauteng House Price Index, meanwhile, showed slow y/y growth of 1.4% in Q1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff shares plunge by another 10% - Fin24 (SNH) 05/04/18 09:51:00

Shares in STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL shed a further 10% yesterday. The shares were trading at R3.02 by late afternoon, after earlier falling to a low of R2.94. They opened at R3.30. The share price pain comes a day after the company announced that the true value of a real estate portfolio owned by one of its European subsidiaries may be R16bn less than previously calculated. STEINHOFF on Tuesday said that commercial real estate advisory group CBRE had valued the real estate interests of subsidiary HEMESPHERE INTERNATIONAL PROPERTIES at "approximately €1.1bn", about half the company's previous estimate of €2.2bn. The HEMISPHERE portfolio comprises around 140 properties across Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and Eastern Europe. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cable theft in Rosslyn reaching crisis proportions - Irma Venter () 05/04/18 09:01:00

The Gauteng government yesterday expressed its concern about continuous electricity supply disruptions at the Automotive Supplier Park in Rosslyn. In recent weeks, production had been halted several times due to cable theft, Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development MEC LEBOGANG MAILE said. MAILE said 78.3% of the disruptions were due to cable theft. The power outages affected 14 factories that supplied vehicle assembling plants. The disruptions had seen workers lose R575 000 in wages collectively, he added. MAILE called on the City of Tshwane to attend to the challenge of cable theft since it had "reached crisis proportions". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA faces water infrastructure funding shortfall - Natasha Odendaal () 05/04/18 08:56:00

A new report estimates that SA will need to invest R70.4bn/year in water infrastructure investment over the next decade to address water scarcity and provide reliable water to all segments of society. The Water 2018 Market Intelligence Report, published by NPO Green Cape, said investment in water infrastructure included the refurbishment and upgrade of existing infrastructure, as well as the development of new infrastructure to support population and economic growth. "With budgeted funding of only R43.4bn in 2017 for total water infrastructure, there is a significant [R27bn] shortfall in available funding within the public sector", Green Cape said. Water demand in SA is expected to exceed supply by 17% in 2030, with demand expected to grow from 15bn cubic metres in 2016 to 18bn cubic metres. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Survey shows market confidence flat among builders, civil contractors - Anine Kilian () 05/04/18 08:56:00

General building confidence was flat at 36 index points in Q1 2018, according to the Construction Industry Development Board SME Business Conditions Survey. Only Grades 3 and 4 reported lower confidence in line with weaker underlying indicators among general builders in this group. For Grades 5 and 6, as well as Grades 7 and 8, the improvement in the momentum of activity growth helped nudge confidence higher. Among the big four provinces, building contractor confidence in the Western Cape remained above the 50-point neutral mark. Confidence fell by three index points to 54 for the quarter. Although sentiment improved in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KZN, confidence levels registered an average of 30 points. Civil engineering confidence also came in at 36 index points during Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenyan fund targets $15m green bond for water projects - Reuters () 05/04/18 08:56:00

An NPO plans to issue a 1.5bn shilling bond this year to fund Kenyan water utilities. ROBERT BUNYI, CEO of the KENYA POOLED WATER FUND, yesterday said it aimed to launch a 15-year instrument and to have it certified as a green bond. "We want to issue the bond in the second half of the year", BUNYI said, adding that the bond could come in Oct. after it had secured regulatory approval. It will be targeted at Kenyan institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies and five to ten billion shillings cold be raised from such bonds each year, BUNYI said. KENYA POOLED WATER FUND is a collaboration between the Kenyan and Dutch governments. It also gets support from the Swedish aid agency SIDA, the World Bank, the UK's DfID and USAid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Huge to pursue secondary listing on A2X - Creamer Media Reporter (HUG) 05/04/18 08:56:00

HUGE GROUP is preparing for a secondary listing on A2X next week. HUGE, which will retain its primary listing on the JSE, expects the secondary listing will lower transaction costs for its shareholders. "We believe that A2X will bring market efficiencies which our shareholder do not enjoy currently - we expect the double, being the bid offer spread, on our shares to narrow", HUGE CEO JAMES HERBST said. HUGE will be the first telecoms firm to list on this exchange. "With a R1.5bn market capitalisation and a share price which has increased by almost 1 300% in the last five years, HUGE has the size and momentum to be a meaningful force in the telecommunications industry and on A2X", A2X CEO KEVIN BRADY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian govt invites tenders for environmental remediation project - Marleny Arnoldi () 05/04/18 08:56:00

The Federal Government of Nigeria is seeking to appoint environmental remedial contractors for Phase 1 of its Remediation of Hydrocarbon Impacted Sites in the Ogoni project. This project forms part of FGN's overhead Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation project, which stems from government's commitment to implement the recommendations of the UN Environment Programme. FGN has invited suitably qualified international or Nigerian companies, as well as consortia, with experience in the environmental remediation of soil and/or groundwater in hydrocarbon-polluted sites to tender for the project. The project will involve site delineation of hydrocarbon impacted sites; remediation of hydrocarbon-impacted soil and/or groundwater; management of solid wastes on site and those generated from remediation activities; training of youths in basic techniques in the environmental remediation of hydrocarbon pollution; and weekly reporting of work activities with georeferenced photos. Tender documents are to be submitted by Apr. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court backs 'once empowered, always empowered' principle - Reuters () 05/04/18 08:56:00

The High Court yesterday ruled in favour of the 'once empowered, always empowered' principle which entitles a company to keep its BEE status even if a black partner exits its stake in the company. Uncertainty around the Mining Charter and ownership levels have deterred investment in the sector. The Chamber of Mines, which was challenging the government's draft Mining Charter which specifies that a black ownership target of 26% must be maintained throughout the life of the mine, welcomed the ruling. The court order allows mining firms' ownership transactions to be recognised even where the black partner has sold or transferred part or all of its equity. "The statutory condition cannot be extricated from the mining right. It must be held throughout the life of the mining right", the court said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil state fines Anglo over pipeline leak - Reuters (AGL) 05/04/18 08:56:00

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais yesterday slapped a $37.73m fine on ANGLO AMERICAN for pollution caused by one of two spills last month from a pipeline that carries iron ore from the company's Minas-Rio mine. The leak occurred on Mar. 12 and forced ANGLO to suspend operations until Mar. 27. A second leak in the same pipeline 400 m away and two days after the resumption prompted the company to again halt operations for 90 days while it completes an inspection. The initial spill "caused pollution and environmental degradation that resulted in damage to water resources and may have caused harm to public health and the wellbeing of the population", state environmental regulator Semad said. Semad added that it required ANGLO to clean the stream where the spill occurred and resume water supply to the local population which was interrupted due to the incident. The regulator said it was still studying the second leak and would announce a fine in that case as well. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pension fund not likely to sell Vale shares this year - Reuters () 05/04/18 08:56:00

Brazilian pension fund PREVI is not likely to sell its shares in VALE in a public offering this year, a source said yesterday, a week after VALE announced a more generous dividend policy. Holding on to its full VALE stake would allow PREVI to take advantage of VALE's growing dividends as earnings are seen improving, the source said. VALE on Mar. 29 approved a dividend policy that will pay shareholders 30% of adjusted EBITDA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AfriTin completes Uis tin mine design, earthworks to start in May - Marleny Arnoldi () 05/04/18 08:56:00

BUSHVELD MINERALS' tin-focused subsidiary AFRITIN MINING has completed the detailed mine design at its flagship Uis tin mine in Namibia. Following the completion of a mapping programme and construction of a three-dimensional geological model, AFRITIN undertook a detailed mine design for the V1 and V2 pegmatite bodies at the site. The mine design includes an initial five-year mine production schedule to start operations on the outcropping pegmatite bodies and existing excavations of the V1 and V2 pits. AFRITIN said this mine plan supports an overburden stripping ratio of less than one and a fast ramp-up profile using conventional openpit mining methods. Material will be liberated via drilling and blasting, while excavators and articulated dump trucks will be used to load and haul the ore. The RoM feed to the processing plan for this phase of development is planned at 500 000t/y, with anticipated production of 800t/y of saleable tin concentrate. The target for the next phase is 5 000t/y of tin concentrate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R Cementation employees return to work at Booysendal North mine - Marleny Arnoldi (MUR) 05/04/18 08:56:00

Employees of MURRAY & ROBERTS CEMENTATION returned to work at NORTHAM PLATINUM's Booysendal North mine yesterday. The work stoppage by 750 MRC employees was announced on Mar. 26. The return to work follows after an agreement was reached with trade union AMCU regarding end-of-term contract termination packages for MRC. The MRC employees had been approached by NORTHAM to become full-time employees in a move for Booysendal to become an owner-operated mine. The affected workers were then demanding end-of-contract termination packages from MRC. Both AMCU and MRC had been consulting with the affected workers, while MRC had applied for an urgent interdict to effect a return to work. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Orion granted two new prospecting rights at Prieska - Natasha Odendaal (ORN) 05/04/18 07:37:00

ORION MINIERALS has been granted two prospecting rights over strike extensions across important contiguous areas around the Prieska zinc/copper deposit. The new rights, granted by the Department of Mineral Resources to ORION subsidiaries VARDOCUBE and BARTOTRAX, include two important occurrences of volcanogenic massive sulphide zinc/copper mineralisation that were historically the subject of extensive drilling by previous owners ANGLOVAAL during the 1970s and 1980s. "Importantly, the new prospecting rights cover extensions to the Prieska deposit, which is already accessed by primary mine development. We are confident that the VARDOCUBE extension will be included in the mining plan being developed as part of the bankable feasibility study, which is on track for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018", ORION MD and CEO ERROL SMART said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia to benefit from higher Zim Export Credit Incentive - Simone Liedtke () 05/04/18 07:37:00

CALEDONIA MINING expects to receive up to an additional $5.1m in income this year, following an increase to 10%, from the previous 2.5%, in Zimbabwe's Export Credit Incentive. The ECI rise was implemented in Feb. CALEDONIA has already received funds commensurate with the higher ECI for gold produced in Feb. The company yesterday said the incremental revenue is likely to have a material positive impact on its forecast EPS for the year, with the previously guided EPS forecast of 130cps-150cps based on an ECI of 2.5%. With the increased ECI, CALEDONIA's EPS for 2018 are expected to be between 165cps and 190cps. "The increase in the ECI from 2.5% to 10% is a further significant step by the Zimbabwean government to boost investment and production in the gold mining sector. It is very pleasing to see the government delivering on previous policy statements to promote investment in the sector", CALEDONIA CEO STEVE CURTIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Resolute invests in explorer with DRC gold rights - Esmarie Swanepoel () 05/04/18 07:37:00

RESOLUTE MINING has taken a 27% stake in Canadian explorer LONCOR RESOURCES via a C$2.6m subscription placement and a C$2.5m share swap. The agreement will see LONCOR acquire full ownership of two companies in the DRC holding exploration permits in the Ngayu gold belt, increasing the Canadian firm's holdings from 1 130 'carres' to 1 997 carres. LONCOR will then issue RESOLUTE 26m common shares, priced at 10 Canadian cents apiece, with RESOLUTE also purchasing a further 25m LONCOR shares held by LONCOR founder and CEO ARNOLD KONDRAT in exchange for C$2.5m, which will be paid via the issue of RESOLUTE shares. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Prospect, Sinomine cement Zim lithium project agreement - Esmarie Swanepoel () 05/04/18 07:37:00

PROSPECT RESOURCES has cemented an agreement with SINOMINE RESOURCES EXPLORATION, which will see the development of the Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe. The companies in Nov. inked a conditional placement and framework agreement under which SINOMINE will invest A$10m through a share placement, priced at 5cps. It has also agreed to an offtake agreement at the Arcadia mine for 390 000t of spodumene concentrate and more than 1mt of petalite concentrate over a proposed seven-year offtake period. PROSPECT yesterday said it had completed the A$10m share placement, which was priced at 6cps, with SINOMINE taking more than 166.6m shares in PROSPECT. PROSPECT said that in addition the placement, certain terms under the conditional offtake agreement had also been favourably renegotiated in respect of the pricing formula, which had seen the ARcadia project's net present value rise by around $61m to $401.5m. Further amendments included the requirement for SINOMINE to prepay $10m under the offtake agreement, with these funds payable on the installation of a ball mill at the project. The completion of the mine finance is expected to occur in Q2 2018, with the company hoping to enter into its first engineering contracts during April. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Third delay in transfer of MTN shares to Nhleko - Dineo Faku (MTN) 05/04/18 07:37:00

MTN yesterday announced the third delay in the completion of a transaction that will see non-executive chair PHUTHUMA NHLEKO acquire 14m shares in the company. The group told the market it would now finalise the offloading of the ZAKHELE FUTHI shares to NHLEKO's wholly owned MAIN STREET 1561 at end-Jun. "Shareholders are informed that, following satisfaction of the conditions precedent to the transaction, MTN and MAIN STREET 1561 have agreed to extend the completion date to June 30", MTN said. Initially the completion was scheduled for Feb. 15, but the deadline was later pushed back to Mar. 30. The deal was subject to certain administrative and procedural conditions precedent being fulfilled or waived, including the requisite FICA and BEE verification being completed on MAIN STREET 1561. The conditions have now been met. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trafigura signs cobalt offtake deal with Shalina subsidiary - Julia Payne () 05/04/18 07:37:00

TRAFIGURA has signed an offtake agreement for cobalt hydroxide until Dec. 2020 with SHALINA RESOURCES and its DRC-based subsidiary CHEMAF, the latter said yesterday. CHEMAF produced around 5 000t of cobalt in 2017, with production set to rise to 7 000t this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R says ATON buyout offer below fair value - Tanisha Heiberg (MUR) 05/04/18 07:37:00

MURRAY & ROBERTS yesterday said an independent report showed that a fair offer for the company would be as much as R22/share. The company renewed its call to shareholders to not take action regarding the proposed offer by Germany's ATON, which is expected to open on Friday saying that the offer of R15/share "materially undervalues MURRAY & ROBERTS based on its prospects and is opportunistic". ATON made a buyout offer of R15/share last month. The German entity last week bought 13 671 480 ordinary shares in the firm and also agreed to buy a further 29 005 926 shares from ALLAN GRAY, M&R's third largest investor, bringing its stake to 39.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA signs delayed renewable energy deals - Alexander Winning () 05/04/18 07:37:00

SA yesterday signed long-delayed renewable energy contracts worth $4.7bn with independent power producers in the first major investment deal under President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA. "This will bring much-needed policy and regulatory certainty and maintain South Africa's position as an energy investment destination of choice", the Department of Energy said. Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE declared a "new dawn" for renewable energy in SA with the signing of the 27 contracts, with a combined capacity of 2 300MW. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 05/04/2018 () 05/04/18 07:37:00

At 07:37 on 05 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.89 Rand/Sterling 16.73 Rand/Euro 14.60 Gold 1328.95 Platinum 908.00 Oil 68.25 All-Share Index 54602.68

Five arrested for murder of miners who were burnt to death - News24Wire (ARI) 05/04/18 07:36:00

Five men have been arrested for the violent murders of six Modikwa Platinum Mine workers outside Driekop in Limpopo. Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier MOTLAFELA MOJAPELO said two of the men had been arrested on Tuesday evening, and three more on Wednesday. The men were aged between 21 and 30. Six mineworkers died, and 28 others were injured after the bus they were traveling in was set alight on Monday evening. The suspects are expected to appear in the Mecklenburg Magistrate's Court in Limpopo later today. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BankservAfrica processes record 89m transfers in March - ANA () 04/04/18 11:21:00

BANKSERVAFRICA today announced that it had processed a record 89m electronic fund transfers amounting to R847bn in March. BANKSERVAFRICA said most of these were for EFT credit payments, representing 51m in volume and a value R778bn. The payments clearing house said the significant activity can be attributed to SASSA's grant pay-outs that were processed by the Treasury via BANKSERVAFRICA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Boeing shares drop after China tariff news - Adam Samson () 04/04/18 11:21:00

BOEING took a blow today after China said it would hit a series of US-produced products with tariffs. Shares in BOEING shed 5.3% in pre-market trading in New York, after Beijing said it will slap 106 US products, including some aeroplanes, with tariffs. US stock-index futures suggested Wall Street would sustain heavy pressure at the open later today. S&P 500 futures fell 1.4%, while NASDAQ 100 futures shed 1.9%. Futures tracking the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 1.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China Caixin services PMI hits 4-month low - Alice Woodhouse () 04/04/18 11:21:00

Chinese business activity expanded at its slowest pace in four months in Mar. as independent readings for the services and manufacturing sectors dipped. The CAIXIN-MARKIT services PMI dipped to 52.3 in Mar. from 54.2 in Feb., its lowest since Nov. The services sector reported a weaker increase in output and slower growth in new orders in Mar., CAIXIN said. The services gauge, coupled with a reading of 51 for the manufacturing sector, resulted in a composite PMI of 51.8 in Mar., from 53.3 in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 04/04/2018 () 04/04/18 11:21:00

At 11:20 on 04 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.87 Rand/Sterling 16.70 Rand/Euro 14.58 Gold 1342.99 Platinum 921.00 Oil 68.15 All-Share Index 53349.90

Japan services gauge slows to 17-month low - Edward White () 04/04/18 10:50:00

Japan's service sector grew at the slowest pace in 17 months in Mar. amid weak expansion in new business. The NIKKEI Japan services PMI fell to 50.9 in Mar. from 51.7 in Feb. The reading marked the weakest pace of expansion in the services sector since Oct. 2016. "The Japanese service sector lost further momentum during March... New order receipts rose, albeit only slightly and at the softest rate in a year-and-a-half", IHS MARKIT said. The survey showed that "business confidence towards activity over the forthcoming 12 months remained elevated during March". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China announces wide-ranging retaliation for US tariffs - Yuan Yang () 04/04/18 10:50:00

China has said it will impose tariffs on 106 products originating from the US, in response to tariffs on Chinese imports outlined hours earlier by the US. Chinese state television station CCTV said: "The Tariff Commission of the State Council has decided to impose an additional tariff of 25% on 14 categories of 106 products such as soybeans, automobiles, and chemical products originating in the United States. The implementation date will be determined by the implementation of the US government's additional tariffs on Chinese products, and will be announced separately". The price of US maize and soybeans tumbled on the futures market in response to the news. Soybean futures shed 3% while maize for May delivery fell 3.1%, according to Reuters data. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Swiss Re: SoftBank stake not expected to exceed 10% - Edward White () 04/04/18 10:50:00

SWISS RE today said it is still considering an approach from SOFTBANK but that the Japanese group's holding is not expected to be greater than 10%. SWISS RE said it was in talks over a minority investment and that the parties were looking at areas of possible cooperation. But the Swiss group also stressed the talks are still "at an early stage", adding that there is no certainty that any investment or partnership will be agreed. The FT in Feb. reported that the acquisitive Japanese conglomerate was looking to acquire a minority stake of less than 33% in the reinsurer which has a market cap of SFr32bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

John Thain nominated to Deutsche Bank board in shake-up - Olaf Storbeck () 04/04/18 10:50:00

Former MERRILL LYNCH boss JOHN THAIN is poised to join the supervisory board of DEUTSCHE BANK in a major reshuffle of shareholder representatives at the German bank. DEUTSCHE today announced that THAIN, alongside former MORGAN STANLEY banker MAYREE CLARK, IHS MARKIT executive MICHELE TROGNI and PWC EUROPE executive chair NORBERT WINKELJOHANN will be nominated to join the supervisory board. Shareholders will have a vote at the AGM in May. The shake-up is not directly linked to the boardroom tussle between chair PAUL ACHLEITNER and CEO JOHN CRYAN that rocked the bank in the week before the Easter holidays when it was revealed that ACHLEITNER had started an informal search for a new CEO. The four nominees will replace long-term supervisory board members whose five-year terms are expiring as scheduled and who according to DEUTSCHE BANK are not available for re-election. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

White House releases tariff list for Chinese imports - Shawn Donnan () 04/04/18 10:50:00

The TRUMP administration yesterday said it will within weeks begin imposing a 25% tariff on 1 333 products from China, in retaliation for what it says has been decades of state-backed intellectual property theft by Beijing. The list covering imports worth some $50bn last year calls for the most aggressive US trade response to China's actions since the latter joined the WTO in 2001. The list of targeted products ranges from vaccines and other medicines to snowblowers, golf carts, jet engines, guns, agricultural tools and components such as LED lights and video displays that US companies may use as parts. Excluded were consumer products such as clothes and shoes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Spotify shares end debut trading session below opening price - Nicole Bullock () 04/04/18 10:50:00

Shares of SPOTIFY ended their first day of trading at $149.01, a decline of more than 10% from their opening price of $165.90, but still well above where the company was last valued in private transactions. The company began trading on Tuesday on the NYSE via a direct listing, sidestepping the traditional process for an IPO. Because it avoided the trappings of an IPO, it did not have a so-called stabilisation agent, a bank that would typically step in to buy and sell shares to stabilise the price. Even with the decline, the first day of public trading ended with SPOTIFY worth $26.5bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump says US preparing to put military on US-Mexico border - Courtney Weaver () 04/04/18 10:50:00

President DONALD TRUMP yesterday said the US is preparing to put military on the border with Mexico, after days of lashing out against what he called "weak" border laws. TRUMP said he had been in talks with defence secretary JIM MATTIS about putting military guards on the border but did not detail whether he was referring to the National Guard nor how many people would be stationed on the border. "We have very bad laws for our border, and we are going to be doing some things - I've been speaking with General MATTIS - we're going to be doing things militarily", TRUMP said at a meeting with Baltic leaders. "Until we have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military. That's a big step". TRUMP gave no further details. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Activist fund Elliott reveals $1bn stake in Hyundai - Peter Campbell () 04/04/18 10:50:00

ELLIOTT ADVISORS has disclosed a $1bn stake in HYUNDAI MOTROS and its affiliated companies, days after the South Korean group announced moves to simplify its complex corporate structure. ELLIOTT yesterday said it had a "significant shareholding" in HYUNDAI MOTORS, KIA MOTORS and HYUNDAI MOBIS, which are all individual businesses that own shares in each other. Parts business HYUNDAI MOBIS owns 20.8% of HYUNDAI MOTROS, which itself owns 33.9% of KIA. KIA, in turn, owns 16.9% of HYUNDAI MOBIS. "As a major investor, ELLIOTT is pleased that HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP has taken a first step towards an improved and more sustainable corporate structure... While this step is encouraged, more needs to be done to benefit the companies and stakeholders". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone manufacturers confirm slowdown after bumper end to 2017 - Cat Rutter Pooley () 04/04/18 10:50:00

Eurozone factory bosses have provided the latest evidence of punctured momentum for manufacturers, pointing to the third successive month of slowing growth. The headline PMI for the single currency bloc was confirmed at 56.6, down from 58.6 in Feb. and in line with an earlier flash estimate. Purchasing managers reported a "broad growth slowdown... across all nations and manufacturing sub-sectors", according to IHS MARKIT, with "increased signs of supply chain constraints reining in output growth and raising input prices". The March fall was the largest since Jun. 2011, ISH MARKIT chief economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON said. He noted that the overall pace of growth remained "robust by historical standards", though, and the manufacturing sector should still make a "substantial contribution" to overall economic growth in Q1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GPI CEO quits - Fin24 (GPL) 04/04/18 09:14:00

GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS today announced that CEO and executive director TASNEEM KARRIEM has resigned after less than a year at the helm. No reasons were cited for her resignation, which is effective from Apr. 2. Executive chair Dr HASSEN ADAMS will assume the role as acting CEO until a suitable replacement has been appointed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Steinhoff cuts estimated value of major European property portfolio - Jan Cronje (SNH) 04/04/18 09:14:00

STEINHOFF has announced that the true value of real estate interests owned by one of its European subsidiaries may be €1.1bn less than previously calculated. The company said that commercial real estate advisory group CBRE had valued the real estate portfolio of its subsidiary HEMISPHERE INTERNATIONAL PROPERTIES at around €1.1bn. This is half the company's previous estimate of €2.2bn. "The company will consider CBRE's valuations in detail and will work with its auditors to determine the consolidated net book value of the HEMISPHERE portfolio for the purposes of publication of the company's consolidated financial statements for 2017", STEINHOFF said. The HEMISPHERE portfolio comprises around 140 properties across various European countries. Shares in STEINHOFF closed at R3.32 on the JSE yesterday. Two years ago, on Apr. 4 2016, shares in the group were changing hands at around R94/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia partially lifts ban on SA listeriosis-risky goods - Taonga Clifford Mitimingi, Bloomberg () 04/04/18 09:14:00

Zambia says it has partially lifted a ban on processed meat and dairy products from SA that were linked to the listeriosis outbreak. Health minister CHITALU CHILUFYA yesterday said tests of at-risk foods from South African manufacturers did not reveal the presence of the bacteria that caused the deadly outbreak. The import ban will continue to apply on at-risk foods from two units of TIGER BRANDS, Enterprise Foods and the company's Rainbow brand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R awarded further R3.7bn in mining contracts - Anine Kilian (MUR) 04/04/18 09:14:00

MURRAY & ROBERTS has been awarded a further R3.7bn in underground mining projects in the sub-Saharan African, North American and Australasian markets. This follows the company's announcement earlier this year that it had been awarded R3.8bn in new underground mining projects, including diamond, gold, copper, salt and platinum mines, to be delivered over a period of two to three years. M&R has this year been awarded a total of R7.5bn of mining project work, most of which is included in near orders as reported in the company's Dec. 2017 interim results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

4AX acquires RainFin's corporate debt marketplace - Anine Kilian () 04/04/18 09:14:00

Online credit marketplace RAINFIN will sell its corporate debt marketplace to 4 AFRICA EXCHANGE in exchange for a strategic stake in 4AX. 4AX CEO FAY MUKADDAM said the collective value proposition is well positioned to deepen SA's sophisticated debt capital market and expand on the growing sophistication of Africa's debt and loan markets. She said the conclusion of this transaction will allow 4AX to build on the concept of crowdfunding, and a credit marketplace platform pioneered by RAINFIN, and significantly enhance that by bringing the offerings into a regulated world via alignment of the debt instruments issued by the RAINFIN platform and 4AX's listed regulated exchange. The new debt listing offering will launch in Q3 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kibo's acquisition of major stake in Botswana project completed - Marleny Arnoldi (KBO) 04/04/18 09:14:00

KIBO MINING has completed the acquisition of an 85% stake in the Mabesekwa Coal Independent Power Project in Botswana, from SECHABA NATURAL RESOURCES. The project complements KIBO's Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania and is in line with the company's broader strategy to position itself as a strategic regional energy company focused on tackling the acute power shortage in southern Africa. The MCIPP will benefit Mbeya via economies of scale in equipment, execution, project finance and strategic partnerships. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa dealing with Moyane suspension - News24Wire () 04/04/18 09:14:00

Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE yesterday said President CYRIL RAMAMPHOSA is dealing with the suspension of former SARS commissioner TOM MOYANE. SARS collected R1.216tn in tax income revenue for FY2017/18, R0.7bn less than the forecast announced in the Feb. budget. NENE said the slower recovery of consumer confidence had resulted in lower domestic VAT collection. "As a result, domestic VAT grew at a muted level of 4.5%, well below the 8.1% growth seen in the previous year", NENE said. "More concerning, though, is the increasing tendency of business to withhold taxes such as VAT and PAYE, collected on behalf of SARS". Personal income tax accounted for the largest contribution of revenue collection at R462.5bn, followed by VAT at R297.8bn, while company tax and customs added R220.2bn and R49.4bn, respectively. The preliminary figures are still subject to final audit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New vehicle market sees first positive month as March sales rise - Irma Venter () 04/04/18 09:14:00

The domestic new-vehicle market expanded for the first time this year as Mar. new car sales rose 1.1% to 49 233 units y/y. Sales numbers released by the DTI yesterday showed that Mar. passenger car sales gained 3.7% to reach 32 176 units. Sales of new bakkies, minibuses and vans, at 14 701 units, contracted by 2.3%. Sales of medium trucks dropped by 14.6% to 722 units, while sales of new heavy trucks and buses declined by 7.9% to 1 634 units. March export sales, at 27 438 units, contracted by 8.1% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana contract takes heavy toll on Group Five - Irma Venter (GRF) 04/04/18 09:14:00

GROUP FIVE last week said the loss expected for the HY to end-Dec. would be R371m more than the guidance provided in a Mar. 1 trading statement, following continued difficulties at the Kpone project, in Ghana. The company said it expected to post a loss of around 773cps and an HLPS of around 779cps for the HY under review. GROUP FIVE said it had, since that update, received an independent assessment of the time and cost required to complete the Kpone gas- and oil-fired combined cycle power plant project, as well as the claims associated with the venture. The increased loss includes additional resources allocated to the Kpone contract to ensure execution, as well as the cost of specialists, technical advisers and employees who will be on site for longer due to the contract finalisation delay. The final completion date for the Kpone contract has been set as June. Possible delay penalties at the project are capped at $62.5m, representing the gross maximum penalty exposure possible, assuming the group is responsible for a six-month delay in completion of the contract. The company said it had secured up to R650m in short-term bridge funding. Interim results will be published on Apr. 12. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tribunal approves AECI's buyout of Much Asphalt - Simone Liedtke (AFE) 04/04/18 09:14:00

The Competition Tribunal has approved AECI's proposed acquisition of MUCH ASPHALT without conditions, despite the merging parties' vertical relationship. AECI in Oct. said it would acquire MUCH ASPHALT for R2.27bn. The approval followed the Competition Commission's recommendation that the merger be approved without conditions, despite AECI subsidiaries supplying caustic soda and fluxing agents to MUCH ASPHALT's subsidiaries. The Commission found that the deal would not raise any competition concerns, nor would it negatively affect public interests. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Alcoa transfers $555m in Canadian pension obligations, assets to insurers - Henry Lazenby () 04/04/18 08:12:00

ALCOA has signed agreements with three insurers to transfer around $555m in Canadian pension obligations and related assets of its defined benefit pension plans in Canada. The company advised that it expects to book a noncash settlement charge of around $175m during Q2 as a result of the transactions. The move is expected to boost ALCOA's balance sheet and trim its risk to volatility from its pension plan obligations. The transfer of obligations to SUN LIFE FINACNIAL, DESJARDINS FINACIAL SECURITY LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY, and INDUSTRIAL ALLIANCE INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES affects some 2 100 retirees or beneficiaries and will be completed later this month. The insurers will start making benefit payments to the affected plan participants by Jul. and ALCOA said the timing and amounts of retirees' current monthly benefit payments will not change. As part of the contracts, ALCOA will contribute around $95m in mid-Apr. 2018 to facilitate the annuity transaction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Six mineworkers die after their bus is set alight - News24Wire () 04/04/18 08:12:00

Six mineworkers died and 28 others were injured after the bus they were travelling in was set alight outside Driekop, Limpopo, on Monday evening. "Two people who pretended to be mine workers, got onto the bus and set it alight. They then got out and fled", Brigadier MOTLAFELA MOJAPELO said. The six workers who died were burns beyond recognition. The survivors escaped through windows. MOJAPELO said the workers were from Modikwa Platinum Mine in Burgersfort. He added that a reward of R500 000 would be offered to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest and possible conviction of those responsible. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Intermittent industrial action affecting Randgold mine - Simone Liedtke () 04/04/18 08:12:00

Intermittent industrial action by the workforce of RANDGOLD RESOURCES' mining subcontractor is negatively impacting on operations at the company's Tongon mine in Ivory Coast. RANDGOLD yesterday said the subcontractor has been negotiating with its workforce to achieve a resolution and that Tongon management, as well as RANDGOLD executives, are also engaging with the country's Mines Ministry, government and local authorities, who are assisting with the talks. Tongon is currently processing ore from the RoM and scats stockpiles but management said the operation was lagging its production forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana approves drilling at T3 Dome - Marleny Arnoldi () 04/04/18 08:12:00

Botswana's Department of Environmental Affairs has approved the environmental management plan for a drilling campaign to test numerous high-priority targets along the $3 project's 50-km-long T3 Dome. T3 is a JV betweeN MOD RESOURCES and METAL TIGER, and is located in the Kalahari copperbelt. The T3 Dome EMP is subject to a four-week public review period, with drilling planned to start in May, using four drilling rigs, in addition to the three rigs currently drilling at T3. METAL TIGER CEO MICHAEL MCNEILLY said the approval of the EMP is a key development for the JV, opening up an additional 680 km2 of the prospective T3 Dome for drilling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mediclinic announces new CEO - Sandile Mchunu (MEI) 04/04/18 08:12:00

MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL has named Dr RONNIE VAN DER MERWE as the successor to outgoing CEO DANIE MEINTJES. VAN DER MERWE joined MEDICLINIC in 1999 and its executive team in 2008. He is currently the chief clinical officer but will assume his new duties at the start of June. MEINTJES will remain an executive director of the group until the conclusion of the company's AGM on July 25. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADvTECH makes Kenya school acquisition - Business Report (ADH) 04/04/18 08:12:00

ADVTECH yesterday announced further expansion into Kenya and Uganda with the acquisition of nine schools, five campuses and boarding facilities, adding around 4 100 students to its portfolio. ADVTECH's expansion follows the establishment by the group of a new partnership with SCHOLE LTD, which has managed various schools throughout sub-Saharan Africa since 2012. The new partnership would strive to acquire schools across the continent and build a network of institutions known for their academic excellence in the mid-fee segment. In Kenya, ADVTECH is acquiring the MAKINI group of schools, which has eight schools on four campuses in Nairobi and Kisumu and caters to 3 200 students from Grade 0 to 12. In Uganda, the JSE-listed group will continue to manage Kisubu High School, a school in Kampala which provides a child-centered learning experience for more than 900 students. SCHOLE has managed the school since 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ABSA PMI falls in Mar. - Mfuneko Toyana () 04/04/18 08:12:00

SA's seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI fell sharply in Mar. as business activity, new sales and inventories all contracted, with the stronger and hurting exports. The index, compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research, fell to 46.9 in Mar. from 50.8 in Feb., its lowest reading since Dec. "Exports could be affected by the stronger rand exchange rate of late, which can weigh on competitiveness of local goods in international markets. The dip in demand, in turn, filtered through to lower activity levels", the survey said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cradle Arc to boost copper output in Botswana - Barbara Lewis () 04/04/18 08:12:00

Copper producer CRADLE ARC is raising output to 12 000t/year at a Botswana mine it has restarted and is seeking more mining assets in the African nation to take advantage of rising metals prices, CEO KEVIN VAN WOUW said. Output was halted at the Mowana mine in 2015, when copper prices fell. After securing debt funding worth $10m, VAN WOUW said the mine would accelerate development to lift output to 12 000t/y over the next 3-4 months. The goal after that would be 20 000t/y, he added. CRADLE ARC, formerly known as ALECTO MINERALS, relaunched with a listing on London's Aim market in Jan., raising £5.65m to support the Mowana mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sagarmatha eyes $4bn valuation - Tiisetso Motsoeneng () 04/04/18 08:12:00

SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES LTD is targeting a valuation of more than $4bn in Johannesburg's first IPO of an e-commerce company. The company said it plans to raise R7.5bn in a share placement of 189.3m shares at R39.62 apiece. Investors are to include co-founder JOM ROGERS of hedge fund QUANTUM. ROGERS has agreed to buy between R100m and R150m worth of shares, while HAROLD DOLEY has given a similar undertaking. The placement values the Cape Town-based company at nearly R50bn, underpinned by one of SA's largest newspaper offerings that include The Star and The Sunday Independent. The listing, pencilled in for Friday, would reduce the stake of top shareholder SEKUNJALO INVESTMENTS to as little as 60% from 73% at present. It would also give investors an alternative to NASPERS. SAGARMATHA said it would use the funds it hopes to raise from the sale of the 15% stake in the IPO to scale up its existing platforms, buy new ones, pay down debt and roll out regional offices in east Africa. The company posted a loss before tax of R36m in FY2016 on revenue of R188.4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 04/04/2018 () 04/04/18 08:12:00

At 08:12 on 04 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.81 Rand/Sterling 16.65 Rand/Euro 14.50 Gold 1335.10 Platinum 918.50 Oil 68.15 All-Share Index 54864.79

China slams US trade action, to retaliate on same scale - Reuters () 04/04/18 08:11:00

China yesterday condemned the US announcement of tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese imports and vowed to "take corresponding measures of equal scale and strength against US products. Beijing said it strongly condemns and firmly opposes the unfounded Section 301 investigation and the proposed list of products and tariff increases based on the probe. "As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to reciprocate. The Chinese side will resort to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and take corresponding measures of equal scale and strength against US products in accordance with Chinese law". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo suspends key iron ore operation - Neil Hume (AGL) 03/04/18 11:02:00

ANGLO AMERICAN has suspended operations at its Minas Rio business in Brazil for around 90 days due to further problems with an export pipeline. The miner said it had taken the decision in order to conduct a full inspection of a pipeline that carries the ore, in slurry form, to a port 530km away. This followed the discovery of a second leak in the pipeline. "Specialised technical equipment will now be used to identify any other areas of potential weakness within the pipeline", ANGLO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Humana jumps on reports of Walmart takeover - James Fontanella-Khan () 03/04/18 11:02:00

HUMANA rose as much as 8.1% yesterday following media reports that the health insurer was in early-stage talks to be acquired by WALMART. The talks are very preliminary and have focused on a variety of options ranging from a partnership that would keep the two companies independent to a full-blown combination, sources said. HUMANA currently has a market cap of $39bn but analysts said it could be sold at a much higher valuation. Analysts estimated that WALMART would have to pay close to $50bn to acquire HUMANA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon sinks on Trump broadside - Peter Wells () 03/04/18 11:02:00

AMAZON shares sank more than 4% in morning trade yesterday after DONALD TRUMP took another swipe at the ecommerce giant. TRUMP took to Twitter decrying that the US POST OFFICE loses money to AMAZON and that the domestic retail environment was "not a level playing field", owing to the tax treatment AMAZON receives. The US president vowed to change the situation, following up from tweets last week in which he reiterated his displeasure with the firm. AMAZON shares were down 3.9% at $1391.33, a seven-week low, and had been down as much as 4.5%. They are now down 13% from their Mar. 12 record high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China manufacturing data mixed - Edward White () 03/04/18 11:02:00

China's official manufacturing PMI lifted to 51.5 in Mar., up from 50.3 m/m. It was ahead of forecasts of 50.5 from a Reuters poll of economists. However, a survey of private and smaller companies in China showed a less positive picture. The CAIXIN PMI dipped to 51.0 from 51.6 in Feb. The data showed production and total new orders expanded at the softest rate in four months, amid weaker than expected demand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Japan manufacturing growth cools in March - Edward White () 03/04/18 11:02:00

Growth in Japan's manufacturing sector fell for a second consecutive month in Mar. despite improvements in output and new orders. The NIKKEI manufacturing PMI fell to 53.1 in Mar., down from 54.1 m/m but still well ahead of the 50-point line separating growth from contraction. The overall picture remains upbeat, with new orders expanding in each of the last 18 survey months and the survey showing the second fastest rate of output price inflation since Oct. 2008. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta to take up to $600m impairment charge on Goa closure - Neil Hume () 03/04/18 11:02:00

VEDANTA RESOURCES has warned investors that it is likely to take an impairment charge of up to $600m on its iron ore business. Earlier this year, India's Supreme Court ordered a halt to all mining in the state of Goa, which is home to some of the country's most beautiful coastline. In light of that decision, VEDANTA said it would likely have to record a non-cash charge of $500m-$600m net of taxes. It said the closure of the iron ore business in Goa would not have any material impact on the group's profitability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Louis Dreyfus to lead bailout of Biosev - Emiko Terazono () 03/04/18 11:02:00

LOUIS DREYFUS GROUP has agreed to underwrite a $1.45bn recapitalisation of its struggling Brazilian sugar subsidiary BIOSEV. Under the proposed deal, the LOUIS DREYFUS group of companies will contribute $1.05bn to a capital increase and minority shareholders are asked to contribute a further $400m. If the cash call is approved by shareholders, BIOSEV's lenders have agreed to extend the repayment period for $1.1bn of debt by five years and reduce the interest rate payable. BIOSEV's shares have fallen more than 70% since they were listed at R$15/share on the Sao Paulo bourse in 2013, and are down 20% in the past year. LOUIS DREYFUS group's $1.05bn contribution will consist of the conversion of around $800m of cash-for-crop loans into equity and a $250m capital injection. This will help strengthen the financial position of BIOSEV, which had negative equity at the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German retail sales slide - Katie Martin () 03/04/18 11:02:00

German retail sales fell by 0.7% in Feb. m/m, a big miss from the 0.6% gain expected by analysts. That left sales up by 1.3% on the year, below the 2.2% expected. The figures form an odd contrast with consumer confidence, which appears to be in full flow, but also come after signs of greater caution among German businesses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

UK manufacturing keeps up optimism and activity - PMI - Chris Giles () 03/04/18 11:01:00

Britain's manufacturing sector maintained its recent brisk activity levels in Mar. with the IHS MARKIT PMI coming in at 55.1, up a touch from 55 in Feb. Manufacturing has been growing at a rapid pace, buoyed by strong growth in Continental Europe and the relative weakness of sterling, and it has been one of the strongest sectors in the UK economy over the past year. IHS MARKIT director ROB DOBSON said the combination of higher output with weaker orders represented a "softer patch" for the sector over the coming months. "Business optimism is holding steady at an elevated level, with over 54% of companies expecting output to expand over the coming 12 months", DOBSON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

RBA holds interest rates at 1.5% - Edward White () 03/04/18 11:01:00

Australia's central bank opted to hold interest rates today, as forecast by economists. The Reserve Bank of Australia held its cash rate target at 1.5% at its April meeting, in line with economists' predictions compiled by Reuters. The bank last cut rates in Aug. 2016. "The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. Further progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target is expected, although this progress is likely to be gradual", RBA governor PHILIP LOWE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Disney offers to buy Sky News to ease fears over Murdoch influence - Matthew Garrahan () 03/04/18 11:01:00

WALT DISNEY has offered to buy SKY NEWS as a condition of RUPERT MURDOCH's planned £11.7bn takeover of SKY in a move that aims to ease political and regulatory fears that the deal would give the mogul too much influence over the UK media market. The commitment is one of two proposals that 21ST CENTURY FOX and DISNEY hope will lead to the regulatory approval of FOX's bid to take full control of SKY. FOX owns 39% of SKY but it plans to take full control have run into regulatory quicksand. The Competition and Markets Authority has signalled to FOX that it is not inclined to recommend the deal to MATT HANCOCK, the UK culture secretary who will ultimately block or approve it, unless FOX can guarantee that it will not give MURDOCH and his family influence over SKY NEWS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom rolls out plan to tackle bloated workforce - Renee Bonorchis, Bloomberg () 03/04/18 09:36:00

After a decade of unprecedented growth in staff numbers, ESKOM is finally tackling the issue of its bloated headcount. The utility employed around 47 600 people as of Mar. 2017, compared with 32 600 a decade ago. "We are currently rolling out a plan to manage our employee numbers to optimal levels... We have implemented numerous levers to manage employee costs ranging from not replacing all attrition, efficiently managing variable employee costs, to re-prioritise training and development", ESKOM said. A World Bank study in 2016 found that South African utilities pay workers more than double the norm in 35 other countries on the continent, with staff costs coming in at an average $61 000 per employee per year. ESKOM is potentially overstaffed by 66%, the report added. Management will have to scrap between 13 000 and 15 000 jobs, OUTA CEO WAYNE DUVENAGE said. "If ESKOM gets its headcount right and removes the unnecessary higher-paid positions, it should be able to cut its annual salary bill by R10bn". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IDC loans R190m to firm to buy stake in Vantage Goldfields - Sizwe Sama Yende, City Press () 03/04/18 09:36:00

A local company has signed a R190m loan with the IDC to acquire a 74% stake in VANTAGE GOLDFIELDS SA to reopen two Mpumalanga mines. SIYAKHULA SONKE EMPOWERMENT CORPORATION FLAMING SILVER signed the loan deal on Thursday afternoon. The agreement will enable SSC to reopen the Lily and Barbrook mines in Mpumalanga, which were shut down and later placed under business rescue in 2016. VANTAGE GOLDFIELDS was forced to close down the Lily mine when the entrance to its shaft collapsed in Feb. 2016. According to the business rescue plan, VANTAGE GOLDFIELDS needs R310m to reopen the two mines. Lily needs a new shaft, while Barbrook will be able to resume production immediately. Business rescue practitioner ROB DEVEREUX said SCC would contribute the difference of R120m and get the mines back into operation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Foreign Fund Framework ready for public comment - Khulekani Magubane () 03/04/18 09:36:00

Treasury has given the general public a month to comment on its newly published Foreign Member Funds Framework, declared by Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE last Wednesday. The framework is expected to be instrumental in bolstering SA's stature as the gateway into Africa for foreign member fund investment. It also gives expression to greater protection and regulation of hedge funds and equities. "The proposed foreign member funds framework aims to create a favourable regulatory environment that will facilitate the flow of foreign capital through South Africa and thereby make it seamless and attractive for foreign funds to be managed and invested into the rest of the continent and beyond through South Africa", Treasury said. It said the framework will be piloted via the collective investment infrastructure under the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act. Section 63 of the act empowers the minister to declare a specific type of business to be a collective investment scheme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom says plants run low on coal as Gupta mines undersupply - Bloomberg () 03/04/18 09:36:00

ESKOM last week said it is running low on coal at six stations as mines owned by the GUPTA family failed to meet their contractual supply obligations. While the utility said there's sufficient stockpiles at most of its power stations, the operational issue comes as it faces substantial financial difficulties of its own. "Currently, stockpiles at six stations, Arnot, Camden, Hendrina, Majuba, Tutuka and Komati, are low", ESKOM said. Additional coal contracts for all stations "are being concluded and will add to the current supply". The utility said it will follow the remedies as per the coal supply agreements to address undersupply. "The utility is awaiting the finalisation of the business rescue plan". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NERSA to make earlier decision on ESKOM RCA applications - Marleny Arnoldi () 03/04/18 09:36:00

NERSA has moved forward public hearings into ESKOM's regulating clearing account applications for 2014/15 to 2016/17. Public hearings will now start on Apr. 16 and continue until May 14, compared with the previous timeline of May 7 to 25. NERSA's electricity subcommittee will on Jun. 14 consider draft reasons with the regulator to announce a decision on the RCA applications on Jun. 21. The regulator had previously expected to make a decision on Aug. 29. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CompCom approves Amsteds acquisition of Scaw Cast Products - Marleny Arnoldi () 03/04/18 09:36:00

The Competition Commission has approved the proposed acquisition by AMSTED RAIL COMPANY of CAST PRODUCTS SA. CAST PRODUCTS SA is a company incorporated by the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to which SCAW SA's cast products division will be transferred prior to the proposed deal with AMSTED. The Commission approved the proposed deal on condition that the merged entity may not, as a result of the merger, retrench any workers in SA for 18 months after the implementation date of the merger. Additionally, any employees of the merging parties that may be retrenched following the 18-month period shall be the first to be offered employment if vacancies arise within the merged entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Randgold's dividend growth shows financial strength - CFO - Marleny Arnoldi () 03/04/18 09:36:00

RANDGOLD RESOURCES is continuing to hunt for its next world-class gold deposit, through the expansion of exploration programmes in West and Central Africa as well as the evaluation of its next potential mine project in Senegal. Irrespective of any new projects, CEO MARK BRISTOW on Thursday said the group would remain profitable at a long-term gold price of $1 000/oz, while generating cash to support investments and continuing to reward shareholders with dividends. The company has increased its dividends by 1 900% between 2006 and 2017. CFO GRAHAM SHUTTLEWORTH said the sustained dividend growth validated the business model and reflected the profitability and financial strength of the company, which at 2017 year-end had net cash of more than $700m and no debt. RANDGOLD said it intended to maintain a net cash position at around $500m, to fund new growth opportunities and that any surplus capital would be returned to investors. The board has recommended the doubling of 2016's $1/share dividend to $2/share for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Goldplat completes installation of Ghana elution plant - Marleny Arnoldi () 03/04/18 09:36:00

GOLDPLAT's GOLD RECOVERY GHANA subsidiary has completed the installation and commissioning of an elution plant and all associated ancillary equipment at its gold recovery site in Tema, Ghana. When GRG's Ghanaian licence to buy and deal gold was renewed in Dec. 2016, one of the requirements was that an elution plant be installed into production by Jun. 30 this year. "Having the infrastructure to elute and smelt on site in Ghana not only fulfils the requirements set out in the licence renewal, but it makes economic sense for GRG, GOLDPLAT and the local community", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore signs loan refinancing - Reuters (GLN) 03/04/18 09:36:00

GLENCORE has signed $9.09bn of loans to refinance its existing short-term revolving credit facilities, the company said on Thursday. The facilities replace GLENCORE's existing $7.34bn one-year revolving credit facility agreed in May 2017. The financing launched at $6bn and closed oversubscribed, raising $9.7bn from the market after receiving robust support from the company's group of existing banks. The new facilities are unsecured and include a 12-month extension option and a 12-month borrower's term-out option, extending the final maturity out to May 2020. The facilities have no financial covenants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kore Potash lists on JSE, Aim - Marleny Arnoldi (KP2) 03/04/18 09:36:00

Potash exploration and development company KORE POTASH on Thursday listed on the JSE and the LSE's Aim through a concurrent secondary listing of its ordinary shares. The listings are in addition to the company's primary listing on the ASX and follows KORE's redomicile to the UK in 2017. KORE chair DAVID HATHORNE said the secondary listings will raise the company's international profile and the market's general awareness of KORE. The company's Kola project, located within KORE's 97%-owned Sintoukola potash project in the DRC, is its flagship project. KORE has a gross JORC-compliant combined, measured, indicated and inferred potash mineral resource of 5.95mt at an average grade of 22% potassium chloride, hosted in the Kola and Dougo deposits. A definitive feasibility study for Kola is at an advanced stage and is scheduled for completion in Q2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlatsa headline loss widens - Anine Kilian (ATL) 03/04/18 08:04:00

ATLATSA RESOURCES' HLPS widened to $0.16/share for the FY to end-Dec., compared with a loss of $0.08 y/y. ATLATSA on Thursday said revenue fell by 28.4% y/y to $116.5m, due to a decrease of 34.6% in PGM ounces produced, and a 3.3% drop in the average platinum price per ounce. ATLATSA had placed its Bokoni mine on care and maintenance in Oct. 2017, resulting in PGM production having decreased to 104 084oz in 2017, compared with the 159 241oz produced in 2016. The basic and diluted LPS was $0.36, from $0.08 y/y. Total capex for FY2017 was $40.3m, compared with $25.2m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Noble makes another $2.5m available to Resgen - Anine Kilian (RSG) 03/04/18 08:04:00

RESOURCE GENERATION has signed a further extension of its facility agreement with NOBLE RESOURCES to borrow a further $2.5m. The total facility made available to the company is now $34.7m. NOBLE is funding RESGEN while the latter seeks to raise cash to build the 6mt/y Boikarabelo mine in Limpopo. The additional funds would be made available to RESGEN subsidiary LEDJADJA COAL in monthly tranches until Jul. 31. RESGEN said its initial facility of $20m was repayable in instalments beginning on Aug. 1, with a termination date of Dec. 31 2024. The additional funds would be repaid from the proceeds of the first drawdown of any facility agreement for any project financing for Boikarabelo. RESGEN reported that potential funders of the mine had started their various credit approval processes. RESGEN said it expected to hear from two of the parties in the first week of Apr. and that a third party had indicated it would only conclude its credit process by end-Apr. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Codelco says copper output, profit up in 2017 - Reuters () 03/04/18 08:04:00

CODELCO on Thursday said it produced 1.73mt of copper in 2017, its second highest output ever, despite persistently low ore grades at its aging mines. The copper miner posted a 2017 pretax profit of $2.88bn, a six-fold rise y/y, even as output costs jumped 7.8% to $1.359/lb of copper. CEO NELSON PIZARRO said a sharp rise in copper prices in 2017 assured a healthy profit despite only a 1.5% rise in output over the previous year. PIZARRO said he expected copper prices to be slightly under $3/lb for 2018, but added that a looming global supply shortage could see prices rise in 2019. CODELCO is striving to produce slightly more than 1.7mt of copper in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Adani said to delay Australia coal shipment, eyes deals - Bloomberg () 03/04/18 08:04:00

ADANI ENTERPRISES LTD will miss its original deadline to start shipping thermal coal from one of the world's biggest planned mines due to funding difficulties, even as it eyes export deals with Asian companies. The company has abandoned a 2020 target date to begin mining coal from the Carmichael project in Queensland, Australia, after failing to obtain up to A$3bn of funds from lenders by a Mar. deadline. It now expects first production to be delayed by up to a year, a source said. As the firm explores new funding avenues, it's also considering deals in China, Vietnam and Taiwan as it seeks more customers for its coal to bolster revenue for the project. A huge chunk of ADANI's targeted 27.5mt of coal from the first phase of production at Carmichael could be supplied to buyers in those three countries, a source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Phumelela's strategy leads to winning game - Sandile Mchunu (PHM) 03/04/18 08:04:00

PHUMELELA GAMING AND LEISURE said cost-cutting measures and diversification strategies it undertook in 2017 had begun to pay dividends. CEO RIAN DU PLESSIS said a voluntary retrenchment programme was completed within budget and the management structure had been changed to reflect the way the company is managed. Diversification from its traditional horse racing business to betting operations, media operations and administrative and support services. Last year, the company acquired 50% of SUPABETS HOLDINGS for R437m and 51% of AFRIBET. Last week, PHUMELELA said the acquisitions boosted its normalised headline earnings by 52% to R102.5m during the HY to end-Jan., while normalised HEPS increased 12% to 100.82cps. The board declared an interim cash dividend from income reserves of 42cps, up by 24% on the 34cps paid y/y. Betting operations contributed 68% to the group's earnings, while the media unit netted PHUMELELA 29%. Consolidated net income rose by 4% to R808.7m, of which local income accounted for 80%. Operating expenses rose by 5% to R752.2m, including the R27.1m voluntary retrenchment programme expense. Operating profit fell by 19% to R20.2m, including the voluntary retrenchment programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sagarmatha to list on JSE - Business Report () 03/04/18 08:04:00

SAGARMATHA TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED, an integrated multi-sided platform tech company, is scheduled to list on the main board of the JSE within the next two weeks. It will be listed as SAGARMATH with the share code SGT within the media sector. SAGARMATHA has identified key strategic points for citizen growth and knowledge empowerment within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as it rolls out across Africa. The listing is contingent on raising a minimum amount of R3 000 000 000. In order to provide the company with additional capital to fund its further expansion, it will, alongside the listing, undertake a private placement involving an offer to invited investors to subscribe for up to 189 298 334 ordinary no par value shares in the company at R39.62/share, thereby raising R7.5bn. SAGARMATHA has 14 verticals as component parts of its ecosystem that are inter-dependent on each other yet amplify the value proposition of the overall group. The company owns 83.3% of LOOT ONLINE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

African Bank names new CEO - Kabelo Khumalo () 03/04/18 08:04:00

AFRICAN BANK last week announced the appointment of BASANI MALULEKE as its new CEO with effect from Apr. 1. Former CEO BRIAN RILEY retired from the company on Mar. 31. AFRICAN BANK chair LOUIS VON ZEUNER said the board looked forward to working with MALULEKE in her capacity as CEO. "Basani has been an integral part of AFRICAN BANK''s turnaround since her appointment as a non-executive in July 2015 and subsequent transition to the executive team on 3 July 2017, serving as Group Executive for Operations", VON ZEUNER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Feb. credit demand growth quickens - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 03/04/18 08:04:00

Growth in private sector credit demand in SA rose to 5.74% in Feb. from 5.54% in Jan., Reserve Bank data showed on Thursday. Expansion in the M3 measure of money supply quickened to 6.89%, from 5.83% m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nampak in talks to sell glass business - Tanisha Heiberg (NPK) 03/04/18 08:04:00

NAMPAK is selling its struggling glass business to ensure the long-term profitability of the business and address an operational skills gap, it said last week. The company has approached potential buyers for the division, which suffered a 40% contraction in trading profit in the year to end-Sep. "Exploratory discussions have been held with a number of strategic players with a formal corporate finance disposal process currently in progress", the company said. NAMPAK in Nov. said it was recruiting internationally to bolster its glass-making skills and appointed specialist consultants to address production challenges and an operational skills gap. "Progress, however, has not been as fast as desired and this business is expected to make a loss for the half year to March 2018 due to lower than targeted operational efficiencies resulting from insufficient technical skills", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gold Fields ties up with Asanko in Ghana - Tanisha Heiberg (GFI) 03/04/18 08:04:00

GOLD FIELDS will buy a near 50% stake of ASANKO GOLD's Ghana subsidiary and take a share in the Canadian miner in a $202.6m deal announced last week. Investors were cautious, questioning whether the JV would make a return any time soon and sending GOLD FIELDS' shares down nearly 6%. GOLD FIELDS said that as well as acquiring half of ASNKO GOLD GHANA's 90% stake in the Asanko Gold Mine, its Ghana subsidiary will also acquire associated properties and exploration rights in the African country. The deal includes and upfront payment of $165m on closure of the deal and a deferred payment of $20m. GOLD FIELDS' subsidiary will also take a 9.9% stake in ASANKO for $17.6m in a share placement. GOLD FIELDS said the deal fit with its strategy to improve its portfolio by lowering all-in costs and extending mines' lifespans to enhance cash generation. The Asanko mine is expected to produce 253 000oz of gold annually from 2019 to 2023 with a life-of-mine of at least 15 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's trade balance swings to surplus in Feb. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 03/04/18 07:16:00

SA's trade balance swung to a R431m surplus in Feb. following a R27bn deficit in Jan., SARS data showed on Thursday. Exports rose by 12% to R90.6bn on a m/m basis in Feb., while imports contracted by 16.5% to R90.2bn, the revenue service said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Botswana's GDP growth accelerates in Q4 - Justin George Varghese () 03/04/18 07:16:00

Botswana's economy expanded 5.5% q/q in Q4 2017 following a 1% contraction in the previous three months, statistics office data showed on Thursday. On a y/y basis, GDP grew by 6.5% after expanding by 1.% in the prior quarter. Botswana's economy is expected to expand at a faster pace in 2018 compared to last year as the mining sector is benefitting from a recovery in the global economy, Finance Minister KENNETH MATAMBO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Miners propose DRC sliding royalty scale to resolve row - Julia Payne () 03/04/18 07:16:00

International mining firms on Thursday proposed a sliding scale for royalty rates on key commodities mined in the DRC as an alternative to a windfall tax. The mining industry said the sliding scale, whereby royalties due to the government move in line with the commodity price, would give the country an immediately higher share of revenues at current prices than what the new mining code stipulates. The industry added that its proposal addressed the 10-year stability clause, state guarantees and mining conventions, without providing details. The country's new mining code strips away a 2002 stability clause protecting existing investments from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years, opens the door for cobalt royalties to rise five-fold and introduces a 50% windfall tax on profits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Namibia drops into recession as construction, retail slump - Nyasha Nyaungwa () 03/04/18 07:16:00

Namibia is in recession after its economy contracted in the final two quarters of 2017, dragged down by the construction and retail sectors, the statistics office said on Thursday. GDP contracted 1.0% y/y in Q4 after a 1.0% drop in Q3. For 2017 as a whole, GDP fell 0.8% versus growth of 0.7% in the previous year. The statistics agency said construction contracted partly due to a drop in investment in mining, while hotels and restaurants also struggled. Agriculture and mining output both grew. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ATON raises stake in M&R - Tanisha Heiberg (MUR) 03/04/18 07:16:00

Germany's ATON on Thursday said it had raised its stake in MURRAY & ROBERTS to 33.1% as it seeks to takeover the South African group. ATON said after market close that it had agreed to buy 13 671 480 ordinary shares in M&R for R15 apiece. It did not say from whom it had made the purchase. The shares closed at R13.80 on the day, up 2.2%. ATON added that it had also agreed to buy a further 29 005 926 shares from ALLAN GRAY, M&R's third largest stakeholder, for R15, which would further raise its stake to 39.6%. M&R earlier rejected ATON's buyout offer as "opportunistic" and poor value. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SAA losses snowball, state outlines revival - Tiisetso Motsoeneng () 03/04/18 07:16:00

SAA's net loss more than trebled to R5.6bn in FY2016/17, CEO VUYANI JARANA said last week. JARANA told a news conference on Thursday that SAA expected to break even by 2021 and that it was in talks with unions about reducing staff costs. Selling a stake in the airline to an equity partner was around two years away, he added. Last week the Treasury said selling 49% of SAA was a theoretical example of how the government could narrow the budget deficit. Finance Minister NHLANHLA NENE told the same news conference that the turnaround strategy would include a review of SAA's fleet and loss-making routes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA court dismisses bid to block $4.7n renewables deal - Alexander Winning () 03/04/18 07:16:00

The North Gauteng High Court on Thursday dismissed a bid to block $4.7bn in renewable power contracts, and energy ministry spokesperson said, removing an obstacle to the first major investment deal under President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA. The last-minute challenge was lodged earlier in the month by trade union NUMSA and Transform RSA, a group which has lobbied for former president JACOB ZUMA in the past. It was opposed by the Department of Energy and ESKOM, which had been due to sign 27 deals with IPPs. The court last week ruled that NUMSA and Transform RSA's legal application was not urgent and should be set aside. The parties had argued that the deals would result in job losses in the coal sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Listeria class action filed against Tiger Brands - Ed Cropley (TBS) 03/04/18 07:16:00

A class action lawsuit was filed last week against TIGER BRANDS after one of the group's food factories was linked to a listeria outbreak that has killed around 180 people since early 2017. Human rights advocate RICHARD SPOOR filed the suit on behalf of families affected by the outbreak. "Their fingerprints are all over this outbreak", SPOOR said. TIGER BRANDS last month said it had received notice of two class action suits against the firm, with the total amount claimed against the company estimated at R425m. At the time, TIGER BRANDS CFO NOEL DOYLE said the company had yet to calculate the total financial impact of the suits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria's forex reserves up 9% in Mar. - Chijioke Ohuocha () 03/04/18 07:16:00

Nigeria's forex reserves stood at $46.2bn as of Mar. 28, up 8.8% m/m, central bank data showed on Saturday. Successful debt sales have helped the government accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves, although they remain far form the peak of $64bn in Aug. 2008. The government raised $2.5bn in eurobonds in Feb. and expects ore to follow. Nigeria's forex buffer has climbed 53% since Mar. 2017, when it stood at $30.30bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 03/04/2018 () 03/04/18 07:15:00

At 07:16 on 03 April 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.81 Rand/Sterling 16.61 Rand/Euro 14.55 Gold 1337.30 Platinum 929.00 Oil 67.51 All-Share Index 55474.52

Eskom lashes out at Nersa over tariff proposal - Khulekani Magubane () 29/03/18 10:35:00

ESKOM has told Parliament's energy portfolio committee that NERSA's decision on a tariff proposal for the utility was based on a number of assumptions which will leave it worse off after difficult economic times. ESKOM wanted a 19.9% tariff hike for 2018/19, but NERSA granted a 5.23% increase in Dec. The regulator also proposed a 6.84% increase for municipalities supplying residents with ESKOM power - ESKOM had wanted 19.9%. ESKOM acting CFO CALIB CASSIM said the regulator should take into account current coal costs and the utility's current contracts to make a meaningful consideration when setting tariffs. CASSIM said NERSA was shifting the goal posts for the utility's spending and income, making it more difficult for ESKOM to make its own pertinent projections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MPs resolve to subpoena Jooste - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 29/03/18 10:35:00

Parliament's joint committees have agreed to follow a process to subpoena former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE after he declined an invitation to appear before them. The committees on finance, public accounts, trade and industry and public service and administration yesterday discussed how they would pursue JOOSTE. His legal team wrote to the committees excusing their client. Among the reasons JOOSTE will not appear before Parliament was that he believes he will not be able to provide meaningful assistance to the committees now that he has resigned from STEINHOFF. JOOSTE's lawyers also raised concerns that his appearance before the committees could undermine his right to a fair trial - he is under investigation by the HAWKS. YUNUS CARRIM, chair of the standing committee on finance, said JOOSTE's reason that he could not appear before the committees because he is no longer with STEINHOFF was unacceptable. CARRIM confirmed that a process to launch a subpoena will begin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Deutsche Bank CEO insists he is staying put - Olaf Storbeck () 29/03/18 10:34:00

DEUTSCHE BANK CEO JOHN CRYAN sought to quell "widespread rumours" about his potential replacement, saying he remains "absolutely committed to serving our bank". In a note sent to DEUTSCHE staff yesterday, a day after the FT reported that the bank had started an informal search for a successor, CRYAN said: "I am absolutely committed to serving our bank and to continuing down the path on which we started some three years ago". The FT reported that the group has started an informal process to find a successor for CRYAN amid mounting boardroom unrest and shareholder discontent over the bank's performance. "The supervisory board is shocked by the events and the leadership performance over the last four to five months", a person close to one senior supervisory board member said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB cuts interest rates to 2-yr low - Joseph Cotterill () 29/03/18 10:34:00

The SARB yesterday cut interest rates to their lowest level in two years. The Monetary Policy Committee voted to cut the benchmark rate by 25 bps to 6.5%, after judging that inflation will remain low while growth revives faster than expected, the SARB said. "There was some room to provide further accommodation without undermining the inflation trajectory or the downward trend in inflation expectations", SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said. Inflation is currently at a three-year low. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto not part of Mongolian bribery probe - Neil Hume () 29/03/18 10:34:00

RIO TINTO is not part of a bribery investigation that has been launched by Swiss prosecutors into the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia. In a letter seen by the FT, the Swiss Office of the Attorney-General said its probe was not directed against RIO. "Currently, the investigation is directed neither against your client nor against any of client's employees", the letter reads. The OAG is conducting a criminal probe into a frozen Swiss bank account that he Mongolian Anti-Corruption Authority says could have been used to pay a bribe. RIO controls Oyu Tolgoi Canadian-listed TURQUOISE HILL. Earlier this month, TURQUOISE HILL said it had received a request for information from the MACA in connection with the "possible abuse of power by authorised officials" during the negotiation of the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement. At the time the deal was signed nine years ago RIO owned a 10% stake in TURQUOISE HILL, which was then called IVANHOE MINES. RIO later raised its stake to 51% and now operates the mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US GDP growth rate revised up to 2.9% in Q4 - Pan Kwan Yuk () 29/03/18 10:34:00

The US economy expanded at a faster clip in Q4 2017 than initially thought, data showed yesterday as consumer spending increased more than previously estimated. Real GDP rose at an annualised rate of 2.9% in the last three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said. That compares to the first two readings of 2.6% and 2.5%, and topped analysts' forecasts for growth of 2.7%. For the whole of 2017, the US economy grew by 2.3% compared to 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Shire shares rocket as Takeda considers offer - Adam Samson () 29/03/18 10:34:00

TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL yesterday said it is "considering making an approach" to buy Irish drugmaker SHIRE. The Japanese company said its consideration is still "at a preliminary and exploratory stage and no approach has been made to the board of SHIRE". SHIRE shares in London surged by more than a fifth on the news, valuing the group's equity at around £34.9bn. Even though TADEDA had yet to formally approach SHIRE's board, the Japanese group took a decision to confirm its interest and also spell out to its own shareholders the rationale for such a bid, while also reminding them that it would be disciplined about the process. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

German factories 'increasingly cautious' on hiring - Ifo - Adam Samson () 29/03/18 10:34:00

German manufactures are taking a more cautious approach to hiring, according to data from the Ifo Institute that underscore the weakening of sentiment in that country's factory sector. The Institute's employment barometer tracking the sector slipped to 10.8 in Mar., from 12.3 m/m, and a recent high in Dec. of 17.5. Factories are "increasingly cautious about taking on more staff", Ifo said in a report issued yesterday. Its broader gauge clocked in at 112.4 in Mar. from 113.5 in Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's SA rating spills over to municipal outlooks - Fin24 () 29/03/18 10:34:00

MOODY's yesterday confirmed the long-term global scale rating of 10 regional and local governments with stable outlooks. The ratings agency confirmed the global scale ratings for the 10 regional and local governments due to the sector's financial and operational links with the sovereign. MOODY's upgraded the national scale rating of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality to from, citing its persistently low debt levels and strong liquidity profile relative to other rated peers in the country. MOODy's confirmed the global scale short-term ratings of Prime-3 for the Cities of Cape Town, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg. As for the City of Cape Town, MOODY's assigned a negative outlook related to the city's ability to avoid "Day Zero". It noted that revenue from water and sanitation sales, which has already declined by 5% in the current FY, will be further impacted if Day Zero does happen. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's again downgrades Eskom - Liezel Hill, Bloomberg () 29/03/18 10:34:00

ESKOM yesterday had its credit rating downgraded by MOODY's, which cited a lack of clarity regarding the utility's plans to stabilise its finances. ESKOM's long-term corporate family rating was cut to B2 from B1, five notches below investment grade. "Despite a number of improvements at the company in relation to its corporate governance and liquidity, there is limited visibility at this juncture as to ESKOM's plans for placing its longer term business and financial position on a sustainable footing". The rating also accounts for "the lack of any tangible financial support for the utility in the Feb. Budget, and the liquidity and funding challenges ESKOM may continue to face. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SCA dismisses Gigaba's appeal agaisnt Oppenheimers' VIP terminal - News24Wire () 29/03/18 08:37:00

Home Affairs Minister MALUSI GIGABA's bid to overturn his own decision to let FIREBLADE AVIATION OPPENHEIMER operate a private VIP terminal at OR Tambo International Airport was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday. "The minister cannot rely on his own unlawful attempt to circumvent the decision he had lawfully made to grant FIREBLADE's application", Judge MALCOLM WALLIS said, dismissing the appeal with costs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Basil Read outlines turnaround plan - Irma Venter (BSR) 29/03/18 08:37:00

BASIL READ remains a viable business despite its auditors noting their apprehension regarding the company's ability to continue as a going concern, CEO KHATHUTSHELO MAPASA said yesterday. Auditors PwC noted in the company's annual results that there was "material uncertainty on the timing of the cash flows that may cast significant doubt on the group's ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, the company may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course". MAPASA said the board and management "believed it could pull off its plan" to return the business to profitability. BASIL READ would focus in 2018 on delivering "cash liquidity into the business and be profitable". MAPASA added that the business rescue plan was "not part" of the auditor's statement. The company posted a net loss after tax of R1bn for the FY to end-Dec., as a result of a number of loss-making legacy contracts, the write-off of goodwill in the roads division and reversal of deferred tax assets in loss-making entities. At year-end, the company's current liabilities, at R2.1bn, exceeded current assets at R1.4bn, and the group's cash had decreased to R126.4m. Its order book stood at R12.6bn at end-Dec., with at least R3.5bn of this stretching over an eight-year period. The turnaround plan included a debt standstill agreement with funders and guarantors, the sale of noncore assets, raising new capital and securing new profitable projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EOH grows revenue, but profit falls in H1 - Schalk Burger (EOH) 29/03/18 08:37:00

EOH has grown revenue for the HY to end-Jan. by 19% to R8.35bn, from R7.03bn y/y. However, its profit fell by 6.5% y/y to R784m as a result of challenging trading conditions and public sector service delays. The company's EBITDA remained largely unchanged at just over R1bn for the HY period. EOH noted that there has been a positive shift in the market since Feb., resulting in a normalising of the environment and client engagements. Revenue for the HY under review increased in all areas of the business. Revenue from services accounted for 84% of total revenue, and the company's working capital increased by R995m in the HY under review as a result of growth funding and increased work in progress associated with ongoing long-term projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EIB pumps $25m into off-grid solar project - Marleny Arnoldi () 29/03/18 08:37:00

The European Investment Bank has provided $25m in financing for off-grid solar lighting company D.LIGHT to strengthen access to energy in Africa. The financing will enable D.LIGHT to install solar kits as well as low-energy equipment in sub-Saharan Africa. The installations will initially take place in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Particular focus would be placed on rural and suburban populations, as well as micro-entrepreneurs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Higher H2 output forecast at PanAf's mines - Marleny Arnoldi (PAN) 29/03/18 08:37:00

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES expects its Barberton Mines subsidiary to produce some 50 000oz of gold in H1 FY2018, a 23% rise from H1. PANAF yesterday said higher head grades from its Fairview Mine's 11-block MRC272 and 358 platforms had resulted in an increase in gold production at Barberton Mines. "To improve future flexibility and sustain gold production, development to the next high-grade platform will start early in the 2019 financial year and average grades of 28.4g/t of gold over 5.2 m are estimated, over the 95 m strike length", the company said. The company also reported a 100% rise in mineral resources at the Royal Sheba project. PANAF has doubled the measured and indicated categories of the Royal Sheba resource from 24 000oz to 48 000oz. The total resource contains 720 000oz of gold. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vale to discuss new dividend policy - Reuters () 29/03/18 08:37:00

Board members of VALE will today discuss a new dividend policy, according to a report in Valor Economico published yesterday. Under the new policy, VALE would calculate dividend payouts based on EBITDA, Valor said citing sources close to the discussions. That would allow the miner to pay between 30% and 50% of its net income. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sibanye-Stillwater, Wits partner to digitalise mining industry - Nadine James (SGL) 29/03/18 08:37:00

SIBANYE-STILLWATER has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring safer and more productive mines by continuing its ongoing partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand's Mining Institute with the launch yesterday of the SIBANYE-STILLWATER Digital Mining Laboratory. DigiMine is a simulated mining environment in the Chamber of Mines building on the West Campus of Wits. Its facilities include a vertical shaft in a stairwell, a tunnel and stope in the basement, and a range of communication and digital systems to enable research that will "create the mine of the future". SIBANYE's total investment between 2015 and 2020 will amount to R27.5m. Of its most recent investment of R15m, R9m will be used to fund DigiMine research. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mantashe calls for increased vigilance on health, safety - Marleny Arnoldi () 29/03/18 08:37:00

Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE has called for increased vigilance on health and safety in the mining sector after three fatalities were reported this week. Two workers died after a fall-of-ground incident at HARMONY GOLD's Joel mine in the Free State, while a third fatality occurred at SIBANYE-STILLWATER's Khuseleka operation, in Rustenburg. The three fatalities bring to 22 the number of fatalities recorded in Q1 2018. "Turning the tide on fatalities in the sector is the responsibility of all social partners... and is critical for the sustainability of the mining industry in the long term", the Department of Mineral Resources said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Wescoal to optimise ops, extract organic growth - Nadine James (WSL) 29/03/18 08:37:00

WESCOAL is seeking to extract organic growth by optimising its existing operations and diversifying its revenue base, CFO IZAK VAN DER WALT said this week. VAN DER WALT said the acquisition of KEATON ENERGY last year had provided several benefits, including the transfer of the Vanggatfontein and Moabsvelden assets. The complete integration and optimisation of these assets is a priority for WESCOAL in the short term. Some 64% of WESCOAL's revenue was now generated from mining activity, a 14% increase that could be attributed to the KEATON acquisition. Further, 41% of the group's coal is now sold to ESKOM. VAN DER WALT said the company is considering ways to diversify its revenue base "in terms of logistical and distribution channels, and increasing exports". WESCOAL expects RoM production for FY2018 to reach 8mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Huge petrol price hike to kick in next week - News24Wire () 29/03/18 08:36:00

The price of 95 unleaded and leaded petrol in Gauteng will rise by 72c/l and by 62c/l at the coast from next Wednesday, the Department of Energy said yesterday. The price of 93 unleaded and leaded petrol will increase by 69c/l in Gauteng and 59c/l at the coast. The DoE said the fuel levies on petrol and diesel announced in the 2018 Budget, which are 22c/l and 30c/l respectively and will amount to 337c/l and 322c/l respectively, will come into effect on Apr. 4. The Road Accident Fund Levy in the price structure of petrol and diesel will rise by 52c/l, and ultimately amount to 193c/l, the DoE stated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eastplats targets first revenue from tailings project in Q3 - Marleny Arnoldi (EPS) 29/03/18 07:32:00

EASTERN PLATINUM yesterday reported that the construction of its BARPLATS subsidiary's tailings facility at the Crocodile River Mine was progressing well and that it expected to generate its first revenue from the operation in Q3. EASTPLATS on Mar. 1 entered into a framework agreement with UNION GOAL OFFSHORE SOLUTIOSN relating to construction, mining and processing of the tailings resource. UNION GOAL has made an upfront payment of $3.6m to BARPLATS MINES. EASTPLATS narrowed its loss by 83% from $55m in 2016 to a net loss of $9.2m in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Petropavlovsk profit surges 31% - Mariaan Webb () 29/03/18 07:32:00

PETROPAVLOVSK has reported a 31% jump in its profit for 2017, reflecting higher revenue as a result of increased gold sales at a stronger price. The company yesterday reported that profit rose from $31.7m in 2016 to $41.5m, including a benefit of $34.6m of capitalised interest and partially offset by a $29.2m effect of deferred taxation. Revenue rose by 9% from $540.7m to $587.4m, as gold sales rose by 10% to 439 800os and the average realised gold sales price rose by 3% to $ 1262/oz. Group total cash costs rose 12% to $741/oz, due to the effect of the rouble's appreciation, inflation of certain rouble-denominated costs and lower processing recoveries and grades. Group all-in sustaining costs jumped 19% to $963/oz, while total capex amounted to $88.1m, up from $29.4m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia pumps A$50m into drilling research - Esmarie Swanepoel () 29/03/18 07:32:00

The Australian federal government yesterday announced a A$50m investment into research aimed at better equipping the mining and resources sector to manage future challenges. The funding would come from the Cooperative Research Centre programme that supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. MinEx CRC's research would include developing more productive, safer and environmentally-friendly drilling methods to discover and drill-out deposits, as well as developing new technologies for collecting data while drilling, bringing forward mine production. The project would also look at implementing the National Drilling Initiative - a world-first collaboration of Geological Surveys, researchers and industry that would undertake drilling in under-explored areas of potential mineral wealth in Australia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R's 5th-largest shareholder rejects ATON bid - Patricia Aruo (OML) 29/03/18 07:31:00

OLD MUTUAL, the fifth-largest shareholder in MURRAY & ROBERTS, plans to reject a hostile buyout bid from Germany's ATON that values the builder at nearly $600m. "The offer of R15 per share is below what we believe is fair value. As a result we won't be committing to sell into this price", OLD MUTUAL analyst BRIAN PYLE said. OLD MUTUAL holds around 5% of M&R whose board snubbed the ATON offer earlier this week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Frozen $500m in Angolan fraud probe came form account with StanChart - Stephen Eisenhammer () 29/03/18 07:31:00

The $500m at the centre of an alleged fraud involving the son of Angola's former president was transferred out of a STANDARD CHARTERD account held by Angola's central bank, the British lender said yesterday. The Angolan prosecutor general's office on Monday said it had charged JOSE FILOMENO DOS SANTOS and VALTER FILIPE DA SILVA, the former governor of the central bank, with fraud over the case. The UK's National Crime Agency last week said $500m had been frozen in the UK as part of a probe into a potential fraud against Angola's central bank and could be returned to the country. STANDARD CHARTERED did not explain how the transaction appeared to bypass security mechanisms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PwC looking to complete Steinhoff inquiry by year-end - Wendell Roelf (SNH) 29/03/18 07:31:00

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS hopes to finalise a forensic investigation into the affairs of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL by the end of 2018, a senior investigator said yesterday. LOUIS STRYDOM, who heads PWC's African forensic services unit, told a joint committee meeting of parliament that the auditor was dealing with a conglomerate consisting of more than 700 individual entities operating in 32 jurisdictions. "This is complex, it's not simple. We are working with a team of people across seven countries in the world... Our aim is, between now and the end of the year, to package this and put it in a box and conclude our investigation", STRYDOM said. He noted that around 3.3m records have thus far been sent for analysis as the contents of laptops and mobile phones are copied by investigators. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Netcare gives up on UK health prospects - Justin George Varghese (NTC) 29/03/18 07:31:00

NETCARE yesterday drew a line under its ambitions in the UK, saying it would exit the market due to difficult trading conditions. It has been active in the UK for a decade via a controlling stake in BMI HEALTHCARE. NETCARE, which in Sep. made an all-share offer to buy out minority BMI shareholders, said it was making the move because trading conditions "remained difficult" across the private healthcare market. It said a poor performance by BMI was the result of National Health Service demand management initiatives and weaker private medical insurance demand. NETCARE in Nov. said it would restructure its British operations after reporting a drop in annual profit due in part to belt-tightening by Britain's publicly funded healthcare system. The NHS has been seeking help from private companies such as BMI, SPIRE HEALTHCARE and NUFFIELD HEALTH. However, the total NHS caseload at BMI dropped by 4.4% y/y for the five months to end-Feb., due to "stringent demand management strategies", NETCARE said. NETCARE expects its core EBITDA margin in the UK business to be between 0.8% and 1.2% in H1 2018, down from 5.2% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRDGold shareholders back Sibanye-Stillwater assets plan - Nqobile Dludla (DRD) 29/03/18 07:31:00

DRDGOLD yesterday announced that its shareholders voted in favour of all resolutions relating to the company's proposed acquisition of assets from SIBANYE-STILLWATER. SIBANYE-STILLWATER in Nov. announced plans to exchange some surface gold processing assets and tailings storage facilities for a 38% stake in DRDGOLD worth R1.3bn. "This transaction is a step-change for DRDGOLD. We have doubled our reserves and secured infrastructure to access these very quickly. After many years of consolidation this is a major advance towards growing our company", DRDGOLD CEO NIEL PRETORIUS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sanlam raises $490m in new share issue - Nqobile Dludla (SLM) 29/03/18 07:31:00

SANLAM has raised R5.7bn from selling new shares to help fund its joint acquisition of Moroccan firm SAHAM FINANCES, the insurer said yesterday. SANLAM placed 65.5m new shares, or around a 3% stake, via an accelerated bookbuild process to institutional investors at R87/share, representing a discount of 5% to its closing price on Tuesday. Subject to approval by the Namibian Stock Exchange, the placing shares will also be listed on that bourse. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 29/03/2018 () 29/03/18 07:31:00

At 07:32 on 29 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.77 Rand/Sterling 16.57 Rand/Euro 14.49 Gold 1324.40 Platinum 936.00 Oil 68.91 All-Share Index 54763.97

Akzo Nobel confirms 'milestone' chemicals deal with Carlyle, GIC - Katie Martin () 28/03/18 11:00:00

AKZO NOBEL has confirmed that it has wrapped up a deal to sell its specialty chemicals unit to US private group CARLYLE and Singaporean investment fund GIC for an enterpise value of €10.1bn. "Today is a key milestone in creating two focused, high performing businesses, to generate value for all stakeholders. We delivered on our commitment to separate the Specialty Chemicals business and id so ahead of schedule", AKZO NOBEL CEO THIERRY VANLANCKER said. The Dutch group expects to receive a cash payment of almost €9bn, with net proceeds after costs of €7.5bn. AKZO said the vast majority of net proceeds "will be distributed to shareholders". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

H&M profits drop 60% as fast-fashion chain cuts prices to shift stock - Cat Rutter Pooley () 28/03/18 11:00:00

A fortnight after warning Q1 sales had fallen by around 1.5% y/y, H&M yesterday clarified that pretax profit were down 60% y/, hit both by poor sales and higher markdowns. The wrong mix of stock at its flagship brand necessitated "substantial clearance sales", while "unusually cold winter weather" stopped shoppers from freshening up their wardrobes for spring. Pretax profits fell to SKr1.3bn from SKr3.2bn y/y. Gross margin fell from 52.1% in Q1 to 49.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bertelsmann CEO hits out at EU digital tax plan - Tobias Buck () 28/03/18 11:00:00

German media group BERTELSMANN has warned that European Commission plans to impose a digital tax on internet companies could hit European businesses harder than their US rivals. BERTELSMANN CEO THOMAS RABE said the idea to impose a 3% levy on digital advertising revenues could lead to "double taxation" of groups such as his, which already pay substantial taxes on their European profits. "We would effectively be taxed twice. That is a concern", RABE said. He said it was clear that US tech giants GOOGLE, AMAZON, FACEBOOK and APPLE enjoyed a significant tax advantage that had to be addressed. "In principle we are very much in favour of establishing a level playing field between the US tech companies and us, and one aspect of that is tax... [but] we already pay normal direct taxes and tax rates in all the countries in which we operate". His comments came in response to a European Commission proposal floated earlier this month to raise a levy against advertising revenues generated by digital companies such as GOOGLE, the fees raised from users and subscribers to services such as APPLE or SPOTIFY, and the income made from selling personal data to third parties. His comments came as BERTELSMANN posted a rise in revenues and profits for FY2017. Sales rose 1.4% to €17.2bn, while operating EBITDA rose from €2.57bn in 2016 to €2.64bn in 2017. Net earnings rose 5.4% to €1.20bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eurozone economic sentiment pulls back in Mar. - Katie Martin () 28/03/18 11:00:00

Economic sentiment in the eurozone pulled back in Mar., Eurostat said yesterday, as the quiet drip of more moderate economic figures from the region continued. The economic sentiment indicator dropped by 1.6 points to 112.6 in the eurozone, and by 1.9 points to 112.5 in the EU. That marks the third consecutive fall. The index for Germany pulled back particularly forcefully, by 2.4 points. For the euro area, assessments of order books and inventories and expectations all fell for the industrial sector, with a similar picture in the services sector. Consumer confidence held steady. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EDF to invest €8bn to bolster electricity storage in renewable push - David Keohane () 28/03/18 11:00:00

French energy group EDF is planning to invest €8bn by 2035 to become a European market leader in electricity storage. EDF will aim to develop 10 GW of additional storage around the world by 2035, on top of the 5GW it already operates, it said yesterday. The electricity storage plan is EDF's latest attempt to position itself at the front of France's shift into renewable energy despite its heavy focus on nuclear power. Last Dec., EDF announced a massive push into solar power that will cost up to €25bn with many suggesting the move was due to increasing pressure from the government to increase its use of renewable energy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Orange plans expansion of banking operations to Africa - John Aglionby () 28/03/18 11:00:00

ORANGE yesterday said it has applied to expand its banking operations into Africa following the launch of a digital bank in France last year. BRUNO METTLING, deputy CEO for the Middle East and Africa, said the new entity would target retail customers and not become a "full service bank". METTLING said the aim was to enter the mass market and deliver banking services to those people that don't have access at present. "We will not become a traditional bank in that we will not open our services to companies, to investment banks". ORANGE has applied for a banking licence to the West African Economic and Monetary Union, eight countries that share a common central bank and share the CFA currency. METTLING said the company hopes to start operations by the end of 2018. The bank, which will be run with an as yet unnamed partner, builds on the ORANGE MONEY mobile platform, launched in 2008 in Africa. ORANGE MONEY transactions totalled €14.5bn in 2016, the last year for which data are available. However, METTLING said the company's revenues from ORANGE MONEY grew 60% from 2016/17 without giving specific figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

OPEC, Russia considering 10-20 yr oil alliance - Anjli Raval () 28/03/18 11:00:00

OPEC and Russia are seeking to extend oil market cooperation for decades, according to Saudi Arabia's crown prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN. He told Reuters that the parties are considering creating a longer-term oil alliance to keep prices in check. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia led OPEC and allies outside of the cartel to join forces to stabilise oil prices which had plunged from more than $100/barrel in 2014 to below $30/barrel in 2016 and rattled the economies of producer nations. "We have agreement on the big picture, but not yet on the detail", Prince MOHAMMED said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's downgrades Tesla - Richard Waters () 28/03/18 11:00:00

MOODY's added to the recent woes of TESLA investors late on Tuesday, taking the company's junk bond credit rating down a notch to B3 and warning it may fall further if the company has trouble raising around $2bn of fresh capital. MOODY's move came at the end of a day in which shares in ELON MUSK's electric carmaker had already fallen more than 8%. Debt investors have not been spared the pain, with the company's 2025 unsecured notes trading at around 89.7c on the dollar. In a note explaining its move, MOODY's said production delays for TESLA's Model 3 were putting financial strains on the company. TESLA had $3.4bn in cash at the end of 2017. It predicted the company would need $2bn this year to cover its operating cash burn as it scales up production of the Model 3 production. With $1.2bn of convertible debt maturing by early 2018, and the need for a cash cushion of at least $500m, that means TESLA will have to return to financial markets again to keep a comfortable financial cushion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Saudi sovereign wealth fund eyes overseas expansion - Anjli Raval () 28/03/18 10:22:00

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is considering opening offices around the world as it plans to expand its asset under management to $400bn by 2020 via both overseas and domestic investments. YASIR AL-RUMAYYAN, MD of the kingdom's PUBLIC INVESTMENT FUND, said it was weighing opening up offices in the US, the UK and Japan as it seeks to become a "global investment powerhouse". Having visited Washington and Boston, Saudi officials are in New York as part of a US tour by Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN to drum up investment for the kingdom and build confidence about its economic future. The PIF aims to raise funding from the proceeds of privatising state assets, including the planned stock market listing of SAUDI ARAMCO, government allocations and debt. So far it has paid $3.5bn for a stake in UBER, agreed to funnel $45bn into a tech fund with Japan's SOFTBANK and put up half the capital for a $40bn infrastructure fund managed by BLACKSTONE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Buffet-backed carmaker slides after slashing forecast on subsidy cut - Edward White () 28/03/18 10:22:00

BYD shares fell today after the Chinese carmaker slashed its Q1 profit outlook because of cuts to government subsidies. Shares in the company, part-owned by WARREN BUFFETT's BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY, sank as much as 10% to a three-month low in Hong Kong. The sell-off came after the company yesterday said it expected net profit for Q1 to fall by 75%-92%, compared to 2017, with a reduction in new energy vehicle subsidies offsetting higher sales growth. BYD reported revenue of Rmb102.65bn in 2017, a 2.4% improvement y/y. Profit fell 19.5% to Rmb4.07bn from Rmb5.05bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Hong Kong publisher rockets 880% on debut - Alice Woodhouse () 28/03/18 10:22:00

A Hong Kong digital media company that publishes a popular satirical magazine aimed at the city's youth soared by as much as 880% on its debut today. MOST KWAI CHUNG rose as high as HK$11.76/share from its offer price of HK$1.2 today. The company yesterday said the retail portion of its IPO had been oversubscribed by 6 289 times. It raised a total of HK$81m. MOST KWAI CHUNG has evolved since its start in magazines with its digital media business offering advertising services accounting for 91.3% of the company's revenue in the eight months to end-Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bank financing of 'extreme fossil fuels' rises 11% - Martin Arnold () 28/03/18 10:22:00

The world's biggest banks increased their financing of "extreme fossil fuels" by 11% in 2017, committing $115bn to fund projects in tar sands, Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil extraction, LNG export, coal mining and power. ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, TORONTO DOMINION BANK and JPMORGAN CHASE were the three leading banks for financing extreme fossil fuels last year, according to a report published by a group of environmental pressure groups. While the financing of extreme fossil fuels fell in 2016, when the Paris climate accord was signed, it picked up again last year. The main driver for the increase was higher funding for tar sands extraction and pipeline projects, which more than doubled last year to $47bn. JPMORGAN more than quadrupled its financing for tar sands projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

IPP deal would be 'financial suicide' - NUMSA lawyer - Alex Mitchley () 28/03/18 10:22:00

A lawyer for NUMSA argued in the North Gauteng High Court that the signing of a deal by ESKOM with 27 IPPs may be financial suicide. NUMSA, along with TRANSFORM RSA, asked the court to grant an interdict against Energy Minister JEFF RADEBE to stop him from signing the contracts. The Department of Energy previously said it expected the signing of the agreements to go ahead as soon as the court matter was finalised. Yesterday, advocate NAZEER CASSIM, for NUMSA, told the court that some might view the sighing of the contracts a form of economic looting. He added that ESKOM was already broke and that tax payers would have to foot these bills if things didn't go as planned. Advocate BARRY ROUX, for ESKOM, argued that the utility's financial situation could not be a reason to grant an interdict. He added that the court could not grant an interdict against the signing of the IPP agreements without first reviewing and setting aside the Minister of Energy's determination in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act. Judge DAWIE FOURIE will deliver judgment on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom should have new strategy in place by Sep., says new CEO - Khulekani Magubane () 28/03/18 10:22:00

ESKOM interim CEO PHAKAMANI HADEBE yesterday told the portfolio committee on energy that he has spoken with Public Enterprises Minister PRAVIN GORDHAN on plans to steer the utility back on course, saying a strategy is expected by Sep. HADEBE said recent economic changes showed the international and investor communities are looking at ESKOM in a fairer light. "ESKOM now has a R72bn borrowing requirement and the issue of NERSA's tariff proposal has ramifications for this, and whether ESKOM is able to operate as a going concern. This is one of the issues we would like to see resolved", HADEBE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore might buy back Optimum - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (GLN) 28/03/18 10:22:00

GLENCORE is considering a bid for the Optimum coal mine which it sold in 2015 to a company part-owned by the GUPTA family, according to sources. GLENCORE placed the mine in bankruptcy protection in 2015 after ESKOM refused to renegotiate an unprofitable supply contract and issued penalties. The asset was then sold to a company owned by the GUPTAS and DUDUZANE ZUMA, with support from former mineral resources minister MOSEBENZI ZWANE. GLENCORE is interested in reacquiring the mine and the government has indicated it wouldn't oppose the deal, a source said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

MTN's record Ghana IPO seen drawing Africa-focused funds - Moses Mozart Dzawu, Bloomberg (MTN) 28/03/18 10:22:00

A record wave of stock is heading for Ghana's bourse as MTN is said to prepare to sell a chunk of its local unit to investors for around $790m. "The offer will generate a lot of global interest", said DATABANK GROUP head of research ALEX BOAHEN. "If you see the numbers, it's a very profitable company. MTN has a dominant market position and a lot of investors will like to get a piece of the fast-growing telecom sector". MTN's Ghana unit increased the target for its IPO by more than half to 3.48bn cedis, according to sources. The listing of a 35% stake is a step toward fulfilling conditions MTN agreed to with the government in 2015 when the company won the right o use 4G spectrum. BOAHEN said he expects foreign companies and funds with emerging market or pan-African strategies to buy the bulk of the MTN shares. Local private pension funds and other institutional investors may also take big positions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Why Jooste won't face Parliament for Steinhoff hearing - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 28/03/18 10:22:00

Former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE will not appear before Parliament for the STEINHOFF hearing today. JOOSTE's legal team said their client "has decided to respectfully decline your invitation to appear before the three committees", adding that his appearance would "undermine" his right to a fair trial. JOOSTE is under criminal investigation by the Hawks and it has been previously reported that "various criminal complaints" were lodged with the SAPS against JOOSTE. YUNUS CARRIM, chair of the standing committee on finance, said that ultimately the committees will hold talks and decide whether to subpoena JOOSTE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec reports resilient FY results - Sibongile Khumalo (CPI) 28/03/18 10:22:00

CAPITEC BANK yesterday reported an 18% jump in headline earnings to R4.5bn for the FY to end-Feb., from R3.8bn y/y. The bank lifted net income by 17% in the FY, with a dividend of 1 470cps. The reporting period reflected the first performance of CAPITEC's credit card offering, which recorded 289 000 clients as at end-Feb. 2018. Credit card holders represented 4.2% of the bank's total loan book. Gross loans and advances grew by 6% to R47.6bn, with the bulk of the growth coming from the higher income credit card book. CAPITEC said it increased its customer base to 9.9m, making it SA's second-largest bank by client number. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Communications Committee recommends removal of ICASA chair - Creamer Media Reporter () 28/03/18 09:22:00

The Portfolio Committee on Communications has recommended the removal of RUBBEN MOHLALOGA from the ICASA council. This follows a request from Communications Minister NOMVULA MOKONYANE to start the removal process after the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Jan. convicted MOHLALOGA of fraud and money laundering. The Committee in Feb. decided to allow MOHLALOGA an opportunity to make representations on why he should not be removed, wherein he requested to be placed on precautionary leave with full pay pending the appeal process, committee chair HUMPHREY MAXEGWANA said yesterday. Having reconsidered his representation and having consulted with Parliament's Constitutional and Legal Services Office, the committee rejected his request. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R board labels Aton offer 'opportunistic' - Marleny Arnoldi (MUR) 28/03/18 09:22:00

MURRAY & ROBERTS' independent board review has concluded that ATON's planned offer of R15/share is "opportunistic" and that ATON is unlikely to successfully delist M7R after the takeover. M&R yesterday said ATON's proposed cash offer was made at a time of unprecedented share price weakness as a consequence of low liquidity, declining valuations of its legacy peers in the construction sector and halting of the company's hare buyback programme in 2017. When the proposed offer was announced, M&R's share price rose to R14.52/share, from Friday's close of R9.64. The stock closed at R13.45 on the JSE yesterday. ATON has indicated that it will post an offer circular to M&R shareholders on Apr. 5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ford more than doubles assembly capacity at PE plant - Irma Venter () 28/03/18 09:08:00

FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF SOUTHERN AFRICA is expanding its Struandale engine plant, in Port Elizabeth, as part of a R3bn investment in its South African operations. The new investment includes the installation "of a sophisticated new assembly line for an all-new diesel engine that will, most notably, power the exciting new FORD Ranger Raptor when it is launched in 2019", said FORD MEA president JACQUES BRENT. The engine would also be used in other FORD model derivatives, not named yesterday. The R3bn investment facilitated a new diesel engine assembly hall, located in a totally revamped 3 868 m2 section of the engine plant. Eight derivatives of the new engine will be assembled at the Struandale plant when production officially starts in Q4 2018. The new diesel engine assembly line has an installed capacity of 120 000 engines a year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigeria to consult before deciding on Africa trade zone - Reuters () 28/03/18 09:08:00

Nigeria last week decided not to join an Africa free trade zone because it needs to carry out more consultations at home, the government said yesterday. Other leaders agreed to form a zone encompassing 1.2bn people, but 11 countries did not sign up. The presidency tweeted the following: "The decision for President @MBuhari to not attend the #AfCFTA signing ceremony was taken because we realised more inclusive (domestic) consultations needed to take place before Nigeria signs". It did not go into any details on the nature of the consultations. Other countries who refrained from signing were SA, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Firestone recovers 379 716ct in H1 - Schalk Burger () 28/03/18 09:08:00

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS recovered 379 716ct of diamonds from its Liqhobong mine, in Lesotho, in the HY to end-Dec. CEO STUART BROWN said commercial production at the mine had started on Jul. 1 and that the operation recorded zero lost-time injuries over the first six months of full-scale output. FIRESTONE achieved revenue of $26m for the HY period, generated $8.8m in cash from operations but posted a loss of $7.8m. It had a cash balance of $29.7m as at end-Dec., owing to the $25m in equity it raised in the same month. Further, a total of 3.4mt was mined - 1.9mt of ore and 1.5mt of waste. In Feb., the company held its first sale of 2018 when 114 887ct on offer were sold at an average value of $82/ct, realising total sale proceeds of $9.4m, BROWN noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Merafe FD resigns - Creamer Media Reporter (MRF) 28/03/18 09:08:00

KAJAL BISSESSOR has resigned as FD of MERAFE RESOURCES. BISSESSOR joined the company nine years ago and has played a pivotal role in both the finance and investor relations functions, the company said. MERAFE will embark on a recruitment process to find a suitable successor. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kinross settles US charges related to bribe prevention in Africa - Reuters () 28/03/18 09:08:00

The US SEC said KINROSS GOLD CORP agreed to pay $950 000 to settle civil charges that it failed to ensure its payments in Africa were not being used to bribe government officials. The regulator said the company did little to verify payments to politically connected consultants and vendors in Ghana and Mauritania were being used for their stated purpose. Between 2012 and 2015, KINROSS paid a Ghanaian consultant $1 000 in cash per work visa he helped obtain for company staff, without detailing just what this former government official did to help expedite the process, the SEC said. As part of the civil settlement KINROSS did not admit or deny wrongdoing but pledged to improve its accounting and compliance practices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio sells stake in Kestrel coal mine - Schalk Burger () 28/03/18 09:08:00

RIO TINTO will sell its 80% stake in the Kestrel underground coal mine in Australia to private equity firm EMR CAPITAL and Indonesia-listed coal group PT ADARO ENERGY for $2.25bn. Kestrel is located in the Bowen basin, and produced 5.1mt of saleable coal in 2017, comprising 4.25mt of hard coking coal and 840 000t of thermal coal. The sale will complete RIO's exit from coal, with its focus now on iron ore and copper. Completion of the sale is expected in H2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nickel market eyes Philippines as mine review delayed again - Bloomberg () 28/03/18 09:08:00

The global nickel market will be kept in suspense even longer over the outlook for ore supplies from the Philippines after the country's mining council again pushed back the deadline for completion of a review of 26 mines ordered shut or suspended last year. Former environment secretary GINA LOPEZ ordered the closure as part of a mining crackdown led by President RODRIGO DUTERTE. The new delay could mean the review won't be ready before Aug., after an initial pledge to finish it by the end of 2017. "All administrative and judicial remedies have to be exhausted for the orders to be final and executory", Environment Undersecretary JONAS LEONES said yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vedanta to shut copper smelter in India for maintenance - Reuters () 28/03/18 09:08:00

VEDANTA RESOURCES yesterday said its India unit's copper smelting operations at Thootukudi will be closed for about 15 days as part of a maintenance shutdown. The news of the maintenance shutdown comes amid local media reports that thousands had taken to the streets and shut shops in Thootukudi to protest against the smelter's expansion. The refining and copper rod manufacturing operations would continue as usual at the smelter, VEDANTA said. The smelter, run by VEDANTA's STERLITE COPPER unit, is one of India's biggest and has been a target of protesters, who call it a major source of pollution and a risk to fisheries. The plant was shut for more than two months in 2013 after residents complained about emissions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Newcrest restarts mining at Cadia - Esmarie Swanepoel () 28/03/18 09:08:00

NEWCREST MINING has restarted mining at the Cadia East operation in Australia, following a limited breakdown of tailings material earlier this month. The company progressively suspended all mining operations at the mine on Mar. 10, to allow site management to focus on the evaluation of the event and on remediation plans. Mining will initially be undertaken from Panel Cave 1, and then progressively restart from Panel Cave 2. Mined ore will be stockpiled at surface until processing restarts. NEWCREST said processing remains suspended, adding that work was being undertaken on multiple recovery scenarios. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mine worker crushed to death at De Beers Limpopo ops - ANA (AGL) 28/03/18 09:08:00

A female employee was crushed to death when she fell onto a conveyor belt at DE BEERS' Venetia diamond mine in Limpopo, police said on Monday. The incident happened on Sunday. The conveyor belt ultimately dragged the employee into a stone scrubber where her body was found trapped between the rocks with multiple wounds. A case of culpable homicide has been opened. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Richemont cleared to try for Ynap ownership - Sandile Mchunu (CFR) 28/03/18 08:02:00

RICHEMONT yesterday said it had obtained all antitrust clearances from the European Commission to proceed with its attempt to take full ownership of YOOX NET-A-PORTER. RICHEMONT said the Commission declared the attempts for the 100% ownership of YNAP compatible with the internal market and with the European Economic Area agreement. "As a consequence, all antitrust clearances to which the offer was subject, as described in paragraph A.5 of the offer document, have now been obtained". The transaction still remained subject to the Minimum Acceptance Level Condition. This condition states that neither RICHEMONT nor its affiliates would purchase any YNAP shares or other YNAP financial instruments without he prior written consent for a period of three years after the effective date of the merger between YOOX and NET-A-PORTER. RICHEMONT in Jan. offered around R2.7bn for the remaining YNAP stake that it did not already own. It already owns a49% stake in YNAP and €38/share to YNAP shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

S&P: SA needs stronger growth to escape "junk" - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 28/03/18 08:02:00

S&P yesterday said it was nowhere near to upgrading SA from junk status, but that stronger per capita GDP growth and faster debt stabilisation could lift ratings in the future. S&P rates SA's foreign currency debt BB and its local currency debt BB+, having downgraded the country to below investment grade last year, citing a deterioration in the economic outlook and public finances. S&P yesterday said it now expects SA's GDP would grow 2% in 2018, doubling its previous estimate. It sees growth of 2.1% next year, up from a prior forecast of 1.7%. It said its improved forecast partly reflected stronger investor sentiment after the change in SA's leadership and ensuing policy announcements. But it warned that growth of just above 2%, or 0.5% in per capita terms, is low for a country with SA's income levels, and not sufficient to reduce unemployment, currently at around 27%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Vodafone plans to launch voice over data service in Zambia - Chris Mfula (VOD) 28/03/18 08:02:00

VODAFONE will launch voice service in Zambia within three months under a newly acquired licence from the country's communications regulator, it said yesterday. VODAFONE ZAMBIA CEO LARS STORK said the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority had allowed it to launch a voice over data service, in addition to its current data-only offering. "Today our LTE network is solely used for data traffic, however our vision and strategy is to offer best in class data and now also voice over data on our 4G network", STORK said. MTN, BHARTI AIRTEL and ZAMTEL are the only mobile phone operators currently offering voice services in Zambia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Massmart to open 20 stores in pan-African expansion - Joe Bavier (MSM) 28/03/18 08:02:00

MASSMART is continuing its pan-African expansion with plans to open around 20 new stores outside SA over the next three years, chairman KUSENI DLAMINI said this week. The company currently operates around 400 stores, including 42 across 12 countries outside SA. "This year alone we will be opening eight new stores on the African continent. In the next three years we'll be expanding our retail trading space by 35.6%", DLAMINI said, adding that new stores are due to open in Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland. The company was also studying markets in West Africa with a view to starting operations there. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Traders back local firms to buy Petrobras' Nigerian oilfield stakes - Ron Bousso (GLN) 28/03/18 08:02:00

VITOL and GLENCORE are in talks to financially back Nigerian firms racing to buy assets owned by PETROBRAS valued at up to $2bn, sources said this week. Cash is being lined up for purchases of stakes in two major oilfields in the country. The potential consortia offer the local bidders financial backing that would otherwise be hard to secure directly via international banks. For the traders, a deal would guarantee access to high-quality crude oil for many years. Last Nov., PETROBRAS launched the sale of 100% of PETROBRAS AFRICA as part of the heavily-indebted oil major's plan to offload $21bn in assets through 2018 as it also faces a massive corruption scandal. GLENCORE was reportedly looking to back Nigerian producer SEPLAT in bidding for the assets. VITOL is examining backing several bidders in the process, according to sources. The results of the auction is expected to be announced in early May but some participants said the assets might not be sold in one package. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bollore to invest €400m in Ivory Coast port terminal - Loucoumane Coulibaly () 28/03/18 08:02:00

French industrial conglomerate BOLLORE aims to invest €400m from 2019 to build a second container terminal at Ivory Coast's main port of Abidjan. PHILIPPE LABONNE, deputy CEO of BOLLORE TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS, said the start date was set for June or July 2019, adding: "It's a question of building a platform and setting up the port equipment". LABONNE said the project would be financed by partner MAERSK, and the new terminal would be operational from June 2020. Port authorities were already widening the canal leading to the port to reach a 16 m depth that would enable larger ships to dock. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Djibouti in talks to develop new container terminal - Joe Bavier () 28/03/18 08:02:00

Djibouti's port authority is in talks with French shipping company CMA CGM to develop a new $660m container terminal and hopes to award the concession in July. Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority head ABOUBAKAR OMAR HADI also said the authority offered to buy out DP WORLD's 33% stake in another project - the Doraleh Container Terminal - after the state-owned port operator from Dubai threatened arbitration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Debswana expects further rise in diamond output - Nqobile Dludla (AGL) 28/03/18 08:02:00

DEBSWANA DIAMOND MINING yesterday said output jumped 11% to a three year high in 2017 and it expects growth this year as lower taxes in the US leave consumers with more to spend on luxury goods. DEBSWANA reported annual output rose to 22.2m ct in 2017. Sales rose by 16%, contributing to a 20% increase in EBITDA. DE BEERS Executive VP for diamond trading PAUL ROWLEY said a weaker dollar had boosted diamond sales and he expected global demand to rise again this year. DEBSWANA MD BALISI BONYONGO said the company would continue its strategy of mining to meet demand. The JV is in the final stages of expansion plans to extend the lifespan of its Jwaneng mine. Under the project dubbed Cut 8, BONYONGO said around 25bn pula has been spent so far to extend Jwaneng's lifespan to 203. He added that he expected the company to remove some 81mt of material and uncover 92m carats. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 28/03/2018 () 28/03/18 08:01:00

At 08:02 on 28 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.65 Rand/Sterling 16.52 Rand/Euro 14.45 Gold 1343.34 Platinum 943.00 Oil 68.91 All-Share Index 56050.79

Carlyle wins auction to acquire Akzo Nobel's speciality chemicals arm - Javier Espinoza () 27/03/18 08:42:00

CARLYLE has prevailed in a competitive auction to acquire the speciality chemicals arm of AKZO NOBEL in a deal for the unit which is expected to fetch as much as €10bn including debt. Sources said the deal may be unveiled as soon as today. To win the auction, CARLYLE had to beat out a number of rival private equity firms. Also vying for the unit were APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, HAL INVESTMENTS, and a consortium made up of BAIN CAPITAL and ADVENT INTERNATIONAL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amazon teams up with French retailer Casino - Harriet Agnew () 27/03/18 08:42:00

AMAZON is teaming up with French retailer CASINO GROUP for food delivery. Groceries from CASINO's upmarket brand MONOPRIX will be available for customers of Prime Now, AMAZON's high-speed delivery service, CASINO said yesterday evening. The service, which will launch this year, will be available to customers in Paris and the surrounding area. The deal ends months of speculation that AMAZON was considering partnerships or acquisitions in Europe and comes as French food retailers ramp up their omnichannel strategies in the face of rising competition from online rivals and changing consumer habits. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil finmin weighs presidential bid - Joe Leahy () 27/03/18 08:42:00

HENRIQUE MEIRELLES, Brazil's finance minister and architect of the country's recovery from its worst-ever recession, yesterday said he was considering standing in presidential elections this year. If MEIRELLES decides to run, he will have to resign by next week under electoral rules barring sitting public servants from contesting the Oct. poll. MEIRELLES would have his work cut out for him - he would be seen as a centrist establishment candidate in an election in which early polls are showing support for populists on the left and right. A survey by pollster Datafolha in Jan. showed him with just 1-2% of voter intentions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zuckerberg invited to testify at Senate data privacy hearing - Kadhim Shubber () 27/03/18 08:42:00

MARK ZUCKERBERG has been invited to testify at the Senate early next month as US lawmakers probe the misuse of 50m FACEBOOK users' data. The Senate Judiciary committee said it will hold a hearing on Apr. 10 about data privacy in social media and has invited the CEOs of GOOGLE and TWITTER along with ZUCKERBERG. The announcement follows similar invitations from the Senate Commerce and the House Energy and Commerce committees. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&S clothing unit gets another facelift - Cat Rutter Pooley () 27/03/18 08:42:00

MARKS AND SPENCER yesterday announced the latest in a string of management reshuffles in its clothing division. Under the latest plans to overhaul the division, JILL MCDONALD, who was brought on last year to reverse customers' perception the brand was failing to deliver either style or quality in its fashion offerings, has tapped two external fashion industry veterans to fill the most senior roles in the unit. M&S said the latest reshuffle would help "attract more families to M&S". Former OLD NAVY executive JILL STANTON will take up a role as director of the newly-combined womenswear and kidswear division, while WES TAYLOR, who sent much of his career in SIR PHILIP GREEN's ARCADIA empire, has been appointed menswear director. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FTC opens probe into Facebook privacy practices - Kadhim Shubber () 27/03/18 08:42:00

US regulators yesterday confirmed they have opened a non-public probe into FACEBOOK's privacy practices, sending shares in the company deeper into bear market territory. Shares fell as much as 6.1% to an intraday low of $149.75 in morning trade yesterday. The latest drop puts FACEBOOK in bear market territory, classified as a 20% drop from a peak, and a loss in market cap over the past two months of around $122bn. The move lower comes as the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it is investigating FACEBOOK's privacy practices in the wake of the CAMBRIDGE ANLAYTICA scandal where the data of 50m users was misused. FACEBOOK in 2011 signed a consent order with the FTC that required it to be upfront with users about how their data were being shared with third parties. If it is found to have broken the 2011 agreement, it could face fines of up to $40 000 per violation per day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Angola charges son of ex-president with fraud - Joseph Cotterill () 27/03/18 08:42:00

JOSE FILOMENO DOS SANTOS, the son of former Angolan president JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS, has been charged over allegations that he was involved in a $500m fraud while head of the country's sovereign wealth fund. DOS SANTOS junior was removed as head of the $5bn wealth fund by new President JOAO LOURENCO in Jan. The country's attorney-general yesterday said the younger DOS SANTOS was also being barred from leaving the country in connection with the probe into claims that funds were transferred abroad from an account at the central bank. The former governor of the National Bank of Angola has also been charged over the alleged transfer. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Anglo becomes latest miner to eye Ecuador - Neil Hume (AGL) 27/03/18 08:42:00

ANGLO AMERICAN yesterday announced the outlines of a deal with LUMINA GOLD to develop two copper and gold concessions in Ecuador. Under the deal, which has yet to be finalised, ANGLO could get a 60% interest in LUMINA's Pegasus A and B concessions if it invests $50m and makes $7.3m of cash payments over a seven-year period. "We are pleased to be partnering with a top tier base and precious metal producer such as ANGLO AMERICAN to help progress our early stage concessions", LUMINA president and CEO MARSHALL KOVAL said. Ecuador's geographic proximity to major copper producers Chile and Peru is attracting a growing number of miners to the country in the hope of finding the next big deposit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US expels 60 Russians over UK poison attack - Katrina Manson () 27/03/18 08:42:00

The TRUMP administration is expelling what it says are 60 Russian intelligence officers based in the US in retaliation for the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK earlier this month. Senior administration officials said the move would reduce the ability of Russia to spy on Americans and show Moscow that "its actions have consequences". The Russian ambassador in Washington was informed of the expulsions on Monday morning. Individuals and their families would have seven days to leave the US. The administration was also closing the Russian consulate in Seattle, which a senior US administration official said is based close to a US submarine base. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Olam secures $500m in sustainability-linked funding - Emiko Terazono () 27/03/18 08:42:00

Food trader OLAM has secured a three-year sustainability-linked $500m credit at a time when more borrowers and lenders are looking to increase their exposure to green financing. The facility, arranged by OLAM, is Asia's first green "club" loan with multiple lenders involved and the trader will pay lower interest rates if it hits more than 50 environmental, social and governance targets. OLAM appointed 15 banks to provide the facility in equal parts, with ING and the sustainability co-ordinator. OLAM's performance on meeting its targets will be assessed annually by Sustainalytics, a ratings group focused on the environment, social and governance issues. The interest rate on the facility will be reduced if the company meets its preset improvement targets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US gunmaker Remington files for bankruptcy - Adam Samson () 27/03/18 08:42:00

REMINGTON OUTDOOR, America's oldest gunmaker, has filed for bankruptcy protection on the same day as global protests calling for tighter US gun laws. The company filed a pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court on Sunday. REMINGTOM said it has between $100m and $500m in both assets and liabilities, and up to 49 creditors. In Feb., the group unveiled a restructuring plan that cuts $700m in REMINGTON's outstanding debt and contributes $145m in new capital into the company's subsidiaries. In the plan, the company had said it would eventually file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and that the agreement with creditors would "markedly" bolster its "liquidity, balance sheet, and long-term competitiveness". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GM threatens bankruptcy in S Korea as labour dispute worsens - Song Jung-a () 27/03/18 08:41:00

GENERAL MOTORS has threatened to file for bankruptcy for its loss-making South Korean unit it its labour union does not make concessions by Apr. 20 amid the worsening financial situation at GM KOREA. The threat was made by GM INTERNATIONAL president BARRY ENGLE during a meeting with GM KOREA's union leader yesterday. ENGLE also said Seoul should promise to provide funding for GM KOREA by Apr. 20, the company's labour union said, although GM KOREA later denied this. The Korean business needs $600m in new operational funds by end-Apr. to cover a bonus payment for its workers and to compensate the 1 100 Gunsan factory workers who have opted for voluntary redundancies. GM KOREA may also consider further voluntary retrenchments for the remaining 680 workers at the factory whose closure was announced last month. Unionised workers at GM KOREA have agreed to a pay freeze but are refusing to accept a reduction in other welfare benefits such as education costs for their children. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fortescue at 19-month low after cutting iron ore price forecast - Edward White () 27/03/18 08:41:00

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP touched its lowest in 19 months today after cutting its outlook for the price of iron ore because of subdued demand in China and international trade worries. Shares in the company fell as much as 3.3% to its lowest since Aug. 2016. The stock dropped after FORTESCUE narrowed its price guidance for iron ore by three percentage points - to 65% of the average benchmark Platts 62 CFR index, from 68%. FORTESCUE said the new guidance "reflects a slower than anticipated recovery in contractual realisations due to Chinese construction activity remaining subdued, the extension of temporary production in certain provinces in China as well as speculation regarding the potential impact of global trade tensions". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

No minimum wage deal by Workers' Day - Oliphant - Khulekani Magubane () 27/03/18 06:59:00

Labour Minister MILDRED OLIPHANT placed the responsibility for government's inability to enact the laws which will animate the national minimum wage at the feet of NEDLAC and Parliament. Speaking to reporters in Cape Town yesterday evening, OLIPHANT said that failing to get the national minimum wage implemented in time for the symbolic deadline of Workers' Day was not necessarily a train smash. She admitted that the deadline could very well be as late as one or two months after May. Points of contention concerning the agreement include a complaint researchers made to Parliament last week that the agreed abolishment of sectoral determination was absent in the bill that eventually made its way to Parliament. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA wants more clarity before signing African free trade plan - Lameez Omarjee () 27/03/18 06:59:00

Government wants more clarity on details related to the African Continent Free Trade Area before signing the agreement, Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES said yesterday. He likened the agreement, in its current form, to a circuit board which was missing transistors. The agreement is part of a plan to broaden trade across regional and economic communities and has merit, DAVIES said. Although SA did not join the agreement along with 44 other African countries at the 10th Ordinary Session of AU Heads of State last week, President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA inked the Kigali Protocol, indicating SA's commitment to join the AfCTFA in future. "The declaration is an inclusive, unifying document which expresses [SA's] commitment to the process. SA wants to sign and will sign when the agreement is in a state that enables us to sign it", DAVIES said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Polony recall costs RCL Foods R75m - Jan Cronje (RCL) 27/03/18 06:59:00

RCL FOODS yesterday announced that the recall of Rainbow polony products and the suspension of operations at its Wolwehoek processing plant have cost it R75m. The figure includes the costs of recalls and returns from customers, distribution and handling, destruction and dumping, testing, and media and communications. "In addition, there is a financial impact associated with lost contribution on polony products being out of trade, as well as the unexpected impact on the balance of RAINBOW's chilled processed meats and other chicken categories", the group said. Management estimates the profit impact to be around R20m/month. "Management is actively engaging government in order to resume operations at the Wolwehoek processing plant as soon as possible". RCL has said it removed the RAINBOW polony products from stores as a precautionary measure. It previously stated that a French laboratory had cleared its Wolwehoek plant of the ST6 listeria strand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers' Tencent share sale a smart move - Moody's - Fin24 (NPN) 27/03/18 06:59:00

The reduction of its stake in TENCENT is credit positive for NASPERS, MOODY's said yesterday. NASPERS last week announced it had reduced its stake in TENCENT to 31.2% from 33.2% via an accelerated offering to investors, raising $9.8bn. MOODY's currently rates NASPERS at Baa3 stable, while TENCENT is rated at A1 stable. The ratings agency said the share sale was a smart move by NASPERS as it would strengthen its balance sheet and help fund the scaling of its core ecommerce operations, as well as help it pursue new acquisitions without incurring more debt. For MOODY's, the disposal shows NASPERS' preference and willingness to monetise valuable investments instead of increasing debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA willing to accept metals quota as it ups bid for US tariffs exclusion - Terence Creamer () 27/03/18 06:59:00

Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES yesterday revealed that SA was willing to accede to quotas on its steel and aluminium exports to the US as part of the country's ongoing bid to be excluded from tariffs imposed on Mar. 23 following a proclamation signed by President DONALD TRUMP earlier this month. SA had already made a formal submission requesting exclusion from the 25% tariff hike on steel articles and the 10% duty on aluminium products. DAVIES said the prospect of a quota had been canvassed with, and agreed to, by affected local companies and that government anticipated including the offer in a future, supplementary submission to the US government. DAVIES said the US government had indicated that it would make a decision on SA's request to be excluded from the tariffs before the end of April. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Stenprop buys another UK multilet industrial estate - Simone Liedtke (STP) 27/03/18 06:59:00

In line with its stated strategy of focusing on UK multilet industrial property, STENPROP has completed the acquisition of a modern, fully let industrial estate in Huddersfield, in the UK, for £5.8m. The purchase, from a private investor, reflects a net initial yield of 7.4%. The Ellis Hill Industrial Estate is the fifth acquired by STENPROP since its purchase of the INDUSTRIALS.CO.UK portfolio for £127m in Jun. 2017. STENPROP is seeking a further £100m of multilet industrial opportunities in the UK over the course of 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Atlantic Leaf acquires UK industrial, office property for £14.9m - Simone Liedtke (ALP) 27/03/18 06:59:00

ATLANTIC LEAF, via wholly-owned subsidiary TRIDO, has completed the acquisition of a multilet industrial and office property - Deacon Park - in the UK from JCAM COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE PROPERTY. The acquisition is consistent with ATLANTIC LEAF's strategy of investing in real estate assets that deliver good returns for investors via predictable income from long-term leases and capital growth. ATLANTIC LEAF said the transaction is attractive as it provides high income, while also offering potential for mid- to long-term growth through active asset management. The net purchase consideration for the transaction is £14.91m, with the net purchase consideration and transaction related costs to be settled through a combination of cash and debt funding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global crude steel output up 3.5% in Feb. - Simone Liedtke () 27/03/18 06:59:00

Global crude steel output rose by 3.5% y/y to 131.8mt in Feb., worldsteel said yesterday. Africa's crude steel output rose by 4% y/y to, mainly as a result of a 7.6% y/y increase in Egypt's crude steel output to 583 000t. SA's production contracted by 0.9% y/y to 491 000t. China's crude steel output rose by 5.9% y/y to 64.9mt in Feb., while Japan's production decreased by 0.5% y/y to 8.3mt. India produced 8.4mt of crude steel in Feb., up 3.4% y/y. In the EU, Italy's output rose by 4.5% y/y to 2.1mt, while France produced 1.3mt of crude steel in Feb., a 1% y/y increase. Spain produced 1.1mt of crude steel in Feb., a y/y increase of 0.4%. The US produced 6.4mt, up 0.4% y/y, while Brazil's crude steel production for Feb. rose by 5.5% y/y to 2.7mt. Worldsteel noted that the crude steel capacity utilisation ratio for the 64 countries that it represents was 73.3% in Feb., 1.8 percentage point higher y/y and 0.5 percentage points higher m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

World's largest oxygen production plant inaugurated at Sasol Secunda - Marleny Arnoldi (SOL) 27/03/18 06:59:00

Environmental Affairs Minister EDNA MOLEWA yesterday inaugurated AIR LIQUIDE's €200m air separation unit at SAOSL's Secunda plant, in Mpumalanga. The ASU is the biggest oxygen production unit in the world, with a capacity of 5 000t/d and brings the total number of ASUs in SASOL's fleet to 17, said SASOL joint CEO BONGANI NQWABABA. The new plant will further increase oxygen for SASOL's fuels and chemicals production processes. The ASU also produces gases such as xenon and krypton, which are used in medical scanners and high-speed photography equipment. AIR LIQUIDE CEO BENOIT POTIER said the ASU would provide the French group with a new source of liquid gases to supply the growing industrial gas market in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

M&R shares up as Aton plans buyout - Simone Liedtke (MUR) 27/03/18 06:59:00

Shares in MURRAY & ROBERTS rose more than 50% yesterday as it announced that German family-owned business ATON plans to buy all shares in the company for R15/share. M&R said ATON, which already holds 33% of M&R's shares, had informed the company of its intention to open a general offer directly to the group's shareholders. An independent board established by M&R will now review the correspondence received from ATON and the terms of the proposed offer. In a separate announcement, ATON said it has obtained an irrevocable undertaking from ALLAN GRAY, acting on behalf of its clients, representing around 10.9% of M&R's ordinary share capital, to accept he proposed offer, if made. M&R's share price rose to R14.52 yesterday morning, up 50.62% on Friday's R9.64 close. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

R&E reports R7m loss due to ongoing litigation - ANA (RNG) 27/03/18 05:50:00

RANDGOLD & EXPLORATION yesterday reported a total comprehensive loss of R7m for the FY to end-Dec., down from R7.9m y/y, as a result of an increase in legal fees. R&E said that during FY2017, it received liquidation dividends from the insolvent deceased estate of BRETT KEBBLE of R1.1m, R9.1m profit from the sale of prospecting rights, and interest of R13m earned on cash investments. Seven minority R&E shareholders have been engaged in a R1.3bn legal wrangling with INVESTEC since 2011 against nonperforming loan exposure to JCI and WESTERN AREAS, companies previously controlled by KEBBLE. R&E also spent R6.7m on personnel costs, R22.4m on legal and forensic fees, and other operations costs totalled R2.1m. The company started the year under review with a cash and cash equivalent balance of R170m. It said it remains in a healthy cash position with R160.1m in cash and equivalents at end-Dec. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim focuses on policy certainty to revive mining investment - Anine Kilian () 27/03/18 05:49:00

The Zimbabwean government is committed to ensuring mining policy certainty to win back investment and revive the industry, Mining and Mining Development Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said yesterday. Addressing delegates at the Harare Indaba, in Johannesburg, CHITANDO said the biggest questions investors had about Zimbabwe's mining sector revolved around indigenisation, which former President ROBERT MUGABE enacted in 2007. Harare earlier this month amended the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to restrict compulsory indigenisation to the diamond and platinum sectors exclusively. "The Act says that investors can apply to waive the 51% ownership, on a case-by-case basis. In terms of policy issues, it is important to attract capital to improve capacity utilisation and to invest into our mining sectors", CHITANDO said. Meanwhile, CHITANDO said the government was holding fortnightly liaisons with the Zimbabwean Chamber of Mines to streamline business and to look at various areas to tackle policies through interface with the industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gahcho Kue flexes cash-flow muscle - Henry Lazenby (AGL) 27/03/18 05:49:00

The Gahcho Kue diamond mine has demonstrated strong cash flow generating talents over the operation's first two commercially active financial quarters. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS yesterday stressed that 2017 was a "milestone" year for the company, as it marked a shift from development to commercial production. For H2 2017, MPD reported an adjusted EBITDA figure of C$56.6m, underscoring the cash flow generating capabilities of the operation, in which it owns a 49% stake, with DE BEERS CANADA owning the balance and being the operator. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE sold 1.98m ct in 2017, and total sales amounted to C$238m, of which C$68m was capitalised as pre-commercial production revenue and C$170m revenue in the statement of comprehensive income. Since declaring commercial production on Mar. 1, Gahcho Kue has treated 2.78mt of ore via the process plant and recovered 5.93m ct, on a 100% basis. Net profit rose 257% to C$17.15m, or C$0.11/share, up from C$4.9m or C$0.03/share in FY2016. For 2018, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE expects to produce between 6.3m and 6.6m carats recovered at an average grade of 2.02ct to 2.12ct per tonne. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Workers at Chile's Los Pelambres mine reach deal on labour agreement - Reuters () 27/03/18 05:49:00

Workers at ANTOFAGASTA's Los Pelambres copper mine reached agreement on a new labour contract, defusing the risk of a strike, the union said yesterday. Workers in the mine's largest union had last week rejected an offer for a new labour contract, triggering a period of government mediation and raising the spectre of the first-ever strike at a mine owned by ANTOFAGASTA. The new contract, agreed upon by 82% of union members, includes a signing bonus of $30 500 per worker and an average salary hike of 3%. Los Pelambres produced 356 300t of copper last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Bushveld raises $22m - Simone Liedtke () 27/03/18 05:49:00

BUSHVELD MINERALS has conditionally raised around $22.m, before expenses, by way of an oversubscribed placing of 152.75m new ordinary shares at a price of 10.3pps with leading institutional and mining investors. The placing shares will represent around 14.4% of the company's issued share capital on admission. Proceeds will be used to redeem the outstanding $6.3m ATLAS CAPITAL Convertible Bond and $9m will be spent on simplifying BUSHVELD's organisational and corporate structure to improve the miner's exposure to the underlying cash flows of its assets. A further $5.6m of the proceeds will be used to support BUSHVELD's vanadium expansion programme at the Vametco mine and the Brits project for future production. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore faces off against labour group on DRC mine conditions - Bloomberg (GLN) 27/03/18 05:49:00

GLENCORE defended working conditions at its mines in the DRC after an international labour federation said its employees are poorly treated and underpaid. The spat with Geneva-based IndustriALL, a global union federation that says it represents more than 50m workers in 140 countries, comes as some of the world's biggest companies pursue deals for GLENCORE's prized Congolese cobalt. IndustriALL said working conditions at the company's Katanga Mining and Mutanda operations violate workers' rights and need to be improved. "Auto companies need to live up to their customers' expectations... We're not asking them to not buy from GLENCORE, we're asking them to pressure GLENCORE to live up to GLENCORE's own claims to produce responsibly and to respect workers' rights", IndustriALL general secretary VALTER SANCHES said. GLENCORE disputes the allegations, it said in a written response to the federation. "GLENCORE strongly rejects the claim made by IndustriALL of slavery-like conditions at our operations in the DRC". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Drilling results build on Botswana project's expansion potential - Simone Liedtke () 27/03/18 05:49:00

The latest assay and drill hole intersection results for the T3 copper/silver project, in Botswana, indicate openpit expansion potential, METAL TIGER said yesterday. The Aim-listed investment firm holds a 30% stake in the project, with the balance owned by MOD RESOURCES. T3 is located within the central part of the T3 Dome, which is the focus of rapidly increasing exploration activity undertaken by the JV partners. "We are pleased to report that the preliminary results from the T3 Phase 2 infill and expansion case drilling programme are very encouraging, showing the potential that the overall mineral resource at T3 can be increased and giving confidence to the openpit expansion case ore processing model", METAL TIGER CEO MICHAEL MCNEILLY said. Drilling results will feed into the feasibility study to help increase confidence in the T3 expansion case model, which assumes ore processing at a rate of 2.5mt/year for about three years before ramping up to 4mt/y for eight years, and to help with mine schedule modelling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio sees $5bn copper expansion on track amid Swiss probe - Bloomberg () 27/03/18 05:44:00

RIO TINTO GROUP has yet to be contacted by Swiss authorities over a bribery investigation related to Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine and the site's $5.3bn expansion remains on track. The Swiss attorney general is examining whether RIO paid bribes in the development of the project, the Office of the Attorney General said last week. The office also opened criminal proceedings against a former Mongolian Finance Minister on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. Reports have indicated the allegations relate to a period before RIO's 2010 decision to take over management of the project and before it boosted its stake in the mine's then-owner IVANHOE MINES, RIO TINTO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said. "We shouldn't forget it was a time when RIO TINTO had less than a 10% equity stake in what was called at the time IVANHOE, which is now TURQUOISE HILL", JACQUES added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CIL starts supplies to power plants under auctioned linkages - Ajoy K Das () 27/03/18 05:44:00

COAL INDIA LIMITED is expected to supply an estimated 27mt/year to thermal power companies via long-term supply agreements secured through bidding. Long-term coal allocation was put up for auction for the first time in Sep. and thermal companies successful in winning the bids will now receive assured supplies of the dry fuel as per their plant requirement. A CIL officials said that, despite the delay in starting supplies, the miner and thermal power companies have now completed signing of fuel purchase agreements and that coal supplies to ten thermal power companies will start over the next few days. During Apr. 2017 to Feb. 2018, CIL production was reported at 495.09mt, a modest 1.4% growth over the y/y period and missing the government target of 531.32mt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Indian iron ore output, imports to rise in current FY - Ajoy K Das () 27/03/18 05:44:00

Indian iron ore output during the current FY is expected to have grown y/y, and imports too are showing tentative signs of a rise. According to preliminary government data, total iron ore output is expected to be 210mt at end-Mar., growth of 9% y/y, despite disruption in Odisha and the closing down of Goa iron ore mines from Mar. 15. The inward shipment of 5mt of iron ore since Jan. is already close to the total 5.1mt imported in FY2015/16. In 2014/15, the country imported 15mt. Imports since Jan. are an indication that the falling trend of the past few years may be reversed in the next FY. In the current year, Odisha is expected to continue as the largest iron ore producer, accounting for more than 50% of India's total production despite disruptions in mining operations earlier in the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Australia 'ill prepared' for US tax reforms - Esmarie Swanepoel () 27/03/18 05:43:00

A new report by the Minerals Council of Australia has warned that the country could struggle to compete for investments as the US employs tax reforms. "US tax reform will have an enormous impact on worldwide company decisions and individual country tax reforms. This will have implications for Australia's ability to compete for investment and the positive flow-on effects of investment: technology, jobs and tax revenues", international tax specialist Dr JACK MINTZ said. He warned that if Australia's politicians did not support company tax reductions, Australia would lose investment and jobs to more tax-attractive jurisdictions such as the US. RIO TINTO CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES last month warned that its investment focus could shift to its operations in the US unless Australia lowered its company tax rate. Australia's company tax rate of 30% has been unchanged for almost 20 years and is now the ninth highest of 43 countries surveyed by MINTZ's report and fourth highest of 34 OECD countries, tied with Mexico. The report shows that Australia's marginal effective tax rate (METR) is 28.4%, higher than the average METR across the G7, G20 and OECD economies and almost 10 points higher than in the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cimic wins BHP coal contract - Esmarie Swanepoel (BIL) 27/03/18 05:43:00

Project house CIMIC yesterday reported that its mining services arm, THIESS, had been awarded an A$185m contract from BHP at the Mount Arthur coal project in the Hunter Valley. The 15-month contract extends the scope of THEISS' work at the project from load and haul services, to mining overburden and coal at the southern end of the Mt Arthur coal operations. CIMIC CEO MICHAEL WRIGHT said the company was pleased to continue its work at Mount Arthur, with the new contract demonstrating the company's ability to work with its clients, and to deliver the equipment and expertise needed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec announces zero VAT increase to number of fees - Business Report (CPI) 27/03/18 05:43:00

CAPITEC BANK yesterday announced it will absorb the increase in VAT on its most popular digital transactions in a bid to keep bank fees as low as possible. Zero VAT increases will apply to all electronic payments on the CAPITEC app, internet banking and USSD at R1.50 and immediate payments between banks remains at R10 per transaction. The credit card monthly fee will also remain flat at R35/month. Access to remote banking remains free with zero-rated ata for the app, while fees for payments in branch increased to R5.35/transaction, and the monthly admin fee increased to R5.80. Statements and transfers between own accounts on mobile phone and internet banking remain free, while the price of payments on these channels will rise to R1.60/transaction and debit orders will increase to R3.73. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA investigates $60m SAP contract - Alexander Winning () 27/03/18 05:43:00

SA's anti-corruption agency is probing a R671m government contract with SAP, which has admitted misconduct in separate deals involving the GUPTA family. The office of the Public Protector said it had received an anonymous letter alleging due process was not followed in the awarding of a contract to SAP in 2016 to provide IT and support services to the Department of Water and Sanitation. "The Public Protector is investigating the SAP licences", spokesperson OUPA SEGALWE said. "The allegation is that SAP licences for both the department and water boards were purchased without following due process". SAP declined to comment on the inquiry or give details about the contract but said it was conducting a review of all its deals with the government back to 2010. The anonymous letter also alleged the contract was unnecessary because existing DWS licences with SAP covered the same services. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana cbank cuts policy rate to 18% - Kwasi Kpodo () 27/03/18 05:43:00

Ghana's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 200 bps to 18% on Monday, saying its medium-term inflation target was on course, governor ERENST ADDISON said. The country is in its final year of a $918m credit deal with the IMF to narrow its deficit, debt and inflation. Yesterday's cut adds to 750 bps by the regulator in the past year to foster growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC's 2017 mining revenue up 36% while oil revenue doubles - Aaron Ross () 27/03/18 05:43:00

The DRC's 2017 mining sector revenue rose 35.6% to $822.2m while revenue from the oil and gas sector jumped by 103% to $203.9m, finance ministry data showed yesterday. Mining revenue in Q4 more than doubled helped by higher prices for key exports such as copper and cobalt, data showed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 27/03/2018 () 27/03/18 05:43:00

At 05:43 on 27 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.63 Rand/Sterling 16.55 Rand/Euro 14.48 Gold 1353.62 Platinum 950.00 Oil 70.26 All-Share Index 56176.43

Noble founder quits after boardroom bust-up - Neil Hume () 26/03/18 10:51:00

RICHARD ELMAN, founder of NOBLE GROUP, resigned as a non-executive director because of differences of opinion with its board and creditors who are trying to push through a debt restructuring plan. "Mr ELMAN has informed the company that he resigned due to his amicable differences of opinion with the board and the ad hoc group of creditors on the way forwards", NOBLE said in response to a query from the Singapore Stock Exchange. NOBLE said ELMAN had resigned as a non-executive director on Wednesday but provided no further detail. The bust-up capped a difficult week for NOBLE, which defaulted on a bond and was used by one of its biggest shareholders. To compound the misery, the company on Friday said it had become aware that an Indonesian coal miner had filed a lawsuit seeking compensation in excess of $260m. The legal action could complicate plans to push through the debt restructuring, which will see some $1.7bn of senior debt swapped for equity. NOBLE has warned shareholders that it will file for administration if they fail to back the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Repsol halts Vietnamese gas project after Chinese pressure - John Reed () 26/03/18 10:51:00

Spanish energy group REPSOL has suspended work on an offshore natural gas project in Vietnam after its Vietnamese partners came under pressure from China over Beijing's maritime claim on most of the South China Sea. Work on the Red Emperor project, off Vietnam's south-east coast, began in 2009, and the field was on track to begin drilling for gas. But the BBC on Friday reported that PETROVIETNAM ordered REPSOL to suspend work. China's claim to a swath of the South China Sea inside its self-designated "nine-dash line" has blocked gas projects in both Vietnam and the Philippines, with Beijing pressuring both countries not to develop the resource in areas of their territorial waters on which it has claims. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lagarde reveals plans for eurozone 'rainy-day fund' - Claire Jones () 26/03/18 10:51:00

IMF MD CHRISTINE LAGARDE has unveiled plans for a rainy-day fund for the eurozone paid for largely by member states, amid concerns from northern European countries that they will be left on the hook for the problems of their southern neighbours. LAGARDE outlined the Fund's proposals as part of a speech in Berlin on broader reforms of the single currency area's economic architecture. LAGARDE said: "A more unified euro area can be a compass to prosperity for the region and a beacon of hope to the world". Her intervention into the debate on the euro area's future follows fierce resistance to elements of French President EMMANUEL MACRON's plans to form a coalition of eight fiscally-conservative countries led by the Netherlands. MACRON is the biggest champion of a deeper economic and monetary union, including creating a sizeable common EU budget. In a nod to the coalition's complaints that it would be left on the hook for the profligacy of other member states, LAGARDE said the IMF's proposal would be "a temporary cushion and not a permanent pillow". "Our suggested approach requires members to take greater responsibility for putting their own houses in order", LAGARDE added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kroger, Target jump on merger report - Pan Kwan Yuk () 26/03/18 10:51:00

Investors are stocking up on shares of TARGET and KROGER on Friday after a report said the two US retailers are in talks about a possible merger in a bid to fend off competition from AMAZON. Shares in KROGER spiked as much as 8% in pre-market trading while those for TARGET jumped 2.3%. According to Fast Company, the parties began talks last summer about a partnership and the talks are ongoing this year. The parties appear to be struggling to decide whether a merger is the best path forward, the trade magazine reported. A merger between TARGET and KROGER would create a retail juggernaut with nearly $195bn in combined sales last year and a market value of $58bn. That compares to the $177.9bn in annual sales recorded by AMAZON and WALMART's $118.1bn. At the close of trading on market, TARGET had a market cap of $37.5bn while KROGER was worth around $20.6bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Durable goods orders grow the most in eight months - Peter Wells () 26/03/18 10:51:00

Durable goods orders rose by the most in eight months in Feb., led by an increase in demand for transportation equipment. That helped the gauge recover from its January contraction, which although revised 0.1 percentage points higher to -3.5%, was still the biggest fall since July, according to the Census Bureau. February's m/m rise of 3.1% to $247.7bn was the quickest pace of growth since June last year, and more than double the 1.5% expected by economists in a Reuters survey. This was led by a $5.5bn, or 7.7% rise in transport orders, to $83.5bn. Even with the volatile transport category stripped out, orders were up by 1.2% last month, topping estimates for 0.5%. Orders for non-defence capital spending excluding aircraft rose 1.8% to $67.83bn, recovering from two straight months of decline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Russia trims interest rates with eye on 'uncertainty on global trade policy' - Katie Martin () 26/03/18 10:51:00

Russia's central bank is keeping a close eye on volatile markets and global trade tensions, it said on Friday as it cut its benchmark rate by a quarter of a point in response to "sustainably low" inflation. That cut took the key rate to 7.25%. Annual inflation was at 2.2% in Feb., well below the 4% target. LIUS SAENZ, an analyst at BSC GLOBAL MARKETS, said he expects the central bank to cut by a further quarter point in Apr. or June. "Then we expect CBR to take a pause until September to see how inflationary dynamic unfolds during the crucial harvest period (August-September", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers mulls listing units after Tencent share sale - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (NPN) 26/03/18 10:14:00

NASPERS is considering listing some businesses on the stock market to highlight their value. NASPERS raised $9.8bn this week selling a slice of its TENCENT shares and plans to use the money to accelerate the growth and scale of its ecommerce businesses, which could be listed. Even after the sale, the value of NASPERS' TENCENT investment, about $159bn, dwarfs the company's market value of $121bn. That means investors see no value in NASPERS' payment services, food deliver and classifieds operations. "It is a priority for us to reduce the value gap", CEO BOB VAN DIJK said on Friday. NASPERS has spent more than $2bn over 12 months on acquisitions and organic growth, VAN DIJK said, with the food-delivery business consuming $1bn. VAN DIJK said solutions to the valuation gap with TENCENT must be structural and long-term. "We don't want to implement short-term decisions that will deliver a reduction of the gap, but is actually not the right decision for the company going forward". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New SARS boss worried about key target - Justin Brown, City Press () 26/03/18 10:14:00

Acting SARS commissioner MARK KINGON is having sleepless nights over meeting the tax revenue target for fiscal 2018, which ends this month. SARS set itself a revised target of R1.217tn, which is R48bn short of the 2016 budget speech goal of R1.265tn. The revenue agency said it had collected R1tn in tax by Feb. 22, leaving the organisation with five weeks to collect the remaining R217bn. "We want to deliver. I would like to deliver more [than the target]. I've got teams operating around the clock. We are doing our damnedest to get there", KINGON said last week. He said Finance Minister NHLANHLA NEE would reveal more at a press briefing on Apr. 3. KINGON said he would make sure that public confidence in SARS was restored. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Old Mutual Zim posts growth in profit - Crecey Kuyedzwa (OML) 26/03/18 10:14:00

OLD MUTUAL ZIMBABWE reported a strong set of results for the FY to end-Dec. that showed significant growth across the board. The company on Friday said its total revenue grew by 7% to $351.1m, with gross premiums rising by 5% to $194.8m from $185.4m in total for the life and short-term insurance businesses. The banking business recorded a net surplus growth of 7% to $42.1m up from 439.2m in 2016. Operating and administration expenses rose at a lower rate of 5% to $93.8m, from $89.4m y/y. CFO TAKURA MADEKUNYE said adjusted operating profit had grown by 25% to $95.5m in the period under review. Profit after tax rose by 139% to $219.3m from $91.8m y/y, largely driven by a robust operating profit across the business as well as non-banking investment returns. Management proposed a special dividend of $10m on top of a normal dividend of $10m. The group's total asset base also rose by 45% to $3.1bn from $2.2bn, driven by growth in investment and securities, loans and advances, and cash and cash equivalents. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dropbox pops in trading debut - Pan Kwan Yuk () 26/03/18 10:13:00

DROPBOX made its public debut with a bank, surging nearly 50% on Friday. The company priced its shares at $21 apiece on Thursday, $1 above the high end of the $18-$20 range it gave earlier in the week. The stock climbed as much as 47.6% to $31 within minutes of trading on Friday morning. The demand for the IPO, which was several times oversubscribed, came despite Wall Street suffering its worst sell-off in six weeks yesterday. DROPBOX's IPO raised $756m and valued the group at around $9.2bn on a fully diluted basis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Broadcom investors approve return to US domicile - Eric Platt () 26/03/18 10:13:00

Singapore-based BROADCOM on Friday said its shareholders had overwhelmingly approved its decision to move its official base to the US. The company said more than 99% of the votes cast approved its redomiciliation efforts. BROADCOM expects to complete its move to the US will be completed on Apr. 4 after the close of trading. The shift is subject to approval by a court in Singapore. BRAODCOM, formerly known as AVAGO, made a string of takeovers under CEO HOCK TAN, including its $36bn purchase of BROADCOM in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US, S Korea agree to trade deal changes - Edward White () 26/03/18 10:13:00

The US and South Korea are expected to sign changes to the country's free trade deal after coming to an agreement over issues including DONALD TRUMP's new steel tariffs. Officials in Washington and Seoul have been negotiating changes to the existing free trade agreement between the two countries after concern from the US that the deal favoured the South Koreans. TRUMP had called for the agreement, signed six years ago, to be amended or scrapped, describing it as "unacceptable" and a "job killer". Trade unions in Seoul said that a new agreement had been reached in principle. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China seeks expanded oil market influence with new futures contract - Tom Hancock () 26/03/18 10:13:00

China launched its long-awaited renminbi-denominated oil futures contract on Monday, as it seeks to extend its influence over the pricing of barrels sold into Asia. It is the first Chinese futures product which can be traded by foreigners without a presence in China, though trade will be settled in Chinese currency. Trading was officially launched in the trading hall of the Shanghai Futures Exchange at 9am local time. The contract will trade on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange and a unit of the Shanghai Futures Exchange. It will trade from 9am to 11.30am, and 1.30pm-3pm, as well as at night between 9pm and 2.03am. Each contract will be for a volume of 1 000 barrels and seven oil grades will be made deliverable against it. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Toshiba says chip business sale awaiting regulatory clearance from China - Kana Inagaki () 26/03/18 10:13:00

China is posing the final hurdle to TOSHIBA's $18bn sale of its memory chip business. The Japanese group today confirmed that it was unlikely to complete the sale to a consortium led by BAIN by the end of Mar. deadline, saying the deal has yet to receive antitrust clearance from Chinese regulators. Most analysts had expressed concerns that the Chinese regulators would take time to complete its decision on a deal with BAIN that also involves South Korean chipmaker SK HYNIX. If the deal is not cleared by the end of March, TOSHIBA can walk away and explore other options. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Smurfit rejects sweetened proposal from International Paper - Adam Samson () 26/03/18 10:13:00

SMURFIT KAPPA has rejected another takeover approach by America's INTERNATIONAL PAPER that would have valued the company's equity at almost €9bn. SMURFIT KAPPA today said it late last week received a sweetened cash-and-share proposal from its US suitor. Under the terms of the proposal, INTERNATIONAL PAPER would pay around €37.54/share to acquire SMURFIT KAPPA. That would value SMURTIF's equity at around €8.9bn. The price would be reduced to €36.90 after the previously-scheduled payment of a dividend on May 11, SMURFIT said. INTERNATIONAL PAPER's previous proposal valued SMURFIT at €36.46/share, without the reduction related to the dividend. SMURFIT KAPPA chair LIAM O'MAHONY said the revised proposal "entirely fails to value the group's true intrinsic business worth and future prospects". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

French Q4 GDP growth nudged up to 0.7% - Adam Samson () 26/03/18 10:13:00

France's economy grew slightly faster in the final quarter of 2017 than earlier forecast. GDP expanded 0.7% in the quarter to end-Dec. q/q, up from a previous estimate of 0.6%, statistics office Insee said. The rate of expansion for 2018 was confirmed at 2%, a strong uptick from 1.1% in 2016. The Q4 reading pointed to a further acceleration at the end of the year, coming in at 2.8% on an annualised basis. In Q4, export growth was particularly strong, at 2.5% sequentially. Household consumption slowed to a 0.2% pace from 0.5% in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Amplats commits to community water initiative - Marleny Arnoldi (AMS) 26/03/18 08:52:00

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM has embarked on an initiative to fund solutions to some of the water challenges in the communities surrounding its Mogalakwena openpit mine, in Limpopo. The company will deliver 3.5m litres a day to communities in the Greater Mapela region. The company is currently trucking water to some of the 42 villages around the mine. AMPLATS corporate affairs executive head SEARA MKHABELA on Friday said the sustainability strategy highlighted the importance of keeping people and the environment safe, and using collaborative regional developments to provide sustainable benefits for host communities. The strategy includes a commitment to reduce freshwater abstraction by 50% in water-scarce regions. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA makes formal request for exclusion from tariffs - Terence Creamer () 26/03/18 08:51:00

Trade & Industry Minister ROB DAVIES has made a formal submission to the US requesting the exclusion of SA from the imposition of duties on steel and aluminium products. A provision allowing for country-based exclusions from a 25% hike in the steel tariff and a 10% duty on aluminium products imports to the US was included in a proclamation signed by President DONALD TRUMP on Mar. 8. The proclamation immediately excluded Canada and Mexico from the protective measures. TRUMP subsequently also granted exemption for the EU, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia, while announcing additional tariffs against China. "South Africa notes with concern that it is not excluded from the application of the duties on steel and aluminium", the DTI said in a statement on Friday. It said the imposition of the duties would have a negative impact on productive capacity and jobs in a sector already suffering from global steel overcapacity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Makhura establishes water war room for Gauteng - Natasha Odendaal () 26/03/18 08:51:00

Premier DAVID MAKHURA has established a war room to ensure Gauteng's own taps do not run dry amid a drought hat has devastated many provinces in the country. Following a Premier's Coordinating Forum, he said water security in Gauteng was a priority. The war room will comprise representatives from the provincial and local governments and will have a political and technical component to identify trends and the appropriate responses. Gauteng, which uses 11% of SA's water, needs to invest in adequate water infrastructure as "insurance" against uncertainty. A water summit will be convened in June, where a plan to deal with water security and sustainability will be adopted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

PRASA interim chair steps down - Anine Kilian () 26/03/18 08:51:00

Newly appointed High Court judge Advocate TINTSWALO ANNAH NAN MAKHUBELE has resigned as interim chair of PRASA. MAKHUBELE, who tendered her resignation last week, has, since taking up the position in Oct. 2017, had to deal with a number of organisational challenges which included ongoing investigations arising out of the Public Protector's report, the Auditor-General's findings and a National Treasury report, as well as leadership instability. She will take up the position as High Court judge on Apr. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dipula's R1.25bn acquisition progresses - Marleny Arnoldi (DIA) 26/03/18 08:51:00

DIPULA INCOME FUND on Friday provided further details of its R1.25bn property portfolio acquisition that was initially announced in Nov. The company said pre-emptive rights regarding certain properties in the acquisition had either been waived or exercised. As a result, the purchase price had been adjusted from the R1.27bn originally announced. The transaction is expected to close on May 1. The acquisition includes assets with a gross leasable area of 340 221 m2, spanning retail, office and industrial space. DIPULA CEO IZAK PETERSEN said the yield-enhancing acquisition was expected to increase DIPULA's net operating profit to R174m for the FY to end-Aug. 2019, up from the anticipated R56m for the four months ended Aug. 2018. The purchase consideration will be paid in cash comprising a balance of debt and equity funding. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Helios scraps listing plans - Natasha Odendaal () 26/03/18 08:51:00

HELIOS TOWERS has crapped plans for a main listing on the LSE and a secondary inward listing on the main board of the JSE after shareholders scuppered the plans. Earlier in Mar., the company outlined its intention of listing, which garnered "considerable institutional investor interest" and endorsed its business model, strategy and growth prospects. However, HELIOS announced shortly thereafter that shareholders have decided not to proceed with IPOs of the company's shares at present. It assured investors that it remained committed to executing its growth strategy and reiterated its confidence in the group's outlook. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lonmin hands over New Marikana primary school to Basic Education Dept - Marleny Arnoldi (LON) 26/03/18 08:51:00

LONMIN on Friday handed the New Marikana primary school over to the North West Department of Education and Sport Development and the Marikana community. The R17m school will enrich the community by providing a first rate educational facility, accommodating up to 750 learners in Grades R to 7. LONMIN CEO BEN MAGARA said the launch of the school not only ensures better educational opportunities and, therefore, a brighter future for Marikana's children, but it is also evidence of the company's dedication to protecting the rights of people. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Cause of fire at Exxaro reductants plant in Limpopo being investigated - Marleny Arnoldi (EXX) 26/03/18 08:51:00

EXXARO RESOURCES and the Department of Mineral Resources are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out at EXXARO's Grootegeluk reductants plant, in Lephalale, on Wednesday. The fire was brought under control with assistance from the Matimba and Medupi power stations' fire units. EXXARO executive MZILA MTHENJANE said the safety of the company's employees is its number one priority and that no injuries occurred as a result of the fire. There were also no disruptions to the coal operations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Optimum, Koornfontein employees have not been paid Mar. salaries - NUM - Anine Kilian () 26/03/18 08:51:00

The NUM on Friday said its members at the Optimum and Koornfontein mines have not been paid their Mar. salaries, despite the business rescue practitioner promising to pay the workers by Thursday evening. The union said the BRPs "had meetings with both the Department of Mineral Resources and the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and promised that workers will be paid... We cannot allow this situation to continue. The NUM calls on the BRP to sell the operations as there are interested investors to buy them". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio Tinto sees iron ore market staying balanced through 2019 - Reuters () 26/03/18 08:51:00

RIO TINTO expects the global iron ore market to stay balanced through 2019 despite a likely moderation in steel demand growth in China. "I think the iron ore market is pretty well balanced... We don't see remarkable change in supply and demand balance through 2019", RIO iron ore CEO CHRIS SALISBURY said. The company expects solid demand for iron ore, especially for its high-grade iron ore as Chinese steelmakers increasingly focus on higher productivity and lower emissions. RIO, which supplies around 330mt of iron ore a year to mainly Asian customers, plans to spend $1bn a year over the next three years for maintenance of its iron ore mines. It will also invest another $3bn in total on new iron ore mines including the Koodaideri mine in Australia's Pilbara region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ghana sells 1.57bn cedis worth of 3-yr bonds at 16.5% - Kwasi Kpodo () 26/03/18 07:52:00

Ghana scooped all 157bn cedis tendered for a three-year domestic bond on Thursday and will pay a yield of 16.5%, joint transaction arrangers said. Initial guidance for the bond, open to non-resident Ghanaians, was in the range of 15.5% and 16.5%. The government was hoping to raise 900m cedis from the sale. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gabon to revise hydrocarbons law to attract investment - Gerauds Wilfried Obangome () 26/03/18 07:38:00

Gabon plans to revise its hydrocarbons law to attract new investment, the oil ministry said on Thursday. Under the current legal framework, the state holds a minimum 20% stake in oil projects. The state oil company has the right to a stake of up to 15%. That law was implemented in 2014, the year that the market was shocked by a 50% drop in prices from over $100/barrel to around $50 due to global oversupply. "The same fiscal framework cannot be applied both when the barrel is at $150 and when it's at $50 or $60, which limits the room to maneuver of investors interested in exploration", the ministry said. A panel of legal, economic and tax experts will meet from Mar. 26 to 28 to look at changes to the law. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rwanda economy likely to grow 7.2% this year - Clement Uwiringiyimana () 26/03/18 07:38:00

Rwanda's economy is likely to expand by 7.2% this year, boosted by the services sector and a rebound in construction, Finance Minister CLAVER GATETE said on Friday. The IMF said it expects growth of 7%-8%. The economy grew by 6.1% in 2017. The IMF said it didn't see any serious downside risks to the forecast "at this time". GATETE said GDP growth was expected to accelerate to 7.8% next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's 2018 maize seen up 2% from previous estimate - Tanisha Heiberg () 26/03/18 07:38:00

SA is expected to harvest 2% more maize in 2018 than previous estimates showed after weather conditions boosted yields, a Reuters poll of traders showed on Friday. The Crop Estimates Committee, which will provide its second production forecast for 2018 later this week, is seen pegging the harvest at 12.49mt, up 2% from the 12.22mt the CEC estimated in Feb. The poll expects the 2017/18 crop to consist of 6.24mt of white maize and 6.25mt of the yellow variety. The 2018 harvest is still expected to be 26% lower than the 16.82mt crop harvested in the previous year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Grindrod to float primary listing of shipping business offshore - Tanisha Heiberg (GND) 26/03/18 07:38:00

GRINDROD on Friday said it will list its shipping business offshore, with a secondary listing on the JSE. the freight logistics and shipping services firm said the transaction which will list the shipping business on the Nasdaq is estimated to be implemented by Jun. 18. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DRC mines minister rejects industry call to retain exemptions - Amedee Mwarabu () 26/03/18 07:38:00

DRC Mines Minister MARTIN KABWELULU on Friday rejected a proposal by mining companies to retain exemptions and scrap some taxes in exchange for higher royalties than those in a new mining code, calling the taxes "untouchable". KABWELULU was reacting to a proposal from mining companies under which the companies would accept higher royalty payments if the government agreed to respect 10-year exemptions for existing projects from changes to the fiscal and customs regimes and cancel certain taxes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent loses $51bn in market cap in two days - Sijia Jiang (NPN) 26/03/18 07:38:00

TENCENT HOLDINGS' shares fell more than 4% on Friday, wiping out around $23bn of market value, after NASPERS lowered its stake for the first time in 17 years. The stock opened almost 8% lower at HK$405, its lowest start since Feb. 9, and closed at HK$420. Bourse data showed it was the most traded stock on Friday, with turnover of HK$126bn. TENCENT had lost $51bn in its market cap by the end of business on Friday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers raises $9.8bn from Tencent stake sale - Nqobile Dludla (NPN) 26/03/18 07:38:00

NASPERS has raised $9.8bn from the sale of a 2% stake in TENCENT to strengthen its balance sheet and fund growth in its ecommerce businesses, it said on Friday. NASPERS said it sold 190m shares in TENCENT via an accelerated bookbuilding process, reducing its stake in the company from 33% to 31.2%.a The sale was priced at HK$405/share, a 7.8% discount to TENCENT's closing price on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Uganda joins big-debt club - Elias Biryabarema () 26/03/18 07:38:00

Uganda's national debt has nearly trebled in the last three years to more than 50% of GDP, creating a risk of default, since around two-thirds of that borrowing is external, the central bank said. In a report titled "State of the Economy", published late last week, the Bank of Uganda said the rising costs of servicing the country's $15.1bn of debt could hit economic growth because of reduced public interest. Three years ago, the country's debt was just $6bn. The central bank said the debt posed "a risk of higher exposure or failure to meet external debt obligations in case of exchange rate volatility and slow growth in exports". According to finance ministry papers, interest repayments in the 2018/19 FY will eat up 17.3% of state spending, the largest chunk of the budget. Uganda's GDP growth was 3.9% last year, down from 4.8% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moody's keeps SA rating at investment grade, revises outlook - Mfuneko Toyana () 26/03/18 07:38:00

MOODY's on Friday affirmed SA's investment-grade credit rating and revised its credit outlook to stable from negative, saying the previous weakening of national institutions was gradually reversing which supported an economic recovery. MOODY's rates SA's debt at Baa3, one notch above junk. It said the recovery of institutions in SA would, if sustained, kick-start the economy as well as provide a stabilisation of financial strength. "The changing of the outlook to 'stable' is important news. It suggests South Africa's investment-grade rating is secure, for at least one rating agency", STANDARD CHARTERED chief Africa economist RAZIA KHAN said. MOODY's said the stable outlook "reflects a careful balance or risks. The new administration faces equally significant opportunities and challenges". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA mulling privatisation in reform drive - Treasury chief - Joe Brock () 26/03/18 07:37:00

SA will consider partially privatising struggling SOEs as part of wide-ranging reforms set in motion by President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA since he came to power last month, Treasury DG DONDO MOGAJANE said at the weekend. MOGANAJE said SA was at the end of a credit downgrade cycle after MOODY's held its investment-grade rating and raised its outlook on Friday, in part due to RAMAPHOSA's privatisation plans. Asked if parts of government-owned companies could be sold, MOGANAJE said: "Why not? There have to be new ways of looking at these things. Are we talking privatisation? Are we talking equity partnership? Let's give an opportunity for new ministers to unpack what it means". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

DP World wins 30-yr Congo port concession - Alexander Cornwell () 26/03/18 07:37:00

DP World yesterday said it had won a 30-year management and development concession for a greenfield, multi-purpose port in the DRC. The port operator will set up a JV with the government to manage and invest in the Atlantic Coast's Port of Banana, it said in a bourse statement. An initial $350m will be invested to construct a 600 m quay and a 25ha yard extension with a container capacity of 350 000 TEUs and 1.5mt of general cargo. DRC has long looked to develop a port along its less than 50 km of coastline. Construction is expected to start this year and take two years to complete. A total project cost of over $1bn, spread over four phases, will be dependent on market demand. DP WORLD will control 70% of the JV and the government the balance. The award also includes an option to extend the concession for a further 20 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 26/03/2018 () 26/03/18 07:37:00

At 07:38 on 26 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.67 Rand/Sterling 16.54 Rand/Euro 14.45 Gold 1348.04 Platinum 947.50 Oil 69.81 All-Share Index 56405.64

Steinhoff wants to pay board members up to R2.9bn for handling fallout - Fin24 (SNH) 23/03/18 12:01:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is proposing once-off payments of €100 000-€200 000 to three of its senior board members to be voted on at its upcoming AGM. The three supervisory board members are part of an independent board subcommittee, announced by STEINHOFF on Dec. 11 2017, whose task has been to "bolster the independent governance of the group". The company's AGM is due to take place on Apr. 20 in the Netherlands. Included in the firm's AGM notice is a resolution that supervisory board members STEVE BOOYSEN and HEATHER SONN each receive a once-off payment of €200 000, and JOHAN VAN ZYL receive €100 000. The remuneration resolution also proposes that "in acknowledgment of the exceptional demands being placed on the supervisory board members' time", they receive payments for meetings which take place in addition to those scheduled for the corporate calendar. The proposed remuneration for these meetings is €4 000/meeting for the board's chair, and €3 000 per meeting for members of the board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU approves guidelines for Brexit trade talks - Mehreen Khan () 23/03/18 11:52:00

The EU27 has signed off on the latest step in the UK's Brexit talks by approving its guidelines for trade talks. Meeting in Brussels this morning, EU heads of state took a matter of minutes to approve guidelines for the future relationship which will set out the terms of a future free trade arrangement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GSK pulls out of Pfizer consumer unit auction - Katie Martin () 23/03/18 11:52:00

GLAXOSMITHKLINE has withdrawn from the race to buy PFIZER's consumer healthcare business, uprooting a battle it was widely expected to win. Rival RECKITT BENCKISER pulled out of the process to buy the PFIZER unit on Thursday, leaving GSK seemingly poised to snap up the unit that sells over-the-counter products. But in a statement this morning, GSK CEO EMMA WALMSLEY said: "While we will continue to review opportunities that may accelerate our strategy, they must meet our criteria for returns and not compromise our priorities for capital allocation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China pork producers sizzle on Beijing US import tariff plans - Alice Woodhouse () 23/03/18 11:52:00

China-listed pork producers jumped today after Beijing announced plans for 25% tariffs on US imports of the meat in response to the Trump administration's moves to impose tariffs on Chinese imports. Chinese pork producer and feed processor HUNAN NEW WELLFULL surged 10% to its daily limit in Shanghai after the Ministry of Commerce outlined plans to impose tariffs on US pork and pork product imports. Hog breeder and distributor MUYUAN FOODS jumped 4.8%. News of the tariffs sent WH GROUP, the world's largest pork producer formed after the takeover of SMITHFIELD FOODS by SHUANGHUI INTERNATIONAL in 2013, down as much as 10% in Hong Kong. WH subsidiary SMITHFIELD exported more than 254 000t of pork to China in 2016, accounting for 77% of US exports to the country, according to 2016 figures. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent falls 7.8% after Naspers trims stake - Alice Woodhouse (NPN) 23/03/18 11:52:00

TENCENT shares fell sharply today after NASPERS said it would sell down its stake for the first time in almost two decades. NASPERS yesterday said it would sell stock worth around $10bn in TENCENT, equivalent to 2% of its stake in the company. The move will take NASPERS' stake in TENCENT from 33% to 31%. TENCENT said NASPERS had agreed to sell 190 shares for HK$76bn ($9.8bn). Shares in the Chinese group fell 7.8% at the market open, touching a six-week intraday low before pulling back to be 5.1% lower. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

China outlines tariffs on $3bn of US imports - Alice Woodhouse () 23/03/18 11:52:00

Beijing has outlined plans to introduce tariffs on US imports ranging from fruit to port and steel, hours after DONALD TRUMP revealed plans to impose a 25% levy on up to $60bn in annual imports from China. The Ministry of Commerce said it was planning tariffs on 128 products accounting for around $3bn in US imports. The plans include a 15% tariff on US steel pipes, fresh fruit and wine and a 25% tariff on pork and recycled aluminium. The ministry said the US had seriously upset the normal order of international trade by using national security as the justification for imposing trade tariffs. Beijing said it would take legal action under the WTO framework. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Trump to slap tariffs on $50bn of imports from China - Shawn Donnan () 23/03/18 11:52:00

The TRUMP administration plans to impose new tariffs on $50bn in annual imports from China, targeting products including robots and high-speed trains as it also ramps up efforts to block Chinese investment in strategic sectors. President DONALD TRUMP yesterday ordered US officials to levy tariffs against China in response to a finding that Beijing has for decades pursued a strategy of unfairly acquiring US intellectual property. US officials said they would publish a detailed list within 15 days but planned to specifically target 10 strategic sectors identified by Beijing as part of a "Made in China 2025" strategic plan pushed by XI JINPING. Those sectors included robotics, aerospace, maritime and modern rail equipment as well as electric vehicles and biopharma products. Meanwhile, TRUMP also ordered the US Treasury to come up with a plan to impose new restrictions on Chinese investment in areas like those within 60 days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

AbbVie in $25bn wipeout after cancer drug results - Pan Kwan Yuk () 23/03/18 11:52:00

Investors wiped over $25bn off ABBVIE's market cap yesterday after the company abandoned plans to seek out quick approval for a closely watched experimental lung cancer treatment following mid-stage results. The stock fell 14% to $96.70, putting it on track for its biggest one-day drop on record and slashing its market cap by $25.5bn to $153bn. The sell-off comes as ABBVIE said it would not apply for accelerated regulatory approval for Rova-T, a small cell lung cancer drug it acquired when it bought biotech start-up STEMCENTRX in a deal worth up to $10bn nearly two years ago. At the time of the acquisition, ABBVIE said it was aiming to start selling Rova-T in 2018, and predicted it would generate several billion dollars in global sales at its peak. "Although the results from the study were not what we hoped for, we look forward to receiving data from the ongoing Phase 3 studies in the first- and second-line settings and remain committed to developing Rova-T for the treatment of patients with small cell lung cancer", ABBVIE executive VP for R&D MIKE SEVERINO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BoE holds key rate steady but sets stage for May hike - Chris Giles () 23/03/18 11:52:00

The Bank of England yesterday set the stage for a second interest rate hike at its next meeting in May, saying that pay growth was picking up and inflation was likely to remain above its 2% target for too long. Two members of the nine-strong MPC wanted an immediate hike in rates to 0.75% from the current 0.5%, while the others agreed that an "ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period would be appropriate". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

NUMSA calls for strike to protect right to strike - Fin24 () 23/03/18 11:52:00

Trade union NUMSA yesterday called on its members to protest against the proposed labour law amendments which they claim would make going on strike impossible. The union wants its members to down tools on Apr. 25 "to defend the right to strike". Parliament is currently considering amendments to the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the new National Minimum Wage Bill. NUMSA said the new regulations, if implemented, "will make it impossible for workers to go no strike". The proposed amendments would introduce measures that would curb violent protests and would require trade unions to hold secret ballots to decide on strikes. NUMSA has rejected the voting process as "complicated, costly and cumbersome". The union demands that the regulations be scrapped as they undermine workers' rights and would allow companies to use "scab labour" during protected strikes. The right to strike is protected by the Constitution. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sephaku FY profit down 16% - Schalk Burger (SEP) 23/03/18 11:52:00

SEPHAKU CEMENT posted a 16% drop in FY profit, despite revenue increasing by 3.7% to R2.37bn in 2017. The company turned a profit of R73.9m in H2, compared with a loss of R16.1m in H1, resulting in an FY profit of R58.7m. This was a 16% decrease on the previous year's profit of R68.9m. The recovery in H2 was aided by increased demand and improvements in operational efficiencies, the company said yesterday. SEPHAKU CEMENT achieved an EBITDA margin of 23% in Q3 and 25% in Q4. The EBITDA margin for the FY was 21.3%, compared with 23.1% in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Gauteng urged to use water sparingly - Simone Liedtke () 23/03/18 11:52:00

The Department of Water Affairs has urged Gauteng consumers to use water resources sparingly. DWS water sector regulations director MANGWANI MABADA cautioned that widespread rain across Gauteng might give a false impression that water resources were abundantly available in the province. "If people don't look after this precious resource that we have, a 'Day Zero' in Gauteng will eventually happen", MABADA said. "We are trying to encourage awareness in saying that whatever water resources we currently have, look after it while we still can". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Water treatment, desalination plant to meet Sea Harvest's Saldanha water needs - Schalk Burger (SHG) 23/03/18 11:52:00

A water treatment plant built at SEA HARVEST's internationally accredited Saldanha Bay operations includes reverse osmosis filtration and desalination systems to treat effluent or sea water, and will provide the company with all the water it needs, operations director TERENCE BROWN said yesterday. The plant will deliver 1.15m litres per day of potable water, BROWN noted. The quality of the water produced by the plant will meet he drinking water specification of the SANS 241, for minimum requirements for potable water. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tawana zones in on Bald Hill, spins off remaining assets - Esmarie Swanepoel () 23/03/18 09:48:00

TAWANA RESOURCES has announced the spin-out of its Cowan and Yallari lithium projects, in Western Australia, and the Mofe Creek iron ore asset in Liberia, into a separate entity. TAWANA yesterday said an ASX-listing for the company would not be initially sought, but would be considered by the board of the new entity in due course. "Following the recent commissioning of first spodumene concentrate production at Bald Hill, TAWANA's primary focus is to ensure effective ramp-up of production and to ensure exploration activities are focused near-mine to drive growth in mineable reserves and extend associated mine life at Bald Hill, of which the company has explored less than 5% of the known prospective area", TAWANA MD MARK CALDERWOOD said. TAWANA would retain a 15% stake in the new company, and would initially provide services to this company. In addition, TAWANA would also reserve to itself certain access and water rights from the Cowan project, which would support operations at Bald Hill. A shareholder meeting would likely be called in May to allow shareholders to vote on the proposed transaction, with the completion of the spin-out targeted for June. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Women at Glencore oil trading unit earn 28% less than men - Bloomberg (GLN) 23/03/18 09:48:00

Women working in oil trading at GLENCORE earn 28% less pay on average than men and receive bonuses that were 57% lower. The income disparity was disclosed by the company under UK government-mandated pay gap reporting. The vast majority of the 348 employees at GLENCORE's London offices work in the company's oil trading operations, including the traders themselves and their support staff. While women account for about a third of that number, they comprise only 16% of the top quartile for pay, the figures show. The higher level of males seeking careers in commodities trading "has led to a greater number of men than women in senior and other positions that attract a higher level of pay", GLENCORE said in a report accompanying its UK disclosure. While 40% of GLENCORE's trading employees are women, none of its executive committee members are female. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Court rules that Optimum BRP removal application is urgent - Marleny Arnoldi () 23/03/18 09:48:00

Law firm Kruger & Co Attorneys says the North Gauteng High Court has ruled that its application to remove the current business rescue practitioners for the Optimum coal mine is urgent. The law firm earlier this month said it would be filing the application on behalf of NUMSA. The application was launched on the ground that BRPs KURT KNOOP and JOHAN KLOPPER were appointed unlawfully and in contravention of the provisions of the Companies Act of 2008. The firm alleges that the BRPs are not independent, as they were appointed as BRPs in eight other GUPTA-linked companies during the exact same period as Optimum's business rescue proceedings. The court ruled, on Mar. 20, that the BRPs may not pay any future historic debt that was due prior to the filing of the resolution for business rescue that was done on Feb. 19. Further, no assets of Optimum may be disposed of pending finalisation of the application, except the sale of assets in the normal course of business operations at the mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Glencore to raise $500m via bonds issuance - Schalk Burger (GLN) 23/03/18 09:48:00

GLENCORE will issue $500m cash-settled, guaranteed convertible bonds, which will not dilute its shareholding, the company said yesterday. GLENCORE will, concurrently with the bond, buy from one or more hedge counterparties cash-settled call options on shares of GLENCORE to hedge its economic exposure to a potential exercise of the conversion rights embedded in the bonds. The net proceeds of the offering of the bonds will be used for general corporate purposes and for the purchase of the call options. The nominal value of each bond will be $200 000. "The bonds will not bear interest and will be issued at a price of 93.25% to 98.25% of their nominal value, corresponding to an annual gross yield to maturity of 0.25% to 1%, on Mar. 27, 2018, the expected settlement date of the bonds". The bonds will be redeemed at par on Mar. 27, 2025, unless previously redeemed or converted. The initial conversion price will be 25% above the share reference price, which will be determined as the arithmetic average of the daily volume-weighted average prices of the shares in pounds on the LSE on each of the 10 consecutive trading days commencing on and including Mar. 21, 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Lucara management to focus on Karowe, digital sales platform - Schalk Burger () 23/03/18 09:48:00

LUCARA has announced that incoming CFO and corporate secretary ZARA BOLDT will join the management team as the company focuses on increasing the value of its core diamond mining business at Karowe in Botswana, and on supporting the development of Clara, the company's new secure, digital sales platform, LUCARA CEO EIRA THOMAS said yesterday. The moves are being taken to consolidate all of LUCARA's management team in a common Vancouver office. Outgoing CFO GLENN KONDO and corporate secretary JENNIFER LECOUR agreed to remain in an advisory capacity with the company until end-May, to facilitate the smooth transition of their respective responsibilities to BOLDT. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

De Beers expands Forevermark brand in Europe - Mariaan Webb (AGL) 23/03/18 09:48:00

DE BEERS is expanding its FOREVERMARK brand in key European countries, entering the German market and potentially also Italy and France. The company is aiming to bolster the brand's visibility in key European countries. In Germany, FOREVERMARK has partnered with Idar-Oberstein-based jewellery specialist HEINZ MAYER, which will launch the collection at this week's Baselworld trade fair. In France, FOREVERMARK is in talks with GROUPE MARCEL ROBBEZ MASSON, and in Italy, it is in negotiations with WORLD DIAMOND GROUP. The European expansion comes on the back of a successful global performance for 2017, during which FOREVERMARK posted a 19% rise in the number of diamonds sold. DE BEERS has increased its investment in diamond marketing to more than $140m last year - its biggest spend since 2008 - to target diamond jewellery consumers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BHP sees limited impact on steel market form US tariffs - Reuters (BIL) 23/03/18 09:48:00

BHP expects planned new US steel import tariffs will have a limited impact on both the steel market and the company, and doesn't foresee a chain reaction from other countries, a senior official said yesterday. "I think direct impact on steel is quite marginal because the United States is not such a big steel producer", BHP chief commercial officer ARNOUD BALHUIZEN said. He noted that direct impact on BHP "is even smaller", citing limited steel exports to the US from Asia - BHP's biggest customer for raw materials. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Lenders to Australian coal port agree to 8-yr extension - Reuters (GLN) 23/03/18 09:48:00

Lenders to Queensland's debt-laden WIGGINS ISLAND COAL EXPORT TERMINAL have agreed to extend around $3bn due on an outstanding loan for eight years, a lifeline to owners who would have had to repay the debt from Sep. The extension had been agreed to but not yet been signed by the parties, a banking source said. GLENCORE and its partners - owners of the world's most expensive coal terminal - face a Sep. deadline to refinance the loan or pay off the full amount over the next 15 years. Under the tabled deal, all free cash flow from the project will be used to pay down the loan. A spokesperson for WICET, as the terminal is known, said the company "does not provide financial and other confidential information to the public". The lenders want WICET to half its debt to less than $1.5bn, a level comparable to an investment grade company, making it easier for the terminal to get a credit rating to refinance some of the loan in bond markets at a later stage. The outstanding balance of the loan is slightly under $3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Rio sells another Aussie coal asset - Esmarie Swanepoel () 23/03/18 09:48:00

RIO TINTO has signed a binding agreement with Australia's WHITEHAVEN COAL to divest of its 75% stake in the Winchester South coal project for A$200m. Under the terms of the agreement, WHITEHAVEN would pay RIO an initial A$150m in cash on the date of completion, as well as a further A$50m 12 months after the transaction date. WHITEHAVEN MD and CEO PAUL FLYNN said the Winchester South project was a significant strategic acquisition for the company, and offered an opportunity to develop and operate a high-quality coking coal mine in one of the world's premier coking coal basins. The project has a JORC-compliant resource of 356mt, of which 78mt is in the measured category and 146mt in the indicated category. The project is expected to produce 7.5mt-15mt a year, with an opencut mine life of 20-30 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sirius plans £35m share issue to acquire assets - Siseko Njobeni (SRE) 23/03/18 07:34:00

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE this week said it planned to raise up to £35m from a share issue to acquire a portfolio of assets and support its growth strategy. The company said the shares would be offered to institutional and other investors by way of an accelerated bookbuild. "The target portfolio of assets comprises a total of five assets which potentially could be acquired for approximately €77m, including acquisition costs", SIRIUS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Sasfin upbeat despite tepid results - Sandile Mchunu (SFN) 23/03/18 07:27:00

SASFIN HOLDINGS this week said it would focus on building on the strong foundation it laid in the past year and put behind it the disappointing results for the HY to end-Dec. It said that during the period, it had finalised its BEE transaction with WOMEN INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS for a 25.1% stake. CEO MICHAEL SASSOON said the group had devolved more decision-making to drive a culture of ownership and accountability. SASFIN this week reported a 41.81% drop in HEPS to 157.95cps for the HY to end-Dec., down from 271.42cps y/y. SASSOON said the decline was a result of a single credit impairment from a client. The company expected trading conditions to remain challenging in the second half of the FY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

US sanctions 15 oil-related entities from S Sudan - Lesley Wroughton () 23/03/18 07:27:00

The US this week sanctioned 15 South Sudanese oil-related entities it said were substantial sources of revenue helping to fuel that country's civil war. "By placing these entities on the US Department of Commerce's Entity List, the United States will impose a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, and transfers of any US-origin items to those entities", the State Department said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Genel might start drilling in Somaliland in 2019 - Shadia Nasralla () 23/03/18 07:27:00

GENEL ENERGY might start drilling in Somaliland next year, CEO MURAT OZGUL said yesterday as the company reported FY2017 results broadly in line with expectations. "For the long term, I like (our) Somaliland exploration assets. It's giving me a sense of Kurdistan 15 years ago", OZGUL said, adding that the company "may be (starting) the drilling activities" in 2019. GENEL CFO ESA IKAHEIMONEN said the company will focus spending money from its $162m cash pile on its existing assets in Kurdistan but added: "You might see us finding opportunities... somewhere outside Kurdistan". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Naspers to raise up to $11bn by trimming Tencent stake - Tanisha Heiberg (NPN) 23/03/18 07:27:00

NASPERS is cutting its stake in TENCENT by as much as 2% in a deal that could net the group up to $11bn. NASPERS yesterday said it has no plans to trim its holding further for the next three years. Under the deal, the group plans to sell up to 190m shares, or 2%, in TENCENT via an accelerated bookbuild to raise money that would fund growth in its ecommerce unit. Shares in NASPERS fell more than 5% to R3 276 on the JSE, with some investors disappointed that he money would be ploughed back into ecommerce businesses. "The market would take that negatively because the market does not apply any value to those businesses as they stand", one industry analyst said. The transaction came hours after TENCENT earlier said it lost around $20bn from its market cap after it missed quarterly revenue estimates and warned that planned investments may hurt margins. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian senate clears way for's MPC to meet - Camillus Eboh () 23/03/18 07:27:00

Nigeria's Senate approved the appointment of two deputy central bank governors and three members of the Monetary Policy Committee on Thursday, giving the rate-setting panel sufficient numbers to meet for the first time this year. The Senate had held up some of President MUHAMMADU BUHARI's nominations in a dispute that had left the MPC unable to form a quorum of six. The next MPC meeting is scheduled for Apr. 3-4. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Kenyan lender Equity expects boost from subsidiaries in 2018 - George Obulutsa () 23/03/18 07:27:00

Kenya's EQUITY GROUP HOLDINGS doubled its rate of profit growth last year and expects its subsidiaries to make a bigger contribution to group profit this year, CEO JAMES MWANGI said yesterday. The bank posted an 8% rise in pretax profit last year, up from 4% y/y, thanks to higher commissions from forex trading and trade finance. EQUITY GROUP's banking business in Kenya provides the bulk of profits but subsidiaries outside Kenya are growing in importance. EQUITY's regional businesses, its mobile phone-based financial business, insurance agency and investment bank contributed 14% of 2017's profit and MWANGI said that will rise to 20%-25% this year. Pretax profit rose to 26.88bn shillings in 2017 from 24.93bn shillings a year earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz bond creditors eye 'good faith' debt talks - Karin Strohecker () 23/03/18 07:27:00

A group of Mozambique's international creditors on Wednesday said it hoped to soon start debt restructuring talks with the country, with follow-up high level meetings scheduled in four weeks' time. Mozambique had tabled the key outlines of a three-pronged proposal to restructure some $2bn in debt during a meeting with creditors on Tuesday. However, creditors had been swift to reject the advance, which included some steep write-downs. Following a second meeting on Wednesday, the GLOBAL GROUP OF MOZAMBIQUE BONDHOLDERS said it hoped with some adjustments there could be "good faith negotiations to reach a fair and equitable solution". The GGBM represents or has the backing of around 80% of a eurobond issue earmarked for restructuring. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Teleology to buy Nigeria's 9mobile - Chijioke Ohuocha () 23/03/18 07:26:00

TELEOLOGY HOLDINGS has agreed to buy 9MOBILE, Nigeria's fourth largest telecoms provider, it said yesterday. 9MOBILE, formerly ETISALAT NIGERIA, took out a $1.2bn syndicated loan from 13 local banks in 2013 but failed to make repayments last year. Under the stewardship of its lenders, it has changed its board, management and name and is now up for sale. TELEOLOGY said it had made a $50m deposit to meet conditions for the acquisition and had partnered with SAFARICOM to transform the embattled company. TELEOLOGY was est up by 12 telecoms industry veterans led by former MTN NIGERIA executive ADRIAN WOOD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's retail sales rise slower in Jan. as Black Friday effect wanes - Mfuneko Toyana () 23/03/18 07:26:00

SA's retail sales rose slower than expected in Jan., data showed yesterday, after a sharp rise in the final months of 2017 as the effect of Black Friday wore off. Retail sales rose by 3.1% y/y in Jan., after increasing by a revised 5.1% in Dec. and 7.9% in Nov. Sales by general dealers and retailers took the biggest knock, while those in cosmetics also fell, data showed. Analysts said an increase in VAT due to start next month would slow down sales further. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

First Quantum hopes to resolve $8bn Zambian tax bill - Susan Taylor () 23/03/18 07:26:00

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS this week said it was hopeful of resolving a dispute with Zambia over a whopping 76.5bn Zambian kwacha bill for unpaid duties on imported mining equipment. Zambia had reduced "significant" tax assessments against the company in the past, CEO PHILIP PASCALL said. He declined to speculate on the possible outcome of Zambia's review of the latest claim, which involves more than 23 000 documents and could take up to six months. The bill comprises $150m in higher import duties, $2.1bn in penalties and $5.7bn in interest. It relates to $540m in mining equipment imported to the company's Sentinel copper mine between 2012 and 2017. FIRST QUANTUM's preliminary review of assessment documents show an erroneous application of both higher and lower duties than appropriate, PASCALL said. It was unclear how Zambia calculated the $2.1bn penalty for customs avoidance, while simple errors typically get a 15-year penalty. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Transnet signs new manganese deal with South32 - Wendell Roelf (S32) 23/03/18 07:26:00

TRANSNET has signed a new deal with SOUTH32 to export 2.6mt/y of manganese to European and Chinese markets, the companies said yesterday. GERT DE BEER, head of new business development at TRANSNET, said the utility will earn an estimated R10.4bn from the seven-and-a-half year contract. DE BEER said a total of 12.5mt of manganese will be transported every year once TRANSNET signs contracts with nine local manganese producers, including SOUTH23. Most of the mineral will be from the Northern Cape, and will be hauled to the Saldanha and Port Elizabeth ore railway lines. The contract with SOUTH32 will be back-dated and run from Sep. 2015 until Mar. 2023. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim hopes to transform mining sector with platinum deal - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 23/03/18 07:26:00

A Cypriot investor yesterday signed a $4.2bn deal to develop a platinum mine and refinery in Zimbabwe, an investment that President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA said showed the country was open for business. Inking the deal with KARO RESOURCES, Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said work would start in July, with the first output of PGMs expected in 2020, aiming to reach 1.4moz/year within three years. Located in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt, the project will include a coal mine and power station to produce electricity for the smelter, and should employ 15 000 people when fully implemented, KARO head LOUCAS POUROULIS said. Harare did not give details of the source of funding for the investment. Industry sources said there was no obligation to provide any cash until firmer plans for the development were in place. As well as heading KARO, POUROULIS is chair and founder of THARISA, in which is family has a 45% stake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 23/03/2018 () 23/03/18 07:26:00

At 07:26 on 23 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.83 Rand/Sterling 16.72 Rand/Euro 14.61 Gold 1338.50 Platinum 950.00 Oil 68.30 All-Share Index 57224.60

Tencent drops 4.6% after flagging more spending - Edward White (NPN) 22/03/18 09:40:00

Shares in TENCENT dropped in Hong Kong today as investors showed caution after the company signalled another year of investment and acquisitions. The group's shares sank as much as 4.6%, pulling back from near a record high and marking the biggest fall since Feb. The stock regained some ground to be down 3.2% at midday. TENCENT said its new spending would target video, payments, cloud computing, AI and smart retail, which combines ecommerce with bricks and mortar shops. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Brazil cuts interest rates to new record low of 6.5% - Joe Leahy () 22/03/18 09:40:00

Brazil's central bank cut interest rates to a new record low yesterday, saying the reduction was driven by the need to stimulate the economy and benign external conditions. The central bank cut the benchmark Selic interest rate by 25 bps to 6.5%. "Copom [the central bank monetary policy committee] understands that he economic situation prescribes a stimulative monetary policy, or in other words, interest rates below the structural rate... The committee emphasises that the reform process and necessary adjustments in the Brazilian economy contribute to the fall in the structural interest rate", the central bank said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

GSK in pole position for Pfizer unit - Arash Massoudi () 22/03/18 09:40:00

GLAXOSMITHKLINE is in pole position to win the race for the consumer healthcare business of PFIZER, after it beat a rival bid from RECKETT BENCKISER. PFIZER hopes to secure as much as $20bn for the unit, which sells branded OTC products such as Advil painkillers and Caltrate calcium supplement. If GSK does win the auction it would represent one of the biggest strategic moves so far froM EMMA WALMSLEY, who was appointed as CEO of the British drugmaker last April. PFIZER has maintained throughout that it was exploring a sell or spin off of the business, meaning that if it does not select GSK it could dispose of the unit in another manner. It could also still decide to keep the business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Peruvian president resigns - Gideon Long () 22/03/18 09:40:00

Peruvian president PEDRO PABLO KUCZYNSKI resigned yesterday after his opponents released secretly recorded videos that they said proved that his government had tried to buy votes in Congress to ensure he survived impeachment proceedings. VP MARTIN VIZCARRA appeared likely to take over, preventing the need for fresh elections. KUCZYNSKI had been due to face an impeachment vote in Congress on Thursday over corruption allegations. Until Tuesday, he appeared to stand a good chance of surviving, thanks in part to support from KENJI FUJIMORI, a former opponent recently turned ally. But on Tuesday night the largest opposition party in Congress, led by KENJI's sister KEIKO FUJIMORI, released damning recordings that showed KENJI and a government official apparently trying to persuade an opposition congressman to secure them votes in exchange to access to the president and control over public works projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Fed raises rates, points to stronger economic growth - Sam Fleming () 22/03/18 09:40:00

The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter-point and forecast that rates will rise higher than previously expected in the coming years as new chair JAY POWELL responds to strengthening growth at home and abroad. The US central bank raised the target rate for the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 1.5%-1.75% as it predicted inflation will accelerate in the months ahead. Its median forecast for interest rates at end-2018 was left unchanged, but its projections pointed to an extra increase in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

New Look outlines plan for store closures under deal with creditors - Cat Rutter Pooley (BAT) 22/03/18 09:40:00

NEW LOOK plans to close around 10% of its UK stores as part of a deal with creditors approved on Wednesday. The fashion chain had identified 60 out of its 593 stores in the UK for potential closure, it said, along with another six sites currently sub-let to third parties. Final decisions on whether to shut the outlets would be made jointly between the company and the stores' landlords. A maximum of 980 workers could be made redundant as part of the restructuring, out of a total of more than 15 000 UK employees. NEW LOOK said 98% of the company's creditors had approved its turnaround plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Dublin rejects EU digital tax plan - Arthur Beesley () 22/03/18 09:40:00

Ireland is resisting EU plans for a provisional 3% tax on the revenues of digital companies, saying Brussels should instead wait two years for a global tax measure from the OECD. PM LEO VARADKAR said the plan would put small countries at a disadvantage as he signalled his opposition to draft tax laws from the European Commission. "It is important to emphasise that Ireland is committed to global tax reform. However, we are very much for the view that global solutions are needed. I will strongly argue that the EU should wait for the OECD to complete its work before deciding on how to act". Ireland's growing economy is heavily dependent on foreign direct investment but its business-friendly corporate tax regime and 12.5% tax rate are contentious with Brussels, large EU states and the US. Irish corporate tax revenues doubled in three years to €8.2bn in 2017, prompting concern the country has become too reliant on a volatile revenue stream. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Louis Dreyfus reports lower profit from agricultural trading - Neil Hume () 22/03/18 09:40:00

LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY recorded a 16% drop in core agricultural earnings from continuing operations last year as it battled tough market conditions and slow farmer selling. The company said net income from continuing operations fell to $224m in the FY to end-Dec., down from $266m y/y. Including earnings form its metals business, which LDC sold to a consortium of Chinese investors in Dec. for $450m, net income rose to $317m from $305m y/y. Net sales reached $43bn, up from $40.6bn y/y, and trading volumes hit 81mt. The company did not pay a dividend but increased cash-for-crop loans to BIOSEV, its struggling Brazilian sugar and ethanol subsidiary. DREYFUS said it had extended credit in the form of export pre-payment agreements and trace receivables worth $831m to BIOSEV, up from $608m y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ivanhoe in 'strategic discussions' with mining companies - Henry Sanderson () 22/03/18 09:40:00

IVANHOE MINES says it has started strategic talks with "significant mining companies" over its assets, which include a giant copper mine in the DRC. The Canadian-listed company said several investors have expressed interest but there can be no assurance of a deal. Shares rose 2.88% to trade at C$2.86 in Toronto yesterday. IVANHOE is developing the Kamoa-Kakula project in the DRC, which it says is the world's fourth-largest copper discovery. It also has a platinum-palladium project in SA called PLATREEF. IVANHOE says the Platreef mine "is projected to be Africa's lowest-cost producer of platinum-group metals." This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tencent net profits double thanks to gaming, payment services - Louise Lucas (NPN) 22/03/18 09:40:00

TENCENT HOLDINGS' profits more than doubled in 2017 to Rmb21.6bn, a 105% rise from the Rmb10.5bn reported y/y. TENCENT blew through analysts' earnings estimates with adjusted net profits of Rmb20.8bn in the quarter to end-Dec., up 98% y/y. Consensus forecasts called for Rmb16.82bn. In the third quarter, it garnered total revenues of Rmb66.39bn - up 51% y/y. It attributed 56% of the growth to games, as well as payment-related services, digital content subscriptions and sales, and social and video advertising. Margins at the level of EBITDA dipped to 38% in the latest quarter, from 42% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

EU approves Bayer-Monsanto deal - Rochelle Toplensky () 22/03/18 09:40:00

BAYER has received the green light from the EU to buy MONSANTO, after promising to sell off substantial parts of the business. BAYER promised to sell some of its herbicide and seeds businesses to BASF to alleviate the watchdog's concerns that the tie-up with MONSANTO would cut competition in the EU and lead to higher prices, lower quality, reduced choice and less product innovation. BAYER will also license BASF its digital farming portfolio. The approval comes less than a week after MONSANTO shares fell on reports that American antitrust officials at the Department of Justice may have concerns with the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARS welcomes Mark Kingon's appointment as acting commissioner - ANA () 22/03/18 08:37:00

SARS on Tuesday welcomed the appointment of MARK KINGON as acting commissioner with immediate effect. "SARS has full confidence in the abilities of Mr KINGON to manage this new additional role as we continue with our absolutely important mandate of collecting all revenue due to the fiscus to fuel our country's growth and development", it said. SARS said KINGON was the Group Executive: Relationship Management within Business and Individual Taxes and was recently appointed acting Chief Officer: BAIT following the resignation of JONAS MAKWAKWA last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Ramaphosa welcomes new continental free trade agreement - News24Wire () 22/03/18 08:37:00

President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA has welcomed the adoption by the African Union of an agreement of free trade on the continent as "a new beginning for the continent that will catapult African countries and companies to much higher levels of growth". "The Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area should provide new and meaningful trade and investment opportunities across the African continent", RAMAPHOSA said. He said the government needed more time to consult relevant stakeholders about the free trade area treaty before signing it. The president did not sign the agreement at the AU Extraordinary Summit in Rwanda this week - only signing the declaration on the establishment of the AfCFTA. A total of 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, while 27 signed the protocol to the treaty establishing the African economic community relating to the free movement of persons. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SARB expected to cut repo rate next week - Reuters () 22/03/18 08:37:00

The SARB will cut its repo rate by 25 bps to 6.5% next week, just days after MOODY's is expected to give the country another chance to reform its finances, a Reuters poll found on Tuesday. Fifteen of 22 analysts said the central bank would cut rates by 25 bps on Mar. 28, while two pencilled in a 50 bps cut. The remaining five said there would be no change. The SARB cut the repo rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.75% in July and if cut this month it is expected to remain at 6.5% until the end of 2019. MOODY's is due to publish the results of its latest review on Mar. 23. All but two of 18 economists said SA would avoid a credit rating downgrade. The SARB expects a VAT hike to lift inflation by around 0.6 percentage points over the coming year, though it doesn't expect to raise interest rates. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Heartwood Properties lists on 4AX - Marleny Arnoldi () 22/03/18 08:37:00

4 AFRICA EXCHANGE on Tuesday listed its first issuer operating in the property sector - HEARTWOOD PROPERTIES. HEARTWOOD CEO JOHN WHALL said 4AX appealed to the company due to the exchange's listing requirements which, although strict, suit a small business better. HEARTWOOD has a portfolio of commercial real estate properties primarily in the warehousing and office sector. 4AX CEO Advocate FAY MUKADDAM said the listing came amid renewed buoyancy in the local property market, owing to improving business confidence following the inauguration of President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA. MUKADDAM noted that it is 4AX's vision to become the preferred alternative exchange for large and small companies in SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Growthpoint sees E Rand as hotspot for industrial properties - Simone Liedtke (GRT) 22/03/18 08:37:00

The East Rand was a hotspot for industrial property leasing in 2017, says GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES, which concluded 70 deals in the area during 2017. The deals in question covered over 146 499 m2 of space and were valued at R260m. "The area is particularly popular with large logistics and warehousing businesses because of its excellent road access. GROWTHPOINT has good quality stock in the area, including properties with development and redevelopment potential, which provide the opportunity for tenant-driven space solutions", GROWTHPOINT industrial division director ENGELBERT BINEDELL says. GROWTHPOINT in Nov. acquired a logistics facility in Meadowdale for R132m at a 9.25% yield. The freight facility spans 16 654 m2 and is occupied by long-term client HENEWAYS FREIGHT SERVICES, with an extended leas of just over six years remaining. "The East Rand, especially its established industrial areas with good access to major roads, has proven to be of specific interest to businesses in the current market, and we expect this to remain the case in 2018", BINEDELL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

FedEx delivers earnings beat on more shipments, higher rates - Jessica Dye () 22/03/18 08:36:00

A rise in daily package volumes and higher base rates helped to offset higher costs and bad weather during the holiday season for FEDEX, helping the US group boost quarterly sales. FEDEX on Tuesday posted $16.5bn in revenue for the quarter to end-Feb., up 10% y/y. It credited its results to higher base rates and a 6% gain in average daily package volume growth. Increased volume and lower fuel prices helped to offset some drag including higher peak holiday season costs at its FEDEX EXPRESS service, as well as the impact of a cold and stormy winter in the US. A $1.5bn benefit related to US tax reform helped the group's profit soar over estimates to $2.07bn, or $7.59/diluted share. Adjusted for special items, net income of $1.02bn, or $3.72/share, compared to earnings of $625m or $2.30/share y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Diamond miners shamed for externalising funds from Zim - Memory Mataranyika () 22/03/18 08:36:00

Diamond miners in Zimbabwe's Marange fields have been "named and shamed" among companies and individuals that externalised funds and assets from the country, with President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA saying only $591m of the targeted $1.4bn has been returned. Authorities have always blamed externalisation of funds from the country as a major cause of cash shortages. MNANGAGWA issued a three-month ultimatum for the return of these funds at the end of 2017 and subsequently extended it by two weeks with the extended deadline falling on Mar. 16. On Monday, the government said only $591m of the targeted $1.4bn externalised in funds and assets had been returned. The administration has also released the full list of those who did not heed the president's call to return externalised funds. The list includes MARANGE RESOURCES, CANADILE MINERS, JINANA MINING, METALLON GOLD and BINDURA NICKEL CORPORATION as well as AFRICAN ASSOCAITED MINES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Households pose greatest risk for SA banks - S&P - Carin Smith () 22/03/18 08:36:00

Despite weak GDP growth, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS this week said it expects banks to maintain robust profitability and sound capitalisation in 2018. The ratings agency believes domestic households pose the greatest source of risk for local banks, due to their relatively high leverage and low wealth levels compared to those of other emerging markets. "We see possible deterioration in the quality of the corporate loan books, due to the rising leverage for the past five to ten years - averaging around 10% per year - and weaker profitability", S&P said. It expects credit losses for the top-tier banks to range between 0.7% and 1% in 2018 and somewhat higher among the lower-tier banks, especially the unsecured consumer lenders. It projects GDP growth of 1% in 2018 and 1.7% in 2019. S&P regards these rates as still weak for an economy like that of SA. S&P believes SA's growth cycle is currently at the bottom, but that the speed at which growth returns will depend on policy shifts and the building of confidence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

BofA said to seek some margin loan sales after Steinhoff loss - Laura J Keller, Bloomberg (SNH) 22/03/18 08:36:00

BANK OF AMERICA is offloading some margin loans after losing $292m on soured credit to former STEINHOFF chair CHRISTO WIESE, according to sources. BOFA has reached out to rival lenders, looking to sell some riskier margin loans it provided to wealthy clients and other investors, the sources said. In recent weeks, senior staff at the bank have been combing through the firm's portfolio to identify debts for potential sale. BOFA suffered the largest loss on margin lending to WIESE, who had used his stake in STEINHOFF as collateral to borrow around $1.53bn from at least eight global banks. After getting burned on STEINHOFF, the lender set out to unload loans that no longer meet its risk appetite, ideally by selling them to another member of the same syndicate. Banks that loaned to WIESE wrote off much of the debts in the final weeks of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Telkom raises R1bn in first bond sale of 2018 - Renee Bonorchis (TKG) 22/03/18 08:36:00

TELKOM this week raised R1bn in its first debt issue of 2018 as it looks to invest in its network. After a five-year hiatus, the company started selling debt again in 2017 and has raised R4.3bn from nine bonds in 12 months. Monday's bond sales included a R654m floating-rate note maturing in Mar. 2019 and a R346m bond with a 7.84% coupon, maturing on Sep. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Eskom warns public against tender scams - Marleny Arnoldi () 22/03/18 06:59:00

ESKOM is warning members of the public against scams where fraudsters pretend to represent the utility's supply chain management section and issue orders and invitations to tender for ESKOM contracts. The fraudsters target unsuspecting suppliers across the country, claiming that the utility is inviting bids for the possible supply of certain products. The targeted suppliers then receive a bogus request for quotation either by email or fax, with the ESKOM logo. In certain instances these RfQs are also being published on suspicious websites. "Once the would-be supplier has tendered for the contract, they are then contacted by telephone or email by fraudsters who claim to be ESKOM officials and are invited to submit quotations", ESKOM divisional security executive TEBOGO RAKAU said. The fraudsters then call these suppliers to inform them that heir companies have been appointed to deliver goods and subsequently they have to sign and fax the appointment letter back to them as soon as possible. The fraudsters then encourage the suppliers to make use of certain fictitious companies, who are part of the scam. The suppliers are told to pay these manufacturers, who disappear with the funds. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Chinese control of cobalt supply risk for EU car industry - Glencore - Reuters (GLN) 22/03/18 06:59:00

GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG this week said the automotive industry is waking up too late to the fact that the Chinese will hold most of the global cobalt supply, a key metal for electric vehicle batteries. "If cobalt falls in the hands of the Chinese, yeah you won't see EVs being produced in Europe. They are waking up too late... I think it's because the car industry has never had a supply chain problem before", GLASENBERG told the FT Commodities Global Summit in Switzerland. Around 70% of global cobalt output comes from the DRC. GLENCORE last week agreed to sell a third of its output to China's GEM. GLASENBERG said he was nevertheless prepared to sell cobalt mines in the DRC to China if they came with a good price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia picks Unitel unit as 4th mobile operator - Reuters () 22/03/18 06:59:00

Zambia has selected a unit of Dutch firm UNITEL INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS as the country's fourth mobile phone service provider, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority said on Monday. The regulator said UNITEL had pledged to invest $350m-plus and create more than 450 direct jobs. MTN, BHARTI AIRTEL and state-owned ZAMTEL are the only mobile phone operators currently offering voice services in Zambia. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Caledonia hits new production record at Blanket mine - Henry Lazenby () 22/03/18 06:59:00

CALEDONIA MINING has achieved a new production record at its flagship Blanket mine, reporting an 11.5% y/y output improvement to 56 133oz for FY2017. CALEDONIA, which owns a 49% stake in the Zimbabwe-based mine, said all-in sustaining costs fell 7% y/y to $847/oz, helping it boost profit around 11% to $9.4m. CALEDONIA generated free cash flow before finance of $2.9m after allowing for $24.5m operating cash flow and $21.6m of investment spending. "For the next two years, the bulk of the cash generation will be deployed to the investment plan at Blanket, which we are confident will further increase cash flows as we increase production to 80 000oz of gold by 2021. Once the investment plan is completed towards the end of 2020, we expect to have substantial free cash flows to deploy elsewhere", CALEDONIA CEO STEVE CURTIS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Global copper deficit widens 21% in 2017 as refined supplies stagnate - Henry Lazenby () 22/03/18 06:59:00

The latest data from the International Copper Study Group points to a 21% y/y global deficit of refined copper, as refined supplies remain stagnant. During 2017, the global refined copper balance slid to a deficit of 163 000t of red metal, compared with the 135 000t recorded during 2016. According to the ICSG, global mine output in 2017 fell 2% y/y to 20mt, which was mainly attributable to a 1% deficit in Chile production. Lower grades at mines in Argentina, Canada, Mongolia and the US resulted in 59%, 14%, 14% and 12% fewer tonnes of copper produced, by each country respectively. Indonesia recorded a 12.5% contraction in refined output. These reductions were partially offset by 30% and 4% increases in Kazakhstan and Peru. Global refined output in 2017 is estimated to have risen 0.6% y/y to 23.5mt with primary production down 0.15% and secondary production up by 4.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Oyu Tolgoi completes sinking Shaft 5 - Henry Lazenby () 22/03/18 06:59:00

Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi mine has achieved its latest important milestone after sinking of the new Shaft 5 has been completed. The shaft has a final depth of 1 178 m. The shaft is 6.7 m in diameter and will be dedicated to ventilation, thereby increasing the capacity for underground activities. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Mantashe not intent on scrapping MC3 - Anine Kilian () 22/03/18 06:59:00

Mineral Resources Minister GWEDE MANTASHE this week stressed the importance of tackling key aspects of Mining Charter 3 with urgency and speed. MANTASHE said the government was not going to start the Charter from scratch, despite criticism from various organisations. He stressed that MC3 would be the basis of the negotiation of anew charter with industry, despite hope from key players that he would start talks using the previous charter as a baseline. MANTASHE also reiterated that the new charter would be finalised within three months. The Chamber of Mines, meanwhile, said the industry was appreciative of the "real engagement" by the minister. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Pallinghurst shifts focus to gemstones - Marleny Arnoldi (PGL) 22/03/18 06:59:00

PALLINGHURST's decreasing exposure to steelmaking materials is prompting it to focus on coloured gemstones, and the company plans to change its name to GEMFIELDS GROUP, pending shareholder approval. PALLINGHURST's 18.4%-owned subsidiary JUPITER MINES this week announced a A$240m IPO and plans to relist on the ASX to provide liquidity to its shareholders. To achieve the "free float" reasonably required for a successful IPO, four of the large JUPITER shareholders have agreed to sell down some of their shareholding to new institutional investors on the ASX. PALLINGHURST has agreed to make available between 176.41m and 212.03m JUPITER shares at a placing price of A$0.40/share. It will retain 145.85m-181.46m JUPITER shares for realisation at a later time. This will see PALLINGHURST holding only a minority stake in JUPITER, as well as in SEDIBELO PLATINUM MINES, which are considered noncore to the group. PALLINGHURST CEO ARNE FRANDSEN and FD ANDREW WILLIS will step down as executives at the end of Mar. to become the managing partners of PALLINGHURST CAPITAL PARTNERS, a private equity platform that has raised and invested in excess of $1.5bn and runs independently of PALLINGHURST. PCP will manage PALLINGHURST's financial investment in SEDIBELO. SEAN GILBERTSON, CEO of PALLINGHURST's GEMFIELDS subsidiary, will succeed FRANDSEN as CEO, while GEMFIELDS CFO DAVID LOVETT will succeed WILLIS as FD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Investec amends Buffalo Coal term loan, revolving credit facility - Simone Liedtke (BUC) 22/03/18 06:59:00

BUFFALO COAL DUNDEE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BUFFALO COAL, has entered into an amendment to its term loan and revolving credit facility with INVESTEC BANK. Pursuant to the amendment, the working capital facility under the INVESTEC facility was raise by R16m to R96m, with the aggregate INVESTEC facility increasing from R220m to R236m. The supplemental credit is available subject to the provision of a utilisation report acceptable to the lender, with the availability period of the working capital facility having been extended to Jun. 22. The maturity date for any amounts drawn against the supplemental credit will be Jun. 29, whereby BUFFALO COAL DUNDEE will immediately repay to INVESTEC R36.6m, which is currently due to the lender under the existing INVESTEC facility. Of the R36.6m, R30m will reduce the aggregate amount outstanding on the INVESTEC facility from R200.3m to R170.3m, with the remaining R6.6m applied to the mine royalty payment in the amount of R6.1m. The balance of R500 000 is applied to default interest, all of which were due and payable on Mar. 16. The due date for the principal payment amount of R7.5m, initially due on Mar. 31, will be extended to Jun. 29 and INVESTEC has agreed to not exercise its acceleration rights with respect to any existing events of default under the INVESTEC facility. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Master Drilling says revenue up 2.8% in 2017 - ANA (MDI) 22/03/18 06:59:00

MASTER DRILLING on Tuesday said its revenue rose 2.8% to $121.4m in FY2017 while operating profit came in at $24.8m. The company said this was a positive result given that the XX-large machine category was utilised only 40% during the year. Cost of sales rose in line with the increase in revenue, bringing about a flat gross profit percentage in dollar terms. MASTER DRILLING's HEPS fell 18.9% to 11.6cps, and was down 26.5% to 154.4cps in rand terms. It said an uptick in the global economy and commodity cycle was expected to have a positive impact on its business. "Our pipeline is strong and we are excited about our entry into India and Australia, further diversifying our geographical exposure". The company had committed orders of $124.7m and a pipeline of $228.1m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

ADvTECH targets Kenya for African growth - Sandile Mchunu (ADH) 22/03/18 05:37:00

ADVTECH has identified Kenya as the next in its drive to grow its educational footprint in Africa with the expected opening of Crawford International School later in the year. ADVTECH earlier this week said it generated 11% of revenue from ventures outside SA and wanted to lift that to 30% by 202, having grown it from 6% of revenue in FY2016. The group has a presence in Botswana and Zambia. It acquired a 51% stake in the University of Africa for R5m in Jan. 2017, and operates the Gaborone International School in Botswana. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Capitec calls Viceroy's reputation into question - Business Report (CPI) 22/03/18 05:37:00

CAPITEC CEO GERRIE FOURIE on Tuesday told MPs that the structure at VICEROY RESEARCH was questionable. FOURIE said VICEROY as an institution is not stable. The research firm is essentially made up of three people, Australians AIDAN LAW and GABRIEL BERNARDE, and UK national FRASER PERRING. FOURIE said it is troubling that the company is linked to at least three hedge funds. He noted that he firm was not regulated, its structure not disclosed and it was not audited. FOURIE told the Standing Committee on Finance that CAPITEC provided its clients with credit responsibly and that the market was a better place since the bank was created. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Tanzania says AB InBev to build $100m plant - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala (ANH) 22/03/18 05:37:00

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV, which owns a majority stake in TANZANIA BREWERIES LIMITED, will invest $100m in a new beer plant in the administrative capital Dodoma, the president's office announced this week. President JOHN MAGUFULI on Monday chaired a day-long meeting with major foreign and local investors and gave ministers a seven-day ultimatum to resolve investor concerns. "I want to assure you that my government does not hate business people - we like them and we will support them... this is the right time to do business (in Tanzania), but you must pay your taxes", the president's office quoted him as telling investors. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

CPI slows to 4% y/y in Feb. - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 22/03/18 05:37:00

SA's headline CPI slowed to 4.0% y/y in Feb. from 4.4% in Jan., Statistics SA said on Tuesday. On a m/m basis, inflation rose to 0.8% in Feb. from 0.3% in Jan. Core inflation was unchanged at 4.1% y/y in Feb., while on a m/m basis it quickened to 1.1% from 0.2% previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zambia revises 2017 copper output upwards to 800 000t - Chris Mfula () 22/03/18 05:37:00

Zambia has revised its 2017 copper production figure upwards to 800 000t from 786 731t announced by the central bank last month, a senior ministry of mines official said on Tuesday. Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary PAUL CHANDA said the copper production figure was revised upwards after including the output of small-scale producers. Zambia produced 774 290t of copper in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

SA's Q4 current acc deficit widens - Mfuneko Toyana () 22/03/18 05:37:00

SA's current account deficit widened more than expected to 2.9% of GDP in Q4 2017 due to a smaller trade surplus driven by a rally in the currency late last year, SARB data showed on Tuesday. The rand has appreciated around 20% against the dollar since mid-Nov. The central bank said the stronger currency was among the main reasons for the faster increase in imports, although continued global demand for commodities helped soften the blow. In its Quarterly Bulletin, the SARB said the nominal effective exchange rate of the rand rose 8.3% in Q4 2017, the largest increase since early 2009. The value of imports was up 8.9% in the quarter, and increased 7.1% in volume. The trade surplus shrunk, falling to R74bn from a revised R92bn in the prior quarter, the SARB said, while foreign direct investment fell due to the sale of a significant stake in ABSA by BARCLAYS PLC. FDI recorded an outflow of R13.5bn in the final quarter of 2017 from an inflow of more than R16bn in the quarter before that. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Moz gives creditors debt restructuring options - Karin Strohecker () 22/03/18 05:37:00

Mozambique on Tuesday represented creditors with three options for restructuring huge debts it is unable to repay until gas projects begin production, forecast in late 2022. The scenarios given to creditors include extending maturities on the outstanding defaulted debt to between eight and sixteen years, and a haircut on interest and penalties owed. Shortly after restructuring a eurobond in 2016, the government admitted to $1.4bn of previously undisclosed loans, prompting the IMF and foreign donors to cut off support. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Nigerian parliament aims to pass 2018 budget in April - Camillus Eboh () 22/03/18 05:37:00

Nigerian lawmakers aim to pass the country's spending plan on Apr. 24, House Speaker YAKUBU DOGARA said yesterday. President MUHAMMADU BUHARI presented the 2018 budget of 8.612tn naira to lawmakers in Nov. and was targeting Jan. 1 for its passage. DOGARA said the budget would be paid at plenary on Apr. 19 and passed the following week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Zim expects higher tobacco output, could improve liquidity - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 22/03/18 05:37:00

Zimbabwe expects its tobacco output to rise 5.8% to 200m kilogramme this year as farmers started selling their crop at the country's auctions. Zimbabwe exports its tobacco crop mostly to China, SA and Belgium, earning the country $1.2bn between May 2016 and Dec. 2017 compared with $1.3bn from gold, according to central bank data. The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said tobacco production should rise form 189m-200m kilogramme this year. "Government appreciates the coming on board of the tobacco contracting companies where they financed 82% of the crop in the 2017/18 agricultural season, VP CONSTANTINO CHIWENGA told farmers at the start of the auction season. He said Harare was extending the tobacco funding model to other crops like wheat and soybean, whose production has remained depressed because farmers lack money to buy seed, fertiliser and pesticides. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.

Updated market indicators for 22/03/2018 () 22/03/18 05:37:00

At 05:37 on 22 March 2018 the market indicators were as follows: Rand/Dollar 11.82 Rand/Sterling 16.73 Rand/Euro 14.60 Gold 1331.90 Platinum 955.00 Oil 67.25 All-Share Index 58288.87

Facebook data storm wipes nearly $37bn off market value - Hannah Kuchler () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

Xi targets separatism in major speech - () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy protection - Alice Woodhouse () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

Mercuria earnings up 50% despite tough oil market - David Sheppard () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

Glencore to buy Australian coal mine from Rio Tinto - Federica Cocco (GLN) 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

BlackBerry climbs on Microsoft partnership - Pan Kwan Yuk () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

Oracle's mixed earnings brightened by cloud - Jessica Dye () 20/03/18 10:49:00

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

VW finance arm posts record 2017 - Patrick McGee () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

UK and EU agree 'decisive step' with 21-month Brexit transition - Alex Barker () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

Aldermore looks to expand business offering after FirstRand takeover - Nicholas Megaw (FSR) 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

EU to probe Facebook, Cambridge Analytica data usage - Federica Cocco () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

HKEX working with ASX on blockchain - Emma Dunkley () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

StanChart launches online-only bank in Ivory Coast - Reuters () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

CAC sets aside Media24 predatory pricing case - Fin24 (NPN) 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

CEF applies to invalidate oil sale contracts - Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg () 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

FNB to enter short-term insurance market - Ntoaleng Lechela (FSR) 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

Steinhoff said to consider selling stake in STAR - Loni Prinsloo (SNH) 20/03/18 10:09:00

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

SARS head Moyane supsended - Jan Cronje () 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Ethos Capital lifts interim NAV - Anine Kilian () 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

CMH FY headline earnings expected to rise - Simone Liedtke (CMH) 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Updated study lowers Wafi-Golpu project cost by A$1bn - Esmarie Swanepoel (HAR) 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

DRC curbs expectations of miners about concessions on code - Bloomberg () 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

SA junior miner to earn into Scotgold's Portugal licence - Mariaan Webb () 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Rio Tinto hires UBS to explore Pacific Aluminium listing - Reuters () 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Chinese ride-hailer set to expand - Reuters (NPN) 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Improved division results expected for Investec - Sandile Mchunu (INL) 20/03/18 08:51:00

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

Sun Intl FY adjusted earnings drop 41% on once-off items - Nqobile Dludla (SUI) 20/03/18 08:51:00

SUN INTERNATIONAL yesterday reported a41% drop in FY adjusted earnings due to once-off items which include onerous lease contracts and restructuring costs. The com